Thursday, 30 November 2017

Vintage Blisters

I have a soft spot for old miniatures.

Recently, I acquired through a number of different sources, a variety of unopened old blisters, dating back the the late eighties and early nineties. See the picture below for some of these goodies.

Somehow, they always invoke this particular nostalgic feeling of enjoyment you had when visiting the local gaming shop, and buying a few blisters with the little money you had available.

I am still not sure whether I will actually open them and paint the miniatures inside, or simply keep them in their current condition and display them in the wargaming room ... I think I already know the answer!

Cairion sul Viridis, Master of Bough, Leaf and Crown

I featured this figure in a Wet Paint post earlier, but here he is again, all based and dolled up for your viewing pleasure:

As an interesting aside, the tree is one I 3D printed using the STL files from Printable Scenery, with Woodlands Scenics clump foliage glued on as leaves.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Deir el Tarfa - pictures

As Phil posted earlier, we did a first playtest game of Rommel last week -- Counterattack at Deir el Tarfa. I refer you to his post for details, but here's some pictures taken during the game:

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Rommel - a first playtest

Rommel is a recent ruleset designed by Sam Mustafa. Yesterday we tried out our first game using these rules.

The game we played was based on the introductory scenario in the rulebook "Counter Attack at Deir El Tarfa" (which can be freely downloaded).

We made some changes to the setup:
  • We used a hexgrid instead of a squaregrid.
  • We made the playing area - measured in gridcells - somewhat larger than the default 12x8 size as recommended in the rulebook. I felt this would provide some additional manoeuvring space. After all, moving toy soldiers around is the purpose of any wargame.
  • Instead of using Ops dice, we used counters. You don't need to roll these Ops dice at all, so why not use simple counters instead?
  • "Tipping" was replaced by a red counter next to the unit, and we kept track of hits per unit by placing little skull markers. I felt that using labels per unit as suggested in the original rules looked a bit clumsy. Whether these skull markers looks more or less clumsy instead ... a matter of personal taste I guess :-) We could also have used little pebbles that would be less intrusive for the overall visual look.
The setup, using 15mm Flames pf War figures, looked as follows:

Our setup for the Rommel game. I always try to make the tbale visually as attractive as possible.
Note the addition of scenery items near the edge of the table. Each side also has a 54mm toy soldier to use as a "token" and "good-luck totem".

Another view of the table, with units ready to get set up. The four objectives in the scenario are the four built-up areas.
So, how did the game play?

The game definitely was fun, moved quickly, and there was a lot of action. We ended 16 turns in approximately 3.5 hours, so that's not too bad. The last turn saw an all-out offensive by the Axis to try to capture a victory objective, but the offensive came too late.

A close-up of the final German attacks against one of the victory objectives. Note the use of red counters for "tipping" and skull markers for "hits".

 During our post-game debriefing, the following issues with the rules and tactics came up:
  • The combat table is very dependent on the die roll. For some combat factors, the spread between rolling a 1 or a 6 can result in 1 or 4 hits - a significant difference.
  • The combat mechanic uses 2 different types of modifiers: a change of combat factor pre-roll, and a shift up or down the table post-roll. That seemed not so elegant to us. As you can read on our Wargaming Mechanics blog, such mix of modifiers should be avoided.
  • Most of our units clustered in groups of 3 in a single hex. It didn't seem very smart to send out lonely units. 
  • An attack should be carefully planned. Usually, you cannot eliminate the defender in a first tactical operation, and you will get pushed back and "tipped". That means you are now at half combat value, so the defender can easily hit you back next round. We had some trouble with understanding this mechanic early on, but later in the game we managed to coordinate our attacks and use several "follow-up" attacks in subsequent tactical phases.
  • One other thing we noticed is that the Ops Sheets were a bit awkward to work with: small letters, and counters got shifted around. So perhaps we should use a hand of cards instead - using a tactic then means discarding a card. It also facilitates choosing tactics in secret. This idea is also floating around on the Rommel forum, and I guess some people have used this mechanic already in their own games.
We might have gotten some things wrong, so we should reread the rules and give the game another try. But overall, it was a pleasant experience.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Wet Paint - forest mage

Allow me to introduce: Cairion sul Viridis, Master of Bough, Leaf and Crown, Keeper of the Azure Flame and Guardian of the Furthest Reaches:

I am (slowly) building a fantasy force with a forest theme, and this guy will be its commander, and he might even show up in my roleplaying campaign. I have no idea where I got the figure -- it was of some boutique fantasy miniature webshop somewhere. All I know is that the figure came in two parts (the main body and the hands and upper part of the staff) and is in resin. If anybody recognises the figure, give a yell :).

Ah yes -- the little guy sitting in front of him is his familiar Fred. He's a fungus. Fred the Familiar Fungus, as it were :)

Update: I found where I got the figure. He's the Scibor Miniatures elf mage.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Wet Paint: IR 30 - De Ligne

These guys have been on my painting table for so long that they have featured as background for numerous 'wet paint' shots, but here they are finally finished. These are Austrian Infantry Regiment 30 De Ligne. I chose these to paint because they recruited in what was later to become Belgium but was then the Austrian Netherlands. I also lived very close to a Prince De Ligne street back in my Leuven days, so there's some connection there as well :). The figures are Perry plastics and the flag is from Maverick Models.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Lesser Orcs of the Red Eye

As part of our Crisis 2017 game, we painted up vintage fantasy figures that were around when Warhammer 1st edition was published (1983).

We showed some Minifigs Forest Orcs before, but didn't show these "Lesser Orcs of the Red Eye" yet. They were originally released by Custom Cast in 1975, and later by Der Kriegspielers.

Friday, 10 November 2017

Saxons intercept Romano-British supply convoy - mayhem ensues

This game was played a while ago at my place, before Crisis somewhere in October. It was an Ancients game using my Romano-British and Saxon/hairy barbarian collections in a scenario from one of CS Grants excellent scenario books. The scenario was 'Wagon train' and involved the Romano-British attempting to get a wagon train of supplies to a hill fort while the Saxons must prevent this. The rules used were Hail Caesar. Phil played the Saxons, I played the Romano-British. Scroll down past the photos for the result of the game :).

The game ended in a Saxon victory, after the Saxons broke the final Romano-British unit between them and the wagon train -- the comitatus itself. During the game, it looked like the Romano-British cavalry would sweep all before them, but they took to long to recover from a breakthrough and march back to the main battle to prevent more Saxon infantry to break through the comitatus and capture the wagon train. Oh well :)

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Game for Crisis 2017: Oldhammer WFB1 scenario, Ziggurat of Doom (7)

Finally, we ran our Oldhammer 1st edition game at CRISIS. The raw photographs are shown below.

We followed the original scenario "The Ziggurat of Doom" quite literally, although each side rolled a D6 at the start of the turn for reinforcements. A natural 6 resulted in an additional monster, by drawing a card from the deck. This was a gimmick to bring out some of the old monster miniatures, but was quite fun.A Balrog could also appear from the depths of the Ziggurat, ending the game immediately.

Overall, the game ran pretty smooth, although we were a bit surprised by how clunky some of the mechanics are compared to modern tastes. E.g. at the start of of every turn, we had to roll for stupidity of troops, roll for Jabberwock effects, roll for going into or out of Frenzy, etc. It was all very entertaining though.

The best part of the game was that many older gamers passed by, and started chatting about the "good old days of fantasy wargaming" and "games were so much better when we were young". Although this is nostalgia at work (and one tends to forget all the boring games we had back then as well), it is exactly one of the effects a game such as this is aiming for.

We also had some younger players passing by asking how this is different from 8th edition and Age of Sigmar. To which my non-informed answer invariably was: It's still the same set of rules! :-)

The pictures - all taken with my iPad:

General overview of the table.
... another general overview.
Thorgrimm Branedimm is defending the gate to the Ziggurat.
A few of the quick referene cards, to facilitate looking up statistics.
The vintage miniatures drew the most attention. We tried to have miniatures that were all pre-1983 (and thus would have been available when Warhammer was first published), but a few dated from the mid-80s.
The origin of each miniature was also listed on its reference card. The Treeman is scratch-built (see earlier blogposts ...)
Although I brought only a small collection of my Oldhammer monsters, I aimed for the most iconic ones that would be recognized by most veteran gamers.
Guthnog Bristlenose charging in a Frenzied mode Sigrud Slendershank, one of the Dwarf defenders.
One of the random reinforcements, a Jabberwock, came to aid the goblins, We found out during the game that under the original rules, a Jabberwock is invincible.
Goblins storming th Ziggurat. The dwarf player could choose the direction from which the goblins entered, so he choose the side where the Ziggurat had no stairs ...
A giant eagle lurking in the woods.
More action around the Ziggurat.
Guthnog Bristlenose fighting with Thorgrimm Branedimm on the first level of the Ziggurat. This run of the game ended after Guthnog was slain.