Thursday 30 June 2016

Irregular Wars chance cards now at DriveThru Cards

I'm delighted to say that a deck of 52 chance cards for use with Irregular Wars: Conflict at the World's End is now available through DriveThru Cards, a sister site of Wargames Vault.

There has been a lot more interest in these cards than I ever anticipated, and up till now, the order process has been labour intensive, and the price for the customer has been high. Even after I was forced to put the price up earlier this year, I was still making a loss on each sale. Using DriveThru Cards makes sense in terms of labour and price, and the end product is still first class!

Tuesday 28 June 2016

The might of the VOC

Another game of Galleys & Galleons from the last week's shenanigans. This time we played a straight up two-player game with 350 point fleets. This is a fun size of game for two players and rewards the thoughtful gambling of activation dice much more... honestly(?) than smaller games. 

"My Q3 indiaman is within the flagship's command range and gets a +1 modifier to their Q roll!" paraphrases I all enthusiastically. "I shall roll all three activation dice because I only need 2s or better ..." I continues, "What could possibly go wrong?" 

Two 1s and a 2 is what could go wrong. And did. Often.

I once more took control of the Dutch East India Company fleet (two indiamen, two cromsters, a sloop, a merchant junk and two small merchant junks), facing off against a pirate fleet (galleon, brig, lorcha, jacht, raft, two flotillas of pirate cutters) which also included the steam driven monitor and the drebbel, stretching historicity somewhat in the name of continued rule testing. 

Having one of my indiamen (the Hollandia) as a flagship meant that I had to roll to see the nature of my admiral. Would he be a political appointment, or perhaps a swaggering yet sensitive terror of the high seas? I - not uncharacteristically - rolled a 1, being landed with a landlubber (Admiral van Landlubber to you!), greatly reducing that ship's responsiveness to orders.

The shot above is from the Dutch corner showing the impressive amount of canvas in the employ of the VOC. Below are the pirates. In the G&G expasion, there are rules for stowing and deploying boats from larger vessels, and the pirates started the game with the boats aboard the galleon and the brig.

The opening turns saw lots of early turn overs for the Dutch, with only the swift sloop Nassau and the merchant junk Nutmeg breaking from the deployment formation. Loath as he would be to admit it, JB, the pirate player, appeared to have some form of plan. And followed it. What ungentlemanly behaviour.

Above, the pirates on the left fan out, as the Dutch on the right spread their line (sort of).

The sloop Nassau got off the opening shot, across the bows of the pirate brig Oberon, causing damage, but not being able to stop the inevitable boarding action. What followed turned quite nasty actually, as the galleon Irrepressible decided to join the boarding action too and the sloop quickly succumbed (top right of picture).

Meanwhile, copious fire from the dutch cromsters and indiamen started to tell on the pirate lorcha. Not enough to destroy it, but nonetheless moderately satisfying in a vengeful sort of way .

Then the lorcha Lotus returned fire on one of the Dutch cromsters, setting it alight. In the next Dutch turn, the first thing it did was explode as the magazine caught fire (centre of the pic above is the smoking wreakage). Karmically (sure that is both a real word and how it is spelt), the Lotus caught fire in the explosion.

The Lotus subsequently also exploded, but this time sank without causing further fires to start on other ships.

Meanwhile, distracted by explosions, hamstrung by van Landlubber's poor command rolls and my own poor decisions, the large merchant junk Nutmeg ran aground on an island... and the small junk Tea Chest collided into the back of the flagship Hollandia. The pirate raft Phoenix boarded the other Dutch indiaman Brabant and while it ended up the loser in the boarding actions, did keep the Brabant tied up for a couple of turns.

Meanwhile, the monitor Crocodile was circling. Her gun turrets gave her a perfect field of fire...

The Crocodile fired into the stern of the flagship Hollandia, causing yet another blaze to break out. As the Tea Chest was still in contact with her flagship following the collision, she too immediately caught alight. In my next turn, the Tea Chest burnt to the water line and sank, while the Hollandia exploded. Having lost almost all the Dutch convoy at that point, I decided that it was time to fold and surrendered unconditionally...

Sunday 26 June 2016

6mm mounted crossbowmen

I have previously posted (HERE, and then later HERE) about my quest for some mounted crossbowmen for the 6mm Medieval Scandinavian army I am painting up next for L'Art de la Guerre. Finding myself with a few spare moments last week I finally got around to painting up my two elements of cheap and nasty, yet quite passable conversions. So without further adieu, here they are, painted up in Kalmar Union yellow and red. 

Saturday 25 June 2016

Thar she blows!

The Galleys & Galleons expansion, Fayre Winds and Foul Tides, is nearing completion with everything written, just needing to be edited, cleaned up, re-written and edited again. To get a load of the different new rules out on the table in a single match we played a five way game this week using the 'Thar She Blows' scenario from the core rules.

I took control of the 72 point sea monster in the centre of the table, the other four players took control of roughly 100 points each in their allocated corners: two Dutch cromsters (small armed merchantmen) Utrecht and Haarlem, the Spanish airship Nombre de Dios, the ghostly galleon Bluebeard's Revenge, and the steam powered monitor Crocodile supported by a dinky little drebbel (a prototype submarine) Damp Doxy. At the end of every turn I earned a victory point. They each earned a victory point for every point of damage they did to me (or each other) and a bonus 10 points for being the ship to have killed me within the 10 turn limit.

In the opening rounds, I moved my sea monster towards the Dutch cromsters, keeping it submerged to avoid their gunnery. Meanwhile, the monitor and the drebbel also moved in the direction of the Dutch. Opening gunnery from the cromsters quickly sank the drebbel, setting the tone for the evening's game.

Taking advantage of the inter-vessel fighting, I rose to the surface to ram the cromster Utrecht, causing limited damage only, but then being able to swiftly turn and swim away.

By this point, the airship and the ghost ship were starting to close in and Mr Fishy McFishface was feeling the heat. Luckily, much of the heat was directed at other vessels on the water's surface, and I was fairly safe down below. The airship, likewise, rose to high altitude and while not impervious to enemy gunnery, roll well enough to shrug it off.

The gunfight on the surface continued to rage. In order to do a spot more ramming, I had to return to that same surface, and quickly started to accumulate damage/wounds.

Some well timed ramming finished off the Dutch cromster Utrecht, while the others were distracted...

And then in the second last turn I turned my attention on the ghostly galleon, Bluebeard's Revenge. I gave her stern a damn fine ram, only for her to turn around (figuratively speaking) and grapple my scaly hide, sending a stream of spectral pirates over the side, putting an end to my aquatic rampage, and winning the game.

All the new rules worked well together, although lumping them all on a couple of the less experienced players saw a few bewildered looks to start with. Due to low dice rolls, gunnery was fairly rubbish for much of the game, and all critical hits resulted in further hull damage which meant there were no big explosions to contend with. 

We used the new weather rules which saw a couple of turns becalmed on the table with little or no movement from the sailing vessels, while the steamer just kept on chugging away. It's ironclad top deck saved it more than once and the turreted guns worked well, even if unsupported by useful die rolling. 

In all, each player had a distinctively flavoured command, it was a good, fun game and a successful run through the expanded rules.

Wednesday 22 June 2016

Heroic Shades

My Greek force continues to grow, however slowly. Here is a new unit of six heroic shades, undead spirits of fallen hoplites. As my force is pseudo-Hellenistic, I felt that some ghostly hoplites would add a little bit of period flavour. The figures were gifted by gaming buddy Jim and painted up in ghostly green. I believe they came from Northstar some time ago.

Tuesday 21 June 2016

Savages from the far north - two more OGAM games

Last week saw my Artemisian chorus take to the stage once more to take on the vile Hibernians from the far north (and then off to the west a bit). Artemis was accompanied by Atalanta and my heroic centauris, as well as the Kalydonian Boar. In support were my eight hypaspists, four satyr archers and four dryads. We played two games and used the same forces in each.

In the first game, set among some Grecian ruins, I put Artemis and her dryads in the wood in one corned, with the hypaspists and Atalanta nearby. The satyrs and centauris were across the stream while the boar was hiding at the back of another woods. Unfortunatley my satyrs turned up to the game drunk and, with a Q5 proved very hard to activate throughout the game.

The Irish had a werewolf and a large unit of slingers posted just out side the boar wood, a unit of armoured nobles and two small units of unarmoured nobles by the river, along with a druid and their foul god Lugh. Off in the ruins was Cu Chulainn in his chariot. 

Using foul play and druid's charms, my opponent was able to either add/remove a piece of terrain, or else switch the location of any two legends on the table. Forgetting that the Kalydonian Boar was suffling through the woods behind his slingers, he switched his werewolf for Atalanta. Atalanta appeared adjacent the slingers, and the werewolf just beside my hypaspists.

First blood went to Atalanta who, supported by her old porcine nemesis started to destroy the slingers through a mixture of archery and melee.

Here the slingers can be seen being pushed back across the stream while the werewolf kept running between Atalanta and the hypastpists, never actually committing to combat.

Cu Chulainn came trundling round behind the ruins to take part in a co-ordinated attack on the hypaspists, slamming into their left flank while the armoured Iriah nobles took them in the front and wolfie finally entering the fray on their right flank.

Up till this point, I had been having too much fun with Atalanta and Artemis had failed to do anything. As Cu Chulainn lost his combat and recoiled, Artemis shot him down with ease.

Unfortunately, in the centre of the table shortly afterwards, Lugh, encouraged by many invocations from his followers, dashed into short range and made a mighty aimed shot with his spear at Atalanta. He rolled a 1! It wouldn't have been too hard to escape this shot unscathed, except that I rolled a 2 and took a spear in the head for my troubles.

I seem to have stopped taking photos after the loss of my wee archer. The end result was that I had neglected to use my goddess until it was too late. By the time I got her moving, I was heroless and down to only one unit who could still invoke (the hypaspists), but they were engaged in a melee which kep pushing them off towards the edge of the table. In a fateful move, Artemis was killed by Lugh and could not be re-summoned. The hypaspists fled on her death, and it was all over.


In the second game, there was a nice wood in the centre of the table. Thinking I'd be smarter with deployment this time, I set up everything except the centauris and hypastists inside it. Most of my stuff could shoot and I was excited about getting nice little ambush bonuses.

Then that bastard of a druid (at least I heard his parents weren't married, might have just been a rumour) made my wood disappear. Instead of being the wood of dreams, it became the field of despair. Sigh.

This game was much faster and more bloody with all six legends on the table being killed off in the first couple of turns. The first to go was the Kalydonian Boar, spitted on Cu Chulainn's magic spear. But then the ginger Irish hero was soon shot to pieces and everyone carried on much as before.

Artemis was the first god to die...

But then summoned back straight away, she in turn took out Lugh.

This god-slaying continued for a number of turns, each death causing one of more of our mortal units to slowly retire towards table edges.

In the end, the last active figures on the table looked like this. All I had to do was to roll a 3+ to summon Artemis back and it was going to be all over for the Irish. I rolled a 2. Two turns in a row. In the end, the damn slingers shot at my hypaspists and caused them to recoil off the table. Defeat snatched from the jaws of victory...

Thursday 9 June 2016

Sail ho! New vessels for Galleys & Galleons

As playtesting for Galleys & Galleons: Fayre Winds & Foul Tides (for that be what we be calling it now...) enters its final phase, I thought I would post a nice little update on the status of my various fleets.

Charon the Ferryman (65)
Q2 C0
Boats,Charismatic,Derring-do,Intimidating,Magical: Necromancer,Spectral;;

To begin with, here is Charon, Ferryman of the Dead. Charon himself is a Baccus 6mm ancient civilian, in a scratch built boat (my thanks again to JB for the scratch building). Charon counts as Magical in the game, with an obvious choice of Necromancy for his school of magic.

The Ghostly Galleon Bluebeard’s Revenge (96)
Q3 C5
Galleon Rigged,Ghost Ship,Intimidating,Spectral,Swashbucklers;; 

Next up is the spectral ghost ship, Bluebeard's Revenge. Spectral models are harder to hit with gunnery than their more corporeal counterparts. The model is from GW's Dreadfleet with the hull cut away to the waterline. Loath as I am to admit it, it is a splendid little model.

The Monitor Crocodile (62)
Q3 C2
Gun Turrets,Ironclad,Shallowdraft,Steam Engine;;

The Drebbel Damp Doxy (40)
Q3 C0

Steaming into a lacepulp dystopia, we have the Crocodile and the Damp Doxy. The Crocodile is a monitor, a steam-driven ironclad. Actions are spent to change the speed of the vessel, but once set, it just plows right on. The iron cladding helps to deflect enemy gunnery. The model is from Spartan Game's discontinued Uncharted Seas - a big thank you to Dan for sending that one through to me. I have added the paddle wheels, nicked from a spare 6mm chariot.

The Damp Doxy is based on a real 17th submarine prototype that was first tested in the Thames in 1620. My one isn't quite as fragile as the original and comes from RPE's Empires line of fantasy fleets. I think it is sold as a dwarf submarine.

The Raft Phoenix (2)
Q3 C1
Derring-do,Intimidating,Jury Rigged,Shallow Draft,Sluggish,Sweeps,Unarmed;;

Proven to be more of a hindrance than a help so far, the Phoenix is an orcish raft from RPE's Empires range with Perter Pig crew added to scale it up to 1/450. I might start experiment with it as a fire ship...

The Company Flagship Hollandia (82)
Q3 C4
Chaser Guns,Flagship,Galleon Rigged,Merchantman,Veteran NCOs;;

Taking charge of any situation, this second East Indiaman for my Dutchmen will act as the flagship of my engalarged VOC fleet. She is a large merchantman from Peter Pig.

The Junk Nutmeg (24)
Q4 C3
Chaser Guns,Lateen Rigged,Merchantman,Reinforced Hull;; 

The Nutmeg is the third and (perhaps) last junk in my VOC fleet. Significantly larger than the others, she is a full sized merchant vessel. The model is an Uncharted Seas Ralgard cruser with the foremast raked forward and a third mast popped onto the stern as a mizzen. My thanks again to Dan for sending it on to me. Once again, Peter Pig crew have been co-opted onto the decks.

The Cromster Utrecht (48)
Q3 C3
Galleon Rigged,Master Gunner,Merchantman,Shallow Draft,Yare;;

A second VOC cromster, the Utrecht is a Peter Pig medium warship.

The Lorcha Lotus (42)
Q3 C2
Lateen Rigged,Razée,Swashbucklers,Yare;;

A while back I posted about my intention to build a lorcha. Well here she is. The Lotus is a pirate lorcha and will usually sail with my pirate brethren. Combining a European hull with eastern sail design, the hull is from the largest human vessel from RPE's Empires range, with sails from a Grumpy 6mm junks and, believe it or not, deck crew from Peter Pig.

And here are all my 1/450 vessels and creatures together (1500 points worth!). From left to right, we have 200 points of Barbary corsairs and 200 points worth of Spanish flying machines; 500 points worth of monsters and 350 points worth of Dutch East India company ships; a line of wreck markers; the ghost ship, drebbel, Charon, and 250 points worth of pirates. In addition, I also have JB's scratch built Nautilus and fortress in the island scenery boxes.

With this sort of selection you would think I'd have enough models to cover any sort of scenario - I'm sure that's exactly what my wife thinks. It will certainly do rightly. For now.