Sunday 30 August 2015

Frostgrave Trials

All aboard the train to Frostgrave!

A lot of the bods at the club signed up for the Nickstarter for Frostgrave and since a few others have picked up the rules as there has definitely been a lot of interest for this set of rules coming out. This is possibly due to Osprey doing their marketing well or just because a new fantasy skirmish rule set was needed. They certainly caught my attention so I picked up a pre-order bundle too. In any event, the rules are pretty much out there now, and generally well received.

I won't go into a full review of the rules here as this has been done plenty of times elsewhere, suffice to say they are a well produced, coherent set of rules which are easy on the eye and read pretty well too, with a slightly 'Old Skool' feel and the artwork very reminiscent of the 3rd Ed Dungeon & Dragons style and layout.

A fair few bods were keen to try the rules in anger so to speak, a we arranged a one off multi-player trial game to get the feel of the rules and see how they played with several people running about.

Playing with four bands/gangs/wizrdly retinue's on the table and starting in opposite corners we had at it.

I'd plumped for an Enchanter, Kev took a Sigilist, Doug was a Witch and John went for a Necromancer. (I think people's choice of Wizard say's a lot about them, sorry John but I think you are going for world domination Mwa-ha-ha-ha!).

The game ran through itself quite easily and we all picked up the rules almost instantly with only a couple of referrals to the rules early on, though we all referred to our wizards spell lists constantly and checked what the spells could (and couldn't) do.

The game itself was interesting enough with each of us skirmishing with both our neighbour's on each side initially but following the early loses and moves, and the change of initiative on each turn (a small thing but makes a huge difference, and one I particularly like) the battle settled down to a largely Sigilist vs Witch and Enchanter vs Necromancer match, though everyone had losses from pretty much everyone by the end.

Sigilist and Witch's troops battle it out, with each others beasts
going for each other's throat (or thorax)
My Enchanter went down pretty early on (ish) and this made quite a difference on my game, and John's Necromancer went down not long after. This loss of your big hitter alters the run of your game and this seems fine given the premise, and looks to limit the effectiveness of the band severely and will affect how things play out in a campaign setting knowing this. Protect your experience gatherer. The only other observation during the game was that the terrain layout needs to be pretty close as our table was obviously too open with lots of Line-of-sight effects, too open a table and you get the sniper-effect too often.

Enchanters gang close on the Nercro's
In the end Doug's Witch claimed the honour of victory but because all had treated the game as a one off, we all had about 75% losses, but all in all the multiplayer experience was a pleasant and relatively trouble free experience. Thumbs up for Frostgrave so far.

Final run as honours even, the Hunter goes for treasure
 as the Barbarian holds off the Necro's
The following week, I had another game of Frostgrave as a one on one game just to keep things fresh and have another taster. Again I fielded an Enchanter and his retinue up against John's Nerc's.

John getting to grips with the Necromancer's spell list had altered his spell choices slightly and had picked up on some interesting uses, particularly the 'Bones of the Earth' spell which immobilizes opponents and prevents them from doing anything until they have fought the bony hand. A spell he put to good use. He had also thought out the strategy of putting his Wizard in a vantage point out of harms way and use him as a sniper, one which the terrain layout happened to favour on the night.

The dice gods were against me that day and I lost my entire retinue, Wizard and all (barring the Apprentice who stoically fought off bony hands all game practically and survived by virtue of not actually getting into action) against managing to only slay the extra Zombie in return. One of my hounds gets his dinner after all.

A fun enough, if rather one sided, game and one which gives another feel for the rules. All good and experience under the belt.

There is likely to be a club multiplayer campaign in the offing, and I look forward to this.

Sunday 23 August 2015

Scatter Terrain - Scourer Hedges

Some other bits to add to the terrain cupboard, just finished off, in the form of the ubiquitous scourer hedges.

Turned out OK, involved quite a bit of work, but simple enough to do. Will probably have to make some more to make them really useful as these tend to be better in large quantities. Maybe mix some up with combined hedge and fence pieces.

Tuesday 18 August 2015

French Perry Plastics

Seeing the '3 Ups' for the forthcoming French-ness from the Perry's as part of their Agincourt to Orleans range I am taken by the difference between these and the already released English Plastics and the notable differences that they portray.

This is, in fairness, is mainly in the realms of the head gear and the use of crossbow's admittedly, but I see a considerable difference in the poses and postures of the figures too. 

I have noted a recent trend in the sculpts to be more elongated in the torso which I don't like particularly but still very nice and useful figures on the way.

I can see myself using a lot of these, where as the English plastic box set from the range didn't do it for me and couldn't see any use for myself. Maybe I just like spear and crossbow rather than longbow and more longbow :-).

As the blurb on the Perry pic above say's, they can be used many European armies and this is where I'm likely to use these but probably with some head swops for some more central/eastern European head gear or maybe even a few Scot's. The whole benefit of plastics after-all.

Looking forward to their release, when ever that is, in an event.

Sunday 16 August 2015

Necromunda Campaign Round 10 - Grand Finale

Sniper say's 'I can see you!'
So the big final of our Necromunda rolled around last week and of the original dozen or so starters, five had made it through the hive for the final showdown.

Doug and his Genestealer Cultists, Dave and his Goliath Mob, Andy with his Stunty Van Saar, my Redemptionist Fanatics and John and his all-conquering Eldar were the final few.

With the game being the last of the bunch, and to make things a bit more interesting for everybody, we decided on a all-together punch-up on a crowded table with no break point for anyone, just a time limit with 10:30 being the time to count the cost.

With the table duly set and the usual random deployment round the table starting with the Cultists at the head of the table, Eldar, Goliath's, Redemptionists and finally Van Saar with the un-occupied gap between them and the Cultists. Doug threw highest and the Cultists kicked off the evening's proceedings.

The Cultist's took their usual tactic of a pretty spread deployment and with Tunnels & Vents deployment occupied nearly a quarter of the table, though very spread and immediately started moving bods towards the Eldar and Van Saar.

The Eldar took their usual stance too and deployed their troops in a fairly tight cordon with snipers at the back on vantage points to over-watch the rest.

The Goliath's and the Redemptionists taking a completely racist outlook on thing's (and an attempt to even thing's up a bit) decided on a non-aggression pact and go for the Xeno's and Heretic's at the end of the table. We weren't too sure about the Van Saar, but gave them the benefit of the doubt. Keeping in cover the Goliath mob moved straight down the side of the table towards the Eldar. The Redemtionist's  who were two men, (well women Zealot's with Eviscerator's) down due to the multiple 'Old Battle Wounds' rule which half the gang had, began the trek through the ruin's weaving their way towards the Eldar in attempt to settle an old score, hatred of one of the Eldar Storm Guardian's.

The Van Saar also took to their now standard deployment with half close combat types deploying in a fairly tight group moving forward and the other half using Tunnels & Vent's rule took up some good position's on high to support the combat types.

Pretty quickly things down the other end of the table started to get interesting as the Cultist's and the Eldar almost immediately came to blow's with the Eldar launching into close combat with their Storm Guardian's and for several turn's they sniped and skirmished with each other and lobbed the odd grenade, vying for supremacy at that end of the table but neither commiting their full force to force the issue.

The other end of the table, the Goliath's and the Red's moved slowly towards the alien's keeping to cover and generally ignoring the Van Saar to not force a confrontation and distract them from the their target.

The Van Saar had a completely different agenda however and with their melee gangers moving to cover both the Cultist's in the south and the lesser threat from the Red's next to them, their shooter's in their vantage point's took advantage of an excellent position and took some interesting long shot's at anything that moved. Early on this meant some good attempt's at the Eldar and Cultist's having the angle to shoot at these longer range target's but though they pinned a fair few didn't really get the kill's, mainly due to some significant toughness stat's.

This however changed as the Goliath's quickly came into view as they headed south and the Van Saar couldn't resist the meaty target and popped a couple of shot's at the massed ganger's and downed one and took a pot-shot at the Red's but failed to contact. Dave wasn't happy about this and split off a couple of his pistol and grenade armed ganger's who circled round behind the Red's, ignoring them and headed off to seek revenge from the Van Saar. It was here that the game was up, as it was noted that they ignored the Red's they passed and various cries of 'foul' and 'not fair ref!' were cried.

While the tussle between the Cultist's continued, Doug sent a couple of his team, including a genestealer, on a fairly slow but safe route towards the Van Saar position's.

The Red's as they moved toward's the partial cover of the central Air Conditioning plant, their leader took a shot with his Melta gun and fried one of the Van Saar Tough's.

The table now decended into seperate north and south fights. As the Red's maneuvered through the terrain, the Van Saar rushed out of the ruin's they occupied and assaulted the passing Red's and being the CC fiend's that they were fairly easily downed the Red's leader taking him OoA and along with one of the Zealot's.

The Van Saar commanding vantage point
Now came the time of the grenade storm. The two Goliath's had circled round and started to lob grenade's over the intervening pipework into the midst of the Van Saar (and an unfortunate Redemptionist not downed earlier) and generally played havoc with the close combat types finally leaving only one of them alive but down. The lone survivor of this attack was duly taken out by one the Red's Deacon's on the next round in revenge for the loss of their leader.

The next part of the grenade storm was not far away as the only way to get to grips with the Eldar was going to be a rush as time was marching on and staying in cover the whole way would have taken till next Thursday (and been pretty dull too).

The Goliath's trusting to numbers moved out into the open and started to run towards the Eldar position's followed by half of the Red's who had significantly more cover to start with.

The Eldar/Cultist fight had continued meanwhile with both sides backward and forwarding with both sides pretty even and OoA's being two apiece but the Eldar with another down.

Down but not out, several Cultist's and Eldar lay low or seek cover
while the Van Saar take shot's and the Red's and Goliath's advance
Now, as the Goliath's advanced the Eldar snipers opened up on the crowd and dropped a couple and a plasma grenade dropped another couple, the surviving ganger's started to lob grenade's at the Xeno's, that is to say, all the surviving ganger's started to lob grenade's with hilarious result's. Yup, Dave actually managed to blow himself up with his own grenade, not once, not twice, not even three times but four, over the course of the next couple of turn's, the strategy of having cheap replacement's didn't really work out although it did drop a couple of Eldar but didn't manage to take any out, well maybe one.

Unfortunately, the Goliath's paid a hefty price and at the end of this attack, most of the Goliath's were down or out. 

The Genestealer eviscerates a couple of Van Saar in bloody ruin
The Van Saar were the next to feel the wrath of the weird ones with the Cultist's finally reaching their target and the Genestealer rushed into contact after dodging sewveral shot's as it closed, and it promptly shredded a Van Saar or two as it passed and on into the rest of the gang. This was followed up by a couple of more normal cultist's into the fight. The Genestealer then circled round now reaching the opposite end of the table as it moved to come behind the Red's and Goliath's.

The Goliath's all take a lie down while the Red's move
With the clock moving in it's inevitable way, it was time to try and get a move on. A couple of the Red's had moved toward's the Van Saar as they had realised they were never going to reach the Eldar in time anyway and with a bit of a tussle another Van Saar went OoA but a couple of the Red's were down below the sniper tower. The rest of the Redemptionist's moved as quickly as possible toward's the Eldar who in turn moved out to meet them with now no worry of fire from the Goliath's most of whom were taking a bit of a nap.

The Red's and Goliath's get chewed up bad out in the open
as they rush in to get to grip
Not wanting dwell on this bit very much as it is pretty painful, but enough to say that five of my Redemptionist's weren't even a speed bump to the Eldar Storm Guardian and Farseer who easily one each combat and then into the next. Don't think any of my guy's even got to wave their sword's much. Sniff.

Now with the clock ticking on the last round and a few desultory skirmishes as a couple of Red's and Goliath's were put out their misery and a Van Saar was dismembered. Doug went first and finished of his Van Saar dinner and checking had 7 of his original 10 standing. John's Eldar were sitting at 6 still standing but one down but checking at the end of his round he checked and managed to roll a 1 so he ended up with 7 out of 10, you can see where this is going.

Much quieter street's
right at the end.
Dave next, and checking for downed troops didn't manage to revive any so ended up with 7 bodies still on the field but only 2 standing out of his original 13. The Red's next and after a bit of a tussle and much swearing I managed to get my Deacon back on his feet leaving me with four bodies out of my original 10 still on the field but 2 standing sneaking me into third place.

And the final throws of the dice for the game and the campaign went to Andy's Van Saar who were looking very worse for ware having been the brunt of several attacks and literally with the last dice roll scored a critical from on high with his heavy bolter (the heavy bolter getting his eye in at last) on the Genestealer passing below and shredded it in it's turn, meaning Doug was down to 6 bods standing and John's lucky recovery roll getting his downed Eldar back on his feet meant that Doug was pipped at the post for first place by the Eldar.

Boss game for the last game of the campaign and we all agreed the best of the campaign, with much amusement from Dave's grenade antic's, Doug's Genestealer eating Stunties for tea and my inability to hit anything except with a flamethrower, it was a great way to end thing's.

We all agreed, including John, that the Eldar had proved to be too strong for anyone to beat one to one, so would be avoided next time. The Van Saar and the Cultist's proved to be pretty good by the end and get honourable mentions. The Goliath's were plagued by several unlucky casualty roll's so had to constantly replace people and the Redemptionist's ended up in worse nick than they started with so many battle wounds, lost eyes and chest wounds most were more a liabilty than anything, certainly not as good as their band rating would suggest.

After this foray into the realm's of Sci-Fi, our next skirmish campaign will be the next Season of Mordheim and the continuing story of the fight against Allek the Necromancer and the hunt for the Great Treasure. Probably interspaced with a likely Frostgrave campaign. Watch this space for how these work out.

Monday 3 August 2015

Claymore 15

Once again a trip was duly taken through to the east coast for Claymore '15 at the weekend there.

The roads were as usual, heaving on the saturday with the run of events and such on on the day but all bearable along with a slightly changeable outlook on the weather front.

The venue at Edinburgh College Granton Campus (the Old (New) Telford College) was pretty busy when arrived at (lucky to get parked) and stayed that way right up until 2:30/3:00 ish which was great for the event and the level of busy-ness stayed at a fairly OK level throughout. All good so far.

The array of games on offer from the various clubs were over a pretty good spread of interests and a reasonable number were participation events roughly half those on offer.

A selection of games catching my eye this year;

Dave Imrie's ECW Demo

Towton Game using Lion Rampant Rules

Kiriemuir's 1st Battle of St Albans
League of Augsburg's Great Northern War

Missed name of this game...but it's got Elephants!
Quite a few smaller, skirmish or similar games on offer including Bloodbowl (complete with stadium) and a multitude of smaller Sci-Fi type games and a couple of Fantasy ones too.

Traders were many and fairly diverse offerings but mainly the old trusted names that are there every year but not complaining about that. Picked up a few bits and bobs, mainly terrain making materials and few resin castings plus a couple of monster types for Frostgrave, so quite happy there.

The only fly in the ointment this year was the catering, which was abysmal. I think the caterer's were pretty new to the franchise but the staff were as helpful as they could be, just a bit un-organised, but the actual bon affaire was +#!?>"% awful. Coffee was OK though. A 'must try harder' mark for next year.

All in all, once again a 'guid day oot' in the Auld Toon and will, of course, be there next year.

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