Saturday, September 24, 2016

1/32-scale plastic AWI troops

Work and aging in-laws have curtailed my gaming these days' apologies for the lack of posts. I have been doing a bit of gaming with Jessica when we find a few minutes.

Last week we managed to narrowly lose a game of Pandemic. We then played a game of Small World where some lucky draws meant a lopsided game.

My painting table has been collecting dust. To try an get back into the swing of things, I ordered from plastic 54mm troops to supplement my existing AWI metals.

These are some FIW troops sold by Armies in Plastic. After looking at them, the headgear suggested light troops. The Indian leggings were problematic but, with a bit of paint, they looked enough like cavalry boots that I decided to paint them up as dismounted dragons for the US side.

Overall, the figures are fine. They have some injection marks (see below) that are invisible on the table but really jump out in a photograph. I quite like the kit they carry.

They are a touch beefier than the All The King's Men metals (left below) and a bit slightly than the John Jenkins' Indians I have. The height is about right though. Some of the figures have the weird  compromises necessary to fit into metal molds (lack of undercuts, chunky bits).

I bought some mounted troops (still unpainted) and thought I would represent dragoon units with one mounted and two or three dismounted (as per below).

Up next: I have another eight of these guys that I will paint up as militia. Right now I'm working on a unit of a dozen line troops (another set of Armies in Plastic figures). These next figures are more in scale with the ATKM figures. I'm painting them up for the rebels. Then onto the mounted troops (all with tricornes?). Kind of weird but maybe designed to represent officers, moreso that cavalry.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Club Night September 6

We had a great turn out for our first club night of the autumn with (I think) 16 guys playing at one point. Dave hosted a WW2 Crete game that began with a flaming British plane. Reports were sketchy but the German paratroops spent some time looking for their weapons pods... .

I managed to snap a reasonable panorama shot as everyone was setting up.

I played a game of Muskets & Tomahawks using Stephen's beautifully painted 28mm Imaginations troops. The rules played nicely, with card drive activation to add in some C&C issues.

It was a straight forward encounter to break point with pretty similar forces.

Here I am with everyone in order and looking good.

Things are more complex here with my cavalry charging towards the top of the frame, trying to get around his main body of infantry on the right while avoiding his cavalry and skirmishers. In the meantime, I'm working my skirmishers around on the right (you can just see the smoke from their volley).

And then this happened. It was close for awhile after that but eventually my cavalry disintegrated (really being more dragoons than cavalry). A very fun and pretty game.

There was also some CC (Zama, I think).

Dennis and Chen were getting some DBA practice in in anticipation of the Fallcon tourney.

And Kevin ran another well attended and very beautiful game of Silver Tower.

Up next: Hard to see; my time is pretty tight these days.

Monday, August 22, 2016

1/76-scale M-36 Jackson

Apologies for the long break in posts. It was entirely unintentional--August just got very busy with the garden and vacationing.

I picked up this M-36 Jackson from Terry this spring. It is an old 1/76-scale Niton model that came with a small diorama, a jeep, watch tower and 37mm ATG. Nice enough kit for its time although olde timey flocking is hilariously bad.

I didn't build the engine or interior of the driver's compartment. I ended up stapling the tracks but the decals were in great shape. Pictured below with a 1/72-scale Sherman and a downed Mosquito fighter-bomber (funny what you notice when processing pictures).

Up next: Another game of Aurelian with Bruce, some 15mm vampire hunters and maybe a game of Airfix Battles (if I can get my act together and finish sorting the rules in my head).

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Club night: August 2

We had nine guys out at the club this week, including newcomer Bob. Justin hosted Bob and Chen in a wild west (?) game.

Bruce brought out some new space rules from Sam Mustafa called Free Jumper.

We played an abbreviated campaign of three games, which gave us a taste of ship building and some of the strategies available to us.

Dave and Scott played a WW2 game (French v German paratroops).

Up next: Some painting, although the ear;y harvest season is cutting into my table time.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Aurelian and Dragon Rampant

Vacationing has pre-occupied me these past few weeks but I have managed to squeeze in a couple of games. Bruce introduced me to Aurelian this past week. This is a card driven game where the armies are also cards (although you could miniaturize it).

My impressions after one game is that opportunity cost is a central feature of the game. I both ran out out of cards and got my ass kicked in combat. Managing the number of activation/event cards is really important. Interestingly, there are no dice: combat is the unit's basic factor plus a card (you can choose from your had or blindly from your pile) compared to the other unit's numbers. I'd certainly play again.

I also busted out some 15mm fantasy figures to play a six-player game of Dragon Rampant with some celebrity guests from the east. Not sure the scenario was my greatest idea but everybody seemed to learn the mechanics quickly and my team won (and Tim managed to win the individual title).

Up next: I have a few figures under way painting-wise and club night is Tuesday.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

July 19 Club Night

We had 14 guys out at the club this week, which was pretty good given the lovely summer weather.

Dave hosted a game of Blucher with John, Guy, Scott and newcomer Alan playing. Elliott and Kevin faced off over some third edition Warmachine.

Bruce brought his Black Ops gangster game out for Steve, Terry, Wiley and I. We played twice. Game one saw the FBI find the still relatively quickly and make good progress. Until suddenly the tables turned and they were running out of guys to complete their victory conditions with!

We called the first game for the gangsters. We switched side and played again. This time, the FBI troops stays tightly together. This allowed multiple attempts at observation, allowed multiple figure melees and shooting, and gave the FBI more control over when they would spotted.

This game lead to a gangster rout after about 40 minutes. It was interesting to see the tactics evolve. I wonder if the defensive tactic is to cluster guys around the leader in blinds so as to minimize the amount of picking off the attacker can do before general combat breaks out?

Up next: I need to sort out a game I'm hosting and also get back to painting. I have a 1/72-scale tank destroyer just about done.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Black Ops Gangsters

Bruce was keen to try Osprey's new Black Ops rules again so I popped out for more gangsters action. We played two scenarios; the assassination scenario and the sabotage scenario and the key mechanic in both of them was the observation (or maybe infiltration?) rules.

Basically the rules account for various non-visible effects (e.g., darkness, fog, crowded streets). The defender is largely passive except for a few guards (whose movement is determined by die roll on a table). As things start to happen, the guards become more alert, which wakes up the defender's leader. Eventually, the defenders become fully awake and in the player's control.

This gives the attacker a lot of decisions to make (basically when to make noise). To offset the attacker's greater control during the early game, most of the defender's troops are hidden in blinds (with dummy blinds) so the attacker's knowledge of what is what is imperfect.

This mechanic is quite neat, but the rules around it are very poorly written. For example, when the attacker wants to try and reveal the content of the blind, the defender rolls. If the defender is successful, the blind stays hidden. But the rules sometimes reverse who the actor is when discussing game play (e.g., talking about the attacker being successful when they mean the defender failed the roll). The actual text is way less clear; I had to interpret some to even make clear what the problem is.

The activation mechanic is card based (each type of figure activates on a different card). What this means is that a group of figures comprising different types of troops won't activate together.  This is interesting in the decisions it creates but you have to wonder how much sense it makes if you use the rules for modern combat missions.

The observation mechanic is also abstract. You can attempt to reveal a blind anywhere on the board, even if the figure doing so can't see the blind (there are penalties for this). So this means, in a skirmish game, a figure two city blocks away with no line of sight and presumably coping with streets full of people, vehicles and noise can somehow know what is in a blind (assuming the die roll is successful--or, rather, the defender's die is unsuccessful). I'm happy to go along with the abstraction but it jars a bit with the skirmish scale.

Overall, an interesting set of rules and reasonably fun to play. It is more fun to be the attacker, but that may reflect that we haven't figured out how best to play the defender. Shame the rules are not better written.