Wednesday 30 November 2011

Tuesday 29 November 2011

Monday 28 November 2011

Queen of Hearts

"The Queen of Hearts
She made some tarts,
    All on a summer's day;
The Knave of Hearts
He stole those tarts,
    And took them clean away."
So the Queen sent the Deuce to give the bugger a good kicking. That'll learn him.

North Kent in Autumn

Sunday 27 November 2011

The Emperor's Finest - Tomorrow's War

To playtest Tomorrow's War we set up a scenario of two five man Adeptus Arbites squads clearing some cultist scum out of a broken down industrial zone.

One squad has a medium support weapon. The Arbites shotguns function as rifles, firing heat-seaking rounds.

I did not use all the chaos cultists pictured here. We decided to have four squads of five with rifles, two of the squads having medium support weapons. In other words double the Arbites.

We stuck to testing the core rules, ignoring morale as both sides are fanatics. The cultists are irregulars (using D6s to hit etc) so we used the Asymetric Warfare rules. The main one being that the Arbitese are always the initiative side. The Arbitese are veterans using a D10 dice. As you roll die against each other for various outcomes D10 has much better odds than D6. We also ignored the casualty evacuation rules which are far too all pervasive. Cultists wouldn't care and Arbitese are dedicated. The current focus with casualty evacuation is a modern Western response to losing soldiers in unpopular guerrilla wars. Such finickyness wouldn't survive a high intensity war and non-Western military are not so fussy.

I decided to play the Action/Reaction cascade limited to Action/ Reaction to the action/ Reaction to the reaction using overwatch or opportunity fire.

 The Game

 We set the first game up as above. The Arbites are ambushed by cultists in buildings.

One Arbites squad rushes out with the second on overwatch. They all dies in te crossfire due to some abyssmal die rolling. However, turn by turn, the remaining squad started to slaughter all cultists within line of site and the cultists couldn't lay a mutated glove on them.

 Game Two.
The Arbitese close in on the cultists in a pincer movement, firing as they advance.

Cultists start dieing.

The cultists are methodically slaughtered, killing only one Arbitese in reply.

So what went wrong. Well, at one level it all went right, Arbitese do the biz when confronted with cultists. Very true to the 40K canon but not a lotta fun. I suspect that the way the combat system works, the cultists would have done much better in two groups of ten. That way they could swamp the Arbitese with firepower.

Five cultists fire five D6 as their basic attack against 7D10 for the Arbitese defence (5 plus 2 for armour), which has to match each 4+ hitwith an equal value die roll to remove it. Ten cultists with a support weapon would fire 13 D6 but the defence is still 7D10.

Thursday 24 November 2011

Tomorrows War - First Impressions

There have been a rash of wargaming books from Osprey recently. Field of Glory is on sale everywhere, although I don't know anyone who actually plays it.

Now Osprey are entering the SF field with Tomorrow's War.

Physical Production: Not bad at all. You get a hardback 250 page book for £15. The artwork is surprisingly so-so for Osprey. It doesn't compare with GW or even small independents like Warlord.

Back Story: Not very exciting. It isn't tomorrow's war it's today's war. With these rules a player can refight Iraq or Afghanistan dressed up a bit. The backstory is very derivative. It's Stargrunt, only written as an American wet dream rather than a British wet dream. 2300AD is politically identical to 2000AD with America as top nation (although it now has a higher living standard than other first world nations), the UK as Batavians to America's Rome, plucky little allies, and so on. The black hats are Islamacists, North Korean style military dictatorships, and Soviets. It is slightly amusing that American colonies that are more economically powerful still owe allegiance to the mother nation across the light years. That has not been the British experience. :)
The science of 2300 is strangely patchy. Antigravity and FTL spacecraft are commonplace but soldiers still walk around battlefields clutching rifles and driving tanks. The life sciences do not seem to have moved forward at all, which is odd given the rise of molecular biology.
One point did make me smile. The suggestion that hovercraft-tanks can cross water. It reminds me of the old joke about the man who stopped his lorry before a flimsy bridge to bang on the side. When plod enquired what he was up to, he explained that his cargo was live pigeons and that he was banging the lorry panels to make them fly up in alarm -and so lighten the lorry before crossing the bridge.
Still, none of this matters very much. It's just an excuse for us to play toy soldiers, after all.

Rules: Bloody awful. The rules place more emphasis on training/morale than gadgets, which I whole heartedly approve. If technology won wars, Vietnam would have been a pushover and the Afghan war wouldn't have lasted longer than WWI and WWII put together with no end point in sight. But the rules are the most god-awful mess. Everything you might possibly want to play Iraq with gizmos is there but they are scattered incoherently all over the place. There is no attempt to separate core rules from side issues that most players will never use. This is basically a squad-level skirmish game played at one model represents one man.

There is no way into the game.

Worst of all, it has an interesting and complicated action-reaction sequence that I understand is characteristic of games designed by Ambush Alley. BUT NOWHERE IS THE SYSTEM ACTUALLY EXPLAINED. The player is left to make inferences by piecing together clues from all over the place. I have read it over an over again and I am still not sure I have it right. Yet this is the heart of the game.

Frustrated, you betcha, as the fragrant but incoherent Ms Palin might put it.

Finally there is no rules and table summary in one place. Ambush Alley want to get a set of Hail Caesar and learn from the master.

I am not giving up on this. I suspect there is a good game in there but I will never be sure how much I am playing the game as the authors intended and how much I am playing my game based on some of their ideas.

Thursday 17 November 2011

Imperial Guard - Fire Support

A spotter track an enemy tank for an ATM launch.

This is the army that I have sold. I thought I would take a few picks.

Soulder launched missiles - the infantry's heavy fire support.

A mortor team awaits target instructions.

Spotter checks vox downloaded fire grid reference for targets.

Target aquired, five rounds rapid.

Heavy bolter teams move up to support the infantry line.

Tuesday 15 November 2011

A Strange Customer Experience at Maelstrom


I have had a really strange customer experience dealing with Maelstrom Games.

I ordered four Spartan Games ships via eBay. They arrived crammed into too small a box. Three of the four resin ships were damaged. I phoned customer services and they agreed to exchange them. I returned them and was instantly refunded my postage.

Undeterred, I ordered another box of ships and some play cards. I have dealt with Maelstrom before and was happy with the service and wasn't going to hold one problem against them. The second order of ships arrived fine but not the play cards.

After a week, the broken three had not been replaced but I found my returns relisted on eBay as 'used items'.

Another phone call, and the three replacements arrived, of which only one was broken. I decided to accept this and repair it myself - I just could not bother to go through another return experience - but all four 'ship cards' were missing.

A third phone call and another wait for the ship cards. Meanwhile the play cards still hadn't arrived so I queried via eBay. I got a refund and an explanation that the stock had been damaged in an accident and was unsellable. Fine, but they were still offering three more identical sets for sale according to my eBay screen???

After four weeks, the ship cards had not arrived so I started an eBay complaint. This ran its course without Maelstrom ever replying to the complaint so, 6 weeks after about the ships were first ordered, eBay gave me a partial refund - about 40%.

I suppse I am OK with this. I got four ships without the cards for about 60% advertised price but it took 6 weeks, three calls, a posting return, and the eBay complaints procedure. I am not sure I can be bothered to go through all this next time I want to order some models.

EDIT ADDITION: Apparently on reviewing the case eBay have decided to convert my part refund into a full refund.

Friday 11 November 2011

Lest We Forget

Sgt Percie Mitchel Lambshead Military Medal
Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry - Algeria, 1942
Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry - Tunisia, 1943
King's Shropshire Light Infantry - Anzio, 1944

Tuesday 8 November 2011

Three Galdiator Pairs

Myrmillo vs Cruppellarius

 Retiarus vs Secutor

 Myrmillo vs Retiarius

Monday 7 November 2011

MY IG Army

Some of them still need a lick 'o paint but I intend to sell after an offer from a fellow blogger.

Sunday 6 November 2011

Tried a new set of gladiator rules: Are You Not Entertained.

These can be downloaded for free.

They have the opposite problem to Forge World's Gladiator, where it can all end rather quickly. A gladiator has two 'wounds' and a trident can inflict three in a single strike. Gladiators in AYNE have 20 wounds. The atacker chooses an attack type from three options and the defender has two options BUT the attack/defence options do not interact. Shaun and I fought about a dozen rounds of combat between two gladiators without conclusion  before we got bored and gave up. It was largely a die rolling contest.

Still looking for a set of rules.

The Tube - Dr Who

This map is going to get a lot more convoluted if Steve Moffat writes the scripts.

Thursday 3 November 2011

Medway's New London Airport

This is the prosed new London airport to be built across the mouth of the Medway Estuary. It would inevitably create a major megapolis on the eastern sideof the Green Belt.

One point to consider, the Medway estuary is a major migration stopover zone for wading birds. Birds - jet engines - hmmm.

I wonder what it will do for house prices in the Medway Towns?