This area of the website is my hobby blog, it contains articles about games that I have enjoyed playing together with paining and model making articles.
On Monday, Ann & I finally got round to starting our Burrows & Badgers campaign. This was our very first try out of the rules, but the campaign aspect of the game looked so great that we wanted to get stuck into it straight away. As it was our first game, we decided to try to keep it simple, so we played the 'Open Battle' scenario, and both just rolled for a single secondary objective. Coincidentally, we both rolled 'Showdown' which means extra experience for wounding or killing enemy leader with your own leader. Neither of us managed to pull it off though. We set up a 3' square playing area using some 1'x1', 1'x2', and 2'x2' Terra-Former terrain tiles. The battlefield featured a stream flowing from a rock pool / waterfall which had a number of fords and a lattive work bridge across it, together with a wooded area and a rocky depression. The tower is our dice tower and is not actually on the terrain board!
My Warband is the Royalist - Long March Patrol led by Sur Davros du Long March. You can check out the full details of the warband on an earlier hobby blog by clicking here.. As both forces were Warband Rating 40 with 5 models each we rolled off to see who choose sides. Ann won and chose the forested edge. I won the roll off to see who was attacker, so I got to move first. The Long March Patrol deploys using the lattice bridge and the nearby ford.
Ann decided to deploy Rufus' Roughcoats in an extended line in the forest. The Roughcoats are a spiffing bunch of likable 'Rogues' led by Ruffus (a well tooled up cat, sporting heavy armor and shield and skilled in the 'Killing Blow'). You can see there character cards in an earlier hobby blog by clicking here.
The encounter opened with some long range missile fire. The Roughcoats archer, Darley was first to open fire with him bow. Ann checks the range carefully, 17", that will do nicely!
Tantotalos, the otter is by archer. In first turn I decided to have him swim up stream (mainly because he's an otter and therfore can swim) to get into position behind the big boulders top left in photo.
Sur Davros, Hector the hound and Frances the fox advance cautiously round the edge of the dark forest.
It's not long before a scuffle breaks out when Sur Davros is charged by Ramus wielding a huge two handed war hammer, it looks like the fight is going Ramus' way, until Frances, leaps over the rickety fence and stands shoulder to shoulder with his liege lord.
Before long the scrap has escalated to a major melee with flailing steel and claws everywhere. The Ruffian Centus and the Royalist Hector get stuck into the action.
Combat in Burrows and Badgers is handled well, Characters have different dice (D4, D6, D8 etc.) for abilities. When you attack you roll your strike dice vs. your opponents block dice. There are a few, very intuitive modifiers (you get a bonus to strike if you charged 2" or more and you get a negative modifier to block if you are in base contact with multiple opponents). If you beat your opponent, the amount you beat them by modified by your strength and your opponents armour is the amount of damage you do. However, what makes it exciting is that if you roll a perfect roll, i.e. a 6 on a D6, a 8 on a D8, for example you get to add 7 to your dice score, which makes a big difference and represents that lucky, critical hit. At this point in the game Rammus the second in command or the Roughcoats has gone down as has Red Claw the second in Command of the March Patrol.
The game concluded with high drama. Sur Davros had been in the thick of the melee from the start, Centus had landed a perfect blow on him that had reduced him to 1 wound, he had somehow managed to withdraw from the melle and was rushing for cover of the rocks as fast as you can with 5 wounds. He did not make it as Darley the Roughcoats archer struck him down mid-flight with a lucky arrow shot.
In the previous turn, Centus had also fallen in the melee, meaning that both sides were now at 2 casualties per side, however the end came quickly, Tanotalos retaliated to the shot that had brought Sur Davros down with a well aimed volley that felled Darley. As the Roughnecks had 3 casualties at the end of the turn (above 50%) they had to take a rout test, which they failed, leaving the field to the 'March Patrol'.
This was a great game, I love the rules and we are looking forward to the next game in the campaign. The game was part of the campaign, so what was the impact of our first game?
The Royalist won so they got to roll 4D6 for pennies and 1 D4 for materials, gaining 18 pennies and 2 materials, however all of the characters that went down failed to avoid injury so Sur Davros suffered a head injury that throws him into violent rages (Beserk ability) and Red Claw suffered an arm injury so can now only use a single handed weapon.
The Rogues got to roll 2D6 for pennies and gained 12! All characters that went down failed rolls to avoid consequences so Darley picked up a leg injury, Rammus a hamstring injury and poor old Centus was taken captive.
In this game, victory comes at a cost. It reminds me of a quote from Waterloo,'the only sight sader than a battle won is a battle lost'.
The miniatures that we used are conversions using plastic bodies from Frostgrave, Perry Miniatures, Saga Plastics and Fireforge that we had left in our bits box from earlier projects, combined with Albedo Miniatures Critter Conversion Kits (metal heads and tails for converting miniatures to anthropomorphic versions).
The terrain boards are all made from Sally 4th Terra-Former kits, landscaped with scatter materials from Lukes Apps / Geek Gaming.
Last week Doug and I got started with our Vice Alley Western Campaign.
We had a trial game in this setting a couple of weeks ago, which had worked very well, so I decided to stick with my league, unchanged. As my league is made up of four sidekicks, I nominated Marshall 'Leather' Durham as there nominal leader.
The rest of the league includes Wilson 'Wild Hog' Hurley, Bernard 'Glory' Barnes and Ralph 'Wild Boy' Hicks. Durhams boys are Vigalantes, intent of tracking down the Spectre and ridding the West of his unhealthy presence.
We rolled up the scenario to start the campaign, and came up with a standard set up, major plot point in centre of table and four minor plot points at least 6" away from any other plot point. There had been a murder in town, and Missy May (the major plot point) had seen it all happen. The various clues were scattered around town and icluded the murder weapon (a curious heavy metal statue, painted balack and shaped like a bird), a blood stained journal, a camera and mysterious package.
The town was also troubled by three wandering perilous areas, (a flock of geese and a couple of dogs). Doug rolled up a Bystander as his scenario event and I rolled up 'Danger' making the wildlife especially dangerous.
I split my team in to two teams of two, with the thought that one could attempt the plot point while the other protected his back.
Doug double checks the scenario set up and carefully deploys his league. I'll try to remember to photocopy his roster so I can describe it in better detail, however he did take the traditional approach of a leader, a sidekick and some 6-gun fodder.
Doug's sidekick heads for the camera plot point at the corner of the Red Hotel, comes under heavy fire and takes a wound.
Miss May is still stunned by events and stays put in the center of town while the dog and bystander wander off.
What's this? Looks like 'Ralph 'Wild Boy' Hicks' has found a blood stained ornament. Peril and Challenge overcome in relative peace and quiet.
Meanwhile competition to find out what incriminating evidence was captured on film heats up, and Marshall Durham gets the worse off it.
However, luckily for him, he has backup. A shot from across the street takes Durhams assailant down, leaving the path open for 'Wild Hog' Hurley to grab the camera. Two plot point to the Vigilantes.
This much evidence in the bag, emboldens 'Bernard 'Glory' Barnes to have that chat with Miss May. However, he's initial opening line was a little untactful and he gets nothing out of her other than a slap around the face (he failed the peril but saved the health check, ending his activation).
Next wound Barnes apologises and Miss May spills the beans (Major plot point peril and challenge passed). Durham pulls himself together, and between them they silence the rest of the opposition.
The final result was two minor and a major plot point to Durhams Boys, meaning that they gain 4 influence and rolled up a 'Bar' as a location that they can use in the next game.
Another great game of Pulp Alley. If you've not tried it out, you can find out all about it by clicking here.
If you could use a few gunslingers or outlaws to start your own Old West campaign click here to take a look at Artizans Western Range.
The Long March Patrol led by Sur Davros du Long March
Inspired by much listening to Redwall Abbey tales as audible books, Ann and I are getting ready for the start of our Burrows and Badgers campaign
Ann has choosen a Royalist Warband,'The Long March Patrol' led by Sur Davros du Long March himself (he's the hound with the very large two handed sword). The warband contains two hounds, two otters and a fox.
This is their starting Warband record sheet, Ann's choosen a Ruined Farm as their Den, giving the Patrol free upkeep between missions from the farms orchards and gardens.. The first den upgrade is a smithy, this comes for free and will come into operation after the first game. After equiping the warband the coffers are pretty low, with just 3 pennies left over, hopefully they will have a profitable first adventure.
Sur Davros leads this proud patrol, he certainly knows how to wield that huge two handed sword, sporting a very respectable D10 strike dice, although his block has room for improvement although he has learnt a few defensive tricks and as a melee master is not going to suffer a penalty to his block for being outnumbered.
The Long March Patrol's second in command is a feisty otter by the name of Red Claw. He has benefited from some training while in Royalist service to bring his Strike ability up to D10 and as a otter adds +1 to damage and can swim.
Tanottalos, an otter equipped with a bow and sword and sporting a set of leather armor provides the patrol with some long range firepower.
Hector the hound is pretty adept with a spear and also wears a well worn set on leather armor. He to has benefited from some training in the Royalst barracks to bring his Strike skill up to D10.
The last member of the patrol is a cunning fox, Frances Downer, who wears leather armor and wields a long sword.
We're big fans of character / unit cards rather than roster sheets, so we've designed these cards and made one up for each anthropomorphic figure in our collection. As well as being a handy in game reference, you can flip the card over when a character has activated so that you can easily see who is still to activate and it helps with warband selection as you can pass someone a stack of cards from which they can keep choosing until they get to 350 pennies (or whatever limit has been set).
All of the figures are conversions. I've used left over plastic bodies and arms from my bits box from Frostgrave, Fireforge, Saga, Perry Miniatures together with Albedo Critter Conversion Kits. These are metal cast sets of heads and tails to enable any miniature to be converted to an anthropomorphic version. The miniatures have all been based on Sally 4th Clear Perspex bases which allow the figures to blend in with what ever terrain they are standing on.
Last year Nick & I commenced a journey to replay the original Games Workshop Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle game campaign scenarios, using the scenarios from the original editions of the rulebooks and the 'Journey' books. The approach that we are taking is to play both scenarios twice so that we both get the chance to play good and evil, so the final result can be a draw with one replay being a good victory and one being an evil victory or a convincing vistory for one side or the other. We decided to play each scenario as a stand alone game rather than having the effects of one influence the next. The reason for this is that the Hobbits are very fragile and an early loss of Frodo and the ring could of course completely change the whole course of the campaign.
This game is based on the Bucklebury Ferry incident where Frodo, Sam, Merry & Pipin are attempting to gain the safety of the ferry and put some running water between them and the mounted Ringwraiths. The scenario appears in the Fellowship of the Ring journey book and it also appeared as a scenario in the Games Workshop weekly in store campaign. We set up the scenery as somewhere between the two.
We played on a 4' square gaming table made up of Sally 4th Terra-Former modular terrain tiles. When I first played the scenarios, probably about 15 years ago when the 'Journey Book' was first published and I was running a hobby store, I constructed the river sections and ferry with the dimensions in the book. I still have that river and re-flocked it to match the Terra-Former tiles usingLukes Apps foam landscaping products, but when I laid it out it looked to narrow for the Brandywine river so I decided to use Terraformer canal sections instead so that we could just show one bank.
The four hobbits start off in the centre of the bottom edge of the table. For a 'Good' victory Frodo needs to make it on to the Ferry.
Three mounted Nazgul are deployed on the adjacent sides. They are tracking the hobbits, but have not sensed them yet so are subject to the sentries rule.
In the first game the hobbits concentrated their attacks on the Nazguls Mounts and managed to unhorse one early on in the game, reducing its mobility.
With two hobbits fighting one ringwraith, the little fellows hold their own for a few turns.
However, it is not long before more Nazgul pick up the scent and head towards the action.
Eventually they all arrive and get in to combat with Frodo, eliminating him with ease for an Evil victory, (Merry & Pipin had already suffered a similar fate).
In the second replay, the hobbits got a lot closer to the ferry, before their demise. The three companions form a defensice cordon around Frodo and head to the ferry building with the unity of a precision drill team.
Once again, the Nazgul close on the Hobbits.
After the first round of combat and pushbacks the hobbits become seperated allowing Nazgul to focus on individual targets.
This time the results are a lot closer, Frodo is just a single move away from the Ferry when he is killed by the Nazgul.
The game was a lot of fun. It is always good to play a scenario based on the books.
The result was a resounding 2-0 for Evil. It is quite a hard game for the hobbits to win as they slowly cross the table at 4" per turn. Although the Nazgul are slowed by the sentry rule, once they get moving they quickly cover the ground with 10" mounted movement.
The next game we are playing is 'Fog on the Barrow Downs'., which should be a lot of fun. It's a long time since I've used Tom Bombadil in a game!
We've stocked Burrows and Badgers ever since it was first published and I can remember when it first came in having a flick through it, admiring the photographs and line drawings and thinking that it would be a great game to play. However, 2018 was a pretty mad year at work with the release of our own anthropomorphic sci-fi game ACP164, so I did not get round to trying it out, but over the last few months we have had gamers email us saying how great our 'Critter Conversion Kits' (animal heads and tails) would be for converting miniatures for Redwall Abbey style games. To be honest at that point I had not heard of Redwall Abbey, so thought we had best check it out. We purchased, downloaded and listened to 'Redwall Abbey' and 'Murial of Redwall' and really enjoyed the stories, and resolved to start a B&B campaign in 2019.
Our first game is scheduled for Friday afternoon, so Ann & I have both created warbands in preperation. My warband is led by a cat called Rufus and they are Rogues based in a Ruined Farmhouse.
I'm a big fan of character cards rather than roster sheets as it enables me to flip them over once a character has activated so that I don't miss any one out in the heat of battle.
I'm not sure if I've picked an optimum warband or not, as I have just choosen characters that I have already in my collection that I like the look off. All the models are based on plastic parts from my bits box from Frostgrave, Fireforge, Perry Miniatures together with Albedo Critter Conversion Kits to turn them into anthropomorphic characters.
Ruffus is the leader of the warband so he has been given an upgrade to his Strike skill plus the Killing blow skill.
Rammus is the second in command. He has taken the Weaponskill ability that boosts his Strike & Block skills, and has a boost to his concealment from the warband being 'Rogues'
Rammus has his concealment boosted from the leagues 'Rogue' benefits.
The first game scheduled for Ruffus is Friday (18th January) so check back next week to find out how they have got on!
Albedo Combat Patrol ACP164 is a hard science, gritty skirmish game.
It is based on the anthromorphic world of Steve Gallacis comics, which gives the setting 20 plus years of background detail, however if you don't like the setting, no problem as underneath the bonnet ACP164 is a gritty squad level hard sci-fi skirmish game that work well with any genre.
We decided to play through the ACP164 introductory scenario using human troops, pitting Federation troopers against Rebel Alliance Freedom Fighters.
The troops are the standard EDF & ILR troops that are available in thestarter set or unit boxes, we have just swapped the heads out for human sci-fi heads.
The Federation troopers have some resin puppetswar judge dredd style helmets. The bodies are EDF Heavy Infantry and three figures are armed with LAKW 1-56 Assault Rifle while the grenadier has a carbine with underslung grenade launcher.
The Rebel Alliance team are based onILR trooper bodies, 4 are armed with LAKW 1-56 Assault Rifles, one has a LMG, loader has a carbine with folded stock and the quad leader has a Machine Pistol. The heads are a mixture of barbarian heads from Victrix from my bits box and some resin Mohawk heads from Puppetwars.
Ann choose to play the Federation troopers. There are less of these but they have better body armour and better training, counting as Regular shots in a firefight.
As we were playing the recce-probe introductory scenario, my mission was to exit one figure through the Federations deployment zone so they could report on positions in depth.
I decided to send my LMG team left flanking to try to suppress a path on the left hand edge of the table.
Unfortunately, as soon as they cleared the corner of the building a Federation Trooper was sucessful in there reaction fire test and caused a critical head shot on the gunner. First blood to Ann and the Federation!
The Rebel Alliance assault team move into position, making best use of cover.
Unfortunately, for the rebels the LMG loader was pinned following the burst of fire that brought the gunner down, before he could act to retrieve the weapon he also became a casualty.
At the end of the first turn the table looked like this, Anns Federation Troopers had gone firm in good cover, trhe Rebels had lost there fire team but there assault team were working there way around the courtyard of the building, bottom right.
ACP164 is normally played as a platoon level game, with whole squads activating at once, however to enable players to get gaming straight away we have developed some introductory scenarios that are a similar level to WH40K Killteam. At this level each figure is a 'unit' in its own right, and get's its own activation dice.
Rebel Alliance fighters are a bout to break cover on there right flank.
Meanwhile on the Rebels left flank, the first trooper sprints across the yard to the safety of the doorway. However once again. Anns trooper first manages to reaction fire and then scores a wounding hit on the figure which means he can not complete his movement.
On the rebels right flank another Federation Trooper takes up a good fire position, using the corner of the building for cover.
Before the trooper from the assault party can recover from being pinned, he his hit by another round and taken out of the game.
When the group on the rebels right flank also took casualties, the Rebels thought better of this particular probe and decided to retreat, regroup and try there luck another day.
This was a great little game, Ann won by a large margin preventing the recce probe from penetrating her lines and causing considerable rebel casualties.
The rules are available as a free PDF download with any purchase of an Albedo Miniatures Squad set.
The terrain is made from a Terra-Fomer multi-layout terrain set. This contains building sections that can be laid out in lots of different configerations.
A few weeks ago Nick & I decided to revisit Games Workshops, Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle. This is a game that has gone through a lot of different versions, I am playing with the original version 'The One Rule book', Nick has the very latest copy, but at the end of the day it still boils down to you both roll a D6, highest roll wins, if a tie highest fight value wins, is still a tie, enie-minie-minie-mo! A simple and fun game, as long as you don't take it to seriously.
Our plan is to start at the beginning of the story, and work our way through the scenarios starting with the Fellowship journey book. As many of the scenarios are a bit unbalance, we are playing through twice so we both get to play both sides.
The minatures are all original releases, brought and painted up when first released 12-15 years ago. At that time I was running a games store, so had made all of the special scenery pieces that the scenarios required. I have however taken the opportunity to freshen them up a bit. I know use 'Lukes Apps - Geek Gaming' scenic materials as my default choice, they just win hands down on range and quality. The terrain boards are all based on 12" square Terra-Former modular terrain tiles. These are kits to build frames with consistant profiles for hills, streams, roads, rivers, canals, cliffs etc and encorporate strong rare earth magnets for perfect alignment and to stop terrain drifting apart mid game.
The first two scenarios in the Fellowship Journey book feature the Dunadain, Rangers of the North defending the borders of The Shire from the Nazgul who have been dispatched to search for 'Baggins'.
This was an interesting match, the Nazgul are fielded in there weakest state, so 7 Will but no might or fate. Each time that they cast a magical ability or fight a round of combat they lose a point of Will and when they get to zero Will they dissapear as the magical energy that holds them together is spent. This means that the evil player needs to make careful decisions about which abilities to use.
The Dunadain, on the other hand are pretty handy with a bow and arrow, but it's low strength combined with the Nazhuls high defence means that you need to roll a 6 followed by another 5 or 6 to actually cause a wound, however if you can get enough shots off you only need to cause a single wound.
Both of the Dunadain vs Nazgul scenarios had victory conditions based on the number of Nazgul that can cross the table and exit opposite side, to head for the Shire. We played both scenarios twice and two were won by Evil and two by Good.
Flight from the Shire
The first scenario that features characcters from the fellowship is based on 3 frightened hobbits assisted by Gildor, an elven hero evading the attention of 3 Nazgul on foot. For the fellowshop to win, Frodo needs to exit far side of the table.
The hobbits set up in contact with the hedge. One Nazgul sets up behind them, center of table and two Nazgul set up at the center of each side. Gildor set up centre of far side of table.
The three hobbits are lost and afraid so at the start of the game they have to pass a courage check to activate.
The Nazgul do not know where the hobbits are, so they are subject to the sentries rule until they get close enough to sniff the hobbits out.
Gildor takes a shortcut through the forest to come to the hobbits aid. As he is a 'woodland creature' the difficult terrain does not slow him down.
Eventually all 3 Nazgul get on the scent and close in on the hobbits.
In one of the games, Frodo slips out of there clutches and makes a bid for freedom, while Gildor holds the Nazgul at bay.
This scenario was played twice with one victory to good and another to Evil.
In November Dungeonwork Architects were giving away some nice 3D printer files for a Banquet model set (table, chairs, food and tableware), this happened to coincide with us discovering Redwall Abbey which is an anthropomorphic fantasy series that features a lot of banquets and food descriptions. This got me thinking that the banquet files were great when printed, but would be even better with some miniatures sitting at the tables.
The seated miniatures are 'The Seated Crowd' figures, which were designed for sitting in our Blood Bowl Stadiums, but are also great for filling our Fantasy or Medieval Taverns, click here for more details. The seated figures have been converted using Albedo Miniatures 'Critter Conversion Kits'. These are head and tail sets for dogs, cats, rabbits, otters, foxes etc. that allow you to take any miniature and easily convert it ino an anthropomorphic 'critter'. Click here for details.
Last week Doug and I got together for another fantastic game of Pulp Alley
We had not played Pulp Alley for several months so our trigger fingers were itching to give a western themed game a go as we have been talking about having another play through of 'Vice Alley' using outlaws and lawmen.
As we had not played for a while, we decided to keep it simple, so we choose the 'Smash and Grab' scenario from the main rule book. In this scenario, all the plot points are on the table at the start of the game. The major plot point in the center of the table and the four minor plot points anywhere on the table that is at least 6" from another plot point or the edge of the table.
We decided to have four movable perilous areas. These were represented by a dog and three horeses, who were obviously very spooked by the gun fire. At the end of each turn these moved D6" in a random direction projecting a 3" diameter periolous area around them.
The stray horses, proved just as dangerous as the flying lead!
For my league, I had focussed on quality rather than quantity. I took the 'Com,pany of Heroes' perk that allowed my league to include four sidekicks, Marshall 'Leather' Durham, the leader for this game (Quick Witted & Sharp), Bernard 'Glory' Barnes (a Deductive Veteran), Ralph 'Wild Boy' Hicks (a Daredevil Veteran) and WIlson 'Wild Hog' Hurley (A Quick Shooting, Eagle Eyed, Shotgun wielding SOB!), we also gained a Level 1 Brawler as a random scenario event, although he did not last the day, as is often the way.
Doug took a different approach and seemed to field a cast of hundreds, (well quiet a few).
In traditional style our leages deployed at opposite ends of the main street, my league split up heading for minor plot points hidden in the back lots and side streets.
Doug's crew emerged from a side street between the Saloon and the Bank and a savage fire fight errupted that lasted several turns (but did not cause the off duty cow hands to spill the beer they were sampling out side the saloon).
Here we see Bernard 'Glory' Barnes and Wilson 'Wild Hog' Hurley captured for Time Life Magazine by a passing photographer while taking cover behind some handy sacks and barrels while tradding shots with one of Doug's sharpshooters.
Distracted by the photographer, they were very surprised when a stick of dynamite landed behind the crates!
However, this low down trick was not enough to carry the day and Marshall Durhams boys slowly whittle down the opposition.
Eventually Doug's leader goes down in a 'Blaze of Glory' leaving the Marshall in possesion of the major plot point plus two minor plot points.
Another great nights entertainment from Pulp Alley that has left us both eager to refine our leagues and get started with an Old West themed Vice Alley campaign.
Albedo Combat Patrol, ACP164 is a new 28mm science fiction miniatures game set in Steve Gallachi's “Albedo Anthropomorphics” universe.
Fast paced, easy to learn rules combine with a unique range of miniatures, vehicles and terrain to produce a fun and excitingly different SF gaming experience
Sally4th spent three days with the great guys over at Beasts of War filming some Interviews and 'Lets Play' videos about Albedo Combat Patrol
.... so if you want to see and hear what it is all about check out some of the videos that we made.