Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Painting Update - SAGA

I hope everyone had a enjoyable Turkey Day last week. I know I did - a sore stomach the next day attested to that!

Not much happened over my break, however.

I was slightly more productive with my painting, however, and I managed to get two units of Norman Hearthguard painted, flocked, and varnished.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Painting Update - SAGA (and a Warning)

I managed to finish the 4 point Anglo-Danish Warband today. I'm also starting to get a little tired of hand painting shields. Those LBMS transfers are starting to look like a good purchase...

The Warlord.

Hearthguard with Dane-Axes.

Regular Hearthguard.


The second unit of Warriors. 

I also managed to get my hands on a few Norman knights, and I finished the Warlord last night:

And for the Warning. When transporting certain miniatures (as a hypothetical example, let's say they're spaceship miniatures on flight stands) from one area to another, be aware that these certain miniatures may or may not be relatively unstable, which may lead to them falling from whatever you're using to carry them. Which would lead to them smashing on the ground and possibly breaking into multiple pieces that may or may not have snapped off within one another. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Painting Update - Full Thrust

Last December I ordered a couple of intro fleets for Full Thrust from Ground Zero Games. I haven't gotten around to playing the game very often - a definite shame - but I've finally gotten around to painting the miniatures.

They aren't works of art, but my thinking behind them was more RTS focused then miniature wargaming. In most spaceship-based wargames, distances are going to be so large that anything in scale would be smaller than a grain of rice. So the miniatures are more representative of where the ships would be instead of the actual ships themselves. With that in mind I painted them to be visually recognizable - you'd know whose ships are whose with a glance, no matter how mixed in they are.

By the way, the descriptions for the Full Thrust factions come from Wikipedia, which cites the first Full Thrust: Fleet Book as a source.

"The "Federal Stats Europa" (aka "Federated States of Europe") was formed in 2101 after the split of the European Space Force. Their colonies fall under a democratic council core government. Their official language is French and their space navy is known as L'Astromarine des FSE. "

The intro fleet consists of:
Lemnos class Frigate x2
Thetis class Destroyer x2
Ardennes class Light Cruiser x2
Tourville class Heavy Cruiser x1
Duquesne class Battlecruiser x1

"The "Neu Swabian League" was formed in 2101 after the split of the European Space Force. Their official language is German and their navy is known as the Kriegsraumflotte. Their capital is located on the planet Neu Salzburg."

The intro fleet consists of:
Pola class Frigate x2
L├╝tzow class Destroyer x2
Emden class Light Cruiser x2
Helgoland class Heavy Cruiser
Von Der Tann class Battlecruiser

I should mention that Jon Tuffey, the owner of GZG, included a Battleship and 2 additional Destroyers for each fleet in my order. Really excellent service all around from Jon. 

The stands are GZG's bog standard bases spruced up with magnetic adapters from Ninja Magic. I've really got to get some more - they're awesome!

I'm hoping to get some games in with Full Thrust in the future. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Anglo-Danes vs. Vikings - SAGA AAR, Part 2

For our second game, Curt and I modified the scenario 'The Challenge' into a knockdown, slobber-knocker slugfest between our two warbands.

(When I say 'modified', I mean that we didn't realize that the Warlords could break off from their duel in the center of the field, and that some of the Warlord's rules, like Resilience, still applied. So when Curt realized that his Warlord killing mine would end the game, we decided to keep going until one side was completely wiped out.)

Curt once again had the Vikings, and I the Anglo-Danes.

I placed the terrain myself, as I wanted the scenery to be a little nicer than our last game.

The terrain I placed was some fields on the left surrounded by small stone walls, a couple rocky ground formations in the middle, a small marsh to the right, and a road running down the middle.

The two sides lined up (Curt's Vikings have their backs to the camera). The Rocky formation broke my line, forcing my Dane-axe Hearthguard to advance separately. 

While our two warlords clobbered each other in the center of the table, we found ourselves spending most of our SAGA dice getting our warbands across the field. The position of the rocky terrain forced me to hold a unit of Warriors back from the melee (which turned out to be a blessing in disguise).

My old Warlord wasn't so lucky, and his younger, faster Viking counterpart eventually cut him down. However, he was left with only two wounds left (down from a beginning total of 12!) and the rest of my Warband performed spectacularly, ripping into Curt's shieldwall like a sharp sword through wet paper. 

After a few more rounds of fighting, I was definitely in the lead when it came to troops - Curt had lost his Berserkers, and both his Warlord and a unit of Warriors had taken a lot of hits. I had lost a unit of Hearthguard, and a unit of Warriors on the right had been bloodied, but I still had two units fresh and ready to fight. 

To my left my Dane-axe Hearthguard faced off against Curt's last untouched unit. 

A couple turns later, tit had been given for tat and both units were down to half-strength, but my Hearthguard had consistently been able to push Curt's warriors back. 

Back on the right, my two Warrior units faced of against Curt's bloodied Warlord and the last of his Hearthguard. 

A lone Danish Hearthguard stands, with the rest of his comrades killed. At least they took out Curt's Warriors!

And finally, Curt's Warlord falls. It was a bloody fight, with Curt's warband staying until the last man - I only had 5 men left myself! 

This was a fun game, and although we strayed from the rules a bit, it was definitely a better learning experience as we practiced the various Movement, Combat, and Fatigue mechanics that make SAGA an enjoyable, tight ruleset. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Vikings vs. Anglo-Danes - SAGA AAR, Part 1

Wait! Don't go just yet!

Yes, I understand that seeing the same two factions play against each other time and time again might be a bit boring - remember that I have to play these games. I've got Normans coming as soon as possible, and I'll try to mix things up a little with another game (Full Thrust? FoW? Something else?).

Regardless, I finally got Curt to cut his teeth on a couple of games of SAGA. Curt, of course, took the Viking starter warband, and I had the Anglo-Danes.

We decided to play Clash of Warlords, as I find it the best 'vanilla' scenario without any special rules or terrain to get in the way.

Terrain was a forest in the middle of the table, and a marsh to the side (which was promptly ignored). I find that a problem is smaller games of SAGA - terrain placement can force a game to be played on only a single side of the table if a player doesn't have the ability to traverse Uneven Ground quickly. In our game, you'll notice that we only played on a single side of the field.

Viking deployment.

Anglo-Dane deployment.

The first couple turns of the game saw the two shieldwalls advancing towards each other until one of us could have to charge into combat. Knowing my advantage was in the Anglo-Danes ability to take a charge (and that the Vikings would want to be the ones charging), I advanced only a little further in my turn and used my SAGA dice to ready a few Battleboard abilities. 

And the plan worked, although I have to admit it was definitely aided by Curt's terrible luck with his dice. I managed to wiped out a unit of Hearthguard while losing a single Warrior, and I almost took out a unit of Warriors at the cost of one of my Hearthguard. I then cancelled the activation of the Berserkers with the Anglo-Dane's 'Intimidation' ability. 

The game ended a couple turns later. Curt's Berserkers chewed up my Warriors, and he pulled back his Warriors back so he could keep using the SAGA die they produced. In return I beat back his Warriors that were protecting his Warlord over by the forest. Curt decided to trust his Warlord's hardiness in combat and threw him against my Warriors, but Lady Luck proved herself to be on my side tonight and Curt's Warlord went down with half-a-dozen spears in his chest. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Mini-Feature - G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T.

While Alex and I played SAGA last week, Gary and a few others had themselves a game of G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. I was unfortunately unable to join the game due to other chores that needed taking care of (Alex managed to join, however), so I snapped a few pictures before I left.

The game featured a Bulgarian force (taking shelter in the fort) under attack from a combined force of Austrians and Turks.

A Bulgarian tank. 

The Prussian heavy walker. 

The Bulgarian infantry take cover in the fort as the walker advances.

Prussian infantry follow heavy infantry. 

More heavy infantry, accompanied by armored dragoons - probably my favorite models that Gary had.

Though not a part of the game, Gary showd me this French walker. I loved it - completely home-made from PVC pipe. A great example of Gary's excellent conversion and modelling skills.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Vikings vs. Anglo-Danes - SAGA AAR

In an attempt to gathering support for SAGA, Alex and I sallied forth back out to 7th Dimension Games and struck swords in a demo game. Ken and Brian, our willing audience, only mildly chaffed at their restraints as we played. Bumping our forces up to 6 points, I once again led my Vikings against Alex's stout Anglo-Danes. 

Hearthguard - Berserkers
Levy - Bows

Warlord - Dane Axe
Hearthguard - Dane Axes
Hearthguard - Dane Axes
Levy - Bows

We decided on playing Clash of Warlord again, as it's a relatively straightforward affair - either kill the enemy Warlord, or have the most victory points (by killing models) by the end of turn 6.

Terrain generation saw Alex place a steep hill in the middle of the table, and since the table was a little narrower than normal, I was able to put a forest to the left of the hill. Much to my own detriment, as I was to discover. 

I deployed my Vikings as a line, left to right: Warriors, Levy, Warriors, Berserkers, and the combined Hearthguard. I placed my Warlord behind the Berserkers (another mistake. I've really got to stop doing this. The Warlord is too important to get stuck behind other units like this.

Alex deployed in a staggered line, looking to use the Uneven terrain of the Forest and Steep Hill to protect his flank. Left to right you can see: Levy, combined Hearthguard, Warlord, combined Warriors, combined Warriors.

As my line advanced, Alex pulled his Warriors back and moved the Levy up. I had originally planned to use the Berserkers to make meat confetti out of Alex's Levy. Unfortunately, I allowed Alex, Ken, and Brian to taunt me, and with my blood boiling I sent the Berserkers after the opposing Warlord. 

As my line advanced, Alex pulled his Warriors back and moved the Levy up. I had originally planned to use the Berserkers to make meat confetti out of Alex's Levy. Unfortunately, I allowed Alex, Ken, and Brian to taunt me, and with my blood boiling I sent the Berserkers after the opposing Warlord. Alex had his Battleboard prepped, though, and demonstrated just how well the Anglo-Danes can receive an attack. As the dust settled, all four of the battle-raging Hearthguard lay dead at the feet of the untouched Anglo-Dane leader. Damn!

(As a side note, Alex and I kept forgetting to lower the armor of the Anglo-Danish Warlord and Hearthguard equipped with Dane Axes. D'oh! Live and learn). 

Just to show that the Danes were no slouches on the offensive, Alex charged his Warlord and a unit of Warriors into my big Hearthguard unit. Using a bit of fatigue and fighting defensively, I tried to keep my best fighters alive, but the Fates must have been laughing in the roots of Yggdrasil as half of them were cut down. 

Trying to get my momentum back, I showed Alex that imitation is the greatest form of flattery, throwing my Warlord and remaining Hearthguard into the fight. After buckets of dice settled onto the table, Alex passed the 10 wounds I had managed to score back onto the Warriors behind his Warlord. 

After pulling his remaining Warriors back (keeping them in the game and retaining a SAGA die from them), Alex brought his Hearthguard up. My own Hearthguard fell under the heavy blows of their axes. 

I still had some fight in me, so my Warlord called the nearby Warrior unit into the fight. I can't remember exactly which Battleboard abilities I used, but you can see just how the melee went down...

My Warriors and Warlord focus their attacks on the enemy Hearthguard, and wiped them out! It was a bitter victory, with the near lost of the Warrior unit. 

Realizing just how alone my Warlord looked, I started to bring the Warriors on the extreme left over. I had abandoned my Levy, who had made poor going over the half-movement Steep Hill. 

Unfortunately, Alex wasn't going to give me that chance, and his Warlord charged his counterpart with the unit of Warriors in tow. My Warlord was quickly hacked to pieces, and Alex claimed victory.

Ken and Brian seemed to be impressed, and both expressed interest in picking up the rules at the very least. So, demo successful, it would seem! As for the game itself, in addition to the mistake made in remembering the armor of the Dane-Axe Hearthguard and Warlord, Alex and I thought that the Warlord could activate a unit within M, when the distance was actually S. Whoops! We'll be sure to remember that next time. 

It was a great game, and kudos to Alex for setting the demo up. With the absolutely massive Dark Ages collection Alex has, playing with different forces shouldn't be a problem. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Army Spotlight - Flames of War, British (Late War)

I became interested in Flames of War a couple of years ago. It was around the same time that my interest in Warhammer 40k was waning, and I had also decided that 8th Edition Fantasy just wasn't for me. I had always been a bit of a WWII buff, and so it didn't take me long to find was is most likely the most mainstream, if not the most popular, of WWII miniature wargames. I ended up trading some Lord of the Rings SBG miniatures my sister's ex-boyfriend had given to me for the old mid-war British rifle company boxset, and a few other goodies. 

One of the problems I think most wargamers encounter is buying miniatures at a faster rate that they can be painted. Last summer (2012) I decided that wouldn't be the case with my British. Over those months I sat down and painted most of what I had - the infantry taking the longest compared to the vehicles. The result was an infantry company and two tank companies.

Here's the infantry. The company commander and 2iC are in front (no snipers, however. Never had much of a use for them in FoW). Behind are 3 full infantry platoons. Accompanying them is a few support platoons - machine guns, mortars, and 6-pdr anti-tank guns with Lloyd Carriers for additional mobility. 

I started playing FoW with the 2nd Edition 'Open Fire!' set, which came with 2 StuGs and 3 Shermans. Though they were American-models, they were the basis of a Sherman tank company. Unfortunately, it's a bit skewed toward Market-Garden then Normandy as half of each platoon is made up of Fireflies (I somehow managed to buy a lot of Fireflies). 


I was also a fan of the cruiser family of tanks that ended up in the form of the Cromwell and Challenger tanks, so I also have a company of them. In Normandy I replace the Challengers with Fireflies borrowed from the Sherman company. 

Here are the oddballs of my collection - more assets than anything else. In front are 3 Churchill Crocodiles - they're decent at anti-infantry work with their flamethrowers, and their heavy front armor gives them semi-decent chances against heavier German guns. 

Behind the Crocs are the Recon platoons I use. The first is a single section of a scout carrier platoon. I'd like to get a full platoon one of these days, as the Bren 'swarm' can deal with both infantry and armor (with Mounted PIATs). Recon moves help with that. The Bren carriers accompany the infantry. There's also a single platoon of Stuart Vs. While their guns aren't anything spectacular in Late War, they're little, fast, and can still put a dent in side armor.

Last are four M5 halftracks. If I'm looking to add a little infantry support that can keep up with my tanks, I mount a platoon in the halftracks.

Last is the artillery. 25 pdr guns on the left, and Sextons on the right. The last old 'Open Fire!' Sherman acts as an OP for the platoon, and a Grasshopper provides an aerial view. 

So that's the Brits. As I mentioned last week, I really need to work on my Germans, which are languishing in storage at the moment. I'd also like to start Americans at some point. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Summer of Hobby

Three months ago I wrote out what I planned to do hobby-wise during the summer. With Oktoberfest beers and pumpkin-flavored everything coming back, I think we can safely say that summer is over. So let's see what I ended up getting done.

I finished painting the entirety of my British for Flames of War, which will be featuring in an article sometime soon.

Unfortunately, my Germans remain relatively untouched. I never really got the chance to sit down and do the sort of' 'block painting' that lets me get a large amount of miniatures done in a short amount of time. However, with arrival of Plastic Soldier Company's sprays coming to the Warstore in October, getting a layer of dunkelgelb on the vehicles at the very least won't be a problem.

I didn't work on terrain all that much either. A rug did get cut up for some fields.

Here I've made the most progress. The Vikings are fully painted, based, and finished. I've also added a unit of Levy archers for some ranged support (though the Vikings Battleboard doesn't offer much in the way of improving ranged attacks). The Anglo-Danes are also coming along nicely, with a finished Warlord, and unit each of Warriors and Hearthguard that need to be based and varnished. The other Warrior and Hearthguard units are still primed black.

Nada. Nothing. It's disappointing. I've been taking so long to get them done that the infantry and artillery figures are starting to have their primer layer peel off. 

I unfortunately realized that I was going to need to get rid of some of the miniatures I had. My Warmachine/Hordes stuff is on eBay now, and my 6mm Moderns and 28mm Romans were offered up on Bartertown.

My 18mm FIW collection was also a part of this purge. The minis and rules are now in the hands of a hobbyist up in Canada who I hope will be able to actually use them. 

So that's that. I've also realized I have two fleets for Full Thrust put away, so I'm thinking about what to do with them. Outside of miniatures, I've also been playing a lot of Android: Netrunner, one of Fantasy Flight Games' Living Card Games. Maybe I'll do a post on that as well. Most importantly is getting games in, as AARs are what everyone comes here for, anyway.