Monday, January 29, 2018

Battle Report: Heirs to Empire- Forced Crossing in the First War of the Diadochi

Heirs to Empire is a game set in the era of the Diadochi.  This is the time when Alexander’s generals squabbled over the remains of the Empire after Alexander’s death.  This rule set tries to capture the feel of commanding armies in this time period so the scale is an army/battle scale game.  That said it is miniature agnostic and units are abstracted in the gameplay.  Instead, it focuses on the interactions of troops types working together and using the Commander’s Gaze to influence the flow of the battle. 

Eumenes had once been the secretary of Alexander himself.  He was not Macedonian, but his position provided him great privilege and respect amongst the troops.  He was a well-known general in his own right. 

After Ptolemy stole Alexander’s body and spirited it to Egypt; The Regent Perdiccas organized an expedition to punish the upstart Diadochi.  He gathered an army and marched towards the Nile.  Perdiccas charged Eumenes with protecting Asia Minor from the greedy Antipater and Craterus from attacking out of Macedon and Greece.  To aid him, Perdiccas placed Neoptolemus the Satrap of Armenia under Eumenes’ command.

However, Neoptolemus had his own ideas.  Instead, he had sided with Antipater and Craterus.  Instead of joining Eumenes, he intended to attack him.  Eumenes learned of the Satraps plan and marched his army out to punish the upstart.  The battle for Alexander’s empire was about to begin.     

This is a re-fight of a previous battle while I was playtesting the rules.  However, the last time I played I had no scenarios and it was simply a set-piece battle.  Since then, I have built a new set of scenarios and a campaign system for the game. 


Eumenes of Cardia
Silver Shields- General
Bronze Shields
2 Thureophoroi

Left Wing:
Companion Cavalry- General: Eumenes

Right Wing:
Epilektoi Cavalry- General

54 Points

Neoptolemus, Satrap of Armenia
1 Bronze Shield- General
2 White Shields

Left Wing:
1 Asphract (Javelins)
1 Epilektoi- General: Neoptolemus

Right Wing:
1 Asphract (Javelins)- General
1 Archer                              

54 Points

Today’s battle will be a Forced Crossing where Eumenes is the attacker.  He is attempting to get up to 10+ points of his army off the opposite board edge past Neoptolemus’ troops.  If he does so in 8 turns then Eumenes wins.    

Today we are using a 6x4 table.  It is set-up as the steppe of Turkey.  Historically, Neoptolemus was supposed to support Eumenes in the defense of Asia Minor from invaders from Macedon.  Instead, he turned to Antipater and Craterus in Macedon.  In response, Eumenes marched to face the Satrap.  Today’s battle is to represent Eumenes trying to move to his stronghold in Asia Minor, not 100% aware that Neoptolemus is no longer on his side. 

The center is relatively flat and open, and good place for Phalanx combat.  The North has a series of rocky hills to block LOS and make movement more difficult.  The South flank has an oasis.  This will also serve to hinder or block movement.       

At this point, it is more likely that the Silver Shields would have been deployed with Perdiccas in Egypt.  However, to avoid confusion I am placing them with Eumenes, the commander they followed after Perdiccas’ death.  In addition, Thureophoroi were probably not developed until a later date, but they serve essentially the same role as Hypaspists in Alexander’s army with slightly different gear.  Therefore I am using them here to represent the Hypaspists likely found in Eumenes army instead.  Beyond these details little is known about the actual composition of either army historically.

Turn 1:
To start, each wing of the army rolled to determine their Commander’s Gaze.  Eumenes had 9 points, to Neoptolemus’ 6.  Neither side bid for the initiative, so they rolled off.  Neoptolemus won.

Neoptolmus’ army slowly moved forward, waiting to see if Eumenes would try to interrupt.  He did not.  The Satrap of Armenia’s forces maintained the line waiting to see what Eumenes would try to do. 

Eumenes army also moved forward, with the cavalry wings using Commander’s Gaze to break into Open Order, but staying in the battle line.  This would allow them to maneuver freely when the right time arrived, and reform if needed using Commander’s Gaze. 

Turn 2:
This time, Neoptolemus has the advantage in Commander’s Gaze, and uses it to bid 2 for initiative.  Eumenes bids 0. 

The center of Neoptolemus’ army moves forward, with a Phalanx of White Shields hanging slightly back to act as a reserve infantry force.  The Right flank also moves up to support the advancing Bronze Shields.  Meanwhile, on the Left the Javelin Asphracts break into open order and move to the flank.  Neoptolemus keeps his Epilektoi Cavalry close to the main battle line.  He is hoping to hem and possible turn the flank of Eumenes’ force.

Eumenes again let’s the Satrap move without trying to interrupt.  Instead, he sends his open order left wing cavalry scurrying towards the oasis.  His Companion Cavalry cuts across the front of the main battle line, and uses a Commander’s gaze to re-form.  Meanwhile, the Phalanx moves up behind the cavalry scramble.

Turn 3:
Neoptolemus has 9 Commander’s Gaze to 8 for Eumenes.  He decides to bid 1 for initiative to try to counter the former Secretary’s moves.  Eumenes bids 0. 

Neoptolemus moves his javelin Asphract cavalry to the center and has them reform as they run parallel to the enemies’ Companion Cavalry.  He attempts to Move and Shoot with them, but is disappointed to find he is out of range!  Seeing this, Eumenes decides not to interrupt.  The Epilektoi Cavalry of the Satrap moves up to stay in command radius of the light horseman. 

On Neoptolemus’ right, the Asphract lancer cavalry declare a charge and rush into the Open Order Epilektoi Cavalry of Eumenes.  It is a desperate delaying tactic with the hope that the Open Order of the heavier cavalry will be their undoing.  Eumenes can not react with a Counter-charge as the unit is in Open Order and hence considered “Disordered”.  They can not use Special Rules.  This leaves the Archers disordered as they are out of command range of the Satrap’s right flank general.

In the ensuing melee, the Asphract lose 3 Courage, while the Epilektoi take 1.  Both unit’s used their remaining Commander’s Gaze to re-roll failed attack dice.  The Asphract’s have become disordered and pushed back 2 basewidths by the Epilektoi of Eumenes. 

Neoptolemus’ Bronze Shields and Archers turn to support the flank, while the White Shields form up a solid battle line in the middle. 

Eumenes waits as the flank fight unfolds and lets Neoptolemus show his responses.  Eumenes then continues to move past the front of the enemy lines with his Companion Cavalry, making for the opposite flank edge.  His main battle line moves forward to engage and pin the Satrap’s forces.  Then, his right most Thureophori charge the nearby Javelin Asphract and catch them in the flank.  However, the Asphract declare an Evade, and the infantry decide to try and pursue.  The light troops fail to catch the horseman. 

Turn 4:
Eumenes bids 3 Gaze to 3 to win initiative.  He is half way to his time limit to achieve the objective.  He rallies his Epilektoi Cavalry and reforms them.  They then press the attack to rout the enemy light cavalry.  The Epilektoi take one more Courage hit, but the Asphract cavalry are put to rout and turned around as they are pushed back three base widths.  The Epilektoi pass their Discipline Check and stay Ordered. 

Neoptolemus spends a point to try to interrupt, but fails the roll-off and Eumenes continues to activate units.  The Companian Cavalry continues to run past the flank of Neoptolemus’ army.  Meanwhile, the core units move forward to pin the rest of the force.  The Thureophoroi throw their Javelins at the Archers and Javelin Asphract respectively.  One requires the use of a Commander’s Gaze to Move and shoot.  The Archers lose 3 Courage and are disorderd, and the Javelin Asphract lose 1 and are disordered. 

Things do not look good for Neoptolemus’ army.  The archers turn and fire on the Epilektoi Cavalry to try and break them.  They reduce them a further 1 Courage, they have 1 left.  In desperation, the Bronze Shields use a Commander’s Gaze to charge the Thureophoroi threatening the archers while Neoptolemus’ and his Epilektoi charge into the other light infantry unit.  The Javelin Asphract’s race across the center of the board to try and get in range to finish off the Epilektoi of Eumenes. 

The Bronze Shields reduce their foes two Courage and Disorder them after a failed discipline check.  However, they take 1 Courage loss in return.  The battle is pushed back 2 basewidths.  

Turn 5:
Both Eumenes and Neoptolemus bid 4 Commander’s Gaze for Initiative.  Neither had anymore to up the bid, so it goes to a roll off.  Neoptolemus wins! 

The Archers fire on the Epilektoi Cavalry and get 1 hit.  With armor two, it is not enough to rout them.  In desperation, the Javelin Asphract move into them.  Both units are routed in the ensuing melee. 

From there, the two White Shields charge into the Bronze and Silver Shields of Eumenes army respectively.  The Epilektoi and White Shields trade hits with the Theurophoroi, Silver Shields, and Bronze Shields respectively.  However, Neoptolemus’ Bronze Shields put Eumenes’ Theurophoroi on the center left to rout. 

Eumenes and the Companion Cavalry head for the board edge. 

Turn 6:
Neoptolemus sees that he can not stop Eumenes and his Companion Cavalry from escaping past his troops and to the baggage train behind.  He bids 0 Commander’s Gaze while Eumenes bids 1.  

This allows Eumenes to get to the board edge with his Companion Cavalry.  With this, Neoptolemuus signals the withdrawal and he and his Epilektoi Cavalry flee the field. 

Eumenes wins again, and Neoptolemus escapes with his life.  This is a rather historical outcome as well.  We know few details of the battle except that Eumenes won.  If we look at other Successor battles, they were frequently won or lost when one side managed to get past the other army and into the rear area.  That is what happened here.

Both sides took a beating in this battle.  If it would have continued, the White Shields would have eventually fallen to the better Eumenes’ phalanx.  It is doubtful that Neoptolemus’ Bronze Shields could have maneuvered back around to support their fellows in a timely way.  However, the Theurophoroi of Eumenes would have been routed by then as well, and the freed up cavalry could have led a successful flank attack.  However, by then Neoptolemus’ baggage would have been in Eumenes’ hands too. 

Cavalry is underwhelming as an offensive weapon in this game.  That is by design as they were considered an ancillary part of the fighting in Successor warfare.  Shooting can weaken an enemy unit quickly, but is unlikely to finish them.  Phalanx units can take pusnishment and stick like no other units.  The new Open Order ability with cavalry and light units worked as intended and allowed them to maneuver more freely.  Finally, the scenario seemed winnable by either side in the time frame allowed.  So, I guess it is working as intended. 

After his defeat at the hands of Eumenes, Neoptolemus fled to his ally Craterus.  The allied Successor’s once again marched across the Dardanelles and into Anatolia intent on facing Eumenes.  The campaign for Turkey was not over.      

Monday, January 22, 2018

Battle Report: Aeronautica Imperialis- In Search of the Ancestors

The Belt of Varin is a forbidding place in the Galactic Core.  There ancient stars fade and die circled by blasted rocks or frozen ice worlds.  It is a forbidding place filled with black holes, Nuetron Stars, Quasars, and Nova.  It is vast and desolate, with system upon system of blasted, unlivable rock where the Astronimicon is weak and navigation is difficult at best.  Few wish to dwell within it.
Despite its foreboding nature, the Belt of Varin was once the home of a thriving space empire, one that fell to treachery, oath breaking, and genetic corruption.  The people of Varin, Varingyr; have once again begun to emerge from their buried strongholds to venture and reclaim what was once theirs. 

Tentatively, individual strongholds have begun to reach out to their fellow Varingyr across the Belt. 
In addition to the natural dangers of the Belt; other inimical foes also lurk there.  The ancient enemy, the Orks; who have spread like a cancer across the old Strongholds.  Their spores finding root in the abandoned hab-domes and hydro-farms.  Human scavengers have also descended on the barren bones of the Varingyr’s once mighty empire under the banner of the Rogue Trader houses.  However, the most dangerous enemy of all is the Oathbreakers and Kinslayers; those who are no longer the people of Varin, but the descendants of the Great Patriarch.  As the true people of Varin return to their old homelands they have discovered them over-run by these scum and squatters.

It is just such a reclamation mission that brings Azuki Helmsward, Highguard of Irongard and her forces to a planet Designated: Tokokai 5.  Directed by her Thane and Kinsman Ako Helmsward; Thane of Irongard she has been sent to ascertain if the Tokokai Mineheads were still viable.  The Tokokai Clan had once been loyal vassals to the throne of Irongard.  Thane Helmsward hoped her people were still there, hidden in the mineheads deep below the planet’s surface. 

 However, as Azuki’s fleet approached the Highguard realized that the planet had been infested by the Flayer-Kin; orks.  That did not mean that the Tokokai Mines had been breached, but the barely livable surface was now crawling with the feral creatures.  Thankfully, the Orks of Tokokai 5 were relatively primitive and could not oppose her in space.  However, their ramshackle aircraft cruised the skies, their battlewagons rumbled across the surface, and their crude towns scarred the rocky landscape. 

Azuki’s first instincts were to orbitally bombard the Orks savage settlements.  However, she was given pause.  It was unclear how much they had been built upon the foundations of the Tokokai Clans holdings.  She could not simply bombard them without risking angering the ancestors of her vassal clansman.  Such an act would be a great dishonor to the Oaths they had sworn millennia ago.  In addition, she was unsure if the Tokokai Clan still persisted beneath the surface, hidden away from the surface that was awash with Orks.  She needed to know more. 

Azoki called her War Council, and the Highguard came to attend her and advise as was their duty.  In the great council, Azoki heard wisdom.  She accented to the wishes of the Engineer’s Guild and deployed recon patrols of Clanguard Spy Eagles to the surface of Tokokai 5 to gather intelligence on the fate of her Clans’ vassals. 

Varingyr Clanguard Recon Patrol
3 Iron Eagles
+ Weapon Load- Mag Cannons
1 Spy Eagle

Feral Ork Defenders
3 Ork Fighta
1 Fighta-Bomma

This was going to be a Recon Sweep Scenario.  We rolled up 4 targets to be identified and scanned.  The Varingry were trying to identify the targets while the Orks attempted to drive them off. 

This was going to be the first battle in the Ork vs. Varingyr tree campaign I outlined in a previous post.  I am hoping to get to use the fearsome Warlord airship at some point in the campaign, but I would also settle for a few good games.  Here is the Tree Campaign Outline. 

We deployed several rocks across my brown wasteland looking table cover.  As usual, the rocks are 1 Altitude high per level.  I also placed an old Necromunda tower to act as ancient wreckage from the Tokokai Clan rule of the planet.  It is 6 Altitude high.  Therefore, if a plane comes in contact with these terrain features but isn’t high enough up they could crash with a failed Pilot Check. 

We placed the 4 markers fairly evenly near the rocks in the center of the board.  These would be the objectives and some of them would be a tight fit to reach. 

The Varingyr came in at low altitude and at max speed, which was a whopping five!  The two lead Iron Eagles were paired, and the third was partnered with the Spy Eagle.  The Orks were at mid-altitude and clustered to the south side of the board closer to the ruins.  They were all going about speed 5. 

Turn 1:
Initiative: Varingyr       

The Iron Eagles race forward to meet the oncoming Ork craft and possible reveal some targets.  The Spy Eagle breaks-off and approaches the first marker.  The Orks also rush ahead, the bulk of them are going to skim the ruins, while Fighta 3 breaks out a bit wider to go around them. 

No one was in range as they raced to meet each other.  However, the Spy Eagles sensors revealed that the closest objective was not a point of interest.


Turn 2:
Initiative: Varingyr

The lead Varingry force makes a high-G turn to run parallel to the oncoming Ork fightas.  Meanwhile, the Fighta-Bomma side slips to cover one of the markers, while the other two fightas move straight.  The last one heading out wide manages to turn casually towards the Varingyr fleet and may have some long range shots.   

After checking, Ork Fighta 4 does not have the range yet. 

Turn 3:
Initiative: Varingyr

The Lead Iron Eagle moves to view the next target area, but it is close to a high cliff and the angle will make it hard for him to avoid it next turn.  Meanwhile, the Fighta-bomba breaks back towards the action to chase down the low flying Varingyr aircraft. 

The Spy Eagle follows the lead aircraft, ready to snap a photo if needed of the vital target.  Ork Fightas 2 and 3 turn into the action, while Varingyr 3 and 4 also turn in.  Both of these groups are still at higher altitude, and the Orks may have a shot at them as they close in. 

Meanwhile, Ork Fighta 3 is heading straight for the Varingyr  However, he can not slow down fast enough and over shoots the enemy gyro-copters. 

The Lead Iron Eagle’s gunner eyeballs the target area and realizes it is just a bunch of sand and rock.  There waa nothing of value there.  He quickly communicates it back to the Spy Eagle and prepares to eject if they can’t clear the cliff. 

Fighta 2 opens fire on Iron Eagle 1 and causes him to blow smoke. 

Turn 4:
Initiative: Varingyr

The Spy Eagle skirts around the back of the cliff to avoid incoming Orks, but Fighta 2 is in hot pursuit, even if he is still too high.  Fighta-Bomma 1 is also closing in at the same low altitude 1.  Iron Eagle 1 and 2 disengage from the furball and begin to heads towards the next marker while all the orks appear to be focused on the Spy Eagle.

Embarrassingly, Iron Eagle 3 crashes into the cliff they just eye-balled.  Luckily, the crew managed to eject in time.   I can only lose 1 more aircraft.  


Turn 5:
Initiative: Varingyr

Iron Eagle 1 and 2 race towards the next objective, and 1 tries to swoop low enough to get a good visual.  He is still a bit too high, as his wingman stays high to cover him from the incoming Fighta 4.  The Spy Eagle tries to break for the second objective at low altitude, but Ork aircraft are all over him.  Fighta 3 is behind, but too high.  The Fighta-Bomma foolishly swoops in front of him.  Fighta 2 makes a dangerous Power-dive and barely misses splattering himself on a cliff wall. 

The Spy Eagles opens fire on the Foghta-Bomma with his Mag-cannons but misses.  He also fails to get a clean pict-cap of the swooping aircraft.  The Grot ball-gunner in the Fighta-bomma tries to turn and fire, but he does not have the angle.      

Fighta 4 opens fire at Iron Eagle 2, but misses.

Turn 6:
Initiative: Orks

Iron Eagle 1 can not drop and slow down enough and vastly overshoots the target area.  He is in danger of disengaging next turn.  Fighta 4 follows, and dives after, but will still have time to break off the attack.  Iron Eagle 2 tried to spiral back on the fighta, but underestimated the Ork pilots speed. 

Meanwhile, the Spy Eagle is doing some fancy flying as he moves to shoot the altitude two gap int eh tall ruins.  It looks like he can make it without hitting anything.  Fighta 3 gapes in amazement, while Fighta 2 say “Hold my Fungus Brew and watch this!” as they give chase.  Fighta 2 overshoots and smashes into the gantries and explodes, however he ejected in time.  The Fighta-Bomma is sticking right with the Spy Eagle. 

The Fighta-Bomma opens fire right on the Spy Eagles tail.  There is no room to maneuver and the gyro-copter is blasted apart.  The pilot has no room to eject and goes down with the craft.

Turn 7- Disengagement Turn
Initiative: Varingyr

Iron Eagle 1 hears the Spy Eagle go down, and decides to head home.  He bugs out off the board trailing smoke.  Fighta 4 follows, but breaks-off to head back to base.  Iron Eagle 2 goes the hard deck and heads away from  Ork territory.  Fighta 3 just flies straight to see if any of his Ork buddies make it through the gantry.  Fighta-Bomma one savors his kill for a milli-second as he smashes into the gantry along the side and shears his wing off.  His plane crashes spectacularly.  However, the Ork pilot manages to walk away from the crash with a huge grin.


The Recon missions on Tokokai proved to be costly for the Varingyr, with many of the recon craft not returning.  Their mission to locate entrances or mineheads of their fellow Varingyr was a failure.  Worse, the Orks now knew of their presence, and it would make it harder to surprise them.  The only way forward would be to land troops on the surface and establish forward operating bases to scout the area.  That was a dangerous escalation for a planet that may not even be salvageable.  The Highguard turned to her War Council and they began to prepare for the landings.       

The Varingyr failed to observe all of their objectives, but the cost in aircraft was about even.  Two lost a piece.  When I went to move the Spy Eagle through the ruins I was sure I had lined it up perfectly.  I didn’t expect the Orks to try and chase me.  Instead, it turned into something out of a movie as they did not give up.  All in all, some crap flying all around as we both crashed or almost crashed into terrain during this battle.  I guess my regular opponent and I need to knock the Aeronautica Imperialis rust off since we haven’t played in a while.  

If you look at our Campaign Map, you can see the Varingyr lost the first battle.  That means….

…. We are onto the Drop Intercept mission.  Maybe I should bust out my Warlord for this one? 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Match Report: Blood Bowl- Exhbition Re-match: Reeverz v. Nobles

My daughter and I pulled out the Blood Bowl board and played another exhibition match between the Orks and Humans from the Boxset.  This time, we gave each team two re-rolls and decided to use the Ork side of the board.  Last time, she bested me by a TD.  I took the Nobles again and she took the Orks.  We also have a Khemri, Skaven, and Chaos team for out games, but decide to go with the box again.  Sadly, I didn’t document this game as closely as the last one, but I have enough of the flavor below.   


Lord Summervale: Now, our CabalVision VI coverage of Blood Bowl post-NAF takes us to the Deep North League- Southern Regional Conference match-up.  This was exhibition play between the Skulsmash Reverz and the Nottingham Nobles.  This time, the action took place at the beloved Freeboota Field, home of the Skulsmash Reeverz. 

The Nottingham Nobles started with the ball, but deep penetration by Skullsmash Reeverz Blitzer Ruck-Ruck forced the Nobles to scramble deep in their own territory.  However, the first line Thrower Rick Priestley managed to dump it off to their catcher Gav Thorpe to push out of Nobles territory. 

Mad Johan: It was a pretty gutsy move by Priestley to dump the ball to a catcher on his side of the field, but it relieved the pressure and potential quick score by the Reeverz.

Lord Summervale: However, things devolved quickly as the Ork defense smashed the Nobles line and kept the ball around mid-field through the first half.  The Reeverz line play was punishing as multiple Nobles players were knocked out of the game.  At one point, in the first half they had more men in the Dug-out than on the field! 

Mad Johan: The Nobles kicked it to the Reeverz to start the second half, and things did not get much better for the Nobles.  They started without a full team on the field. 

Lord Summervale: The orks just kept up the relentless pounding, and soon the Nobles were down to only 5 players on the pitch.  Despite some desperate plays and passes, the Nobles just could not get any offense going.

Mad Johan: They did manage to shell out some payback, but not nearly enough against those heavily armored Ork lineman. 

Lord Summervale: The Skulsmash Reever offense just wore downt he Nobles to so few players that the back-up Thrower Runthugga was able to walk the ball into the end zone late in the second half.

Lord Summervale: In the last two meetings of these teams, the Reeverz have managed to come away victorious in their last two exhibition matches.  The Orks look like they might have a decent team in the conference.  I am sure the other teams in the League are watching this exhibition matches very carefully before this year’s season kicks-off for real. 

Now, let’s go take a closer looker at the Deep North League’s Northern Conference, there we see…..    

Monday, January 8, 2018

Random: Rules Writing Goals- What You Might Expect

In my 2018 Of Resolutions and New Year’s Thread, I referred to a few goals around Review Writing.  They were pretty simple goals.  I wanted to complete 2 new Rules Sets for the Blog.  As part of that, I wanted to share which Rules I am working on for 2018.  Technically, I wanted to added two more Work-in-Progress games to the Blog; not even finished works.  So, if I complete or polish off the two Work-In-Progress games it won’t really count towards the goal. 

The astute of you will see that my two Work-In-Progress games are RedLine and Rampant Galaxies.  For RedLine I am adding some factions, tweaking the weapon lists, and developing the campaign side of the game.  However, right now it is perfectly usable as a game and I encourage you to test it out.

Rampant Galaxies is more “complete” as a game but is also in need of some play-testing to make sure it actually works as intended and provides a different feel and gameplay than RampantStars.  The scale and scope of the games are supposed to be very different and I want to make sure that feel comes out.

So, if those do not count towards the goal what else could I be talking about?  Well, I have a few games in the “pipeline”. 

The first I want to talk about is Mageloque.  This game is a Magic and Muskets style game.  However, in the world of Mageloque the musket is a magical weapon built on a massed produced scale.  It is apply fantasy genre wargame tropes to horse and musket and twisting it all up.  Perhaps not an original idea, but one I have wanted to play around with for some time.  Plus, I want it to be scale and miniature line agnostic.

I have two versions in the works.  One is for “Big Battles” where units are Companies, Battalions, and Regiments.  The other version is a scaled down Skirmish version similar in scale and scope to Chosen Men.  I have been working on both on and off again for about 2 years and both are still about the same distance away from being finished.  I am unsure which direction I really want to do more with, so I have been slowly tinkering on both scales. 

The second game I have been working on is Conquest! Rome in Italy.  This game is another Ancients ruleset that focuses on Rome conquest of the Italian Peninsula.  It is a look at fighting before Rome became a world power.  This spans the time from Rome’s founding around 753 BCE to the end of the Pyrrhic Wars in 275 BCE.  That is a huge expanse of time and the military model of Rome and her rivals changed a lot during that period.

As I dig into the history, there is surprisingly little written about the Kingdom of Rome and the Early Roman Republics military.  During this time frame, the Roman military probably went through three distinct phases and trying to represent them all is a challenge.  The military structures used get even sketchier when you move to local rivals such as the Italic Tribes, Oscans, Gauls, Latins, Capuans, etc.  We have a bit more to work with for Etruscans, Samnites, and Magna Graecia but not much.  Therefore, it is as much an exercise in learning and research as it is in rules writing. 

Much of this work will be based on the Men of Bronze/Heirs to Empire style of game engine with local variations and tweaks.  However, if you managed to get your hands on those games while they were in Work-in-Progress then you will have an idea how this one will play.

The final work I am seriously working on at this time is Green Army Men: Plastic Men.  Steel Resolve.    This will be a wargames lite dexterity combat game similar to Total CARnage but between plastic soldiers instead of cars.  My daughter challenged me to make this game after playing a lot of Total CARnage over the Holidays.  I was not able to complete it by Christmas but maybe by next Christmas.

The mechanics will hold some things in common with Z-man Games Flick’em Up!  Basic Shooting and Close Combat is all figured out, but I am working on how I want Movement and Morale to work.  I envision this game using no dice, no templates, and no tape measure.  I want it to use 1:1 scale models and terrain with WYSIWYG resolutions. 

Finally, for those that have been lurking on my plog or old posts on various message boards you may recall Skies of Fire- A Game of High Flying Fantasy.  The concept with this one has been around longer than Mageloque, but I don’t expect to get it done.  My enthusiasm for it was lost when Attack Wing and other Flight Path system games became popular.
The game was pretty simple.  It was going to be a fantasy dogfight game between dragons, Pegasi, Griffons, and their fantasy riders.  Unlike a game like X-wing, it was going to be more squadron based with small flights of models taking part.  Games would be between 2-15 models per side and be closer to 10-15mm in scale.  One of the key mechanics would involve altitude changes and grappling combat.  Individual heroes/upgrades and such would be less important than traditional Flight Path systems. 

I am sure when it was done; it would look a lot like Aeronautica Imperialis but with dragons.  I am not sure that is what I want to do right now, but who knows if inspiration strikes I might crank it out one day.  That is why it stays on the Work-in-Progress list but I do not think it will ever really see the light of day. 

That is what I have on my radar at the moment. However, who knows what crazy idea might strike me next.  I have had a few random ideas dancing around for the following genres as well:

1.       Land Ironclads Game- Big land battleships beating the heck out of each other with big broadsides and thunderous gun barrages.
2.       Rampant Moon- Bringing the Rampant Stars engine to 1:1 Skirmish games between individuals ala Rogue Stars.
3.       Into the Void- Spaceship battle game with variable facings and heights to get far, far away from World War II Naval in SPACE!

These last three are just glimmers in my mind’s eye at the moment, where the others in the group have actually had some work done in the form of rule writing.  However, who knows when inspiration strikes!  I was able to complete a few of my previous rules sets in remarkably short timeframes so who knows.  It all depends on what Real Life brings this year.

So, keep your eyes on the right hand side of the blog.  There is a section called Work In Progress Games and that will be where any new games end up… at least at first.  Once there, I will open a thread in the Message Board for any feedback you want to provide on the game.  After that, I will make tweaks and decide the games’ ultimate fate. 

Here’s to completing some of 2018’s goals!   

Monday, January 1, 2018

Random: 2018- Of New Year's and New Resolutions

As most of you know, I like to begin the year with a list of hobby goals to try and accomplish in 2018.  It isn't binding in any way.  Like many of these lists, by March it will all ready be out of date as new priorities and realities make themselves known.  However, over the last few years they have served me well to help prioritize my time and hobby attention.  When you only get a few hours a month, you need a list to keep you focused on what is what.  

These are things I will be using my hard earned money to accomplish.

-Purchase all new Osprey Wargaming Series Books- I find this series a great way to introduce me to new gaming ideas, rules concepts, and genres.  I also think they are a great boon to our hobby and want to support those efforts with my dollars.  I have everyone published to date, and plan to keep supporting them as they come out

-Pick-up 6mm Successor Armies from Baccus- I have wanted to give there 6mm ranges a try for some time, and I think Successor Armies for Heirs of Empire is a great way to go.  I want a couple to play Heirs of Empire and for photos so this seems like a great place to give them a shot.

-New Professional Terrain- I have been using my old, homemade, cheap and easy terrain for a long time.  It certainly lacks polish, but makes up for it in low cost and ease of storage.  However, I think it might be time to invest in a few basic items such as grass/field matt, a river, a ford, some woods, hedges, etc. to make a nice looking, basic table.  If you have some good suggestions for good items, please let me know. 

-Purchase Blucher- I need to just bite the bullet and buy Blucher.  Last year, I had it in a series of potential buys but over the course of the year narrowed it down to this one.  For one thing, I want to try Nappies for a long time.  What wargamer doesn't?  Second, I like the fact it can be played with paper templates instead of minis.  Third, I typically like Sam Mustafa's designs.  Fourth, I have heard good things about the system and campaign rules.  Therefore, I need to just bite the bullet and get this game. 

Painting and Modelling
This are things that I am feebly try to get painted and modelled this year.  This category is the one that trips me up the most as I am not very good and like it the least.  Therefore, my goals here will be limited for 2018 as I just don;t think I will have much time or energy for it.   

-Paint Mobile Artillery for All Quiet on the Martian Front- Back on the list again this year!  I got them mostly assembled last year, but now I need to paint them.  I left off the Mk IV Tank, because I just don't think I will get to it.  I look forward to the Mobile Infantry joining my Minnesota Militia in the Minnesota RiverValley campaign.

-Paint DA Thompson from PulpAlleyI picked up the Red Queen and DA Thompson for Turf War when I purchased PulpAlley to review.  I painted up the Red Queen, but now need to paint her accomplice.  That isn't enough to start a gang, but I don’t think I will be getting anymore gangsters this year so I will need to settle on just getting this guy done. 

This section is for what I want to accomplish playing wise for 2018. 

-Play 8th Edition 40K- I have been playing 40K on and off since Rogue Trader days.  I don't really want to give up on it, but I haven't played since the tail end of 4th edition.  However, I have heard good things about the new edition and figured I have the models to try it out so why not?  I really don't want to buy anything new and will just be using my old stuff and loaned items from my gaming buddies.  However, I am curious and when my gaming group brought it up I figured no time like 2018 to try it again.  

-Finish the Balkan UprisingCampaignThe Ottoman League forces have the advantage, but the Balkan League has been coming on strong witht eh arrival of the Greek Armored Cruiser as reinforcements.  I really just need to play the last few games of Castles in the Sky to finish the campaign off and determine the winner. 

-Play One Game I have not Played Before- I have a large stack of games I have not had the chance to play plus the games my friends have that we have not played yet.  Therefore, I want to try to play at least 1 game I have not played before.  I would like to try Ronin/EnGarde or Gaslands from my Osprey collection.  I would also really like to try Super Systems 4th Edition.  However, we will see what happens.  

Rules Writing
This section details my goals for writing and creating games to play.  This area has been some of my most productive goals in the last few years, and an aspect of the hobby I have been enjoying a great deal lately.  It is probably because I can do it in short snippets here and there.  All I need is my brainpower and something to write with/on. 

-Complete 2 New Rulesets for the Blog- Now, that doesn't mean they will be completely finished an plished works.  However, it does mean they will be playable with the core mechanics and ready to post into the Work-in-Progress section of the blog. 

-Get Photos for Men of Bronze Completed- Well in order for Men in Bronze to be published to deadline I need 30 hig-res photos of Greek Hoplite Miniatures on the table.  For that I need the models painted, based, and a decent table.  Then I need a photograph ready to help me.  

This section is for random stuff that is Blood and Spectacles related but doesn't fall cleanly into the other categories.       

-Blog Once every 2-Week- This last year, I was posting twice a week.  However, much of that content was older material from my gaming career that I had documented.  Going forward, it is going to need to be new stuff! I can't keep up twice a week, but I will shoot for weekly and probably hit bi-weekly.  Hence the goal! 

-Clean-up a game for Wargames Vault- I don't know which one, or how but I would like to get another game on Wargames Vault this year for download.  Maybe it will be an updated work or maybe it will be brand new.  I don't know.  

In Conclusion

Now, just because something is not on the list does not mean that it won't happen this year.  For example, I am pretty sure I will be playing some Aeronautica Imperialis this year, but it isn't necessarily one of my 2018 Goals.  That's just fun!  Same for purchases as I wouldn't be shocked if some Lobotons for All Quiet on the Martian Frontgangsters for Turf Waror Aeronef for Castles in the Sky show up in my cart.  I wouldn’t by shocked if Battlegroup, Chain of Command, or some other wargame ended up on my shelf either.  However, the purpose of my list is to keep me focused on my priorities of 2018.