Thursday, 1 December 2016

Hey! Watch where you put that Tusk!

I had my first game using Wessex Games' mammoth hunting rules Tusk this week, or rather, the wee lad played his first ever wargame this week - he played Tusk with me attempting to guide the game.

The game has great potential, and was (almost) easy enough for an (almost) six year old to follow without too much trouble. However... I'm not convinced that the layout of the pdf version of the rules (from Wargame Vault) does the game any favours. There are certainly a few areas that could be written more clearly - the whole fire section for instance. I'm not sure we 'did' fire properly in our game and ended up with quite a conflagration in one corner of the board for a while.

I'm honestly not sure whether a single page QRS would solve the few issues, or if it is best just to play house rules/understandings. Having a little bit of experience crafting rules now, it was a struggle to stop my mind racing off thinking about how I might do things differently...

Regardless, we both had great fun and he tells me he wants to play it again. The fact that he lost two of his five hunters to the angry mammoth didn't seem to bother him, and he did eventually kill the beastie, which made him happy. Mammoth kebabs for a month for the remaining hunters!

Incidentally, this is how I am doing my scorched earth markers - well, how I am starting them anyway. The bases are 25mm squares with rounded edges. The sand will be blackened eventually with some dry grass around the edges. I'm using cotton wool smoke to mark live fires and taking it away when the fires go out.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Are you not entertained!?

Well that happened sooner than expected! What a wonderful surprise, to come home after a head-melter of a day's work to find a wee package waiting for me from DriveThru Cards.  Upon opening it, I was delighted to see my proof deck of cards for Blood, Sweat and Cheers. Above you can see the whole pack laid out excitedly - if amateurishly - on the table.

In the centre is the six-card arena so that players can get stuck straight into the game without having to call in the set designers from Ridley Scot's Gladiator. Below that are two cards abstracting the mood or favour of the crowd into a linear tracking system. To either side are reference cards so players do not have to refer to the two-page rule sheet once a bout has commenced. The rainbow selection at the top right of the photo are the gladiator cards, each outlining attributes and two special actions unique to each gladiator type. To the right is the play deck of 40 cards (showing three example cards) which are dealt to the players to represent the options available to their gladiator each turn. All up, a total of 60 cards.

Above you can see gladiator models placed in the two adjacent starting zones ready to begin a bout. On the left are a murmillo and thraex in 28mm, while on the right are a retiarius and a secutor in 15mm. Gladiators usually move one zone at a time and need to be in the same zone as an opponent to perform most attack types. 

We still have a couple of things to sort out with DriveThru cards, but Blood, Sweat and Cheers looks set to be published by Ganesha Games very early in the new year.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Horizon Wars - a near run thing.

We played a massive 30 presence game of Horizon Wars this week. Technically it was one 30P vs two allied 15P forces. I need to stress that, because my 30P of European Empire troops lost. Barely. I blame the extra free CHQ unit they had. No other reason. None at all. :)

It was a really fun, three turn game actually, very closely fought. We had three objective markers with blind victory points, one worth I, one worth II and one worth IV points. My heavy infantry battle group was very aggressive and held all three objective for much of the game. They took a real mauling for their trouble too. Some late enemy parra-drops managed to size control of one objective at literally the last minute, and it turned out to be the one worth IV points. So... defeat from the jaws of victory once more!

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Macedonian invasion of Egypt - a fresh OGAM foe

A good gaming pal, terrain builder extraordinaire and all round enjoyable foe has recently had a bit of a health scare (a 'shot across the bows' as he puts it) and is off work for a little while. Helping to fill his day, as well as get myself away from the home office, I gave him a visit this week, and got in a quick game of Of Gods and Mortals while I was there.

We opted for a 1000 point game - 100 points larger than the recommended game size. Both of us packed out our forces with mortal units, each using only two legends and our gods. This really changed the dynamic of the game a bit making it more of a 'conventional' game if you like, placing more emphasis on units and less on rampaging rogue heroes.

I had a vaguely modeled notion to field Macedonians, patronised by Athena (with her daddy's lightning, but without the aegis). As legends I had Herakles and a harpy, supported by 8x Macedonian hypaspists, 6x undead hoplites, 4x Satyr archers, 4x Centaur archers and 4x Dryads.

Against me were ranged the Egyptian forces of Set. A chariot mounted pharaoh and a Great Mummy, backed up by 8x Sherden guardsmen, 8x axemen, 8x light infantrymen and 5x slaves.

Here you see the starting line up. And it was much more of a line up than usual for an OGAM game. My Macedonians are spread in a line along the left of the center line, Satyrs sitting in the rough terrain and the Dryads skulking invoking at the back.

In the opening turn, the Egyptian pharoah raored something in his barbarous tongue and pointed menacingly at the Satyrs. He rolled two dice to activate and failed both. Athena reacted by advancing forward and then, seizing the initiative, used her lightning to good effect. The pharoah exploded in a bolt of dazzling blue light leaving only a pair of smoking sandals in his chariot.

With that cracking start, the Macedonian forces started to advance. So did the Egyptians, but Athena's boys (and girls) had the advantage of speed, and far more firepower, slowly peppering the Egyptians, trying to reduce their ability to invoke Set to great deeds. Unfortunately, Set was able to bring down a plague on my hypaspists, greatly reducing their ability to activate and fight. Not cool Set. Not cool.

As the battle lines closed, Herakles ran to plug an emerging hole in the line between the Satyrs and the hypaspists (Athena had left it to help the heroic undead warriors destroy the Sherdan guardsmen). Seeing an opportunity to take revenge for the fallen pharaoh, Set dashed in.

Here you see a wider view of the table as the opposed lines come closer. In the unfocused middle distance, Set and Herakles duel. Set won the first bout, knocking Herakles to the ground but not killing him. As the contest continued, Set tried to finish the fallen hero, only to receive a hammering blow to the ankle and being forced to retire. Unfortunately, the Macedonian luck was not to last and in the next round Set hopped back into the melee and finished Herakles before he could fully recover.

Away off to the Macedonian right, my centaurs had been slowly picking off the large unit of Egyptian light infantry until the Egyptians eventually had enough and charged forward. The fighting was fairly inconclusive with multiple tied melees, but as mortal units loose a figure each time their is a tied melee, the small Centaur unit suffered much more than the large unit of Egyptians.

Back in the centre, Athena and Set went head-to-head, each supported by mortal adherents. Here though, Chance was against me, the dice failed, and Athena was banished. She was brought back, only to be defeated again by Set and his minions.

By this stage, the two armies had fought each other ragged. The Macedonians had suffered the worst of the melees and were reduced to only two units capable of summoning Athena back to the table - the hypaspists and the Dryads. However, neither unit were effective combat troops at this stage - the hypaspists because of the plague, the Dryads because... Dryads.

The (very enjoyable) day was drawing to a close, I had to go and perform daddy duties, and it was clear that Set's Egyptians were in a better position than my Macedonians with three units capable of summoning/invoking, the Great Average Mummy and Set all still in play. The Egyptian axemen were still combat effective, while the light infantry and slaves were still effective on account of their numbers. The Macedonians conceded the day and Athena went off to examine her war record (two losses out of two battles) and have a long hard think about what shed'd done.