Monthly Archives: April 2013

Saga (07/04/13 – Nick & Tom)

Norman mounted warrior unit

Norman mounted warrior unit

We had another cracking game of Saga the other week, a three player one where the objective was to kill more enemy troops than other players (again 🙂 ). It was the first game we had played with the full 6 point warbands (my fault – I’m the only one who paints this stuff 😦 ). We rolled for sides – I got the Normans which I have been slavishly painting over the winter, while Tom got the Vikings and Nick got the Anglo-Danes. We did some random terrain generation, but the terrain rolls placed all the items in the middle of the board – being the cavalry army this would force me along the edges of the board as we were deploying in the corners.

Norman deployment facing Danes

Norman deployment facing Danes

I deployed my 12 Knights in one unit of 8 and one unit of 4 facing the Vikings, while everything else was going to move along the other board edge towards the Anglo-Danes. The first two turns were as usual taken up with jostling for position and building up abilities from all players, then in turn 3 all hell broke loose. I got the first action and unleashed my crossbowmen tooled up with some ability on the Levy archers – Tom had played a Viking ability (Raganarok) in the Orders phase which lowered all enemies armour by 1 – this meant I was hitting the Levy archers on anything but a 1. In predictable form, I rolled more than your average number of 1s and the Anglo-Danes saved the rest of the hits.

Men of the match - levy archers

Men of the match – levy archers

The Anglo-Danes were up next and had the necessary dice to activate the levy – needless to say, because of their armour being lowered as well, my crossbows took maximum hits and failed to save even one – typical – bloody peasants!! As Raganarok was active, the one of the Viking Hearthguard units charged my Knights and gave  them a pasting due to the fact that I had no abilities left on my board (and the fact I had neglected that flank and left my best troops standing around waiting to be charged).

Remains of Norman Knights

Remains of Norman Knights

Next turn my mounted Sergeants charged the Anglo-Dane spears through their own infantry but rolled disappointingly in the combat and had to disengage. With the by Viking Raganarok armour-lowering ability in effect again, the Anglo-Danes rolled enough dice to activate the levy archers twice and took my mounted Sergeants down to 2 figures in 2 consecutive rounds of shooting. This raised questions on the Raganarok ability – we played that both enemies got it when the Vikings activated it, which meant heavy casualties to both the other sides but this took VPs away the Vikings so it’s not really that smart a move given that it cost the equivalent of 2 sixes on the Saga dice. Maybe next time we will play it only affects the enemy the Viking is attacking at the time.

Skulking Danes

Skulking Danes

I got the last action phase in the last turn. Apart from the Viking using his Loki ability to kill off my remaining 2 crossbowmen, the other two factions left me alone as I didn’t really have enough troops remaining to pose much of a threat. Despite losing their Warlord in a warlord-on-warlord duel, by the time the dust had settled the Anglo-Danes were ahead by 1 point over the Vikings and 4 points ahead of me. I had 3 Knights, 2 mounted Sergeants and my Warlord left and few Saga dice to roll. However, I had a cunning plan – if I could use my Warlord accompanied by the knights to charge into and wipe out the Viking Bondi facing me without loss, then charge my Warlord into the Viking Berserkers behind the spears and kill 2 of them without loss, then I could win (a long shot, but William the Bastard didn’t get to be William I without taking some risks :-)).

Vikings on the hill

Vikings on the hill

I had a problem though – the Anglo-Danes had an Intimidate action on their board, which could be used to stop the Warlord charging into the Berserkers because it was in the the Anglo-Dane’s interest for the Viking to not kill any Normans and overtake their total. The solution I came up with was to order a suicidal charge with my 2 Sergeants into the Berserkers which they were bound to die in – it would put the Viking score out of my reach but crucially it would give the Vikings enough VPs to beat the Anglo-Danes. The Anglo-Danes did what they had to do and cancelled the Sergeants’ charge, so in went the Warlord and the Knights. I got off to a great start and wiped out the Bondi with no loss, but with no dice on abilities on my Saga board, the Warlord was going to have to roll faultlessly against the Berserkers to stand any chance. The Viking used the Warlord’s fatigue against him and I rolled a fistful of 1s, so this gave the Viking 3VPs for killing my Warlord and also gave them the game.

Another closely fought game with all sides in the running the entire time. I’m working on painting up a 4th faction, the Scots, at the moment and hope to see them in action over the summer. What I’m really looking forward to is the Arthurian supplement, but that seems to be a while off with the Crusades up next – I saw what looked like two playtest battleboards being used at Salute titled “Moors” & “Warriors of God”, so it looks to be fairly advanced.

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Salute with Tom (20/04/13)

Achtung Spitfire!

Achtung Spitfire!

Tom and myself had our annual pilgrimage to Salute yesterday and as usual I got carried away and forgot to take many photographs and even less that were in focus, but here are the better ones with some re-collections of the day. The first game we looked at was a 28mm WW2 game which was awesome I’m not sure if they were using the old “Kampfgruppe Normandy” rules or the new “Battlegroup Normandy” rules, but the table looked great. I did toy with getting the “Battlegroup Normandy” supplement, but I think it was £30 for the supplement & £30 for the rules which are in the Kursk book, and that put me off in the end, especially if the Lardies WW2 platoon set is as good as it looks (see below)

KGN British

KGN British

KGN AA

KGN AA

KGN German Armoured Car

KGN German Armoured Car

KGN Germans

KGN Germans

As I said, the Lardies were demoing their “Chain of Command” rules and they look really interesting. We arrived during the first game of British v Germans after the Patrol phase had ended, but came back for the second game of Americans v Germans so as we could this this really innovative mechanic in action. I won’t go through the details here as Rich has explained it all perfectly well on YouTube, but the importance of the phase became clear as the Yanks were completely outplayed in Patrol phase ended up with their deployment zones pinned in a corner of the board. The Germans on the other hand controlled the town and the main roads so could bring units on when and where they were needed. I don’t think there is a need to use the mechanic with any particular set of rules – we were talking of replacing the hidden mechanic in “Bolt Action” with it. The rules are due out in July and if the  2-deep crowds around the table all day are anything to go by, they are going to be a great success. (crowds=photos not great :-)).

Chain of Command

Chain of Command

Chain of Command village

Chain of Command village

I had pre-ordered some “In Her Majesty’s Name” figures from North Star and was surprised when I got a set of rules as well (they weren’t meant to be out until May). There was a demo of the game being run, but I couldn’t really get a flavour of what was going on as the people running it were too intent on playing – a good sign I suppose, but unlike the Lardies game, there wasn’t any explanation to the masses of what was going on. The figures do look grand painted up though.

Figures for In Her Majesty's Name

Figures for In Her Majesty’s Name

In Her Majesty's Name Board

In Her Majesty’s Name Board

Like everyone else, I was taken by the huge display game of Waterloo, but I’d like to have seen it being played.

Waterloo Hougomont

Waterloo Hougomont

As this year is the 150th anniversary of Gettysburg, a few ACW games were in evidence. This period is a favourite of mine, and when I picked up the latest edition of “Wargames Illustrated” at the show I was pleasantly surprised to find it contained not one, but two accounts of ACW actions. The first was run by Dave Bickley using his “Bull Run to Gettysburg” rules which I use, and the second written by Barry Hilton who seems to have an ACW adaption of his Napoleonic rules in the works – can’t wait to try them out. I only got photos of the Little Round Top demo, but it did look great.

Little Round Top 20th Maine

Little Round Top 20th Maine

Little Round Top Confederates

Little Round Top Confederates

Other games which I was too busy looking at to photograph included “Musket & Tomahawks” with Samurai  and “Dead Man’s Hand” Wild West rules from Great Escape games (which I had pre-ordered and look interesting if you like card-driven chaos – I do luckily :-)). I must also mention the two “Dux Bellorum” games which were side-by-side. I have the rules and have tried them out, but the standard of painting on the table and the sabot bases gave me lots of ideas, so I will need to re-visit the rules in the near-future.

Our haul of shiny new stuff was quite restrained this year – apart from the pre-ordered rules and figures mentioned above, I only picked some SCW militia from Empress, the new “Bolt Action” Russian supplement from Warlord and some bases from Warbases. The show itself didn’t disappoint and we’ll be back next year, not least because I didn’t get a go on the cable car across the Thames to North Greenwich and my son did 🙂

Bolt Action (13/04/13 – Tom)

6pdr

6pdr & tow jeep

Basically this was a stand-up fight for a bridge between a platoon of regular Germans with a Stug and a Puma against a platoon of veteran Paras with a Tetrarch, 6 pdr and a recce Jeep. In the scenario we chose, “Take and Hold”, I had a squad and an MMG on the table with everything else at the board edge or in reserve, while the Germans started off with all their infantry on the table.

Puma on run up to bridge

Puma on run up to bridge

I thought I was going to be overwhelmed, but a combination of good activations and the Germans’ hesitation in their advance allowed me to get all my troops on to the table by turn 2, while the German armour failed their rolls to come on until turn 3. The game degenerated into a fire fight along the heavily wooded riverbank, with few casualties being caused to either side and the bridge remained contested for a drawn result. Once again we didn’t get into close combat so we have yet to try those rules out.

Recce jeep being annoying on bridge

Recce jeep being annoying on bridge

Over the course of the game, the Stug put 2 rounds into Tetrarch, but one was only glancing, starting a fire which the crew managed to easily put out. The second round, though rolled twice on the damage table due to big penetration roll, only stunned the crew and immobilised the vehicle – in the end it was finished off by a Panzerschreck round. (the Panzerschreck is to the right of the Stug in the photo below – a quality shot to be sure!)

Tetrarch pops one off at the Stug

Tetrarch pops one off at the Stug

The Recce rule allowed my jeep for 3 turns running to drive on to and perch astride the bridge, fire its MMG then use a recce move to reverse back off the bridge and out of LOS when anyone drew a bead on it. The Puma latched onto this idea, and by turn 4 we had both the Puma & the Jeep taking it in turns to execute this manoeuvre on the bridge. We realised that the way to stop this nonsense was to put someone on overwatch overlooking the damned bridge but we never seemed to get the dice out in the right order, so we’re thinking of house-ruling this to having to roll an order test before doing the escape move to introduce some doubt into the proceedings.

Germans advance through the corn

Germans advance through the corn

Another good run-out for the rules and I’m looking forward to using them for the SCW next – their quick playtime makes them ideal for a Saturday afternoon which is usually all the time we’ve got.

6pdr relocates

6pdr relocates

Of course, that SCW report will be at least a few weeks away as it’s “lock up your wallet” time next weekend – Salute is on in London! High on the list of things to see are the Lardies’ “Chain of Command” WW2 Platoon rules to see how they compare with “Bolt Action”. In the meantime, watch out on the blog for a report on a 3-player game of Saga from last weekend.

Recce jeep in hiding

Recce jeep in hiding – if only that 6pdr was on overwatch!