Monday, 30 September 2013

Dust Tactics AAR - Recon in Force

Having read through the rules it was time for my first game. I went with the first scenario, 'Recon in Force', as it is the introductory scenario and only uses a walker and a squad on each side. I only have one walker for each side so that choice was easy. But the choice of squads was a bit more difficult. I wanted to have some anti-mech capability but also some long range anti-infantry. After perusing the various squads I went with the three man Heavy Flak Grenadiers squad for the Germans and the five man "Death Dealers" Ranger Weapon Squad for the Americans.

"Blackhawk" Walker

"Death Dealers"

The Blackhawk's weapons only have a range of 2 squares but can do a lot of damage. The Death Dealers have MG's and an LMG that can shoot 4 squares but can't damage a mech. They also have a bazooka which shoots 3 squares and can take out a mech in one shot, if it hits.

"Hans" walker

Heavy Flak Grenadiers

The Hans has a range of 3 squares and can be deadly to both infantry and mechs. The Heavy Flak Grenadiers have a range of 4 squares and put out a large amount of fire.

So some interesting tactical challenges right off the bat. The Germans have the advantage of range but have fewer men and can engage fewer targets in each activation. The Americans have more versatility and can one shot the enemy mech but need to get in close. Lets see what happens.

I set out the map as per the scenario and randomly rolled to see where the ammo boxes and tank traps would be set up. The map is shown below. There's a building in the centre which blocks LoS. The two cross marked areas are impassable terrain and also block LoS. The boxes provide soft cover and tank traps provide hard cover, the tank traps also block LoS for infantry. Walkers can't enter squares with tank traps.

I rolled for initiative and the US won and made the Germans move first (you alternate activating units until the turn is complete). All the units have a movement allocation of 1 square per action and can do two actions a turn. The Germans moved the grenadiers forward 2 squares, looking to get them into the central building. The Blackhawk then moved two squares forward to get into position to cover each flank and the building. The Hans has a special rule, Scout, that lets it move an additional 2 squares in the first round so it moved forward 3 squares. It could have moved another square or fired by using its second action but it had no targets in LoS and I didn't want it to get too close to the enemy. I did realise that it would be in range of the Death Dealers when they came on and could be one-shotted but there was only a 1 in 6 chance of that so I thought it was worth the risk. Sure enough the Death Dealers moved on and shot at the Hans but their bazooka missed. End of turn 1.

The Death dealers line up a shot on the Hans

The board at the end of turn 1

Going first next turn could be crucial and the US won initiative again. The Death Dealers were obviously going to go first but had a decision to make. They could fire their bazooka again and then move into cover by the building or they could use both of their actions to do 'Sustained Fire' which would let them re-roll any misses. Being gung-ho Yanks they went sustained fire and missed but hit on the re-roll doing 3 damage to the Hans. As the Hans only has 3 wounds it explodes in a ball of fire to much whooping and hollering from the Yanks. The Grenadiers decide to pull back to the corner in the hope of using their longer range to pick off the Americans as they close in for the kill. The Blackhawk moves over to the left, chasing the Grenadiers.

The board at the end of turn 2

(I should point out here that the victory conditions work on points lost so as the Yanks are ahead they have no reason to chase the Germans and could play out time for the win. This is a criticism I've seen of the game that once you're behind it makes it very difficult to win. As this is a small game it's hard to see if this is true but things are definitely going to be difficult for the Grenadiers now.)

Turn 3 initiative goes to the Germans and they see a chance to even things up. The Blackhawk is in range of their Fliegerfausts (think 6 barrelled rocket launcher) which have the special rule burst which lets them roll double the amount of dice if their target hasn't moved this turn. As the Blackhawk hasn't moved yet they get to roll 12 dice instead of 6 (I should note here that you always need a six to hit). Each hit will do one wound so they need three hits to knockout the Blackhawk. Just to make sure they decide to use both their actions for sustained fire letting them re-roll any misses. They want that Blackhawk dead! It's just as well they did as they only got 2 hits before the re-rolls but the third hit soon appears and the Blackhawk also explodes in a ball of fire! The Death Dealers head to the building looking for revenge.

The board at the end of turn 3

Turn 4 sees initiative go to the Americans. They make the Germans go first. The Grenadiers spend one action reloading and then move towards the tank traps looking to gain some cover. The Americans with no LoS also move up towards the tank traps. End of turn 4, 4 turns left.

The board at the end of turn 4

Again initiative is going to be crucial. The Americans win it and move forward gaining hard cover from the tank trap. They use their second action to fire on the Grenadiers. The Grenadiers could try and use reactive fire but with only a one in six chance of being successful they decide against it, relying instead on their armour and their 'Damage Resilient' special rule to try and save the day. The Americans open up with everything they've got but their close combat weapons are ineffective against the German armour so have to rely on ranged attacks to get the job done. That's five dice needing sixes to hit, and they whiff no hits at all. The Grenadiers decide to stay where they are and use sustained fire so they get nine dice re-rolling misses, but the Yanks do get a save from being in heavy cover. The Grenadiers inflict a total of 5 hits after rerolls so the yanks have 5 hits to save needing anything but a six this time as they are in heavy cover. They save four of the hits but lose a man. The Grenadiers then draw their Combat Knives and get stuck into close combat where the Yanks won't get a cover save. The Grenadiers roll 3 dice and get three hits. With no cover save that's three more dead Americans! Things are swinging the German's way.

The board at the end of turn 5

Turn 6 sees the Germans win the initiative. Although their 'fausts are unloaded they decide to do a sustained fire close combat, instead of reloading, as that will ignore the cover giving them the best chance to finish off the last man. They roll 3 dice with no hits so on to the re-roll and they whiff again! The Yanks live to fight another round. They sustain fire back with three dice getting 2 hits after re-rolls but a Damage Resilient roll saves one of them meaning only one dies. Onto turn 7, only 2 turns left.

The board at the end of turn 6

The Americans win the initiative and sustained fire on the Germans with 3 dice getting two hits but the Grenadiers Damage Resilient roll saves both hits! The Grenadiers again use their knives but with only 2 dice this time and again sustain fire giving them re-rolls. They whiff the first attack but get two hits on the re-roll and the last American falls to the floor. A victory to the Germans all be it a pyrrhic one.

So what are my thoughts after this first solo game? There's a surprising amount of tactical thought required for what appears at first glance to be a simple game. The initial choice of units made the difference here with the Grenadiers heavy armour and Damage Resilient special rule proving crucial. I could have held back with the Americans though and made the Germans come to them which might have been a better move, if a little cowardly. Overall I enjoyed it and look forward to playing a game with more units. Although my long term aim is to play Dust Warfare rather than Tactics. However a quick game of Tactics might suck people into the game world and get more people interested in playing.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Sunday Fun: Rationalisations

For a little light relief on a Sunday I thought I'd take a look at the rationalisations we use to justify not only our reasoned purchases but also our impulse buys. (And the reality)

1. If I buy the 2-player starter set instead of just what I need I'll always be able to get a game as I'll have both sides.
  • Assumes you can find somebody else who wants to play the game. If you can't you've now wasted twice as much!
  • Plus it will take you twice as long to assemble and paint all the parts which means that it will end up on your pile of unfinished projects.

2. If I buy the 2-player starter set I can sell one side and get most of my money back.
  • Assumes no one else is as smart as you and eBay isn't flooded with tons of models from starter sets. 
  • You realise you could have bought what you wanted cheaper from eBay as people are selling their unwanted bits.
  • You eventually manage to sell your stuff for a fraction of its value and, of course, now everyone at the club wants to try it but you only have one side!

3. Its a bargain! If I buy the 2-player starter set I'll save a ton of money.
  • Except you are now buying figures for a game you had no real interest in playing before you realised it was a bargain.

4. Its a bargain! Retailers are selling their old stock off cheap as the product is changing manufacturer/distributor.
  • Of course a week after you buy your 'bargain' the new manufacturer/distributor announces a cheaper and better starter set plus a new revised rulebook. So now your stuff is out-of-date and expensive.

5. If I buy this new rulebook it will give me the incentive to finish painting all those figures I have for this period.
  • No it won't, you'll paint up a few, get distracted and the new rulebook will end up on the shelf with all the others that you never got around to playing.

6. If I buy these new 'easy-to-paint-as-their-uniform-is-simple' figures it means I'll finally be able to use that great set of rules I bought.
  • No it won't, you'll paint up a few, get distracted and the new figures will end up on the shelf with all the others that you never got around to finishing.

7. This new system looks great and you only need a few figures to play it so it will be cheap and easy to get into.
  • No it won't. You'll base coat the figures, spend ages agonizing over the colour scheme, finish one, hate it and put them all to soak in paint stripper. At which point you'll be distracted by something else and never go back to them. Years later you open the jar and wonder what that gloopy mess used to be.
  • Or you get hooked and end up buying every model there is (including the special editions of models you already have because the new ones are 'cool') and a couple of months and a few hundred pounds later you're bored with the system and never play it again.

8. If I buy some (insert which ever system is popular locally) stuff I'll be sure of a game.
  • No you won't, as soon as your stuff is ready to play everyone locally will have moved on to a great new system that you don't have any stuff for.

9. (On finding an old game/system you used to play years ago on eBay/Bring & Buy) Wow! I used to love this game it'll be great to play it again. I'll get everyone round for a nostalgia night.
  • You used to like the Teletubbies and stuffing Jelly Babies up your nose. Doing that now won't be as fun as it was then. The same will apply to whatever you've bought.
  • Or you're the only person who remembers it and no one else is interested in playing it.

I could go on but I was getting a little depressed at this point :-)

If you have any rationalisations you use regularly then please feel free to add them to the comments below.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Assembling the Dropzone Commander plastic miniatures & a building fix

I commented yesterday that I was disappointed with the card buildings so I had another look at them. I noticed that the roof tabs had a white unprinted area on them and closer inspection showed that this made the tabs too long.

So I decided to cut off the white area and see if that made a difference and it did. The tabs now fit well and the roof is more level. If you're having problems assembling your card buildings give this a try

So having assembled the two test APCs it was time to pick a colour scheme. There's plenty of colour scheme suggestions in the main rulebook if you're short of ideas. I'd decided to go with a base spray of Army Painter 'Army Green' primer for the UCM. Block painting in details like radiator grills etc and then giving it a coat of Army Painter dip and a spray of matt varnish to finish. However I planned to take a different approach with the Scourge. I was going to spray prime them white and then use a purple wash as a base picking out the details in green and gold.

However when I went to check my box of spray paints the white was empty and the green was nowhere to be found. So I popped online and ordered a couple of cans. However they probably won't arrive until sometime next week. So I decided to try a desert scheme for the UCM with a base of Army Painter 'Sand' which I did have. As its only a tester model I figured if it didn't work out it wouldn't matter. If I liked it I could assemble and paint the UCM stuff while I waited for the sprays to arrive. So quick spray of sand gave me this:

The next task was to block paint the tyres black and the rims gunmetal and then paint in some detail to give it some zip. After a coat of Army Painter 'Strong' shade dip and a spray of matt varnish I got this:

I'm happy with the way it turned out and I'm going to go with this paint scheme for the rest of my UCM. I think the light base colour works well with the darker dip bringing out the details nicely. It also has a dirty, used kind of feel which I like. Just as well I couldn't find my can of green primer. I've also assembled one of each of the other UCM models on the sprue.

First up is the Sabre tank which has six parts. The gun arm has three parts that you can just push together but will need glue to make them really secure. As on all the models the parts can only be assembled one way so are easy to put together. On the Sabre there are notches to help you locate the tracks.

One thing to note, check that the tracks are square before the glue dries. It's not always obvious if you just push the parts together. You can see what I mean in some of the photos below.

Note the wonky track and the gap it creates along the side.

Next we have the Rapier which is the same chassis with a different weapon. The procedure is the same except you will have to glue the gun barrel in place as it doesn't fit as well as on the Sabre.

Last is the Condor dropship. This is the most complex model with either 15 or 18 parts depending on whether you configure it with two or three carrying points. You assemble the main body and the wings first.

Then you add the carrying points.

There is a glass canopy which you should put on after the model is painted and varnished. Don't forget to paint the pilot before you glue on the canopy! (an Airfix reference for all you old timers)

You also get infantry but I'm going to leave those till last. The detail on them is poor in comparison to the other models but from 3 feet away they'll be fine.

I'll do a post on assembling the Scourge next week but they're even simpler to assemble than the UCM. Most of them having just a couple of parts. The infantry do look slightly better with their overcoats than the UCM, in fact they remind me of the agents in the old PC game Syndicate and that's how I'm going to paint them up.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Quick Review: 'Dropzone Commander' 2-player Starter Set

I was going to post my first Dust Tactics AAR today but Thursday morning saw the postie struggle to my door with my pre-ordered 'Dropzone Commander' 2-player starter set from Firestorm Games. Woohoo! I get to play with it a day early. I won't go through what's in the box as that has been covered elsewhere. But I will give my initial thoughts on the contents.

The contents of the Tardis-like box.

First up the dice and tape measure. The dice are an ok size and don't seem to be cursed out of the box, rolling a decent spread, for now. The tape feels a little flimsy but the stop and rewind mechanism work well, which is more than the B&Q tape I use does. I wouldn't use these myself preferring my Chessex dice but they're great for an opponent who is perhaps is new to wargaming.

Chessex dice and a tape for comparison

The plastic sprues are great with zero flash or mould lines. The detail is sharp and crisp and should take paint and washes well. The plastic is fairly hard, probably about the same as you'd get from Warlord Games.

The rulebook isn't new and there's plenty of positive reviews of it on the 'net. But I'll just reiterate that it's excellent quality with great photos. It comes in at about 158 pages of full colour goodness. The rules themselves only cover about 47 pages. The rest is devoted to fluff, scenarios, force lists, unit descriptions, painting suggestions and special rules for each of the races etc.

The paper maps which serve as the playing area are crisply printed with plenty of detail. They're not as good as the cardboard tiles obviously but are a decent substitute. I had no problem getting them to lay flat after a bit of judicious reverse bending of the existing folds. However the paper isn't that thick and looks like it will tear easily if you're not careful.

The counters and templates pop out of their sheet easily and are of a good thickness. As are the paper quick reference sheets which have a nice slightly glossy finish to them. The instruction sheets for assembling the models are in English not Chinese which is a bonus :-) The assembly instructions are pretty straightforward and helped by all the components on the sprues being numbered so there should be no confusion as to which part is which. They even contain a list of recommended paints.

That just leaves the card buildings. Again these aren't new coming from the existing Cityscape product but they were the only things that disappointed me. One of the buildings was torn and bent, I presume it had caught on something while the box was being moved around. Not the fault of Hawk though. But I found the buildings didn't go together as well as I had expected from seeing them being built in various videos. I was going to leave them flat and assemble them as needed but now I may glue them together permanently.

Overall though I'm happy with my purchase.

I've started to assemble my DzC minis and they've gone together very easily. I started with the 'spare' APCs so if I made a mess of things it wouldn't matter. I also want to paint them up first as testers for my colour schemes but more on that in another post.

The Scourge 'Invader' APC is just two parts, the main body and a baseplate. Even I managed to assemble those with no problems.

As you can see from the photos the detail is good but if you compare them to the resin models the detail seems 'flatter' but from three feet away on the table the difference won't be noticeable.

The UCM Bear APC comes in six parts. You start by adding wheel assemblies to either side of the base plate. I suggest dry fitting the models with multiple parts as I found it tricky to get the wheel assemblies 'square' so I glued the assembled base/wheels to the main body before the glue on the baseplate dried so I could use a paintbrush to push things properly into line. I then glued on the rear door. The instructions say you should attach this to the base plate first but I found it much easier to do it after everything else had been assembled.

The flatter detail is more obvious on the Bear but again it'll be fine once its painted up and on the table. Hopefully I'll get some paint on them today and have some more pictures to post up tomorrow.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

My Dust Tactics set has arrived and Dropzone Commander update.

My eBay purchase of the Dust Tactics revised Core Set arrived this morning. On the whole I'm pretty pleased with what I got. The maps are bigger than I expected and the walkers look great, but I'm 50/50 on the infantry.

The box contents plus the extra squad that was included

I like most of the sculpts, particularly the Heavy Laser Grenadiers. But it looks like the figures come in multi-parts that are glued together which, for some reason, I hadn't expected. Now I understand that most 28mm plastics are multi-part and I'm happy I don't have to assemble anything but I have two problems with them. The first is the waist. It looks like the torso and legs are separate so you can pose them how you like which is ok but on a lot of the figures there's a gap at the waist where they don't fit together well, which irritates me. The second thing isn't any fault of the figures, it's that they've been assembled. Now having just said that I hate assembling figures why am I complaining? Well its because some parts of the figures will be almost impossible to reach when I come to paint them now that they've been assembled. I would have liked to be able to paint the figures without the arms attached to make things easier. Oh and there's a third thing lots of the weapons are bent. I suppose I could soak them in boiling water and reshape them but I'm not sure how the pre-painted figures will respond so I'm going to leave well alone.

Heavy Laser Grenadiers, mine won't look anywhere near as good as these.

I've read through the rules and they're easy to pick up. I'm pretty sure I've got everything I need to know from one read through except for one aspect of the shooting. A quick question on one of the forums should clear that up pretty quickly though. I've set up the first scenario for a play through and I'll post how it goes tomorrow.

One last thing, Firestorm emailed me to say my Dropzone Commander 2-player box was on its way to me so I should have that on Friday. I'll do a post on it when I get a chance, I have way to much on the go at the moment!

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

I'm an idiot - quick update.

Luckily I've just been outbid on the second Dust Tactics set so I'm not going to end up with two after all. Phew!

My own auctions are going ok so far. The Dark Angels set seems to be particularly popular for some reason.

Hopefully I'll make a ton of money from these auctions, which would be handy as I've already mentally spent shedloads on the next things I'm lusting after. Just as well I'm already divorced!

Monday, 23 September 2013

Time to fund my gaming habit

As I made an impulse purchase of possibly two Dust Tactics core sets it's time to sell off a kidney or two to fund my habit. To that end I've put a few items up on eBay. So I'm shamelessly pluging my auctions here to try and get the most I can to buy more plastic/lead crack. Everything starts at 99p so you never know you may pick up a bargain.

First up is a Space Marine Battleforce box that I bought when I was still addicted to GW. Everything is still on the sprues as I never got round to doing anything with it.

The auction can be found here.

Next we have a Dark Angels Ravenwing Battleforce. Again everything is still on the sprues as I never got round to doing anything with it.

The auction for this can be found here.

Having tried both Hordes and Warmachine it just doesn't really do it for me so I'm selling off the plastic Crusader Heavy Warjack, Vanquisher Heavy Warjack, Repenter Light Warjack, and High Exemplar Kreoss from the 2-player box. Again still sealed in their bags.

On to two boardgames that I like but never get to play. First up is the Cry Havoc Board Game + Extra Map & Scenario Book. It's a fun game with some interesting features but its got to go.
Next is Siege another game in the Cry Havoc series. This time as the name inplies you're laying siege to a castle with boiling oil, battering rams etc.
Hopefully the proceeds from these auctions will pay for Dust and leave me enough to pledge to the Winter War Kickstarter for 28mm Finns; buy the Battlegroup: Fall of the Reich supplement & rules; and have enough left over to buy some of the nice 28mm fences from 4Ground. Well I can hope :-)

Sunday, 22 September 2013

I'm an idiot

I'm an idiot with no self-control (this will come as no surprise to regular readers). So what have I done this time? Well, I was browsing some blogs and came across some great Dust Warfare batreps. I've been interested in Dust for some time but I've always managed to resist buying into the game. Although Dust Warfare seems to have some nice mechanics I was a bit worried that it was like 40K in WW2, something that doesn't appeal. Also no one else seems to play it locally.

But, like the idiot I am, I went to eBay to have a look at prices for the Dust Tactics core set. Buying this set is supposed to be the best way into the game as regards value for money. As usual there were a few sets for sale in the £55-£60 range, not anything to tempt me. But there was a set up for auction at £30 so I put a bid in, just in case, but not expecting to win at that price. Then I noticed another 'Buy it Now' set for £45 inc p&p. This was close to tempting me pricewise so I added it to my watch list. Again expecting someone else to buy it before I made my mind up to pull the trigger on it. For some reason I scrolled down to have a look at the description and I noticed it also included an Assault Rangers "BBQ Squad" which costs about £12 normally so about £70 of stuff for £45. At this point my 'it's a bargain, you'd be mad not to buy it' gene kicked in and I clicked 'buy it now'. In my defence it was 1.30am so I was tired and not in full possession of my faculties.

So now I have a Dust Tactics revised Core Set (with extras) winging it's way to me and, if no one tops my bid, possibly a second one! What's worse is that I'll still have to fork out for a set of Dust Warfare rules to be able to play, although I'll still be able to play it as a board game.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Review & AAR: 'An Age of Sword & Arrow' Ancients Rules

I came across these rules via a post on Anatoli's blog. They had some interesting sounding mechanisms so I downloaded the free PDF and had a closer look. They seemed worthy of further investigation and I had a look at the supplied army lists to see what I could field. I decided to have two Norman armies fighting as these were the only forces I could fit to armies I already owned.

I will no doubt get some things wrong or miss things so take what I say in that light. The first thing that struck me was the difference in the respective points cost of the troop types. The Milites (heavy cavalry) with heavy armour cost 80pts per base while a base of close order crossbowmen only cost 12pts. So one base of Milites costs more than six bases of Crossbows, that seems like a big difference. I was interested in how this would turn out in a game. I got out my 15mm Italian Wars army to represent the Normans and proceeded to spilt it up into two forces with nearly equal points. The game does not recommend any particular points total for games so I just went with what I could field. Which was as follows:

Army A
1 x General, Leadership 3, Strategy 1 - 100pts
12 x Milites, Heavy Armour, Lance, Stirrups - 960pts
4 x Light Infantry, Skirmishers, Insignificant, Bow - 52pts
Total 1112pts

Army B
1x General, Leadership 3, Strategy 1 - 100pts
6 x Milites, Heavy Armour, Lance, Stirrups - 480pts
6 x Auxiliary Cavalry, Medium Armour, Javelin, Spear, Stirrups - 282pts
12 x Archers, Crossbow - 144pts
8 x Light Infantry, Skirmishers, Insignificant, Bow - 104pts
Total 1110pts

So two very different forces from the same army list. With the armies sorted I set up a battlefield with a small wood on each flank. I was just looking for a simple battle to try out the mechanisms so there was no need for anything more complicated.

Set up was a bit puzzling. There's no indication of how far in you can set up or how to lay out terrain. So I just put them where it felt right. Unit sizes are a bit strange too, the Milites and Aux Cavalry have to be 3 or 4 bases, the skirmishers 2-3 bases but spear armed infantry can be 3-8 bases. Army A I set out as in the above photo. Army B I had to think about for a bit. In the end I decided to have the skirmishers and Aux Cav out in front to harass the Milites in the hope that their fresher Milites would have the advantage especially if the crossbows could do some damage as well. As can be seen below.

So with that done it was time to start the game. Again there's no indication of how to choose who goes first so I just rolled a die (I should note here that this is a D10 game) Army B won and went first. The turn sequence is Rally, Movement, Shooting, Assault, Combat. As this was the first turn there was nothing to do in the Rally phase so I moved on to the Movement phase. I should note here that each phase has a number of sub-phases that break down what you can/have to do in each phase.

I moved the skirmishers forward to shoot at the Milites and moved the Aux Cav up to be in a position to harass the Milites next turn. Infantry can move 6" or run for 10" Cavalry can move 10" or run 16" (there is a typo in the rules with two different March move distances for cavalry, I went with 10" as it seemed right) but running adds a point of Fatigue which hinders a unit (more on this later).

Position after the first move

Next up was shooting. All the skirmishers were in range and had LoS so no problems there. I fired 2 bases at each of the flank Milites units and 4 at the center unit. The skirmishers have a skill of 6 but moved so suffer a -1 meaning they need 5 or less on a D10 to hit. They are armed with bows which have a rate of fire of 2 meaning that each stand gets to roll 2 D10. Some abysmal die rolling meant that only 2 hits were scored from 16 dice! Both of these were on the center unit which now has to try and save.
All units have a base 'save' of 5 modified by things like armour. The Milites have heavy armour which gives them a +2 to save making it a 7, ranged attacks also add a +1 making it an 8. So they now have to roll 8 or less on 2 dice or 2 bases will be removed. The poor dice rolling continues and a 10 means a base is removed from the center unit.
That completes the shooting for Army B so now Army A gets to shoot. All shooting is deemed to be simultaneous so any bases removed this phase would still get to shoot back. As the Milites don't have ranged weapons this doesn't apply. Army A's skirmishers are out of range so the shooting phase ends.

Ammunition is a factor in this game with the skirmishers having 3 Ammunition. This is now reduced to 2 as they fired. Ammunition can be replenished by 2 if the unit spends a turn 'Resting', this also removes 2 'Fatigue' if any has been accrued.

The next phase is 'Assault'. If you didn't run or shoot and you have an enemy in range you can assault. So this means its possible for a unit can move twice in a turn. For example a mounted unit can march 10" in the movement phase and then charge 6" in the assault phase. The next bit is a bit different as there are two types of assault, Charging and Harassment. Charging is what it sounds like but if the unit has the Harassment skill they can remain stationary and harass the enemy (presumably with whatever ranged weapons they have). Carrying out an harassment assault does give the unit 1 Fatigue though but it inflicts Fatigue equal to the Harassment skill on the target unit. As Army B had no one in assault range the phase ended as did their turn.

There was nothing for Army A to do in the Rally phase so onto the movement phase. I moved everything forward a normal move. I thought about Running the skirmishers deeper into the woods but decided against it.

So on to the Shooting phase. I shot 1 base from each of the skirmisher units at the Aux Cav needing 5's to hit and got 2 hits. The Aux Cav have the standard save of 5, +1 for medium armour, +1 for a ranged attack giving a save of 7. Both hits were saved. Army B now gets to shoot back.
This is where things got complicated. The skirmishers shooting is the same as last time, except they haven't moved. But Army B's Crossbowmen are also now in range. As far as I can tell you are allowed to shoot over intervening units as long as the target is in range and arc of fire. The rules just say that if there is no LoS the target is harder to hit. I think this is just wrong. It might be ok for bows that could arc over intervening troops but crossbows and gunpowder weapons have flat trajectories which would mean hitting the intervening unit. Plus the penalty is only a -1 to hit. So on with the expected carnage. The skirmishers kill 4 stands of the Milites, the Crossbowmen only have a RoF of 1 but they have AP2 nullifying the Milites +2 from their heavy armour and kill 3 more stands. That's now 8 stands gone from the original 12. I called the game at this point as there was no point continuing.

I may have done something wrong here but I can't see what it could be. There's a lot to like about these rules including a ton of stuff I didn't get to mention. The Harassment/Fatigue mechanism looks great. You can spend points to give your General some flavour like in the Total War series with attributes like 'Butcher' for 75pts which makes enemy units suffer -1 morale. There are special moves like 'Feigned Withdrawal' and special attributes for your units. But I'm not convinced about the points values or some of the basic mechanics. It has a nice 'Hobby' section for beginners but doesn't have an index or QRS (which it really needs). There's also nothing about ranks, for example it doesn't seem like you get any benefit for having any ranks beyond the first for close combat figures, so no point to pike blocks. Also information on things like combat is spread over a number of sections meaning you have to flick back through various pages to hunt down the information you need.

I really wanted to like these rules as they have a lot of cool features, they're worth downloading but I'm going to stick to Impetus for now.

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