Monday, 27 March 2017

Devil's Run

We played a game of Devil's Run, this Sunday. I haven't got the actual game, yet, so used kitbashed models, boards and counters. This was my first game, but it seemed to go pretty smoothly.

We played Run 1 from the rulebook, the San Pedro Pickup, which involved grabbing as many supply counters as possible. We started off in a tight sort of formation concentrating as much on dealing damage as picking up supplies. Pretty much unplanned, once I had taken out Owen's yellow car, my blue car found itself miles out in front and then managed to lose the chasing pack, which is one way to win the game.

The second game I tried a similar sort of thing, and managed to pick up more supplies and tried to make a run for it, but got chased and flamed to death pretty conclusively before the time limit and so Owen won that one, by killing all my cars.

Elsewhere, there were games of HotT going on, with a number of different, typically uncategorisable armies. A game of Warhammer Ancients with Rome vs Carthage, and a game of Alien Squad Leader 3, with a Human Imperial army vs Alien Enslavers.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Poseidon’s Warriors

We played Poseidon’s Warriors for the first-time recently at Lincombe Barn It is a classical naval game by John Lambshead and published by Osprey.  This isn’t really a review, I haven’t read the rulebook and it’s just about one game. We had four players with 18 slow trimarans (capable of boarding actions unlike light ones) per side in squadrons of four or five. These ships are destroyed if they take one hit. This would be a small game under these rules. One squadron moves at a time with no input from the receiving player.

My squadron on the right hugged the coast hoping to catch Craig’s ships in the side, my central squadron continued forward to meet Craig’s corresponding squadron while I moved the two ships from the left, behind the other ships to threaten the flank of Craig’s right hand squadron.  My ally John moved into the centre while his opposite number, Andy, sent one squadron to meet them and the other on a long flanking manoeuvre which lasted the whole game.

The rules are simple, our ships had 5” of movement, with a turn of up to 45 degrees costing an inch, and requiring an inch moved forward first. Ships of this side have one hit point. The problem is that ships have no momentum from one turn to the next, there will never be an accidental collision or a desperate attempt to avoid one by manoeuvre because ships can go from full speed in one turn to a dead stop in the next, and even turn on the spot at the same time.

I got some flank collisions into the side of some of Craig’s ships from both directions, and lost one of my own, and our fleets passed through each other. The opposition made some suicidal head on charges in the centre and attempted an oar raking attack.
We were now in an excellent position to hit the enemy centre from all sides while half of Andy’s fleet was too far out to interfere, and Craig’s left hand squadron needed to turn around.  But we had both lost a quarter of our ships and had to take a morale check. We rolled a 1 and the game was over. This was an abrupt and un-satisfying end to the game as we had taken equal losses and the battle didn’t feel close to being over. 

While the rules would allow a big game to run quickly, the lack of momentum removes what should be a major aspect of this kind of warfare where ships are ramming, raking and boarding. The morale rules seem arbitrary with an all or nothing break test at 25%, while individual ships never take tests for attempting dangerous actions.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Otherworldly Invader vs Department X

Anghenfil Estron has been exiled to the primitive planet Earth for conducting disturbing experiments. Accompanied by his ‘guard dog’ and his chief scientist, he struggles to continue his work. One day he will return in triumph to his home world and regain his seat on the high council.

We played a 75 point game at our club, Lincombe Barn with a heroic cast under Carol and Clive against my villainous cast.  I have an Otherworldly Invader (swapping Spy for Large), a Mad Scientist (swapping Repair for Alien), a Jackbooted Sadist and a Rampaging Monster. My extras are a spy, doctor, technician, 12 minions plus a leader, and some cavemen. Why cavemen? Well they just happened to be to hand when I put my force together on the day.

A mysterious alien satellite has come down in the west of England and parts of it are now scattered around a village. Department X scramble to investigate and finds the brainwashed employees of the alien also searching .

After deploying we each had a Spy placed close to the central objective. The first countdown meant my Spy was knocked down, giving her opposite number a head start to grab the objective.  

I rushed my Jackbooted Sadist and a Minion driver up the road, then stole the Initiative (reversing the turn sequence and allowing me to take 2 turns in a row). I grabbed the objective but was faced with an advancing column of X-Commandos coming up the road. I sent the character to face them hoping to set fire to the special weapons team with a ‘rocket cigarette’ from my gadgets deck (and failing). Meanwhile I also grabbed the objectives behind the houses and in the crop fields.

I expected my Jackbooted Sadist to be killed by the advancing column of X-Commandos coming up the road, but after being untouched by the advanced heavy weapon I started using plot points and a ‘bulletproof umbrella’ as she was shot at by another six figures and survived with one hit. As the churchyard filled with enemies my Spy and a Minion started to harass them but were unable to stop them gaining the objective. A bunch of Minions deployed from their van on the other side of the road, but without a unit leader they were slow to get much done.

On my left the main Minion group headed for an objective and were met by Hugo Solomon who set about neutralising them in various ways. The others started firing at the X-Commandos and were eventually wiped out leaving the objective for Solomon.

My forces at the church were killed and the Minions took up the firefight. Another group clustered around the Mini Moke, taking out the X-Commando’s leader who rushed in. The Rampaging Monster eventually charged some enemies behind the hedge, killing one, before a ‘capture balloon’ picked him up and carried him back to my table edge. Reasoning it would take four turns to get back into action I left him there. On my right the cavemen crossed the road, went round the back of the houses and mobbed an X-Commando.

My leader spent most of the game in a back garden rather than walk into a hail of gunfire to fire his pistol, but he emerged at the end to join in. A countdown card revealed my Spy to be alive after all and I advanced her up in time to get a shot off at the heroic characters who had now crossed the road from the church. Dr Cephalopodis fired his experimental weapon at them to no effect.

At the end (as determined by the countdown cards) I had won due to taking 3 of the 5 objectives and with my characters more intact, despite losing masses of minions. The game was a lot of fun.