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VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

BLOOD EAGLE: THE FIRST BATTLE.


I purchased a copy of Blood Eagle from Caliver Books at Carronade 2016. My Wednesday group had been discussing getting it as uses the familiar In Her Majesty's Name game mechanics. It is an option for gaming in early 2017.

Having watched David and his sons playing the game at a demo game run by one of the co authors of the game, Craig Cartmell, I decided that I would give the game a try with Rick on a Thursday back in May 2016. It continued our Dark Ages theme, as we had played a few games  of SAGA in previous weeks. 

I set out a village, with a great hall as a centre piece. and we played the 'vengeance' scenario. Rick played the part of a Viking Jarl and I used my Scots figures as Picts. Hopefully, this would be an easy introduction to the game.
The Vikings started with the Jarl, two Veteran Warriors and four Warriors. The Picts started with a Chieftain, two Champions and six Warriors. These were basic forces with no extra special abilities, or even names.

A front view of the great hall.

Early in the game. My Picts entered from the right.Apologies for the rather large markers. I couldn't find my IHMN markers.
Interior view of the great hall.

Pictish warriors and a champion prepare to take on Viking Warriors. A Viking veteran lurks on the flank.


Battle is joined. 
The Picts come off worst.



The Viking Jarl and a Veteran take on a champion and some warriors.
Overview of the battle. 
The Viking Jarl is killed in combat. He manages to kill the Pict champion before expiring.
The battle continues. The Picts are taking casualties on the right.
The remaining Picts are cut down.
Victory to the Vikings.
As it is a while since the game, the report is less detailed than usual. The system works well for small numbers and will lend itself well to a themed campaign. Hopefully I will get some games in 2017. To that end, I will be preparing a namedforce with a bit of background.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

THE SMALL TERRAIN STUDIO KICKSTARTER HAS ARRIVED!

Another of the Kickstarters that I backed arrived this week. This was the Small Terrain Studio offering for funding improvements to their workshop. 

I selected the 'fantasy' corporal pledge of £20. This gave me a ruined watch tower and 5 lengths of stone walls. These appealed as they can be used in many of the games and periods that I game.


I will have to think carefully whether to paint the tower in a winter scheme, for Frostgrave, or generically for my other 28mm skirmish games.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

WARFIGHTER: THE WORLD WAR TWO COMBAT CARD GAME.

 I had pre ordered this in the summer from Boardgame Extras . It was due out in September, but had slipped my mind. Imagine my surprise when it arrived today!  Rick has the modern version, which we have played a few times.

At first glance, the main difference is that there is a board.

                                            I have taken a couple of photos of the contents.
                   Once I have had a look and maybe had a trial game, I will post my thoughts.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

SATURDAY GAME. MEMOIR '44: THE BATTLE OF ARRAS.

This battle took place a few months ago, in June. It is part of one of our occasional Saturday games, where we get to play games that would take too long for an evening. 

This was a 'Breakthrough' scenario from Memoir '44. It used the larger board and needed components from several of the expansions to play. The winner was the first to 12 medals. I took the Germans and Rick the French and British. 
The initial set up from my (German) side of the table.

The Allies advance. The Germans counter attack on the right.

The British advance is stalled. The Germans take Arras.

The Germans hold Arras.

The British advance is renewed. An entire German unit is destroyed in one go.

The French begin their attack. Faced by German 88s

Which are quickly dealt with, thanks to a fortunate dice roll!

The German line stabilises. The infantry dig  in and prepare to face an all out Allied advance.

The French advance continues. A German Panzer unit is destroyed. 

The French came off best in the armour duel on the left. Only a depleted infantry unit stands in their way. The British attack has worn down the defenders on the right.


The last German hope if stopping the British tanks was the mobile artillery. Forward they came, only to be destroyed in one shot. This allowed the tanks to move forward unhindered.

The game ended when the Allies reached 12 medals. Only 4 complete German units remained. The French had suffered heavy casualties, but the British still have strong units.

The Germans retained control of Arras.
This was a closely fought game. the British advance stalled as they struggled to get the right cards. The French were luckier. Once battle was joined, the Allies had a succession of 'lucky' dice rolls at crucial times. Once the Germans started losing units, the balance quickly swung in the Allies' favour.

Friday, 25 November 2016

THE GREAT WAR: SOMME, MASH VALLEY AND LA BOISSELLE. I JULY 1916.


For this week's Thursday game, we had a go at The Great War. We played the Mash Valley scenario, from the first day of the Somme. I took the attacking British and Rick the German defenders.
General view of initial dispositions.
As well as the usual one medal for each enemy unit destroyed, the British got a medal for each unit exiting the German edge. They also got a temporary medal for having a unit in the German trenches. Whoever held the crater got a temporary medal.
The British have captured the crater and have men in the German trenches. This counts as two temporary medals.

The British have advanced to the second line of trenches.
After a slow start, the British began to make inroads into the German trenches. They took the crater and broke into the first line of trenches. The defenders took a steady toll of the advancing infantry. My advance was also disrupted by Rick playing well timed combat cards and Ambush cards to thwart my best laid plans!
The German defences hold out. They reach 7 medals.
Eventually, the British attack ran out of steam. Rick reached 7 medals to my 4.

A really enjoyable game. We will play this scenario again, with Rick having the opportunity to succeed where I failed.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

FIRST TRY OF AVP.


Our last Wednesday game saw our first try of AVP. I took the Colonial Marines, Derek the Aliens and David had a party of three Predators.

We set up the first scenario, where each faction had separate mission objectives.
The initial set up. Ping counters are used until within line of sight. They are then replaced with figures. 
Each turn begins with initiative. The player with initiative turns over the environment card for the turn. This card details something good or bad that affects all factions for the turn. The player with initiative then activates a figure. The figure has two actions. The next faction activates a figure and so on until all figures have acted. During the turn, a payer can play up to two strategy cards from his hand.
My Colonial Marine squad.

Models have skills, detailed on their stat card. each faction also has some unique active and passive skills to use throughout the game.
An Alien breaks through the door (using the 'force the doors open' skill) and all in line of sight become visible. 
My objective was to go to the Computer Room at the opposite end of the table. and override the controls to open a bulkhead, then board an elevator to go down a level.
A Predator appears. He causes carnage in the Marines with his Plasma Caster.

The two remaining Marines duck back into cover.

The Marine with the Smart Gun hits the Predator, causing a wound.
In the end all my marines perished to a combination of Alien and Predator attacks without getting far into the ship.
The Aliens surround and kill one of the Predators.

The remaining Predator finishes off the last two Aliens.
The Predators then made quick work of the Aliens.

For a first game, it was fast and bloody. Unfamiliarity with the skills and effects meant a few tactical mistakes were made by us all. Lessons we will take into the next game!

Sunday, 20 November 2016

QUARTERMASTER GENERAL: 1914. THE FIRST GAME

For our latest Thursday game, Rick and I gave Quartermaster General: 1914 a try. With two players, I took the Central Powers (Germany, Austria/Hungary, Ottoman Empire) and Rick the Entente powers (Britain/US, France/Italy and Russia).
Initial set up.
Despite there only being two players, each 'country' has it's it's own turn, in strict order, using it's own themed deck and drawing from a limited pool of units. The object is to accumulate points in the scoring rounds (17 rounds, score on rounds 3, 7, 11, 15 and 17), when countries gain points for objective areas that they occupy.
The game in full swing.
During a turn each country has the chance to play a card from their hand, prepare (play face down) a card and use a card already prepared. Units are built by playing the appropriate card from the hand or recruited using event cards.
There is no movement in the game. Territory is gained by attacking a region, playing an attack card. The defender gets a chance to use any prepared defence cards. The attacker then gets to play any sustained attack cards they have prepared. An undefended attack or a sustained attack that exceeds the defender's cards removes the defenders unit. A unit can then be built on the empty territory.

The finite number of units and the means of expanding your territory mean that each country needs to have a plan that they stick to. It is possible to co-ordinate the actions of the powers, to an extent, but a lot will depend on the initial card hands drawn.

As we played the game, it became apparent that the card decks were important in more than one way. One other function of cards that are prepared, and some event cards, is to cause attrition. This means that the target country has to discard cards. As decks are not replenished, this means that the affected country loses potentially valuable cards and also it's ability to continue the war is reduced. If a country runs out of cards, they continue in the game, but lose victory points when called to discard cards.

In the game, the Austro-Hungarians started well, expanding to the south. The Germans and the British fought inconclusively in France and Belgium.Later in the game, the Russians started to affect the game, drawing troops away from Europe. The Austro-Hungarians/Ottomans ran out of cards, which allowed the French/Italians to hold off an attack on Italy.

Unfortunately, we did not have time to complete the game, and called it as an 18 point each draw after 11 turns out of the 17 completed after three hours. It will definitely be a Saturday game, when we have more time. Perhaps once we are familiar with the game, we can squeeze it into an evening.

It is an enjoyable game with subtle mechanics that give it an historic feel.