Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Men Who Would Be Kings

My free copy of TMWWBK arrived in my mailbox last week. As with the other books in the series, the pages are filled with nice artwork and miniatures.

This is the fourth free Osprey book I received play-testing for Dan Mersey, and the fifth Osprey wargame I had the privilege to contribute to.

Colonials aren't exactly my period, although I do have both sides of the Indian Mutiny in 15mm. However, after watching The Siege of Jadotville earlier this month, I am wondering if the rules can be used for a "bush war" type of conflict...

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Red Box Dwarves... kinda

I'm going to touch up the eyes on these guys later, but here are the twelve Red Box dwarves I got from the kickstarter Tre Manor held a while back.


The torsos come from Red Box, but I didn't like the heads and I wanted these guys to be armed with spears. Some trading got me the heads and spear arms from Gripping Beast's Dark Age Warriors box set, and I was in business.

Now while assembling these figures, I realised why dwarves "in real life" didn't use spears or polearms: the distance between your hand and the ground affects how much length you can manage "above" your hand. Sure you can manage to hold a 15-foot pike, but that takes two hands and it isn't really a weapon you can use in a skirmish.

With these guys I now have enough "irregular" dwarves to make a Riot campaign viable. Plus they are always useful for fantasy RPGs.

One reason why I pushed myself to finish these guys is because I have decided to back the latest Frostgrave Nickstarter so I can get my hands on the multi-part plastic barbarians. Barbarians, like dwarves, are useful figures to have for most fantasy settings, so I expect quite good return on investment on those. I would like to paint them with black-and-white body paint like the Avvars depicted in the Dragon Age RPG, but whether I can manage that is an unknown.

If you are looking for some generic fantasy barbarians, do head over the North Star's page.

Monday, October 03, 2016

Horizon Wars first game

I've been talking about Horizon Wars for a while, but on Sunday Martin, fg and I finally got down to trying out the rules.

We played a set-piece battle with 20 points a side. Martin fielded two mechas, a recon drone and a heavy artillery unit, plus three bases of infantry.

I fielded my "Mad Max" force with ten bases of infantry, four bases of bikes, and six 'technicals', all classified as some form of infantry in the game, and due to the way the points system works, each costing a point.

As with most first games, we probably didn't get everything right, and we most certainly didn't play all the rules - in particular neither of us used the Recovery action, which would have made the game last much longer.

We did, however, learn a couple of things.

Mechas are powerful, but can be vulnerable if unsupported. Even with a high Firepower, it can only target one enemy unit per activation, which means it can succumb to horde tactics.

The downside to playing the horde is the amount of book-keeping required, as damage is scored against a unit's stats and there is no 'hit points' per se.

For the next game I think we might want to play with a smaller force and on a smaller area, so we get can down to the nuances of the rules.

Also, the Heavy Gear kickstarter that we backed arrived and I got my sprues. The plastic is a bit softer than I expected, and even the smallest mecha has eight parts, which need to be glued together, so it will take me some time to get all of them assembled. They also came in blacj plastic, which may present a problem when it comes to painting because I want to paint them 'light sand' instead of the canon red. Well, one step at a time then.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Twilight Struggle

Things have been a bit slow on the gaming/painting front, but fg and I managed to play a game of Twilight Struggle last week.

The game is highly rated, and you can find reviews and tutorial videos of it (that's how I learned the game), but my personal take is that it plays like Go with cards. The world is divided into six regions, and within each region there are countries. The aim of the game is to score victory points through the playing of cards and also by having more influence than the other player in a region so you can dominate it.

As the Soviet player, I initially got off to a strong start in Europe, but lost steam after a while. I shifted my focus to the Middle East, but a good event card which would have let me dominate the region was cancelled by one played by fg. Thereafter I got some bad cards that gave fg central and south America, and I lost on VPs before the game ran to its turn limit.

For us, the fun of the game was mostly topical - the events described in the cards were things we heard about as children and teenagers, even if the true significance were not apparent to us. If you are a child of the Cold War era and cheered when the Berlin Wall went down, you will like the game. If, on the other hand, you don't know how David Hasselhoff single-handedly united East and West Germany (or that there were such things as East and West Germany), then a lot of the game will be lost on you.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Close Encounter with Giorgio

Yes, that's Giorgio Tsoukalos, those are my hands doing the "aliens" motion as I explain Osprey to him, that's a copy of Osprey's "The Nazi Occult" in his hand, and that's the pin on his pocket which I coveted but did not receive - it went to a guy who asked him to sign on a first edition copy of "Chariot of the Gods?"; well played, my man...

Two weeks ago, my cable TV provider held a draw to give away ten pairs of tickets to meet Giorgio Tsoukalos and two other History Channel (Asia) hosts in a meet-and-greet session. Adrian and I both joined for laughs, and when we both won we imagined we were the only two who asked to meet Giorgio, because what were the odds of both of us winning, right? Wrong.

So we each grabbed a friend and went down this evening, expecting it to be a brief handshake plus photo session, but again we turned out to be wrong.

As it turned out all the attendees were there to see Giorgio. Some came prepared with book or CD for him to sign, others had questions. Giorgio, a consummate showman, played his part well and made everyone feel welcomed. He had a ready answer for every question, and answered each question passionately. The other two hosts were relegated to waiting outside the room while Giorgio overran his time.

Now I am not a believer, but I enjoy the series a lot and I enjoyed this session nonetheless. My agenda for the evening (other than shaking hands with a meme) was to suggest the idea of writing an Osprey book on Ancient Aliens by presenting him with a copy of "The Nazi Occult" so he knows that there is a market for this type of thing. So if you see this on Osprey's catalogue in a year or two, you know whom to blame.

Pity I didn't get the pin though.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Newline 28mm Hittite Guardsmen

These are the Newline Hittite Guardsmen that I bought to beef up my Trojan warband. It is within the bounds of historical possibilities that the Hittites were allies to the Trojans, and their proportions, arms and armour are stylistically close enough to those of the Redoubt figures.

They have the characteristic chunky Newline look, and are pretty good casts with just some flash in the areas between the limbs and the trunk. The weapons and shields come loose and the right hands have to be drilled to take the weapons.

With these done, I have four units (three of melee, one of missile) and more than enough leader figures for them. I am tempted to say that I will not add any more units to this force, but then it just occurred to me that if the Hittites can send a unit of infantry, then why not a hero in a chariot?

Monday, July 18, 2016

Romans vs Macedonians again

A close-up of Martin's phalanx.

It's actually been eleven months since we played a game of our Dux-Bellorum-Impetus mash-up, so since Martin got a few more bases of pikes painted, we decided we would haul some metal this week.

The scenario was a pretty straight-forward one, with a relatively flat battlefield broken only by three hills. Both sides deployed with the heavy infantry to the far end of the table, leaving the skirmishers and cavalry to contest the other flank.

As the infantry plodded towards each other for the clash, a fierce battle would rage in the low ground between the two hills.

As the battle reached its climax, casualty markers and dice littered the field... In the end both sides were out of Leadership Points, and were close to morale check point, and there was still no clear winner. We decided that honour had been satisfied, and retired discussing further projects.