Terrain: Two new houses

So I recently decided to start acquiring some of my own gaming terrain.  I thought I’d work on collecting along the theme of a generic farm or ranch.  One can use just about any sort of terrain for Warhammer 40K, since battles can take place on almost any sort of landscape.  I have been getting into the WWII game Bolt Action lately, and I also occasionally play battles set in the mid to late 18th Century using Muskets & Tomahawks.  So the terrain has to suit for those games too.  I think these buildings would also look nice in games set in the American West.

The pieces have to be suitable for “heroic 28mm” figures. The roofs can be removed so models can be placed inside and moved around, which is important to me, because all of the aforementioned games include rules for having forces inside buildings of various sorts.

The boyz seem pretty happy with their new digs.

I purchased another building already that is between the size of the two pictured here.  I am also hopefully going to add a fenced garden, an outhouse, a well, and maybe some details like stacks of hay and the like.

Maybe I can make a big tentacle out of green stuff that I can show coming up out of the well (or even better — from the outhouse!) when we are using it for science fiction games.  I think I’d dispense with such whimsy for our Second World War battles.  Our forces have enough to cope with without Cthulhu or some random monstrosity oozing out the Sicilian underdark.

Battle for Hougoumont (Pacificon 2015)

A friend of mine ran a 54mm Waterloo: Battle for Hougoumont game, which didn’t make it into my previous Pacificon post.  I didn’t get a chance to play in it, unfortunately, but I did take some pictures.  As usual with Nick, his table was very nice with lots of details.

This is what  Nick wrote back when I emailed him, asking about the game: The fortified farm of Hougoumont was the anchor of the Anglo-Allied right flank. Historically, it pulled in way more French troops than the French could spare elsewhere, contributing to the Allied victory. In my game the British won on victory points, 19 to 15, if I recall corrrectly. The British lost the orchard and the formal garden and three of the buildings in the chateau were on fire, but the British broke thirteen French units while they only lost five which tipped the balance in their favor.

Photos from Pacificon 2015

I spent the weekend in Santa Clara, California attending the Pacificon game convention this year.  It was a lot of fun and I got to play quite a few interesting games and watch even more.  As per my usual policy with conventions, since I wasn’t playing in a tournament I left my 40K miniatures at home because I like to take the opportunity to try games I either don’t get a chance to play very often or have never played at all.

My tricky French battleship group. Rockets away!

I have seen other people playing the Dystopian Wars naval game off and on for a few years now, but I have never played it myself.  So I jumped into a four player demo game on the French side.  I found the game to be a lot of fun and am considering buying into the game now that I’ve had a chance to play it.

Russian ships attempt to close the range.

Battle of Borodino, September 7, 1812

Although I only took a close up of one unit, this game was a large, cinematic affair with loads of well painted figures spread out over a number of tables.  I also found it neat that the GM thought to run the battle on the weekend of the 203rd anniversary of the battle.

Here was a game of Battlefleet Gothic.  I didn’t play in this game, but what made me take notice was the colorful game mat and especially the inventive ringed planet terrain piece in one corner.

One thing about many naval games, both historical and fantastic, is they sometimes lack interesting terrain.  I thought this GM’s scratch built piece was attractive and whimsical.

It looks like rhinos on the attack but really they are hiding trying not to give up kill points.

Another game I’ve seen played but have never participated in: Epic 40K.  I played on the space marine side and controlled a large wing of Dark Raven land speeders, a few bikes, and squadron of rhinos headed by a chaplain, who never set foot out of his rhino for the entire battle.  He did do some good command and control work though directing the marines around him. I also commanded a reserve thunderhawk with a group of assault marines.

The Tyranids sport some rather unusual artillery, I must say!

It was interesting thinking about 40K battles in battalion or brigade level terms rather than the platoon and company level scale that I’m used to.  One thing I had to get used to was how much more fragile units apparently are in Epic.  (At least the version we were playing.) Even our numerous land raiders turned out to be rather easily destroyed with non-specialist weapons.  In addition to the number of units this general fragility forced me to look more at the overall big picture rather than worrying so much about individual squads.  We certainly didn’t have anything that I would call a lynchpin in our sizeable forces.

Watch out for those crazy elephants!

A picture from one of the ancients games Bill Butler of the South Bay Game Club in Saratoga, CA ran over the weekend. One thing I’ve been reminded about playing in ancients games is that you don’t want to get too close to the elephants, because once they get their blood up they are likely to go rampaging in any direction. The poor beasties!

“Twill be the yardarm for every man jack of thee!”

Noticed this interesting looking pirate game and took a picture on my way by.  The ship in the corner with the wolf head on the sail reminded me of the Space Wolves.  Perhaps someone’s island sunk and the men of Fenris are fighting over the scraps of arable land that remain?  Or perhaps they are just a random bunch of priates after rum, doubloons and slaughter?

One of my con roommates enjoying Hotel Life with her wretched cup of Fruit Loops.

My friends were kind enough to allow me to share their hotel room for the weekend with a few other people.  It was charming and fun with people sleeping on the floor, which brought back fond memories of going to cons when I was a teenager.  Back then if we weren’t sleeping under the gaming tables in the convention hall we were stacked twenty five in a room.  Good times those and it was fun living a friendly shadow of those olden days.

“They Came Out of the Storm” Scenario

Our first game was piratical marines using a blizzard to launch a surprise attack on IG in a ruined village.

This is a narrative scenario where one side attempts to achieve surprise by attacking an entrenched opponent in the aftermath of a storm.  Players should cooperate with terrain or have a third party set up the board.  The defender’s table half should contain a village, industrial works, supply depot, trench works, or some other such theme.  The attack’s side should probably contain less terrain, though this depends upon how the list match up.  Perhaps they are attacking out of sand dunes or from the edge of a jungle.

Of course one can vary terrain density depending upon the army and list match-ups to make for a fair game.  For example, a terminator force lining up against defenders who are light on AP 2 weapons may not require any cover at all, whereas a force of light infantry against say a typical Tau list probably should not be forced to walk across a bare board.

Use “Dawn of War” deployment where each player sets up within 12″ of his long table edge. The attacking player automatically sets up and takes the first turn, though the defender may attempt to seize the initiative. Night Fighting takes place automatically on turn one without a die roll. Secondary objective changes are noted below in the victory conditions. The game ends as per the normal rules.

Six objectives are placed in the defending player’s half of the table.  We found it best to set up the objectives collaboratively. This resulted in a more thematic placement and also because it can be difficult to legally set up six objectives on one side of the board if both players aren’t cooperating.

The storm could just as easily involve sand rather than snow.

Infiltration and Scout Moves work as normal but there is no deep striking allowed by either side in this scenario, unless both players agree to it. Thus units such as drop pods, which are required to enter play via deep strike, may be limited in number or even completely disallowed.

The attacker’s outflanking units must be positioned so the entire unit, including transports, are entirely within the owning player’s deployment zone on the turn the unit arrives. (This also applies to units with unusual special rules such as ork kommandos with Snikrot.)  The defender may not outflank units. Other reserves for both players are allowed but they enter play from each player’s long table edge.

Victory Conditions

Players score 3 victory points for each objective they control at the end of the game.  Secondary objectives are as normal except Line Breaker.  If the attacking player has more units completely within the defender’s deployment zone than the defender at game’s end, then the attacker receives one point for Line Breaker.  If the defender has more units then he receives 1 VP.  If a tie then neither player gets a point.  The defender cannot receive points by ending the game in the attacker’s deployment zone.

Alternately, you could play this scenario using the Maelstrom of War missions with the tactical cards, but if you do then I would remove the prohibition against deep striking, and also ignore the scenario restrictions for outflanking.  Otherwise the attacking player may find himself not able to score any cards until turn three at best!  If I did want to play a maelstrom scenario without deep striking, I’d probably use “Tactical Escalation” where the cards each player receives and can hold increases with each passing turn.

Our “They Came Out of the Storm” Games

 Space Wolves vs. IG (1500 Points, August 2015): A bloody game with the marines walking out of a blizzard in order to attack IG positions in a shattered village.  The defenders successfully held until turn five, but Legion VI-XIII was able to turn the battle around with a healthy dose of luck and several well-timed curses laid by a random shield maiden who wandered by to watch our game.