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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Joy of Selection

One of the great pleasures of Wargaming is the initial planning stage. At this point you and your friends have decided to take the plunge into a new period or genre. So now comes the time to decide which force to raise for your tabletop battles. But how do you decide? What are your likes and dislikes? You certainly want to put a little thought into it before spending the $$$ and time.

Here are some points to ponder as you thumb through your potential armies. I've picked all these  over the years.

A: Size of army.
 Do you like them big or small? DO you giggle with joy as you swarm over your enemy with wave after wave of fighting troops. Examples: Zulus, Orcs, Russians. Big armies can be quite fun though the downside for some can be the time and $ investment.
Or is your style commanding only the very best elite force. Small Elite armies on the other hand usually take less time and $. Unless you're trying to paint Harlequins, Shessh! But with so many fewer troops you have to play cautiously, one wrong step and you can loose a quarter or your army. Examples, Zulu War British, Israelis, US Vietnam.

B:" I want whatever is Bob's Nemisis"
This is where you have a fun rival and choose to raise a force that will always tangle with him/her.
My brother and I would always raise opposing forces,  Really just an excuse to taunt your enemy. Easily leads to campaigns.

C: Jack of all Trades or  Specialist.
A Jack of all Trades army is pretty good at everything but not great at anything. A good army for beginners,
Romans and Space Marines come to mind, you can take a beating and keep ticking  A Specialist army often requires a bit of handling because it tends to only be good, but very good, at one or two things. If you don't yet have the feel for the army you can easily be derailed in one or two turns. Eldar, Byzantines, Turks. I once ran a Turkish army at a convention tournament and did quite well in the first games constantly maneuvering and harassing, But by late that evening, I was a bit fatigued and started to forget some key movements, and soon loss the tourney as a result.

D: Painting dificulty
Well this is pretty self-explanatory. If painting can be a chore then you may want to pick a pretty easy army to paint. Space Marines, Russians. If you love painting and the challenge then may I suggest Harlequins, Samurai,  and anything with Camouflage!

E: What's Missing
Sometimes you look at all the armies being raised or played and you
ask 'what's missing' and then raise it. This gives you something different and also
fills in a vacuum. Sometimes you may find yourself the only player willing to take on the
chore of raising a certain army that is viewed as weak in play. For me it was Ottomans in the Napoleonic Wars. Or perhaps an all Goblin army in Warhammer. Always fun to play an army that no one expects to win, because if you do, oh the joy of tweaking your opponents!

F: Love the History or the Fluff.
If you really are into the Fluff or History of a particular army then by all means
raise it! Nothing gets you through a dryspell of painting like a good read.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Magnesia 2018

Saturday we gathered for our Annual Magnesia battle. Okay, it's really not suppose to be our only Ancients battle during the year  but somehow it always seems to work out that way. This year Steven joined  the ranks of the Seleucid Empire bringing more pikes and skirmishers. While Charlie and Jonathon helped Andrew to field his quite substantual Republican army.

Our rules of choice are Clash of Empires, which is essentially WArhammer Ancients with some much needed common sense adjustments. Now I know that in this age of ' fast play' rules Clash may seem a bit cumbersome but it really is a delight to work up your army and does give a lot of flavor to the various forces.
No 'my unit is just like yours except I roll 8 dice instead of 7'.

So this year we were up to 6000 points per side,
Which for the Seleucids ment some 6 pikes blocks, a Thracian warband, 3 cataphracts , Skythians, eastern bows, Thoralites, elephant, chariots, etc.
We faced some 3 legions with some beautiful Numidian and Spanish cav by Victrix added just this year, We done Andrew.

What follows is a picture of each end turn on our 12x5 foot table.
It was all a question of whether the Seleucid right would break before the Seleucid left engaged,

Seleucid left
Roman right

Looking down the Roman center

The 'Hinge'

Monday, June 4, 2018

6 Battalion Mech Battle using Alpha Strike 232 in all!

So Sunday we all gathered to play our biggest Alpha Strike battle yet, 232 Mechs! This time the forces
of Davion were arrayed against an Alliance of Liao and Marik.
Pat, Eli, Rob and myself were joined by Steven with  Marik and Alex with his Liao  forces.
The scenario aim was to capture the center urban areas, There were also points for capturing the enemy bases on the edge of the table, points for whichever side took out the most mechs and points deducted for losing entire lances.
To keep the game flowing we moved entire companies at a time, we also added our event cards which allowed for artillery, air strikes, sabotage etc, things that happen in the novels but are hard to implement.
The game was a very close, with House LuSann keeping at long range with the heaver forces of the Davion Guard. In the center it was an all out brutal battle with Marik Militia taking Wolf's dragoons, no quarter asked an none given! While on the flank the Confederation Cav went up against the heavy Avalon Hussars, the Liao forces played a deadly game of cat and mouse and took great casualties but managed to keep a toehold on the city.
In the end it was a very narrow Marik/Liao victory,  though Davion held more of the urban areas they had taken more casualties as well as whole lances being destroyed.
opening Moves
liao Confederation Cav

Liao Warrior House LuSann

6th Marik Militia
Davion Guards

Wolf's dragoons Red Guard

Avalon Hussars
Comstar watching the battle
House LuSann staying out of grips with those heavies

Marik laughs at the Dragoon's reputation

final turn, flames everywhere

Eli's annual D-Day game

So every year Eli puts on a D-Day game. He and Fred built the terrain and forces years ago. Fred, a stalwart of the gaming community, is no longer with us but this game always keeps his memory alive.
We miss you Fred, you set some pretty high standards!

This year it was Eli, Pat and Guy hitting the beaches while Steven, Charlie and I tried to hold firm.
The scenario is an older FOW one and we used most of the rules from v4. The game lasted some
4 hours with an American tactical victory, taking 3 of the 4 objectives. Thanks again Eli!


Monday, January 29, 2018

Mini Monday: Gotta Paint Terrain

So today's post is going to be pretty short since most of the day was spent on paintng terrain for some upcoming games.
First up is the Discover Games, 'King of the Hill', demo piece for Gangs of the Rome. And in case you've been away from the computor for the last 4 months, and Allen at the store hasn't personally told you. Gangs of Rome is a new skirmish game being sold my Warlord Games and developed by Footsore miniatures.  It has some very interesting mechanics and wonderful terrain. I've heard nothing but good things so far.
So the 'Hill/Ancient Temple' had to be done today and had been primed black. Note: do not spraycan pink foam unless you want parts of it eaten away. Though the rough shape can look nice it usually has a lot of deep groves that have to be painfully painted in. Set one was to paint the rest black so the color would be consistent. Usually I wait hours or even the next day before putiing on the next color layerbut time was of the essence so I ended up using a heater and blow dryer to speed up the drying process inbetween coats of paint.

Allen's arena that he put together last week.
4 coats later I finally have covered up most of the black
Finally have all the layers in place. terrain on top is movable.

pulled out some of mty Spartacus figs for the pic
The next fighter is ready to go in when one goes out.

Last up is some 15mm MDF buildings that I knocked out this morning. Both are from TTCombat. I can;t say I was a fan of MDF builings when they first came out. But... having painted a few and watched my wife paint a bunch, they are starting to grow on me. Discover Games got a bunch in from TTCombat and I have to say I love them! Whoever planned the template is a genius. Very easy to put together, Almost a joy! Highly recommended.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Mini Monday: Regularly Scheduled Program?

So last Saturday I was chatting with some gamers about how it
seemed easier in the 'Old Days' to get the guys/group/club to all
play the same game. When I first joined the Atlanta wargames group,
Napoleonics, ACW and Age of Sail were played pretty consistantly
every two months, if not every month. And the group stuck to the same rules: Empire, Miniball and Ship of the Line. You painted Napoleonic units knowing that they would be on the field in just a few weeks. Things changed over time as club membership changed; kids appeared, weekend work schedules appeared, and the days between gaming increased.
    And then the Internet appeared.
    Use to be that 'New Game Products' only appeared in monthly magazines, your local store, or at conventions. I remember heading to Nashcon with plans of buying this or that but returning with a different project after seeing some new rules or figures in play. You flipped through the most recent issue of the Courier or MWAN reading reviews of figures and often ordering them sight unseen. Nowadays we see miniatures and rules released  almost daily. So while you wait for the next regular game with the guys, you are being bombarded with potential projects on the internet. Thus those of us who suffer from the 'magpie' syndrome of 'oh shiny and new,I want' can rock the boat of consistant games. I stand and admit 'I am a Magpie'.
     Last year, however, with the opening of Discover Games, I started playing pretty regularly on weekdays with some friends. Flames of War mostly with a rotation of Alpha Strike later in the year. The time between games was lessened, and I found it easier to concentrate on the same game. It's been quite fun.
    This year, the weekday games are staying, but we're going to try and keep a regular rotation of ACW/wBlack Powder and ECW/TYW/w Pikeman's Lament.  We have a good number of players committed to both periods, and the plan is to play these periods every 6-8 weeks. Of course this still leaves room for shiny and new! Maybe we can have the best of both worlds.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Mini Monday: Mech Madness II, the Big Battle!

So yesterday, we, the Alpha Strike Battalion Battles Atlanta, ABBA, finally got a chance to earn our name, by running a multi Battalion Mech battle at Discover Games. This after  months of playing, tweaking and painting. Terrain had been slowly added over 2017 till we had enough for a 10x5 foot table. Each player brought 36-40 mechs each. Truly a team project. The hardest part had been to schedule a day were we could all show up and have some 6 hours to play.

Game note: Alpha Strike is a very streamlined version of Battletech the Mech game. Truly designed to run multi company actions. Play is usually with 6mm.

Scenario: 3039, the FedCom campaign against Kurita is grinding to a halt. Armed with ComStar intel and material support, the Dragon is striking back. A 5th Sword of Light battalion with companies from the 8th Sword of Light and  the 51st Dark Panzer Jaegers,
launch a counter attack on a battalion each of Wolf's Dragoons and Kellhounds, mercs in FedCom service. "These Mercenaries have no Honor, thus they will fold before us!" declares Commander Frangamato. The Dogs of War, just smirked for they had danced this dance before with the Dragon.
4 players each with 1200 points.
5th Sword of Light 10 lances
8th Sword of Light and 51st DPJ 10 lances
Wolf's Dragoons 10 lances
Kell Hounds 9 lances
156 total mechs
Game Notes:
We opted for a move on setup. And took a few moments to take pics, none of us had ever seen this many mechs on a gametable before.
To keep the game moving each player alternated moving 2 lances.
Victory Conditions consisted of 1 or 2 points for each urban area
and 3 points to whichever side inflicted the most damage.

Early Phase
By this time it was apparent that the Kurita players were pursing a very aggressive course of action with both battalions concentrating forces on Centerville against the Kellhounds. 
Game Notes: each player randomly selected 'logistical cards' at the start of the game allowing for such things as Air/Artillery Strikes, ECM support to win the initiative, Ambush/flanking cards etc. Various events that always appeared in the novels, that we wanted to add for game flavor but without complicated rules. I mean we got 150 some mechs to run!

Mid pics
The 51st DPJ are causing a stir on the right flank. Kellhound coms are full of chatter about 'Fleas everywhere' and the ThunderHawks com goes dead.

The Dragoon offensive is running out of time which allows the Dragons to concentrate on the Kellhounds and challenge the Mercs hold on the urban areas.

End pics

8-3 a Kurita Victory! A very fun game indeed! Well fought Dogs of War, well fought indeed!