31 January 2014

CanCon 2014 Demo Games - Muskets & Tomahawks

The French fort - armed with heavy cannon and manned by French Regular troops
On day 2 of CanCon, we played in the 'Tomahawks and Muskets along the Ohio' participation game.

I hadn't played the rules before and was really keen to give them (and the period - who doesn't love Last of the Mohicans, after all) The gents running the game had been playing a campaign over the weekend and we targeted this day, in which the British forces would be attacking a French Fort.  As you can see, the collection of great figures and fantastic terrain really made this a treat to play.
The Battlefield - the Fort is in the top left corner, the British entered on the right hand side and via sea
Setting up my force (pic courtesy of Chris from the Moruya Marauders)
Peter and I commanded the British Provincial and Irregular forces, which would be advancing up the road, while British Regular forces and militia would be landed by boat.  The French infantry were deployed in a screen and supported by the heavy guns in their fort.
Rule Brittannia: the Royal Navy Frigate and boats waiting to land


Foresters in a skirmish line lead my Provincials onto the table...
...and immediately come under fire from the French fort.

Meanwhile the British ships arrive...
...and start landing the Guards foot troops
Another perspective of the landing captured by TrailApe

My troops slowly made their way up the road and were lucky that the artillery fire was inaccurate, as the balls would have chopped a huge swath through them while in column.  Instead the French sifted their fire to the landing Guardsmen and they suffered badly but made steady progress onto the French line.
I really took a gamble advancing in column down the road into the teeth of the fort - the rules for cannon balls are that they bounce, if the casualties would have been horrendous had the French gunners been accurate.  Luck was with me though!

The Guardsmen land under heavy fire
My provincials move up to support the landings while the Foresters flank the position on the right
At this point the combat got heavy and the game very exciting...to the point where I completely forgot my camera!  The landings were completed and the French infantry neutralised, but at a heavy cost.  The British were down to Provincial troops and militia only.  The Fort could be flanked and set ablaze but their would be significant casualties in doing so.  In the end the game had to be called for time before we could play that out.

I found the T&H rules quite easy to use and after only a few turns we were working most rolls out for ourselves.  The game is card driven in the style of many Too Fat Lardies games, which is a mechanic I really enjoy.  The game felt right for a black powder period game and the advantages and disadvantages of the different troop types were evident.

Thanks to Doug and the other guys from the Canberra Gentlemen Gamers for sharing their most excellent toys and running a very enjoyable game.  Its a period I have always found interesting but never played.  I'm really glad we did.

So very tempted

Its been a long while since I cracked any OGRE or GEV goodies out, but I was very tempted when I saw this 13kgs of awesomeness at the CanCon game show last weekend...
My will power held out though, assisted by an empty wallet anyway!

30 January 2014

CanCon 2014 Demo Games - Bolt Action

The first game we played at CanCon was Bolt Action, put on by David and his sons from the Demo Gamers (who have a great blog here).  My friend Peter and I played the Germans, defending this rather magnificent stone hotel in the middle of the table in a Hold Util Relieved scenario.

David and his sons had done a fantastic job building the terrain throughout the year in preparation, and they had different table for each day.  Scattered about them were some rather interesting pieces!

A different kind of hung up paratrooper from that at Sainte Mere Eglise!

A wondeful scratch built WW1 memorial - inscribed with all the names of Australian VC winners in WW1

Start the ominous Jaws music...
The game saw US forces assault the building (very successfully) while Germans waited eagerly for reinforcements.  Modified building assault rules were used to make the most of the lovely multi room features of the Hotel building model.
US Infantrymen storm the Hotel lobby and start clearing out the German defenders
The German reinforcements came on and forced out the US forces in turn; the assaults were bloody on both sides.  Most successful was our Hetzer who entered the battle, immobilised the enemy Sherman tank with its first shot and dispatched it permanently with its second.
HetzerCam: The US Commander now requires 5 Purple hearts...
Not content with that, the Hetzer then trundled down the road, smashed into the Hotel courtyard and panzerblitzed a US infantry squad at close range, forcing it back just before they gained entry into the building.  Give that Tank Commander an Iron Cross!
A maelstrom of close assaults followed, which left both sides exhausted.  The game was called on time before we got to the end.  With each side only able to muster one or two unshattered units, the game was declared a most enjoyable draw.

Thanks again to David and our opponents for all their hard work to deliver a lot of fun to all players!

28 January 2014

2014 CanCon Blood Bowl Tourney!

Hi there, Right Stuff here.  2014 CanCon hosted a Blood bowl tournament which is the National Championships.  I competed in the tournament for my third time. This time though I took a race that I was not used to playing, That race....Pro Elves. I am normally a Bash coach but I recently took interest in the speed and agility side of the game and have taken the elves to the tourney.

Here's my starting roster:
2 x Blitzers
3 x Catchers
1 x Thrower
6 x Lineman
1 x Re- Roll

Game 1: Chaos
Score: 2-0 Win
Cas: 1-1
Catcher Gained Dodge Skill
Right stuff enjoying the glow of a Round 1 win!

Game 2: Undead
Score:1-2 Loss
Cas: 2-3
Bought 4th Catcher after the game. I wish I'd bought an apothecary first.
Blitzer Gained Dodge Skill
Catchers 3 and 5 gained dodge

Game 3:Dwarf
score:1-2 Loss
cas:0-3
Lineman was -av
Thrower gained Leader Skill
Catcher Gained Dodge
Catcher gained +AG
Clearly something interesting was unfolding at this point...!
Game 4: Dwarf
score:1-2
cas:0-5
Catcher was -St. Lineman was -MA
Blitzer(other one) gained Dodge Skill

Game 5: Lizardmen
Score: 1-3 Loss
cas-0-7
Thrower was MNG. Lineman MNG
Catcher gained +MA

Game 6: Chaos
score:3-0 Win
cas:4-3
2 St Catcher killed (but I won some new block dice by having the first player killed in the round!)
Blitzer gained guard - this Blodging Sidestep Guard piece was amazing!!!

Game 7: Chaos Pact
score: 2-0 Win
cas: 1-4

After all that I placed 23rd out of 46 players with a record of 3 wins 4 losses, and got a cool Beast of Nurgle figure from the West Coast Quake as a prize.  Thanks to all my opponents for the fun games.  I am looking forward to next year where I will either take Lizardmen or Skaven but until then... or my next post..... Goodbye!!
My cool prize (pic from the West Coast Quake site here)

27 January 2014

CanCon 2014

We have survived another CanCon experience and a great year it was (much to the detriment of my Painting Challenge progress!).  Good mates Pete and Ken came up from Melbourne for the event a few days before hand in which we took in some of the local sights, including the Australian War memorial, and enjoyed a bunch of games.
Right Stuff at the entrance, ready to Blood Bowl!
CanCon was a buzzing maelstrom of tournaments, traders and events, and a range of friends both old and new were seen.  Sadly the Dux could make the journey this year but it was great to meet fellow blogger Chris of the Moruya Marauders. After his experience at the Crusades participation game I'm looking forward to reading his thoughts on the Deus Vult rules.
Comrade James deploys his Germans onto the field of battle in Bolt Action
Games wise, Pete Ken and I played a range of participation and demo games in the three days, while Right Stuff played in the 7 match Blood Bowl tournament, and Comrade James contested the Bolt Action tourney.  They will post on their successes and highlights separately.

Purchase wise I was very, very bad...which was very very fun!  More detail at another time but thanks to Ian from War and Peace Games, Nic from Eureka Miniatures and Mick from Mick's Metal Models for looking after me so well.  No doubt my credit card will be confiscated shortly.  Among the trader eye candy was this impressive couple of chaps from Grotto Wargames Furniture who make wargaming furniture - dining tables that convert into gaming table by removing the tops to reveal the fun underneath.  Draws in the side hold terrain and models - brilliant!
And after desert..SAGA anyone?
The coffee table gaming table was also most impressive
Here are some random eye candy shots, starting with some Dead Man's Hand for you Dux!


Something different: British take on Italians in Eritrea in a very early war participation game

The Flames of War and Warmachine Tourneys in full swing
Part of the FoW Kursk mini campaign; lovely terrain...

...but somewhat silly in execution to my mind
A stunning Infinity table
Like I need more help rolling 1s!
The Siege of Antioch underway using Deus Vult!
Thats it for now - more to follow after a good sleep!

Couldn't agree more :-)

25 January 2014

Too busy Playing to Paint!

The annual CanCon gaming show is on here this weekend and I have two good mates up from Melbourne staying with us.  So its all far too busy playing and buying new shiny bits to waste time painting!  More on CanCon soon.  Good luck to Right Stuff in the Blood Bowl competition and Comrade James in the Bolt Action tourney!
Monsters Menace America - crazy beer and pretzels fun!

22 January 2014

Painting Comp Update - Week 6

Six weeks into the Painting Challenge and while the race between Alan, James and I is far from over, Alan has a lead that will be tough to beat.  I'm slightly above the curve to meet my 500 points and am about half way through my Brit Para force which is worth around 300 points and will get me over the line well.  I know Comrade James has some 28mm WW2 US Infantry on his painting desk too, but CanCon will no doubt take the next week from us painting to enjoying some actual playing!
You can see that that cad Alan took maximum advantage of my Community service in Weeks 3-5!
I asked the boys and they all agree that the fortnightly bonus rounds are great and working well.  Apart from the extra points, it lends a great focus on top of just the projects on the table.  The quality of the submissions are just amazing too.

21 January 2014

Saxons: Unpopular Chaps mostly

Not Saxons, but amusing nonetheless
Alongside painting my WW2 Brit Paras and more Scouting activities, I came across this interesting piece which puts the Saxon (Angle, Jute etc) suffering at the hand of the Norsemen into context.  To be blunt, they pretty much got what their forebears sowed.  Self evident really, but I found this article an interesting reminder of the Saxons' own marauding days.
http://thepublici.blogspot.com/2009/07/family-values.html

15 January 2014

Part 2 of the SAGA of Paul the Hairy and James the Tall

Having seen the Vikings victorious in the Sacred Ground scenario (see here) we played a second Battle in the Man Cave this week.  This time it was the River Ford scenario.  We took the same 6 points armies as the previous battle, but James this time deployed his 3 Hearthguard units as two units of six figures.  I continued to deploy my 3 Warrior units as two amalgamated units of 12 figures.
Warlord Paul the Hairy discovers the Odin-blessed panorama feature on his iShield
As Odinn's Ravens saw it, the setup looked thus:
The Vikings looked forward to burning down the new 4Ground building to celebrate its first outing on the tabletop
We both went with the same strategy - push hard on the right flank and defend the left flank.  Of course we were looking at it from different directions though, which meant that our offences and defences were aligned from the start...

On my right I pushed up hard to threaten the ford with Warriors and Hearthguard while my Levy took up position on the bank to add support with their bows.  James brought up a unit of warriors for guard the other bank and committed everything to the other flank.
The Vikings threaten the right hand ford (the dice in the river show the limits of the ford)
For the Anglo Danes, it looked a bit menacing!
Meanwhile, on the other flank the Anglo Dane units were advancing and my units guarding that ford were going to be seriously outmatched.  I held back the warriors out of bowshot range and decided I would make the enemy advance to my warriors, and kept the Bezerkers in reserve to carve up anyone who broke through.  It was a pretty thin line though.

My new 4Ground building (on its first outing) broke up the massed Anglo Dane advance nicely, and with some well timed charges and withdrawals I was able to stave off the onslaught.  In this regard, the 12 figure Warrior units had a much greater degree of resilience, and being the defender, the conversion of attack dice to defensive dice significantly helped this unit to survive and remain in its blocking position.  The Berzerkers were committed to intercepting the 6 man Hearthguard as they crossed, effectively wiping eachother out.  I have concluded that the Berzerkers are a very powerful but single shot weapon.  You have to protect them from missile fire and unleash them at the right target...and don't expect them to come back!

Meanwhile, back on my right flank, the Levies continued to not do much as I wasn't getting the SAGA dice rolls I needed to activate them: a nice mechanism reflecting how difficult peasants can be to control at times!  Things were came to a head though, when I moved up my warriors to force the crossing...
A cinematic moment as opposing Warriors clash in the Ford!
...and sent the Anglo Dane defenders fleeing with half their number slain.  An interesting side bar discussion at this point was on the lack of Morale rules-  why don't units have a test after taking significant casualties to avoid routing? Our conclusion was that the player effectively does this himself.  Faced with a reduction of SAGA dice the player tends to be far more cautious with small, fragile units.  Anyway, it speeds up game play.

So my warriors broke through, and the Anglo Danes sent their Warlord and a Hearthguard unit to contain them.  After all, no VPs are won until the end of the game so if they could be eliminated they would spawn no VPs.  My Levy continued to sit dumbly on the river bank - so I bravely ran my warrior unit away and committed my flank reserve - a Hearthguard unit, to intercept the enemy elite in the last turn bloodbath...
..and in the mutual annihilation that followed the Anglo Dane warlord fell.  These hearty chaps really aren't as resilient when they get isolated.


And thus the evening's SAGA fun ended.  A great night in which we learned lots about the rules, and our Army's Battle Boards.   We felt a little guilty about not trying to get stuff done for the painting challenge, but when friend plays friend, everyone wins!

14 January 2014

The SAGA of Paul the Hairy and James the Tall

Last night saw the Man Cave's first games for 2014: SAGA battles between Comrade James (aka James the Tall) and I.  The first battle was the Sacred Ground scenario, with 6 points apiece. James took Anglo Danes with 3 Hearthguard with Danish Axes (in two units of 8 and 4 figures), 2 Warriors and a Levy.  I played Vikings with 1 Hearthguard, 1 unit of Berzerkers, 3 Warriors (deployed in two units of 12 figures) and a Levy. Being a little hairier than usual while enjoying my holidays I fully intended to exploit the official rule that "ties shall be won by the player with the more impressive facial hair".
Game setup: Vikings were a little too far forward and moved back  2 inches before we started
(PS Inspiration for the labelled setup picture from the excellent Dalauppror blog here)
The initial stages went pretty much as planned, each of us capturing our right flank objectives and then pushing up with the heavies to contest the centre one sporting the sacred Menhirs.
The Viking opening advance - and an offering to Odin!
James pushed up a warrior unit to contest my right flank.  I obliged him by running down the hill at him, killing half the unit and sending the rest fleeing before taking position again.  The 12 man Warrior unit was quite powerful I found it well worth the loss of SAGA dice.
Anglo-Dane Warriors advance on the Viking held forested hill
The pivotal battle was always to be in the centre though, and James sent up his Danish Axe equipped Hearthguard to contest it, while cleverly using his "Intimidate" battle board ability to prevent my Levies and Warriors from reinforcing my now isolated and outnumbered Hearthguard and Berzerkers.
Anglo-Dane Hearthguard advance on the Menhir knoll
The Anglo-Danes occupy with right flank objective and view the battle with interest!
The opposing Hearthguard crashed together, losses weer taken, but this could only end badly for the Vikings until those reinforcements could be brought up.  Time was running out...
Taking a gamble, I invested all bar one of my SAGA dice into combat abilities (and lets face it the Vikings have a few options in that regard) and targeted the enemy Warlord.  The first Hearthguard unit was repelled, then I sent in the Berzerkers, who finished him off despite his being supported by his own nearby Hearthguard.  It was a gamble, but it paid off nicely.
The Warlord of James the Tall lies dead on the battlefield
And so with their warlord dead the Anglo-Dane army collapsed, but there was only 10 or so Victory Points in it at this stage and it was indeed a close run thing.  More offerings were made to Odin in thanks for the Victory and the spoils of battle!  It was also great to christen the mdf SAGA measuring sticks and fatigue markers that my mates Ken and Pete got for me for my birthday while I was away - they are awesome guys, thanks!
Victory Celebration Ale: Dragonhead Stout brewed in the Orkneys- what Viking wouldn't like it?
Report for the second battle to follow...