Friday, October 12, 2012

What's new with me

Okay, so kind of an ego-centric title, but I suppose you have to be a bit so inclined to have a blog in the first place.  :-)

Things have been rather quiet here for some time with far fewer postings than normal.  Happily, it is just because life has been very full and rich so no health issues for a change.  On the downside, if life is too rich you risk gout. 

In August and early September I enjoyed six weekends in a row of historic reenacting.  On the downside again, no two weekends were in the same gear as I did: War of 1812 95th Rifles, Royal Navy, French Napoleonic, Rev War British, French and Indian War French, and War of 1812 British/Napoleonic French.  The last event was a dual War of 1812 and Napoleonic gathering so I donned uniform as appropriate to the planned skirmish.  While I regret none of the events, the pace was gruelling and led to a nasty head cold for me and bronchitis for my wife.
Can you find me?  Hint: I'm a redcoat.

Gaming wise I slipped in two games but neglected to take my camera to either.  My cell phone takes such dubious ones that it didn't seem worth doing. 

The first game was a semi modern game (1989) featuring the Soviet invasion of Germany.  I'm not sure of the rules, they were a modified sci fi system I believe.  The basic element was a platoon, so my battalion of T-80s was 10 micro scale models.  The game featured an initiative roll to start, then an IGO-UGO to complete the turn.  As the Soviets had more units, they tended to get some "end of turn" moves.  All a d6 game, where most vehicles got a saving throw against the hits (Abrams needed only a "2+" roll) and infantry evaporated fairly fast.  It tended to hit most of my pre-conceived notions of modern combat, which ordinarily doesn't appeal to me, and gave a very reasonable result.  In the end the Soviet tank regiment had two of the three battalions combat ineffective (routed or burning), were going to occupy the objective, and the Americans had sold their lives dearly.  3:1 odds seemed about right.  My main quibble was with the mechanics that gave it a chess-like feel.  If you fired on a unit (not stand) it took a "blast" marker.  Artillery bombardments could give multiple blast markers.  Destroyed elements gave you blast markers.  When your blast markers matched the number of functional stands, you routed.  No rolls, just automatic.  In the case of the Americans, it had to be double the number to reflect their desperation.  Calling in a fire mission didn't happen immediately, so you tended to target the unit that had already had it's action so that they couldn't just move out of the bombardment.  You had recon units giving away their position by firing with some 14.5mm machine gun against the Abrams to give them that last blast marker.  Now admittedly, as far as the Abrams know the tracers are just to aid targeting some big nasty, but the automatics encouraged players to make decisions they might not in real life.  I'd play it again, though as I say post-1945 stuff is not my thing.

The second game I squeezed in was Napoleonic naval; I think Form Line of Battle.  The combat system was easy if too brutal for my tastes when you got real close.  We had one situation where a ship of the line took one raking shot and struck.  The odds were remote, but did it ever happen on first damage?  A deck of cards drove the action.  The first card for your side was a command and control type.  Reload, new orders, etc.  Then you had two move cards available for your side.  So it was possible that one side could get their command phase and both movement phases before the other side could do anything.  You could only fire each broadside once per turn, but it still created weird effects.  I'm usually favorable towards card driven games because of the "dramatic tension" it creates, but this felt decidedly wrong.  The laws of physics still apply (or should) and two castles of oak sailing on a converging course simply can't stop and have someone sail past, then you magically regain momentum and carry one.  Even an IGO-UGO system would be more palatable, though of course a game of simul movement with courses plotted is best.  My bias of course, but founded in 40 years of gaming.  The game itself tested the game system as the British strove to break the French/Spanish/Dutch line, enduring raking fire as they did so, but having the cards line up perfectly at the critical time.  No "Band of Brothers" this, more a "bunch of squabbling cousins" as half the British ships took the loooooong way around to engage, but as they came into battle fresh the surviving coalition ships could only make sail and flee.  As an amusing side note, although the rules as played did not allow you to aim high or low, inevitably criticals against the British brought down masts, and criticals against the allies took our hull, guns and crew.  One reason the losers could escape with as many as they did.

Painting has been hit or miss.  After a very busy first half of the year it has not surprisingly taken the back seat of late.  I've done some easy things like WWII armor and infantry, some harder things like 15mm Republican French (1796ish), and some bothersome things like 28mm Foundry Russian SYW cavalry.  After the last big battle I've reluctantly agreed that I need more armored cavalry.  So at least three more squadrons will be ready for the December game.

Lots of other game ideas rattling around in my head and finally some time to act on them.  But I will be going to Rock Con later this month so that takes away a weekend from the locals.  I hope to sample some new game systems along with old favorites.

Thanks for reading along, if indeed you didn't just skip to the end or quit part way through.  And may the odds be ever in your favor.

1 comment:

  1. Nice hint on your location in the photo -- right behind the center light infantryman in blue ;^)
    Have fun at Rock Con!