Monday, 28 November 2011

Everything in war is very simple. But the simplest thing is difficult.

Now lets get this out in the open, I LIKE Flames of War. I don't approve of their business model, I do not like all the fluff and nonsense that comes with the myriad of supplement books which seem more like figure catalogues than rule supplements but this does not detract from the fact I do like the core rules.
I think the game would play much better in 6mm or 10mm scales especially with tank heavy games. Game boards can start looking ridiculous with enemy vehicles literally a few inches from each other. 
However the game dynamics mean the tactical choices of players are realistic even if the game board may not reflect it. I bought the first version of the rules and at that time there were a lot of basic army lists in pdf format on their website covering the periods one needed.

If one sticks to this for army building and playing it is really good. If on the other hand you start using all the "heroes" and other nonsensical additions. John had expressed an interest in playing a WWII game and I had not played with my 15mm figures for ages so it seemed a great opportunity.  
I decided to referee and play scenario where a German Panzergrenadier Company was attacking a British/Indian Rifle Company.

I got the points a bit wrong in truth and the German never had a great chance of succeeding but it was interesting to see how it would play given that only Craig and I were familiar with the rules. Mick and Rob (B) played "zee germans" while Craig and John dug in and attempted to repel the armoured assault.
There were three objectives in the scenario being three built up areas. The British held these at the outset of the game and whomever held the most after 8 turns won. Simples. Some confusion over the ambush rule meant that the Germans managed to take the first of these in their very first turn. However thanks to some well place 6pdr AT guns and an ambush of a Sherman/Firefly platoon on the Germans Stug Platoon the Germans quickly ran out of momentum.
There as tit-for-tat engagements on the German left as the Firely knocked out some German tanks and then some German "88's" battered the British Tanks. The problem being that the German soon ran out of mobile armour to protect their infantry. They go bogged down in the first objective and had very little in the way of options to try and move forward.
A lack of supporting artillery for the Germans compounded the issue. The game was reduced to 6 turns due to lack of time and the British easily held the remaining 2 objectives.
My lack of playing this game really showed in the preparation.
The two forces was too easily balanced for an attack/defence game with the Germans lacking enough punch to ever be able to winkle out the dug in British infantry. It is back to the drawing board for army list but a scenario that will be worth trying again.
The opinion on FOW was mixed. Some surprised at how slow it played but I think this was down to lack of experience of all involved. Once you get familiar with the process and the dice dynamic (1 is always bad, 6 is always good) it can play much faster.
I will be playing Blitzkrieg Commander which I have never played before but have wanted to try for ages. It will be interesting to compare the two.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Hulk in Space, Incredible!

We had not managed to get a “proper” game organised so as a last minute thing Rob (B) brought his Space Hulk board game. It had been years since any of us had played this but we knew it would be ideal to get a few games in on an evening as it was the older set with the egg timer for the Space Marines! (this means the Space Marine player has to make sure he has done all his moves within about 2 minutes.

Rob (B) had set up a basic scenario where 5 marines had to get through and flame a next room. They would have to fight their way through a hoard of randomly spawning Gene Stealers to do it.

The game is about as simple as it can get with a single dice roll deciding all ranged and melee combat.

Thanks to some awful rolling on the part of the Space Marines they appear to have weapons which were in fact less reliable than firearms of 40000 years previously. You would have thought in that time one would have worked on the reliability of firearms. In one turn I rolled a double 1 jamming a weapon. I then spent some action points un-jamming it only roll another double 1 and it jam again! Needless to say the unfortunate Marine’s head was soon a Gene Stealers Hat.

The Marines luck did not improve through the night and they did not manage to win one game regardless who was playing them.

Space Hulk is one of those games where the simple game play belies what is in fact quite a challenging tactical game that has more depth than I had thought previously. I think the more one plays it the more these depths would be revealed.

We managed about 5 games in 2 hours with a lot of fun and it made a nice break from the historical games we have been playing recently and the simple nature of the game allowed for a lot of trash talk and banter and general chit-chat which is after all my strong point!.

The game also got us all nostalgic about all those other games from our youth such as; Chainsaw Warrior, Judge Dredd and Car Wars.  Craig left determined to dust off his copy of Dark Future and arrange a game soon. I’m already looking forward to it.