Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Warmachine (New Minis)

I have been on a buying kick these last two weeks.  For some reason, I have wanted to put together a full fledged, no proxy, army.  I finally got Strakhov and the guard dog primed and ready for painting.  I have cleaned and assembled my Iron Fang Pikemen as well as my Assault Kommandos.  I got the Great Bears ready and my new caster, The Butcher.  I also got one of the plastic jacks kit that lets you make three types of jacks.  I bought magnets so I can swap out the arms, and weapons, etc.  This is the coolest project I have started.  The real challenge is finding someone to play.  Everyone seems real busy with life in general that everyone wants to play but nobody will commit to a time to play.  My glorious force of the motherland may never see the light of day.  Ahh well.

On a fun note, I have joined a competition about playing.

see the bottom of the post

Pics if I can get all my stuff together this weekend

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


By far, the game I have enjoyed playing the most over the past 2 years is a game called Manoeuvre.  Manoeuvre is a Napoleonics game.  It was designed to be learned quickly and played in under an hour.  The game is absolutely one of my favorites.  In this post, I will try to give the flavor of the game and a rundown of each nation and their strengths.

Size Does Matter
The game is played by two players over a 4 square map.  Each square is divided into a 16 (4x4) grid.  This makes a map that is 8 squares by 8 squares.  The tight nature of the map encourages strategic thinking as well as forcing players into conflict after the first turn or so.  The different map squares sport different kinds of terrain, and this is part of the charm and appeal of the game.  The design allows for infinite replayability.
The pieces are typical cardboard chits, larger than in a wargame, but well suited for play.  Each nation has 8 units representing units that existed at the time.  The units are augmented by a deck of cards that detail the combat capability of the units as well as tactical cards that allow units to heal, move outside of their turn, build defensive groundworks, leaders, ambush, etc.  The mix of cards and abilities are different depending upon each nation and their military skill at the time.  Thus, France and Britain are the best armies of the game and the USA and Austria are the weakest.

The Game is Afoot
A turn consists of discarding cards and refilling your hand to 5, moving one unit, and then attacking with a unit.  Lastly, you may heal a unit or build a redoubt also with the play of a card.  Card management is the crux of the game.  In order to attack, you need to have a card that matches the unit you wish to attack with.  Then the defender has the option of playing a card to add to its defense.  The attacker may then play a leader card to bring in other units adjacent to the defending unit.  Dice are rolled and a simple calculation is used to determine losses.  If the die roll is less than the defense, that attacker takes a loss.  If the die roll is equal to the defense the defender chooses to retreat one space or take a loss.  Twice the defense and the attacker chooses.  Three times the defense and the defender takes a loss and retreats.  Four times the defense and the defender is eliminated.  If there is no retreat, the defender is eliminated.  In order to win you need to eliminate 5 units or get the most victory points at sundown.  Sundown is when both players have exhausted their decks one time.   Each player calculates victory points based on where they are in the opposing side's terrain.  The most vp's wins.

France- The best army in the game.  France has the highest attack on their cards, and the most maneuverability of any country.  They can make a mistake here and there and still recover from it.
 Britain- England has the best overall attack and defense in the game.  They are a good match for France.  They have excellent leaders and high attack values on their units.
Russia- Great defensive cards.  Russia can let the battle come to them and then stonewall.  A solid counterattack and they can dominate.  (My favorite faction).
Turkey- Lots of cavalry and that means pursuit losses.  Turkey is very agile on the field and can even take down France if they play conservatively enough.  I have won the most with Turkey, I think.
Prussia- An average country that has no real strength in any one area.
Spain- Weak leaders and low values make this a country that could handicap a better player versus a new player.  Spain does have guerrillas which allow it to cancel some tactics.  Very helpful for picking off wounded units.
Austria- Similar to Prussia but not as good.  This country is the weakest.
USA- A bit better than Austria due to its use of ambush.  I still don't think it is very competitive, but it is a fun country to play against.  Very unpredictable.

All in all, this game is a phenomenal game that wargamers and eurogamers both should like.  And you can get it now that it has been reprinted. 
Keep up to date with wargaming news here at my buddy Steve's blog.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Horus Heresy

I have had a chance to play a couple of games of Horus Heresy lately, so here is a review of the game.

Horus Heresy is a big box game published by Fantasy Flight Games.  It makes use of their recent partnership with Games Workshop and is set in the Warhammer 40K universe during the most tumultuous time in mankind's history.  The game itself is a remake of a game published in 1993 by Games Workshop and designed by Jervis Johnson.  This new version has a lot of similarities in theme to the original, but it replaces the chits and hex with area movement and miniatures.  At the start of the game, Terra is besieged by a rebellious leader named Horus and the Emperor must stave off his attacks until reinforcements arrive.  There are lots of marines, tanks, demon hordes, titans, thunderhawks and general mayhem to keep even the bloodthirstiest of us content.
Game Components
As is typical with Fantasy Flight games, the production pieces are fantastic.  The miniatures are sculpted well and give the game a lot of flavor.  One negative I do have with the pieces is the emperor's forces are grey and a few are very difficult to tell apart.  They scream out for a paint job. 
The map is fantastic with 3D terrain built in for spaceports, the palace, fortresses and factories.  It makes the orange landscape look very forbidding.  The map board has a tactical area and a strategic area.  One complaint is that the pieces don't always fit neatly on the board.  This is an annoyance, I agree, but not a big deal.
Game Play
A typical game turn consists of playing action cards to the strategic map or the tactical map.  Each action you take costs time.  The Emperor wants time to move quickly...Horus does not.  If you play a card to the strategic board or activate a card on the strategic board it costs 1 action point (time).  If you play from your hand to the main board it costs the amount listed on the card. 
Combat is handled by using cards.  There are not dice rolled at all.  Each iteration of combat allows the players to play cards based on the round of combat.  1st round is one card.  2nd round is two cards and so on.  There are two victory conditions; control all four space stations or eliminate Horus or the Emperor. 
I like this game a lot.  I have only played the Horus side, and like my blog's name I remain restrained about losing every game.  I really like the way combat works with the cards.  There are a lot of tactical considerations to make about the timing of cards.  The Horus side has a lot of work to do to win.  Everything is stacked against them.  That is not to say that the Emperor has an easy time of it.  At the beginning of the game, some units may betray the Emperor and join the side of chaos.  There is also a lot of strategy that goes into using leaders in combat.  I need a few more games to give a final verdict, but this is a game I would play often enough as it is a quick play (about 2 hours tops)!  I find it engaging and stressful at times, which is the mark of a good game in my book.