Monthly Archives: December 2011

7TV – 29/12/2011 (Tom & Nick)

The Refinery

We usually do something a bit different for our game between Christmas and New Year, and this year it was 7TV – Tom agreed he’d play Nick and I’d umpire – still, a game’s a game! I’d managed to paint up enough figures to give 2 casts of around 300 points each and I took the stat lines straight out of the wonderful 7TV rulebook, as I was too busy cooking turkey to spend time generating my own.

Nick was the Dr Evil team, starring the Guru, ably assisted by Kali and the Man in the Lead Suit, a scientist with 2 Fembots and a security detail of 5 men led by a captain (Jack in this case).

Evil Stars

Tom was Mr Good – his star, The Man From 2000, had Professor Plantagenet, Pandora King and Major Red co-starring, and they were backed up by a Spectrum security detail of 5 men led by Captain Blue.

We played a “Gather” scenario, where everyone is looking for bits of equipment strewn across the board (counters numbered 1 to 6), but the twist is that you add up the value on the found equipment counters at the end of the game and score a victory point for each complete 5 points. You also get VP for killing enemy stars & co-stars, leaving them stunned or captured and also for controlling table quarters – everyone forgot the last one in the heat of the moment of the frantic last turn of course.

Good Stars

After we had distributed 4 event cards each and both sides got to pick their gadgets, they deployed. With evil having 3 figures who could deploy anywhere on the board (2 with a natural ability and 1 with a Disguise Kit gadget), I was worried that the game might end quite quickly because the last turn would be the one when the last of the 6 gadgets were picked up. On to battle…

Due to their Infiltrate ability, The Man in Lead Suit and Pandora found themselves adjacent to each other by an objective on top of the nuclear reactor.  Tom won the initiative and tried to see through Lead Suit’s disguise as they were within 2″ of each other. A roll of 6 meant Pandora could see him for the freak he really was, so she first picked up the objective then lashed out at Lead Suit but missed. Tom spent the rest of his activations moving his troops forward from his baseline. Nick then activated Lead Suit, who stunned Pandora on the second attempt after she had dodged her way out of any damage from his first punch. This meant an interesting decision for Lead Suit – he could take a wound off Pandora as she was a lesser strength than him, so he could invoke the Killing Blow rule to turn a Stun from a brawl into a wound. However, if good won initiative, then Pandora could charge him and as she was rolling 2 dice to both hit and wound due to various abilities. He took the chance and stunned her, hoping she wouldn’t be able to roll off the stun status off in the end phase – this proved to be a good choice, as Pandora spent most of the game stunned!

Evil extras - the Captain and his Gang

Kali started the game beside an objective on the pipeline walkway due to her Infiltrate ability, and picked it up with pre-game First Strike ability. For her first activation she jumped on to the nuclear reactor and fired her blowpipe at The Man from 2000 – he ended up having to spend a Luck token to ward off the deadly rolled up piece of jotter paper. The rest of evil’s activations advanced his minions towards the remaining objectives.

Good extras - Captain Blue and his troops

On turn 2, evil won the initiative. Lead Suit captured Pandora and whisked her back to the evil baseline and spent the remainder of his actions moving his minions into position. Tom mostly moved, apart from a few wayward rifle shots from the Spectrum troopers. His big moment came when Prof Plantagenet donned the Brain Swap Helmet gadget and dominated Kali despite all her attempts to wriggle free. So with Pandora captured and Kali dominated, both sides were a co-star down.

Fembots and controller

Evil again won the initiative on turn 3, and in a touch of genius, Captain Jack of the evil security team captured Kali and brought her back to her own baseline in an attempt to make her see sense – it worked, as she shook off the domination in the end phase. It was a brilliant turn for good though, as the Spectrum security detail downed the evil scientist and a security guard with their rifles. As the game degenerated into a firefight in the middle of the board, the Man from 2000 went on a rescue mission and teleported close to Pandora in the evil deployment zone. Pandora had singularly failed to become un-stunned and was still captured, guarded by 1 inept guard.

Spectrum to the rescue

Luckily, Tom won initiative next turn, and charged and killed the minion with 2000, only to find that the rules didn’t seem to allow him to free Pandora as she had to shake off the captured status herself (and she was still stunned – damn). The Spectrum marksmanship continued, as another security guard and Lead Suit fell to their bullets – not only did Lead Suit have the Unlucky trait, but Tom played the “Terribly Bad Luck” event on him as he was about to make a luck re-roll after his bullet-proof vest save failed him – there’s just no saving some people. On the evil turn, Captain Jack barrelled into 2000 and took him prisoner as well, so good had lost 2 heroes to the evil brig. Every evil shot, including the ones from the Guru, went well wide of the mark, much to Nick’s frustration – even Audience Appreciation tokens can’t do much with a fistful of ones!

Kali & Pandora

However, as Tom had now killed enough evil figures to make him 50% of his original strength, evil had to take a Shaken morale test in the End phase. Tom played the “No Faith in the Plan” event on top of this, so Nick needed a 6 on a D6 to stay in the game, which he duly produced with no Luck needed! On to what would be the final turn.

Tom’s first action was to turn over the last objective counter in the bunker, which meant that this would be the last turn. More inept shooting by both sides and to-ing and fro-ing with much capturing and then freeing of 2000 and Pandora on evil’s baseline ended up with Pandora being confused at the end of the game, but 2000 alive and kicking. Even Kali’s Concealment ability couldn’t stop her being confused by 2000’s 14″ Mind Blast due to his massive 7 intelligence, costing Nick another VP.

Major Red is covered.

Tom had been really lucky in the tokens he went for, and ended up with 14 to Nick’s 7 – that, along with the VP for killing Lead Suit and reducing evil to 50% gave good a comfortable win.

The Fembots had been ineffective, mainly due to their inability to run (move 6″ in each action), so ended up lumbering across the board at 6″ a turn when Nick bothered to activate them. Their SMGs were quite effective, but only got to fire once or twice. Tom didn’t even bother wasting an action to try and send them out of control as he didn’t see them as much of a threat.

We used Audience Appreciation to influence a random roll – this is wrong and is mentioned in the FAQs which I looked up later. Basically, Kali thought 2000 and Pandora would escape capture so shot a blowdart at them, but because they were in base contact with Captain Jack, we randomised the hit. Nick rolled a 1 which would have been Jack, but modified it to a 3 and hit 2000. The whole issue of shooting prisoners was discussed and we’ve agreed that it will not be allowed in future games. If you want to execute a prisoner, you have to devise a convoluted method to do it, then assign a particularly inept guard to carry it out…episode 2 to follow at Easter.

Major Red and the Professor

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Board Wargames played during 2011

It’s time for the annual Boardgame review again (that came around pretty quickly!). The highlight of the year for me has been finally getting Here I Stand to the table, though only with 3 players – Nick managed to play and win the 5 player version at a con for 9.5 hours – lucky boy! Playing a 5 player game over Vassal has sort-of made up for it, but not quite.

I’ve also managed to play a few games of C&C Napoleonics, C&C Ancients and Labyrinth over Vassal with my friend David in Norn Iron, so all-in-all it hasn’t been a bad year, apart from the drought from July to October as a result of the back injury.

First up in the new year may be Sekigahara (a Christmas present from my wife) and the postponed Fighting Formations scenario 8.

January – Command & Colours Napoleonics x2

March – Stalin’s War & Labyrinth

April – Labyrinth, Combat Commander Europe & Here I Stand (2 player)

May – Here I Stand (3 player) & FAB: Bulge

June – Combat Commander Europe

November – Fighting Formations x2 (scenarios 0 & 9)

December – Napoleon’s Triumph

Happy New Year!

Dystopian Wars 24/12/2011 (Tom)

Prussian bombers

I’ve been a bit of a man on a mission lately – the Dystopian Wars fleets had been sitting unpainted since I got them for a present last Christmas, so after Tom and myself agreed that we should get a game of DW in over the holidays I set about painting 2 fleets up in 3 weeks. I picked the Empire of the Blazing Sun fleets (as I thought I could do a quick paint job on it with washes), and the Prussian Empire because of the awesome Sky Fortress model – with the addition to the EotBS fleet of some scout gyros picked up at Salute, we were all ready to go.

EotBS Heavyweights

Tom picked the Prussians (that Sky Fortress again), and the fleets were just about even on points and consisted of everything I’d painted:-

Prussian Empire

1x Imperium Class Sky Fortress
1x Emperor Class Battleship
3x Reiver Class Cruisers
3x Arminius Class Frigates
1x Metzger Class Robot

Prussian Heavyweights

Empire of the Blazing Sun

1x Tenkei class Sky Fortress
1x Sokutsu Class Battleship
2x Ika Class Mechanical Squid
4x Uwatsu Class Frigates
2x Inari Class Scout Gyros

We both had an assortment of 16 Tiny Flyers each, and represented the fuel left by using dice of the following colours:-
Red = Fighter
White = Recon
Yellow = Torpedo Bomber
Blue = Dive Bomber

EotBS Gyros

Terrain was non-existent and the mission was to cripple the enemy fleet before we ran out of time and the table was turned over to takeaway dinner with the in-laws. We started in opposite corners of a 6’x4′ table, which was probably a mistake, as the slower moving craft barely got into action before we called time.

Frigate on frigate action

The main fight was between the opposing frigates and the cruisers and gyros. There was some appalling dice rolling where sixes often make the difference between damaging a target or not. The 3 critical hits we did roll only halved movement in 1 case and firepower in the other 2 – no magazine explosions taking out half a fleet as happened in Uncharted Seas. Rockets seemed pretty ineffective, the big damage being done by the frigates when they closed to within range band 1.

EotBS Squid

I managed to take 2 hits off a cruiser with my EotBS frigates, which meant that he had no AA, so I launched my Torpedo bombers off the carrier against him. More bad dice rolls left the cruiser undamaged and a couple of Torpedo bombers in the drink, made even worse when they got bounced by the Prussian fighters. We need to brush up on tiny flier combat, as it was getting quite complex with linking AA fire and who can or cannot put down AA fire if within range.

EotBS Sky Fortress

I probably had the better of the battle when the Chinese (takeaway) arrived and time was called. The game (and the effort that went in to getting it ready in time for Christmas) was worthwhile and I’m quite pleased with the rules. For next time we need to brush up on the EotBS Altitude Skimmer ability and also the submerged rules for the squids – I suspect I used the squids completely wrong! Also, although we toyed with the idea of boarding, as we only had frigates and cruisers within range, no-one took the risk so that will have to wait until another day (by which time, rumour has it, the boarding rules will have changed – oh well…)

Saga 18/12/2011 (Tom)

Tom came home from Uni for Christmas this weekend, and we managed to fit in a game of the new Saga ruleset from Gripping Beast using GW Lord of the Rings figures as proxies – Gondor was the Anglo-Danes and Isenguard took on the mantle of the Viking raiders. It seemed appropriate for the figures we were using to do some sort of river crossing, so that’s the scenario from the book that we used. This was probably a mistake given that we were learning the game, as it led to a stalemate fighting over one of the river crossings and the total annihalation of both sides at the other.

The Fords (and bridge) of Isen

We each had a 4 point starter warband which the rules recommend for your first game – for the Anglo-Danes, 2 units of the  4 figures from the Army of the Dead represented the elite Hearthguard, while the 2 units of 8 Gondor men-at-arms represented the Warrior class.

The Orcs chose 2 units of Hearthguard (one of which was a unit of 4 berserkers, represented by 4 Urak-Hai – uh – berserkers, and the other represented by Urak-Hai pikemen) and 2 units of 8 Warriors, one made up of  Haradrim and one consisting of Urak-Hai swordsmen. Boromir led the men of Gondor and Lurtz led the axis of evil.

Haradrim warrior unit

We both lined up with an even split of forces -1 Hearthguard and 1 warrior unit covering each crossing, and our warlords faced off against each other over the bridge crossing. The initial fight was over the bridge, where Tom managed to get his warlord and the non-berserk warriors into contact with my hearthguard, caused 2 casualties to my 1, then both sides then retired to their end of the bridge to catch their breaths.

Urak-Hai painted by Tom (many moons ago)

Over at the ford (of Isen?), things went quite differently – Tom led with the Haradrim across the ford, and I countered with my warriors. Though he won the melee 4 kills to 3, I used my Lords of Battle ability to give him an extra 2 fatigue, making the unit exhausted. On my turn, I then used the Exhaustion ability to kill 2 men from his Haradrim unit and charged back into them with my Hearthguard, wiping out the remaining 3 figures without loss.

On Tom’s turn, the Berserkers piled into my Hearthguard, and boosted by a number of abilities, rolled an insane number of attack dice – my Hearthguard  Army of the Dead were wiped out to a man, but took down 2 Berserkers in the process (Tom rolled 2 ‘1’s for saves – hah!).

Boromir and the Dead take on some Berserkers

Seizing the opportunity, I charged the Berserkers with my warriors, hoping to wipe him out and leaving me unopposed to march across the ford. I succeeded, but Tom also succeeded in killing 1 warrior to leave only 3 in the unit , so next turn he was able to use the Viking “Loki” ability to kill off the remaining 3 warriors, leaving no-one on this flank from either side to fight.

Boromir - who's with me?

The game was a draw, as neither of us was going to risk it on the bridge, so we called it a day there. It was an enjoyable try out of the rules, though we need a lot more experience of the battle boards to sort out strategies. Also, the pairing of “Determination” (allowing the Warlord to activate once per turn without spending a dice) & “We obey” (allowing a unit within 4″ to move with him for free) is powerful, and we need to get our heads around that as well. The allocation of dice phase can be quite slow, but I think we can put that down to inexperience.

With a short playing time and a 4′ x 3′ playing area, I’m sure this will come out again over Christmas, though the actual historical warbands won’t be painted until the New Year.

Napoleon’s Triumph 11/12/2011 (Nick)

Nick picked up a copy of this recently and wanted to give it a go – I had bought the game when it came out (probably before I was gaming with Nick), but just couldn’t get my head around the rules, so my copy currently resides in the loft. The fact that we were both learning slowed us down quite a bit, but I do think it would be fast playing if we knew what we were doing.  I could have done with reading the “How to win the game” section a bit more – there are victory locations, but the main way of losing is through army morale points which you get deducted for losses taken in losing melees – I think I won 1 fight in the entire game, so the morale points slipped away at a rate of knots!

Cover Art

The fog of war aspect is well handled as you can’t see the strength of your opponent’s pieces until you attack them. I was the Austrian and Russian player, so I set up with a really weak right flank, meaning to put my main effort in the left flank and left centre. This was fine until I realised that my heavy cavalry were marching into an area to the left where cavalry were useless and by the time I redeployed them, they couldn’t catch up with any French. Even worse, I had left my guard infantry in reserve to bolster my weak right flank, and the first French attack went straight towards them. I had to attack to stop the French discovering my weakness on that flank, but a guard attack also costs army morale points and if it fails (as mine did!), the army morale goes down even more. I also spent several turns attacking an artillery piece across a marsh, taking loses and losing morale points, before we worked out that the attack could never succeed – there is no random element in the game, so outcomes can be worked out with certainty.

I think that until I get more familiar with the rules it’s pretty much impossible to figure out any strategy or pick fights I can win. It’s nice that there are quite a few run throughs, both written and videoed, on BGG,  but I didn’t have a chance to watch any of them, so we’re going to have to try the game again soon or any experience will have been wasted. It’s not the most enjoyable gaming experience I’ve ever had, but whether this is just frustration at the rules or whether this just isn’t the game for me is hard to tell. Watch this space.