Friday, 26 July 2013

They don't make them like this anymore!

While surfing the web I came across this entry in Wikipedia

Sir Adrian Paul Ghislain Carton de Wiart VC, KBE, CB, CMG, DSO (5 May 1880 – 5 June 1963) was a British Army officer of Belgian and Irish descent. He served in the Boer War, First World War, and Second World War; was shot in the face, head, stomach, ankle, leg, hip, and ear; survived a plane crash; tunnelled out of a POW camp; and bit off his own fingers when a doctor refused to amputate them. Describing his experiences in World War I, he wrote, "Frankly I had enjoyed the war...and why do people want peace if the war is so much fun".

And this is just the first paragraph! The whole entry is worth a read.

British history used to be replete with tales of men like this, maybe their ilk has died out (not surprising given their proclivities) or maybe the world has changed so much that there is no room for men like these. If that is the case then I think we are the worse off for their loss.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

What draws you to a set of rules?

I'm a rulebook junkie. I have loads of rulebooks, some of which I've never even played, and I'm always on the look out for more. For example I have Bolt Action, which is a perfectly good set of WWII rules, but I'm looking at buying Chain of Command from TFL when it comes out on 21st August. I also have Johnny Reb III which I like and used to play lots of years ago but I'm going to be buying Longstreet when it comes out in a few weeks.

So why do I do this? Well, some of this is the 'Ohh! shiny' syndrome that affects most wargamers but some of it is related to how the rules work. In my case what often piques my interest is the ability to exercise my imagination.

This usually manifests itself as a flexible points system with standard unit types. For example Gruntz is an excellent set of rules for sci/fi combat which has troop types like Mecha, infantry, support vehicles, tanks, VTOL's and artillery. The points system lets you customise your choices by adjusting things like speed, armour and weapons. So you could build a high tech sci/fi aerospace fighter or a pterodactyl with laser eyes that poops explosive excrement, a magician shooting firebolts or a space marine with a plasma gun. Both would legal under the rules but I know which I would prefer.

It's this flexibility that so appeals to me, and truth be told it allows me to indulge myself by buying lots of new shiny toys. It also attracts me to games I'd never considered.

I'd had a look at Kings of War from Mantic when it first came out but it didn't really do anything for me. But then I read an article about the flexibility of the Kingdoms of Man list. The article described how easy it was to use ACW or Napoleonics or ECW figures for Kings of War. Any infantry figure with a rifle or a musket could be used as 'Missile Troops', cavalry could be 'Knights' or 'Mounted Scouts' etc. The idea of Union troops facing off against Ogres or an army of Undead really appeals to me. It's this flexibility got me interested in playing 'Kings of War' a game I would never otherwise have considered.

So what is it that draws you to particular rulesets?

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Battletech Alpha Strike rules preview now available

I love Battletech, I've bought the starter set twice over the years, I have a bunch of the novels and Technical Readouts, played a couple of the Battletech MMO's and when I was on holiday in California years ago I even made a special trip to a Battletech center to play in one of the simulator pods! But I rarely play the game because the book keeping is such a pain and trying to play with anything more than a few models a side takes ages. It seems that I was not the only one who felt that way because a few months ago Catalyst announced that they were working on a fast play version of their rules called 'Alpha Strike' and now the preview is available for download.

Here is the blurb from the website:

Alpha Strike is a new, fast-playing form of the BattleTech game of futuristic, armored combat. Developed for the modern tabletop miniatures wargamer, this book brings players the ability to wage war on land, sea, and air using the Quick-Strike game system first devised for truly large-scale play, re-scaled to the tactical level of “classic” BattleTech. Complete with sample armies and a ready-to-play campaign system, all you need besides this book are dice, miniatures, and tabletop terrain to fight for control over the Inner Sphere on land, sea, and air—one world at a time!

The preview shows that the final version will be over 155 pages including campaign rules and scenarios, scene setting for the Era the game is set in, background info on the Battletech universe, as well as the rules. The rules are split into introductory rules for a simple game (10 pages), the standard rules (27 pages) and a load of advanced options which cover 50 pages.

The preview contains eight pages of the Introductory rules, so not the complete set. It's hard to get a feel for what the full game will be like but the big change is obvious, damage allocation. Gone are the detailed record sheets like the one shown below.

These appear to be replaced with a much simpler record sheet about the size of an index card.

As can be seen there are only four states for Heat and the Armor and Stucture boxes are much reduced. Apparently info is provided for the various 'Mechs  that you transcribe to the card. For example the preview mentions that a Capellan AWS-9M Awesome is rated at 8/4 meaning that you block out all but eight of the Armor boxes and four of the Structure boxes.

So the preview is interesting but not really playable and leaves a lot of questions unanswered. However the full rules will be available to pre-order on July 29th with the PDF version being only $15 so worth a punt.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Phew! It's HOTT.

Well that's the obligatory hot weather pun out of the way, so moving on swiftly. I've been reading a few Hordes of the Things (HOTT) batreps lately so I decided to dig out two of my old HOTT armies.

I used to play a ton of DBA years ago and even ran a DBA campaign for my local club which proved very popular. We also played some HOTT as it's basically the same game with a few additions and I always liked the way you could use the points system to build any kind of army you chose from Daleks to Justin Bieber fans (this would obviously be composed completely of mindless hordes).

As you can play HOTT with DBA armies I hadn't bothered to build any HOTT specific armies. However about twenty years ago I was at the Vapnartak wargames show in York and there was a vendor selling painted HOTT armies. I took one look at the Dwarven Gyrocopters and I had to have them. For some reason still not clear to me I also bought a painted Lizardmen army and a nice Dwarven cavern as a stronghold. For years I thought they were 15mm figures until I saw some of the same models on the Pendraken site on one of my many trawls through their catalogue. I guess that just shows the quality of the 10mm Pendraken castings.

Hot weather permitting I'm going to reacquaint myself with the rules and have a few solo games to get back up to speed. I'll post a few batreps later but for now on with the eye candy.

First up is the Dwarven army which comprises:
Hero General
2 x Behemoths
2 x Flyers
3 x Blades
1 x Shooter

The Dwarven army arrayed for battle

Wooly mammoths flank the Hero General

Intrepid Dwarven aviators

The Lizardmen army comprises:
Hero General
2 x Magicians
3 x Riders
5 x Hordes
2 x Lurkers

The Lizardmen army arrayed for battle

The Hero General on his speedy mount flanked by Magicians
and protected by hordes of willing minions

Lizardmen Riders and Lurkers

The Hall of the Mountain King
Considering these figures have languished in an old school metal toolbox for the last 15 years they're in pretty good condition.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

"Lite" version of the new 'Longstreet' ACW rules now available

Sam Mustapha has just made the "lite" version of his upcoming ACW rules 'Longstreet' available for free download on his site.

"For those who would like to try a very basic, “bare-bones” version of the Longstreet game, the free “Lite” version is now available on the HONOUR downloads page. You can sample a very simplified version of the game’s basic structure and mechanics, using the free basic action cards that are also available. “Longstreet Lite” is a complete game; everything you need to play is included. However it is not the “full” game that you will find in the Longstreet book or PDF. In fact, it is not even the Basic game from that book. But it is a great and easy way to dip your toes into the Longstreet system, in anticipation of the complete game.

Coming in the second half of 2013, the third HONOUR game will take a unique perspective on the American Civil War. Rather than refighting the same dozen famous battles for the umpteenth time, Longstreet will ask you to create a “character” – historical or fictional. He begins the war in 1861 commanding a small brigade of volunteers.

You will create his personality from a variety of characteristics. For example: does he have prior military experience in Mexico, or against the Indians? Does he have a background in engineering or one of the other branches of the service? Is he politically well-connected, and thus likely to have the ear of a state governor who might be in a position to send replacements? Is he wealthy, with friends in the media who can inflate his exploits on the battlefield, thus putting pressure on the War Department to promote him?

The war grows in intensity. Your responsibilities increase, as does the number of men under your command. Changes over which you have no control – sometimes good and sometimes bad – affect your force. A Federal officer in the early war might despair at the departure of his 90-day volunteers, but patiently awaits the great industrial superiority of the northern economy. A Confederate officer might enjoy many early advantages, to see them gradually slip away as shortages and attrition strangle the southern war effort.

Like its predecessor, Maurice, the new game will include a full, boxed set of 108 playing cards, which are used not only for game action, but also to keep track of morale and fatigue, to manage the game’s system of objectives and the fate of personalities like officers and regimental heroes. The cards are also used to represent scouting and to set up the battlefield.

Longstreet can be played as a small 1-vs-1 game for two players. But it is infinitely expandable. The game keeps track of the ranks of players (even the seniority of officers at the same rank). When you gather your friends for a big game, each player brings his force, his pack of cards, and his “character.” If you have enough people, figures, and space, you can easily recreate large battles (or invent your own.) The most senior player will command on each side."

I've been looking forward to this for a while and it may give me the shove I need to get my ACW figures painted. It's going to be available in the UK from NorthStar so hopefully there'll be a pre-order deal soon.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Yet another shameless blog give-away plug!

BigLee's Miniature Adventures has reached a seven digit milestone which he is celebrating with a Millionth Pageview Give-AwayThere are several sets of prizes to choose from and the top three winners will get to pick one each. As well as the prizes he'll try to find a little something extra to throw in as well as a surprise. Here's what you could win.

The Celtos Selection
As the name suggests this prize consists of a selection of blister packs from the old Celtos range from i-Kore.

Perry Priests and Pilgrims
This prize includes two large blister packs of Priests, Monks, Pilgrims and some commoners.

Osprey Modelling Guide
This is an excellent guide for those of you that want to stretch your painting skills a little. Being an Osprey it's written to the high standard we have all come to expect and its full of great illustrations.

 Heresy Thrud the Barbarian

Painting Guides
Two more painting guides full of beautiful illustrations to inspire you

The WWII Stuff
This prize consists of a Cromwell Tank blister pack from Battlefront and an Osprey Tank spotters Guide.

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