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Sunday, 14 August 2016

TANKS: THE WORLD WAR II TANK SKIRMISH GAME.

Having seen a review and a play through of the game in a recent Wargames Illustrated, and knowing it was based on similar mechanisms to X-Wing and Wings of Glory, I was intrigued. After vacillating all day during Claymore,it was a last minute decision to buy the game.



On the Saturday evening, still inspired by attendance at Claymore, we decided to try out the game. With no access to our gaming kit, and no glue, we had to make do with models that Neil could find as proxies.

The starter set comes with three 15mm kits to allow two Shermans and a Panther to be be built and used in the provided scenarios. There are cards for a selection of common Allied, German and Russian tanks, These show the initiative, attack dice, defence dice and damage capacity. A central plank of the game is the measurement arrow. This determines how far a tank moves; the angle of turns; short range and distance between terrain during set up.

For the first game, we decided just to do tank on tank without the crew and upgrades cards. I took a Sherman, which the Pershing stands proxy for and Neil took a Stug III. The terrain was laid in initiative order.
First move of the first trial game. The Pershing represents a Sherman, the Stug, a Stug!
There is no pre-planning of moves. Each tank can move none, one or two arrow lengths. This effects your chances of hitting or being hit. Movement is measured from the front of the tank, in any direction, to the base of the arrow, which also measures the angle for any turns.
Cat and mouse during the first game.
Lowest initiative moves first. Highest initiative fires first. The firing tank rolls their attack dice. Hits are scored on 4,5,6. A 6 is a critical hit. The defending tank rolls their defence dice, plus additional dice for movement of the firer and the target. Hits are cancelled on a 4 or 5 (shooters choice) and six (target's choice). Any uncancelled hits score one damage. Uncancelled critical hits mean the target draws a card and applies the effect and any damage.
An example of a critical hit. In this case, no damage but damage to optics, which means two less attack die.

The first game ended up very cat and mouse. The Stug had the highest initiative, so moved second and fired first. However, as the Stug has a limited traverse, the Sherman was mostly able to avoid being hit. In the end, we abandoned the game as a stalemate.
First move of the second game. The two Shermans close on the Panther.
For the second game, we played a version of the Barkmann's Corner scenario. We used the full rules and each side had a total of 50 points to choose their tank, crew and upgrades.
The Panther hides in the wood as the leading Sherman makes use of an upgrade that allows an extra movement to close the range.
The two Shermans combine fire on the Panther.
Two critical hits destroy one Sherman.
A close range duel ends with the destruction of the Second Sherman.
The crew and upgrades added a new dimension to the game. Some of the crew and upgrade cards are constant and others can be discarded to enhance a move or a shot or to cancel damage or an effect. This gives a touch of fog of war that makes for an interesting game. As an introduction, the two games we played whetted my apatite to try bigger games with more models. That will have to be in 20mm, as I have moved on my 15mm collection. This should be easy, as I can use models I have with all the cards in the starter set.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

CLAYMORE 2016: TREASURE!

I did not have a list of things to buy at Claymore this year. I thought about Deus Vult: Burn and Loot and maybe having a look at Congo, if anyone had it. I did want to pick up specific figures from Studio Miniatures, for my 20th century pulp/post apocalyptic games and also some figures and vehicles from MBM Scenery/Northumbrian Painting Services that I had been looking at since Targe last year! I was also on the lookout for a suitable force for En Garde! to take on David's Border Reivers.

The first order of business was the tombola, near the entrance to the hall. It was in aid of SSAFA. For my £5 donation, I drew a number of lucky tickets!
Won on the tombola. An Osprey Book (which I already have a copy of), a pack of paints, brushes, dice and samples from Coratani/Magnetic Designs and an RAF bag and pen.
 My other purchases were:
Two carry cases from Erik at Figures in Comfort.

Warbases tokens for Lion Rampant, Winter of '79 and Dead Man's Hand rules; Figures from Commando Miniatures that will be used as mercenaries and minions for pulp games and two 20mm 'technicals' from the bring and buy.

Sold as Post-Apoc, these would not look out of place in any modern pulp game. The figures would fit with my Fistful of Kung- Fu force, as would the vehicles. Courtesy of MBM Scenery/ Northumbrian Painting Services. 

I hummed and hayed about this all day. I finally bought it from Caliver as they were tidying up, having to retrieve it from a box of stock. I will give my thoughts on the game in a later post, as we managed a game the same evening. I am looking to do this in 20mm (moved on all my 15mm). Looks do-able as the basic game contains enough cards to play with several Allied, Russian and German types without having to buy the expansions.

Also from Caliver, a card based WW2 skirmish game by Buck Surdu. 
Donald, Robin and The Daytona Duo, from Studio Miniatures to add to my modern pulp forces; some farm stock for my dark ages and medieval games from Warbases and some Dixon Ninja, who will be useful for so many games systems. 
This building was reduced. Described as an advanced Tudor building, it looks like it will be of use through the ages. Nice reduction in price too!
I plumped for the Red Guard mega pack from Warbases, instead of  Border Reivers. I also picked up a Trap Expert and Tunnel Fighter  and Gnoll Knight and Templar, to round out my Frostgrave collection, from Ainsty Castings. I also picked up a buggy and driver to go with my modern pulp collection from them.
All in all it was a good day. Only two purchases from the bring and buy. There were a few tempters but my new found Irn will won out! The B&B was good to me this year the items I sold funding my purchases. I got all I 'needed' and more.

Monday, 8 August 2016

CLAYMORE 2016.

Saturday 6 August saw Claymore 2016, the show run by SESWC. This is only the second time I have attended since the change in venue, the last time being in 2013. I travelled down on Friday and spent the night in Edinburgh so that there was no early morning, rushed, trip from Aberdeen.  
Early Saturday view of Edinburgh.
After a relaxing breakfast, we toddled along to the show. I had taken some stuff to sell in the bring & buy, so took some time to book it in. I spent a lot of time going round the traders. There were a lot of traders that had things that I 'needed', but I was quite deliberate when selecting what I by, trying to avoid the 'ooh shiny' impulse buys that I am renowned for! The consequence of this, and meeting lots of friends and acquaintances, was that I had little time to spend at the display and participation tables. I did take a few photos.
Aberdeen Wargames Club game of the action around Oosterbeek during Operation Market Garden, using Bolt Action rules.
Russo-Japanese War naval game by Border Reivers Wargames Society.
Participation game run by the Wings of Glory Aerodrome.
WW2 game from the Wargames Society of Contemptible Bastards.
Another view of the WSOCB game.
Richard Clarke demonstrating Two Fat Lardies Sharp Practice 2.
York 1644 by The Iron Brigade.

South London Warlords' Horus Heresy display.
A canny Cannae by the Tyneside Wargames Club. Really gives a sense of mass battle.
During the day, I spent a lot of time moving back and forth between the two main halls. I spent a lot of time at the bring and buy. A couple of potential treasures had been identified, in the shape of a set of dungeon tiles and a large 15mm Carthaginian army. Both of these would have been bought on impulse by the old me, but, once again being deliberate and questioning why I 'needed' them and, more importantly, where I would store them, meant that they were left for someone else to buy. I was so good, that I only spent £10 on the B&B, netting two 20mm 'technicals' for my modern imagi-nation project. I was successful in selling the AK47 stuff that I had taken with me, but the DBA armies returned home with me. I will give details of my show treasure in a later post.
A muggy, windy Saturday night in Edinburgh. 
In the evening, we had a couple of try out games of 'Tanks'. More on that in a later post.
Followed by a brighter, but still windy Sunday morning.
All in all a relaxing couple of days away. I would highly recommend a visit to Claymore if you are in the Edinburgh area. It is a busy city during festival time, but well worth a visit. Thanks to all the guys at SESWC for a great show.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

NEWLY PAINTED (NOT BY ME!)

During his recent visit back north of the wall, my good friend Mike Schraner, from South of the Wall Miniatures, dropped off a couple of completed commissions.
Post Apocalyptic gang.
 This is my second post apoc gang and will see service in more than one rules system.
Early 20th century 'Bobbies' for pulp and VBCW games.
The armed police are intended for use in pulp games or later IHMN games. They will also come in useful for VBCW games.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

OFF THE WORKBENCH, AT LAST!

I have not posted for a while as life and work ate into my time. One of the posts from a few weeks ago listed projects I had on my workbench in an effort to incentivise me to finish them.
My new Supernatural Investigator and SWAT team members. This was taken just before final detailing and varnishing.
One of the projects was to paint a new protagonist and three SWAT team members for my Cops faction for A Fistful of Kung Fu.

I am happy to announce that they have now been completed.

Saturday, 2 July 2016

TALKING TERRAIN: EYE CANDY.

In some of my recent posts about A Fistful of Kung Fu, you may have noticed the varied terrain that we use.
Frostgrave terrain.


Mausoleum.

A 3D printed house.
Close up.
These are all the result of the model making skill of my Friend David Drage. You can find out how he built some of them on his Iron Mammoth's Studio blog. This can be found on 'My Blogs'.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

A FISTFUL OF KUNG FU: THE FU YU STUDIO RAID.

This Wednesday's game saw my Cops faction raiding the Fu Yu Studios, the plot being to discover a secret held by Del's supernatural creatures, led by his Taoist sorcerer.
Two views of the Fu Yu film studios. Note the varied styles of the buildings and the generic markers to show that the 'crowd' trait was in force. This slowed movement and raised the possibility of bystanders being shot. This would mean the loss of one Chi for my Cops, as the nominal 'good' side.
The plot complication was 'monsoon'. This gave a -1 to ranged attacks and generally made things more slippery. To extract the secret, my cops need to grapple an enemy and spend a full turn 'milking' them for information. Then a d6 is rolled. I find the secret when I have a total of eight points.
The cops enter in two groups to try and find the dispersed demons. The Taoist sorcerer has taken aup position in the tower.

An early loss: the Taoist sorcerer casts a fireball. My veteran cop valiantly sacrifices himself to save his colleagues. Sadly a bystander is also incinerated, this scatters the crowds and eases movement.

My heroic cop Chi jumps to attack and successfully grapple a flying demon. The other cops move to protect him during 'questioning'. One rookie cop fires off all his ammo at the hopping vampire. The glass beads show which figures have activated, The red markers show effects on figures.

The flying demon gives up five points of secret. The hopping vampire knocks down the rookie cop, but is in turn cut down by the SWAT team. The monkey demon has ensnared the other rookie cop, to make him easier to attack.

With no more info to give up, the flying demon is dispatched. Another flies in to support the sorcerer, who has come to intervene.

In an effort to stop some cultists intervening, the SWAT sergeant attacks. He knocks one down, but is killed in the end.


The sorceror transfixes the heroic cop, interrupting his milking of another flying demon. The SWAT team try to break the sorcerer's hold.

The monkey demon takes out the rookie cop.

The sorcerer is driven off. Questioning continues.

The demon breaks free, briefly, but is grappled again. Will the delay allow rescue or death?

Careful milking generates the three points required to discover the secret. The cops are successful.
Once again, a great narrative game that gives the atmosphere and feeling of the type of film the game is inspired by. The mechanic allowing protagonists to react to opponents failed dice rolls means that the emphasis is on them and allows them to recover from potentially disastrous situations.

As can be seen from this report, the game took place in a very small area. There was constant action and the other player is always involved; waiting for failed activation rolls!

The monsoon complication added to the game. It meant a -1 for shooting, which reduced my cops' long range advantage. It also added to the narrative, as an explanation for weapon malfunctions my SWAT team experienced as a result of negative gun fu rolls.