Monday, January 27, 2020

Review: Ghost Archipelago- Osprey Games

Before we get started on this review, I want to be 100% upfront.  I have no intention of ever playing Ghost Archipelago.  You maybe asking yourself, “Then why did you spend money on this book?” 

I had three reasons:

1.       I wanted to support the local game store I picked it up at.  Most only have the big two to buy; Warmachine and GW games.  This store had FoW, Opsrey, and other niche stuff.  I wanted to support that concept in a store so I bought some of that niche content from them.

2.       I wanted to see how they handled Heritor’s and their powers and what separated them from Wizards in Frostgrave.  I wanted to add this information into my toolbox of wargame design ideas and concepts. 

3.       I wanted to see how they did warband creation, experience, and treasure placement as it seemed like an improvement and development from Frostgrave.  As I was trying to get a Frostgrave campaign going locally I figured these enhancements might benefit my efforts.  In the end, that attempt to get a new Frostgrave campaign going failed. 

Why would I want to play Frostgrave but not this version of it?  To be honest, as a person who lives in the Great White North, the setting of Frostgrave appeals to me more.  I already had a good stock of winter terrain from other projects, and I had just donated my jungle terrain away for space reasons.  Plus, I just wasn’t sold on the idea of Heritors.  They seemed to much like Super-Heroes and if I wanted to play Super-Heroes I had other games for that.   

So, now you know the context as I head into this review.  I have modified my normal review format going forward.  Since many of my general thoughts on the game can be found in my Frostgrave reviews I will instead try to focus on what is different about this game. 

Time to head into uncharted territory. 

Things I Like
Warband creation and management seems to be streamlined in this version of the game.  You are always assumed to be able to have 8 followers with you that are just basic mooks.  From there, you can upgrade up to 4 specialists IF you wish.  They have special abilities and skills to make them stand out.  However, they are still expendable mooks for the most part. 

The Warband is led by a Heritor who can tap into the magic inherent in his bloodline to performs spectacular feats.  This can be active, passive, or reactive.  Nominally, you can activate as many as you want but the more you have active at any one time the more likely you are to take damage from your blood literally boiling.  There are also still traditional wizards in this game, much like Frostgrave wizard’s.  However they are called Wardens and have different spells and disciplines.  These two are the main guys to earn experience and grow in your warband. 

With Frostgrave, Ghost Archipelago, and Heritor powers you have a wide selection of spells, powers, equipment, and magical items to fuel your own dungeon crawl or similar adventures for a long time. 

This game also uses the Treasure placement system promoted in Ulterior Motives and Maze of Malcor.  This is an improved system for treasure placement. 

Things I Do Not Like
The base system is pretty much the same as Frostgrave therefore many of the issues I found in that game are also found here.  I think the biggest is the swingy nature of the d20 combat and the lack of strongtactical options. In addition, my comments on the need for scenarios to keep the game engaging also applies.

Meh and Other Uncertainties
This game adds rules for unique terrain such as water, small boats, swimming, and other swampy/jungly items.  The addition of these features can add a new “depth” to the battles and make for some interesting challenges and tactical situations. 

There is a new Bestiary including tribal forces, snakemen, and other “jungle” beasts.    

 The game has 8 starting scenarios.  A good selection of scatter terrain is recommended, as are water based items.  That helps add to the flavor of the game but also provides ways to block LOS, set ambushes, and provide scenario specific detail. 

The campaign process post-game is also very similar between the two games, but with themed items for the Ghost Archipelago.

Final Thoughts
If you are a big fan of Frostgrave, but what to change up the theme; then this is a great product for you!  It reminds me a bit of the old alternate setting for Mordheim that were unofficial or homebrewed, except this one is official!  Other than a few tweaks to the warband creation, Heritors, and theme specific spells/treasure/specialist this game will deliver pretty much the same experience as Frostgrave proper.    

If you are just looking to change up your games of Frostgrave, then Into the Breeding Pits maybe a better option.  If you have a group that liked the original but are just looking to change up the setting, miniatures, etc, then Ghost Archipelago is a better path.  Alternatively I see no reason why a warband from Felstad could not travel to the Ghost Archipelago or Vice Versa.

I think the core critiques for Frostgrave apply just as much to this game.  To summarize:

·         Few tactical options
·         Swingy d20 combat
·         Replayability may be limited without new scenarios
That being said, it delivers on what Frostgrave also does well, just with a few hiccups along the way.

·         Campaign play and linked scenarios
·         Multi-player capable
·         Great flavor and setting
·         Lots of options for your warband

I would not be surprised if some of the small rules tweaks here make it into Frostgrave 2.0 that the author is working on. 

Overall, I am not disappointed I purchased it.  With all the content I have it will provide a good base and fuel for upgrades, options, etc for my own projects.  A good ad to my toolbox of wargame mechanics and ideas. 

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Monday, January 20, 2020

Battle Report: Aeronautica Imperialis- Operation: Hemlock

As part of Operation: Hemlock Ork forces had migrated out of the Green Zone and started to infest and take-over the island of Baron's Rest. Thankfully, the Ork efforts were disorganized and ad hoc with warbands racing around fighting humans, gathering slaves, racing each other, and infighting for dominance. This gave PDF forces from TaskForce: Sword time to secure and reinforce the militia of Camp Hope(Less) to drive off the Ork raiders.

Most of the Ork forces have been building makeshift camps near and around Look-Out Pointe on the South side of Baron's Rest. These camps are rival Ork warbosses and their boys. Taskforce: Thorn and their Syndicate allies have managed to keep the flow of new Orks to Baron's Rest bottled up.

Taskforce: Chalice was having less success securing the airspace. In addition, rifts were forming between the PDF air crews and their Imperial Navy counterparts. Despite these growing difficulties, Taskforce: Chalice was determined to assist their fellows on Baron's Rest. General Kurtz determined that a long range bomber campaign from the Air PDF would be helpful. Every Ork killed in camp would make Taskforce: Sword's job easier.

Heavy, 4-engine Peacemaker bombers were scrambled from North Ammoriss. They took a long flight across Greater Ammoriss to Da' Deff Islands. Once in Da' Deff Island air space, PDF sentry aircraft greeted them to escort them to Baron's Rest. From there, they set course for the target zone.

Meanwhile, Grot spotterz on Look-Out Pointe observed the incoming bombers. They quickly called it into Boomgobz headquarters in the Green Zone. Quickly, Ork aircraft that were sitting on the tarmac were scrambled to intercept.


Ammoriss Air PDF
2 Peacemaker Bombers
2 Sentry Fighters w/Weapon Load
1 Sentry Eyes

Snaz Boomgobz Air Boyz
2 Dakkajets
3 Ork Fightas
3 Grot Buzzaz

This will be a bombardment mission. There are several small Ork buildings scattered across the desert. Each building is between 1 to 4 hits depending on ow many parts it is. The PDF are trying to destroy the Ork habitations.

The Ork settlements are placed 24 inches in from a short edge and in 12 from the long edge. The Imperials are coming in on the short edge at high-altitudes and full speed, which is not very fast for heavy, 4-engine bombers. The Orks on the other side were at various heights and speeds.

Turn 1:
Initiative: Imperial

There is no subtlety in the Imperial approach. They come straight on, with the bomber's at full speed and high altitude. A mass of Ork aircraft come rise up to meet them head-to-head. It is a disturbing amount of dakka in front of the Imperial bombers.


Turn 2:
Initiative: Imperials

The Imperials keep moving into the teeth of the Ork advance. The leader bomber drops altitude to create some separation with its brother. However, many of the Ork aircraft key in on the first bomber, things look bad for them as Buzzaz, Fightas, and Dakka Jets home in on it.

The Sentry fighters try to come on off the edge, but they seem little use against the swarm of Ork craft. Meanwhile, the Sentry Eyes power dives under the Ork advance and moves towards an outlying settlement. No Orks seem to worry about what they are doing.

The Gunners on the lead Peacemaker open fire at the oncoming Ork horde, and manage to take out the lead Ork Fighta. The pilot ejects as his ramshackle craft loses power and drops from the sky trailing smoke.

The Dakkajet2 tries to sustain fire on the bombers but fail. Meanwhile, Sentry 1 fires a Skystrike at Fighta 1. The missile explodes close by but fails to damage the Ork craft. Dakkajet 1 manages to score damage on the big lead bird.

Sentry 2 also fires at long range with a skystrike on Buzza 3. The shot is true and the little Grot plane is blown from the sky. The little blighter never saw it coming.

Fighta 1 leans into the trigger and stitches Peacemaker 1 with boles. However, the plane only loses 1 hit. The rest of the Ork aircraft fire at will and fail to cause additional damage. Peacemaker 1 is still flying!

Turn 3:
Initiative: Imperials

The lead Bomber continues to the target area, and goes a bit lower. Her fellow stays high. Meanwhile, the Orks scramble around to try and get back on their tail. The Sentry's come racing into the swarm, and it looks like there is going to be a big dust-up at high-altitude.

Meanwhile, the Sentry Eyes hits the hard deck and turns towards the target area. No one seems to interested in the little recon bird.

With a Dakkajet all over him, Sentry 2 fires on Fighta 1, but misses. A spray of fire from Dakkajet two kills the pilot of Sentry two and sends the plane crashing into the ground.

Fire from PeaceMaker 1 sprays Dakkajet 1 who is on their tail and causes him to blow smoke. In return, the Ork leans into his triggers and sustain fires on the big bomber. Ork shells whizz straight through the Bomber as bullets riddle the plane, but nothing vital is hit. The Emperor is with us! Sentry 1 finishes off the Dakkajet with a spray of close range Auto-cannon fire. The pane goes down, but a ragged looking chute follows it as the Ork ejects.

Fighta 2 gives the peacemaker a sustained burst. Again the big bomber is riddled with shells, but this time some avionics are hit and reduce the plane to 3 hits left.

Peacemaker 2 is spraying heavy bolter shells around the sky but failing to hit any Ork craft.

Turn 4:
Initiative: Orks

Tailing Fire:
Fighta 2 opens up on PeaceMaker 1 and causes the PDF bomber to start blowing smoke. She only has two hits left. The Ork also uses Advanced Tailing to reveal that the bomber is using Maneuver 1. The Ork does not change his maneuver card.

The Peacemakers stay on course, while the Sentry tries to get the drop on the tailing Ork fighters. The Dakkajet 2 manages to get a bead on PeaceMaker 2.

No one seems to be paying any attention to the recon fighter. The Buzzas are out of position but may be a factor next turn.

Fighta 2 uses the last of his ammo to try and finish his prey, Peacemaker 1. The Orks shots are true as two of the bombers 4 engines are shredded by the Ork pilot. The PDF crew know their bird is done for and manage to bail out as she begins to start to bank and then tumbles into the ground below.

Peacemaker 2's ball turret manages to snag Fighta 1 and cause it to blow smoke. The Dakka Jet 2 manages a sustained burst but the shot go under the high flying Bomber.

Sentry 1 fires on the smoking fighta 1, but fails to bring it down.

The Sentry Eyes manages to snap a long range Pict-capture of the Ork encampments. +1 VP!

Turn 5:
Initiative: Orks

Tailing Fire:
Dakka jet 2 uses Tailing Fire on PeaceMaker 2. The shots strike home and the bird is hit! They reveal it is going to do a 1 maneuver.

Ork aircraft converge on the Peacemaker as its shadow falls across the Ork forts below. This is it!

Fighta 1 uses a sustained burst and knocks one more hit off the PeaceMaker. The defense turrest spray out at Dakkajet 2, but the pilot jinks around the incoming fire. The Ork returns fire but all the jinking causes him to only hit home for one more hit. 3 left!

Sentry 1 fires on the Dakkajet 2 but misses. He is out of ammo.

The grot Buzza closing on the bomber fires and fails to cause any additional damage, even with a sustained burst. He is out of ammo.

The Sentry Eyes fails to get a pict-capture and a strafing run on a building fails to damage it.

Turn 6:
Initiative: Orks

The greenskins might still be able to down the big bird with Tailing Fire and Initiative!

Tailing Fire:
The Dakka Jet uses the last of its ammo, and shoots up the Peaceamaker, reducing it to 1 hit! Advanced Tailing reveals it will be using a 1.

Fighta 2 and Dakka Jet 2 try to break-off and disengage. They are out of ammo. Sentry 1 voxes good luck to the crew of PeaceMaker 2 and also tries to disengage.

Fighta 1 and Buzz1 close in on the heavily damaged and smoking PDF bomber. The Buzza is out of ammo.

Meanwhile, Buzza 2 tries to swoop in and chase down the Recon fighter, but over shoots the target a bit.

Peacemaker 2 has 1 hit left, and Fighta 1 can shoot first! He can down with 8 dice and the last of its ammo. We all hold our breathe as the dice are rolled.....

3 hits. Now they need 1 to be 5+. The PDF crew cross their fingers.

Wooh! That was close!

The Bombardier hits the release button and a rain of explosive steel and death begins to drop from the belly of the bomber. Explosions tear up the Ork forts as the bombs strike with deadly accuracy. 11 Damage from the barrage blasts flesh, steel, and earth high into the air.

In addition, turret fire from the Peacemaker manages to destroy Fighta 1, but the pilot ejects successfully.

The Sentry Eyes fails to strafe any further buildings and does not capture an updated pict.

Wow! What a great game! That is why I love AI!

We called it there since no one was in a position to do anything meaningful after the successful bombing run. There was no way the Orks could win, since the bombing run alone netted the Imperials 110 Victory Points. Even with downing a Bomber and a Sentry that would not be nearly enough.

PDF Victory!

Flight Officer Harmon gripped the control yoke tighter than he ever had before. Even with the help of his co-pilot, his bird was kicking like an enraged Grox. He glanced down at his controls, but most of them were useless and busted up. Ork shells had blasted them apart and ventilated the roof of his cockpit. The air crew were all lucky to be alive. He intended to keep it that way.

The landing strip loomed ahead. It wasn't nearly big enough for his bomber, but it was the closest thing to a landing field on Baron's Rest. There was no way he was going to get back to North Ammoriss so this would have to do. The landing strip was too small, but at least most of the area around it was just flat, barren, desert. It would be easy for them to skid across it on her belly.

Preparing to put down the gear.”

Don't bother Vic. It won't help.” Harmon said, “I need you to keep your hands on the controls.”

Harmon feathered back the engines. The chortled and choked, causing the air frame to buck. He pulled the his hand of the stick for a flash to click on the intercom.

Crash positions!”

The PeaceMaker came thundering down onto the small air strip. A harsh screech and the cry of twisting metal filled the air. Immediately, the frame twisted and buckle as it decelerated faster than it had ever slowed before. The ball turret beneath was smashed to pieces. Searing pain gripped Harmon as the crash restraints tightened and held him as the craft jerked and crunched.

The wings of the air frame quickly gave way and shredded themselves on the unyielding ground. The fuselage snapped and broke. The various components tumbling out into the desert. The metal buried itself deep into the sand and hung itself up on the rocks.

Harmon awoke, the sun glaring into his face. Stiffly and with searing pain he managed to unlock his crash restrains and fall out of the command chair. In a haze, he looked across and saw Vic unstrapping himself as well. They had lived.

Another successful mission......

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Monday, January 13, 2020

Battle Report: Wars of the Republic- Carthaginians vs. Numidians

Hamilcar surveyed the dusty plains beyond. His army of Libyans, Phoenicians, and Carthaginians were at the edge of their fertile lands. The furthest their irrigation channels reached. Beyond was the wilder lands of the Numidians. They had dared to resist the will of Baal, and now he was sent to show them the error of their ways. From Libya he had brought his heavy chariots, each pulled by four powerful steads. He had also come with loyal North African tributary soldiers and his fellow citizens to act as the backbone of the force.

Across the dusty plains were the barbarous Numidians. He could see that they had brought their own
horseman to the fight. In addition, he could see the white of goose feathers on the backs of their
soldiers. That meant archers would be present, and they most likely out-numbered and out-ranged his
own missile troops. Speed would be the key to closing the distance, but the Numidians lighter horseman could slow him up. Perhaps Baal had been watching over him when the dry air from the ocean blew across the fields and kicked up dust. It would help screen his troops from the enemy archers.

Today’s battle will be using my test Wars of the Republic rules and features a battle between the rising power of Carthage in North Africa versus the army of the neighboring kingdom of Numidia. In actuality, we have very little records that such a clash happened, but it only makes logical sense that as Carthage’s power grew, there would be tension before Numidia became a client state. No real documents survive from Carthage to discuss their early history and we are left mostly with speculation from archeology and what records the Romans left us.

The big decision is to determine which army lists to use for such a hypothetical clash. If we place the
battle earlier in time, we can use the Early Republic Carthage list that aligns with the wars in Sicily and the Numidian list there. If we want a later battle, closer to the time of the Punic Wars we could use the Pre-Xanthippus Reforms army list and the Jugartha list for the Numidians. The main difference between the lists is the use of Hoplites and Heavy Cavalry by the Carthaginians, and the access to Elephants for both sides.

I decide to place the battle in a very early time frame for Carthage and the Numidians, before Carthage’s interference in Sicily. This would put the battle early in Carthage’s rise to power and before it extensively used mercenaries. Essentially, it is a rising city-state against a rival regional tribal power.

Carthaginians- Early Republic (ER)
1 Heavy Cavalry- Chariots
2 Drilled Infantry
2 Light Infantry
1 Slingers

Numidians- ER
2 Light Cavalry- 12 points
2 Archers- 8 Points
2 Drilled Infantry- 16 points
1 Skirmisher- 2 Points

Both sides are 38 points. The Carthaginians will generate 6 Command Tokens, and the Numidians will have 7.

I decided to test out the scenario generator I have been working on and rolled up the following:
We rolled up a Secure and Control objective. Both sides are trying to seize and hold onto a small oasis in the center of the board. Each side is trying to have an intact unit covering or touching the Oasis at the
end of an 8 turn game. You can also route your enemy as per usual.

We also rolled up the Dusty complication for this battle.

Today, my Paper Templates are designed to simulate multi-based units on 50x50 bases with three bases
per unit. I am testing to make sure that Multi-based units will function as intended within the rules.

The terrain is a dusty plain on a 4x4 table with the objective Oasis set in the center. The objective is
normal terrain. The Carthaginians are the attackers. They point to one of the grids on the table and roll
a 2, a 1 level hill that they place towards the center and to the side of the board. The Numidians chose a
different grid space and roll a stone wall. They place it in the back corner of the grid. The Carthaginians
roll again and get another stone wall, which they place in the center towards the opposite edge of the
board as the hill. In the final square, the Numidians roll up a 1 level hill that they place in the back close to the center.

The Carthaginians choose the board edge with the 1 level hill in the center to deploy on.

The Carthaginians deploy their Chariots on the their left, facing a 1 level hill close to the center line. Then a unit of Drilled Infantry, Light Infantry, slingers on the hill, Drilled Infantry, and then Light Infantry on the right.

The Numidian side of the board is relatively terrain less, as it is closer to the center line. The far left of their line has the Skirmishers. Then both flanks have the cavalry, archers, and then the Drilled infantry in the center of the battle line.

Turn 1:
Neither side bids any Commander’s Gaze, and the roll off has the Carthaginians go first.

Slingers spend a Commander's Gaze and move to the edge of the hill. Light Infantry move forward, with Drilled Infantry lagging abit behind. It is a solid battleline, with the Chariots out on the edge, and moving slow. The Numidians do not interrupt.

The Numidian battle line moves forward, with the missile troops leading the way. A few points are paid to skirmish as needed. Their formation starts to take on a crescent formation with the Drilled infantry in the center and the skirmishers and light cavalry on the out tips. Anyone who moves into the center Oasis looks like they are going to be turned into a pin cushion.

Turn 2:
Both sides pick up their Commander's Gaze tokens. Neither side looks excited to move first, but the Numidians bid 1 Gaze to do so.

The entire army does not move. Only parts of it as the Carthaginian commander watches the battle line unfold. Archers get into position in cover by the wall near the Oasis. They are supported by a unit of Drilled Infantry behind them. That looks like tough bastion to crack.

Meanwhile, the Skirmishers use Commander's Gaze to rush forward over the hill. By the Oasis, Light Infantry move to Javelin range, backed up by Light Infantry again. The remaining archers seem ready to volley into the oasis.

Carthaginian Light Infantry on the right rush forward and use Commander's Gaze to throw Javelins at the Skirmishers on the hill. The Numidians are reduced 1 Courage, but are okay. The other Carthaginian Light Infantry surge towards the Archer Bastion, but their Javelins fall short of the mark. That puts them in a dangerous position.

The Heavy Chariots rumble menacingly forward on the flank.

Turn 3:
Both sides collect Commander's Gaze again. This time the Carthaginians bid 3, while the Numidians bid 4. Close bids.

The Numidian Archers in the Bastion open fire on the Carthaginian Light infantry in front of them. Despite the barrage, they are lucky and only lose 1 Courage. The Carthaginians try to interrupt, which they do successfully.

The signal is given to the heavy Chariots to charge the enemy light Infantry in their fore. The Numidians choose to Evade. The Carthaginians are desperate to make contact and choose to pursue for another 1 Commander's Gaze. Both Evade and pursuit rolls are bad, but the Heavy Chariots fail to come into contact with the enemy! They are disordered.

The Numidians do not choose to try to steal the initiative. Instead, they are content to let the Carthaginian commander show his hand. They sense he is low on Commander's Gaze. He uses his last Gaze to charge with his light Infantry into the Archers in the bastion. They choose to hold position at the wall.

On the other flank, the Carthaginian Light Infantry again throw at the Skirmishers, hoping to drive them off. They lose another point of courage, but seem steady. The rest of the Carthaginian moves up, with the slingers coming down from the hill.

The Carthaginians have completed their turn, so play goes back to the Numidians. The Light Infantry throw Javelins at the oncoming Chariots, but fail to cause any significant impact. The Numidian Light Cavalry decide to attack them on the flank with a charge.

The Numidian Light Infantry in the center decides to charge into the flank and support their archers friends.

On the Numidian left (Carthaginian right) the Light Cavalry rides forward and throws Javelins along with the Skirmishers at the Carthaginian Light Infantry. The Carthaginians manage to take cover in the rocky terrain at the foot of the hill. They lose a single Courage and stay steady.

The Numidian Drilled Infantry and remaining archers seem content to see the results of the nearby combats.

Resolve Melee
The Light Cavalry of the Numidians charge into the flank of the Chariots. However, Despite waverng, the Chariots manage to absorb the attack and push back the Ligth Cavalry into the nearby light Infantry. This turns into a bigger melee with the Light Infantry supporting the Light Cavalry. Heavy Chariots are down 1 Courage and Light Cavalry are down 2. Both sides are wavering, the Chariots due to a failed charge and the Cavalry due to Courage loss.

The Carthaginian Light Infantry manage to reduce the Archers 1, but take 2 courage loss in return and are pushed back. Neither side starts wavering.

Turn 4:
Both sides have been battered, but no units have been lost. They have full Commander's Gaze. Carthaginians bid 0, while the Numidians bid 3.

The Numidians charge their Light Cavalry into the right flank Carthaginian Light infantry with the Skirmishers supporting. The Carthaginians do not try to interrupt.

The Drilled Infantry begins to move to secure the Oasis, supported by Archers. The rest are in melee.

The Carthaginians decide to have a Drilled Infantry unit charge down in to support their Light Infantry, who are looking pretty steady. The Slingers just have the range on the Numidian Archers, and fire. They are reduced 2 Courage and begin to Waver. The remaining Drilled Infantry unit decides to back-up and hold fast to see the outcome of the melee in front of them.

Resolve Melee
This time the Carthaginians decide to start on their right flank with the new melee. Some abysmal rolling that Commander's Gaze could not help sees the Carthaginians losing badly! The whole right flanks collapses and leaves the Numidians free on that flank!

In the center, the Carthaginian Light Infantry fighting in front of the wall is also routed. However, they were one dice away from vanquishing their foes!

On the left, the Heavy Chariots manage to eliminate their foes in a decisive manner.

End Phase
These losses force some Morale and Collapse tests. The Carthaginian Slingers and Drilled Infantry saw their friends rout, but pass Morale checks to avoid wavering themselves. They also pass their Collapse test, putting their faith with the strength of their chariots. The Nunmidian army could not see their Light cavalry and Light Infantry crushed by the Heavy Chariots.

Turn 5:
Both sides lost units, so they have reduced Commander's Gaze pools. Numidians bid 3 for Initiative.

The Numidian Archers fire on the Slingers, and reduce them three Courage and to wavering. The other archers fire on the Drilled Infantry and reduce them two Courage and force them to Waver as well.

The Numidian Light Infantry that fought near the wall charges the wavering Drilled Infantry. The Slingers choose to support. However, the flank is also charged by the Light Cavalry. Finally, the Drilled Infantry move into the Oasis.

The Heavy Chariots are out of position, but use a Commander's Gaze to Rally.

Resolve Melee
In the ensuing Blood Bath, the Numdians and Carthaginians are all routed from the combat.

End Phase
The Carthaginian Heavy cavalry automatically Collapses due to the modifiers to their Collapse roll. They flee to live another day. That leaves the Numidians in control of the Oasis.

As the Carthaginian commander, I followed in the footsteps of a long line of Hamilcar's. I lost! Let's talk a little bit about why I lost. First, I had some terrible rolls on the right flank, but those were off-set by good rolling on the left with the Heavy Chariots. Therefore, I can't blame bad dice. They balanced. I actually lost for two main reasons.

  1. Poor support choices- I should not have backed up the Light Infantry with the much better Drilled Infantry on the right flank. Sure, the Lights had a good 4 Courage left, but ultimately the Drilled Infantry would have been better off waiting to see who won and charging the winners.
  2. I was outnumbered pretty badly. This allowed the Numidians to dictate the pace of the game with Commander's Gaze. There was always a unit ready to jump in on the Flank during combat. I put too many points into those heavy Chariots.
  3. Not a good enough strategy. I was hoping to crush the left with my Heavy Chariots and then roll up the flanks. However, Chariots are not maneuverable enough for that. In addition, I did more than pin the enemy with the rest of my force, I outright attacked a well defended bastion in the center with Light Infantry instead of heavier units.

In other words, I got out played! We both forgot the Dusty complication through out the battle.

Here are some observations about the rules themselves so far. For the most part, they are pretty straight forward. The larger bases got a bit confusing as I did a terrible job of marking which and where was the focal point of the unit. If I would have done that better, I think they would work fine. All though, it got tight on a 4 x 4 board with 3 base units of 50mm each base. I had to move to maneuver due to Zones of Control and using a 1 inch base Measurement Unit.

The other big take away was the “Resolve Melee” phase of the rules. In Men of Bronze, attacks happen as they occur, but it is harder to chain your attacks with support then. Here, there is a post- movement phase to resolve melees. This was a popular However, it can be challenging to recall who charged, who was the initial attacker, was support, etc. In addition, I just left flankers on the flank and did not move them around to support after the first turn. These were based on feedback from Men of Bronze.

Flank attacks got flank bonuses turn-after-turn. This allowed some decisive combats, but made calculating attack dice a bit harder. In addition, it can be tough to recall what is happening in a big melee. Therefore, I may need to re-think how the rules deal with this without going all token/notes crazy.

Overall, the changes to Wavering worked really well and made it much more relevant to the game. Instead, of only wavering at 2 Courage a Unit can Waver anytime they get damaged and fail a Morale test. It wasn't a huge deal breaker in this game, but it made each attack and melee seem relevant.

A fun game, but some tweaks are still needed.

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Monday, January 6, 2020

Random: 2020- The Future has Arrived!

…. And I am not prepared.  Where is my jet pack?  Flying car?  Bionic eyes?  Anything?  Did we get anything right?  I guess I will give you the Net.

Here it is, another year of wargaming ahead.  Typically, I like to write my wargaming goals for the year down.  This helps me stay focused on the year to come and helps me restrain myself from going crazy and splurging like crazy!   Like many resolutions it will probably be dead and buried by the end of January, but I have stuck with them relatively closely in the past. 

Last year, I tried a different approach and focused on goals by Period.  I do not think I will be doing that this year.  It was a nice change of pace, but I think I am going to go back to placing goals into a series of categories instead of by genre or period.  Those categories are:

·         Purchase- This is goals that require me to spend my hard earned bread, cash, grip, money, coin, etc. 
·         Painting and Modelling- Here is the section of stuff I will want to paint up or build up
·         Playing- This section will be for what I intend to put on the table for 2020
·         Rules Writing- Here are my goals for writing and creating games
·         Miscellany- This is for stuff that falls into the realm of Blood and Spectacles but doesn’t neatly fit into a category

Last year, I had enough goals for a 3-5 year plan, so this will mostly be left-overs and also-rans from 2019.  However, I think there might be a few new items in here as well.  After all, last year a big goal focused around Frostgrave.  However, it ended up being D.O.A. as my local group did not cotton to it. Therefore, those items from last year may not be relevant anymore. 

With all that boring preamble out of the way, let’s get ready to rumble into 2020!

This year, there will be a big focus on Ancient gaming.  This is for a number of reasons. 

·         I like Ancients
·         There are a lot of interesting things going on in the Ancients space
·         I am writing a set of Ancients rules

So here are some purchases I will try to put in order of importance:

1.       Victrix War Elephant
2.       Victrix Republican/Early Roman Boxes
3.       Victrix Greek Cavalry
4.       Mortal Gods
5.       Gangs of Rome
6.       28mm Samnites
7.       28mm Carthaginians
8.       Clash of Spears

In the Non-ancients front I have the following interests:

1.       Oathsworn Warband bundles A and B for Burrows and Badgers
2.       Buy a rural American Barn and Farmhouse scenery piece
3.       Get some Gangster/Urban terrain for a 3x3 board
4.       Keep up-to-date on the Osprey Wargaming Series
5.       Pick up Osprey Supplemental Books
6.       2 Blood Bowl Teams- Lizzies and Chaos Dwarfs (Cross-fingers for the Chaos Dwarfs)
7.       2 Armies of Vanguard Miniatures for Rampant Galaxies and AeronauticaImperialis

Painting and Modelling
Last year, I thought I was done for.  I almost ran out of models to paint.  Thankfully, before my last model got finished, some new metal and plastic showed up to keep me alive. 

I painted over 150+ models over the course of the year.  That is probably a record for me, and I doubt I will be getting anywhere near that this year.  However, a man can dream can’t he? 

1.       Paint my 6mm Baccus Successor Armies
2.       Finish up my loose Gangster Models from Copplestone casting
3.       Paint up as many new purchases as I can to use on the table!
4.       Complete a set of Scorpion Drones for All Quiet on the Martian Front

I managed to play about a dozen games last year from historical to sci-fi, from hoplites to 40K fighter planes.  I want to get a good range in this year as well but I have a feeling Ancients will be the flavor of the year. 

1.       Get in a game or two of Broken Legions
2.       Playtest Wars of the Republic for Osprey Games
3.       Men of Bronze and get it on the blog
4.       Some game set during Operation: Hemlock for the 40K universe
5.       Get one game I have not played before on the table

Rules Writing
Typically, this is one of my more productive goals for the year.  Last year was a pretty good year for me on this front, and I hope to keep expanding on my successes.  I always have various projects on the go, and this year I have a few deadlines to hit!

1.       Complete writing Wars of the Republic for Osprey Games
2.       Update the photos and artwork in Turf War for Wargame Vault
3.       Get 1 game from the WIP section to the Wargame Vault
4.       Get 1 new game into the WIP section of the blog

This is stuff I want to do for the Blood and Spectacles publishing, but don’t really fall into other categories. 

1.       Get 1 new blog post a week
2.       Take more photos for Social Media Marketing
3.       Add a games Played/Models Painted Tracker to the Blog
4.       Do preliminary work for organizing a local Convention for 2021

Well, this looks like an expensive year for me!  I better keep selling books to help finance all of this stuff!  I find that something I buy typically takes about 2 years to make it to the tabletop to play or get on the Blog.  Looks like I am setting myself up for 2022 work all ready!    

Of course, as new stuff comes out, I can see myself easily getting distracted to other games and systems as the year goes on.  I have been itching to play some Super Hero themed wargame so it may sneak onto the blog to score me some end of year bonus points!  Plus, Who knows what else might strike my fancy as it gets released through out the year.  This list is a guide for me to stay focused, but it does not cast my choices into stone.    

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