Sunday, 17 June 2018

What A Tanker ... first game

Yesterday we tried the new tnak combat rules What A Tanker, published by Too Fat Lardies.
We were underwhelmed.

Although it was a moderately fun game, we couldn't see why this game gets the praise in some of the reviews published in magazines or in the blogosphere. Sure, it is meant as a light-hearted game, but even light-hearted games should be designed well.

I won't give a proper review here (many of others have done that before), but I'll simply list our observations:
  • The game is quite random. No matter how careful you manoeuvre your tanks around the table, a single hit can mean game over. In one of our games, both my tanks were eliminated on the first incoming shot ...
  • There is a discrepancy in the detail of some of the procedures. Movement is explained carefully in the rules, stipulating how much a tank can wheel, how much your turret can rotate etc,. but then the other procedures such as acquisition of a target and aiming are quite coarse. That doesn't result in an elegant gaming engine.
  • Firing is overly complicated, with a distinction between hits and critical hits, then a save roll, then having to count whether you scored more critical hits than others, which might result in temporary or permanent damage ... the whole procedure was not that quick and not that elegant either. On the one hand you have to keep track of accumulating damage, on the other hand a tank can be destroyed when you score 3 hits in a single shot. That doesn't match well as a gaming mechanic ... 
  • There is a campaign system, getting more skills in subsequent games by scoring more kills. But why bother if the kill rate can be so random?
  • The game felt as one of our Wild West games, in which every player has a shootist, and if you're unlucky, you get a headshot in the first round of the game. Great fun, but apparantly the concept doesn't translate that well to tank warfare. Other people have compared it to a game such as Wings of War.
Overall, I don't think the game would have gotten this much attention if it wasn't published by Too Fat Lardies.  It is obviously an attempt to bring a computer game such as World of Tanks (WoT? WaT?) to the gaming table. But the result is not too much to my liking.

Anyway, here are the pictures of our games. The games were a good opportunity to bring out our collection of WW2 Eastern Front vehicles (which belonged to various former members of our gaming group), which go back a long time. See The Battle for Gross-Untendorf, a game we played in 1997, one of our earliest battle reports published online!

Bart is studying the battlefield. 20mm Eastern Front. The Russian tank started in the far-left corner, the German tank in the opposite corner.
Another view of the battlefield.
Russian T34 hiding behind a hedge and a house.
Russian T34 and German armour - a PzKpfw IV (although we used a different model guess which one :-)) trying to outmanoeuvre each other in the village.
The Germans were able to sneak behind the Russians and hit them in the back. Game over.
Game 2. Same tanks, but we added a tank destroyer on both sides. Both tank destroyers faced each other along the main road. First shot by Ivan, and the Germans were destroyed.
Full hit!
More tactical tinkering ...
The remaining German tank is trying to use the woods as cover.
... but is hit by Ivan the terrible when he comes out of the woods. Game over. The Russians had to fire twice, and twice, the German vehicle was destroyed immediately.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

An Early Warhammer Review

I was adding issue #6 from Miniature Wargaming (published in 1983) to the Wargaming Magazine Index (now counting over 4000 entries), and suddenly came upon this review of the first edition of Warhammer. Since Warhammer was published in 1983, this must be one of the earliest reviews of Warhammer available.

Sunday, 13 May 2018

An unexpected find ... more old Citadel figures

Sometimes you discover something unexpected, even within your own collection.

I recently finished the 12 figures in the photograph below. I bought these as a "Pirate" set from Wargames/Guernsey Foundry in 1997, but they remained unpainted in my leadpile for over 20 years.

When I was looking through my collection of old White Dwarfs, to loop up a reference for the Knights of the Cleansing Flame (see this blogpost), I suddenly saw a picture of a fencing figure in White Dwarf 63, exactly the same figure I was painting at that moment (a remarkable coincidence, and completely true!). The photo I am talking about is the photo on the bottom-right of the page ...

Moreover, the photo on the same page, upper-right showed some more figures of this Pirate set I was painting. Quickly reading the caption, it said: "New from Citadel are their range of Rogues ..." (there is also an amusing anecdote about Steve Jackson). It is well-known that a number of old Citadel figures transferred to Wargames Foundry, and apparently, these Pirates must have done so as well.

I quickly went over to the Stuff of Legends website to browse through old Citadel flyers and catalogues, and I found a reference to these Rogues in a flyer from October 1984:

Most of the Pirates in my photograph can be seen in the drawings in this flyer, except for the two figures on the far right, the Town Lady and Powder Monkey. I haven't been able to identify them in old Citadel flyers, so perhaps these are Wargames Foundry after all, and were added to to set when repackaged as Pirates?

So, I have more vintage Citadel figures in my collection than I thought!

Sunday, 6 May 2018

An old toy castle

Somewhere in the mid-nineties, I bought a vacuum-formed plastic castle from a toy shop that was closing its doors. It looks a bit like the old Elastolin castles, but I guess it is one of the later replicas.

Anyway, I kept the castle for many years, and never really used it in a game, apart from the now infamous Lowenheim game I ran in the attic of my previous house in 2006.

Then, I gave the castle to my younger nephews, along with a lot of plastic soldiers, in the hope of planting the wargaming bug. We still have to see about that, but I think the force is strong in one of them - he is addicted to a D&D dungeon-exploration boardgame (also one of my gifts), a promising sign.

Anyway, since those nephews all have reached the double-digit age at which they consider castles and toy soldiers beneath their dignity, the castle has come back to me, still in excellent condition.

Time to set up another game ... ! A siege perhaps?

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Knights of the Cleansing Flame

A recent acquisition ... an unopened blister RR10 (Avenging) Knights of the Cleansing Flame, one of the Regiments of Renown for Warhammer back in the 80s. A nice addition to my Oldhammer collection.

These are the type of figures I drooled over when I was a young wargamer, studying every detail of them in Citadel catalogues and flyers, or in White Dwarf.

Here you see the original advert, in my copy of WD 66 (June 1985):

A full history of Regiments of the Renown, and the different releases and packaging, can be read on the Stuff of Legends website.

Friday, 27 April 2018

Box full of plastic

Every now and then I clean out my wargaming storage room. It's amazing what you find sometimes.

Here's a box full of plastic animals and soldiers, some already pretty old (and I recognize some I already owned as a kid).  I love using plastic parts from animals to make conversions for fantasy creatures, but sometimes too much stuff is too much stuff.

I guess this box will find its way to the 2nd hand store pretty soon ...

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

A new donation to the Wargames Magazines Database

Yesterday, long-time gaming pal Graham donated approximately 170 issues of Miniature Wargames to the Wargames Magazine Index project. There might be a few doubles in there with magazines already in the archives, but the donation also included a complete run of issues 1-50!

Many thanks!

Rommel game

Last night we tried our second Rommel game. Bart had set up a large gaming board, so it was a bit of an experiment to try the rules on such a large scale. The scenario was based on Arnhem, using 6mm figures and 3D terrain. Many of the houses depicting the city of Arnhem were 3D printed, using Bart's in-house 3D printer.

What did we learn?
  • It is important to have multiple objectives. Now the single objective was the bridge, so all forces converged on that point on the table. This by itself is not due to Rommel, but it is something to keep in mind for future scenarios.
  • The rules engine is fluid enough, but it is a bit cumbersome to keep track (using markers) of the status of all units: tipped, wounds.
  • We also used cards instead of a Command Post sheet (see previous blogposts). It worked a bit better in my opinion, but YMMV.
Pre-game pondering. The table is still cluttered with all sorts of things, not our habit!
Eddy is holding the bowl of crisps, Graham and Bart are discussing tactics.


Cartoon from The New Yorker.

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Cards for Rommel

Next week we're planning a big Rommel game - see also this blogpost. In our last Rommel game, we used the Command Posts as provided by the rules, but we thought using cards might be a better option (and less fiddly). When putting a marker on an Event or Tactic, one simply discards the card from hand.

I started by making cards for the Allied and German armies.

You can download a pdf of all the cards here.