Thursday, 21 June 2018

Airfix Battles

Had a proper try out of the Airfix Battles game by Modiphius tonight, something I've been meaning to do for a while.

The introductory scenario pits two equal 'platoons' against each other, consisting of two squads of 10 and a small squad of veterans.

The system is card driven, with everything you need to know about each squad/unit, set out on a card, and a deck of order cards for actions.  Any card can be used for a basic action, but the real fun comes with the special actions, some of which can only be used by certain unit types.  How many cards you get to hold and use depends on your officers, which makes for some interesting choices about whether to protect your officers or use their (slightly) improved combat abilities.

Everything needed is in the box, and good quality.  Dice, counters and maps.

I forgot to set up the rough ground, so sue me...

Both sides initially sought to gain cover of the buildings with their infantry squads while holding their captains and veterans in reserve.

The Germans used a 'sweeping advance' card (+2 move and fire) to get in cover on their right flank and fire on the US troops in the building opposite (the US made good cover saves, only taking one casualty).

In return, US captain used an artillery strike card on them, causing two casualties, enough to cause morale test, pinning the unit (pinned units are marked by turning their card on its side, a second failed test results in retreating, a third in a rout).  The Germans then used 'rapid advance' on the squad on the left flank to charge ahead and occupy the southern building on the US side of table, right in front of a (probably startled) squad of GIs.  However miserable dice rolling only caused two casualties and the US squad passed their morale test.

(rubbish photos from my ipad)

The US squad in the northern building sacrificed shooting to use a 'dig in' card. 

The Germans had some interesting cards ('sweeping advance' and 'superb teamwork'), but weren't able to capitalise on them.  The Germans in the north building rallied using their Captain's value and fired on their US opposites again.  Before they did the US tried to play an 'it ain't so bad card' to regain 2 casualties (certain cards can be used to interrupt the opponent's turn), but it got cancelled bythe German's own 'counter intelligence' interrupt card.  Another two US casualties were caused but they passed their morale check again. 

Rather than keep getting shot at in the open, the US squad in front of the German squad to the south, they risked an assault.  They lost three to defensive fire, caused three in return, but took another hit to a counterattack.  Both sides ended up pinned, the Germans tried using the Valour Counter to re-roll their morale test but still failed (the side holding the counter can re-roll a dice or dice, but then have to hand it to the other side).  The German Captain and Veterans started moving up the middle to support the attack (trusting to holding onto a 'hit the deck' interrupt card in case of trouble).

(The GIs attempt an assault, leaving both sides pinned)

The Germans won initiative for the next turn.  The squad who were pinned after the assault  attempted an 'open up' order (re-roll misses) but were unable to rally and stayed pinned. The US squad to their front had no such trouble and used the same card to good effect, forcing the German squad to retreat.  The German Captain used 'Commando Assault' (fire then move with +2) to open up on the US north squad (causing two casualties but no pins) and then occupy the house the other squad has just left.  The US squad on the north then used 'hold the line' to fire on the German command with an extra die (putting down two veterans).  The remaining German squad opposite fired back but to no effect.

Looking to end things quickly, the US Captain then used a 'rapid advance' move to get on the flank of the German command and assault the building.  They took one casualty to defensive fire but in return wiped out the enemy Captain and Veterans and occupied the building

With that, the US had destroyed three stars of the enemy and had a solid victory, ending the game.

The rules were really easy to pick up and follow, with most rolls being based on one stat for the unit (shown on the card).  The order cards are simple, you can always carry out a basic order (so long as the unit isn't pinned), but the special orders really add to it, allowing for some bold moves.  In larger games, I can also see how they encourage balanced combined arms forces to make best use of the special orders.

Interesting to think that, if the game had continued, the loss of their captain would have reduced the Germans to only one action card per turn.  Risking the officers really is a last ditch measure.

Friday, 15 June 2018

Five Parsecs from Home Campaign

Keen to get some actual gaming in, I'm going to try Five Parsecs from Home by Nordic Weasel games (Ivan Sorenson).  I like Ivan's games (having played the 'Five Men in' games a few times).  I like the more role playing type elements and the focus on solo playability.  Five Parsecs is suppose to evoke the sort of adventures depicted in Firefly and the old Traveller RPG.

Scale was an early question.  28mm was a possibility, but would take a lot of room.  I didn't want to go for 15mm and add yet another scale to my collection.  Then I found some old GW Dark Future minis in the collection, added a few more via ebay and hey presto.  I can always press in a few 1/72nd minis as stand ins as necessary.

Next job, roll up a crew.  Lets meet them:

Reece Jonand

Background: Wealthy Merchant
Motivation: Discovery
Class: Explorer

The youngest son of one of the great traditional trading houses of Espilon III, on reaching his majority Reece had the stark choice of a lifetime of closeted luxury as a ‘spare’ (in every sense of the word), or a one off payment in return for severing all ties and claims on the family forever.  He chose the money and freedom, and never looked back.  Enthusiastic, optimistic, sometimes naive; Reece now explores the Fringe as Captain Owner of his own ship, the Astral Envoy, along with his crew of loveable rogues.

Anul (Beloved one of the Multiverse)

Background: Alien Culture
Motivation: Faith
Class: Trader
Quest Clue

Not even his crew mates know what Anul is under his robes and skin tight environment suit, or which planet he hails from.  All they do know is that he tells them (via his somewhat idiosyncractic translator unit) that he was chosen by his species to commune with the peoples of the wider universe, and his mania for trading for bizarre and apparently unrelated tech and trinkets, which he then sends to wherever home is.  Whatever, he (or she, or it) seems to have knack for getting on with people, and helping them get on with each other.

Kari Rezal

Background: Beauracratic Class
Motivation: Glory
Class: Bounty Hunter

Kari’s life should have been mapped out for her.  The right parents, the right schools, then a lifetime of progression through Unity bureaucracy until retirement with a comfortable pension on a core world.  She chose something different.  Her impulsive behaviour occasionally leads to tensions with the crew, and Reece in particular.

Jacken Hardson (‘Jack’)

Background: Industrial World
Motivation: Loyalty
Class: Soldier
Patron (gang lord)

Jacken would describe himself as ‘uncomplicated’.  That is, he would if he were inclined to such levels of introspection.  A former soldier, factory worker, fiercely loyal to his friends and Captain, there’s no better man to have beside you in a firefight.  Jacken keeps in contact with the gang master from his factory days, who occasionally sends the odd job his way.


Background: Orphan Programme
Motivation: Revenge
Class: Trouble Shooter
Patron (Government Administrator)

An orphan of the great Rift Raids, Nathaniel was brought up in an official Unity orphan programme.  His case worker noted the young orphan’s quick wits and knack for problem solving, and found him work troubleshooting for the Unity in places where a more ‘official’ approach might be counter-productive, and still on occasion turns to him and his new colleagues for off the books jobs. Nathaniel has not forgotten his origins though, and his efforts to get his (and the other Rift orphan’s) sealed records open has not gone unnoticed in some quarters…


Background: Religious Cult
Motivation: Escape
Class: Agitator

Recruited by Nathaniel to round out the crew, Mila escaped her cult family as a teen, and has been making herself a nuisance to then ever since, exposing them and their practices.  Recently she may have been a bit too successful, and hopes signing on with a crew will give her a degree of extra security.  Very reserved, most of her new colleagues are still unsure of her (with the exception of Anul of course, who’s welcoming to everyone).

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Base, bases and more bases

Basing has been the order of the day recently.  As I've mentioned before it's a job that I have little love for, but has to be done.  MDF bases in 25mm and 20mm were duly procured from Warbases, plus a restock of superglue (generally use the gel for basing, as it helps with any uneven surfaces.

On the one hand, it may me appreciate the invention of the slottabase more.  On the other it was actually quite heartening; ended up reviewing what I'd done recently and realising I've done a fair amount of painting recently compared to my usual snail's pace output.

A question does arise though: do I complete these bases the way I normally would (sand, paint and drybrush, add static grass), or do I go completely with the old school theme and go straight with the painted sand approach (a little like those already painted and based orcs lurking at the back)?

Not content with that, I also based up a horrendous number of old GW Dark Future miniatures on pennies.  More on that shortly...