Monday, 21 November 2016

Warfare show 2016

On Saturday I visited the Warfare show in Reading for a couple of hours. This show is the final show of my year and represents an opportunity to make purchases to cover my Christmas break. Warfare always feels like an old fashioned show; there are a lot of competition games going on, the demo games are fine but not major eye-candy, the retailers are packed into a sports hall, and the B&B is large. I travelled by train this year, so did not have the usual car parking problems. The B&B was disappointing, there was not as much on offer this year and I did not make any buys. I bumped in to many wargaming friends which is always nice, and saw my mate, Graham, who was taking part in the FoW competition. The demo game which stood out for me was the attack on Foy, set during the WW2 Battle of the Bulge, using CoC rules. The winter setting and figures were beautiful!

The trade hall is the main attraction for me, and I quickly set about purchasing my 20mm USMC and Japanese WW2 forces I had planned for Bolt Action. The core of each force was battlepacks from Lancaster Games, supplemented by additional figures from Britannia Miniatures. I also stopped to look at other 20mm manufacturers; Sgt's Mess and SHQ, and made some extra purchases from them. Once these acquisitions were safely in my bag, I toured the traders making small purchases here and there! A few MDF bases, a pot or two of paint, a pack of dice and some markers, another Western building etc I dithered about getting the 'Pike & Shotte' rules from Warlord, but resisted because I'm undecided about the whole Black Powder system - it all looks very pretty but it doesn't grab me. There appears to be a revival of Ancients rules at the moment, and certainly the demo games featured a few new products, of which To The Strongest seem to be popular. I think I will resist and wait for time to sort the wheat from the chaff. I currently happy using Impetus and Sword & Spear.

After a couple of hours I had reached the point where I needed to leave. If I stay beyond this moment I find from past experience that I make foolish buys. So, another year of shows has passed, roll on 2017!

Monday, 14 November 2016

Boardgame session: 12Nov2016

Val and Chris came over and we decided to give ‘Galaxy Trucker’ its first outing (I bought this second hand at Salute in September). I was not sure that this would be a game Elaine would enjoy; the whole SciFi scene is generally not her cup of tea. After quickly running through the rules, especially on constructing a spaceship, we set off. The building phase seemed more manic than I had anticipated, the parts you want just don’t seem to come up, keeping track of parts discarded by others is more difficult than expected, and areas of construction become blocked off. Once the first player completes and the final timer is turned, the action really hots up. Surprisingly we all were good at building ‘legal’ vessels, and only rarely did they fall apart on examination. The convoy section of each round does not require much in the way of decision making – things (mainly bad) just happen. There was considerable humour as you watch other players spaceships fall apart. In the first round Val’s ship was totally KO’d, and Elaine’s ship went the same way in the second round. Both Chris and I survived the whole game, but Chris was clearly the winner. Val had a good final voyage and took second place, whilst I came third. Elaine’s chances were scuppered by her failure in the middle round.

The post game discussion clearly showed that we all enjoyed the game, and Chris revealed that he had played the online game previously, which I’m sure contributed to his success. The focus of the game is the ship construction phase and we all enjoyed the pressure applied by the turning of the timer. Interestingly none of us looked at the upcoming adventure cards; I certainly planned to but the drive to add to your construction wiped this intention from my thoughts. The voyage phase is mainly chance and players need to be relaxed about the outcomes. If your ship falls apart, all you can do is laugh with the others! You never seem to have enough of certain parts, I never seemed to get enough engines and I think coming in first during a convoy is important for winning. Anyway, I feel that Galaxy Trucker will get many future outings, and I’m glad I picked it up cheap!
Next we played a game of ‘Barking Up the Wrong Tree’, a card game where you utilise different dog breds to garner different tree species. Essentially this is a bidding game played over 5 rounds, and its main attraction lies in the nice graphic design. The key decision is when to put a cat into a tree, which can unleash a bidding war between players. The other under-appreciated aspect is the need to keep an eye on what other players have, and therefore want, to inform your bidding strategy. This game was new to us as a group and therefore it was only in the final rounds that players began to understand the underlying tactics required. I think the game flow will improve in future outings.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Off the Painting Table (Nov 2016)

As discussed previously I am considering buying a matched pair of 20mm USMC/Japanese forces for Bolt Action. Obviously amphibious landings are a significant factor in this theatre. I happened to visit Hobbycraft (looking for storage boxes) and spotted the old Airfix kits. I have not put an Airfix kit together for over 30 years, and all my childhood memories came flooding back! Before I knew it I had purchased a DUWK, Buffalo LVT and a Churchill tank. I spent a happy few days assembling and painting the models whilst wallowing in nostalgia. Blimey, they certainly liked to model suspension systems in great detail – so many small, fiddly bogeys!

Now I need the figures, I did consider using Airfix again, but quickly reject this idea. I think I will base my forces on some Battlepacks from Lancashire Games (nice and cheap) which I plan to buy at Warfare in a couple of weeks, supplemented by extras from Brittania Miniatures. Does anyone know whether these figures are compatible, and have suggestions about other manufacturers?