Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Blue Moon Games Night and Day

Well a Blue Moon is when you end up with 2 full moons in one month, so one or twice a year this occurs. Our club has a similar event, A Friday night rolls into a Saturday day. The stage is now set for BIG games and thus a largish 40K took place and a huge WFB Siege game as well.
I'll just let the pics do the talking. Sadly I forgot the camera on day 2.

Close to 3000 points in 1 Ogre Horde, in the game unstoppable.

Magic Did not miss out.


Note yellow Knights about to cause mayhem, well they did not do so this time, hmm forgot to pray to the lady of the lake.

Upshot of the games 40K nasty Tyranids and Chaos lose but only just to the Marines
Siege game ended in a draw but still a lot of fun.
Finally a pic of a mini Wreckage

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Infinity Morat, the begginings of a force.

I have hoped to get some of the club into a sci-fi skirmish game as many of the lads and lasses like the smaller numbers of miniatures that are needed, read "cheaper". So this is the beginnings of a small Combined army force based on Morat. The scheme is my interpretation from another blog, search under green morat in images and you come across some nice paint jobs.
Kept the photos small this time.
Zerat Sniper



Vanguard II

Monday, February 3, 2014

The First Crusade Campaign at CanCon, My impression of Deus Vult

As seen from the last post my annual pilgrimage with my sons to CanCon saw me playing in a Crusades Campaign that used the Deus Vult rules from Fireforge games. I was asked to give my impression and rather than a true review or an AAR I thought this might work.

The short version, I like them, yes a little bias here as I had a great three days gaming with some rather good folk from the Peninsular Praetorians from Victoria. That said, your troops have qualities and faults with much character based on the individual unit. Movement was fast and long much like Hail Caesar, shooting causes disruption more than death and melee can be either fast and deadly with those troops capable of such or could be a slogging match when the troops are evenly matched. Commanders add character and flavour and much needed ability to get units caring out actions. There is a small element of role play with commanders having characteristics and the ability to duel as champions with the opponent’s leaders. But for those of you that want more depth please read on.

Me with my back to you hmmm.

Crusaders arrayed
It is important to realise that the group campaign had altered the game in minor ways to suit complete novices to the rules like me, and to ensure the campaign aspect was an integral part. I am not sure if there are campaign rules in the volume as, well, I don’t have it yet, please note yet as I will shortly be purchasing said rules. The first thing changed was basing. To suit as many collections of figures as possible units were based on 55mm X 55mm resin movement trays. They held 3 infantry or 1 Mounted figure. Units tended to be 2 or 4 or 6 bases strong on average. I think that the bases are more like 60mm X 40mm and hold 5 infantry and 2-3 mounted?? The visual appeal of the smaller amounts of miniatures did not seem to lose anything by the group’s decision to go with the altered size. So this was our starting point.


Pilgrims, not as bad in a scrap as one would think!

Templars about to cause hurt on some Saracens
The initial dice mechanic is roll a die and if it is 4 or above you have success, generally you are rolling a few dice at a time even in moral style rolls. Nice and easy to get your head around, any adds generally added dice.

When disordered you tend to not fight as effectively, you don't say

Big Battle with 4 armies.

 Units in the game have characteristics reminiscent of WAB or other similar games, defence values, melee values, discipline, courage and so on even a victory point characteristic. The real clever aspect is in the special rules. For example the Islamic forces have many rules that allow feigned flight, fanatical melee abilities, and martial prowess and so on. But their courage and discipline was a bit lower than the crusader forces. This meant they could manoeuvre well do a bit of damage in shooting, charge in and hopefully bounce off to do it all over again but if damaged they could be a little flighty and more likely to retreat and fight another day. Quite historical if I read my history right. Your crusader forces lacked the finesse of the Islamic forces. They had less special rules to remember but had some nifty ones to help hit really hard in combat. The ability to charge through your own troops and throw a lot of dice in combat was what you really wanted to try and do with your knights mounted or dismounted.

Beautiful Resin siege tower, sold part way through the convention

You can fill 'er up with minis!

The Saracens had to get to the gates to relieve the siege
The commanders are integral. They have a command ability of 1-4 this means that they can move 1-4 units at a time! Within their command range (generally 8 inches) This of course is randomly rolled up prior to the game. During our efforts most of the crusader forces were 2-3 command and Islamic forces tended to be 3-4, now we rolled this prior to the game but I see no reason why you would not want to do this if you were playing a particular scenario or historical refight. The Islamic forces moved around a lot more. The command ability allows units to do actions 4 per period, move, shoot, charge, but also more specialised manoeuvres, move and shoot, reform, move wheel move again that sort of stuff. Some actions cost 2 or more point to do so it forces you to think what it is you want to achieve with the unit. I really liked this and it took only a little time to sink in. Mind you no doubt I forgot many aspects as we played. It looks like you could move forward throw javelins and potentially do it again? Certainly some stationary troops shot more than once in a turn.

Now the Saracens have the tower

Small easily defeated force? (Forgot there was stuff behind the gates to the left.)

As said above, movement was quite long, 8-9 inches for cavalry and then a dice throw to move forward a little more or to charge. Shooting also long 6-9 for javelins?, 15-30 bows and crossbows etc. and across a 4 foot wide board it is not long until you are in the thick of it. Failed charges were common for some of us that had forgotten how to approximate measurements in our heads and sadly left your troops disordered. (Disorder is not deadly but leaves you vulnerable)

We did not use the pregame scouting and table set up aspect as this was really part of our campaign so I will not comment.

And so they Sally Forth, ouch.

Please tilt head for better view
Shooting was good from my view. I tended to play the Muslim forces so had more choice of shooty types but they did not dominate the battle at all. Really they disordered and took a few minor casualties off the opponents unit but rarely caused unit shattering damage unless the unit was very small. What you need to remember with the Islamic forces is all the special rules. We were lucky the guys had put the unit stats and rules on cards, hence the plethora of cards scattered over the tables in the pictures. Still I did forget many rules in most games when I played the Syrians/Saracens but without doubt when it is your army and you’ve played Deus Vult a few times you will quickly remember them. Miniatures are removed when dead but if you have your miniatures based other than individually it would work equally as well with dice until a base was removed. (We had to do this with the cavalry as each individual miniatures was actually meant to be 2)

My Syrians about to make short work of Crusaders

Love the Trebuchet

Melee as with all ancient medieval wargames is the crux of it. Again the system is good in my view. It is not always buckets of dice but it did come close. A unit of 6 knights or 6 bases of knights in the real game, in two lines (front get 6 dice each back rank 5 dice each) getting everything right, had the chance to generate 33 dice. This rarely occurred. If it did it would vaporise just about everything. Yet in the actual games we played it almost never occurred. The bonuses never all stacked as you came up against melee troops or had been disordered as you charged in. But don’t get hit in the flank, first you are automatically disordered therefore no rear rank bonus dice, then you have to test to see if you become…..forgot the  term but virtually shattered. Then well you took a beating. When testing to finally hold on, you could use the leader’s moral dice but flank or rear attacks just plain hurt, so they should.

At the Gates of Antioch, Homs, Hammah, or most any Levant City in Canberra

Please note Holy Grail in which to cleanse thine dodgy dice.
The duel, last battle of the last day my Syrians were in a commanding spot. I was just about to slam into 3 units and fight it out with numerical advantage for the Syrians when I thought oh I have not seen how the duel system works. So a challenge took place, you have 3 dice possibly D12, D8, D4 you secretly elect one of them and roll off. Repeat with the other dice and then tally up the results. In my case let’s just say I fluffed it. My leader goes down, is captured, all three nearby units fluff their rolls and well it’s all over bar the victory celebrations for the crusaders in Antioch!
Overall would I play it again? Yep no problem, would I buy it, yep going to as soon as I sell something not my Syrians though! Does it have the flavour of the Crusades, even though we used it to support a campaign already with great characterisation I feel there is enough here to say hearty yes too. Much more characterful than FOG or hail Caesar even WAB. The challenge aspect for leaders gives you more of a role play feeling and well you don’t have to use it but it was fun. So if you have read thus far well done and do yourself a favour, play Deus Vult with some fellow Crusading or Islamic types. I am going to.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

CanCon 2014 You have to play in the participation games.

Another CanCon rolls around. For those of you not in the know CanCon is the biggest games show in Australia held on our Australia Day long weekend. 3 days of gaming and spending money in Canberra what’s not to like. I could not tell you the exact figures as far as numbers are concerned but there are usually 100+ entries of 40K, 100+ entries WFB, 100+ entries FOW, 30 odd warmachine hordes gamers, 100 + other historical gamers Bolt Action DBA FOG Impetus, 20 or so Infinity gamers and the list goes on and on including a roleplaying section as well. Magic The Gathering the card game is also big at CanCon and the big prize for winning this is a trip to the United States to compete. As far as the general public is concerned they must get 2000+ people through the doors to check out the madness or those already succumbed to the insanity are just there to buy stuff. I have been to the Derby show a few years back in Britain and well CanCon is bigger, not as many traders (not as many small ones in Australia) but bigger numbers I feel.

 Siege Tower as used to store the gates of.........................

Eureka's new Saracens, many to be seen on our table over the weekend.
Infantry from above.

Slightly older range and painted much more nicely than mine.
One of my favourite sections has been the demo and participation games. I have played in the competitions but I really like the social and fun side. So have slowly drifted away from the real competitive nature of the weekend (I might go back one day say for DBA or something) instead my eldest son has played Shako, Dystopian Wars and all sorts of other games. Barry our Wings of Glory fanatic helps to run the participation game for Wings of Glory WWI and WWII over the whole 3 day weekend for the public.  Me well Hail Caesar, with the War of the Roses, last year took my fancy, Infinity at another convention, but this year it was a crusades campaign run using Deus Vult for the table top rules.

Bolt Action Demo.....mainly run by kids for kids brilliant.
Pegasus Bridge Demo, about the only time I saw adults running this demo.

Home brewed fantasy hold the bridge game, had a lot of kids playing at it.
Paul of the man cave blog in blue top getting snotted in a FIW using muskets and tomahawks
The lads from the Peninsular Praetorians from Victoria ran a superb weekend of dashing around the Levant as crusaders in the first crusade trying to get to Jerusalem. Using a map and basic Ideas from a game called Onward Christian Soldiers all the players took the role of the crusaders. We map marched down from Anatolia and conquered cities in sieges or just bypassed them. The deserts were tricky to cross, you had to roll for and often pay attrition, sometimes you paid in coin (fake plastic Ducats accumulated by winning games and conquering towns) or often you were forced by paying in, well, blood as it were. Yep your army was whittled away not by the rightly upset local Muslim population but by the desert itself. You lost troops, pilgrims had a bad habit of disappearing and your incredibly expensive to replace Knights became dismounted knights instead.

Aztec conquistadors participation game that was run at Wintercon last year too.
Big SYW Demo game

Barry in full flight with an air raid on a pacific island.
Battles did take place as we conducted fights against the siege relieving Saracens or just plain intercepts would take place. The beauty of it was that if your Crusader force was up for a battle then the other non-players would play the Saracens. The games were fun but had enough of an edge to keep you thinking and having an eye on the actual end game. As you beat off the Saracens the damage done to your army could cost a fortune to replace as far as the campaign was concerned.

Naps game sorry no details.

Italians in Eritrea

Chain of Command Modern Bush Wars in Africa.

More of the same Bush Wars, I came real close to playing this one instead of crusades.

Sci fi simple game on the cheap with Green Army Men woo hoo, Love it when some one gets the kids to game and proves it can be done for less than $10.00 per side!

Nice young chap joined us on day 2 for the campaign and seemed to really enjoy himself, so they really are participation games for the public!

Infinity table.

Another Infinity Table, but I missed all the action, all of it.

Flames of War Kursk game, lots and lots of tanks, looked fun.

Best use of Citadels Fortress, the walls of Antioch!
Well needless to say I loved it. The table top games system I’ll review next post (spoiler alert Deus Vult is good but we did have a few modifications) but the campaign was exactly what I wanted. What a clever way to do a campaign, 3 days of games, maps, ducats and laughter as Bedouin or Unscrupulous tax collectors took your tax horde from the towns captured. One poor chap lost his horde 4 times, (those dice were not coming out of their box for a while after that!).
Did we capture Jerusalem, no, but I did take Aleppo and Homs leaving them unsacked and Damascus was in my grasp. To sum up, if you ever want a more fun approach to a weekend of gaming check out what participation games are in order, give the organiser a ring or an email and ask to join. Often you will not even have to bring troops to the table as all is provided. You do not even have to play the whole weekend, just a game or two. For me the whole weekend was what I wanted.
Is there a negative, yep, just one you don’t get to see as much of the show as you may want to, I missed the Impetus games and Infinity games and barely had a look at the FOW section yet I still had time to spend up on more lead and plastic for the mountain, not so much this year but it has still grown.