Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Two Tribes

Last Tuesday I performed the minor miracle of actually turning up at the club, Enfield Gamers, and taking part in Rich's Fantasy SAGA campaign.

Being a game behind, having not played for a while and drawing Rich's Skraelings as opponents (not played against them before) I wasn't over-optimistic about result and in all honestly gratefully settled in to a probable "suck it and see" game.

Can't quite remember the name of the scenario but it involved gaining victory points for controlling the three, equidistantly placed, terrain pieces. Toting plenty of hearthgaurd types against the Skraeling warrior horde I sipped on my tea and relaxed further into my expected thonging.
Early doors and the direct approach!
Rich picking up first turn saw him surge into his local forest and bundle up the central hill, led by his Warlord giving it a bit of Charlie Big-Potatoes to seize the initiative and lay the gauntlet firmly in my direction. Quickly deciding that I didn't fancy my chances in outplaying him through the scenario I moved everything but my levy up towards the hill, picking up the "mislaid" gauntlet intending to return it with vigour.

Fully aware that I was risking my Warlord and retinue I awaited on onslaught that never really came other than a number of sharply propelled javelins, which claim a couple of my best boys but left me otherwise unscathed. As such I felt sure that I was being baited for a cunning trap........
Come and have a go if you think you're hard enough!
......which I simply steamed straight into.

Decent SAGA dice were focused onto the Hearthgaurd and their support and the assault began. Heathgaurd plus Warlord steamed into a big unit of warriors. Can't remember the ability name but after the first round I forced an immediate second round, prior to fatigue or retreat, and wiped the lot.
Happy to oblige!
The supporting Hearthys took on the Skraeling retinue, carefully avoiding the Warlord, to do exactly the same leaving Charlie Big-Potatoes all on his Jack Jones with an eight strong warrior band eyeing his feathers. In for a penny, in for a pound!
Three hits! One ignored, one saved AND.........one for the kill! On turn two!!

We both just sat there, sipping tea and wondering what had just happened and exactly how!

Mopping up the stragglers
After that, despite Rich's best efforts, it was, unfortunately, something of a one-sided affair. With a very offensive battle-board I was initially caught in two minds, sit on the terrain and take the points or go for the kill. Carrying a few casualties I went for a bit of option one followed by option for any feathered type that got too near.

Rich did make a suicide run at my Warlord, who survived by the skins of his meat-shield, and then beat a retreat to avoid a possible wipe-out. Finishing off another couple of units the variable game turn length ended proceedings before that became a possibility.

Having pulled of such a result my boy "Gonk" has become rather heralded gaining Reknown hand over fist, gaining warriors, arm-rings a settlement and a shaman almost overnight. So much for a catch up game!

The orcish Skalds may bellow his name but the Skraelings will be howling for revenge :)

Wednesday, 23 May 2012


Somewhat delayed with the report but most of the D&D group finally sat down for a session last Thursday. A decent enough session there was a little bit of rust to shed but after a reasonable break everyone was keen to get stuck in and do a pro job,.........a little too keen maybe.

In total we covered two rooms which isn't the highest tally for a full session but an old adversary struck....PARANOIA!

Even worse than a vengeful dice god this particularr malady is primarily self-inflicted by the party upon themselves, though a good / evil / devious GM can definitely help the incubation period along.
Checking for traps, mundane and magical, we, or at least those of us not in full plate, crept into our next room to be confronted by some furniture and a STATUE........ well that just couldn't possibly be right!

As a group we've had issues with STATUEs on a number of occasion. STATUEs that do things, bad things like glow, whip and attack you. Cue backs to the wall as we skirt around the room keeping as far from it as possible. No-one wants to be first to front up to said vaguely inanimate object but after people starting taking various resistance checks we "selected" the Paladin.

Being the clever chap that he is he opened negotiations with a lusty blow of his longsword. Eventually noticing the glowing glyphs "we" changed to making, and failing, an INT check followed by another lusty blow.
Leaving the advanced negotiations to the specialist I crept through a side-door and spied the back of a random goon, many of whom we have dispatched previously. Executing a text-book back-stab I was fully expectant of another notch on my short-sword.......erm no!

So all our initial uber-stealth had been well wasted and the sounds of battle drew the local Necromancer and a couple of his pets! going for the super-move I fluffed ensnared myself at El Necro's feet and was Ghoul-Touched into rancid paralysis. I went and made the tea whilst others carried the load.
After a heavy flow of hit points we had and extended mass healing session squeezed into a corridor with  a rotational shift of guards and reminded ourselves that we're 7th level now and so as we're substantially tougher, so our opponents shall be.

After a few more spot, arcane knowledge and detect magic checks we worked out the marble pagoda shifted about........to reveal a set of spiral stairs descending into PITCH BLACK!!!!

Oh dear......... :)

Thursday, 17 May 2012

You sank my Battleship!!

Somewhat delayed but I have wrested control of the stand alone PC! It's a tea break for those of you that need to know!

So back to last Saturday night and a far more successful attempt at playing through a game of Dystopian Wars. This time we upgraded to a couple of islands and the use of tiny flyers i.e. playing the game as designed and even manged more than a couple of turns, in fact we managed a whole game in about 3 hours.
This time we upgraded to islands!!
Second proper game out with starter fleets and things flowed a lot better just remembering fleet and ship special rules as well as the different types of ordnance and their effects. We had quite a few more flyers on the table this time round which did mean regular reference to the rulebook but generally their was a lot less page turning and more dice rolling involved.

We still did a few bits wrong, obviously, and we weren't playing with the event cards, as neither of had got round to ordering any.

Having had my battle-ship viciously battered by flyers last game I was determined to get stuck in with her this time out and organised my deployment around her and my wish to engage the Tommy-Tanker as soon as possible. Stewart went for a split deployment so I gratefully piled in after his "Old Gal's" group with all haste.

One shot....
......one kill!!

Early doors the Brits had the marginal rub of the dice but it soon became clear that this was an engagement that was going to be decided by the sheer number of 6's that either of us could roll. Once again my Battle-ship came in for some long-range torpedo punishment from the Brit heavy rotors and it all felt a bit overly familiar as I pushed on.

I concentrated my fire on those Brit ships escorting the "Old Gal" until she nosed out to unleash herself. Fortunately it was more of a tizzy than a full-on tantrum and then it was time to power up the the Death Star / Heat Lance and have a poke back.

DR of 6 x2 = 12 dice minus 1 for 3 damage halved by Redoutable = an 11 dice shot.
Blizzard of sixes = 23 hits = 2 criticals one of which was a double 1 Magazine Explosion = KABOOM!!!
KABOOM!!! = game winning advantage!

Magnificent men in flying machines
After that we then went on to find out exactly how destructive wings of Tiny Flyer fighters can be against medium and heavy flyers. By then the dice had turned in my favour so the answer was VERY! Stewart did finish off by gleefully dispatching a good number of my destroyers by air-dropped mine but with the guts Death Star-ed out of his fleet it was a case of mopping up whilst his last stand bombers fled from the scene.

So, a highly enjoyable, though rather freakishly 6'd, game. We both learnt the true value of DW air-power and the need to play with your combined arms Admiral's hat on. Interestingly Spartan have just released air-group starter sets but to be honest I think you'd be missing out to play just air forces.

I have to admit I was somewhat sceptical when DW was mooted as a viable Land-Sea-Air game. Now I am far less so but would suggest that only grander all-day games could probably handle all three effectively though I'd be interested to see how easily it would shrink down, so to speak.

Interesting times!

Monday, 14 May 2012

Slowly slowly, catchie Frenchy

Bonsoir Madame et Monsieur,
Once again this evening real life has intervened and prevented me from working on the DW French any further. Last night however, with Tintin as DVD backdrop, I did at least re-basecoat the entire fleet and even drybrush up some of the cruisers and frigates to test the theory whilst moving on a little further.

Cest voila!.......

Only got the whites upto a light grey but hopefully you can see where it's going. Will be going for a bit of classic pine decking, remember Ground Force?, which I plan to wash read as I read on a proper historical forum that some WWII French ships had red lino sections around the gun positions.

Black tipped Tricholore funnels and white masts plus the odd bit of weathered copper, red washed again, as a bow to the necessity of steam-punk. Less classic and more fantastic than I was originally going for but I'm already much happier. Possibly add in a bit of green-grey at the waterline but I'll see.

Did actually manage a second / third game with Stewart Saturday night and I've uploaded the photos onto a potential lunch-break post as I've remembered the stand-alone PC at work!

Cest formidable :)

Sunday, 13 May 2012

The Price of Failure

Just recently my hobby life has been one big epic FAIL.
I've had to cancel a long list of various gaming engagements due to real life, mainly a bit of Ick and work going mental for a fortnight or so. Until last night I'd not rolled dice or played a card or picked up a brush in a couple of weeks and was getting the Geek DTs. Worse than that I've had to blow-out on my gaming mates, apologies lads :(

As some of you may have noticed I've also not posted in a while. Some of this was having a lack of much to post about but more, if I'm honest, was due to Blogger's recent update and the work browser's inability to cope with it. So basically NO BLOGGER AT WORK!

Doesn't sound like too much of a biggy but like many of us might I often upload post photos at home and then blog during my lunch-breaks or if not blogging browse my reading list. I didn't realise up until now how important this was in keeping me inspired to go home and make the relevant effort. TGN has just about kept me going but it's just not the same :/

Thankfully I had yesterday free and got stuck in to turning recent events around :)
Stewart dropped around last night for a night of GEEK which kicked off with him running me through Mantic's latest boardgame, Project Pandora, which I'd heard about and quickly labelled Space-Hulk but not. Based on Dwarf King's Hold it was going to have to do well to impress me. I've played DKH once before and wasn't overly enamoured but that was probably because I was tired at the time and suffering poor dice which lead to a little bit of toys out of pram......my bad :/

So in short we ran through the Training Mission twice, having a go with each side, Corporation and Veer-Myn, and then had a go at a proper scenario. In short I was well impressed :)

Despite assuming that it might be a little bit "bashed out" it's a really good game. Very tactical and you HAVE to try and think a few turns ahead. It easily produces the same claustrophobic tension of Space-Hulk with a clever token driven activation sequence that forces you into hard choices every turn.

Stewart is one of Mantic's Pathfinder chaps, and does a very fine job, and though being a good mate has had his work cut out convincing me about a number of Mantic's offerings. This time I was doing the job for him and I'd really like to go back and play DKH in the correct frame of mind. Guilty of thinking that these were throw-away games quickly and cheaply produced they're most definitely not! As a plug let me point you to Mantic's first Podcast, well worth the time!
Previously that afternoon I'd invested some more brush-time into the DW French. Have to admit I'd been struggling with these and the new GW wash (as previously bemoaned) which just wasn't getting the recess detail as I needed it to. Reverting to a bit of older Asyurman Blue helped greatly but was taking me farther away from my envisaged scheme which I wasn't happy with in itself.

As much as this is Fantasy Steam-Punk I want to my ships as ships. By this I mean an absolute minimum or no bare metal. In the real world, rolling around on the briney deep, it just didn't happen. Suspension of disbelief is fine but assuming that nothing will rust is just not on, at least not for me!

Envisaging gleaming white hulls and superstructures it's just a bit too boring for the figures and the setting while I  also want to stay away from any wazzy camo-schemes, just not doing it for me. Chatting through with Stewart, okay whinging at him, I realised that the extra washes were taking me towards a nice mid-light blue that could be worked up from a black undercoat which would save me time and wash-rage.

I had been thinking of blue accents against the white but why not white accents against the blue! Why not white turrets, weapon systems and bridges which would also mean no bare metals? I can still keep my tricholore smoke-stakes and it wouldn't take anything massive to colour code the Frigate squadrons should I feel the need!

So, first-ish thing this morning I've re-sprayed everything black and this evening will work up through Shadow Gray and Ice Blue to wash back down and see where I am. I shall update you later as to results, including state of mind.

Sometimes the price of failure is well worth paying :)