Subject Salad

A bit of a mish mash today.

Another picture of Byakhee Stuart’s brushmanship:

I mentioned.ages ago I was doing a joint painting project with my 8 year old daughter. She did the basic colours and chose them and I just tarted them up a bit. I took a load of snaps today but they’re all pretty terrible apart from the Lothern Sea Guard.

He described them as “fruit salad Elves”.

Meanwhile I’ve been doing some projects for Saturday when Byakhee JP & I are holding another Big Game.

A set of gravestones for a graveyard. Renedra pieces assembled, nice and cheap but good value. These will be ideal for AVBCW games, and will compliment the Hovels Church I have.

Byakhee JP posted his version of our two games from the week before last claiming it was “the dice wot done it”, what is it about workmen blaming their tools ?

Talking of workmen….

The state of the utility room for much of the preceeding weeks. The fridge/freezer, washing machine were sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor when this photo was taken.

The boiler broke down, so an insurance claim was filed, the floor ripped up etc etc etc. Its been a major headache since October 2013. The first floor that was relaid (kitchen, utility & WC – the tiles were all the same and the insurance policy called for a ‘like for like’ replacement) broke up, so for the last month the builders have been back relaying the floor after a four way bun fight between the insurers, builders, tilers and suppliers. The plumbers (sub contractors to the builders) have been back 5 times to variously fix radiator leaks, boiler leaks etc.

Due to all of the mistakes and mishaps, the builders have ended up having to redecorate all three rooms even though the actual leak only marginally affected the utility room. They finished yesterday. This is why I have not been as productive as normal in painting figures – early starts to accommodate the builders, negotiating what needs to be done etc….

My cleaner, Val, insisted that I take a picture after her efforts to put the kitchen back together again today. On top of this I have been preparing for the next AVBCW Big Game on Saturday (8th March), thankfully JP has stepped up and taken on a lot of the preperations during the last two weeks (thanks Jon).

Meanwhile, one cat has got stressed and is suffering from Psychogenic Alopecia but his brother doesn’t care…

AVBCW: Rescue Mission, or BUF in a Barn

Following on from our last game, Byakhee JP & I had another game using Brink of Battle. The BUF had been trapped defending a barn somewhere in Herefordshire, and ended up being captured by the Anglican League troops. I recreated from memory the scenery, and deployed 500 points worth of troops to act as their captors, whilst JP deployed 500 points of Blackshorts to rescue their colleagues.

My awesome forces of 7 men deployed around the barn in the centre of the table.

  • One commander, with SMG
  • One NCO, with grenades
  • One NCO with upgraded stats
  • Four troopers with rifles.

We decided that the squad of BUF prisoners in the barn would not provide any input into the game in terms of combat.

The Blackshorts advanced/pranced across the fields, avoiding nettles, thistles and other weeds known to scupper their plans.

Though the Blackshorts drew first blood shooting one of my BRAVE Anglican League, my REWENGEE was swift as I downed two of his dodgy troopers in short order in an exchange of gun fire over the hedgeline.

I moved a couple of troopers up on mt left to counter their advance.

Which resulted in another exchange of fire – again I came off better shooting his bald pated leader and two other troops. By the end his final two troops fled. My trooper who shot his leader promptly got shot by another black short minion.

The captured BUF squad in the barn were then subjected to a sermon outlining the errors of their ways and made to sing a hymn or two before being released back into the community.

Things we noted:

  • JP had appalling dice rolls, all at the wrong time
  • Though he did get “The Edge” more than me, which did not prove decisive in this game…
  • As we had so few troops we simply assigned action chits, in larger games with more troops you should do the IGOUGO option.
  • We didn’t get the Concealment vs Cover rules right
  • Rural Hereford provides a lot of hedges tyo hide behind, something JP had been checking
  • The hedges are substantial and apart from armoured vehicles impassable.

We just about remembered the rules and they are very innovative skirmish rules.

We then had a second unconnected game…

Dislocation & Improvisation

The builders are back !

boiler 42

With plumbers

boiler 41

So my planned games session with Byakhee JP had to be shifted from the usual location in the breakfast kitchen into the lounge.

boiler 43

Luckily I was given a fold away table year before last so could use that to build a 4×4′ table. I’d asked for it so I had another surface area in the kitchen for players to lay out their troops and books, in order to leave the kitchen work surface available for food preparation.

boiler 45

Sadly, the plumbers had to come back again to fix the boiler as they’d knackered it…

JP & I managed to get in two games of AVBCW using Brink of Battle, whilst also planning the next Big Game scheduled 8th March.

Brink of Battle

Brink of Battle is a skirmish wargame ruleset that Byakhee Jon bought and I’d been aware of. Due to offspring Jon is often only able to make short games sessions and I’m also up for skirmish gaming anyway. So we’ve now used these rules for a few games and are getting the hang of them.

More details here

The rules use d10s throughout.

The players dice off each turn to see who has the initiative ‘The Edge’, however the loser gets ‘The Break’ which means after the fist Action they can seize the initiative.

After generating Action tokens, the player with The Edge gets to move a single figure first and does all their actions (move, shoot, combat etc) all in one. Activation of models then alternates between the players unless The Break is used. So it keeps both players actively involved throughout the game.

Dice rolls are ‘contested’. So when I try and shoot an enemy, they also get to roll dice to dodge the bullet. Obviously the ‘attacking’ player gets benefits ! Again this keeps both players actively involved in the game, which is a very nice thing, as some games do mean a player stands down for long periods…The downside of these contested rolls, is you do need either a very good memory, or a pice of paper and pen to hand at all times.

As this is a skirmish game, each individual model has its own stat line. Every model is rated on C3: Combat; Command; and Constitution. Then they have what weapons and gear they have. All of these are bought using ‘Supply Points’. For 500 SP, you get about 5-10 models depending on their rating, and their scaled to go up to 1000 SP – so maybe 20 rubbish troops, 15 average and 10 elite troops. You wouldn’t want to go beyond that due to book keeping.

On top of this, you can buy ‘Traits’, basically skills like being a Sniper (better at shooting), or for my MHC Rangers (ignoring movement penalties through difficult terrain). This further customises your forces. As JP commented, this helped strengthen the characteristics and background of the forces. In this case we were using the rules for AVBCW, but it could easily be used for RCW/BoB.

The ranges of the weaponry are more realistic, using a 4×4 board pretty much all of the area would be within range of a rifle, and half within a realistic chance of success of hitting a barn door. This is both a good and a bad thing. We also had a problem with the rules on long range shooting which was one of the few instances when the rules weren’t clear.

We’ve been playing these rules at the 500 SP level so far. This means the generation of Action points has been a moot point. Action points are based on a d10 plus the commander’s level, so we’ve alway had surplus Action Points. In larger games we can envisage cases where you have more characters than Action points and their distribution becomes more important. (No Action point = no acton !)

Learning from our first game last year the three games we played yesterday were very brutal, and very short: 1.5 hours; 1 hour; 1 hour. As quick, if not quicker than other skirmish games such as Laserburn, Mordheim or Necromunda.

This is a good and innovative set of rules, that are very definitely different to Warhammer and its derivatives, and keep both players engaged.

AVBCW: On the brink of the hills

Following on from the last posting here’s the third battle report.
JP’s take on the day is here

Third battle

JP and I moved the scenery around again for the third battle.

The Blackshorts advanced up the road and the MHC reaching their vantage points on the hills – that JP has insisted on stringing out across the middle of the board – shot them up and reduced them from 5 to 2 in short order before the Blackshortsw picked off Sergeant Great and Private Wells.

The MHC used the cover and concealment of the trees to blunt the BUF attack.

However JP had chosen the Sniper Trait for one of his knobbly kneed inions and his commander was on hand to ensure the forces of the BUF didn’t run away. As both forces were now on rout tests but with high Command ratings, and nether force was willing to cross open ground we had a stalemate. As gentlemen, we agreed to end the game as a draw.

We’d had a fun three games !

I was going t include a brief commentary on the Brink of Battle rules, but s got too long so, next post…

AVBCW: Mayhem in the hills

I played three games today with Byakhee Jon, using the Brink of Battle skirmish rules. We had used these before some time last year, so we had to re-acxquaint ourselves with them, but we soon got up to speed quickly.

I generated 500 points worth of MHC to defend the hills:

JP, generated the same for the Black Shorts:

As JP does not have a full set of scenery yet (he’s working on it) I took some of mine, but managed to forget the camera (DOH!) – so all the photos are his taken using his phone.

First Game

MHC Rangers move swiftly through the difficult terrain.

The Blackshorts move up the road and take up position behind the stone walls.
That’s when the carnage started…

Due to a failure to read the rules – when my Commander Sir Johnathan Porridge was shot I pretty much lost any command skills ! So I failed the rout test and headed (literally) for the hills !

Second Game

After lunch, we re-arranged the scenery:

This time, the MHC took up good positions, and despite losing Sergeant Great early on, they took the Blackshorts on in a firefight.

It was going well until Sir Johnathan, who hadn’t learnt his lesson and moved forward replete in his red waistcoat.

And got shot…again !

Luckily for me, JP’s Blackshorts were on rout tests as well, and after three nail biting roll offs, the MHC prevailed.

One all !

Next up, the third game, and commentary on the rules.

AVBCW – Skirmish battle – Brink of Battle (Updated)

Went round to Byakhee JP’s house today for a game of Brink of Battle, a skirmish wargame.[1]

I played the heroic MHC LDV to make a change from the previous game, and JP played his BUF.

The Rules

The Brink of Battles rules are very complex, and clearly a labour of love. They are however, we agreed after the battle, in most ways logical and simple once you get the hang of them. Building the battle force is a number crunching exercise, and it’d be great to see an Excel spreadsheet to help automate the process, and/or some sample battle forces provided.

Both of us had only 7 models playing a 500 point game. We did a simple head on battle with myself as the ‘sentry’, and JP’s BUF as the ‘intruder’ force. You can buy traits for your troops and as the MHC employ Rangers to watch over the Malverns, decided all my troops would have this trait that allowed them to move freely through difficult terrain. In this battle this trait did not help much but for a campaign it would be highly useful.

As we were using so few figures, and we didn’t know the rules well (JP had played one solo game, and I had only read them on Wednesday) we were slower than expected and didn’t get everything right, nor did circumstance allow the full scope of the rules to play out. For example we had both taken Commanders with high CMD ratings that allowed us to issue Action orders to all our figures every go. In bigger battles, or in battles with lower level Commanders/figures then this would not have been possible and would have made a big difference.

The rules also make a big issue of Cover and Concealment – two related but distinct concepts – which ironically Gav H and I identified and started modifying Went the Day Well ? rules to take account of. (More on this later)

The Game

I deployed my troops mostly on a hill on the right hand side, and attempted to defend from there.

Originally I sent two guys including a veteran to snipe at the BUF as they moved through the wood. However, it soon beame apparent that a strong BUF showing at an overgrown wall was going to be the main source and deciding arena for the game. So the two outriders were called back ASAP, especially as the futility of firing at targets that are Concealed and in Cover. I think JP also realised the really slow rate figures move through difficult terrain – woods in this case.

First blood was claimed by the MHC after many shots, but then fate lurched into favouring the BUF, who managed to shoot one of the MHC in the back as he was running away. Boo Hiss !

We then had a couple of rounds of a slug fest, which we both commented would have not happened in a bigger/more varied game. Elite troops with high CON ratings are a real pain to get rid of. Especially as in my case the dice hate you and whilst you can hit the barn door you realise you came equipped with blanks [2]. On the up side, my Commander saw off his NCO after an exchange of fire…his is the lone figure running away…

We ended up both on rout tests, and in this case, JP’s dice hated him more than mine hated me, and so he sarpered first. I can claim no great tactical victory.

Though my MHC did mount a last ditch advance at the flakey BUF firing line behind the wall that may have conceptually lead to their defeat. So, the honest upstanding citizens of the Malverns can sleep safely as the MHC have prevented encroachment on the hills again. 😉

So we had a good game, and we’d like to try the rules out again with a larger and or more varied force with fewer elite troops present. Fun was had which is the most important thing.

You should also read JP’s blog !

Tomorrow – more WHFB with Byakhees Rich & Anthony. On this occasion I’m fielding Dwarves/Stunties, sadly unpainted so lots of naked metal ! But it will be a change from dark Elves for me.[3]

[1] Though JP cheated and got a delivery of Pizza from Domino’s
[2] Deja-Vu of the curse of the rubber swords of Dark Elf Assassins or ?
[3] No change in the diet tho – I have more Pizza lined up…to be covered in a special posting on Sunday once my guts have recovered from 3 days of Pizza – I suffer for my hobby !