Sunday, 26 March 2017

Burrows and Badgers

I had occasion today to play a game I have liked the look of for more than a little while now: Burrows and Badgers. Burrows and Badgers is an anthropomorphic fantasy skirmish game, written and published by Oathsworn miniatures. The rules are free to download - and well worth doing!

I don't quite know what it is about anthropomorphic animals swaggering about in chain mail hauberks and carrying swords, but it's a visual and thematic device that never fails to draw me in. Perhaps I can attribute this strange attraction to Disney's Robin Hood, Lewis' Reepicheep and too much Wind in the Willows as a lad, I don't know exactly, but I like it.

AEthelric's Guard (my Royalist Warband, using Splintered Light miniatures)

Burrows and Badgers is a light and enjoyable game, players will each command a warband of some 4-10 figures and play through one of a range of scenarios in the book. Each model has a line of stats defined as a dice type (ie: Move = D8, Strike = D6 etc), as well as equipment, skills, spells and so on.  Each turn players will rotate the activation of their models, a model that has been activated may perform and action, then play switches to the opponent, until all the models on the table have acted, at which point the turn ends and a new one begins.

The system is fairly simple, when rolling a test, roll the relevant dice for the attribute required, and add or subtract any modifiers. Most tests will be opposed, in which case the opponent also rolls and the results are compared. There is a lot of little addition and subtraction in the game, as skills and equipment predominantly add or subtract from the dice roll, but it is not overwhelming and doesn't interject on game flow significantly. My son, at 7, was easily able to play the game and work out what his results were after a couple of turns.

Our first scenario: Surprise Attack! My lad's warband: the Beasts, catch some of my AEthelric's Guard on their own...

A round of ranged fire was nearly the end of AElla, my Hare.

I am not 100% sold on the rules yet, but I suppose this is a natural result of having only played the game once. The negative modifier for charging into combat (-1 per inch moved) seems unnatural in a world of wargames that typically provide a charge bonus, but that may be just a mental hurdle. What does play on my mind with that rule is that it seems to promote a more stand-offish style of play, whereas ranged weapons are under no such constraint (although a terrain dense board may change that). Melee orientated models, wanting to close and engage, may hesitate to do so for fear of accruing too much of a negative. Some of the skills, most notably toughness, also feel a little overpowered. But, it is a first game, and those reservations aside, I had a great time, and I am looking forward to playing again soon.

While I have harped on the negatives, I think it's also worth noting that the game is a light and friendly one, where the story of the game is as important as any other aspect. It plays well, and the activation system means the game moves quickly and never really feels bogged down. The small recommended table size and large comparative movements also mean that the state of the game can change quickly, which is a good thing in this style of game.

Burrows and Badgers also includes a comprehensive campaign system, those familiar with games like Necromunda and Mordheim will note the similarities, and it looks like it is done well. I am looking forward to starting a campaign against my lad!

All in all I think Burrows and Badgers is an excellent game, there are some nagging thoughts, but more play will iron them out, overall the good resoundingly outweighs the bad, and I am looking forward to the second edition, which will be published by Osprey.

Oathsworn make a wonderful range of miniatures for Burrows and Badgers, while I have been using my Splintered Light 20mm minis, Oathsworn's figures really are spectacular.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Variety is the Spice of Life...

In the lull of waiting for various pieces of writing to pass through the editing process and back to me for revision or rejection (hopefully the former), I have been chipping away at various hobby projects. I have come to the conclusion that I have far too many projects I would like to be working on, and far too many games to really give any of them justice. Naturally, and like any good wargamer, the projects I am working on are all for new things.

Aside from recording and editing episodes of the On Minis Games podcast (which I wrote about last time), I also managed to assemble my British force for Sharp Practice; I won't be writing anything more about them this time, I'll cover them in a later post.

In addition to these things, I have started refining a dice system that I think could work nicely with a Dungeon Crawl style game I have been working on in fits and starts for a while now, I have been putting together some scenery, and finally, mulling over which Ancients force I should collect for Sword and Spear.

The scenery I have been assembling is from the Spartan Scenics line of MDF 28mm scale sci-fi buildings. The Starter set is a extremely large and heavy box, full of a variety of buildings, corridors, doors and so on. The instructions leave a little to be desired, but everything does make sense if you group the MDF sheets by the letter codes. 

So far I have managed to assemble two buildings, and have a metric ton of MDF waiting to be put together. The scenery is very nice, with good details, and goes together rather well. All the buildings are designed so that the tops may be removed so the interiors are exposed, and everything is very modular. The Starter set is an excellent purchase, with a lot of stuff crammed in the box.

One of the two buildings I have constructed so far, with some 28mm Zanshi (Yu Jing models, from the Infinity Miniatures Game) added for scale.

As the photos attest these buildings are quite large, spacious, and have plenty of doorways, which may be blocked up by doors, or attached to corridors etc. These are not the two largest buildings in the Starter Set, and I still have a huge pile of stuff to get through (before I open any of the other boxes I may or may not have as well).

All the other stuff from the Starter Set, waiting for attention...
I also got some of the Spartan Scenics resin scenery sets - they have a whole collection of things to fill out and add detail to the rooms, from tables and monitors, to medical beds, cryo-pods, munitions cabinets, crates and even a pool table. I added some pieces to the room to see what they'd look like, and all I can say is that they are amazing.

The detail is spectacular, and they really add a lot of character to the rooms. I'm under no illusions as to whether they will get painted, but who knows... one day perhaps!

Lastly, the other hobby project that has been chewing away at my mind is what force to collect for Sword and Spear. Sword and Spear is an ancients set of miniature game rules, my good friend Quinton (whose blog may be found here) rather likes the idea of Romans, which leaves me indecisively trying to pick between Gauls, Britons, Dacians and Parthians, oh, or possibly Carthaginians. 

I have heard excellent reviews of this rules set, and being a sucker for historical games it has piqued my interest for some time. I am thinking of collecting a force in 6mm, partly because they are relatively cheap, and partly because I have always liked the idea of having a force in 6mm. Decisions, decisions...

Monday, 20 March 2017

On Minis Games...

For the last year and a half a good friend of mine (Quinton) and myself have been talking about and planning a podcast all about miniature games and gaming. In the middle of last year we took the plunge, teaming up with the fantastic folk over at Inverse Genius, and added another podcast to their excellent stable: On Minis Games.

Then things got busy. Various problems and complications arose in Quinton's and my lives that prevented us from getting the microphone out again, not least of which was a series of ongoing problems getting our RSS feed to work. Thankfully, the mean man of podcasting stepped in, and it's all sorted now (for those interested, our feed can be found here).

On Minis Games strives to be an off-the-cuff discussion about the miniature game hobby. Quinton and myself will cover what we've been playing in Hobby Update episodes, we'll delve into game reviews, we'll talk about upcoming games that catch our eye, and hopefully speak to some interesting people at different points along the way.

If you have an interest in miniature games, check us out and see what you think. If you have any questions or comments, we'd really appreciate it, as criticism will only help us get better and stronger, feel free to comment here on my blog, over on the On Minis Games episodes page, on twitter (@caradocp), or email us at

Our latest episode has just gone live, and includes a discussion on the games we've been playing lately, which means some Mordheim, Heavy Gear Blitz, Faustus Furius, Battlelore, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Shadows of the Past, Necromunda, and other things besides!