Rules: God of Battles to be published

Well back in late September I got hold of God of Battles at Colours. Since then there has been a deathly silence about the rules as if they had not been released…which pretty much sums the situation up. They hadn’t and somehow I’d stumbled on a pre release copy (?).

Well today I noticed an anomalous number of viewers (thanks) and tracked it down to a web site it was the author Jake Thornton’s own web site. Sometimes having web stats is actually useful !

Like it says in the title, God of Battles finally has a date set for its official release: the 1st of March 2013.

Seems my review is one of the few (only?) reviews of his new rules sets God of Battles. Now I’ve done a solo game and it certainly lived up to my expectations since I’d written the review in September. So another solo game and maybe a multi player game will be in the offing.

The rules themselves will be published in March, but as yet no announcement on the Foundry or TMP websites.

WHFB: Storm Of Chaos

Well we’ve had the book since it came out, but it was only the week before last that we managed to get round to playing a battle using the rules. This is a woefully late report on the battle. Set up is a sper normal except you have the Arcane Fulcrums, and you deploy magic users onto them before the main army deployment.

I used the Chaos archway, the Tindalos monument and the actual arcane fulcum, along with a huge tree I’;d got – another aquarium item bought from the local pet shop.

Now I’d read the book, but this was the first game I’d played. So I stocked jup on bound creatures, 5 Cold Ones, a Carnosaur and a giant mostly so I could get some models I’d had ins torage out and in battle. Other than that a fairly vanilla DE army with one main tweak.

Byakhee Jim, didn’t go for bound creatures, instead going for items, so it was an interesting contrast.

Initially I seemed to do well, and then made some disaterous and self inflicted mistakes in retrospect. Including deplpyment. My idea was to flank him on both side which went well to begin with and then it all unraveleld rather quickly due to my mistakes in the magic phase and some luck on his part (and good deployment).

Magic phaeses were not as much fun as I’d expected. yes you get buckets full of dice to roll.

But so does your opponent, and in Jim’s case he’d min/maxed to get more dice than I did. So magic didn’t really make a huge difference.. yes I got one key spell off that ahd the Carnosaur magically lifted to the rear of their flank (that set of Night Goblin Fanatics) but it didn’t make a battle winning move.

The Cold Ones, frenzied as they were, were also no match for the 25 Orcs Jim deployed against them, and he also managed to unbind my Giant which was the back up I’d intended for the Cold Ones.

Under the rules, the Giant ahd to go against the nearest enemy, not the nearest enemy he could see, so rather than wading into the Orcs, he did a 90 degree turn and waded into a large Night Goblin Unit.

The Carnosaur suprisingly bounced off the Orc Shaman atop an Arcane Fulcrum – they have significant advantges !
The Cold One Knights got zapped by a big spell and the Goblin Shaman blew themselves up, but this left a magical vortex on the loose.

And then my Sorceress imitated him and another magic vortex was on the loose – in both cases behind my lines.

The Cold One Knights charged into combat and did a lot of damage against the night goblins (finally hurrah) but not enough to break them so we set in for a war of attrition.

Ultimately, Jim’s central units came into close combat with my DEs including a rathr odd move of charging the COB which finished off my army.

It was certainly not the usual game of Warhammer, and certainly does require subtely different tactics to be used in both choosing the army list and in deployment.

The Storm of Magic element was fun, even though it strangely seemed to have not that much effect, though we did only play for 3 rounds IIRC and in one of those I miscast and drained all the magic (and fun) from the battlefield.
I am keen for another go though. I suspect that we just didn’t use our spells wisely as we are SoM newbies. (assume Darth Vader voice) “Of course last time I played, I was but the learner, now I am the master” {cue lightsaber sound effects)….does Warhammer have a lightsaber spell?

A shed laod of photos are here.

A Dull Day, and some Dull updates

After the last few days that were bright but cold, today has been dull and overcast. More painting has been done, so light levels permitting more updates to come in the next few days.

  • AVBCW Medics
  • BoB Artillery
  • WHFB Dark Elf Cold One Knights

Corresponding to the dull weather, a few issues spotted on TMP and the Steve Dean forums, I’ve done a few sad updates to Legal issues and House Rules and indeed the later is a posting turned into a proper page !

Mordheim – Part One

Before I moved to my current location (Carcosa), the Byakhees and I had regular, weekly games of Mordheim and Necromunda. However, in the past 6 years we haven’t played these games at all !

So after Anthony suggested we have a game or two, we set a date, and I found and (sort of) dusted off the scenery I’d built about ten years ago. As you can see, its made up from the original boxed set scenery (which was pre printed card scenery with plastic corner walls and other items), the expansion pack and even a ruin from Warhammer a boxed set. Then I got some 5mm foamboard, a lot of balsa wood, more of the plastic scenery sprues and a 10litre tub of textured masonry paint and went and build the rest of the ruins myself.

Jim was a bit late arriving, and had to finalise his Warband. So Anthony & I started off a game with Jim reffing. It was amazing we had forgotten so many rules in the intervening years. As a cut down version of Warhammer from several editions ago, it still adheres to many of the older rules.

I chose my flamboyant Marienburgers to play as an antidote to all the balck and dark colours of Dark Elves and BUF that I’ve been deploying recently. Mordheim is great for picking out all the odd and random figures you have. So we often dig out figures from the Golden Age. In fact whilst my heroes were all the official Marienburger figures, the supporting warriors and marksmen were old Citadel C series fighters, and the marksmen were Foundry Picts.

WE remembered that it was always wise to keep groups of figures close by each other – one of the special rules in Mordheim means an isolated fighter often will run for it when confronted by the enemy. Also getting up into the upper storey’s of buildings is good for shooting.

Not that it helped me much, having got some Wyrdstone, I had my hero, champion and two warriors put out of action/stunned by SAnthony’s Reiklanders and so bottled it and ended the game after a mere 3 turns ! All over in less than an hour. But it was good fun and I came away with a nice set of loot.

So began the adventures of: Captain von Geld’s League of Extraordinary Adventurers and the Crimson Permanent Assurance

BoB/RCW: Setting the East Ablaze Rules

Like many BOB gamers I had to do a double take on hearing of a new book called “Setting the East Ablaze“, as many have got into BoB when Mark Copplestone and Chris Peers recommended reading Peter Hopkirk’s excellent book “Setting the East Ablaze”.

This is a new ruleset from Partizan Press available from Caliver Books. So always in search of the perfect rules set I went and ordered them.

they are a professional full colour throughout, glossy set of rules, A4 size. They are obviously aimed at BoB, but could take on RCW and other post WW1 conflicts with some ease as is alluded to in the text and some of the photos of Colonial African adventures.

They come with a Playsheet, which is separate from the book and printed on thicker paper/thin card, which is always useful to have.

The writers set out their aims on page 7, under “Principles”, where they clearly state what they’re aiming at achieving and as far asi can see they follow through non those principles ! This is perhaps something many games designers don’;t do – and I include myself here having tinkered with my own systems with various mates over the years. Take a step back and work out what you are trying to do, how you are going to do it and what the key principles are. If you don’t do this, then you end up with “mission creep” and a mish mash of rules ideas that seem good at the time and in isolation, but when brought together, make for an awful mess.

The rules are clearly laid out in numbered paragraphs (hmm, good for referencing, good for clarity but a bit clunky in style). As they are almost bullet point in style, the rules seem easy to read and understand. My only comment here is that the Morale section seems out of place in terms of order of sequence of play.

Activation of units is again determined by pulling cards – one card for each specific unit. What the unit can do is controlled by its Class (from 1 -5). There are suggested options for Event and Chance decks as well, which will go well with the more “Pulp” style of gaming.

Movement is mostly random – as a matter of personal choice I don’t like this. I can see merits where it is difficult terrain, improvised or primitive vehicles but not for infantry. But again at least it is in a clear table so very easy to use.

Ranges of weapons are quite short. Similarly the blast radius for most weapons is 1″ or 2″ only. Shooting in Ambush, Smoke, Fog and AA are also covered along with aircraft in general. Melee is fairly simple with the pursue rules clear cut and the “Table of Terror – Prisoners” equally ruthless. Trains and ships are also covered.

There is eye candy throughout which is always welcome and I’ve got a few more ideas for conversion (my wallet is crying, again). There is a nice style of headings using faux-Cyrillic letters, which again reinforces the aim that this is for BoB/RCW.

Appendix 1 briefly covers points values, but the basic assumption really is you should be making up fun scenarios. Appendix 2 has a good list or armoured cars and tanks and how they work in the game. Appendix 3 has some optional rules, mostly for arsonists. Though there is a good section on civilian mobs. Appendix 4 has some complex templates which I would have to play test to see if they’re useful, they remind me of the old Laserburn templates in some ways (again a personal preference KISS and use the GW deviation dice and templates). Appendix 5 covers army morale, so you need be concerned about your overall casualties not just a unit’s casualties. Good idea.

There are no army lists, and the authors on the Lead Adventure Forum (a place i’ve only really got interested in recently) comment:

There are points values, but no army lists. There are plenty of these around (Mark Plant, Chris Peers to name but two), and plenty of books that give orbats. We couldnt see how we could add value in these. We will be including battle lists in the campaign book, due out next year [2013].

Overall it looks a good set of rules, and one I will enjoy play testing. Hopefully should there be any decent light in the next week I’ll post some pictures of play tests.

Incoming, to a lost city near you…

A short hiatus in posts, does not mean I have forgotten this blog. More like, I can’t take any fracking photos in these poor light conditions.

Luckily, there will be a number of updates tonight, tomorrow and the day after.

A frenetic AVBCW game, has resulted in 35+ photos, a Special Guest Superstar DJ entry is forthcoming, a review of the newish rules set “Setting the East Ablaze“, some Terek Cossacks, and maybe more.

A few of the older posts on House Rules, basing and so on will also be turned into proper pages because even I can’t find them easily, and when you have new recruits trying to guide them in the ways of righteousness, it gets difficult.

A World Aflame

Paul Eaglestone a regular at the Gentleman’s Wargames Parlour (GWP) recently teamed up with Osprey to publish a set of rules for the interwar period (1918-1939).

As a gamer interested in BoB/RCW and AVBCW it’s of interest, even though it’s got a heavy SCW slant to it in terms of examples. I’ve just got a copy and have had a good read through it.

As you would expect from Osprey, the publications standards are good, however, the actual rules are also of equally high standard with clear explanations throughout. Unlike many recent rulesets it concentrates on the rules alone – there is some nice eye candy, but very little ‘hobby’ material which given its wide ranging period is fine. There are plenty of illustrations from other appropriate Osprey books to keep things colourful.

The system is well explained from force composition, to Command and Control issues. Weather and other Chance events are gone through in detail something lacking from many games, as is ammunition supply which seems to be particularly punishing to speculative firing by units. Lacking ammunition also impacts on morale which I think is a great idea.

Obstacles and Engineering action is a nice add on that I have not seen elsewhere – the creation of barbed wire fields during the game, creation of trenches and other fortifications.

The rules extend into areas such as Aircraft, Boats and Trains. Having not used any of these items so far (!), I can’t comment on whether they are useful – sounds like a challenge !

Finally some sample units are provided for SCW and AVBCW, a unit roster template and some sample Chance Cards for SCW.

Looks good and I look forward to using it in anger some time very soon.

Odd GW Dice

The Playroom clear out continues. I found these dice:

Obviously GW dice, one is a direction dice, the other some form of Artillery dice but using multiples of 5 !
Sounds like the Byakhees are ganging up on me with their souped up stone throwers.

If anyone has any idea of what they are please let me know, and for a nominal amount sent to charity (The Samaritans) you can have these dice.

God of Battles – A rules review

Yet another purchase at Colours, was the new Foundry fantasy wargaming rules by Jake Thornton (ex-GW) God of Battles or GoBs as I shall render it as a TLA!

I bought it from the Dave Thomas stand who normally deals with all Foundry, Perry and associated products. Half price too !
(RRP £30, mine bought for £15)

It’s listed as unavailable on Amazon, and as ‘Coming Soon’ (dated 2011) on the Foundry website. The cover artwork also seems to have changed, the original artwork similar to the Tribes of Legend book.

A half overheard conversation at Colours, and the changes in availability and cover indicate something is up with the publication/distribution of these rules. Conspiracy aside, what did I get for £15 ?

The Book

A hefty hardback with glossy full colour cover, and full colour through out the pages. Lots of eye candy of many (as yet unreleased) well painted Foundry figures with excellent terrain. Lots of easy to understand diagrams, and lots of illustrations. The production values are high. My only gripe is that the fancy font used for the titles of sections, and the background page watermark sometimes clash and make it difficult to read.

The Rules

As per the Foundry Manifesto that Bryan Ansell penned back in the late 1990’s everything is done using d6s or that ubiquitous but never corporeal dice the d3. This isn’t Warhammer. Its close, and clearly related but it is not a copy. The basic rules have really been stripped down. The use of the Unit Leader, where they become the focal point for movement and shooting is really good – it removes so much ambiguity from the rules. People might not like this in terms of realism, and certainly I do like the strict line of sight rules in many games, but this would be of real use in large wargames. Warhammer certainly has become bogged down in multiple, often contradictory, and incomplete rules. So these rules are a breath of fresh air.

Game Turns

One thing many games suffer from is the I Go You Go (IGoYGo) syndrome which makes it very difficult to have more than two sides playing a game. certainly for gaming Laserburn, BoB, AVBCW and other games with multiple factions these (IGoYGo) systems fall at the first hurdle. Even in Warhammer you can and should be able to have multiple forces fighting each other. So it is good to see that these rules could conceptually cope with more than one faction. This isn’t explicitly stated in the rules though and would need some play testing.

Swapping the initiative between players as these rules do, means that each player is kept active throught the game.

Strategems are a really good concept I’ve not really come across before. The nearest is the Brink of War game I played with JP where you can surrender initiative to the other side, but GoBs is far more subtle and wide ranging than that. These enable you to stop your opponent activating units, and or activating your own units out of sequence. I think this is going into any ruleset I write !

Movement, Shooting & Combat

As commented, everything is done from the leader of the unit, its all straight lines, no mucking aorund with wheeling and other malarky, so this sounds like a good idea. Backing Off, Threat Areas and Recoiling are all also good ideas. I think I’d need to do some play testig to work out how good they are, but on paper, they’re a good idea.

Shooting is also nice and simple, though I did struggle to find ranges of weapons (but it turns out is almost an either/or situation), and very few modifiers to remember. Hmm, maybe taking simplification too far, again play testing will bring out my true feelings on this. I do like the idea that a unit shot at from the side/rear loses some of its defence, a nice idea. Similarly harrasing fire is a good idea.

Combat is similar to Warhammer (actually more like LoToW, but again very much stripped down, and results in removing casulaties (no markers here) and a test of courage.

Miracles, Soul Engines & Sacrifices

What passes for magic. Its much more linked to Gods of Battle (duh, where did the game’s name come from ?). Not Warhammer but similar. You need a card deck (minus jokers and picture cards), which is something becoming more popular/frequent in many games systems – and that’s not a bad thing ! However, Priests only get activated to call for Miracles once, well unless you have used one of those pesky Strategems I mentioned earlier !

Other Stuff

There are rules fo allies, which is always useful and until Warhammer 8th edition something WHFB missed. There are rules for working out who is the Attacker or defender, not sure how this works with Scenarios.

There is a very interesting section on terrain, that starts off with describing what size terrain pieces should be, and also details of terrain that is a Habitat much like a random encounter. This seems much better than the current WHFB rules which are OTT.

Similarly there is an excellent and interesting section on Weather. Scenarios are listed including Camps & Baggage Trains.

Forces

There are some standard fantasy tropes here, and some very diferent ones such as the Sea Elves and T’lekkans. Unlike WHFB, units are bought in standard sizes for standard points, which does make things very different. There aren’t many (if any) options for units, which makes Characters more unique. This makes things a lot simpler, but the downside is you don’t get as much choice. all the armies are included in details in this book, along with painting guides. All the miniatures are by Foundry which indicates that they have a lot of as yet unreleased miniatures. (Which makes the recent announcements of a hiatus on new releases in favour of re-releases, all the more mysterious!)

The End

The book ends with a battle report, a list of Abilities, some Quick Reference sheets and most important of all an Index.

Summary

So is it any good ? I’d need a good few games with multiple factions to answer that question.
So is it interesting ? Yes. Emphatically Yes.
So is it Warhammer ? No. WHFB players will pick it up quick, get frustrated with some aspect, and welcome others !
Is it worth it ? At £15 definately. Guess you should have gone to Colours. 😉

On reading it I like it.

There are some excellent ideas in here, and the simplified games system is initially appealing. Some games play is in order.
(Hint to the Byakhees)