Monday, July 29, 2013

Battletech Alpha Strike out now

Just a note that you can now purchase the standalone version of the Battletech Quick-Strike miniatures rules as a downloadable PDF for fifteen US dollars. It will also be released as a hardback book later but the cost will be three times as much so I grabbed mine now here:

At a glance, the quick-strike rules seem to be intact, but there's a whole lot of meat around the bones to add all the non-mech elements of 31st century warfare into the mix and run a campaign. Lots of eye candy too. For a more detailed coverage head over to Itinerant Hobbyist's blog. He seems to have an in depth tutorial running.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Athens refuses to yield earth and water

After getting those oo shiny Baccus Greeks last year it took only this long for me to get started with them. The first batch of hoplites is now ready. I wanted to make the models as flexible as possible in terms of compatibility, and by adopting the Warmaster Ancients basing I can play WMA, Hail Caesar and Impetus at least. I didn't consider the DBx games as their basing is the strictest of them all. 

The period I'm aiming for is the time of the greco-persian wars and the peloponnesian war and I drew my visual inspiration for the period from various Osprey titles. During the period (as far as I know) each hoplite supplied his own equipment and was free to choose the shield design he wanted. This made hoplites a colourful sight. Even Spartans had different shield designs and the uniform look with everyone having the Lakonian symbol came at some point during the Peloponnesian wars, so these models can be used to represent pretty much every Greek state without diverging too much from history.

At first I thought about saving some models and basing only two ranks on one 4cm*2cm stand, and I think I would've gotten away with it:

This way I think you get to appreciate the shields more than with three ranks. With three ranks the shields in the back rows are lost in the unit and difficult to spot. However, hoplite formations were sometimes as much as 16 men deep, so two ranks doesnt really convey that idea. I consulted my wife on the matter and she favoured three ranks as looking better. She also said it "would be just a small effort for me to paint a few hundred extra models". Oh, well.

Anyway, let me know what you think! I've already basecoated a code of the attacking hoplites which look more dynamic. I'll post pics of them too once I'm finished.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Get 'em while they're young

I submit to your eyes damning evidence of yours truly gleefully corrupting the youth! A friend and his family was visiting and their children, aged four and two were intrigued by my cabinet of miniatures. When they heard the models were not toys but playing pieces in games, they asked if they could play. Naturally I was happy to oblige. I dug up some Bretonnians and Orcs and set up a simple scenario with the knights chasing away a band of orcs who were harassing a farm. I made up the rules as we played. One side moved first, then attacked. Then the other side moved and attacked. Mounted figures moved 10 inches, figures on foot moved four inches. One D6 was rolled per attacking model. A bowman scored a kill on a 6+, a melee attack killed on a 5+ and a charging knight felled his opponent on a 3+. Naturally there was no talk of killing anyone but the knights rather scared the orcs back into the forest.

The boys showed remarkable restraint when following my instructions, and the four year old even had some tactics in mind. When I asked who his bowman will shoot this turn the young Strategos replied: "The orc with the sword, as he cant shoot me back!". On the other hand, when I asked the two year old to "roll the die and try to hit the orc" he took it literally and tossed the die at the orc and was disappointed when he missed.

 The game was finished in maybe 10 minutes and resulted in a glorious victory for the boys! I believe they'll want to play again tomorrow :)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Gettysburg 150th anniversary game using Volley & Bayonet and Baccus 6mm

I cannot give you a thorough writeup now as I'm away on a working trip in Sardinia, but I wanted to do a post on the anniversary anyway.

We played the game on Saturday and it was a great evening of gaming, drinking and sauna. Volley and Bayonet proved to be a competent ruleset for this scale of gaming. It feels lightweight and is easy to teach, but still offers players plenty of tactical options and problems. Still, playing the game took longer than I anticipated and after 12 hours we had to stop. We played until turn five on the second day and even though neither army had not yet been beaten, it felt clear that the Confederates would run out of steam even though they dominated the field on the first day. The Union players just keep getting those fresh corps all the time on day 2. I'm not sure if we messed up the scenario by shifting the Union reinforcement road from Baltimore Pike to Taneytown Road after the Confederates took Culps hill. We reasoned the Union forces would not enter the field so close to the front line and would reroute their forces for Day 2.

The table was the biggest I've built at about 280 cm * 180 cm. Even with simple modular terrain and painters tape for roads and streams it took about 5 hours just to assemble on the night before the game. Still, I'm happy I have the space to accommodate a game like this in my house now (as long as my wife and child evacuate before the fighting starts ;)

A.P.Hill's Corps has taken McPherson's ridge and prepares to assault the seminary ridge. To the left, Ewell's Corps is pushing towards Gettysburg.

The situation at the start of the second day. Ewell managed to push the Union off Culps hill and Cemetery hill and has built works during the night along the line. Longstreet has arrived on the field and has marched on the Confederate right flank. Gettysburg lies in ruins after catching fire on Day 1.

As more and more Union forces stream to the battlefield the Confederates realize it's now or never. The Union line is strongest on the flanks but weaker in the center so the assault is targeted there. The fighting starts at 6 AM and the Confederate forces enjoy initial success. However, the Union center has defensive depth and the attack loses momentum. At 10 AM on day 2 we decide to stop playing.