Friday, 7 October 2011

Starship Troopers - First Game - Battle Report

(Firstly apologies for bad typing. Accident with thumb and an Axe = pain and trouble typing)

So, I bought a couple of sets of painted warriors off ebay without seeing any photos. I expected them to be probably be dire and have to be repainted. They arrived, with a couple of casualties, but nothing too serious. And to my surprise. Quite well painted. Certainly table standard.

And so, armed with 28 bugs capable of going on a table, I roped in my mate Steve to play a game. I am planning on running an Starship Troopers Campaign for him and so we both need to learn the rules.

So we setup a simple game. The MI Roster

1 LT,
1 Squad of Sgt, 5 troopers and a rocket launcher.

1 Squad of Sgt, 4 troopers and a rocket launcher.
The troopers armed with Moritas and officers with ugls.

This gave about 560 or so points and so I could take
6 swarms of 7. As I had enough figures for the 28, it meant I would have to "keep two in reserve" until the casualties were able to be re-cycled.

So.. simple, head on kill or be killed game. We drew a centre line and a 6" boundary either way on the table and setup. Rolled for who went first and the MI won.

Table setup
 The table terrain was simple. four low hills, two impassible ridges and three Forest, rough ground areas. The MI setup in the two valley/channels. I setup with two swarms on the flanks and two toward the centre.
We kept the game simple on purpose and from the out set, it looked like I would easily win. I mean, I had wayyy more warrior bugs than he had MI, with two two actions per turn per unit and a 6" base move,, hmm 12" a turn possible. I thought easy! Now we had not set a turn limit and that probably went against the MI heavily, as in the main rule book missions, they have set turn numbers.

Anyway, we kicked off, The MI firing its rocket launchers, as I was shocked to find I was out of range of the moritas to start, only just mind.

The warriors surge forward.

The MI rocket from the first squad ( which the LT has chosen to join) and on my left flank, has a 2" LZ or lethal zone. Fired Directly and not in artillery mode the weapon, rolls its damage dice against each target who's centre point (nominated a lump on the back of the warrior body as being centre reference for the game). So two bugs, fell into the LZ, and the rolls, needed 5+ to hit. Two hits, one saves, one doesn,t One bug dead. Simple! Now this mechanic is quick, you have a two hit and an out right kill value. Roll equal or above the out right kill your dead, equal or above the hit value and you get a save roll (if you are entitle one). Though the game is I-go, U-go as such. The fact you have to roll saves and get to react if a unit completes an action with in 10" of your unit, giving you a free single action. Means you never get bored. A style of gaming I prefer.

The MI Lt readies his men before firing a punnishing salvo!
 My tactics were simple. Charge! I have no ranged capability with warriors. They are close quarters or nothing. But lethal in close quarters. The MI are the opposite really. Standard Power Armoured troopers don't fair well in CQ at all v warriors. And I feared this would give a dull game. But in fact i was rather fun. Having taken a while to read through the section of the book on fire zones and direct v indirect fire etc. It was Steve's second turn. This second squad having fired, but caused no casualties on the right flank with the rocket launcher.
His next round of firing, which included the moritas and the rocket launcher, on readied meant firstly he could fire the rocket launcher. And second he gets a re-roll on the damage for being readied.. scary! So in a blaze of bullets, the MI let rip. The contrail of a rocket landing square in the middle of the directly approaching warrior unit. The net result was five dead bugs! Ouch! near wipe out in one turn..

MI Left flank, squad two fire at the left hand warrior swarm.
 On the other MI flank, the shooting is deadly but not quite as effective.
My losses are mounting but I still feel ok. Plenty of bugs still on the table.
For the MI life is about to get interesting
 With my 6" move, I am soon charging down the MI, on my third turn. However my movement falls short and I provoke a "reaction" from the MI unit. Oops! Their reaction was to fire.
Now you see them!

The Warriors are relentlessly on the move!

Now you don't - eek!
 If you are observant you will notice in the above three photos, my lead, unit of four warriors disappears into green mush, under a hail of morita lead, as the reaction fire, decimates them!. Ouch.. Now with a second unit also filing in, I decide to switch the third warrior swarm that was heading for the LTs squad, to the right. Realising the the low hills of course, were not difficult terrain and I would get my 12" worth and if i could nail the weaker MI squad, I could then concentrate on the strong unit.
The LT breaths a sigh of relief for now!
Well my tactic worked, helped by a really bad round of dice by my opponent Steve. My two squads charged down the second smaller MI squad. Despite provoking two lots of reaction fire, his dice failed as several MI went "out of ammo" on the first reaction and so on the second reaction unable to fire. This meant I finally got close enough. One of the lead warriors swept in with his vicious claws. The other with its bite. One MI troopers was scythed in half by the crushing jaws. The second, may have survived if Steve's dice had not decided to go west. The reaction fire did kill off one warrior unit, but the fact a second was right behind it, meant I kept the pressure up. The second units dived in and this time, two more troopers fell. Leaving the rocket launcher trooper on his own. Without and officer in command range, he was down to reaction actions only! Not good when there are warriors about and your weapons is "pack" mean, it needs a ready action before i can fire! He did what only he could do and flee!
The lone survivor from the second squad tries to flee but is chased down by the warrior swarm.

The MI, prepare to go down fighting!

Without being able to get his ready action in, the lone trooper was eventually hunted down and killed! The LTs squad, fired furiously, but again the approaching warrior swarm must have had improved armour as 14 dice rolled and 8 were 1's.. ouch! Now within range, the LT attempted rally the lone trooper, but the LTs reaction fire, which I thought might wipe out the remnants of my other squad, only killed 1 bug! And so the killing jaws of three warriors tore the brave rocket launcher trooper apart. This provoked a reaction, from the LTs squad, who now desperately low on ammo, had three troopers run dry, just as my larger swarm approached. And the end was nigh!

Two warrior squads in close proximity, no where to retreat the Mi tood their ground and were torn apart!

So it was afun,and interesting learning experience. The basics rules are good. There are things we still need to learn and understand and for a first go, we had a laugh.

The MI fire power can be quite something, and will mowe down a lot of bugs, but if you can get close, with warriors, it soon gets nasty. So for a first attempt at the rules, with a mix of Starship Troopers figures and proxy AT-43 UNA troopers as MI. It went well.

Planning another game soon, with more of a defined mission. As we get to know the rules.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Wargames Shows Discussion - Demo v Participation Games.

We have had this debate in our gaming group now and then. And the recent Derby show, prompted another bout of on it.

Why do people run "Demonstration" games?
When I am wandering around a gaming show, like the one at Derby last weekend. I do like to look and watch some of the games going on. But I am completely baffled when I see a "Demonstration" game, being run by a club/organisation. Where four or five people sit/stand and play a game, usually on a big table layout, which has been nicely done, with some lovely miniatures and no public interaction.
Personally I think games like this should be discouraged from shows. I had it put to me, when I raised this point in general discussion, with one such table (not at Derby) that they were demonstrating the rules and figure range, and they did not wish the public to handle the figures.

I just couldn't understand their attitude at all. As I see it, and feel free to disagree. Demonstrating figure ranges, is for the trade stands, and how does a group of gamers, playing a game, demonstrate a game? When the public cannot get involved.

If I am not involved, in rolling dice, commanding forces or moving figures, then yes I might stand for a moment and watch, but that's about it. I will move on. There is nothing engaging about watching others at a show play games. So why do the show organisers allow these people to just fill up space? What are they contributing to the show?

I far prefer Participation games. Ones where you are firstly made to feel welcome in taking part. Where those running it take the time to explain things and are interested in showing how it works etc. The one thing I do wish is, more participation games, would have better clear and concise information on the game, the scenario, the rules being used and the figure and table. Some do this really well, but some sadly don't. Nice clear information boards with big font sizes are always handy. And a map.
There are big chunks of history I have only a rudimentary knowledge of. I blame that on dire history teachers, who could have bored the skin of an orange!  But I digress. So when I see an interesting table, say ancients, I won't know which sides are which (unless they are Romans and Celt's) and if I cannot see/find the info, I tend to just move on to see what other tables there are. And I am sure I am not alone in doing so.

Monday, 3 October 2011

JTFM 1/56 WW2 Vehicles - Price Reduction

A bit of news from over on TMP:

Jeff has reduced his prices on some of his range. And the price reduction should be passed onto their sub suppliers. So hopefully here in the UK, might seen them dip.

As far as 1/56th scale WW2 vehicles go. JTFMs range is the best in terms of detail and range. Warlord are still expanding theirs, but I have found the detailing on JTFM models is quite something indeed. The only issue has been in last twelve months, Bob at Wargames Command post has stopped stocking them, which is a shame, as the prices have edged up too.

Still one of the best ranges and well worth a look. Currently available from Great Escape Games and North Star in the UK. Or direct from them;

Photo by Troops of Shew reproduced from TMP

Photo by Troops of Shew reproduced from TMP

These two examples of the Panzer IVs and the Shermans from JTFM are from Troops of Shew painting service. Though he has obviously done a fair bit extra to these, the basic models each comes with a big bag stowage, track sections, ammo boxes etc, that you can happily spent hours sticking on and placing to make each vehile an individual. I just wish I could paint mine that well.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Derby Wargames Show 1st Oct 2011 Photos and Report

Up at 5.30am. Picked up club mates at 7.00am. Picked up another club mate at 8am and on our way to Derby. Roads clear, sunny hot day, and so got to venue for 9.00am.
Not allowed in this year till 9.30am. (Previousl years been allowed to get food, in cafe, but not this year).

The main hall lower area.
The show layout was the usual. Though this year they had some demo games in a hall to the rear of the main one. Which had to be accessed from the out side. This was poorly sign posted really and I think a lot of people didn't realise they were there at all. Assuming it was part of the competition.
Main hall ramp way. Offensive miniatures on left.

Demo game. The churches on this board were scratch built. Lovely!
There were some lovely demonstration games and even some participation games. This one above had some stunning scratch build scenery.
The table was very nice. Infact I thought was the nicest there.

A scratch build, that was very very nicely done.

Ainsty has a new range of 28mm figures. Inc Captain Scarlet!

Ainsty Casting were back and with a range of new releases from Pirate ships to Captain Scarlet figures and mad scientists. Some lovely pieces and I can see a few winding their way into my collection at a later date. The pirate ships were impressive lumps of resin and with nice white metal detailing.
New Pirate Ship models from Ainsty. These are lovely.

Ainsty sewer setup.

28mm Captain Scarlet figures and scientists. Nice.

Captain Scarlet - had to ressist very hard, from buying these.
Ainsty have some new released out and their range is still expanding.

Warlord Games Operation Squad Demo Game

I was keen to see Operation Squad, being played. As warlord had dumped "Rules of Engagement" it seems in favour of their own rule set. Not seen it played and so watched with interest. My first impressions I have to say, was not good. The game seemed too complex, and it did not grab me. I had a quick flick through the rule book (see photo below). Production wise I was, dissapointed. Its not perfect bound, the ink was rubbing off several pages from use and, though there are images etc in side. I was not impressed enough to buy it. I think I will stick with RoE for my platoon games and our home rules for squad ones.
Warlord Games Operation Squad Demo Game

Warlord Games Operation Squad Rule Book - Tokens etc.
The Operation Squad Rule book and a few tokens. See comment above.
28mm Romans Game. Nice!
On a up point, I did like this Roman 28mm game. The table was nice and I could feel myself thinking it would be nice to do ancients. But not this year.. thats one for about 2020 at my current rate.
6mm Gettysburg Game - Impressive as it was about 2x2' in size.
Now for something tiny.. 6mm.. The gettysberg game was impressive for the tables detailing and miniatures. Though the table is more like 2mm scale. The chap running it was very helpfull and enthusiastic and i can see a lot of effort went into it. I know very little on ACW. Its like ancients a period I would like to game but not yet. He obviously loved the period and was well read on the subject. And won the friendliest demo game award from me, for theshow.

Desert WW2 game. No one would tell me what it was about.
In complete contrast is this WW2 game. I stood and watched and tried to find out what it was about. The two chaps I saw playing it, ignored me! So I carried on. Table looked interesting, but if you are not prepared to talk to show-goers why are you there?

Nice board, not the most forthcoming demonstration.

Nice board, again no info easy to find.
OK, I couldn't find any info on this game, and I must have cought them at lunch or something. See empty chairs.
See above.

Like the models and terrain.

I did like the figures and scenery. Some nice work.

The roman game. Hmmm tempting.
Nice Roman Game in 28mm

ECW game in 28mm
A very nice ECW game. Another period I know little on and hold little interest at the moment. But hats off to them for a nice table and lovely figures.
Middle floor area in Main Hall

Some 28mm / 1:48 scale resin terrain.

Field Works no longer do their 28mm items any more. Shame.

Tomorrow's War by Ambush Alley on Caliver Books Stand along with Ambush Valley for Force on Force.
I thought Tomorrow's War was not out yet or Ambush Valley for Force on Force. But there were copies for sale from Caliver. I did not indulge, as I have the original Ambush Valley.

So over all a fun day out with friends. The lack of personal hygene issues were evident again. I had to vacate the bring and buy on two occasions. . The rugby fans were screaming when England Won, wathcing the tele in the main hall a trader I presume had brought.

The food and drink in the cafe was ok. Not too pricy. The living history and re-enactors were present, and had some nice bits to see and talk about.

My overall spend was about £21 on four books and a pot of basetex paint from colourparty. So not the biggest shopping trip, but a fun and relaxing day out. Weather was a definite benefit.

So thats it, I think for the year, show wise now!