Friday, 21 October 2016

First real learning game...

I've played a couple of games of the basic scenario in the starter set, the one with 4 Heavy Gears a side. While this does a solid job of teaching you the basics of the dice system (something I was already familiar with due to the RPG), it doesn't really give you a good picture of the game - which is multi-layered and rich with detail.

With plans for a larger game (150 TV - the standard game size), I really struggled to put together the army. I felt that while I roughly knew the rules, I still didn't have a handle on how all the gears and levers affected one another in game. I was also stuck by the fact that the models will be glued together, and as such, locked into whatever role or load-out I selected for them.

The buildings are from Spartan Games (their Planetfall range).

It was good to actually get a solid sized force of models to the table, and it was really my first learning game.

For those who know the game my force was:

PU - UA - GP (32TV)
·         Hunter
·         Hunter
·         Hunter Gunner
·         Assault Hunter
·         Headhunter

PU - UA - SK (45TV)
·         Thunder Jaguar (CO)
·         Arrow Jaguar
·         Flash Jaguar
·         Flash Jaguar

SU - RC (7TV)
·         Wild Ferret

PU - UA - FS (48TV)
·         Chaingun Kodiak
·         Grizzly
·         Thunder Grizzly

SU - RC (16TV)
·         Ferret
·         White Cat Cheetah

Smoke x1

The first turn was slow as we referenced skill points, orders, ECM, Indirect Fire and other sub-sets of the rule system. I'm still not 100% on the rules for some of those (ECM and Indirect Fire particularly), but I am in a better place than I was. With so many layers and interactions I feel like I'm looking at the game through a fog, but thankfully it is clearing.

My force was completely ripped to shreds by the Southern force, I just couldn't get myself into a good position, and poorly used the Recon Units and their ECM capabilities. But, despite that, I had a blast. The rules are starting to become clearer, and I feel more confident in putting together the rest of my force now I have a better handle on what a game looks and feels like. My list above is going to change, I'm going to scrap the Support Units and create a fuller Recon Unit as Primary, and if enough points allow, throw a Ferret or two in for good measure. I know I'll be adjusting the Hunter Unit, and was relatively happy with my Strike and Fire Support guys, though I'll be using the Fire Support differently next time.

I'm still not confident I can put together a good game plan, but I'm pretty sure the next game will get me closer to understanding how all the pieces fit together. It was a lot of fun, and I am very much looking forward to playing again!

Responding Snap Fire crippled this Flash Jaguar...

Making the most of the Lasers...

Good use of ECM by my opponent and continued use of Area Effect rockets fired Indirectly eventually wrecked most of these guys.
I didn't get a photo of the end (well, where we called it due to time), but my force was fairly well in tatters! Still, there is tomorrow...

Monday, 17 October 2016

Favstvs Fvrivs... Chariot Racing in the age of steam...

I recently got hold of the Faustus Furius Chariot racing rules, written by Nicholas Wright and published by Ganesha Games. These are a simple set of racing rules, that include all the things one would expect of chariot racing, such as mobs on the track, attacking other chariots, crashes and more.

Using a spin on the tried and tested dice mechanism, well known from Song of Blades and Heroes, the game is relatively fast and certainly furious. On their turn a player will roll between 1 and 3 dice (player choice), with each success gaining them an Action, and multiple failures causing potentially negative effects. A player might choose to play it safe, and roll only 1 die, or may push their luck and roll 2 or all 3. One of the neat spins in this version of that dice system is the idea of Normal dice and Fatigue dice. Normal dice succeed on a roll of 3+, while Fatigue dice succeed on a 4+, as the race wears on Normal dice are replaced by Fatigue dice, and the risk of having some sort of negative consequence from rolling multiple failures becomes more significant.

Spending the Actions a player gets from their dice allows them to do things, such as move further, turn, attack fellow Charioteers, and more, with complex actions like Sharp Turns and Inciting the Crowd, costing more Actions to perform. All of this is important, as a player will always have to move their Chariot a compulsory forward move before they take any actions - this move is always straight ahead, and it can be easy to move too far, or leave a turn too late, which could result in a collision on the following turn when you make your compulsory move.

While relatively simple, Faustus Furius is an engaging and fun game. While the dice system is straight forward, the negative consequences for rolling multiple dice vary depending on the number of failures and the number of dice rolled can lead to a little chart referencing during the game - but this will fade as players become more familiar with the system.

I bought a bunch of 15mm Chariots from Magister Millitum to use, but the game works equally well with Pod-Racers, Hot Wheels cars or whatever you happen to have, or whatever tickles your fancy.

All in all Faustus Furius is a great little racing game, and certainly worth the cheap price point. Like all of their games, you can get it from the Ganesha Games website as a PDF.

I managed to get in a learning game the other evening with my lad. We used two 'chariots' each, and rather than chariots (which I haven't assembled all of yet), we used small tanks from Spartan Games line of Dystopian Wars models. I was rather tickled by the idea of these gargantuan machines of war turned into racers. For the sake of the game we made all of them 'archer chariots', and my son seemed just as content spending his actions shooting at my guys as focusing on little things like turning... It was a lot of fun.

Everybody... start your sturginium-infused-coal-powered engines!

After getting shot Alphonse veers into the stadium wall. A mob of walking robots invades the track...

Another lucky shot flips Snake Boy...

The race for the finish line is on!

Snake Boy, eyeing off the finish line...

Alphonse, spun about by a collision, may well be out of the race...

Our racers (Initiative is via card draw)... the green line indicates the model marked by a green micro-dice.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Gearing Up...

Recently the Heavy Gear Blitz kickstarter landed at the Castle, and what a bundle of plastic it contained! I feverishly pawed over the sprues, and put together some Hunters in order to play through the demo scenario that comes in the QuickStart rule book.

First of all, the miniatures are phenomenal. Very nicely detailed, with plenty of options on each sprue, they go together beautifully and look great.

I hadn't added the weapon arms at this stage, as I wasn't sure whether I wanted to commit to a specific load-out. Laziness won the day in the end...

Some magnets on the bases to hold them in my transport box.

Ready to rumble...
Very impressed with the miniatures, I was looking forward to getting them on the table and seeing how the game played. 

Don't leave cover boys... that would be silly!


Did I mention not leaving cover? I feel like I did.

Things started well, but in a fit of madness driven by the fact it was a learning game I charged one Hunter out into the open where it was promptly obliterated, and another across an open field of fire into melee, because, well, it was carrying a vibro-blade.

Needless to say, this particular skirmish was never mentioned in the Northern gazettes, and the officer, had he lived, would have been relegated to a border post somewhere on latrine duties.

But, despite the fact I made some silly choices, the game was very interesting. While the mechanisms are relatively simple, there is a lot of detail to them, and many layers of nuance in terms of what various models, weapons and abilities can do. The ability to chain actions, the order in which models are used, the use of ECM and ECCM, as well as Orders and Skill Points will make for a deep and tense experience I think. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and having read through the full rules, am looking forward to a bigger game. I think Heavy Gear Blitz is going to be a staple here at the Castle for a good while!

For anyone interested, the rules, both full and Quickstart (as well as statistics, terrain templates and more) are all available for free download from - and well worth checking out!

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Lifting the Veil...

A couple of days ago I posted about getting a majority of my Infinity Red Veil set assembled. As of today I can happily say they are all done! In a wild fit of productivity I managed to get more models together in the last few days than I have all year, huzzah!

The last lot to go together were the Haqqislam models, and I have to say that they look really nice. I was vacillating over whether to get a second faction, and if so, what it would be. But after getting a copy of Red Veil, I am extremely pleased to have these in my collection. The models are really dynamic, capturing great movement and action in their poses, as well as having a thoroughly excellent aesthetic. Very nice Corvus Belli!

Additionally, I managed to put together two Tigers for my Yu Jing force, officially assembling all of my current models for Infinity... (I say current because, well, I am a wargamer).

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Constructing the Red Veil...

Since I have had a couple of nights free, I decided to finally put together the new two-player set for Infinity, Operation: Red Veil (well, I haven't exactly put together all of it yet).

With a set of quick start rules, some card terrain, and a collection of Yu Jing and Haqqislam miniatures, it is excellent value whether you're getting into the game, or interested in getting some more miniatures. While I have a Yu Jing force, and wanted the miniatures to extend that, I was also wanting to get a reasonable starting force for a second faction so I could play against friends who didn't have one of their own. The Haqqislam minis look great, and I'm very happy to have them in the collection... I may even be forced to extend them at some point.

I had forgotten quite how fiddly some of the miniatures can be to put together, and while most went rather easily (thanks in part to Netflix and Luke Cage), the Yu Jing Hsien model particularly gave me trouble. Don't get me wrong, the miniatures are well cast, relatively clean, everything fits together nicely... it's just that the Hsien wasn't in a co-operative mood.

All that said, the miniatures are stunning, with great movement, aesthetic design and high quality casting, they look great once assembled.

This guy... Every time I added something, something else fell off. He nearly earned himself a high-velocity trip to the stratosphere... but thankfully, cooler heads prevailed.

I still have the Haqqislam models to assemble, but I'll hopefully get those done soon.

Now I've written about the miniatures, it's time to take a quick look at the terrain. Billed as easy fold buildings Corvus Belli were kind enough to include some detailed instructions, which were essentially: Step One: Assemble the Building. Step Two: Done.

Luckily they are not over difficult to fold up, although my paper-craft skills are somewhat rusty.

I warmed up by folding an Origami Crane, nothing can go wrong now...
 I am really impressed with a couple of things, firstly, that the terrain set comes with so many pieces, the buildings can stack, and it looks really nice. Secondly, the buildings are designed to fit the boxes the miniatures are sold in inside them, which adds stability. Clever, and it works well.

The terrain looks very nice, I am very impressed, but also filled with a relentless sense of despair that I threw out many of the miniature boxes I had accrued. C'est la vie...

Wargamer Irony: I managed to pack away the Operation Red Veil box into those other boxes that are about 5 times larger. I celebrated by announcing to my wife that I had finally got rid of the box that had been hanging around...