Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Star Wars X-Wing on New Year's Eve

So with Mrs Tom's Toy Soldiers catching up on her Phd, the boys and I, at a loose end on NYE, set up for a game of X-Wing.
Smallest boy took a Y-Wing and and X-Wing with Luke in, while son and heir had a pair of TIEs and I took the TIE Advanced.

After much low quality maneuvering, Luke and the Y-wing blasted apart one if the TIEs, but the remaining Imperials managed to corner and eventually blow apart the slow moving warhorse.
With eldest boy running for cover I went headlong toward Mr Skywalker expecting that I'd crash and burn and maintain harmony in the household for another evening, but it didn't quite work out like that. The Force was weak with the small boy and all shots missed, whereas I managed to put the three damage I needed on the hero of the Alliance and re-write the history of the galaxy far, far away...
However, credit where its due, the youngest took his defeat in good part and all's well as night descends.
A cracking good little game is X-Wing - I must get it out with the kids more often.

 The forces of evil mass over the sands of Tatooine

 The Alliance ships scatter as the TIEs approach

 Luke flies by the TIE Advanced

 The Y-Wing approaches its nemesis

Luke fires...and misses...

Two post on one day (and two games in less than 24 hours!) brings 2013 to a close.
Happy New Year to everyone who visits here - I hope you've enjoyed my ramblings this last twelve months.
Thanks for taking the time to drop by, I hope next year is a good one for you and yours.
Expect more of the same in 2014.

Warhammer Triumph and Treachery game

Last night I got together with two chums for a game of Warhammer using the new Triumph and Treachery expansion.
We played using 2000 point armies but without any mercenaries. I took Ogres, the other two had Empire armies. We played one of the scenarios from the book, the object of which is to pick up an objective in the centre of the board with your general and hold on to it until the end of the game.
The game was great fun to play and swung back and forth throughout. I started off sandwiched between the other two and the first few turns were tough going as they both seemed to be picking on me.
However Ogre toughness saw me through (along with plentiful regeneration spells) and I clawed my way back into the game, whilst the two Empire generals began to tear each other apart in the centre of the board.
The game finished at the end of the sixth turn, by which time we'd been playing well over four hours (and were starting to run low on beer) with a clear victory to one of the Empire forces.

Foolishly I forgot to take any pictures of what was visually quite a splendid and colourful game.

I really enjoyed the game - the fact that you can only pick to target a single enemy in any given phase, coupled with the random order in which each player takes his turn mean the violence is spread out, with less likelihood of one player being picked on as has often been the case in previous three player games I've taken part in. Usually multi-player games for me tend to break down into a number of single player games that just happen to be sharing one large table, but this didn't feel like that - you had to watch the guy on your flank as closely as the one across the board from you at all times.

The dirty trick cards and the opportunity to make and break alliances led to plentiful trash talking and attempts at influencing (or intimidating) fellow players into doing your will. The cards also added an extra sdimension to the tabletop game adding just the right amount of variety to upset the best laid plans.
The downsides - well it does take longer to play then regular Warhammer, but it's clearly intended for more social, "occasion" style gaming - the once every few months blowout type game rather than regular weekly sessions.
Its also not cheap, but it is a lovely product with some very nice tokens and cards and you really only need a single copy between a gaming group.

This is not an expansion aimed at the "tournament" or more competitive gamer and it requires some suspension of disbelief around game mechanics to work, but if you're the type of gamer who likes to play bigger games with a bunch of like minded souls then I think its well worth the investment.
We were all pleased with the game, and a quick look further through the book revealed we might well have all the models needed to re-fight one of the "historical" scenarios from the book involving Dwarfs, Skaven and Orcs and Goblins

Monday, 23 December 2013


For a festive post you can't beat these Copplestone Evil Snowmen.

I've had them for at least two years and started them last year, but only just got round to finishing them off.
Splendid, characterful sculpts that were a pleasure to paint.

No idea what I'm going to do with them, maybe nothing, but I'm glad I've got them.

Seasons greetings and felicitations to all my readers. Thank-you both.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Warhamer 40K Battle at the Farm

A game for children, deviants and accountants - that was how we always referred to 40K when I worked in Mail Order for GW.
Much though I like the background and many of the models I'd never enjoyed the experience of actually playing the game - generally finding it attracted people far more interested in demonstrating their "skill" at pushing little plastic men around then people who wanted to have a laugh, roll some dice and shout hurrah!
However recently my chum and I, grown weary of WFB, decided to have another little go at some round based nonsense and try a bit of more narrative led, scenario type 40K.
He was painting some Crimson Fists and I had a bunch of Orks and so it seemed only natural to give the classic Battle at the Farm scenario a go. Now, not being one of those rose-tinted spectacle wearers who think the Rogue Trader was actually anything other than a tedious mish-mash of role-play, complexity and micro-management we decided we'd go with the latest version of the rules. Good job too as I threw my original copy of RT bought back at Games Day 87 in the recycling a few months ago - along with WFB 3rd ed. hardback, McDeath, Terror of the Lichemaster, Slaves to Darkness, Realm of Chaos and Warhammer Armies on the basis that they were all unplayable old cobblers taking up much needed loft space.
GW produced a revised version of the scenario as part of a Rynns World campaign which is designed for newer versions of the game, so we just used that.
There was a version of the PDF on the GW site, but it's been deleted. So I've uploaded it to my Dropbox here

Sadly my camera proved risible once more and these are the only pictures that are half-decent.

 Hruk da Nob leads the lads on the left

 Meanwhile Thrugg Bullneck heads forward on the right

 Hruk's shoota boys unleash inaccurate lead

 The warboss reaches the marine lines

Thrugg and Pedro go toe-to-toe

The game was pretty simple and straightforward. The orks charged, got shot-up by the marines and finally delivered Thrugg into the imperial forces, where he laid waste to anything and everything he touched. In the end the two leaders clashed and in true comic book style killed one another at the same time.

We had fun, we rolled dice, the soldiers looked quite pretty.
The rules remain a perplexing mixture of very simple core overladen with way too much chrome and special rules that, even in a game as small as this, leave the whole thing creaking a bit. Playing this in a tournament would be my idea of hell.
Was I gripped? Not really, but we think we might think up a few more scenarios to play through set on Rynn's world as and when the mood takes us.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Warhammer Wagon Train

After a lengthy Warhammer hiatus my chum and I reconvened for a game.

I devised a scenario, based on an idea I've been toying with for a while. The original genesis is from a Charles Grant scenario based on valuable wagons getting across the board. In my version it was a Dwarf wagon train trying to get from the brewery to the safety of the hold. I had wanted to use the Grudge Pony from the old Skull Pass WFB starter set, but ran out of time, so substituted some Dark Age scenery bits instead - cattle and beer barrels, which seemed Dwarfen enough.
As I'd been toying with this as a solo scenario the greenskin attackers would be randomly generated using cards and appear at random locations - I was hoping for a Hollywood Wild West  effect with the Dwarfs holding off relentless attacks from the greenskins the Dwarfs also got a unit of Longbeards to ride to the rescue from the hold and a cannon in the hold to provide covering fire.

Unfortunately my camera is on its last legs - if Santa doesn't come up with a new one I think it'll be time to bite the bullet and go the sales - so the pictures I got are very poor. Here's the only three salvageable ones and they're pretty bobbins.

 The wagon train pulls out

 Stout dwarf warriors bear down on a goblin idol

The Red Cap tribe bar the way

So how did the scenario play? 
We actually managed to get two games in.
In the first I took the role of dwarfs and the random roles quickly saw me surrounded by some of the green elite units. Stymied by the enemy's rapid deployment and outpaced my wagons were quickly overrun and my warriors cut-down.
So we swapped sides and tried again. This time the random deployment saw my troops scattered far and wide and what did arrive was generally the weaker elements of the force, so the Dwarfs were able to wipe them out piecemeal and keep up a steady advance and in the end easily made it to the hold with all wagons intact.
So the scenario is clearly balanced - against me.

On reflection I think removing some elements of the randomness would help the Goblin player to make a better fist of it, whilst restricting the proximity of goblin deployment would at least give the Dwarf player a chance to get some momentum.

That said it was good to get the WFB toys out again and the table looked pretty good with all the scenery and pretty much entirely painted forces.
We've both just bought the Sigmar's Blood campaign book and hope to have all the forces assembled to play through that in the New Year. I think it'll suit us - smaller units, a narrative and limited and restricted magic items suit our style of gaming a bit more than the full WFB experience.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

SAGA Anglo Danes v Welsh

After an enforced hiatus (paternity leave) I finally got together with one of my wargaming chums for a game.
I was really missing SAGA, having not played for ages, and as it's easy to pick up again with straightforward, clearly written rules, unlike certain other Dark Age rulesets, we agreed that's what we'd do.
I dug out the Anglo Danes and faced off against a Welsh warband,
Clash of Warlords was the nominated scenario as anything else seemed too challenging for our first game in six months or more.

And as usual SAGA didn't disappoint. We played a 6 point game and played at a leisurely pace with a little reference to the rules and a lot of time spent staring at the board agonising over why so few dragons or helmets had been rolled. I made a bee-line for my opponents warlord, leaving a couple of units isolated on one flank. My opponent was able to bring more force to bear on me as a result and managed to leave my warlord isolated as we entered the final turn. However the fatigue that I'd laid onto his warlord proved crucial - he was unable to complete a final charge that would almost certainly have killed my warlord, and in return I was able to charge him and with a stacked board and lucky dice I chopped him to the ground leaving me to claim a victory!

Sadly I forgot my camera and phone but my chum sent through these pictures so we have some sort of record of the epic struggle.

 The saxon warlord leads his men into the heart of the welsh lines

 The battle lines close

 A lone huscarl comes to a sticky end

Fatigue begins to pile up on the wellshmen

The warlords come together