Sunday, October 11, 2015

Wilderness Empires

I backed Worthington Games' Wilderness Empires as a kickstarter and the game finally arrived last week. I was keen to have a FIW game that was less complex than Wilderness Wars and Bruce had already picked up A Few Acres of Snow.

Overall, decent components. One small map error (Indian tribe name) and the game needs to have blocks to represent armies (as having a dozen units on one location makes the map hard to see) but otherwise I'm satisfied. You win by acquiring 10 more victory points than the other guy and the French can also win by denying the British victory at game end.

Movement is point-to-point and the map is worth a careful review before play. There are basically five paths by which the sides can get at each other: One on each flank (although the French have only a single opportunity to attack from Louisburg to Halifax) and three in the middle. Lack of manpower and (as, I found out, reinforcements) means each side has to be cautious in picking battles and developing a strategy.

I played the game solo to get the rules figured out before taking to Bruce's this coming Tuesday. My American plan was to block in the middle, ignore Louisburg and try to flank in the west. This worked poorly! The west is a long slog with few benefits and it put my troops too far from the east-coast cities to help out when the French pushed south.

My French plan was to fortify Louisburg (affects French reinforcements) and then push down the centre--raiding with the Indians if the British didn't hold the west. The French got some lucky rolls and cards.

Cards are interesting. Each side gets five per year and can play four (1 each in spring and fall and two in summer). The cards add colour and unexpected events (including reinforcements) but aren't overwhelming.

There is an interesting dynamic with the cards whereby the turn sequence gives the British the initiative but the opportunity cost of play a card (and then being unable to block French reinforcements) is high. This creates hard choices, at least for the British player!

In the end, poor British choices and bad dice left the colonies unable to stop the French juggernaut from rolling south and bagging the east coast. I suspect this is unlikely to happen with two experienced players but was fun to watch.

Up next: Some more Wilderness Empires, some 1/72-scale British paratroops and a 33mm Star Wars painting commission is underway.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

October 6 Club Night

We had 18 guys out at the club on Tuesday night, which was pretty impressive. Craig ran a multi-player game of Songs of Blades and Heroes.

Bruce hosted six of us in a game of Maurice. The evil red coats slowly marched across the table towards the noble French.

Then there was a long period of ineffective small arms fire. Meanwhile, over on the French left, the dashing wing commander sought to spoil things and maybe bag a French gun. Despite a dastardly spoiling attack by the Prussian (?) cavalry, the French managed to inflict slightly worse losses than the took and then advanced to the rear to regroup.

By that point, the British had decided they could not amass enough fire on the French and took to the boats.

There was also a playtest of Guildball (above) and an ACW game using the Altar of Freedom rules.

Up next: I'm currently basing more WW2 paratroops and also working my way through the rules of Wildness Empires. I expect a commission of Star Wars figures to appear in my mailbox tomorrow.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

WW2 British

Apologies for the lack of updates; my home internet service has been really unreliable this week. I have, however, been hard at work!

I continued to pick away at the WW2 British airborne I got from Tim. I rebased the plastic troops he had painted. There are about 30 of them in different poses (above and below). I then started painting the 70 unpainted airborne and they are presently being based.

I also build two Zvezda British two pounders to give the desert rats the illusion of anti-tank capability!

Up next: I will be running a game at the club on Tuesday and after that you'll see the rest of the 1/72-scale airborne. I'm not sure what comes after that. Maybe some Italians. Maybe some vehicles.

Monday, September 28, 2015

1/72-scale WW2 British airborne

I pulled out some more of the figures I got from Tim this summer. There was a big collection of painted and unpainted WW2 British airborne so I decided to take a run at getting these ready.

I started with the painted metal figures. There were enough for 22 four-man bases. These fellows were all painted so all I did was de-base and then re-base. The integral basis plus the remains of Tim's basing meant I ended up with some thick ground cover!

There were also a bunch of painted and unpainted 1/72-scale plastics. I am basing these up as singles for casualty tracking. The painted ones are just about finished rebasing while I have just started painting the rest to match (which is a fun challenge).

I also have two six pounder ATGs and a command stand to rebase.

Up next: Hard to say: some two pounder ATGs for the desert are almost done plus I have a bunch more of the airborne in various stages It is also club night this week.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Amateurs to Arms

Bruce and I got together twice this week to play our way through Amateurs to Arms, an 1812 game he picked up last weekend at the Sentry Box. The most obvious difference between this game and others 1812 games we've played is that the whole of the US is in play. 

This means Indian rebellion in the deep south, blockades, Florida, New Orleans, and the burning of Washington are all possible. Game play is via cards; cards can be played as either operation points or as events. The game hedges more towards simulation, but was pretty quick to play (maybe 5 hours including learning curve).

There are some interesting features on the beautiful map, including Indian trails. We found that we stalled around the Great Lakes. I managed to push south from Kingston and towards Albany.

Bruce reversed a second thrust down Lake Champlain and the captured Montreal. I burned Washington in retaliation when troops came available after the defeat of Napoleon. Variable game end as war weariness on each side mounts. Our game ended in a draw. It was a fun game and I'd happily play again.

Up next: Some British paratroops.

Monday, September 21, 2015

WW2 Italian foot

I have a pretty large collection of 1/72-scale Italian foot from both Terry and Tim's respective closet clean-outs. I painted up 70 for North Africa. Some are from an old Airfix set (re-released by HaT) and the rest are from a Waterloo 1815 desert set.

I based 10 in groups of four and the rest (mostly Airfix) are based as singles for casualty removal. The Airfix singles are perhaps a bit too European in their uniforms (despite the desert colours). Lovely figures though, with lots of deep detail for the washes. Will do for the desert and maybe Sicily?

Up next: Some British 2 pounder ATGs for the desert and then onto some late-war British airborne troops. I also have a coupe of games with Bruce this week.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Italian WW2 tanks

I'm continuing to sort through the bounty of my trade with Tim in Saskatoon. I decided to deal with the Italians, starting with the armour. The tank on the right is a 1/72-scale L6/40 tankette armed with a 20mm cannon. It arrived painted and I matched the rest of the paint scheme to this one. 

In retrospect, a plain beige paint scheme might have been better for the desert. The limited detail on the kits suggested the disruptive scheme. Meh. The tank on the left (above) is a command variant of the M13/40 (I think). It also appears below with a turreted version. These are resin kits although I think I also have a plastic Esci kit somewhere.

Up next: The Italian infantry are just drying and I'll post them in a few days.