Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Chain of Command mini-campaign set during Market Garden

I got a game of Chain of Command in and decided with my opponent that we would start playing a four game mini-campaign I found in Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy #74. Excellent magazine by the way, I traded my Wargames Illustrated sub for it and couldn't be more pleased! Amyway, the campaign pits a British paratrooper platoon against a green SS platoon during Operation Market Garden. It gives us a reason to try out At the Sharp End, the campaign supplement for Chain of Command. We rolled out our own personal commanders and all.

The German platoon

The British paras (part played by BEF, I think)

The first scenario was  a recon mission with the platoons bumping into each other along a Dutch highway. Commentary in the pictures.

A defeat for my Germans, but only a minor one. The Brits ended up surviving without a single casualty, the Germans lost one man permanently and a couple of miss-next-games. This is good as crippling the platoons right at he start of the campaign would be quite boring.

I'll tell you more about the campaign system and such after we do our second game in the near future. Suffice to say now, Chain of Command is really growing on me and I think it provides the best "feel" of commanding a platoon of troops I've yet experienced. The fact that it's a campaign also provides an additional layer of realism as neither player can sacrifice too many troops just to win one scenario.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Kinkkucon 2015: Some Chain of Command and Here I Stand

I only had the opportunity to attend my local con, Kinkkucon for one day this year. Still, I got a couple of good games in. GMT's Here I Stand was the main event but I also umpired a demo game of Chain of Command for a couple of players. One of them was new to miniatures gaming so I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a new convert! Here's the pics:

And a couple from the Here I Stand game. I played France and was badly mauled by the Hapsburgs and England. The pope won.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Lion Rampant Old School Fantasy

I'm always on the lookout for games that would allow me to get some play off my fantasy figures. I think I found just the excuse today in the form of Osprey's Lion Rampant.

The game is a low complexity semi-skirmish game of Medieval combat. Players take command of a warband of about 40-60 models, divided into groups of around ten models. Nothing fancy and quite generic, but it's quick to learn and does have some tactical depth to it. There are plenty of rules recaps on the blogs already so I won't bother writing one.

The generic nature of the game means it can be easily adapted for low fantasy gaming. You don't have rules for flying, firebreathing dragons, but you can proxy a "fierce foot" unit as orcs or treat magic as ranged attacks.

We played a 30 point game instead of the standard 24 one to be able to include more "heroic" units as befits fantasy, but otherwise all the units are pretty much just the typical Lion Rampant archetype units. Here's the lists we used:

The Realms of Men:

The Fellowship of Adventurers (Foot Men-at-Arms with bows, 6 models) @ 8 pts
The Knights who say Ni! (Mounted Men-at-Arms with General, 6 models) @ 6 pts
Pikemen (Foot Serjeant spearmen, 12 models) @ 4 pts
Pikemen (Foot Serjeant spearmen, 12 models) @ 4 pts
Crossbowmen (12 models) @ 4 points
Crossbowmen (12 models) @ 4 points

"The fellowship of adventurers" is your basic adventuring fantasy party capable on kicking ass in melee and giving some ranged damage
These Dogs of War pikemen saw the light of day for the first time in maybe 8 years. I used them as spearmen.

The Greenskin horde:

Orcish Warriors (Fierce foot with General, 12 models) @ 4 pts
Monstrous Trolls (Foot Men-at-Arms, 2 x 3 wound models) @ 6 pts
Monstrous Trolls (Foot Men-at-Arms, 2 x 3 wound models) @ 6 pts
Goblin Spider Riders (Mounted Serjeants, 6 models) @ 4 pts
Goblin Spearmen (Foot Yeomen, 12 models) @ 3 pts 
Goblin Spearmen (Foot Yeomen, 12 models) @ 3 pts
Goblin Archers (Archers, 12 models) @ 4 pts

To learn the rules we played just the basic line-em-up Bloodbath scenario without the boasting rules. Here's the setup:

 Tactically the game was pretty straightforward. Hills were taken, lines were drawn, forests navigated and blows exchanged. The elite units such as cavalry and trolls performed well, but even archer units can provide effective and deadly close combat rolls.

There was a cinematic fight between the trolls and adventurers for several turns According to my opponent, they were in it strictly for the EXP and loot.

Victory belongs to the Realms of Men!
At first it felt odd that eachclose combat was handled one at a time so that only one unit could attack another at a time, but in practice it worked out well and was quick to play out. Also the 3" buffer rule (no units may move within 3" of each other unless retreating) gave the game some needed tactical complexity once you learned how to leverage it to your benefit. The combat has a nice ebb-and-flow feel to it, although I felt like an army morale system with say, a break test at 50% point losses would be in order.

The game went well and was an effective proof of concept that the rules translate well for fantasy gaming as long as you don't miss spectacular wizardry and flying units. The "vanilla" unit archetypes will not work 100% though. In our game, Trolls were too easy to activate, and Goblin archers were too effective in close combat. I think I'll have a crack at making whole new units for the Greenskins to give them more racial flavour, but it doesn't need anything more than a little tweaking on the unit stats and prices. Drop be a line if you want to contribute!

UPDATE: Here's a draft on a greenskin army list for Lion Rampant. I've done some minor adjustments on the unit stats, but in strict moderation. Any input would be very much appreciated. I think the orcs are still easy to adapt, but the Undead might prove tricky.