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.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Dwarves halt another evil incursion

"Bones be damned, curse the bloody dogs. No, let the dogs loose for a bloody good feed bwahahahahahahahaha" and Thorgrim roared with laughter at his own unintended joke. Another unholy alliance sat on the borders of the Dwarven lands, an alliance of orcs and Undead. Would they stop at nothing in their attempts to steal the very land from beneath Dwarven feet?

Kings of War, and Nick combined his currently painted Undead with some of his Orc and Goblin units to create a 1750 point army. My Dwarves, this time using an Ironclad Horde, took to the field in opposition.

The battlefield after deployment, Dwarves on the left, evil guys on the right

Undead horse archers, and revenant cavalry

Goblin cavalry

Orc horde

Did someone say 'I want my mummy?'

Believe it or not, a Dwarven steam tank.. I don't have the real McCoy, so this Gyrocopter proxy's for the steam tank. Hey - I love the model.

Ironclad horde unit

Some artillery .. as you do!!

The Dwarven right flank advances - Ironguard, Shieldbreakers, and steam tank

The centre advances a little... let's not be too rash here

The undead and goblin cavalry sweeps wide, so the Dwarven Berserkers on Brocks (actually goblins on spiders, but who's counting?) pull back to limit the possibility of multiple attack by restricting the enemy room to manoeuvre

The steam tank hits the Mummies .. a double 6 on the nerve test and the Mummies crumble to dust...

The Ironguard and Shieldbreakers attack an orc horde, and bounce back

The organ gun comes under magical attack from an orc wizard, while the Brockriders take fire from the Undead horse archers

The combat on the right continues

And a very large ugly dude in a chariot (Gore rider) rushes over to stop the steam tank delivering it's juicy steamy goodness to more orcs

The orc horde has taken a lot of fire from Ironwatch troops and organ gun

And fails it's nerve test ... wow, that seemed far too easy

The orc horde facing the Dwarf right attacks the Shieldbreakers (Nick knew these guys were weaker on defence)

While Undead spearmen finally make it into contact with the Dwarf horde

The Shieldbreakers fail their nerve test and are gone too, while the Ironguard take it in the flank from some More Ax... oooo darn, this may not end well

Nope, certainly didn't end well for the Ironguard

The Orc Wizard takes fire from the Dwarf cannon.. the only hit the cannon scored all game... there were no pieces left to pick up

A unit of Ironwatch attack the More Ax in the rear, and the Dwarf Army Standard Bearer attacks them in the flank. Guess what the outcome was?

The Gorerider continues to battle it out with the steam tank

The hordes in the centre still go at it toe to toe, and this time a troop of Ironwatch hit the skeleton spear in the flank - still wasn't enough

The Brockriders are hit by the revenant cavalry - but bounce off

The steam tank is destroyed by the Gorerider

The More Ax are destroyed by the Ironclad attack in their rear

The hordes are still at it

Oops ... where did the steam tank go? Failed it's nerve test, it did!!!

Things are not looking good for the Ironwatch troop on the hill.. that's a very large and nasty looking orc horde coming up the hill

The Dwarf King is supporting the Brockriders, and takes a casualty from fire from the skeleton archers

The orc horde attacking the Dwarf right bounces off the Ironwatch (surviving by the skin  of their teeth) and are then hit in the flank by the Ironclad... 

And the orcs are gone .. a very bloody round of combat

Still grinding it out in the centre

The Brockriders hit the Revenant cavalry

and destroy them

Now the Gore rider is pretty annoyed with those Ironwatch on the hill...

Hordes STILL toe to toe, and Goblin cavalry hit the Ironwatch in the rear, while some other dude hits them in their flank

The King and the horse archers have been having a bit of a go too

Still at it

Those Ironwatch on the hill? Nope, they buggered off... 

And the Ironwatch in the forest didn't like being hit flank and rear either
So ended the game. It was a 'Kill and pillage' game. Toting up the points, we each had two objectives, and the difference in points lost was less than 10% of the army totals, so a draw. We had ground ourselves to a standstill.

As always, Kings of War gives a good game, lots of action, the balance swinging backwards and forwards as the moves unfold. And regardless of the result, it's always good to get these miniatures out on the table.

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