Sunday, 16 October 2016

Deep Cut Wasteland Game Mat

I had been thinking about picking up one of the vast array of game mats now currently available for some time and recently got around to doing something about it and picked up one of the Deep Cut Studio's 6' x 4' mouse mat material game mats via Weyland Game's.

The mat chosen, for a variety of reasons, but mainly it's looks as it appears to be a good deserty cum wasteland cum bleak base would be suitable for a good selection of games I have planned.

Once ordered, the mat was shipped in very quick time and was in my possession with in two working days which I think is pretty good service.

The product however was slightly disappointing. The actual mat size, material and finish is very good and looks to be fairly durable. The only problem is the actual graphic displayed on the mat.

Colour rendition with lighting correction
(Actual colour may be a bit darker than this)

The actual image on the mat is of a significantly different colour than that indicated on the manufacturers web site. The image above taken with correct lighting correction is considerably darker and of a much more ochre hue than that of the marketing image.

Colour rendition without lighting correction
(basic AWB setting)
I took a bench mark photo without lighting correction and you can see this is a lot closer to the marketing image in finish (though paler). Whether the difference in the image is due to printing error/differences or whether the the image on the web shop is at fault and not rendered correctly I don't know.

Now, I would say I'm intending to keep the mat as it is a nice product in it's entirety. It is however not what was indicated and in a product whose desirability is based solely on it's look, this difference is a bit disappointing.

I will probably get a bit less use out of the mat as the dark ochre/tan colour places it much more uniquely rather than the much lighter image which is a lot more variable but I will be looking into my next game mat buy a lot more closely before I part with a not insignificant amount of cash.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Mordheim Season 3 - The Raid

The campaign continues a pace with the group squeezing in the next game pretty quickly since the last round and with Ian being kind to his fellow combatants had decided that he would not raid his neighbouring warbands of either Kev's Undead or Andy L's Witch Hunters but decided he'd rather do a bit of damage to Allek's growing empire (probably a wise move) and instead moved to raid the Witch Coven who were allied with Allek the Necromancer.

All the usual suspects were present in the form of Ian's Dwarves, Andy W's Skaven, Kev's Undead, Andy L's Witch Hunters, Dave's Marienburg Mercenaries and my Protectorate of Sigmar.

Following the previous games where they had been played on the usual 6 x 4 table and resultant advantages to random warbands on set up, things had been agreed to be mixed up a bit and the set up this time was on a 6 x 6 table with the unsuspecting Warlocks and guard Warg's in the centre and all the warbands equidistant around the table randomly selected positions.

The Dwarves being the winners from last time got a free move and were then the first to kick things off with a move towards the nasties and then the Skaven moved in the Dwarves direction being their arch enemies. The tooled up Mercenaries with addition of the freed hirelings from the Dalberz jail were next up but moved cautiously forming a bit of firing line as they began to advance towards the Witches territory.

The Protectorate go for a short walk
The much depleted Protectorate with not much to lose and a lot to gain moved towards the Merc's in the hope to engage the much higher warband rated band to try and gain extra xp's. The undead without their leader moved cautiously to start and advanced towards the centre and the Witch Hunter's moved to intercept the Undead.

To the north of the Witch's hidey-hole the Skaven and the Dwarves clashed pretty much immediately and with decidedly poor dice the Dwarves quickly got the sharp side of the encounter and Andy's Skaven pressed the advantage.

The Protectorate advanced again towards the Mercenaries but with a pile of long distance shots coming from the Merc's the front cannon fodder in the form of the one Archer and one Crusader of the Protectorates were dropped and the Protectorate promptly failed their break test and decided it would be a great idea to be somewhere else.

The Witch Hunters and Undead continued their solid advances towards the Coven and obliquely each other, the WH's taking out a rogue Warg in the process.

Skaven surround the Dwarves and pour shots at the slower fighters

Things quickly changed in the following round as the fight between the Dwarves and the Skaven abruptly ended with all being much surprised as the Dwarves broke from a break test forced from their losses from the previous turn and took an early bath and the Skaven now turned their attention to a wide advance towards the Mercenaries and the Witch's Coven.
The Skaven and Dwarves have at it in a large scrum
The Marienburger's continue their slow and steady advance with Dave's penchant for forming firing lines, and tried to take out the odd roving Warg with little initial success.

Mean while the Undead closed on some Resources and tried to attempt some destruction before the the Witch Hunter's could interrupt and spoil things.

Undead rush to battle and the Witch Hunters close
The coming fight between the Witch Hunters and the Undead soon came and quickly escalated as both side pushed their bands into the fight with the Witch Hunter's having the numbers and the extra punch with the Undead being without their heavy hitter looked a bit worse for wear pretty quickly.

The Marienburger's finally began to close on the prize and torched a couple of resource piles as they advanced and did manage to drop a Warg as they moved forward now with an eye to the advance screen of the Skaven coming from their flank.

With movement now pretty close to the Witch's Coven, the remaining Warlocks made a break for freedom while another Warg went down to the attention of the remaining warbands.

The Merc's chase a lone Warg

Without much effort the Skaven and Witch Hunter's did for the fleeing Warlocks with rats and missile fire and more Witch resources were torched.

The WH's pick up some XPs while finishing
off the last of the Warg's
The Undead broke pretty quickly from the fight with the Witch Hunters and took off to nurse their wounds and keep as much cash as possible and the Witch Hunters moved into and around the central ruins destroying any remaining caches they could find.

The Skaven snipe and move for position

The Skaven moved to pick up some XP's from destroying any caches they could find on the north side and now moved into combat with the emerging Mercenaries.

The Skaven rush to battle (and booty)

The Marienburger's attention was now split between the advancing Witch Hunters and the increasing numbers of Skaven forces. 

Witch Hunters and Marienburger's close
Though the Skaven did fairly well in the ensuing skuffle, they failed to get the the dice result's and with a couple of losses, the inevitable break test was failed and the ratty-ones left the field having successfully split the mercenary forces up.

The Merc's battle Skaven and the Witch Hunters

This just left the Merc's and the Witch Hunter's on the field to battle it out.

As the two sides closed in earnest, it was evens as they clashed with both sides one away from a mandatory break test.

Final Rumble in the ruins,
the WH's and Merc's battle it out

Neither side held back and both put all they could muster into the final melee, but with the Merc's slightly poorer stance and the WH's much more consolidated the final fight was brief and the Merc's dropped a man first and failed their break test leaving the Witch Hunters victorious and their first of the campaign.

Another good barney and now roughly half way through the campaign, the bands are beginning to shape up (most of them anyway).

Things are getting tougher for the Warbands and with a 'good side' victory, the bands move again following the Witch Hunters to take out an outpost of the Necromancer and grab an heirloom to aid in the fight against the foul hordes (or destroy it to stop it being used).

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Mordheim Season 3 - Free at Last!

This week saw the fourth installment of the gripping cereal (no not Wheetabix) that is Mordheim Season 3, 'The Season of the Witch'.

The bands had gathered back at the smoldering ruins of what was once the town of Dalberz, intent on freeing (or dispatching, depending on which band was which) some adventurous prisoners rumoured to be left for dead within the town jail, following the recent rampage of Undead in the city, stripping the town of it's inhabitants.

Once again the Undead of Kev, the Skaven of Andy W, the Dwarves of Ian, the Marienburg Mercs of Dave, the Witch Hunters of Andy L and the newly appointed Protectorate of Sigmar were all present to lend a hand at freeing the poor souls and potentially adding (or not) to their warband numbers in the process.

It was noted that following the usual random deployment round the table, it was once again Dave's Marienburger's that kicked off the proceedings as was becoming usual too and the Merc's headed purposefully towards the Jail in the centre of the town, the rest of the bands followed suit but with slightly less alacrity and the Dwarves made more of a move towards the Skaven who in turn, dropped a gear and sprinted towards the town Jail too.

The town smolders, while a few brave souls
pick their way through the smoke and ruin
This proved to be the main event for the first part of the game with the Skaven launching everything they had at the Mercenaries who in turn all piled into the Jail and entered into a no hoplds barred punch up in the pokey. The Merc's first sprang the four of the cells, one of which held a Skaven Assassin, which they duly dispatched but didn't have time to do anything else as the Skaven piled into the building.

The Merc's occupy the Jail

The Dwarves continued their plodding move round to the rear of the Skaven and the Witch Hunters continued their equally cautious move through the ruins towards the Undead. Meanwhile, the Protectorate edged forward and were sniped at by a lone Dwarves archer type the wily short-ones had left to guard their rear. The Undead equally slow to move forward edged along in cover moving slowly in the direction of the Jail.

The Undead shuffle along in cover avoiding the
 Protectorate marksmen

The WH move slowly through the town
As the fierce melee continued within the Jail between the Merc's and the Skaven, the rest of the bands continued their approach and mid game things looked as if they might develop into a massive punch up in the middle of the table around the Jail.

The bands begin to converge, with a possible
 big barney in the middle looming
The Protectorate then veered away from the centre and moved towards the rear of the Dwarf line and the Protectorate Archers began to snipe at the back of the Dwarf group but only managed to stun or knock down their targets with the Warrior Priest and accompanying Templer's moving towards the Dwarf Rear Guard. 

Skaven and Merc's fight it out in the ruined Jail house
with the Dwarves waiting to pounce
Protectorate sniping at the Dwarves
The WH's still creeping through the ruins
Then with a flourish, the Skaven were gone having lost their rout test having taken the worst of it in close fighting within the Jail despite the newly recruited Rat Ogre getting in about it and the Merc's proving their mettle.

This changed the scenery of the game and the likely outlook. With Dave's Merc's on voluntary break tests after his battle with the Rat People but occupying the Jail in a pretty strong position and now possessing all the surviving prisoners, the four other bands changed tack. The Witch Hunters picked up a gear and moved with purpose towards the Undead and the Dwarvesm, robbed of the arch enemies the Skaven, about turned and now moved towards the Protectorate who were beginning to be annoying. The Undead who till now had only magically sniped at the Mercenaries if one of them showed face at the door of the Jail now moved towards the Jail in an attempt to rest the prisoners from the Mercenaries before they legged it.

The Undead approach the Jail
The battle in the western portion of the town between the Dwarves and the newbie Protectorate was fairly short but better than expected from the Protectorate point of view as they managed to stand for a couple of rounds shooting at the Dwarves as they approached and managed to take out one of the Stunties before the whole Dwarf team steamrollered in and the Warrior Priest and three of the henchmen were taken out in fairly short order. Minimising loses the Protectorate legged it.

The Witch Hunters emerge into the fray
One the eastern side, the Witch Hunters surprised the Undead before they pounced on the Mercenaries and launched their attack on the lead Undead ones and once again a fairly brief but telling melee erupted as the WH hounds and Flaggelants charged in and though little over all damage was done they focused their attacks on the Vampire and with a mass of attacks landing they put the stunned Vampire on the ground and then finished him off.

Protectorate still sniping at the Dwarves
The WH's pounce on the Undead
The Mercenaries, now apparently ignored loosed a few pot shots out the windows of the Jail at the passing Witch Hunters and seemed to be particularly accurate today and dropped a couple of their number. This was followed by them deciding that nothing more was to be gained and voluntarily left the building and the game with a passle of prisoners in tow to add to their number for the following game.

The fight back from the Undead and the casualties from the Merc's proved to be enough for the Witch Hunter's and they broke too but not before taking out a couple of Dregs from the Undead number.

Once again, the last two combatants were the Dwarves and the Undead and these two bands squared off in the ruins to the south of the Jail, but with the Vampre gone the heart wasn't in the Undead band (or indeed their hard hitter) and after an attempt to force a rout check failed and the casulties mounting the Undead called it a day leaving the Dwarves the victors of the field, bloody but unbowed but without any prisoners to add to their number.

Final fray, the Dwarves and Undead again beat each other up
Another good enjoyable game with lots of too-ing and fro-ing. The post game round out proved costly for the newbie Protectorate losing the three of their henchmen (but not the Priest mercifully) but the stonker of the story was the death of the Vampire leaving the Undead on a sticky wicket. They can re hire him but Kev will need to save his pennies for quite a while before he can afford to. The Merc's have now free use (for one game anyway) of the five Hirelings they freed and make them pretty tough stuff for the next round and the Witch Hunters and Skaven are getting to be a bit more of something to be reckoned with.

Next up for the Bands is a Raid, with the Dwarves to choose who they attack. Either a raid on the Necromancers Allies, the Witches Coven or are they going to move against one of the other Bands (either the Witch Hunters or the Undead) to reduce their capabilities for the forth coming battles.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Empire vs Vampire Counts - 6th Ed Warhammer

Last week, myself and John Muir had decided on organising a game for this weeks club night and with neither of us had anything particular in mind and we ran through a few options to see what peeked our fancy, and it was John, rather randomly for him, plucked out of the air the option of Warhammer, though with 6th Ed rules, being the latest version he had in his possession or indeed played. Myself, having liked the 6th more than it's proceeding versions a lot more (mainly because I had actually managed to win some games of 6th) thought this a splendid idea and we ventured into WHFB territory once more, the first time in yonks.

Both armies head purposefully towards each other

John went for his usual undead themed Vampire Counts and of course I led my Empire into the fray each with a 2000pt pitched battle, nothing fancy as both of us were a bit rusty on the rules to say the least.

We both picked things up again pretty quickly however, and other than me getting a few different edition rules in my head, things went pretty quickly all in all.

Apart from my atrociously bad deployment and putting my Great Cannon behind a hill and trees so that it only fired in the first round of the game, killing a solitary skeleton and my General and his accompanying knights never actually getting into combat, the Empire held it's own rather than crashing and burning as it would normally do against the Undead, though helped in a large dose by John's poor to terrible dice rolling and his miraculous ability to miscast spells in almost every round,

One thing I had forgotten though I remembered when it happened was that when defeated in combat and outnumbered by fear causing foes, your unit automatically breaks, and I remembered this when losing a combat by one and outnumbered by a couple I lost an entire unit of swordsmen and a Warrior Priest when pursued. I did have revenge though when for one my Greatswords actully chopped up John's nasty Knights right at the beginning with little loss and though by attrition, also managed to remove his unit of Wights with the Army Standard over about three, if not four rounds.

End Game and not much left on table when time beat us to the punch
As usual with these games, we were pipped at the post by time and at the end of the game John had his largely intact Skeleton units on the table and his ethereal General plus a handful of Zombies still chewing away at the Flagellants and I had my untouched General and Knights plus half the Greatswords, plus a unit of Archers and a Unit of Handgunner's who also hadn't managed to do very much either.

A very enjoyable and worthy trip down memory lane for the both of us and likely to be repeated event sometime in the near future.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Chaos Wars - Trial Game

Earlier this week, myself and Andy W had a trial game of the 're-invented' Ral Partha Fantasy rules 'Chaos Wars'.

I had noted the existence of these rules somewhere on the blogosphere and of course checked them out when I saw that they were free for download.

With seven fairly chunky volumes available for download including Core Rules, Building Army Lists, Campaign Setting Details, Sample Army Lists, Personalities and such, there is quite a breadth of material produced for the rules.

I'm not completely au fait with the whole story behind the rules, but in short they are the set produced back in the Eighties by Ral Partha, but brought up to date by Iron Wind Miniatures who are now producing the Ral Partha miniatures lines and bringing these out under kick-starter waves.

We trialed a small game (meaning four or five units a side) using their 'low fantasy' setting, meaning small amounts of fantasy add-on's like beasts, heroes etc. and went through the mechanics of the rules which turned out OK though we did make a couple of mistakes in going through things on the first run as you often do, mainly giving heroes attached to units their full attack stats rather than merely adding to the unit stats, but all in all things appeared to be un-broken and worthy of further trials on a grander scale.

The basic mechanic of standard unit  sizes ala Lion/Dragon Rampant of 12 figures for infantry and 6 for cavalry being the basis of the game, and generally fairly similar in feel but with the addition of flank attacks etc. and some differences too. 

All in all, though I am not hugely a fan of the standard 'limited' unit size/element type rule sets, these do appear to give a good feel for this type of rule set and produced a fairly satisfacory quick play game and as such are definitely worthy of future attention.

You can check out the rules and the various supplements on the Ral Partha site.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Iskandria Once More...

This week I have been mainly playing...Urban War.

With no campaign games looming and a bit of a lull generally for the summer season, Kev and myself were looking for a game and we plumped for a game of these old favorites, spurred on by Kev's wish to put his very nice Forward Post terrain bit's from Antenociti's Workshop on the table. No problems there.

With a bit of a change in line up from our previous forays into Iskandria, I went with a squad of Viridian Marine's and Kev played his Koralon gribblies.

The game played out in a fairly typical manner. The first few rounds, the Marine's seemed to be unable to miss anything and the Koralon forces were depleted seemingly with ease and they approached their break point (50%) very quickly. Even by opening a portal and vallumping some gribblies including the big one, into the centre of the Marine's troops failed to make a dent in the troops lines as the Sergeant took out the first alien as it emerged from the portal much to everyone's surprise then succumbed to the onslaught but the next lowly Marine grunt then proceeded to dispatch the next alien with his knife and took a wound from the big nasty and held the centre by himself for several turns.

On the flank it was a similar story as the grunts seemed to have charmed lives and took another couple out in close combat and only losing one of their number in return.

The wheel turned however as it usually does, and with the Koralon forces making their first break test they dropped a gear and the Marine's started using rubber bullets, still hitting everything they aimed at but failing to wound anything. C'est La Guerre.

In fairly quick succession the marine's lost a further four, mainly on the right flank, and once reaching break point, failed their first test and broke.

Another close and enjoyable game, which is always nice.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Dux Britannnium Campaign - October 565 AD

Starting positions after deployment

This game was the last of the campaign year and probably the last game of the campaign for the Scots of Cenel Loarn, and this time they were out to raid their near neighbour's, Ian's Picts in Fib.

We randomly threw up (that sounds wrong, but you know what I mean) the Raid on the Church scenario and with the Scot's as the attackers and Pict's defending, the Scots coming on at one end of the table and with the randomly thrown position of the church half way on one side of the table and the Picts luckily (or unluckily as it turned out) randomly deployed on the same position as the church.

The Scots got a fairly low head start roll and only had the minimum two rounds of move before the game started properly.

The game was there after, extremely short lived. Two of the cavalry unit's squared off and fought each other to the withdrawal as a side show behind the church. The main event was the two bands of warriors lining up to the side of the church, four groups of Pict's and three groups of Scot's (though expanded by four warrior's due to previous game advance's). The Scot's got the charge in first as the order of the activation's came out and with a Carpe Diem card and a couple of extra cards charged in and with the same number of dice each in the first clash the Scots got a massive seven kills and a horribly huge number of shock points too, aided by the effects of the cards used.

The Pict's unsurprisingly broke, and with a second round of combat as they fled and were pursued by two of the Scots Warrior groups were practically destroyed and the Pict's were off the table being so close to the table edge to start taking with them their skirmishers who were caught in the Scot's pursuit. Game end with most of the Pict's off table by the end of the third round of gaming.

This bring's the campaign year to an end for the Scot's and with interest waning for the Dux B campaign, the end of the Campaign too.

I quite enjoy the rules to play, mechanic's wise but the randomness of the play/scenario's often has meant the games were often over before they began. A problem to be redressed by only playing pre-set 'designed' scenario's to balance out the games and make things much more interesting.

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