Monday, 19 February 2018

Boardgame Session: 18Feb18

Visited Val and Chris on Sunday and took them a prezzie: 7 Wonders. Surprisingly they did not have their own copy of the game and I recently found a cheap copy on sale in a local charity shop. Only £3-50 (!), counters unpunched and cards still in the wrappers. We sat down and played a quick couple of games. I had forgotten how good a game 7 Wonders is; it flows well, some room for aggressive play, interesting combos, and multiple routes to victory. I think focussing on adjacent players is a key to the game. Also after watching a Rahdo video it is clear the 2 player mode works well – Elaine and I will have to give this a try. I have considered buying the ‘Duel’ 2 player version, but have not played it (or really researched the game).

After lunch we tried Cash ‘n’ Guns for the first time (Val and Chris have played before). This is not my sort of game; too simple, too aggressive. I can see this working with a sizable group (6+) of non-gamers who are looking for a light-hearted party game, preferably after a few drinks.

Next we tried NMBR9, which Chris had got for his birthday. A deceptively puzzling spacial awareness game that is unique in my experience. Elaine was most impressed. I did not expect to particularly enjoy the game but after 2 plays, I would be happy to give it more outings.
We finished the afternoon with a game of Quadropolis, a clear favourite of ours at the moment. I lost badly; I just could not seem to get my town planning mojo going.

Monday, 12 February 2018

Off the Painting Table (Feb 2018)

A bit of light relief following the massed WW1 French army, just a few wild west figures. These are from Artisan and allow me to create two half-size (12 point) gangs for Dead Man’s Hand i.e. Bandito’s and Pinkerton Agents.

The sculpts are good and crisp. The Mexicans are nicely animated; I particularly like the man fanning his pistol, and the rifle armed figure. The Pinkerton figures are less animated and, disappointingly, I got a duplicate (twin) figure. For identification purposes, I name each figure (label on rear of base), and the ‘twinned’ Pinkerton figure inspired me to name the agents:- Hugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble and Grubb. Any British reader of a certain age will quickly recognise the names! (NB/ I realise that it should strictly be “Pugh, Pugh,..”; i.e. the twins).

Anyway, I’m pleased with the painting. The colours etc. are a bit ‘clean’, especially the Agents dust-coats, but I will leave them a while. In future, if the crisp colours bother me, I can go back and give the figures a brown-wash to dull things down a little.

I’m back to a limited lead-pile again, so I’m starting to think about my next project. Currently pondering about getting some ACW ironclad riverine models to use with RFCM “Hammerin’ Iron” rules – Any thoughts out there? I might get to the Overlord show in March, otherwise I will have to wait until Salute in late April.

Monday, 5 February 2018

AAR: France 1914 (Square Bashing); 4Feb18

I finally have managed to get a game, this time using my new 1914 French army using the RFCM rules ‘Square Bashing’. Ian got command of the French whilst I took the Germans. The pre-game process resulted in a French attack across all sectors, which meant my Germans would be pushed hard! Ian gained some good advantages, especially one which allowed his troops to be graded as Professional for a single turn (this really hurt me!). Ian also gained 7 extra Point Affect Barrage assets, plus improved shooting on my turn 2. I was also concerned about his field artillery which outnumbered mine and was of better quality (QRF guns). My depletions were OK (better than expected), but I was rather stretched. Interestingly, Ian choose ‘Movement’ as his command focus, whilst I choose ‘Morale’; I have never seen the ‘Movement’ option used before, and now I see its strengths, it allowed Ian to make repeated co-ordinated attacks from difficult terrain (very useful).
Start of turn 2; before the decisive French attack

As for the game itself: My Germans were on the back-foot from the start, but this was inevitable. Ian cleverly massed his field artillery rather than spread it out, which meant my forces faced concentrated attacks and this ploy took out my valuable MG and artillery units (I lost 75% of both types in the game; unusual). Turn 2 was the decisive turn; Ian used his Professional upgrade bonus combined with his Movement command focus, and a Point Affect barrage, to take 2 of the 4 objectives. My counter-attack options were limited and were heavily hit by his Improved shooting on my turn. I never recovered from this blow and never had enough troops to mount an effective counter punch, or prevent some French troops breaking through to the green fields behind my position. The Germans did successfully hold the other 2 objectives, and my choice of the ‘Morale’ command focus helped greatly. Ian made only one significant mistake and he saw the folly of rashly charging his cavalry against a position that contained MGs. The game ended after 5 or 6 turns due to the countdown clock, and it was time to add up the points: German 80 versus French 97. This gave the French a ‘Minor Victory’, but Ian was only 2 points away from a ‘Decisive Victory’. Ian did roll poorly for 1 objective and could have easily acquired these extra points, but this is one of the strengths of Square Bashing; you never accurately know the final value of some victory conditions.

Overall the game took 3 hours to play. The rules are clear and the QRS worked well. The pre-game sequence is fun and generates a nice, variable Attack/Defence game required for this period; a balanced ‘Encounter’ type game would somehow feel wrong. The ‘Asset’ management works well, as do the different artillery barrages. The different armies each have their own ‘feel’: The Germans are well balanced; the French are slightly poorer in quality but have good field artillery; the British are excellent in terms of quality but small in numbers; and the Russians are low quality but have vast numbers. I should stress I’m only interested in the opening actions of WW1 in 1914. I have never played latter actions involving trench systems, gas, or armoured vehicles so I cannot comment on how these rules work covering such environments. For me, Square Bashing works very well when playing the Autumn 1914 clashes.

As a side note, my French army looks good on the table. Interestingly the Lancashire Games figures are significantly larger than Peter Pig; this is fine when opposing each other, but within the same army the difference would stand out. Therefore I recommend choosing one or other manufacturer, and do not try to mix the two together.