Thursday, 24 May 2012

Broadside 2012

I was just reading Ray Rousell's Don't Throw a One blog and spotted that the Milton Hundred Wargames Club have had some problems with magazine adverts for their Broadside show which is coming up soon in Sittingbourne.

Having gone along to the show last year, I was planning to go again and support them as its nice to have a new addition to the show calendar - especially one which is a bit more accessible than some of the bigger shows.

So, if Sittingbourne isn't too far, why not come along on Sunday, 10th June to the Swallows Leisure Centre, Central Avenue, Sittingbourne, Kent, ME10 4NT?  You can always indulge in a little blogger-spotting as there will be a few of us there!

Friday, 18 May 2012

First Look: Bush Wars

Bush Wars is the sixth supplement for Force on Force and, as you might have guessed from the title, covers conflicts in Africa between 1960 and 2010.  The book runs to 144 pages plus 6 pages of Fog of War cards (9 per page).

After a brief introduction the book has five sections covering various periods of conflict in Africa each with its own overview and set of scenarios.  This is then followed by a large range of sample unit organisations, vehicle information and a brief miniatures guide.  It's finished off with a glossary and acronym guide (essential for Africa), bibliography, artwork references and the Fog of War cards.  The book is in the standard style we have come to expect from Osprey Force on Force, full colour with various illustrations and photos of miniatures.

The conflicts covered are:

  • The Congo Crisis, 1960-66
  • The Portuguese Colonial Wars
  • The Rhodesian Bush War, 1964-1979
  • The South African Border War, 1966-89
  • Recent conflicts focussing in particular on Operation Barras in Sierra Leone
The organisation section provides units for each of the conflicts.

Overall this looks like an excellent addition to the Force on Force library and I am really looking forward to reading through it properly.

It's currently available from Amazon at a decent discount from the £14.99 RRP:

Sunday, 13 May 2012

WW2: British Paras

Here are a few quick shots of the figures I finished basing this morning, some 28mm Wargames Foundry WW2 British Paratroopers:

The photos were taken quite quickly and having looked at them I see I need to think about lighting as the flash seems to reflect a bit off the tufts.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

KR Multicase: 50 Figure Tray

When KR Multicase originally sold their cases (back when they were KaiserRushforth) they had 36 compartment tray (F3T) which was 32mm deep and so suitable for 28mm figures on 1 inch bases.  Then they issued a tray with 40 compartments (N3T) of the same depth and recently they have a 50 compartment tray (M3T).  I did a comparison of the 36 vs 40 compartment trays when I first got one of the latter (see here) and now I have a box of the 50 slot trays I thought I post some comparison photos against the 40 slot tray.

Obviously the main difference between the three trays is the slot size:
  • 36 slot: 52mm x 32mm
  • 40 slot: 50mm x 25mm
  • 50 slot: 40mm x 25mm
I wasn't really happy with the 36 slot trays because the slots were too big for all but the largest of figures and as I don't have many of those I wanted one which was a little more of a snug fit and also more space efficient.  I have been happy with the 40 slot trays but even these are often taller than I need even for figures with bayonets.  So with space still a concern I was rather interested when they released the 50 slot.

Here are the 40 slot and 50 slot trays with some 28mm figures from the Perry Sudan range:

If you are counting you will have noticed that I have managed to get additional command figures in the new tray which were stored in a separate tray (a huge relief for my OCD!).

Here are some close up shots of a single row of 5 slots from each:

As you can see even the shorter slots in the new trays give these figures plenty of room - of course the others with bayonets are a tighter fit but only the figures running at high porte have the blades actually sticking into the foam.  Incidentally the figures in the pictures are on 20mm bases.

Clearly figures with spears and the like are often going to need the larger slots of the 40 compartment tray but for everything else the extra 10 slots per tray are a huge improvement.

First Look: Maurice

Since four possible choices for rules for my Marlburian project clearly weren't enough, I decided to pick up a copy of Maurice too.

The main rulebook is softback and 112 pages long.  It is split into two main sections, the Basic Game and the Advanced Game.   The first section covers the introduction, game set up, an overview of play, movement, volley & bombardment (firing), combat and some housekeeping.  The second section covers Epic (campaign) Points, Notables (personalities), optional advanced rules, historical scenarios, the Succession Wars campaign system and the Quick Reference Sheets.  The book is US letter size, generally in two columns and full colour.  The rules are clearly explained with examples, diagrams and interspersed with pictures of figures etc.

The rules are intended to cover a century of warare - 1690 to 1790.  This is quite a range and there were a significant changes in tactics over that time.  In addition, the unit and ground scales are flexible.  So these are clearly intended to lean more towards the game end rather than the simulation end of the spectrum.

Units are artillery, regular or irregular infantry and cavalry.  They are intended to be represented by four bases although other than for formation representation I am not sure this is critical as there is no figure or base removal.  Distances are all stated in "Base Widths" and so can be used irrespective of the actual basing of the figures.

The system relies heavily on cards, is IGO-UGO but with the chance to interrupt actions if you have the appropriate card.  The cards themselves are available separately (in a rather nice box), you can download the ones for the Basic Game from the website (but not for the Advanced Game).  A card based system for random terrain generation is included based around a fairly standard table set up and there is a points based system to create pick up and play games.

Each player has an initial hand of cards, which is usually larger for the player designated as the attacker.  These Action Cards are either Interrupt Cards (which can be played in the opponent's turn), Event Cards (which may be played to cause the card text to come into effect) or Modifier Cards (which can be used to improve the various Actions).  All the cards have a Span number on them as well and can be played for this rather than their other role (more of than later).

A game is played in alternating rounds with the attacker going first.  The active player can decide whether there will be a volley phase in the round (where infantry will fire) although the passive player can reverse this decision if they have the appropriate card.  The active player then has a choice to Pass, play an Event or play an Action.  Passing allows you to draw three cards into your hand (up to a normal maximum total hand size of 10) but do nothing else.  Playing an Event allows you to play an Event Card and have the text occur but does not allow you to draw any cards.  Playing an Action allows you to activate a group of units to march, charge, rally or, if they are artillery, bombard.  The more aggressive the action the less cards you get the draw into your hand.

The groups of units you can activate are quite limited, they must be of the same type, in the same formation and in the terrain that has the same impact on movement.  In order to activate a group you need to play cards the sum of whose Span numbers is equivalent to or greater than the distance between the C in C and the nearest unit of the group.  In addition you can play Modifier Cards which are relevant to the action they are performing.

Movement is dependent on unit type, formation and terrain and formation changes are neatly handled with both having the appropriate limitations for the period.  Oblique movement is available as an advanced rule to be included for games later in the periods covered.

Firing consists of a roll to hit which must then be converted to a Disruption.  Units can usually take 4 Disruptions before they evaporate.  The rally action can be used to remove Disruptions.  Melee is an opposed dice roll added to a modified combat value for the unit quality (Elite, Trained, Conscript etc.).

A game will run until the card deck has been run through a couple of times (a reshuffle card is added after the first time through, which allows the discard deck to be shuffled back into the draw pile and then removed after it appears) or when an Army's morale breaks.  If the card deck is exhausted then night is deemed to have fallen and control of a pre-determined objective determines victory.

The advanced rules provide for Epic Points which are useable in a campaign context; Notables who are attached to individual units and can provide them with benefits or, indeed handicaps (this is the age of nepotism!); reinforcements, engineering, pikes, additional artillery rules and an outline of how to play with two players per side (using two card decks, I note).

Guidance for scenario designers is also included along with three historical scenarios - the Battles of Fontenoy in 1745, Kolin in 1757 and Brandywine in 1777.  The Succession Wars section then provides a simply framework for playing campaigns and there are a few FAQs and the five page QRS to finish off (although it should be noted that the QRS is bound in and there isn't a separate one provided - a pdf is available to download though).

Overall, I am impressed by the presentation (although it ought to be good considering the price!), the card based approach looks very interesting but I am slightly worried that it may end up being a little too abstract - only actually playing will tell that though.  It will certainly be interesting to compare these to the other rules I have for the period.

Monday, 7 May 2012

The Mutiny: Light Company Sepoys

A few last additions to my Mutiny collection - this time some sepoy from the light company.  Once again the figures are from Mutineer Miniatures:

Sunday, 6 May 2012

First Play: The Devil's Wind

My initial look at The Devil's Wind left me feeling a little disappointed; however, rules are all about how they play so I decided to get a few figures together and give them a go.

The rules are intended for multi-figure bases and my figures are individually based but this didn't prove to be a problem as I simply placed groups of 4 figures together with a small gap between them and treated them as a base.

I was keen to try out the Mutineer auto generation rules as I don't always have an opponent to play against.  So I had a small British column advancing onto the table encountering a large Mutineer force across a small waterway.  I kept the terrain to a minimum to simplify things.

The turn sequence is the traditional movement, firing, melee and morale ("pluck") with the British forces activating first in the movement and firing phases.  Movement is dependent on your troop type and formation with regular foot moving 3 inches in square, 4 in line, 5 in open order and 6 in column.  Rough terrain reduces this to 3 inches irrespective of formation.  In addition you can make an "action move" which increases the distance but can't be used to move into contact nor can it be used in consecutive turns.

Firing is a d6 per figure, the number of figures depending on the range, with the target number listed on a table.  Any hits then need to be converted to kills by rolling them against another target number and finally, if the unit is in cover, they may roll to save against small arms.  Melee operates in a very similar manner except without the option to save.

Pluck tests are a simple 2d6 roll against a target number and have to be taken to close to contact, when sufficient casualties have been taken etc.

As you can see the rules are pretty old school and allow a fast paced game.  With the British going first for the most part and being slightly better at firing and melee you need to have the Mutineers outnumber them significantly.

The Mutineer auto generation rules are useful but are very basic - the Mutineers aren't terribly intelligent - and have a few holes (you can generate artillery but they don't feature in the reaction table for example).  They allow you to play a game but I was hoping for something a little more sophisticated than a random arrival mechanism and very simple reaction table which doesn't produce much variety in the results.

Overall these are a decent basic set of traditional style rules which will give a game in an evening.  Despite the terminology and the inclusion of rules for various theatre specific units they don't manage to convey much of the "feel" of the period to me (maybe that's just me of course!).

I suspect with a few more plays and getting a little more familiar with them these would be fine for a club game.  But they aren't quite what I was looking for.

Cold War: Soviets

Having got the BAOR platoon, I needed some opposition.  Fortunately I was lucky with some eBay bids on some Mongrel Soviets - so I now have just over a platoon with support for some Cold War Gone Hot scenarios for Force on Force:

Cold War: BAOR

Lenin kindly painted some more Mongrel NATO figures to add to my existing ones to enable me to field a full platoon for Force on Force:

Thursday, 3 May 2012

The Mutiny: HEIC Artillery

And now some support for the British, the Honourable East India Company artillery battery:

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Geek & Sundry: Small World

If you haven't spotted it already Wil Wheaton hosts a boardgame show on the new Geek & Sundry channel on YouTube.  Here is the first episode on the Days of Wonder game, Small World:

The Mutiny: Mutineer Artillery

And now some irregular Indian artillery:

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

The Mutiny: Sepoy Artillery

Once again from Mutineer Miniatures, the Sepoy artillery (are they loyal or mutinous?):