Sunday, May 14, 2017

Return to DBA . yep, it's been a while

It has been quite a while since i last played DBA (I haven't played a game since well before DBA3.0 came out. In essence, I went off the the game. However I grabbed the opportunity to try some games at Keith's place the the week. Here are just a few shots from the three games we each played.
I played two games with the Spanish, and one with the Early Mycenaeans.

No drawn out AARs ... just the simple observation that I may have rekindled my enjoyment of these games. More games would seem to be in order if I can carve the time out of my busy work weeks.

Fleshing out the Firefight rules tests.

Another go at Firefight, the skirmish level sci fi game from mantic (and their answer to GW's 40K game). This time we upped the size to 1500 points, and added in a vehicle, some walkers, a flyer, and the use of orders to see how the game played.

Andy took the Marauders, and I took the GCPS. The mission was 'Violent encounter'. VPs are accumulated for each 5% of the enemy's strength destroyed.

The initial set-up, with Marauders on the left, GCPS on the right.

GCPS Marines rushed forward into fortified ruins to claim an objective.

Similarly a unit of Goran auxiliaries did the same

Things evolving on the GCPS left - a unit of Orc commandoes backed up with 2 units of Goblin snipers. Marines backed by autocannon and Striders thinking about being aggressive

The other orc commando unit tried to be a bit sneaky, pushing towards the Marines ensconced in the fortified ruins

Andy pushed his missile armed raptor vehicle around the Marines' right flank

Marines in the centre rained fire down on a unit of snipers, eliminating the entire unit (it had been deployed in the forest area at the top of the photo( .. not a lot of resilience there

Suppressions accumulating all across the battlefield

A unit of Marines try to move forward to take the initiative on their left, backed by the fire support of a unit of autocannons, and two striders

However the defensive fire of the commandoes on the hill, equipped with two flamers, caused devastating casualties
 This unit had been nominated under secondary objectives as a 'meat shield'. This meant that their loss did not give VPs to the enemy.

Air support arrives for the GCPS

And another air strike ...

Only the sergeant survives from the Marines on the left, and the commandoes opposing them have taken serious fire, with quite a few suppressions

The GCPS fire support platoon equipped with laser cannons is eliminated after coming after serious sniper fire

More air strikes...
At this stage we realise that the special ability of each side's commander meant that units within 12" can't be Grounded. However both sides have several units grounded at this stage, unable to shake off sufficient suppressions. This proves to be crippling for both sides. The Marauders however still have a unit of Goran auxiliaries, and several units of Goblin snipers very much intact and able to take the initiative on the battlefield.

Secondary objectives included the Marauders gaining 3 VP if their commander is alive at the end of the game. For the GCPS 1 VP was gained for each time an order was rolled for and the number of successes exceeded the number required.

The Marauders were ahead by 1 VP.. a minor victory, and so GCPS pulled back for the night.

I was surprised at how quickly units became grounded. We tended to stick to the terrain, and so I was also surprised at how little manoeuvre there was as a result. It may of course be because we haven't mastered the nuances of the rules yet.

Looking forward to another game at some stage.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Firefight get's an outing

The Warhammer 40K models don't get much of an outing here. It's true that at the moment work tends to dominate life so most of my army collections don't get much of an outing, but the 40K armies even less so. Basically we have found the rules to be overly complex, with a lot of those 'annoying itches' that leave us dissatisfied. It's a shame, because we really like the miniatures that are produced for the game.

When Mantic produced it's Warpath/Firefight rules we looked forward to trying them out, and Andy and I subscribed on Kickstarter, taking early delivery of the rules. Firefight is the 40K equivalent with single based figures fought in units. Warpath steps the level of action up so that you are fielding units made up of multi figure bases.

The core mechanisms are not new, but they are good. Think 'Epic lite' if you want a mental model around which to frame your thoughts. The turns are activation based, with clearly defined options for action in each activation. Players take turns at activating units on the table top until all available units have been activated. Notions like basic melee and fire mechanisms, and nerve, are consistent with those used in Mantic's successful mass battle fantasy game 'Kings of War'.

So Adrian, Andy and I set out to try the mechanisms .. something of  a baptism of fire. We didn't pretend to be playing a full game. Rather, I set out approximately 640 points of Marauders and GCPS with a little terrain so that we could test the core mechanics.

The play test didn't disappoint. We could very easily see the layers of subtlety implicit in the mechanisms. There are plenty of opportunities to be clever without the encumbrance of a 200 page tome of rules. The appropriate combination of weapons (fire and assault), and the ability to create suppression, seem to be the key.

Here are just a few shots of this small play test in action. The 'flame' markers indicate suppressions.

A good start. Next we'll play a proper game with a greater variety of weapons. Finally, a thinking man's sci fi game that will use those 28mm miniatures I collected and painted with so much hope.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Those damned bones again?

"Wot? Again? Damn them sir. Damn them to hell I say".

This certainly didn't look to be the best way to wake Major General Caruthers. Other news might have been preferable. Like "Sir, the next shipment of pink gin has arrived for the officers' mess". Or "Lady Magdellan has arrived to take tea with you". Or even "The newest shipment of Zap guns is being unloaded at the docks Sir.". But not "It's those damned Egyptian wallas and their animated bones again, Sir". And DEFINITELY not "Sir, that bloody flying saucer daemon that nearly did for you last month is buzzing around again."

Mind you, the best option would have been not to wake Caruthers at all. Last night had seen more than his fair share of that supply of pink gin from the officers' mess lubricating Caruthers' larynx. But tact had never been a strength for Corporal Blofeld. So there it was, out in the open - "Sir, that bloody flying saucer daemon that nearly did for you last month is buzzing around again." And there Caruthers was, post gin taste in the back of his throat, foul mood and all.

Caruthers hauled himself off his field cot and reached out his hand for his habitual start of the day cup of tea. Blofeld made sure the handle was facing the right way as he pushed the General's favourite mug into his hand.

Time for more Big Battle HotT action as yet again Caruthers and his Victorian Science Fiction army took on Andy's semi historical Egyptian army, Stargate, flying saucers and all.

The armies face off, Caruthers on the left, Egyptians on the right. Caruthers' mechanical dragon had just arrived (turn 2!!)

The British right facing Egyptian spear and a hero in a chariot

I foolishly put my knights in the centre, supported by an airboat and a couple of flyers

The British right with one of the steam powered behemoths

Egyptian behemoths.. no class!!!

Artillery and magician on the British left, supporting shooters and riders

The Egyptian CnC (aerial hero)supported by two flyers overflew the British centre. Having failed to learn from my last game (I'm a slow learner), I attacked them with the airboat - sigh!!!

British aerial hero attacks the Egyptian left from the rear

Early progress against the Egyptian left

Ahh, now it might get awkward. The Egyptian aerial hero has support and faces off against the airboat - will I never learn?

The British left where both wings effectively faced off, postured, and exchanged the odd bit of magic and artillery fire

On the British right things were happening

The Egyptian behemoths took losses - that's Caruthers himself right there

See what I mean? The flyer supporting the airboat is destroyed, leaving the airboat unsupported - I'm a slow learner

The airboat overflew the Egyptians in its attempts to escape

and ended up here

In an outstanding round of combat (well, an outstanding round of die rolling actually) the remaining two Egyptian behemoths are destroyed

But the British centre is taking casualties

The Egyptian left is demoralised, and has lost its general

But it's getting very awkward for the British in the centre as casualties continue to mount

And the British centre is demoralised too. It disappears, with only the airboat held in place

The British gather together to assault the Egyptian centre

The Dragon is finally engaged on the British left, attacking the rear of the Egyptian troops

The Egyptian left without a general rolls a '1' for its PIPs - not enough to hold the group, and so the entire command flees

The Egyptian aerial hero attacks the airboat

And the airboat is destroyed
However at the end of that turn the Egyptians have lost over 50% of their army strength, and Caruthers claims another victory.

This was another epic struggle, with the balance tipping backwards and forwards throughout the game. Yet again it highlighted everything that is so good about Big Battle HotT. Both sides were noticeably starved of PIPs on numerous occasions, which explains why the British mechanical dragon was so late to the show, having arrived on table in turn 2.

And as for my deployment as the British player? What was I thinking? Anyway, a fantastic spectacle with two great looking armies.