Friday, 30 May 2014

WELLYCON WEEKEND

Its that time of year again ... My brother Andrew and myself will going to
Wellington's Wellycon Board gaming convention held over this Queens Birthday weekend ... yay !

This will be the third time I will be attending this event, looks to be the biggest event this year with something like 180 people already pre-registered, which is huge. Wellycon is a convention where people bring board games along and place them in a big library pool, where upon each person can simply pick a game that appeals to them and start playing it. If you have not enough players simply wait for 10 minutes and you will usually find someone whose keen to join in. The weekend is a good place to find and test new games and also find new people to play against. So I am looking forward to meeting some familiar faces from last years event and hopefully make some new faces as well.

I will probably only go to the Saturday this year ( but saying this that's what we said last year and managed to stay for the complete 12 hours for both days !!

Should be fun, if your in Wellington this weekend I might see you there !

For more Info go to  http://www.wellycon.org.nz/


Thursday, 29 May 2014

STAR WARS, THE CARD GAME


A few months ago I got the Star Wars Living Card game from Fantasy Flight Games. I had ordered the basic game and with a 20% off sale at the time, I had also purchased the complete Hoth cycle expansion packs and the Edge of Darkness expansion box (which has the Scum and Villainy / Smugglers and Spy packs)

So I have been spending a fair amount of time playing the game at the moment, and have to say it is a very good and somewhat very addictive, especially if you like all things Star Wars as I do, it takes anything from 30 minutes to 1 hour tops to play a game, so you can easily get multiple games done in a single games night/afternoon which is a good thing. Its a 2 player card driven game, where one fights for the Light side and the other for the Dark side.

The scene or history for the game places the Dark side with its large Imperial Navy and Sith Users, forever on the look out for the elusive Rebel base, and when they find it they hope to obliterate it with one powerful blast from their new deadly weapon, the Death Star. The Light side in contrast are running out of time as they can not hide forever, and with the stolen plans of the Death Star they have acquired thanks to those crafty Botham spies, the time has now come to mobilise their star-fighters and defeat the Empire once and for all. Meanwhile the Bounty Hunters/Smugglers have their own agendas in mind.

The game is centered on the older Star Wars movie trilogy which is good as these movies/story lines are far superior to the new trilogy in my opinion - too much CGi for my liking. The game itself is very colourful as all the cards are very well drawn with simply stunning illustrations on each of them, with easy to read text, and the themes/weapons/creatures all centred around the movies

For those of you who don't know too much about Living card games, it is basically a card game that starts you off with a core set of cards for each faction/side that can be played as is , but as you get more experienced with the game you can start to make your own deck of cards. This is where things start to get really interesting, as you can mix things up and have different affiliations interacting with one another within your game deck. You can also add in new expansion decks (such as the Hoth set) as they get released, as are all equally balanced for game play.

Example of Imperial Navy Objectives and Affiliation Card

An example of an Imperial Navy Objective and the cards that are part of that objective set
This one being the attack on Endor
Example of Rebel Alliance Objectives and Affiliation Card

Rebel Alliance cards
For the Deck building part, each player starts by choosing their Affiliation Card and a stack of 10 objective sets, a Objective set contains 6 cards with the first being the objective and the remaining 5 being the playing cards for that set that is placed in the Command deck. Each set has a number on it with the cards labelled between 1 of 6 so you know which card belongs to what set. This makes deck building fast and easy, as you don't have to individually weigh the options and value of each individual card, just pick a set that you think will work well with the other 9 sets and your away laughing.

The Dark side (easily my favorite) has 3 different affiliations you can choose from, these being:
The Imperial Navy :  They draw their power and vast resources from their command Star Destroyer Capital Ships, Tie-fighter squadrons, Storm Troopers, AT-AT walkers, and Leaders such as General Veers, Captain Needa and Grand Moff Tarkin.


The Sith: They draw their power from the the dark side of the Force, the Sith rule the galaxy through fear and is led by Emperor Palpatine with his apprentice, the dark lord Darth Vader, the Sith aim to crush their opponents’ throats (quite literally with the force chock card) and ambitions.

The Scum and Villainy:  If you like the bounty hunters such as Boba Fett, Greedo and Jabba the Hutt you will like this pack of cards. They cant match the resources of other factions but make this up by trickery and bounty and eventual capture of key unit cards.

Their is also a Neutral pack of objective sets for the dark side which include the Tusken Raiders, Espro Troopers, Probe Droids and Creatures such as the Rankor (which I must say is a very nasty and effective unit)










The Light side also has 3 different affiliations to choose from, these being:
Rebel Alliance: The Rebel fighters with leaders such as Leia Organa and Admiral Ackbar, Droids such as R2-D2 and C3-PO, Rebel freedom fighters, X wing and Y wing starfighters all out to make quick and tactical strikes against the Empire.
The Jedi: The old ways have not yet completely vanished, Obi-Wan, Yoda and Luke Skywalker are the hero's in this pack, Jedi mind tricks, protective characters and weaponry such as Lightsabers and the like being their main companions
Smugglers and Spies:  These are the heroic Scoundrels (others might say Scruffy Nerf herders in fact) of the light side, such as Han Solo, Chewbacca and Lando Calrissian. These draw resources from Botham Spies, Cloud City, and other useful tricks such as smuggling compartments and Wookies. Similar to the Dark side, the Light side also have a Neutral pack which includes the likeable Ewoks.




The game is easy enough to learn. To play cards, players must spend the resources they generate by placing “focus” tokens on their ready affiliation cards and objectives they have. Some units and enhancements also contain icons with resource values, and players can use these cards to generate resources, as well.

Placing a focus token on a card indicates that it has been committed to a specific activity or course of action. Until a card has a focus token on it, it is considered “ready,” but once given a focus token, the card is then exhausted. Exhausted cards can’t be used again to generate resources or take actions until after their controllers have removed all focus tokens from them. Typically, players remove one token from each of their cards during the refresh phase, but some cards can be “focused” twice in a single moment, and some cards allow players to place focus tokens upon their opponent’s units, luring them deeper down the paths they have chosen. This can leave them unable to fully refresh on their next turn and quite unable to respond to other threats. This is where it gets somewhat interesting as if a unit is focused to generate resources for example he/she/it then can not be used to attack and more importantly used to defend such attacks from your opponent so a balance has to reached sometimes.

Victory conditions for the game - the Light side win if they destroy three of Dark side objectives, the Dark side win if the Death star dial gets to 12. The Death star dial starts at 0 and moves along 1 space every game turn, also moves an extra space if the force is on the dark side and also every time an objective is destroyed by the Dark side.
A player will also loose if they have no cards to draw in their turn (i.e. an empty command deck)

However, destroying an opponent’s objective requires getting sufficient firepower past their defenses.
Most of this firepower will come from unit cards, representing the characters, creatures, droids, vehicles, and starships that players may use to strike against their opponents. Enhancements like skills, weapons, and other items make your units more effective in battle, while other enhancements like locations can allow you to expand your play area and resources needed. The faster you can gain more resources, the faster you can launch massive star ships like Home One or even Dearth Vader's Executor Star Destroyer.

When combating, the attacker declares which objective he wishes to strike and puts forth their eligible units they wish to attack with while the opponent declares which units will defend his objective and then all these units then enter what is called an edge battle, each card in your hand has a edge value and players place cards face down in an attempt to win the edge, you can use as many cards as you have and also use fate cards in these battles, this is one of the most important parts of the battle as you want the edge as it allows you to strike first and use edge enabled icons on your cards (more on this in a minute). So its all about how you play your edge battle, sometimes you may wish to trick your opponent and play twists of Fate cards and make him waste their cards and then have to start over again, this is a useful tactic if you have more cards in play than your opponent.

Once the winner is declared each player takes turns nominating which unit strikes (starter with the edge winner) then works out each cards damage icons and applies hits/damage to units and objectives

Each card can obtain 3 different attack characteristic, these being :
A Handgun symbol which is the Unit damage: Deal one point of damage per unit damage icon to an opposing unit in the same combat. If a unit takes an amount of damage equal to its hit points, it is destroyed.
Blast damage symbol: When it strikes, an attacking unit may deal one point of damage per blast damage icon to the attacked objective.
Tactics symbol: Place one focus token on an enemy unit. This cunning ploy may prevent an enemy unit from striking in combat, or it can disrupt your opponent’s plans by exhausting a future unit or resource

The white battle icons on the units card are only used if you have won the edge battle, where as the black can be used if you either lost or won the edge (so all the time). The Millennium Falcon picture opposite shows it has 4 icons black and an extra white can be used if it has won the edge. Some cards only have white icons so its vital to win these battles if you have put forward such a unit to fight with, because if you loose the battle they are then useless and wont be able to strike.
Examples of Twist of Fate cards - used in Edge battles
At any time players can interrupt this to play an event card which could help them , for instance using Darth Vaders Force Choke card to inflict one damage (and hopefully kill that unit) before it gets to strike and so forth.

Finally players enter what is called the force phase, they can try and sway the balance of the force to their side by committing units to the force, the player with more Force icons than the other can flip the force icon badge to their side and gain its benefits

The balance of the Force has a profound effect upon the game. When the balance of the Force tilts in favour of the light side, the light side player may deal one damage to a dark side objective at the start of Light sides turn. When the balance of the Force favours the dark side, the dark side player advances the Death Star dial an extra point each turn

So a very good game
My favourite Deck build would be the Imperial Navy Affiliation with General Veers and his AT-AT and AT-ST walker on the assault of Hoth with Snow Assualt Stormtroopers ... very good at shielding and blast damage and has a fair amount of resources available to it. Throw in some cheap Espro Troopers and you get a good combo going with Veers on the table.

Andy's favourite deck build (and fast becoming my nightmare) is the Scum and Villainy sets with Bounty Hunters such as Bossk, Dengar, Jabba Hutt and Boba Fett. They struggle for resources but they make this up with other tactics such as capturing and cashing in bounties, forcing their opponents to loose vital components(units) to their set of cards.

Now, for those of you who have played this game before now, this might amuse you !!! -  Never have a Rancor beast in place and then put down your Krayt Dragon ... only to have your own Rancor eat the Dragon in your next turn as its the only unit on the table !!!  I did this without thinking as I got all excited about placing such a powerful card in play and forgot the silly Rancor .... My brother was pissing himself laughing when this happened  ... very amusing stuff.








Friday, 23 May 2014

LIEBSTER AWARD





My wee blog has been awarded a Liebster Award, have to say a little surprised consodering my little following but I guess thats the whole idea to raise awarness of such blogs. So I am rather pleased to be awarded as such. So a big thanks to Paul of Red Dog blog site for nominating me.
For those of you who dont know whats this all about (myself included until this morning) fellow bloggers nominate certain blogs with 200 or less followers for the award. As part of the award you have to answer 11 questions and then nominate 11 people for the award as well. I am not sure I even follow this many bloggers as such (so little time) so I might skip this part (sorry lads) maybe next time.

So have to answer these questions so here goes.
Why did you start blogging?  Thought it was a nice and easy way to record the multitudes of Wargaming and painting stuff I tend to do. Also gives you motivation to do more painting just to post it and share with others... well that's what I tell myself. Been a good way to keep record of all the wargaming competitions I like to go to and how well/crap I did.

If you could change one thing about the wargaming hobby, what would it be? Lots of attractive females doing the hobby .. but we all know this is never going to happen,  so more likely to say, more Saga competitions to go to would be nice.

What is best in life? That's an easy one ... has to be Windsurfing and Dinghy Sailing (very hard to decide what one is the better so have to declare both)  Nothing better than getting out on the water for a sail/Windsurf on a long reach across Wellington harbor, pushing your limits to the max ...


Do you want to live forever? Nope, as long as I can still sail my boat in my 80's I will be happy man - someone in our sailing club just retired from sailing a Sunburst and he's aged 83

What miniatures are you most proud of having painted? Hard to pinpoint an exact model, have to say my FOW Russian Strelkovy horde - the painting is not the best, but as a whole, basing the army in the rubble streets of Stalingrad looks the part and that's the most important thing for me.

A small portion of the Russian infantry I have done 
How do you deal with burn out? I stop painting for a while and play board games instead, only problem it takes a while to get motivated to paint again ...

Why is a raven like a writing desk? I have not the foggiest idea what this is about !

Star Wars or Star Trek? Has to be Star Wars for me but the new Star trek movies are very good.
But my all time favorite Sci-fi would be RED DWARF ...  have all the series on DVD , very funny and fond memories watching this as a teenager on the box with my dad and brother.


If you could only buy from one miniature company from now on, which one would it be?
War and Peace games seem to do a good job

What is your favourite takeaway? Has to be Indian food - A hot Lamb Madras (Indian hot) being my pick

Well there you go, cheers all.
Mark

Sunday, 4 May 2014

BFNZEWGT TOURNAMENT

Andy and I went up to the BFNZEWGT which was held in Hamilton over Anzac weekend
Must say had a lot of fun, had catched up with some old mates from Hamilton's war-gaming scene and had some good tucker at Umpires house on the Saturday night.

Being a 3 day working week between Easter and Anzac weekend, Andy and I had decided to take them days off and gain a 10 day holiday out of it. So on Tuesday morning (after Easter) we headed up north from Upper Hutt and took our Fireball sailing Dinghy with us to do some sailing at Lake Taupo. Arrived about mid day and had a very good session of sailing at Mission bay with 10knot southerly's, with tent site on edge of lake to boot. Next day more good sailing and then on Thursday afternoon headed over to Hamilton.

Arrived in time to set up hall and terrain (typical) then back to Robs house for much banter and drinking of beer to the wee hours . Next morning arrived at the venue somewhat worse for wear (had a cold due to sleeping in a tent) but rearing to go.

My list I was using was a German Luftlandersturm (glider boys) that landed at Crete, so all fearless veterans - this incidentally is the first ever time I have used an all veteran list before at a Tournament. So having small elite platoons of pioneers backed up by some limited weapons was a struggle for me as it lacked some of the forgiveness in my more larger armies I usually take.
My goal was to use the Gliders in every mission if possible ... and with the exception for the last game I played (against Jap tanks) I had manged to do this ! so rather pleased with that aspect.
I always am the attacker in a defensive mission as well which was nice as I prefer to attack.

My list I used as follows
HQ - Co and 2IC
Combat - Luftlandesturm platoon with 7x R/MG Pioneer teams and 3 Gliders
(A very expensive platoon  that's almost a 1/3 of your army (450points) but with being able to 
glide down in every mission with a platoon too hard to pass giving it a go)
Combat - Fallsjirmpioneer Platoon with 7x R/MG Pioneer teams
Weapons - Mortar Platoon with 2x 80mm Mortar teams
Weapons - HMG platoon with 4x HMG teams
Support - Fallsjirmjager Platoon with 10x R/MG teams
Good for attacking with as its a large platoon especially when attaching HMG teams
Support - AA Platoon with 2x 2cm Flak 38 AA guns
Vital in the defense of planes and good AT with high ROF
Support - AT gun platoon with 4x Pak 36 guns
Need them for AT defense, just wish you could take more



First game was a No retreat mission against a Polish Mech Infantry list which didn't have any Artillery or tanks and only a few HMG teams but a bucket load of AT guns - lovely , playing on a table (above)  that was half ruined city and open space, so plenty of room for gliders to land safely, so I dropped in with the gliders which did what I wanted and attracted his ambush and distracted from the main assault from my foot slogging guys. The chap I was playing was new to FOW scene and was ok to play (but got a bit sulky at the end when things weren't panning his way) so I ended up with a 6 - 1 victory but was a tad lucky as he failed some vital roles when required to make them.


Second game was against an experienced war-gamer Dory Fisher (very nice chap which I have played before) so good to catch up with and game against again. The mission was a Cauldron so I was attacking.
The table was a lovely table to look at ... Mt Olympus (above) but the rules for each terrain piece was a tad harsh as it was historical table where the mountain was all rated as very difficult going - so no moving gun teams into or out of and tanks with skill tests. Dory was using a Fucilieri Italians and took positions on the hills. My random deployment put me on the main far hill in photo ...
Without going into much detail my gliders had a close shave of a flight path with one landing almost inside the train tunnel (very cool) but my AT assets could not move on hills so couldn't get rid of his M11 and M13 tanks easily, my glider boys with HMG's manage to wipe out one platoon of Italian infantry but having to assault his tanks was too much with 5 MG dice each in defensive fire .... so only managed a 2 - 5 loss.


Third game was against Marlin Fisher (older brother of Dory's) so another enjoyable game ahead of me.
Marlin was using his Finnish vet Infantry list ...I had to defend in a dust-up mission. My glider boys had let me down in this game as I had decided to drop on down in Marlins big pioneer unit as they were advancing too close to my weak side. The boys only got four hits in the assault and then got wiped out in return (maybe not such a good idea) the game was a close affair from there as I had two platoons within range of contesting the objective but could not unpin them both even with a re-roll (3+ is so overrated sometimes) 
The game was a 4-3 to Marlin.


The 4th game was against Ian Cameron's Italian tanks, have played Ian many times before and always been a fun opponent to face. His M13 tanks backed up by artillery and AA guns and limited planes were going to be hard matchup, with the mission being a Surrounded mission with me attacking on the snow table above. I had my hands full as he had his entire force on the table. My gliders touch down among one unit of tanks killing two but I miss the other two and he wisely backs off. they hid in a forest next to the objective with another pioneer unit but the M13 and M11 tanks with MG dice they have was too much for me too come out and assualt them . From then on it was a one sided affair with his planes arriving every turn almost wrecking havoc on my AT guns and Fallschirmjager boys.  I had multiple chances of getting points but he passed all his morale tests ... even his reluctant ones.. so wasn't to be. A well deserved and close game to Ian with 6-1 loss to me.


The 5th game was the best game of the tournament for me, against Sean Cullen-wright's British infantry. The mission was a breakthrough with Sean defending the desert hill top plateau (above). I moved my gliders onto the objective first turn, and had my first crash landing so far, with one team lost. The game had so many assaults and counter attacks involved with my glider boys in the thick of things. Sean had three platoons of U/carriers and after loosing two of them to my flamethrowers sat back and shot, but his Matilda platoon went mental and assaulted all in range. The end result was a 4-3 to Sean. A very enjoyable game.


The Final game which was a Pincer Mission, was against Dougal, a young player who was using a Japanese tank force, so was my first time facing Japs since playtesting them a few years ago. They are a hard bunch to crack, as they all attack at night and can move 12" still. I had to defend as Jap tanks are always attack as well, so with my limited AT and it was going to be a uphill battle. At one point I thought I had the game all wrapped up in turn two, as the Jap tanks decided to assault into my AT and AA guns which were not pinned down (I was thinking are you crazy) so with 8 shots from 2 AA guns and 9 shots from Pak 36 guns you are probably thinking that it should murder a platoon of three Front Armour 1 tanks right ! ... but nope only 2 bails which still are able to fight in the assault - killing both AA guns!
The next unit of Jap tanks assault my Pak guns - so another 9 shots of AT in defensive fire ... only bail one and kill one ........ it went all down hill from there, with my company breaking in my third turn.
So good game to the Japs, but dam I was a tad unlucky there I thought.......6 - 1 loss
Its a funny old game of dice sometimes.

So overall I was happy with the way my German Luftlandersturm worked. My Glider boys performed well, and with some more AT support in the way of 2 more AA guns and some limited airplane support I think the force would work better. Will have to drop the HMG and maybe the mortars but I think it would be a choice perhaps.

Overall in the tournament I was in the lower half of the tournament (20th out of 26 I think) but a enjoyable tournament all the same. We headed back to Robs house that Saturday night for a very nice dinner and whiskey drinking, then headed home stopping off at Lake Taupo on the way back for another good afternoons sail.