Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Sails of Glory Arrives in Port

Last year the creators of Wings of Glory announced that they were going to launch a naval version, based around the Napoleonic Wars. I love naval wargaming going back to my days of playing Harpoon in the early ‘90s through to Dystopian Wars these days, so Sails of Glory sounded like it could tick all the boxes for me.

The game itself comes with a pile of tokens, four pre-painted ships, some card terrain, rulers etc and a nice full colour rulebook. I’ve read the basic rules and they seem straight forward enough, although it will no doubt take another couple of readings (taking 5-10 minutes so not a huge effort) and a couple of games before I can confirm either way. I am a little put off by the vast number of tokens from a setup and take down perspective (one of my bugbears with X-Wing) but a little organisation coupled with the bags that came with the Kickstarter version of the game will (presumably) alleviate these issues.

The most important thing to me though was the quality of the ships. Based on Ares Games track record I knew that they could make cards and tokens etc and I was confident that they could come up with a fun set of rules, but pre-painted ships without the backing and help of FFG was another thing. Well I can say that I am very impressed with their efforts and they are in fact a step ahead of what I expected. The paint jobs are not perfect and most gamers could do something better with some effort, however the key here is that just like the ships in X-Wing they are pre-painted and to a level where you do not need to do anything to them and still feel that you got a premium product at a good price.

Hopefully later this week a couple of us will manage to get in a lunch time game and we can see how it works.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Panzer Ausbildungs Abteilung 500

With Battlecry only a few weeks away, I am furiously painting up my Panzer Ausbildungs Abteilung 500. My tanks are nearing completion with a couple of days work left to go with just detailing, decals and crew to finish up. This will give me all the tanks I require for the tournament as well as a 2IC tank for use later. 
The army shot (excluding the infantry that still need to be painted)
HQ Tigers - 2IC on the left and Company HQ (finished as part of the painting challenge at work) on the right

Two Tiger Platoons
King Tiger Platoon
Panzer III N Platoon
Once these vehicles are finished I have my Infantry Platoon and AA Platoon to do. I'll have a couple of painting days up my sleeve so I will need to maintain my focus to get them finished on time!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

2014 Tournament Season

With growing family responsibilities at home as my son gets bigger and starts to throw around the word "daddy" a lot more, 2014 is already panning out to be a big year so I sat down and had a look through the tournament calender to try and plan out the year so there would be no (okay, fewer) surprises on the home front. It also gave me an opportunity to work out what was on the painting schedule.

February: Battlecry and Flames Of War. This will be the first road test for my Desperate Measures Reluctant Trained Tigers.

March: Ides of March and Warmachine. Dusting off my Circle forces and using this to incentivise me to paint up the Woldwrath!

April: Hamilton EW Tournament and FOW. This one is a little up in the air for me right now, but my French are looking for a reason to hit the table and this might be it!

May: NiCon and TBC. Love heading to sunny Tauranga, just need to work out what is on the menu I guess.

July: Panzerschreck and the FOW Doubles Event. It is just easier to give into Evan's nagging and head down. Plus Mike and I have something to make up for after our terrible performance last year.

August: Call to Arms and WarmaHordes. Not sure what I would take, but the WarmaHordes guys in Wellington are great to play so hopefully the timing of this works out.

October: BFGT and FOW. This could be coinciding with my 40th so might be a little challenging, tempted to play in the split 1 day Mid War, 1 day Early War events... wonder how I could convert my '56 Israelis to Mid War?

November: Rallypoint and the WarmaHordes Teams Event. Three man teams and this year it is Ghordson Earthbreakers all round.

So, painting needing to be done for five events this year at minimum, plus some more post war Israeli's for work no doubt.... maybe it is time to start reducing my expectations!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

One Sided Games, Fun For All?

I managed to get in a couple of games over the last week of my Christmas / New Years break and both of which felt like really one sided affairs...

Pushing up and popping my Feat
First up was a game of WarmaHordes vs Tony. Vod (as he is locally known) is a playtester for Flames Of War and an exceptionally good wargamer (better than me to be sure), known for playing hard, knowing his opponents and finding holes to exploit both in terms of the their army and the rules!

I took the opportunity to roll out eBaldur to help me prepare for Ides of March (in March...), with Megalith, Wold Guardian, Woldwatcher, Woldwyrd, Druids and Shifting Stones. Tony took eVayl, a host of heavy Warbeasts, Spawning Vessel, Martyrs and Shepherd. We were playing under some time pressure so we opted to go straight assassination rather than digging out SR2013 and picking a scenario. We both pushed up the table, Tony used his range to deal out some damage, I ran up and popped my feat hoping that he would take the bait and rush in. Tony used his speed and powerful ranged game to deal out some more damage whilst keeping his distance. By this point I controlled 3/4 of the board and realised that by not playing a scenario we had stacked the deck completely in Tony's favour (he could maneuver and trade board space for time, whilst I had to have an engagement to try to win) so I went for the hail Mary and threw my Wold Guardian and eBaldur into combat - too little and too late as even though they were able to deal out a lot of damage and kill two of the three heavies, Tony was able to finish the game next turn with his assassination.

Given the one sided nature, was the game worth playing? Absolutely! Not every game goes your way and it is important to play games where you are on the back foot because it lets you work out things with your army that you otherwise may not try. I also realised that I need to get a lot of practice games in before Ides because I have forgotten how eBaldur plays after not taking him out of the box in 18 months.

The German/Finnish first turn
On Friday Wayne and I headed round to the American Embassy (otherwise known as Steven and Andrew's place) for a doubles match up - Kiwis vs Americans and 1000 points per person.

Wayne took two heavy KV-1e companies and a Motorstrelk company, whilst I took a pair of T-34 85 companies and a small platoon of BA-64s. On the other side of the table Andrew took his new Finnish Winter troops with a pile of infantry and a captured SU-152, whilst Steve took three Jagdtigers, Wirbelwinds and 37mm AA guns. For the mission we rolled up Surrounded which resulted in our tanks stuck in the middle, Andrew and Steven opted to deploy in one corner with a forest anchoring their line and advancing out from there.

T-34s pile in to the forrest trying to score some points
Steven and Andrew moved the Jagdtigers forward to be able to shoot at both the T-34s and KVs, perfectly maneuvering them through a combination of "turning to face" when shooting, and Stormtrooper moves to not only hit their pick of targets but also keep their (relatively) soft side armour safe. Wayne pushed the KVs up as a distraction whilst I moved the T-34s around the side. I managed to get to the forest in their deployment area and knock out the defending SU-152 with only a couple of casualties. Andrew had dug his infantry in realising that as long as they did their job of stopping the T-34s from flanking the Jagdtigers the game would be theirs. I knew that I would never get to the Jagdtigers and that my only option was to try and break either Andrew or Steven'companies so where I could I picked off (or tried to pick off) the smaller platoons and eventually threw my tanks into a desperate assault trying destroy and infantry and AA platoon defending the forest - sadly 3 out of the 5 T-34s bogged and that was essentially all that she wrote. A follow up assault from the second company did a little more than kill a couple of teams and my company left the field with only the 4 BA-64s remaining.

I think we all knew how the game was going to pan out with Steven's Jagdtigers being basically unkillable given the forces we opted to take (guess Wayne or I need to paint some 152mm artillery!) so I asked myself the same question though - "was the game worth playing once we rolled up the mission?" and my thoughts were yes. Partially for the same reason as my game vs Tony that you do not always have a fair fight on your hands and the challenge makes you think outside the box, but also because of a few other reasons
1. I have only played Surrounded a handful of times so any exposure to how other players tackle the mission is good.
2. I have four Jagdtigers somewhere deep in the painting queue and it is always nice to see something you want to paint in action to help inspire you to move it up.
3. Since it was a relaxed afternoon game we were just throwing dice, talking smack and discussing rules (i.e. the game was a backdrop to a social few hours!)

With a couple of social games to start off the year hopefully this will set the tone for more to come over the next 12 months. I might even manage to win a couple.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

1956 and 1967 Israelis On Display

Last year I painted a fairly decent number of Israelis for both Fate Of A Nation (1967) and my own 1956 project. Just before we broke up before Christmas I hijacked the camera at work and took a few shots. Turns out taking decent "book style" photos is harder than it looks!

1956 - M50 Mk I Shermans
1956 - M1 Super Shermans and M4A3 75mm Sherman Company
1967 - Sho't Platoon
1967 - M3 TCM-20s and M3 D (120mm) guard a crossroads
1967 - M50 Mk II Shermans and M51 Super Shermans
1967 - M51 Super Shermans
1967 - Magach Platoon
1967 - Sayeret (Recon) with AMX and M3 A
1956 - And still unfinished 25pdr battery.... 18 months after I started them. Maybe in 2014!