Saturday, 25 February 2017

Cyborg Enslavers vs. Rebel Alliance

This was a game of Alien Squad Leader played by Bob Leitch (Cyborg Enslavers) and myself (Rebel Alliance). Two big horde armies duking it out. I wasn't very keen on doing a complete battle report, so, only four pictures. But, it does show off one of the club's new Deepcut Studio's gaming mats, which looks rather nice, even with our very basic felt terrain areas. Also note that our gaming tables are slightly wider, hence the green cloth underlay.

So, how did the game go? Well, I lost, although I did manage to destroy around four to five Cyborg units and had two hits on about another six to seven. My god they are hard work! Mind you, this is entirely in-character for the army. They are meant to be hoards of mindless, clumsy zombies, who are armoured and feel no pain. Think Borg, and you get the idea. Or in Bob's case, think Dalek. So, they don't hurt easy, and they don't run. They can't shoot or fight effectively either, but Bob was using their sheer numbers to offset that disadvantage. Throw enough dice and you will get the odd 10, 11, or double-six. Or, in Bob's case, alot of double-sixes!

Adding to my woe was the fact that (a) my attacking army had to run the gauntlet of his three psionic commanders clouting me with Oscillating Force each turn, that does not require line of sight, and allows no armour saves, (b) on the other hand, Bob's armour saves were +1 vs. Primitives, so that, even though I won almost every close assault, the Cyborgs were saving on a 4+ instead of a 5+.

We think that there are effective counters against the Cyborg Enslavers - Distant Flyers to pick on their commanders and characters? Not close- assaulting with Primitives (so thier armour save is just 5+)? Artillery to pound thier ranked-up formations? Engaging with Primary Weapon Systems (it will outrange them, and gives a minus 1 to thier armour save)? Sounds like a Human Imperial Army is just the job! Preferably not with me commanding it!

Friday, 24 February 2017

First game of Sharp Practice

By Owen_lbws, AKA Olaf the Hairy     

I played my first game of Sharp Practice at my local club at Lincombe Barn in Bristol. I found the rules enjoyable and quick to pick up. The turn sequence meant both players were constantly making decisions. The period was the American Civil War, I was the Confederates and Kev the Union. I’m not sure about the points but the forces were identical except that Union had a unit of cavalry and the Confederates, a gun. We kept it simple for my first game by not spending odd points on upgrades or using traits for the leaders.

The battle field had a single building with surrounding hedges, sitting on a T junction. There were woods to one side of it. There were small hills down either side, flat bad going in the centre and more woods at the far end.  The armies are deployed from a spawning point placed randomly, with mine being behind the house and Kev’s diagonally across the table, this meant we were playing from short edge to short edge.

Actions are driven by cards, one for each leader, 4 flag cards for each player which can be used in various ways and the Tiffin card, which means the turn is over.  I had few cards to activate leaders and bring on my units early on so the enemy were already advancing before I got all of them on. 

The Union cavalry advanced straight up the centre and found themselves in the open in front of 3 of my units. They then didn’t get a chance to activate for another turn or two while taking a lot of fire.  With a huge amount of Shock counters, they withdrew and spent most of the rest of the game in a quiet spot removing them.

On my left Kev’s skirmishers crested a hill and exchanged fire with my skirmishers behind the hedge. He charged them. In his favour he had one more man, a level 2 leader,  and I was unloaded, in my favour I was behind a hedge. My unit lost half it’s men and routed. Kev then charged my other unit of skirmishers but lost. I charged the survivors with one of my formed up units, wiping them out and sending the officer fleeing.

Three flag cards in a row results in an event rolled on a table, the building caught fire and eventually burnt down, and two of my units found palls of smoke hanging in front of them. I had one unit holding the hedge at the house, and swung the other round the side, so that all our formed up units were shooting at each other. Casualties were building up, towards the end of the game I seemed to have a slight advantage.

On my right my artillery had been exchanging fire with Kev’s other skirmishers on a hill. The cavalry finally returned, racing up the flank and with the final card of the game charged my artillery, beating them decisively. With the gun captured, its crew fleeing and my deployment point right in front of them and undefended it was a win for Kev.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Warmaster Late Romans Vs. Egyptians

This was a 1,500 point game of Warmaster Ancients between myself (Alex Self), with Late Romans, and Bob Leitch, with Egyptians. The Late Romans are a typical heavy infantry army, although it is possible to take quite a lot of heavy cavalry if you want to. The Egyptians are a nasty combination of cheap, poor quality infantry, combined with very maneuverable and effective chariotry. The obvious way to beat the Egyptians is to take out their infantry, but this is very challenging as the chariots will move to get in the way and harass at every opportunity!

Fortunately for me, Bob threw poor leadership dice for his chariot reserve, and they did not move to assist his frontline troops until late in the game. The chariots in the centre were effectively tackled with bowfire, and my spearmen were able to advance to smash the Egyptian frontline.

The late game saw me finishing off Bob's second line of heavy infantry, but otherwise the Romans were rather strung out, and not in a good position to face the remaining Chariots. The game ended as a draw, but we felt that if it had continued, the Egyptians would have won.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Northern Lights army for Hordes of the Things

By Owen_lbws, aka Olaf the Hairy

Northern Lights is a novel by Philip Pullman set in a parallel universe where humans are accompanied by their own daemons, in the form of talking animals, and the church is all-powerful. The north is inhabited by witches, and the Panzerbeorn, intelligent armoured bears with opposable thumbs. The Gyptians are river-boat gypsies. It is part of the trilogy, His Dark Materials. The later novels involve traveling between other universes including our own. There was a disappointing film adaptation in 2007 titled The Golden Compass (the American title).

My army is based on the forces sent to rescue the children at Bolvangar. It is 15mm (40mm frontage). Lyra, the 12 year old heroine who uses a mysterious device to discover information does a lot of sneaking around, and escaping and deceives Iofur Rakinson, earning the sobriquet Silvertounge, so she is a Sneaker. I chose to show her daemon, Pantalaimon as an ermine (stoat).

Iorek Byrnison, the armoured bear, is a hero rather than a Beast. He follows a code of honour and regains his position in single combat, but should be more durable than a Paladin. Lee Scoresby’s balloon is an Airboat, note that it is a gas balloon not a hot air balloon.

Shooter General
(John Faa and Farder Corum)@2pts
(Iorek Byrnison)@4pts
(Lyra and Pantalaimon)@3pts
(Lee Scoresby’s balloon)@3pts

Stronghold: Gyptian camp

I made Lyra from a child figure from a sci-fi colonist pack from GZG. I added the hood, fur trim and satchel with green stuff and made Pantalaimon from green stuff too. Iorek is from a pack of dwarves riding bears, from Magister Militum, I removed the saddle and did the armour in brown stuff. It’s my first attempt at plate armour and it looks a bit wobbly.

The Gyptians are mostly from Khurasan Miniatures, based on John Carpenter’s remake, The Thing. Their daemons are from a farm animal pack from Museum Miniatures. John Faa is a medieval man-at-arms with some green stuff. The witches are from Magister Militum, I cut most of them off at waist level and gave them archer bodies, then green stuff robes and hair. Their daemons were 15mm bats that I turned into birds.

The balloon is a Christmas tree decoration; the net came with onions in. It sits on a Perspex rod which goes up inside the balloon. The basket is made from plastic gabions and the ring is cut from the metal grill of a bird feeder. The connections are sewn together and then glued. The stronghold is made from resin tents from several suppliers. The bases were done with a mixture of snow flock from Army Painter, white paint and PVA glue.

The army had its first outing at the 2017 Hott-Barn competition in Bristol

Monday, 6 February 2017

ASQL Tournament 2016

Played this year's Alien Squad Leader tournament. I brought my Imperial Strike Force army.

The first battle I faced an Alien Imperial army (my other army, so you'd think I'd know what it does). I piled everything into one flank, as quickly as possible, just like everyone who plays Imperial Strike Force advised me to do. I got pinned down pretty quickly and barely setting foot on the objective, before I reached my break point. This handed my opponent a Total Victory. This Alien Imperial Army won all its games comfortably and won the tournament so I don't feel so bad about being massacred so easily.

The second game, I faced the game's author's Alien Greys army, which proceeded to paralyse me with their annoying paralysis rays, and then gradually whittle me down. Fortunately, I managed to hold on for a draw. I lost by about 8 points which is a draw in the tournament rules (15 points are required for a narrow victory).

The final game I played another Imperial Strike Force. In fact, it was the army that inspired me to build my Alien Strike Force, and so they were virtually identical. Appropriately we also got virtually identical scores, and finished with a draw.

My two draws and a Total Defeat were enough to gain me joint last place in the tournament. Result!


Birthday Game Day

We had a day-long session at the club in celebration of the birthdays of two of the grognardiest members. The cake says 60 on it, but there seems to be some disagreement over their actual ages.

Sharp Practice was the flavour of the week. It's pretty new at the club, but like buses, three games happened to turn up at once. Two of them went Napoleonic, while the third went with the American Civil War. I brought my Aliens on the Front Line game.

After some great food and a stupid amount of cake, we had a half-time interlude of some sort of parlour game where everyone got eaten by werewolves.

In the afternoon I found myself inadvertently in charge of some Roman legions in a game of To The Strongest. There was also some Kings of War, a game of AK-47, and there was the boardgame RoboRally.

All in all a fun, game-filled day at the club. I haven't really been going to the club that long, but I've been made very welcome there. It's a nice friendly club who are welcoming to new members.