Friday, 27 November 2015

July 565AD

July in the Kingdom of Alt Clut saw two sets of raiders try to make away with hard earned British Loot.

The first was a bunch of hairy Saxons from Benaccia. They were trying to raid a village on the border.

Luckily the recently constructed watchtowers helped to warn the British that they were coming.

We rolled for the random placement and deployment, with village being placed in the middle of the board, and the initial British deployment of 3 units was directly opposite the village.
Starting Positions, British on the left. Saxons on the farthest table edge.

The Saxons normally get a D3 moves before the game starts, but thanks to the presence of the watchtowers the British arrived one turn earlier. John rolled a 1 so the Saxons were obviously spotted very early as they did not get any extra moves before the game began.

Early game and John split his force in two, with a noble and 2 units of warriors racing to the village, while the balance of his force headed off to intercept the rather prompt British.

The British were obviously eager to get stuck in as the two groups of warriors managed to get stuck in to the Saxon Hearthguard in turn two. The first turn was inconclusive with some casualties on both sides.

They were obviously a bits shocked by this as in the next turn of combat and about 20 dice needing 4's to hit they fluffed the lot. This resulted in one unit being  wiped out and the other routing away from the Saxons.
They all missed!

And they did it again!

Further to my left my elites had attacked a lone unit of Saxon warriors and inflicted some damage, but exposed themselves to a counter attack from the Saxon Lord and his unit if hearthguard. Miraculously they came out of this rather well, managing to rout the warriors and inflict some damage on the hearthguard.

Late game and the Levies moved on to the board. The Saxons in the village were having a hard time finding any loot, with the first two buildings coming up empty. 
The two commanders have at it.

The pig farmers were obviously out for revenge and all three groups piled on to an isolated group of hearthguard, routing them. The Saxon hearthguard were obviously put of by the smell as the casualties on the levies were minimal. 
Levies show them how its done!

Late game and the Saxons were struggling, although both sides were down to a force moral of 3. 

The British Levies had another go at a second unit of Hearthguard, and thanks to a flank attack bolstered by a few suited cards managed to wipe them out, for very few losses.
To seal the deal the British Elites decided to finish of the fleeing Saxon warriors, which broke the Saxon force, forcing them to flee the field empty handed.
Levies at it again!

A very bloody and quick game, certainly the bloodiest engagement of the campaign so far.  The watchtowers have already proved their worth, as most of the time the raiders have had such a head start that it has been an uphill struggle.

The final results were a +4 victory for the British yielding a Thief's Horde in plunder and an extra two warriors added to the British Forces. The Saxon forces will have to spend a couple of months replenishing their losses.   Now we just need to see of the Picts.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Chilli Wizards

I finally managed to get in a game of Frostgrave!

We had a four player bash on Monday, with my starting band joining in with Andy and Ric's ongoing campaign, and Douglas decided to pitch in with his band as well.

We played the manor house scenario, which involved teleportation discs and a large pile of treasure in the middle of the table (4 players meant 12 treasure tokens so there was plenty up for grabs!).

I brought a Sigilist, with her apprentice and in support was a warhound, thief, thug, knight and ranger.  I started to get a bit worried when I saw the sizes of everyone else's warbands.  Spell wise I opted for:  Push, Create Scroll, Furious Quill, Dispel, Teleport, Telekinesis, Awareness and Fast Act.

The game started fairly quietly, and I decided that I would be quite happy with getting of the board with the three treasure tokens closest to me, so that would be my objective.

Early game and I ran for the treasure. Luckily Andy was opposite me and was more interested in making off with the treasure that was in the middle of the table, while Douglas seemed content to fight against Andy and also try to take the treasure from the table centre.  To my left Ric decided that he would try and get his hands on one of the treasure tokens that I was after so there was going to be a fight there.  Early in the game Ric managed to get a few pot shots of at my band, reducing my warhound and ranger to very low wounds.  I did a little bit of damage to one of his warriors, but little else.  luckily I had Telekinesis and managed to sneak a treasure token out from under him and into the waiting arms of the thug who was brought solely for the purpose of lugging treasure chests around. I had also managed to send the thief out to nab the treasure token on my right, so had managed to secure two out of my three objective.  Elsewhere on the table Andy and Douglas were starting to have at it, while Andy tried to make off with as much treasure ash e could. 

Mid game and I had a flurry of good luck, getting the initiative and succeeding in most of my spell casting. I managed to take out another of Ric's men, while pushing on of them a mighty 17" straight away from my shocked apprentice.  I also managed to steal a treasure token out from under Douglas's nose with another handy use of the Telekinesis spell, landing it right in front of my rather surprised looking knight.

Elsewhere on the table all sorts of nonsense was going, with various zombies being summoned, and troops being possessed all over the place. casualties were starting to mount up for everyone else, while I managed to stay intact largely thanks to staying out of everyone's way.

Late game and everyone decided that my warband was not a threat so I was left to leave the table with my three treasures, and with no casualties I considered the game a success.  Andy had a lot of casualties and Douglas managed to get away with 4 treasure tokens. Ric had a terrible night and was not very successful at casting his spells.

I managed to successfully cast 10 spells, which coupled with 3 treasure tokens earned my wizard 350 experience points, which boosted him up to level 4. I opted to improve the casting rolls on a few spells and also out my wizards health up slightly. I am unsure what happened to every one else's bands as they opted to deal with the campaign side of things at another time.  I also had enough cash to expand the warband slightly, as with only 7 models it becomes difficult to actually grab treasure and get involved in any kind of a fight.

I quite enjoyed the game and am starting to get a feel for the best way to use my spell selection. I deliberately avoided any direct damage spells as I wanted to see if it was viable in a campaign or not.  I think it makes for a more interesting game but the campaign system is loaded towards wizards that can deal damages as that is where all the experience lies, so I think this may be more a problem in later games when my band is large enough to get a bit more involved. 

I'm also not sure if the difference in warband ratings was a big difference as I never really went up against anyone. I think I would need to play a one on one game to find that out.

All in all a good game, with the extreme vagaries of the D20 based system providing most of the entertainment.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Here Come the Yanks, Turn 5

We kicked off turn 5 of our late war with Ian's 1st Platoon Americans attacking my 1st PLatoon just North of Ophove.  We had both decided to retire the platoons that have been fighting here to give them a chance to recoup their wounded. IN addition to this Ian had called in his once per campaign reinforcements, putting his Platoon back to full strength. I had only suffered 1 casualty in my previous game and the other platoons had suffered light casualties so had decided to save my reinforcements for later on in the campaign.

The scenario was Attack and Defend, with the Yanks attacking. This was a straight fight until one side breaks so was going to be messy. 

Ian rolled for support and got a mighty 4, so at least there was going to be no armour present. I got half that value +1 for the difference in platoon values so ended up with 3 points.  Ian opted for a 4th squad, while I requisitioned a sniper from company command.

The terrain was pretty basic, with this area of the campaign having no buildings, so we added so fields and hedgerows to make it a bit more interesting.
the view up the board from the German end.

Force moral saw Ian start with 10 (he rolled a 6 but was at -1 due to the GI's not being very happy as the amount of men they were losing) and the Germans started with 8 (obviously not very keen at coming from their cosy reserve position and get shot at).

The patrol phase saw each side grab whatever cover was available, with almost symmetrical jump off points for each side (one in the centre plus one in each flank, although my centre one was quite far back to give a secondary position to fall back on).

Yanks mass for the assault.

Early game saw the Yanks deploy in force, with Ian loading his force towards the German left flank. I deployed a squad on each flank, both in decent cover and decided to hold my third squad in reserve.

Sniper on the lookout for something to miss!

Initial exchanges of fire were inconclusive, with the Germans probably coming out slightly on top thanks to the extra dice that they were throwing out.  I was very jammy at one point and managed ot get 4 phases in a row, which allowed me to do a fair amount of damage.

On my right flank I had a good position behind a stone wall and was using the squad deployed there to add their firepower to help protect the squad on the other side of the table as they were facing the firepower of three American squads and starting to suffer for it.  I was forced to withdraw my left flank to a more secure position as the weight of firepower was too much.

Late game and the Yanks were starting to lose their officers, with one junior officer killed and another couple wounded, while the Germans were starting to run out of men.  American force morale dropped to 3 all of a sudden when I deployed my reserve squad and senior commander to relieve the left flank and opened fire on an American squad at point blank range over two phases. This broke the squad and as they were on the edge of the board they immediately routed off the table, carrying a senior officer with them.  This reduced Ian's force moral down to 2, and left him with only 2 command dice. After a couple of phases where he was not able to move his troops at all he decided to withdraw.

The final tally of dead were 7 German and 11 Americans, but as the Germans had won the game they got to reduce their casualties by the difference in force moral at the end of the game. Ian was 2 and I was 7, reducing the German casualties by 5.

In a campaign game you count half your end game casualties a dead (permanent casualties), a quarter as wounded (miss the next campaign turn) and the remaining quarter return to duty (minor wounds).

This meant that the Americans suffered 5 casualties, 3 wounded and 3 returned to duty.  The Germans suffered 1 casualty and 1 wounded.

Also at the end of the game you have to check to see what happens to the men's opinion and the CO's opinion. This can have an effect on the amount of support you receive and your force morale for future games.  Win lots of games and your CO will give you more support. Keep your men alive and your force moral will be better. On the other hand lose games and you potential support will drop, and gets lots of your men killed and your force moral will also start to be negatively affected.

At the end of this the Americans suffered a -1 to the CO opinion (bringing it down to -2) and -5 to the men's opinion ( bringing it down to -10!). 

The Germans gained a +1 to the CO opinion (bring it up to +2) and +2 to the men's opinion (bringing it up to +4).

So all in all a good nights work for the Germans, and a costly one for the Americans, although I was very jammy.  Sniper was useless though, only managing to inflict some shock and kill a couple of grunts all game.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Dungeon Delving

As per my last post my Dungeon Saga has arrived, and with some rather hyperactive and excitable assistance from the kids we popped out all the tiles and set about bending all models into their correct positions with some hot water.

I have checked the box in detail and everything was present and correct. 

I decided to have a try of the rules with my 9 year old and 5 year old children.

We started with the two starter adventures, and they seemed to go down well.  My eldest managed to get a reasonable grasp of the rules, and even Blair, at only five got the general gist of things, even if he struggled with the details.  The biggest difficulty was getting them to overcome their usual sibling rivalry and work together to succeed rather than doing their best to outdo each other.

We played the two starter scenarios in an evening, and then over the course of the weekend we managed to play the first two (Well Met! and Into the Depths). 

There is plenty of info on the rules already so I wont go into them in any great details, but basically one player players the evil overlord, commanding the denizens of the dungeon, while the rest of the players (between 1 and 4) command 4 mighty heroes, hell bent on stopping the evil overlord in his tracks.  The turns are broken up into two parts; first the heroes get to move and carry out any actions, and when they are finished the overlord gets to carry out a certain number of activations, the number of which is dictated by the quest.  In addition to this there is a time limit on the game, which again varies according to the individual quest. This time limit is set by an Overlord deck.  At the end of every turn the overlord player would take one of these cards, and wen the last one is taken then the heroes have run out of time and the must retreat from the dungeon and come back another time to make a second attempt.  These overlord cards have several benefits for the evil player, including additional activations, raising the dead, interrupt actions that you can play during the heroes turn and some other special effects cards.

We played a light version of the game, with me only using the more straightforward Overlord cards (extra actions and raise dead), and ignoring all the more complicated ones.

They managed the introductory scenarios fairly easily, and completed scenario 1 by the skin of their teeth. Scenario 2 was where they came unstuck though, failing in the mission by only a turn or two. They are keen to try again though so we will try and fit in another game during the week while they are still interested.  My eldest daughter is particularly keen to have a bash as the evil player as well, so will give that a bash soon.

As to my thoughts on the game itself?

In general I am pretty pleased. The quality of the models is ok(ish), with the plastic being slightly soft. I don't think I will bother painting them I have enough to paint and I only bought this to play as  boardgame. I may let the kids at the heroes though (incidentally Lucy's first comment on inspecting the contents of the box was where's all the girls?).

The rulebook and quest book for all the supplements as you would expect from his type of game, with that slightly glossy magazine feel to them, while all the tokens and cards are of nice quality. I particularly like the texture of the cards used as it makes them easier to handle.

The quests seem to have enough variety in them to keep the game interesting as well, especially if you add in all the expansions.  I also like the book box format for the basic game, it looks quite nice, feels a bit different and will look good on the bookshelf.

Stuff I'm not so keen on?  Some of the board section are already slightly warped, and there are a lot of small pieces.  Also the clips used to hold things together don't look very nice and don't really do their job very well.  We had a fairly hard time keeping things together playing on the bare wood of the dining room table and I would recommend anyone playing the game to put some kind of cloth down to prevent board slippage.

As for the supplements?  Again the figures are ok, and by the time you have got all the supplements you have a nice wide range of heroes to choose from, along with a lot of dungeon tiles, spells, items, abilities etc to use.  They are made in exactly the same way as the base game so my comments about quality apply to the supplements just as much as the base game. 

My one major grumble here is the second book box that you got for free if you opted for all the supplements.  The main problem here is that you can't actually get all the bits for all the expansions into this second box, and Mantic know this as the figures etc were all delivered in a separate cardboard box.  I'm sure it seemed like a great idea at the time but in hindsight it is going to cause a few problems in regards to keeping all the bits together. I think I would have preferred to get each supplement in its own retail box as that would have make it all a bit easier to store.

My other grumble here is the Adventurers Companion. It was a great idea to give the game even more longevity and to turn it into a sort of tabletop roleplaying game, but it feels very rushed.  There are a lot of typos in it, with some incorrect text, the stats for the elf's appear to be wrong and most glaringly of all the page references are all missing from the text.  I have not even looked at all the decks of cards that came with it yet, but no doubt will get to it eventually.

All in all I am pretty happy with the game.  The Kickstarter arrived pretty promptly ( are you paying attentions Prodos!?) and it was all there so I cant complain on that front.  Sure some stuff was not quite a shown in the kickstarter, such as the resin counters but Mantis still pretty much delivered.  I suppose the big test is if I am still playing it in six months or a year, and I think I probably will be with the kids. My youngest will probably tire of it but he is only 5, while my eldest seems quite keen.

I am looking forward to getting to the club with it for a few games. then I will get a proper sense of how the game plays.  Whether or not the game survives the arrival of Aliens vs Predator (if it ever turns up!) or Conan remains to be seen, but it is definitely a step up for Mantic.