Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Hallowe'en spooks

Happy Hallowe'en. I'd say Merry Hallowe'en but then someone might accuse me of waging a war on Hallowe'en... . Anyhow, I didn't get a Hallowe'en game organized for this year but I did do some painting towards one for next year.

These are some 28mm Horrorclix figures Scott swapped me this summer. They suggest a laboratory experiment gone wrong and would do for a Pulp Alley game. Or maybe a jail break from Arkham? I'll think on that. In the meantime, enjoy!

Amazing what some highlights, a wash and rebasing can do for the clix figures.

Up next: Some 28mm Romulans are just about dry.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Fields of Despair

Bruce hosted me in a game of Fields of Despair on Tuesday. This is a WW1 operational game on the western front. The eastern front and broader political situation are abstracted using some of the tracks on the left side of the board

I played the dastardly Hun and we join the conflict after the initial invasion of Belgium. Momentum is with the Kaiser at this point so I pushed hard into northern France. I should have pushed harder towards Paris instead of towards the channel but, well, first game and all.

I managed to blow open a pretty good hole but the fortress at Verdun was a real pain in the ass. Bruce pushed back hard in southern France, which was rather distracting.

The arrival of British troops helped to shore up the northern front and Bruce managed to reform a roughly historical line while I was desperately researching poison gas and reducing Antwerp. Interesting mini-economic game is played at the beginning of each turn allowing choices.

At the end of three (or maybe four) turns, we called it for the night. It was pretty much a historical outcome with the Germans starting to stall in 1915 and the tide starting to turn towards a more even game as manpower gave out for the Germans.

Overall, pretty interesting. The first turn was slow as we worked through the mechanics. Then the game speeded up and I think you could play one turn every half hour or so. The political and economic game is nicely tied together with the battle mechanisms. We're going to give it another go this week. The full war would be probably a five-hour game and I was happy to not have to invade through Belgium on our first go (outcome is obvious).

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Finally finished rebasing Star Wars!

Several years ago, I put together matching Star Wars armies, mostly using 25mm West End Games figures. I based them in groups for HoTT, played a campaign with the Imperials and then shelved them. I then used them for Memoir 44 but the grouped bases didn't work for casualty removal.

Back in the spring, I popped all 200 figures off their bases, mounted them on washers and started to flock. Then I lost interest and they became this overwhelming project sitting on the side table.

I finally finished these guys this week. It feels great to have this done--they were physically and mentally blocking my painting for months!

I just snapped some shots of a few figures. There are lots of duplicate storm troopers, Imperial naval troopers, rebel troopers, and wookies (some many damned wookies!).

I think these guys would do for a good pulp alley game one day. Maybe crossed with Star Trek so as to outrage my club mates?

Friday, October 20, 2017

Fate of the Elder Gods

We had 10 guys out at the club on Tuesday. Bruce and Scott played Crusader Rex while Taylor hosted a game of Space Hulk.

With Hallowe'en approaching, Terry dug out a Cthulhu-themed game called Fate of the Elder Gods. Unlike Cthulhu Pandemic, here you are trying to summon an elder god as well as prevent rival cults from doing so while the game mechanics play the role of the pesky investigators (man, I hate those guys...)..

The putative goal is to move the little wooden piece (below left) in your lair around the circle clock-wise. Along the way, bad things happen and I think the real game is to get as far as you can and then try to cause the game to end by screwing your neighbour.

The mechanics include card draw and hand management (mostly making sets), some resource management (cultists and spells), dice rolling, and area control on the big board. There was also some memory work involved (face-down spells, curse management) and planning. It was a fair bit to take in at first but, by the end of two hours, we had mostly gotten the hang of the turn sequence and how the different mechanics interact.

In the end, Wiley lost (although that seemed a touch random since I thought he'd played well) and the rest of us compared scores (with Richard winning). Interesting game. It went on 30 minutes too long but that may reflect the learning curve--I suspect it would be faster on second play. There was a fair bit of chaos and luck mid-game that requires a flexible strategy for winning.

Up next: The end of a long rebasing project, some WW1 gaming with Bruce and some Hallowe'en minis.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

More ghoulish minis

A few more things are rolling off the painting line. This building was a gift from Terry. He'd already block painted the exterior so all I had to do was assemble the two halves, wash, dull-coat, and put a roof on. A lovely little building for Gotham. Maybe needs a detail or two--a front step maybe? Or some advertising on the wall?

A rare trip to Michael's netted me some deeply discounted fencing from the Hallowe'en village section. Five sections (a gate and four walls) was $5. Each kit made 15" of wall so I bought four. This is about enough to create a graveyard.

I also painted, washed, and rebased from horrorclix zombies that Scott gave me. They turned out just fine for gaming purposes--probably be a gang in Pulp Alley.

This goes a long way towards prepping the Hallowe'en game I'll run next year! 

Up next: Terry is running a Cthulhu game at the club. I hope to make some progress on some more 28mm pulp figures as well as finishing some rebasing of some Star Wars figures.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Long Island flank march

I popped over to Bruce's to game Tuesday night and brought Commands and Colors Tricorne with me. I wanted to try the British flank march at Long Island scenario,

This scenario has an interesting deployment, with the British caught in the middle on a row of hills. Hessians to the front, Brits to the back. Oh my! Also, the American troops suck.

I think I did well holding off the Hessians at first and gaining some early banners. But this cost combat power. I also had some tough cards to manage.

Bruce eventually moved to cut off Washington's retreat line to the ferries. I like to think I played a decent insurgent-kind-of-game. The game went on long enough that we didn't have time to switch sides.

I had some narrow escapes using the retreat option to my advantage. The rallying mechanic and the reduced combat power of the dice (fewer dice and fewer infantry symbols) makes the game less deadly.

Eventually, though, Bruce got enough banners to win (he was relentless) and I had no chance to come back anyways (not enough troops). A good game, I though. I'm not sure I have ever gamed the flank march? There is also a scenario covering the pinning attack on Long Island designed to distract from the flank march.

Up next: Some more minis are done and we have club night on Tuesday. I'm not sure what else I need to attend to but I am turning my mind to a holiday themed game for December. The painting is done--I just need to read the rues and design a decent scenario.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Hallowe'en Minis

So I didn't quite get organized enough to run a Hallowe'en game at the club. Fortunately, Terry has promised some Cthulhu action next time. But I have started in anticipation of next year.

Awhile back Scott and I engaged in my-junk-for-your-junk trading. He got a bunch of GW hex tiles and I got a bunch of horrorclix. I rebased and touched up the paint on five to serve as plot points in PulpAlley.

I also picked up some Renedra tombstones to make a grave yard. I painted up one of the sprues.

This is likely enough headstones for skirmish gaming. Nice stuff for a quick paint, wash and base.

Up next: I'm off to try some more CCA Tricorne this week with Bruce. Then some horrorclix figures.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

878 Vikings at the club

We had eight guys out at the club this week. Chen and Brandon played a game of Dropfleet (sorry--no pics) while Taylor and Jonathan played from Dragon Rampant.

Scott, Terry, Bruce and I tried out 878 Vikings with Terry and Scott being the axe-weilding invaders and Bruce and I the brave defenders of the realm.

Bruce and I had a bit of trouble with the dice. For example, at one point I rolled three 1 in 27 rolls in a row. And we had some even worse single results. Tough to defend the realm when you guys evaporate every time they see someone in a horned helmet.

Things weren't too bad. The vikings invaded in the north and, slowly, we whittled them down. They also invaded in the south. We were less successful in pushing them back and started to lose reinforcement points.

About an hour in, we were in trouble but still had enough troops to mount and offensive out of the middle.

Then Terry played a really powerful card (a surprise to me as I hadn't read through the cards ahead of time) and evaporated our guys in the middle of the board. Very frustrating.

At that point we were screwed and the vikings sewed up the win a turn later. Overall, a very interesting game. I like the mechanics of these Academy Games but it plays very differently from the Birth of America series. There are fronts that develop. The sides are asymmetrical in many respects. I'd totally play this again with maybe one of the nine (!) expansions thrown in.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

878 Vikings

A few weeks back I got my kickstarted game of 878 Vikings: Invasion of England from Academy Games. This game builds on the same engine as their Wars of North America series. The basic mechanics are pretty similar: random activation sequence, card-driven commands, uncertain end point, area control, icon-driven combat dice, etc.

Visually, the game is different by having plastic troops (about 10mm?) rather than colours blocks to denote troops. While there are five colours, it is a four-player game (the yellow are Fyrd who defend English towns when attacked by vikings).
After a quick skim of the rules, there seem to be two key mechanic differences. It is an invasion so the viking reinforcements arrive based upon invasion cards. This seems to give the vikings some flexibility in placement at the expense of uncertainty of numbers. It also makes it less desirable for the English player to create big troop concentrations.

The second change is that there are leaders who act before the normal activation phase. They have a movement allowance and much more flexibility in what they do than the normal activation. In theory, this allows for more dynamic in-turn campaigns than in other Academy games.

I  think I will bring this out to the club in later October (unless there is a real demand for a Hallowe'en themed game). I might like to have a quick solo game before I try to umpire. I'm currently working on some terrain (gravestones from Renedra) that I picked up at Red Claw. They also had a nice set of barrels in stock that I will look at this week when we meet.