Tuesday, 30 September 2014

VBCW: Shuttleworth Collection, On Silver Wings

The Hawker Hart was the RAF's front line light bomber in the early 1930s. Powered by a Rolls Royce Kestrel it was embarrassingly faster than the RAF's Bristol Bulldog fighters.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Bolt Action: French '75 Field Gun

I bought this a while back but have been spurred on to finish it by setting up a game with Andy Singleton next week. It is an official Bolt Action model from Warlord Games and comes with an observer as well as the three crew. Every French Army should have a '75, not least because you get one 'free'.

This particular piece has a very laid back gun-layer

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Here We Go Again

Games work shop are advertising for yet another new CEO.

Generally GW CEOs have the career lifespan of a Mayfly since they may find their job has 'ceased to exist by mutual consent' not long after starting.

Still, there's a great opportunity to pig out on pay and bonuses while it lasts - :)

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Mars Attacks

Mantic's Mars Attacks is out and on sale at Northstar. I might pop around to Rochester models tomorrow and see if they have them in.

Military Progress

This is a Bristol Fighter.

It cost around $5K each.

Used to drop bombs on Iraq to express Imperial Displeasure and convince the public something is being done.

This is a Lockheed F22 Fighter.

It cost around $420m each.

Used to drop bombs on Iraq to express Imperial Displeasure and convince the public something is being done.

That's Progress Folks.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Bolt Action: Haupsturmfuhrer 'Schmeisser' Schmitt

This is the free special model given away with each copy of  the Bolt Action Tank War supplement.

Schmeisser Schmitt, mad panzer commander, at your service.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Review: Song of Shadows & Dust

Song of Shadows and Dust is an urban conflict skirmish game - but a rather original one. It is based on the lawlessness and conflict in the cities of the Roman Empire during the late Consular period and the Early Principate, roughly the first century BC.

The author is Nicolas Wright and the game is based on the popular Song of Blades and Heroes skirmish engine devised by Adrea Sfiligoi.

Song of Blades and Heroes is a stunningly simple system. Models only have two characteristics, combat ability and morale. It achieves this by using a variety of unique special rules that are thrown onto the scenarios. This is very much a story-based game that is entirely unsuited to competition play or rules lawyers. Games last less than an hour so it is possible to get an entire campaign into an evening.

Heart of the game are the activation rules. To activate a model, a player throws one to three dice - his choice - and every successful throw as measured against the model's morale factor allows one action. Actions are basically move or fight. However, as soon as a player rolls two misses his turn ends immediately, without being able to activate his remaining models.

Very simple but intricate game play. In that property it reminds me of In Her Majesty's Name - although the mechanisms are different.

Song of Shadows and Dust rules are a complete game. You don't need the core rule set. Many preprogrammed 'characters' are listed. Characters include people like: Militia Officers, Magistrates, Faction Leaders, Street Leaders,  Patriarchs, Politicians, Gladiators, Prophets, Witches, Courtesans and others. There are also pregenerated plebs: Militia, Henchmen, Retired Soldiers, Apprentices, Assassins, Muggers, Thieves Urchins, Gladiator Bodyguards and so on.

There are some lovely touches. For example, your forces may get distracted by a model such as a famous beauty or a popular soothsayer, or kicked over by an ass.

That brings me to a key point. The city is full of neutral civilians that can get drawn into the fight. One of the characters is the Demagogue who can make a speech to start a riot. Off hand I can't remember another game that handles the civilian side of an urban conflict so elegantly.

Similarly the game ends when seven people drawn from any mix of factions or neutrals are 'killed' (injured badly enough to be out of the game). The logic is that the mayhem is reached such a serious scale that the authorities have summoned soldiers. Everyone clears the streets before the Urban Cohorts or equivalent arrive.

Models come in three types:
Unarmed: civilian improvised hand weapons from a knife to a club or something agricultural
Armed: military grade hand weapons weapons like swords, spears and shields (very illegal for civilians to carry these in Rome)
Projectiles: slings and bows

Civilians can come together to stone some unfortunate :)

This is a great game - simple, tactically challenging, atmospheric, well thought out, historically accurate.

You don't need many models but you will need civilians. Some great packs are available from Foundry.

With Song of Shadows and Dust you jump straight into the worlds of Falco, Marcus Corvinus, Gordianus the finder or Vespasian - by chance I have just read the Crossroads Brotherhood by Robert Fabbri which is about one of the crossroads collegia in Rome. Such collegia were a sort of cross between a religious group, trade union and organised crime network.

Next post I will take us through a game. Watch this space.