Wednesday 13 August 2014

Wargaming Overload Part 3

In addition to the ACW and ancients games I mentioned yesterday I've also played some Napoleonics and WW2 games.

Having made a start on assembling two 15mm Napoleonics forces 18 months ago I decided it was time to finish them up and finally get a game using the 'Napoleon at War' rules. I'd made the decision to buy painted figures rather than paint my own for two reasons. Firstly it would be quicker and second my poor eyesight and shaky hands make painting all the detail on napoleonics almost impossible. eBay buys of painted French and British armies had given me the bulk of what I needed but I was still short a few cavalry and quite a few infantry battalions. So I ordered a bunch of painted units from Stonewall Figures who offer a good range at great prices. They arrived quickly and they were soon based up ready for our first game.

Back in Feb 2013 I had a look at some options for Napoleonics rules and settled on 'Napoleon at War'. They're pretty straightforward and easy to pick up and we got a game with about 8 battalions of foot, 4 regiments of cavalry and some artillery completed in about three hours. It was fun but there were a few things I didn't like, particularly that there's no point in attacking in column as you get no bonuses and you get fewer bases for shooting so you're better off attacking in line. It sort of struck me as a Napoleonic lite game. Fun, easy to pick up but not a particularly accurate simulation of Napoleonic warfare. I think I'll go back and have another look at FoG:Napoleonic.

Talking of not particularly accurate simulations I was persuaded to have another run out with Bolt Action. Time to dust off my 28mm Russians.

It was a 1000pt game and I was facing some Germans supported by a Jagdpanther (at least my Churchill had decent armour, although its pop gun six pounder had little chance of hurting the Jagdpanther) with the mission to recover some intel from the centre of a village. After some initial sparring for position the main action started with both sides trying to recover the intel only to be cut down by fire or wiped out by an assault. Time ran out with the intel still in the village but surrounded by a mass of German & Russian corpses. The result a draw.

I can see the attraction of Bolt Action but it just doesn't do it for me. Chain of Command is still my favourite small scale WW2 rule set.

Tomorrow, amongst other things, I'll be looking at my participation in, of all things, a Heroclix tournament!

Tuesday 12 August 2014

Wargaming Overload Part 2

I'd been looking forward to getting more figure gaming done after the move and I haven't been disappointed.

I've had a large 28mm ACW game using Black Powder which was fun but it confirmed my suspicions that Black powder isn't for me. It's great for getting large battles played out in an evening but the mechanics just don't appeal. I'm hoping that Longstreet will fulfil my ACW needs and I've taken the plunge and I'm getting two Pendraken 10mm armies professionally painted. I'll post some pictures of them once they're done.

Action on the left flank of the ACW game.

Although I've always enjoyed ACW, ancients is my first love. So I was really pleased to not only try out the full Impetus rules but also give Sword & Spear a go. I've played a few games of Basic Impetus and although I've had the full rules ages I've never been able to try them out. Luckily there's a few Impetus players locally so I've managed to play some games. The full rules are better than the Basic set but the combat is more or less the same. And that's the problem I have with them, for me the archery is just too powerful. There's a lot I like about the rules and I'd recommend giving them a try if you haven't already but they're not for me.

That brings me nicely onto Sword & Spear which has been generating quite a bit of buzz lately. The rules have lots of interesting mechanisms and require quite a bit of tactical thought which is a good thing. Plus the PDF is only £6.00 so you can't go wrong. The rules read quite well and it's quite easy to pick up the basics but there's a few wrinkles that you only noticed after playing. But that's no different from any ruleset, as you always get things wrong and miss things in your first few games. Overall I think they're a good set that can give you an enjoyable game and again I recommend giving them a try. But what I have found is that you concentrate on moving the individual units so much so that it feels a bit like you're moving chess pieces around a board rather than managing the massed ranks of an ancients battle. But I'm sure that many people will love these rules. Unfortunately my search for the perfect ancients rules goes on especially as we all know there's no such thing. I'm planning on going back to take another look at Dux Bellorum as I enjoyed the rules and I've found some variants to expand them into other eras. I particularly enjoyed reading about the Sumer to Sargon variant 'Warrior Kings'. At the bottom of the rather long page is an excellent AAR showing them in action.

Tomorrow I'll take a look my venture into Napoleonics using the 'Napoleon at War' rules.

Monday 11 August 2014

Wargaming Overload!

So I've been in my new (temporary) home for six weeks now and still no new posts so what's going on? Well I've been suffering from gaming overload. The gaming scene is very active up here and it's possible to game seven nights a week plus most afternoons and weekends. So with me being retired and having suffered a dearth of gaming for the past year or so I've been pigging out at every opportunity. This hasn't left me with much time to blog. So here's a quick update on what I've been doing.

Most of my gaming has been X-Wing with some Star Trek Attack Wing thrown in for good measure.

I resisted X-Wing for a long time but I'm well and truly hooked now. I started out playing Imperials because I used to love flying the Tie fighter in the old X-Wing vs Tie Fighter PC game.

I added a Tie-Advanced and Slave-1 to the two Tie Fighters from the starter box because Darth Vader and Boba Fett 'nuff said. I played around with pilots and loadouts to get a feel of the game and then settled on a build I was happy with and played that for quite a few games until I learnt how to use them effectively. As there are quite a few Imperial players locally I decided to branch out and get some Rebels. Also because Imp vs Imp games take forever with their low attack dice and high defence. I decided to buy two B-Wings, a Z-95 and another X-wing after I read about a build using B-wings that sounded interesting. As it turned out not the best bit of planning I've ever done. I've done ok using two B-wings, an X-wing and the Z-95. But the B-wings don't really suit my type of play with them so lacking in manoeuvrability. But they do have one saving grace that I found out by accident, Autoblasters. This is a 5 point, range 1, Cannon upgrade and any normal damage can't be cancelled with defence dice, couple this with Ten Numb's pilot ability which prevents 1 critical from being cancelled makes it deadly at close range. (Old news for experienced players no doubt)

As I said I found this out by accident. I was playing a newbie who only had enough ships to make a 60 pt game. So to give him an easy win to encourage him to get into the game I decided to take a B-wing and just load it with the most expensive options I could and then add a cheap, easy to kill, Z-95 to round out the build. I thought this would be so crappy he'd have no trouble beating me. To cut a long story short, three attacks from the B-wing three dead Imperials and game over in no time. Luckily there were three of us playing that night so I lent him my now super B-wing and let him have a 100pt game with Vince.  He did get a couple of kills with it and had a much closer game so hopefully I didn't put him off!

I've also invested in Star Trek Attack Wing. I bought the starter set and subsequently added a Borg sphere. Like a lot of people I was put off by reports of the poorly painted ships but I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, the Enterprise is so so but the Romulan warbird is quite nice and some of the Dominion ships are as good as X-Wing. But what I really like is the extra level of complexity you get with all the abilities and upgrades. Its based on X-wing but, tactically, it plays very differently. Sadly I'm struggling to get anyone to play as they're happy with X-Wing. But, strangely for me as I hate tournaments, I have entered an organised play event at my local club which takes place on the 17th. I'll let you know how I get on.

That's hardly scratched the surface of what I've been up to, so I'll post more updates each day this week. Hopefully that will get me back in the swing of updating things regularly.

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