Sunday, 31 July 2022


Stuart put on a game of the Spearhead divisional-level rules on Thursday. I observed rather than played, although I have a recollection of playing them once way beck in the 90s.

The battle was a meeting engagement between Americans and Germans in Italy, using 15mm figures.

People seemed to pick up the rules quite quickly, and they seem to be relatively straightforward. And bloody. It uses an old-school order system, where you draw lines of advance on a map, with formations having to follow their orders until they encounter enemy forces, at which point they can halt. Changing orders varies according to nationality and era.

Anyway, I think all of the players enjoyed the game, but there was a feeling that it used mechanisms for a lower level of  organisation - individual vehicles shoot at each other, for example, despite each on representing a company, whereas similar rules such as Rommel will tend to abstract such interactions a little more. 

On another table Caesar and Ian played Bolt Action, with a French vs German encounter in 1940. I only took photos of this - Caesar's 'Flamingo' flamethrower tank.

Monday, 25 July 2022

Flamme Rouge

I needed something quick and easy to occupy my mind over the weekend, and as I was pondering what game it would be I saw a nice post about Flamme Rouge on Twitter, so decided that would be my distraction.

The post I saw involved a three-player game, and I thought that would be fun to try. Ever since I got Peloton I have been playing with six teams, and whilst it's fun it does make for a full board. I fancied the challenge of races with just three teams, where there's more danger of getting left behind but, with a more open field, more chance of picking up a slipstream.

Anyway, I played the Pink team, ran the Blues as a muscle bot and White as Peloton team. I played several games on different courses, but this was the first. 

The start.

And the course. It's one of the ones from the game and normally has two cobblestone sections, but I swapped one out and replaced it with a set of ascents and descents before the sprint finish.

The opening moves were fairly cautious, with no team risking a fast run into the lead.

Into the cobbles and I was at the back. In a game with more players this is often fatal, as you either have to slow down or risk losing movement from your cards through being blocked in the narrow sections. However with just three teams the cobbles were a challenge but not too horrible.

Rather than get caught at the back, unable to slipstream, I allowed my sprinteur a burst and he pushed to the front of the pack.

He then burned out, drawing an hand of 2's, and Blue and White took the lead. I did get my team back together though.

Blue's sprinteur had got left behind in the cobblestones and was now trailing badly. The rest of us pushed through a refreshing supply zone and towards the ascents.

Careful positioning makes these ascents less troublesome than you look, since there are descents as well, and if you bounce from one to the other you can roller-coaster your way through on fairly low cards. Blue's rouleur was maintaining a strong lead, but I'd pushed both or my riders ahead of White. Now all I had to do was hope that the cards I'd preserved in my deck would give me the epic sprint finish I needed.

Looking good - my sprinteur edged ahead of Blue as we approached the line.

And both of my riders flew over the line to take first and second place, with blue trailing in third.

It was an exciting race and with only two other teams yo really have to manage your positioning carefully. I've played several other games and they've all been tense and exciting. And also quick! 

52 Games - Game 48

Thursday, 21 July 2022

Hunting Rhinos

I played a quick game of Palaeo Diet yesterday, with the same six hunters from the previous game having a go at hunting some woolly rhinos on a fairly featureless plain.

The hunters spread out.

One group approaches the herd, which begins to move around nervously.

The hunters close in.

The sling and archer moved in from the right and made some noise, hoping to drive an individual towards the other hunters. The whole herd went instead. However one of the animals did stray close enough to a spear-armed hunter that he could make an attack, and he seriously injured the beast.

The herd closed up.

The hunters attacked a second rhino. This one responded by attacking back, injuring one of the hunters.

A couple of sabre-tooth cats prowled around, attracted by the noise and scent of blood.

The slinger and archer tried to keep them away, injuring one of them. Meanwhile the other hunters tried to finish off the two wounded rhinos, but another of the party was wounded.

Finally, a kill!

And teh slinger finished off the wounded cat too, which gave the party the necessary amount of meat to take back to their camp.

However there were a couple of things to take into consideration. One was that there was still a predator lurking close to some of the meat, which needed to be driven off. And the other was that animals react to their own kind being killed, and this caused the surviving sabre-tooth to launch itself at the hunters.

A wounded rhino killed one of the hunters!

And the archer failed to fend off the cat, and was also killed.

The hunters did manage to drive off the cat, but their victory had now been nullified by the loss of a third of their party in their moment of triumph.

Better luck next time.

Separating animals from the herd really helps avoid the 'friendly beast being killed' reaction, and can prevent disasters like the one in this game. But the hunters just couldn't manage it this time.

Wednesday, 20 July 2022

More From The Shipyard

My latest batch of ships paid a visit to the sheer-hulk yesterday, and now have masts.

You'll notice that I've also made a few single-mast yachts as well, using coffee-stirrers.

Monday, 18 July 2022

More Beef

I've been performing or out with friends this weekend, so I needed something quick and easy for a bit of gaming. I set up a basic Palaeo Diet game, with six hunters stalking a herd of wild cattle. Once again I ran the cattle as Giant Grazers, but with all of their stats reduced by one - less dangerous than a mammoth and easier to kill, but offering less meat. To offset this there were six of them in the herd, which can get quite dangerous if they get riled.

The hunters spread out, sending their archer and slinger to the right. As ever the plan was to use missiles to drive individuals out of the herd, and then finish them off with spears and axes.

The slinger managed to inflict a damaging hit on the first animal he selected.

It ran back and forth in panic, but none of the hunters could finish it

It's flight took the whole herd with it, denying the hunters a clear opportunity to finish off the wounded animal.

The archer shot at another beast, wounding it, but causing it to charge him.

Meanwhile the other hunters tried to break up the herd, which became very agitated and aggressive, causing some of the hunters to back off.

The archer managed to take down the animal attacking him, for the tribe's first kill of the day.

Another beast was wounded, but again the hunters struggled to finish it off.

Chaos, as two wounded beasts ran around attacking and intimidating hunters. One spearman was injured and fled to the security (such as it was) of a hill.

Once again it was the archer who saved the day, finishing off one of the beasts with a well-aimed arrow. 

The death of a beast actually causes other beasts around it to react, and a few of them did get quite threatening towards the hunters. Fortunately there were no attacks and further injuries - it would have been a shame to have got the necessary kills only to have taken a casualty in the moment of victory.

Thursday, 14 July 2022

The Battle Of The Red-Mouthed Gun

I'm not sure when I first came across this naval action, but the lovely painting above, by Herb Kawaínuí Kane was certainly inspiring enough that I felt I had to put together a game based around it.

This battle, called Kepuwaha’ula’ula in Hawaiian, was fought on 1791 off the coat of the island of Hawaii, and was the climax of nearly ten years of civil war in the islands. It was notable for being the first sea-battle fought by the Hawaiians in which cannon and firearms predominated - hence the rather colourful name.

The two forces involved were those of Kamehameha, who would go on to unify the islands under his rule, and those of the Western Islands, predominantly Maui and Kauai. Both sides fought in double-hulled canoes, some with cannon in the bows, but Kamehameha also had a commandeered American brig, the Fair American.

There's a nice summary of the conflict HERE

I set up the two sides for Galleys & Galleons, taking an awful lot of liberties with the depiction of vessels based on what I had available. Both sides had a mix of catamarans and groups of canoes, whilst Kamehameha's force included the Fair American. All of teh canoes and catamarans were filed with fierce warriors and had bow chasers, whilst I ran the Fair American as a slightly more powerful vessel. In reality I suspect its armament would have been very limited and in game terms it wouldn't be much better than the catamarans, but I liked it as an oddity in the game, so overstated its capabilities.

The stats for the vessels were as follows:

Canoes - Q2 C2 - Boats, Intimidating, Bow Chasers
Catamarans - Q3 C2 - Lateen Rig, Bow Chasers, Unarmed, Intimidating, Shallow Draft, Yare
Fair American - Q3 C3 - Square Rig, Bow Chasers

Both sides had four Canoes and two Catamarans. The Western Alliance also had a Catamaran flagship, whilst Kamehameha had the Fair American as his flag.

Here's Kamehameha's fleet arrayed for battle.

And the two forces facing each other off the coat of Hawaii. The wind was blowing from the south (bottom of the picture), but drifted to the south-west during the course of the action. However this didn't really affect the course of events.

The fleets close, Kamehameha's on the right and the Western Alliance on the left. The Alliance was moving forward cautiously and with its vessels keeping station, whilst Kamehameha made moved to concentrate vessels against the Alliance's left.

Opening shots.

The Alliance decided against a shooting match with the catamarans, and went straight in, grappling and boarding Kamehameha's vessels. They got the best of the initial combats as well. To the south the canoes of both sides were exchanging shots and Kamehameha's took the first damage.

The Fair American fired a broadside and badly damaged an Alliance catamaran. Fierce fighting continued on the other catamarans, whilst Kamehameha tried to send canoes around the fight in support.

A damaged Alliance catamaran moved away from the fight. Meanwhile Kamehameha's canoes were holding their own to the south.

Kamehameha's canoes join the melee to the north.

The Alliance canoes and a catamaran turned in pursuit of the Fair American, and inflicted some damage with gunnery.

A series of fierce counter-attacks by Kamehameha's catamarans (combined with some awful activations by the Alliance) saw the Alliance vessels overcome in the melee. This included their flagship; not a fatal result, but a further blow to their already shaky command and control.

A catamaran collided with the Fair American. The Fair American took damage, as did the catamaran. It was enough to sink the latter vessel.

To the south Kamehameha's canoes had the upper hand, as reinforcements from the northern part of the battle arrived. One group of Alliance canoes has sunk and another was losing a boarding action, whilst the third group was being pounded with artillery from two directions.

The Fair American fired a broadside at some canoes, badly damaging them, whilst another group to the south was overwhelmed in melee. The Western Alliance were now reduced to to two canoe groups, both damaged. Kamehameha had the victory. His fleet didn't lose a single vessel.

I'm certain that my depiction of the canoes and catamarans isn't remotely accurate, but this setup made for an interesting action even if only loosely based on the actual battle. The mix of bow guns and boarding capability on the relatively weak vessels in play opened up some nice tactical choices, whilst Kamehameha had a vessel with decent gunnery but whose maneuver capabilities were not easy to coordinate with the rest of the fleet*.

* Some sources call Fair American a schooner, so the fore-and-after Lateen Rig of the game might be more appropriate - no change in cost - and would see it able to sail the same as the catamarans.
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