Monday, 29 July 2013

Fire As She Bears

Last week I tagged along to a six player, vaguely Napoleonic Fire As She Bears game.  Three players per side, with twelve British ships against sixteen French.
Congratulations Captain, the enemy are directly to our stern... 

I had a pretty good time overall, due to the fact that because the rules are extremely well balanced and well paced, but also because I did next to nothing the whole night!  Now this was my fault really, I didn't pick up on the nuances of the movement rules, meaning I made a couple early manoeuvres that took me completely out of the game.  Hence, my squadron and the one opposite me didn't fire a shot at each other until the final turn!
Meanwhile, at the exciting part of the table...

On the plus side, watching the other four squadrons blow seven shades out of each other for a couple hours was highly entertaining.  FASB does a really nice job of marking damage and representing how that damage impacts fighting effectiveness.  That combined with the reactive fire mechanic means you're always doing something.  In fact, we were close to a sinking late in the game (an unusual occurrence,) only thwarted by Hugh's spectacularly poor dice roll, 3 on 3D6.
Look!  We're facing the right way!  Roll some dice!

This kind of scale game (number of models, not the actual scale) is drawing me in more and more recently, mainly due to my lack of painting and modelling time.  Quick to paint models, cheap cash cost, minimal scenery.  I fancy tackling a Punic Wars naval project soon, around 1:2400 or smaller, about twenty ships each.  Anyone out there have a good suggestion for suitable a ruleset (not Roman Seas though.)

Big thanks to Andy for providing everything, models, tokens, stat cards and the scenario.  Next time, I'll try at least to get my ships pointing the right way!

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Nuklear Winter 68

A couple games have appeared at the club lately.  First up was our trial of In Her Majesty's Name (the photos of which I still haven't looked at,) and a new(ish) boardgame, Nuklear Winter 68.
One of Scott's finds, it's an alternate history/Weird War Three tactical boardgame, played through a series of thematically linked scenarios. The rulebook starts with a surprisingly comprehensive history of the second world war. Briefly, Hitler is assassinated, Himmler takes over, builds bunkers for the Thrird Reich to hole up in, Allies nuke Germany, build a wall round it to keep people either in or out, nuclear winter for a few years, radiation levels start to dissipate, Third Reich reappear, Mutants appear, chaos ensues.  Three factions are available in the game, each scenario dictating who fights whom; The Third Reich, NATO (with added Russians) and The Black Hand (the mutants from the nuclear wasteland.)
It has a random sequence of platoon activations mixed in with some, normally random, events; not all your units are guaranteed an action every turn, there's a nice balancing mechanic which essentially means most of your units will probably activate each turn.
The core combat mechanics is fairly familiar (stat + 2D6 +/- modifiers to beat a target number,) but with an interesting twist.  Each unit has three states, shaken, reduced, dead.  Attacks can reduce this piecemeal or with one powerful attack.  Although this can make the game a little dicey, it's still suitably difficult to kill something in one shot - a good thing.
Now, this isn't really the type of game I usually would go for, (I usually go for a bit more bling on my boardgames) but the theme and execution here really drew me in.  The board is both large wonderfully detailed, especially considering it's of a nuclear wasteland.  There are plenty of units available for each faction, including aircraft, artillery and the occasional nuclear mutant, and each unit acts appropriately to it's type, digging infantry out of urban areas is suitably sloggy.

I've had a loan of this copy for a couple weeks now and have played through about half the scenarios. Almost all appear well balanced, although the smaller games suffer from flukey dice rolls (looking at you Mr Brown.)  We're planning to run one of the three player scenarios soon, all three factions are fighting to control the crashed alien spaceship, what part of that doesn't sound fun.  Frustratingly for me, the first print run of the game itself is currently out of print, although the author is taking preorders for an expansion.

Heartily recommended.

Btw, If anyone knows where I could get a copy or if you have a copy for trade, please get in touch using the link on the right.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Things I'm No Good At #4 Photography

It's taken a bit of time for me to get round to it, but I've managed to go through some of the photos I took in Spain.  Oddly, my Father's house is in easy travelling distance of at least five castles, all of them Moorish in origin.  Northwest of Murcia, this region was apparantly the main route to the Spanish interior during the Caliphate and Reconquest, hence all the castles.

Sadly, much like singing, dancing and golf, I am absolutely useless at taking pictures.  And that lack of ability is not, much like singing, dancing and golf, due to lack of any effort on my part.  I've tried, but I simply don't that abstract ability to pick out a view and the skill to take a decent shot of it!

Anyway, here are the best of the pics; Petrer, Sax and Biar castles in all their vaguely in-focus glory.