30 March 2018

SAGA2: Clash of Warlords

Last night myself and Adam had our first go at the new version of SAGA. As usual we played at the Hobby Bunker, it was quite busy there with a lot of 40k gamers. We did have quite a few players drop by to ask us about the game. There is certainly some interest. It is becoming more and more obvious to me that if you want to introduce players to new games you got to be out there playing them.

We decided to play a 6 point game in the Age of Invasions universe, for ease of transition we went with the only scenario in the new rulebook: Clash of Warlords. Adam played the Scotti and I played the Saxons.

Scotti (6 SAGA dice)
2 units of Fianna (6)
3 units of Bonnachts (8)

Saxons (7 SAGA dice)
2 units of Duguth (10)
1 unit of Duguth (12)
1 unit of bow-armed Ceorls (12)

As usual I will not write up an Action Report, but just provide a brief summary of the game. I was the attacker, and the game started well enough and I was able to throw a lot of SAGA rare dice early in the game. The Saxons are an aggressive force and have to attack to win. I had good dice early in the game especially with defensive throws. I was quickly able to take down 2 units of Scotti Warriors but on Turn 3, I left Hengist isolated and the Scotti were able to rain javelins down on him, he quickly was taken down. This was a pretty big blow and with this lost 2 SAGA dice. At this point the Scotti started to withdraw to protect their troops. Horsa in a fit of rage in Turn 6 attacked the Irish Warlord but again was taken down in a hail of javelins. Adam played a very good game and gained a 24 to 17 victory.
Terrain set up with the Saxons attacking from the foreground
Early successes by the Saxons
The game starts to change with Hengist isolated with a much diminished unit of warriors.
The Saxon levy having some sucess on the left flank, but as you can see to the right Hengist is exhausted and the  wily Irish Warlord is advancing to throw yet another javelin.
Horsa in a fit of rage advances by himself to melee the Irishman but has no Bodyguards .
He is thrown back exhausted and some javelins take him down. The advancing Saxon warriors have run out of time, victory to the Scotti.
We had no problem adjusting to the new versions of the rules, no question a great improvement. A great game has become even better!

As an aside, Hengist and Horsa live on even now in Southeastern Germany in 2 headed-horse symbols.

28 March 2018

Some Camels for SAGA

I have been recently building up my Moorish warbands for SAGA in anticipation of SAGA2 Age of the Crusades release at Salute. One unit that I did not have which I felt was necessary if I fielded a Mutatawwi Warband was some Hearthguard Fanatics on camels. They were easy enough to paint up, I decided to go with a very subdued colour scheme as is fitting for these soldiers of god.

26 March 2018

Some Sharp Practice Napoleonic Action

After a very long delay myself and my friend Mike got together for a game of Sharp Practice in Rhode Island. It was our first game since last August so I was looking forward to it, as Mike is the only gamer in area (90 miles) who is a TFL fan aside from myself.

We had been playing the CoC Martlet campaign, but I really think that I (the British) had little chance of winning more than half way through so we put it aside and decided to have a go a Sharp Practice. 

I have to admit that I find SP a bit of a challenge; of all the TFL rules I have played I find these have the steepest learning curve. I think I have played two Napoleonic and two FIW games so far but maybe spread over 2 years so I am usually starting anew each game. My last game was in Montreal in August which we really messed up and that was FIW, a less complex game than Napoleonics due to the troops mostly being skirmish types.

Mike has quite a collection of Napoleonics for SP beautifully painted by Dani Dunbar. This includes, Brits, French, Poles, Brunswickers and Spanish. Most gamers though like to use their own troops so I brought my Brits. We decided I think on a 80 point base game and we ended up playing scenario 1 in the book giving us a grand total of 92 points. My base force was the Literary Company from the book  as was as follows.

Status II and I Leaders
3 units of Line Light Infantry
Status III and I Leaders
3 units of Skirmish Light Infantry
Rocket Troop with Status I Leader

7 Leaders!
9 Units of Skirmish and Line Troops
Scouting Officer

We actually got to play the same game twice over a period of about 4 hours, which really is pretty good. I have not put together a game reports but here are some photos.

The basic setup The Brits are advancing in the foreground.

The British Rifles took a real beating, from L-R: Brunswick Oels, 60th Rifles and 95th Rifles

As you can see the British really got shot up, you can see Sharpie skulking behind the church
French are advancing in force
Could not take down the Poles!
Well I have to admit to getting slaughtered both games. I am not sure what I did wrong, the first game I think I was just unlucky, the 2nd game started a little better but I just could not get my line infantry in position. In retrospect, I can think of a few things that I could have done differently but it was tough as Mike had 7 leader cards in the deck with 5 command cards while I had 5 and 4 respectively. 

Anyway it was tons of fun and it was great to game with Mike again. If you are interested in Sharp Practice, Mike is putting on a game at Huzzah in Portland, Maine on the weekend of May 18-20. I am hoping to be there.

20 March 2018

A Plunge into the Dark

I have decided over the last couple of years to take the opportunity afforded by the AHPC to do something different. Last year saw my foray into a 6mm miniatures with a Blood Angels Epic army. This was quite novel for me as I had never painted any 6 mm models nor had been involved in anything to do with Fantasy wargaming. For this year's Challenge, an unusual series of events and observations sent me down a path I would have never predicted.

This past fall found me with far fewer wargaming opportunities than had previously been the case. What was I do? Through a Kickstarter a Boardgame had landed in my lap. I gave it a go and discovered that boardgaming was a possibility but at the same time it was still a challenge to play solo. Somewhere along the way, I believe Curt mentioned that there were Boardgames out there where the story line was driven by a computer programme. In fact he had recently painted some figures for a same said game. 

So I bought Mansions of Madness. I had heard of HP Lovecraft but had never read him and the Cthulthu Mythos was unknown to me, although I had wondered what it was. I like main stream Science Fiction but had never really been into the horror genre aside from maybe Steven King and TED Klein. I set up a game and found it quite interesting and fun to play and as a bonus one day my wife and sister-in-law were watching me play and quickly got talked in to having a go. They were immediately drawn in by the character profiles of the Investigators in the game. At the end of a 2 hour session, they both said when are we going to play again!

Being obsessive, I really could not play with unpainted figures, so I set about painting them. A further conversation with Curt gave me the idea that it might be interesting to paint the Investigators in polychrome while painting the Monsters in a monochrome. But while putting the project together, I started to ask myself who was HP Lovecraft?
Well I suppose this is where I started to lose control of myself. Reading about him certainly revealed a somewhat unusual character; both parents going mad and dying in asylums, riches to rags, and a quite extraordinary fan base. His books are out of copyright, so Kindle versions are easily obtained. I read The Dunwich Horror, a strange story and I liked the writing style. But what was this Cthulhu Mythos. While researching this, I discovered that many of his stories have spoken versions and are easily available without cost. I discovered HorrorBabble and I was hooked. 

I suspect in the last two months I have listened to maybe 20 of HP Lovecraft's short stories and novellas over and over again! At the Mountains of Madness is my favourite, but close behind is The Shadow over Innsmouth and of course The Call of the Cthulhu. I suppose it does not help that I live in Salem, Massachusetts, the dead centre of Lovecraft Country
This immersion has also sparked an interest in 1930 and 40's pulp magazine cover art. I am going to have to stop myself from starting a collection.
I could go on and on, but I should stop. If you would like to take the plunge, here is a link to my YouTube playlists of HP Lovecraft stories.

Anyway, please excuse my ramblings, time to get back to the challenge! Below find the start of my Mansions of Madness figure collection. The figures are mostly semi-hard plastic, the faces are somewhat soft but generally I enjoyed painting them. The polychrome Investigators were easy enough to paint but I am not really sure if you can call my Monsters true greyscale, so I decided to use the term monochrome. The black background is a real challenge to get right. I have photographed all the figure 3-4 times. I initially tried my iPhone 8 but I just could not get it right. I then went back to my Cannon and in iPhoto I was able to adjust the background (make it black) using the blackpoint adjustment without destroying the image. Still not an hundred percent but improving.

The Investigators
Carson Sinclair, Joe Diamond, Father Mateo
Kate Winthrop, Rita Young, Agatha Crane
The Monsters
Hunting Horrors
Cult Leader, Witch, Priest of Dagon
Innsmouth Rioters
Deep One Hybrids, Barnabas Marsh
Ghost, Hound of Tindalos, Maniac
Deep Ones
Star Spawn
Well another year's challenge has gone by: Many thanks to Curt and a very patient Sarah. Also thanks to my minion Ray as well as all the other helpers. And finally congratulations to all the participants, each year the submissions are just more and more brilliant.

18 March 2018

AHPCVIII Eleventh Submission: Epic Air Support

I received these models a couple of weeks ago and they really are first class and a lot of fun to paint. I have now completed my purchases for my 4000 point Horus Heresy Epic army. Still some painting to do, but should be ok to go for that planned but not yet scheduled Canadian East versus West Epic battle. The Blood Angels will be ready!

I have a tendency to overpaint these small models, but time was limited and I think I have them just right. I did learn an important painting tip this time around. I had been priming the models red and then using a wash to bring out the details. This time I primed them black and then used an airbrush to spray the red. Much better effect for shadowing but leaves the high points bright.

The descriptions of the airships are from the Warhammer 40k Fandom.

Kharybdis Assault Claw
The Kharybdis Assault Claw is a type of Drop Pod used by the Legiones Astartes during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy. The Kharybdis is a monstrous drop pod capable of carrying large assault forces through the void and mounting significant firepower to blast a path through defending small craft. As a fully operational dropship, these craft serve as orbit-to-surface transports, a role that allows them to use the firepower of their storm launchers and melta cutters to scour clean their chosen landing zone before disembarking their deadly cargo. 

Storm Eagle
The Storm Eagle is a heavy assault gunship used by the Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes as a heavy tactical air support unit. Storm Eagle gunships will follow a Space Marine Chapter's Thunderhawk gunships and Drop Pods into battle, where it can lend its weapons to a devastating aerial assault. The Storm Eagle mounts an impressive amount of firepower for an aircraft of its size and is also capable of transporting twenty Space Marines directly into the thick of a ground assault.

Xiphon Interceptors
The Xiphon Pattern Interceptor is a void and atmospheric flight-capable fighter craft once used by the Space Marine Legions of old. The Xiphon Interceptor was widely used by the Legiones Astartes during the early days of the Great Crusade, before falling out of regular service and seeing a resurgence in general use during the Horus Heresy due to shortages of available combat aircraft.

16 March 2018

SAGA: Retreat-Irish vs Saxons

Wow.........two games in one week, I am on a real roll!

Last night myself at Adam got together for a game of SAGA at the Hobby Bunker. There is no question that we both enjoy this ruleset and Adam got to field his newly painted Irish Warband. He really did a great job on them. The game was also a bit of an occasion as this will be our last game of SAGA, as our next game will be played using SAGA2. I am looking forward to this as I believe it the re-write will be a significant streamlining of the rules.

I had planned to field a Moslem Warband but for a couple of reasons I decided against it. I am one unit short to make 6 points so it was going to be a little difficult and SAGA2 is going to result in a significant rewrite of the battleboards. 

Thus I decided to go with a warband from the Aetius and Arthur supplement which is SAGA2 compliant. I have played both the Romans and the Britons from this book and wanted to do something different. After a quick look through I decided to go with the Saxons. I am by nature a defensive player and the Saxons are an aggressive warband so I felt it would be a good warband to try to get out of my comfort zone.

We picked the Retreat scenario from the A&A supplement which we had played once before. The last time Adam was the attacker and won the game, so it was felt only reasonable that I should attack.

Adam went with a Standard Warlord as well as 2 Curraigh derived from a 2 units of Hearthguard. He also went with 4 Warrior units, one being some Irish Wolfhounds for his 6 points. 

I went with the Hengist and Horsa 1 point warlord upgrade as well as 4 units of warriors and 1 unit of levy for my 6 points.
The starting positions. essentially the defenders are set up in a narrow 6" band in the middle of the terrain and have to escape off the board to the farground. The attackers set up in a 6" strip on their table edge but may also put up to 2 units on the defenders table edge. The defenders start the game with 1 fatigue per unit and any attacker on the defenders edge starts with 2 fatigue. It is a good scenario which is a lot of fun. Victory is given to the player who gains the most points. Points are gained by the defender from their figures off the table edge as well as from the opposing figures killed. The attackers gains points from opposing  figures killed. As you can see I placed by levy bowmen on the defenders table edge (right farground)
The attack starts, the game is only 6 turns so alacrity in advance is required.
Irish Warriors and the Wolfhounds and a Curraigh being tracked by the Saxon Warriors with Horsa leading the way.  They were all successful with minimal loss in escaping.
The Irish were less successful on the other end, I was able to quickly take down a unit of warriors and decimate a unit of Hearthguard and the Warlord's Pride resulted in the Irish Warlord being forced to engage Hengist and losing.
The last unit of Irish escaping off the board.
The Irish had all escaped by turn 5, but despite an abysmal Turn 4 SAGA dice throw where I got 6 Common Dice, I was able to eke out a victory with a 21 to 17 point victory for the Saxons. 

It is not often I win against Adam, so I have to say I was happy with my choice of Warband. The Saxons have an interesting BattleBoard, so I think you will see them again.