Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Heads up to those interested in Battletech Quick-Strike

If you've been interested in getting your beer and pretzels mech action on, take a look here: http://www.rpgnow.com/product/92854/BattleTech%3A-Strategic-Operations?term=strategic+operations

The Strategic Operations manual which contains the full rules for Quick-Strike is now on sale as a PDF for the agreeable sum of 10 United States Dollars. The book also contains stuff like aerospace warfare and rules for fighting Battletech on a grander scale. Other Battletech stuff is on sale as well. If you just want to play Quick-Strike it makes sense to buy the book as PDF and print out the stuff you need as you'll only need a small fraction of the books' pagecount.

Nope, I'm not affiliated with Rpgnow, but thought some of you might want to know about the deal.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Warcon 2012: ASL, Musket&Pike and Force on Force

Warcon, a small con held under the wing of the Finnish boardgames association was held in the city of Tampere this year, and I was able to attend for one day instead of the full weekend. I wasn't disappointed though as I got all the games on my wishlist played.

Third Reich being played at Warcon. It seems Germany again makes the mistake of letting political leaders determine military strategy.

First I played a pre-con game of ASL with a local player at his apartment. Nearly all the games of ASL I've played have been against the same opponent I've learned the rules with, so there were some fundamental errors we had made in our interpretation of the rules, it seems. Anyway, the scenario was D - Hedgehog of Piepsk. The scenario pits an overwhelming horde of Soviet conscripts against a few German squads hidden in a village. The Germans are badly outnumbered but have off-board artillery and deploy hidden. I won the match pretty much by marching over the defenders with conscripts and engaging them in melee. Didn't seem very balanced but I had a good time and had a chance to repair some falsely learned rules. Here's some pictures with commentary in the images:

I said goodbye to my opponent and went to the Warcon venue. The previous years have seen the event held in a cramped space in Helsinki with little to none parking space and expensive lodging. This years' event was held in Tampere at a cafeteria of the local stadium and I found it had plenty of playing space and good parking. You could also sleep on the floor there if on a tight budget. An excellent choice! I hope the event will be organized there for years to come.

Napoleon's triumph.
An excellent looking Lovecraftian skirmish game.

A gloomy atmosphere in the countryside of New England.

My second game for the day was a prearranged Musket&Pike match. We played the battle of Breitenfeld, which was the largest battle of the 30 years war. I've only played small games before and this one was way bigger than the ones before. The Musket&Pike system scales well however, and moving tens of thousands of men was quite quick once you decided what to do with them. Commentary embedded in the pictures again, I think the situation is easier to make out that way.

 In a nutshell the Swedish attacked on the right half of the field with good timing and rolls. The Catholics had a hard time defending and their cavalry all but melted away. My opponent suffered from rotten rolls, but he could have pressed against the Saxon wing of the Swedish army more aggressively, as they were poor quality troops and collapsed as soon as he started attacking them. We determined the game was already decided at the end of turn 5 of 12, and called it a day. The Catholics had lost several units more than the Swedes, as well as their army commander. The Catholics still had a chance I think, but it would have been an uphill struggle, especially with practically no way of preventing the Swedes from rolling over their artillery (very costly in VP's).

Casualties of the day.

My last game for the day was a game of Force on Force. I've heard a lot of good things about the rules and I was interested to try them out. Luckily the local wargamers brought a demo game to the event and had time to play it with me.
The scenario was set during a fictional escalation of Cold War hostilities in Europe. Soviet forces attack a small village held by Dutch troops. Both sides had about a platoon of troops and the Soviets also had a platoon of armored troop transports. The goal of the Soviets was to take the crossroads and prevent the defenders from getting away.

Opening setup. Soviets enter from the roads to the top, bottom and right of this image. Dutch troops hold the buildings.
The Soviets advance in the cover of the woods.
Dutch snipers open fire on the Soviet squad on the road.
The APC's open fire on the building but are all but destroyed themselves by the return fire.
A firefight ensues on the streets. The Dutch evacuate the buildings and the Soviets occupy the vacated territory.
Situation at the end. The APC platoon is destroyed and the Soviet forces have suffered casualties while taking the crossroads. All Dutch units are incapacitated.
The game was quick to learn and fast to play, exactly what I like in a miniatures game. The rules we used were quite basic though, and I didn't see what "it" was that makes the rules so highly thought of. Probably I'd need a game with the advanced stuff to become a convert, but it was great fun nonetheless!

At that point the clock was past 3 AM, and I had to drive to a wedding in Jyväskylä the next day, so I called it a night. I had a great day of games and got plenty of ideas for future projects.

Red Winter in progress as I prepare to leave in the morning.