Tuesday 16 May 2017

Carronade '17

Last Saturday was the FDWC annual show 'Carronade' and as usual, most of the bods from the club plus a few worthies all piled in to run another successful show.

Number of attendee's was up again this year from last, possibly helped by the not very pleasant weather in these parts. Numbers of traders and Clubs putting on games was about the same as last year as we've pretty much got to the maximum capacity for these but there were a few changes in the line up as some traders come and go with other events about the country move date etc.

All reported a very busy and interesting day with trade certainly buoyant and the expanded bring & buy flea market doing exceptional trade all day right up to the death.

The Iron Brigade won the Best Demo Game with their eye catching War of the Roses game with Glasgow Warhogs picking up the Runner-up with their Essen game. East Neuk Irregulars got the Best Public Participation game with their popular Indonesian Confrontation 1962 offer, with a close run thing from Leuchars Veterans and their 'Fury' tank combat game. As usual several other games were very nice indeed.

The painting competition also saw its highest number of entries to date with stiff competition in the Single Fantasy and Historical Unit categories particularly. Thanks to all who took part.

All in all a successful show and an enjoyable but exhausting day.

For further run down on the event, competition winners, video's and pic's from the show, you can find a full show run down at the FDWC Carronade show review.

I did manage to take a few pics of some of the games which caught my eye but had an epic fail on the the new phone camera front. Here follows a few (over exposed) pictures which hopefully give a flavour of some of the delights on offer. (I'll stick with my trusty Olympus ;-) and endeavour to do better next time ).

Some of the painting competition entries and winners;

Wednesday 10 May 2017

Scrappers - A Rules Review

Recently picked-up, the new (ish) 'post-apocalyptic' skirmish rules set from Osprey publishing which looks to be a reasonable and well put together rule set from first looks.

The next in line of a spate of future/sci-fi/apocalypse (should apocalypse have a capital? I think it should) skirmish sets of rules that have been released recently or are up and coming and this one fits the bill quite neatly and ticks lots of boxes that people will want ticked.

Released last month and with the Osprey Games stamp in the credits, the rules are getting a good outing in the hobby press.

I'm not aware of Robert Fausts' previous work (he has apparently penned Brink of Battle, a historical skirmish game and jointly with Andrew Davies, a Fantasy version Epic Heroes) but Scrappers is a development from this previous work. Set firmly in a typical dystopian (is there any other kind) post-apocalyptic far future, the look and production values of the book are of a high standard and very eye-catching/candy through out. The supporting artwork, which work I have been unable to identify as being uncredited in the book, but looks to be by David Auden Nash, as he is mentioned in the Osprey blurb on their website, is very good with a pleasing style and adds a lot to the RPG source book feel of the ruleset.

The rules follow the now typical three section layout of; Intro, background and crew creation, main game rules, and finally campaigns.

The background is a far future where several global AI's had a misunderstanding causing near global annihilation and resulting in nuclear war, famine, mutations and synthetic life forms all roll around making the remaining human survivors battle over scare resources. The milieu has a definite American written feel about it in style and colour and the author/s are indeed American so that can be forgiven.

There are, within the rules milieu, seven factions, or more correctly six factions (Ecotopians, The Purge, Gamma Lords, Palladium Athena, Architechs, and the Sons of Entropy) and a catch all for everyone else (Freelancers), available for your warband creation.All of these fit within the usual stereo-archetypes and can be made up of the three races; True Humans, Synthetics and/or Mutants.

All the Races and subsequent faction all have particular 'Traits' which are unique to their group and race and their are subsequent traits (skills) which can be given to each member to kit him out and make each figure stand out.

Humans are smart and hard to kill with survival instincts (they've managed to survive so far so must be good at it) and get failed gear check re-rolls.

Mutants are subdivided into three sub groups and get trauma re-rolls and are immune to some types of radiation.

Synthetics are immune to gas and poison and can ignore target priority restrictions and are also sub-divided into three sub groups each having their own bonuses.

To start with the game, you will as is standard have to design your warband (Crew). A good percentage of the page count is given over to how to do this and give you the stats for abilities etc. If you stick with rules background their are guidelines and restrictions on how you put together your band based on the Factions, mainly based on race. ie The Purge, a bunch of racial fanatics can only have True Humans within their ranks, conversely the Gamma Lords can only have Mutants, you get the idea.

Once you've picked your faction and life-forms, you give your characters stats which are based on Combat, Command and Constitution. You can also buy extra traits (of which there are many to choose from) and once designed, you finally equip your crew with weapons and armour. Pretty standard fayre so far.

The game itself is based around D10 ( a factor I like) and is heavily based around your crews' commander who provides your group with activation points so your looking for a high command value for your commander.

The combat sequence plays out in a similar fashion to that of say Urban War where the players take turns in activating models one at a time and though the terms have been changed, the equivalent of 'overwatch' and and so on, is in the mix in your average round of play.

When throwing to see if attacks succeed you are generally throwing a D10 and adding a stat value (say combat) and you compare the result to a similar roll from your opponent and if equal or higher then the attack succeeds. The defender can hen attempt to avoid damage by comparing constitution and armour plus D10 and depending on result can die, receive a wound or be shocked.

The core rules cover all the usual things of cover, movement, close combat and Psychology and the inevitable break tests.

The Campaign focused part of the rules is where I think most of the interest in this type of rule set lies, ie for an extended romp with meaning and developing a band/crew to see what flavour it develops as with most skirmish rule sets.

Scrappers is meant to be played as part of a campaign  and your crew will adventure through the Fallout-esque environment earning experience and buying new gear etc.

The standard 4' x 4' table is to be employed and 6-15 objectives (Scrap) are spread around the table. The principle objective of each game in brief is to collect scrap with various scenario's to brighten up the usual treasure hunt. Scrap collected can turn out to be artifacts, useful items or just scrap. Also, each time a scrap token is picked up a D100 is thrown for a random event to occur.

The post game sequence, common to these games is often the most fun part of each round seeing what and where and whom advances, dies etc.

Overall, a very nice production from Osprey Games, though slightly a cross over/common ground offering with some of their other recent releases (Rogue Star etc). I do like the layout and feel of the book and the generic feel of the background/factions only adds to the usefulness of the rules. The many photo's of posed crews scattered through out the rules does point to this as they have obviously picked up on the 'not connected to any particular range of figures' factor, as all the fairly generic pictures are at great pains to point out their many sources of manufacture.

I will dig up some scrap with these rules and give them a proper trial to see how they 'feel' and I hope they have some legs as they are very nicely produced and put together, so it would be a shame if they are consigned to the 'also ran' stable.

Monday 8 May 2017

9th Age - Empire vs Orcs

Last weeks club game and another outing for the Empire using 9th Age rules, this time against Ian's Orc Army. (I wasn't about to waste my time against his Ogre's again :-) ).

Initial Deployment
Standard 4,500pt game with standard deployment a a secondary objective of Holding (scoring units nearest the centre of the field marked by a small rise/hill in the centre of the table).

I went for a fairly low-key line up with a beefed up knightly contingent and additional Priest (mounted and accompanying the general) and ditching the Swordsmen from my previous list as being totally useless in the current lists.

Ian (worryingly out numbering me again) also had a pretty standard Orc Line-up but with some knightly tin-openers in the guise of a unit of tooled up Boar-Boyz and four Bolt Throwers, he also added in a couple of his usual Squid Mangler annoyances just for good measure.

Round One
The proceedings went much as we both had guessed things would but hoped they wouldn't, if you know what I mean.

The Empire generally advanced with the right flank cavalry and supporting Flagellants moving out and followed up with some fairly ineffectual artillery shooting and the Orcs in turn did much the same with Ian's Tin-openers moving towards the Knights but his bolt throwers with their 'Piecing 6' ability having slightly more effect than my paultry Str 10 Cannons, but his Lobber doing little to no effect.

Round Three

The second round saw the first major blood spatter, as it usually does. The Empire General and his retinue charged the Wolf Riders to his fore which of course fled and I redirected into the first of the Squig Mangler things. Ouch I foolishly assumed charging this monstrosity would negate the worst of it's multi-wound ability. Wrong It still does what it does but at least it dies automatically but the General was down his entire unit with only his buddy priest to keep him company. The other unit of knights are beaten up badly by the Boar Riders and flee with an on-going pursuit dragging the nasties away from the fight.

On the other flank the Pistoliers (Reiters) blow the Ian's other unit of Wolf Riders to pieces which don't break 'yet' but try and pull the riders out of position. The rest of the Empire move forward to try and occupy the board centre for the secondary objective.

The Other Squig mangler moves 'randomly' through my unit of Halberdier's inflicting several casualties but reduced by a fortuitous ward save and continues on it's merry way, dodging cannon balls.

The General and his mate are charged by the large unit of Orcy types and with overwhelming numbers on the combat resolution he breaks. The priest is subsequently shot by one of the Bolt Throwers.

Round Four Empire

The Third round saw things change a bit, The Wolf Riders on the left flank were destroyed and the Pistoliers moving round to annoy the now exposed flank of the orcs, with the un-bloodied Halberd unit moving round to threaten this flank.

The Imperial guard and central Halberds moved to occupy the centre and hold this while the Squig Mangler continued his depredations now hitting the Guard and causing a couple of casualties.

The Boar Boyz continued their pursuit eventually chasing the knights off the table, losing a couple of their number to artillery fire, and the other Wolf riders moved to wards the flank Cannon to stop its firing.

The Flagellants tore through the big unit of Orcs and destroyed them in pursuit  and continued into the first of the Bolt Throwers on the hill.

The Empire General Rallied but didn't do much else in the battle other than draw out the Goblin Hero type on the Wyvern that moved out from the corner to avoid getting trampled on by the Flagellents rampage.

End Round Four

The fourth and final round saw little in the way of blood bath, the Boar boyz returned to the table after their pursuit and the Empire Artillery crew held the unit of Wolf Riders to a draw in melee.

The Flagellants destroyed another two of the bolt throwers and the Pistoliers continued to annoy the flank of the Orcs and the Squig Mangler avoided any further shooting attempts manfully.

Beaten on time once again, Ian declared the game a marginal Empire Victory due to the exposed Orc position and the Empire in possession of the 'objective' of the centre of the board. Both forces were still viable but the Orcs were a bit spread with both flanks exposed, the Empire, I felt would need to be quite lucky with the dice to be able to overcome the usual Orc toughness but I'll take the win however slim.

Interesting game with once again, the artillery rules not being favoured. I detest the Squig Mangler thing, but that's just a game thing. I did think the points costs for effectiveness a bit lopsided, ie cheaper Bolt Throwers for more bang, 90 pts versus 100 for pretty much guaranteed kill but fairly minor really.

Ian is not hugely keen on the Orcs under 9th Age, as there is no incentive from his point of view to play in character and get his orcs charging as the Initiative (the same as 8th Ed) rule means more often than not he is going to go second in combat so he's as well waiting for the enemy to come to him. I don't see this as a major problem for him as the Empire doesn't usually hit hard enough that his response isn't going to get him the advantage.

Magic was low key again with the empire priests only getting a couple of buffs off and the Orc Shaman being quite ineffectual too, narrowly avoiding blowing himself up.

A fun enough game with only a couple of niggles which always come as part of WHFB Age, just would have been nice to get a to a definitive conclusion, but hey-ho!
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