Sunday, 30 December 2012

Lunch In The Arena

My friend John Garvey popped in for lunch today, on his way to Sydney. After an omelette made with home-produced eggs we played a couple of quick gladiatorial bouts using 'Munera Sine Missione'.

In the first John took a heavy Murmillo, whilst I used a lighter Thracian:

This was a lengthy bout, and by the end both gladiators were wounded and tired. However when my Thracian spent a turn having a breather, John took advantage, nipped in and ran a sword into his guts, killing him outright.

In the second bout John took a light Nubian gladiator, armed with a curved sword. I used an unarmoured, but shielded Hoplite:

I inflicted a nasty would early on, but then couldn't exploit the spear's longer reach. The Nubian ducked under it and seriously wounded the Hoplite, causing him to appeal to the crowd. Obviously popular (a double six) they spared him.

Whilst playing we noticed a couple of small errors/omissions in the rules:

(i) The Armour Save is made by rolling equal to or less than the Armour Value (not just less than).
(ii) If a gladiator with AP remaining is knocked down, they lose the AP.

I have changed the rules, and reposted them as v2.1. They can be found HERE.

Whilst on the subject of Munera Sine Missione, Richard of 'Land Of Counterpane' fame used them at a school Christmas fair recently. You can read his report here.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Land Ho!

As part of the naval game I'm putting together for next week I made some land hexes to go with my new hex grid, by using the Battle Cry sprue as a template on some old cork-tile hills I had.

Here we see the Union flagship and consort anchored off an island:

More Union vessels lie off the town. But what's that in the foreground?:

The Confederates are attacking. But the US Navy will be able to support the Union troops in the town ...

... unless they are somehow prevented from doing so:

Thursday, 27 December 2012

The Hexagonal Ocean

A side effect of getting a copy of Battle Cry is that I have the 'sprues' the terrain tiles came on. I braved the crowds in Wollongong this lunchtime to go to the art and craft shop, and picked up some blue mounting board, and set to work making a roughly Battle Cry sized hex-grid for naval gaming:

They are just the right size for my 1/1200th ACW naval vessels:

The paper is more of a blue than the picture suggests - the light in our dining room does funny things to the colours when you take photos with the phone.

I'm not quite sure how I'm going to properly mark the hexes yet. At the moment they're pencilled on. I may use a coloured pen or pencil to draw them in fully, but I also like the idea of just marking the vertices. I'll probably just go for whatever's easiest - at less than $5 for the board, plus 45 minutes work to draw the grid, if I mess it up I can easily do another.

I now just need to poke and prod Bob Cordery's Portable Naval Wargame a little, and I'll be ready for another 150th anniversary next week ...

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Boxing Day - Wilson's Creek

The Wilson's Creek scenario in the newer edition of 'Battle Cry' is quite an ambitious one to play, using as it does most of the troops and almost all of the terrain tiles.

However it does look good when it's set up, and seeing as it's another favourite battle ... :

I took the Union, whilst Catherine played the Confederates.

Sigel's flanking force, and the opposing Confederates, are in an interesting position, in that their retreats are blocked by enemy troops. It struck me as an area where combats could get bloody very quickly, so to create manuever room for Sigel I opened the game by attacking with his troops. They quickly drove back the opposing Confederates:

Confederate counter-attacks dealt with Sigel's cavalry, and things stalled on that part of the field:

Catherine advanced on Plummer's troops who were advancing on the opposite side of Wilson's Creek to the rest of the Union army. They drove off the boys in blue:

Then eliminated one of the infantry units. Plummer took refuge with the Union infantry unit making up their far laft flank:

I drew the fortifications card, allowing three of my units to dig in. Sigel's infantry did so, along with the infantry which made up each end of the Union line on Oak Hill.

However Catherine used cavalry to outflank Sigel's position, and whittled down his forces some more:

The focus of the battle switched to the Union right, where a lone unit was all that made up the flank. It came under heavy attack:

As it fell, Union reinforcements came up:

And they quickly destroyed or drove off the attacking Confederates:

The Confederate left was then pushed further off-balance by a concerted artillery barrage:

Catherine tried to switch the focus of the battle to the Union left, attacking Plummer and his infantry atop their hill. She failed:

After playing a Rally card I pushed Sigel's infantry back to full strength, and resumed the offensive against the wobbly Confederate right/rear:

A Confederate cavalry unit fell to Union musketry to clinch the last of the seven flags required for a Union victory:

The final position. The Union won 7 flags to 3. Many of the troops in both armies' centres hadn't moved.

The keys to the Union victory were cards allowing an fighting start for Sigel's flanking force, followed by the chance to dig-in just as Catherine tried to assault the two ends of the main Union line. After she smashed herself to pieces against two defensive positions, I was able to use my artillery offensively to prevent her regaining the momentum. The Rally card put Sigel back in the game and allowed him to pick off some weak Confederate units to win the game.

This is an excellent scenario. It would be interesting to see what happens if and when the main forces set to in the centre, as the terrain is quite heavy there.

Back to work tomorrow :(

Christmas Evening Games

Aussie Christmas television is woeful - (I originally typed 'Chrustmas' there, which is, of course, what they have in New Zealand :) ) - We assume that the fact that it's Summer and that everything's more outdoors here means that people don't want to spend the evening indoors watching Christmas specials. Certainly no-one seems to be pushing much in the way of things, aside from 'Doctor Who' on Boxing Day (which we'll miss, because we're going to go and see 'The Hobbit'. In 3D. for $5 each. A thank-you from the UoW Gamer's Guild for our help in running Gong Con earlier this year). We'll catch up on the Good Doctor when we get home using iView. Or I'll use a proxy later today, pretend to be in the UK, and watch it in the BBC iPlayer ...

Anyway, with a major internet outage, nothing on the telly and that fact that it was pissing down with rain, we played boardgames. Which was great.

Now I would have been happy to have played 'Battle Cry' again, but it doesn't really suit four. So I broke out some old classics.

First, 'Thunder Road'.

Here's the start. For those not familiar with the game, think 'Mad Max II' as a family boardgame:

We dumped Catherine pretty quickly, then Maya and I left Cei (who was beset by abysmal movement die rolls) far behind us to fight it out for the finish. Those are my green vehicles up front, with Maya's grey juggernaut following them:

With the advantage of moving second Maya got to keep shooting and ramming me, and it was only a matter of time before she knocked out my last vehicle to win the game.

I was denied my revenge, as the children then wanted to play 'James Ernest's Totally Renamed Spy Game', formerly 'Before You Die, Mr Bond'. This was a big favourite of our Summer holidays in the UK, where we used to play it in whatever pub we inflicted ourselves on for our lunch or evening meals (along with 'Fluxx', which we played in a pub here on Christmas Eve when we were out celebrating Catherine's birthday).

The high point of the game for me - luring the Invincible Sarno into my cloning facility and giving him a chance to use his Q-Branch biro to escape. He didn't:

Everyone else raced ahead of me on points, and the game ended when Maya accidentally fed what she thought was a bomb into Cei's powerful villain lair; it was actually an incompetent spy who was promptly shot with no further ado to give Cei the two points he needed for victory. Silly Maya.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Christmas Day - Battle Cry!

It's Christmas Day, which means that I finally get my hands on the copy of 'Battle Cry' I ordered a couple of months ago.

And what better way to spend the afternoon than playing it?

Because it's a battle I have something of a soft-spot for, I set up the Antietam scenario. Catherine was happy to give it a go, so away we went.

Here's the board set up:

Catherine took the role of George McClellan, reasoning that she couldn't do any worse than he did:

I played the part of Lee. Here I am looking for loopholes in the scenario:

The course of the battle was basically the reverse of what happened historically. It opened with Burnside assaulting across Antietam Creek, moved on to Sumner's assault on the Sunken Road and then finished with Hooker stirring himself into action on the Union right.

Burnside attempted to push across the creek, and was repulsed:

A second attempt saw the Confederates pushed back:

The Union were across, in force:

Action switched to the centre. Despite mounting casualties the Union managed to outflank the Sunken Road. Not good:

The position about halfway through. The Confederates had two flags, the Union only one:

Hooker had probed nervously towards the Cornfield on the Confederate left, but was hit by a fierce counter-attack by Jackson's Corps, supported by Stuart's cavalry:

Meanwhile Longstreet noticed that the Sunken Road was no longer occupied by any Confederate troops:

Fighting raged around the Cornfield:

Disaster - Jackson and Longstreet were felled in the same turn:

And on the Confederate right Burnside pushed out of his bridgehead, and engaged A.P.Hill's Division, inflicting the last casualty needed to win the game:

The final position. There are no Confederates in the centre at all, and they're looking a bit sick on the right as well. There was still fight remaining on the left (and the cards to back it up), but the day was lost:

Catherine won through taking the Sunken Road, and then killing two of my three generals. The other casualties were an infantry unit on my right, and my one artillery unit over by the Cornfield. I destroyed four Union units - two from Burnside's Corps and two from Sumner's.

The two generals, taken the day before, ready to play ... The Spoon Of Destiny!

Happy Christmas!

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Return To Alderley Edge

Having used my Wierdstone of Brisingamen/Moon of Gomrath armies the other day, I was taken with the idea of giving them another outing today. Aside from the pleasure of the games, the fact that both armies have a Sneaker each was a chance to try out some of the proposed fixes for them or, at least, the particular fixes I favour (unrestricted break-offs and friction kills). As it happened they didn't have a huge effect on the game, although the fixes did come into play in one of them. That's the problem with testing Sneaker fixes; you can't really base your entire battle plan around them or, if you do, you aren't really testing them properly because you're skewing the game in favour of the Sneaker.

Anyway, in the first game the Morthbrood defended. And here they are:

The Forces of Light, under Cadellin Silverbrow, attacked:

The Morthbrood has Lurkers:

The lines close:

Closer still:

And there's combat. Which goes badly for the forces of Good:

The Mara finished off the last of the Lios Alfar cavalry to win the game:

In the second game the Morthbrood defended again:

The forces of Good split up, which was probably a bad move:

Cadellin Silverbrow dies fighting the Mara. It's another Morthbrood victory:

In the third game the Morthbrood attacked:

Their Beasts were accosted by some Lios Alfar Lurkers:

Once again, though, Cadellin Silverbrow lets the side down, turning himself into a frog whilst attempting to ensorcell the Mara:

I used the Sneaker break-off fix in one game, with it allowing other elements to move into place on the enemy element. and their ability to move through other troops proved useful in using them to gain overlaps. But none of the three games were big on major Sneaker action, mostly because they were won/lost fairly quickly via the other combats.

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