Saturday, 31 December 2016

Boardgame session: Christmas 2016

Christmas is the time for friends and family to gather around and play board games. Over this festive period Elaine and I managed to play a range of games with different groups of friends, and I will give a brief overview of our gaming activities:

After an indulgent lunch with some non-gaming friends, Rod and Janette, we suggested some simple games to fill a dank, foggy afternoon. We started with a couple of games of ‘Hey, that’s my fish’, which is easy to explain, contains a good degree of tactics and is light-hearted enough to ensure no-one feels bad about losing. To my relief they both enjoyed playing! We next tried playing ‘Tsuro’ and was happy to find another success, especially when both Rod and Janette chalked up victories in the two games we played.

A few days later we played the 2-player game ‘Patchwork’, which I bought Elaine for Christmas. This is a well-thought out game combining a ‘Tetras’ style mechanism with a time factor and button/VP economy. There is a reasonable degree of strategic thinking, both to enhance your own future purchases and to frustrate your opponents moves. Initially Elaine has won every game we played, and it is therefore a hit with her, which is great because it was a prezzie, but rather annoying to me from a gaming perspective (was not sure what I was doing wrong). Later games have seen me take 3 in a row (ha, ha!).
Finally we visited our regular gaming friends, Val and Chris, for a post-Christmas get together (and to see what Santa got for them!). The first game on the table was ‘Quadropolis’, yet another ‘town planning’ themed game (it is surprising how many games use this theme). We played twice and really enjoyed it. The rules were surprisingly easy and the game play fast. The range of options was good and narrowed down as the turn progressed, so a good deal of thought and strategy was required. We only played the base game and look forward to trying the more advanced mode.

Next we got out ‘Colt Express’, a fun, silly Western themed train heist shoot-out using programmed movement and actions. The most obvious draw is the thick card constructed train and carriages – beautiful! I was a bit disappointed that the characters were only depicted by coloured meeples – miniatures would have been better and in keeping with the high visual standards of the game. I also found the handling of the set up a bit fiddly (or, maybe I’m just ham-fisted). I liked the individual themed abilities for the different characters, which based on a single play, appear balanced. Anyway, Chris won by collecting the most cash and valuables, whilst I managed to get the strongbox. According to Chris you need at least 4 players to get the best from the game.

We had a few minutes left, so we ended with a game of ‘Crossing’. This is a fast, furious ‘Party’-style game involving the grabbing of gems. Basically mayhem ensues with people pointing at the location they wish to steal from, and dithering about when to cash their stash and save acquired gems. This game would appeal to non-gamers, and would improve as the alcohol intake increases.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Review of a painting year 2016

The year of 2016 is coming to an end and I can look back on what I have managed to paint. I am a ‘sad’ gamer who logs all the items painted, generally in chronological order, so here is my 2016 list:

Fantasy Mtd Sergeants
Fantasy Goblins
Battlelore figures
Modern AK47 Africa
Peter Pig
2nd hand from Ian
French FPW figures
Prussian FPW figures
1859/66 Austrians
Various Napoleonic
Salute 2016 figure
SciFi figures
Maelstrom’s Edge
Free from Salute 2016
Portuguese Cacadores
Warlord Games
Wild West buildings
AWI/FIW figures
Warlord Games
GIW mtd skirmishers
ECW figures
Warlord Games
WW2 Pacific AFVs
WW2 aircraft
WW2 Soviet BA-64


The start of the year was clearly focussed on building up my Kings of War fantasy figures, and like all my previous dips into this genre, my interest was only transient. The figures have largely lain in their boxes once finished. The late winter period is frequently characterised by a lack of focus, the lead mountain is greatly reduced, and I tend to paint odds and ends; hence the painting of my Battlelore plastics. I don’t play Battlelore often but always thought the figures would look better if painted – they do! Of course, this has not resulted in more games of Battlelore, but if I do decide to play, then my set up will look the business!

Following the Salute show in April I was inspired by the Bloody Big Battles rules to re-invest in 10mm 19th century European armies. I really like the contrast in the nationalities; the blue French, the blue/black Prussians and the white Austrians. After a few games I have come to realise that I still need more figures/stands, so this will form a secondary project for 2017.

Next my interest was sparked by the release of the excellent Sharp Practice 2 rules, and I painted additional 28mm figures for my Napoleonic and AWI/FIW forces. Small scale skirmish style games have dominated the year; my ECW forces were expanded due to trials using the Donnybrook rules, and the Wild West DMH rules encouraged me to buy a significant number of the superb 4Ground buildings. I enjoy putting these kits together, and I now possess a decent town!

The final project of 2016 was (is) a revival of WW2 gaming using Bolt Action 2 rules. I am currently working on my matched USMC and Japanese forces, so expect to see batches of such figures during the next few months.

So, that was 2016. Not a bad year with the brush, maybe a bit unfocussed, but fairly productive.

Friday, 2 December 2016

On the Painting Table (December 2016)

The final figures for my Bolt Action Pacific WW2 armies have arrived from Britannia/Grubby Tanks. A great service from the company who added a few extra figures for free because of a delay in dispatching the order (I only waited a couple of weeks!). So, a big thank you is due. I am now set up for a couple of months of painting over the Christmas period. The forces I have are as follows (points are given in brackets):

Japan (regulars) (total points available = 1424)

1x 1st Lt+ (75), 1x 2nd Lt (50), 5x spare Rifles (@10), 1st Platoon (1x 2nd Lt, 1x Flag-bearer, 3x Squads @ NCO, LMG, 8x Rifles) (420), 2nd Platoon (1x 2nd Lt, 1x Flag-bearer, 3x Squads @ NCO, LMG, 8x Rifles) (420), 1x 2 man Light Mortar team (35), 1x 3 man MMG team (50), 1x 2 man Sniper team (50), 2x Tank-hunter teams (@ NCO/SMG, 6x Rifles w. AT Grenades) (@87), 1x 3 man Light AA (45), 1x 3 man 75mm Field Gun (55).

US Marine Corps (veterans) (total points available = 1290 + 1083 for vehicles)

1 x 1st Lt+ (90), 5x spare Rifles (@13), 1x 2nd Lt (65), 3x Squads @ NCO/SMG, BAR, SMG, 9x Rifles) (@167), 2x 2 man Flamethrower teams (@78), 1x 2 man Bazooka team (78), 1x 2 man FO team (115), 1x 2 man FAC team (90), 1x 3 man MMG team (65), 1x 3 man 81mm Mortar team (65).

3x Sherman Tanks (@234), 1x DUWK (HMG) (72), 1x Buffalo (2x MMG) (118), 3x Trucks (@47), 2x Jeeps (@25).