Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Boardgames update #3

So following up from my defeat at my son's hands in Twilight Struggle we thought we'd go for something that brings all the family together in a spirit of goodwill and harmony...Kingmaker!

We last played this a couple of years ago but it involves roping my wife into a game and, to be fair, she's not overly keen on Kingmaker.  She does however have a knack of disarmingly insisting she doesn't know what she's doing while hoovering up Royal family members and seizing castles left, right and centre.  This game was no exception where she immediately up-scaled Percy (already one of the most powerful nobles) into some kind of uber-Lord who could easily take on everyone else single handed!  My son and I were had more balanced forces but he was slowly outstripping me and eventually (after 3 sessions of the game...it isn't something that can be played out in an evening) I'd managed to take down Percy by combining everyone against him but realised I was still outgunned and conceded the game.

I played a lot of Kingmaker in my uni days and those games would go on for weeks (and involve tantrums... and chair throwing on one memorable occasion!!)  so this was relatively speedy by comparison!

Somehow we managed to lure my wife back for another game but only after we'd promised it wouldn't be Kingmaker.  This time we decided to go for Settlers of Catan.  I bought a set of this a year or 2 ago but hadn't actually played it...in fact I've never played Settlers despite it being one of those seminal games that everyone seems to play.

Game #1 was very much a case of us all trying to work out what we were doing...despite the rules only being 4 pages long there still seems to be a bit of thinking involved.  As expected I was duly handed my arse to play with by my wife who pretty much wiped the floor with my son and I ...the revenge game is planned for this evening....

...UPDATE... I won!!!

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Chain of Command - Russia '42

This week's 'game I haven't played for ages' entry is Chain of Command.

Andrew and I have an occasional game at his place and it has been a good excuse to dig out rules and figures that haven't seen the light of day for a while.  Digging through the blog it looks like I haven't played CoC for a couple of years (and annoyingly the photos have vanished from the posts...something to do with photo storage I think).

This weeks game pitted the brave Heroes of the Soviet Motherland against the Evil Fascist Vipers (can you guess which side I was on??) in a straightforward encounter game with both sides pretty evenly matched.  The objectives were 2 bridges which were conveniently nearer my side of the table but most of the fighting actually centred round a small cluster of houses in the centre of the table.

I've just spotted that the right hand bridge symbol doesn't make any sense (unless it's a viaduct!),
but I cant be bothered going back and changing it!!!  How did I ever pass A-Level Geography???

In Chain of Command troops initially patrol, using patrol markers which move around the table until contact is made.  These then become a number of 'Jump Off Points' which troops can deploy from, given the right dice roll

After the initial patrol phase I made an immediate error and deployed a section rather quickly...I'd forgotten that deploying troops only leaves them vulnerable to getting caught in the open.  I'd attempted to run from the woods on the left to the village and seize the terrace of (suspiciously Western European looking) houses but failed to reach them.  Up popped a German section which proceeded to hammer me with rifle and MG fire...

The brave Soviet soldiers nearly make it to cover...

A 2nd USSR section watches from a ruined house...

oops...the very depleted survivors barely hang on

The survivors of the Soviet charge did manage to get into the houses and their Leader removed some of the shock but they were almost immediately close assaulted by the German section that had shot at them.  Not surprisingly the Soviet section was wiped out in the assault but did manage to cause enough casualties to throw the attackers back.  This bought enough time for me to deploy and move a MMG and crew into the terrace.  In CoC one of the results of the Command Dice that players roll each turn (which determine who can be activated etc) can be to allow the active player to retain the initiative and have another turn.  This time the Germans were the ones caught in the open as the MMG opened up on a German section caught between the 2 ruined houses opposite...

The MMG in position...
...and the lucky Germans caught in the open

Much to Andrew's relief, my dice rolling skills failed at this point and the Germans took relatively light casualties.  Andrew had learned from the very brutal assault earlier and stayed safely in cover in the ruined buildings and whittled down the MMG crew with rifle and LMG fire, eventually forcing them to retreat.

It wasn't looking great for me at this point...I had been having a little more success with my mighty tank and armoured car assault on the Germans in the SE farmhouse who were threatening the 2nd bridge.  I say 'mighty'... I had a T26 and a BA64...hardly a Kursk-level assault... but it was doing the job.  Andrew's section were trying to drive the tank off with small arms fire but then he managed to get the required roll to deploy his Panzerbuschse Team who, after a few close misses, managed to knock out the MG on the armoured car leaving it completely ineffective and vulnerable. My T26 wasn't having much luck firing on the section holed up in the buildings and I was conscious that there was a Pz38 lurking on the other side of the table although to be fair it had turned up and then refused to do anything thanks to some unlucky dice rolling on Andrew's part.

T26 to the rescue...

The uncooperative Pz38

By this point I had a couple of sections still intact...my Soviet antitank team had been quickly seen off by Andrew and my tank was stationary guarding one of the bridges but not able to achieve much.  On my left flank I had 1 section remaining in a farmhouse but they were coming under increasing fire from the Germans in the village and a halftrack which had also put in an appearance.   The farm only counted as light cover and I forgot that I could have the unit take up a 'Tactical' stance which would have improved their cover.  At this point I decided that the Soviets would make a hasty withdrawal and conceded, but I suspect there was going to be an awkward conversation with the Commissar afterwards. 

The unit in the Farmhouse....I finally get to make use of my laser line pointer!!!

As we got to the end of the game we realised it was now well after 10 and time to call it a night anyway...I guess the sign of a good game is not noticing the time passing by.  It's definitely inspired me to make more use of Chain of Command.   Somewhere in the loft are my early war British and Belgians so some exploring is definitely required, as well as beefing up the options for the Germans and Russians.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Forager-Napoleonic skirmish rules

These new rules from Stand To games have just launched on Kickstarter.

They look pretty promising with a very cinematic approach which sounds right up my street so I've succumbed and backed the Kickstarter (because obviously I really need another ruleset!!)

Details of the Kickstarter can be found here and the Stand To games page can be found here

Monday, 31 July 2017

More Boardgames

This weeks gaming round-up....

Image result for command and colours ancients

I played a couple of games of Command and Colours: Ancients down at Guildford with Mike.  We had the whole game apart from the actual rules so we had to wing it slightly and come up with a random selection of infantry and cavalry and make up solutions for any complicated situations!  Luckily neither of us are too 'gamey' and weren't bothered by this.

We managed a couple of games in the evening: as neither of us had played C&C for ages the first game was very much a reminder of how it all worked and I managed to steal a victory by the subtle tactic of having my Elephant (I was Carthaginian so I had to have an Elephant) stomp all over some Romans and then charging  a Heavy Infantry unit and Leader straight across the board, killing everything in their path!

The second game was also pretty close but Mike had sussed out the dangers of Elephants this time and took Nelly out pretty quickly and I eventually lost by an honourable margin.

Image result for twilight struggle
As predicted, my son and I also played a game of Twilight Struggle which spread over several evenings.  BoardgameGeek suggests a playing time of 2-3 hours...really!!??  The game went my way from the start with my victory points hovering in the teens for most of the game (first one to 20 wins) and my son, as the USSR struggling to keep up.  As usual he was playing a cunning game and I realised he was up to something in the last turn or 2...he'd steadily built up influence points across most of Europe, having sneakily checked the Victory Conditions.  If a player controls Europe at the end of the game they win, regardless of Victory Points...this is tricky to achieve but I'd been too preoccupied with Asia and S America and he snatched the game on the last turn!

Image result for hammer of the scots board game

I nearly bought Hammer of the Scots after reading about it on the Musings on wargames and life blog...it does look very appealing and I suspect it's only a matter of time before I give in and get a copy.  I'd popped into Orcs Nest in London last week after a meeting and admired the game.  I also came across "Labyrinth: the war on terror" which seems to be a game based on the Twilight Struggle system but focusing on the Middle East and Afghanistan in more recent years.  Looks very tempting but the subject matter does seem a bit bleak...reading reviews where people win by setting off a WMD in America doesn't sound the cheeriest of ways to spend an evening!

Image result for labyrinth war on terror board game