Saturday 31 March 2007

First Look: Commands and Colors Ancients

Commands and Colors Ancients by GMT Games is a light board wargame recreating battles between the Romans and Carthaginians. The rules system by Richard Borg appears in his earlier ACW game Battle Cry and more recently in Battlelore by Days of Wonder. Whilst it doesn't have the production quality of the Days of Wonder product, with blocks and a rather thin board, it has been said to be the best implementation of the Commands and Colors system (BTW when will our colonial cousins learn that "color" has a "u" in it?). Not having played it I can't comment but with games taking around an hour I should be able to get a few in and post a proper review in the not too distant future. I have just finished applying the stickers to each side of each block which, whilst a bit of a chore, is strangely satisfying when you have finished. I'm not entirely convinced by the sticker approach to the battle dice but I understand they are considerably better than those supplied in the first edition. I am looking forward to giving this one some table time.

TotW: Flight From Smershk

Yet another Triumph of the Will game this week. This time a slightly less historic scenario from the Too Fat Lardies Christmas 2004 seasonal special. Quoting the Lardies:
Oh my Lord! Will evil Count Nikolai Vorskinski get the girl, or will she be saved in the nick of time by filthy oik Dimitri Urinovski. A bodice ripper for Triumph of the Will from the age of pulp.
We had a slight hiccup initially, largely due to my failure to proof read the email I sent to the chap providing the figures and hence the Reds were a little down on numbers but after a little reorganisation the game was rebalanced.
The Whites decided to dig in as close to the Red edge as possible to form a defensive line whilst the engineers fixed the damaged rails to enable the Count's armoured train to reach the ship. The Reds threw themselves at the line but took a substantial number of casualties; however, some of the cavalry managed a breakthrough on the left flank despite the intervention of the White's armour. Unfortunately the Reds didn't have enough fresh troops to exploit the move and whilst it held up that flank it didn't swing the game.
Meanwhile on the right flank the White defence crumbled before the Red onslaught with casualties minimised due to the cover reducing visibility for the MGs. More Red Cavalry broke through just in time to see the train steaming off towards Smershk. Comrade Urinovski led the advance crushing the Engineers which the Count had left behind but by now the breakthrough on the left flank had been crushed enabling the Whites to redeploy. The Reds didn't have enough troops to defeat the remaining Whites and were forced to withdraw. In his haste the Count nearly ruined it all by crashing the locomotive into the buffers and nearly into the sea! But he managed to unload his treasure and steam away with the girl thanks to his troops remaining loyal despite the fact he was abandoning them to their fate.

Saturday 24 March 2007

Salute - Does it still provide inspiration?

Ever since I have lived within reasonable reach of London I have visited the Salute wargames show hosted by the South London Warlords. From the cramped conditions at Kensington through the variable benefits of Olympia (who can forget that first show with the lift access fiasco) through to the aircraft hanger that is Excel, I have trundled along with my "wish list" and duly tried to buy enough lead that I thought I'd saved myself the ticket price in postage. They have yet to announce the entry price for this year but I doubt it will be much shy of £10 and that's a fair amount of postage! In any event I generally do meet up with a whole bunch of reprobate gamers I haven't seen in a good while (probably since the previous Salute) and few other shows allow that. But overall I've found the show less and less inspiring. I used to do a lot of impulse buying as well as picking up stuff from my list but these days I seem to spend rather a lot of time wandering around but not buying much. Not that this is solely Salute, when I went to SELWG at Crystal Palace last year (and bear in mind I like that show a whole lot better than Salute even though it is a little smaller) I had a similar experience. Am I just getting old, have I bought it all already or is there just less to get excited about out there? I'm not sure myself but it will be something that's on my mind when I shell out the cash to get into the rather soulless space that the Warlords have taken this year.

Friday 23 March 2007

How do they do it?

Placed an order with Shire Games yesterday for Diamant and Escalation! to play with the family. The order went in at 16:15 yesterday afternoon and the games arrived at 11am this morning. How do they do it - do they employ psychics to predict your order or what? I can't believe anyone can beat that (unless they've got a teleportation device). Anyway top marks to the folks at Shire Games!!

Saturday 17 March 2007

Forlorn Hope

Managed to get a game of Forlorn Hope in this week at the wargames club. It has been a while since I have ventured into ECW and it has me thinking of sorting out my Redoubt Montrose and Covenanters which have been languishing in a cupboard for quite a while. It was the Umpire's first outing with the rules (and I'm not sure having one of the authors present helped his confidence level) but a fun game was had by all. Unfortunately, we (the Royalists) didn't carry the day but it was all going swimmingly when I had to leave early so I'll put it down to my fellow Royalists (OK chaps maybe it wasn't all your fault...).

Monday 12 March 2007

Marked for dearth!

I hadn't realised how long it has been since I last posted. A nagging shoulder injury (not good for typing), work (encroaching on too many evenings) and other real life issues have left little time for gaming let alone blogging; however, this weekend has certainly started to put things back on track, gaming wise anyway.

5150, Antike, Bonaparte at Marengo (BaM) Luftwaffe 1946 and the naval rules from Rocket's Red Glare (RRG) all saw a first play along with a game of our old favourite Savage Worlds. A good mix of miniatures and boardgames along with air, naval and skirmish in historical, alternative history and SF genres!

Being from the Chain Reaction stable 5150 worked pretty much as expected with a Bug Hunt style game using random SF floorplan tiles. The Savage Worlds game was a pulp outing which owed a lot to both the Lost World and Indiana Jones with the descendants of Atlantis living on a jungle plateau inhabited with dinosaurs. Luftwaffe 1946 had B29s escorted by P51s facing off against HE162s and provided a good fun game but with little new (not that that is necessarily a bad thing!). RRG provided another use for my Wizkids Pirates CMG ships but didn't work too well (possibly not a surprise when many of the rules are based on the land game - though that works way better).

Despite losing BaM it turned out to be a great game and as the French I did only lose on the last turn after it looked like it would be a walkover for the Austrians after they got round my right flank so the game had plenty of interest. Whilst the combat mechanic is very simple the game gives you plenty of difficult decisions and a different perspective for each player. BaM will certainly be seeing some future play.

As a light civilisation game, Antike, works very well. A three player game demonstrated that conflict wasn't necessary for a win, although I'm not sure one of the players was really working to a plan (sorry dear!). With the game lasting 90 minutes, with little downtime and giving plenty of things to do I think this one will see quite a bit more table time.