30 August 2014

Brink of Battle: Epic Heroes fantasy rulebook review

Following the release of Brink of Battle, writer Robert Faust has been busy working on his follow up release and expansion for fantasy themed gaming. The original ruleset works perfectly for recreating pretty much any type of historical force and soldiers for skirmish games but it didn't fully support fantasy settings. 

With the release of Epic Heroes you get indeed a truly Epic expansion book, totaling 223 pages it is 100 pages longer than the core rulebook and filled to the brim with so many new profiles, traits, powers and spells that it is both impressive and overwhelming at the same time at first glance.

Not only does the book burst with content, the production value of the expansion book is also amped up, with full color print, improved graphic style for examples and in-game pictures of a variety of BoB: Epic Heroes games in progress to show off the diversity of the rules.

The book starts of by introducing new concepts to the Brink of Battle system. The game still uses the "Period 1,2,3" settings to roughly place your game within a framework for how developed the technology is (roughly translating it the period 1 being sword and sandals, period 2 medieval/renaissance, period 3 early modern/modern). 
This means that a fantasy setting can be placed in a high fantasy world, weird WW2, Victorian horror and modern Lovecraft games and so on. The book is not only "high fantasy" mind you and it's important to stress this fact.

To help players narrow down and highlight the chosen setting for their fantasy games an additional tweak called "Power Level". The game features Power Level 1, 2 and 3 traits, spells, items and powers. Power level 1 games use barely any magic or fantasy elements, and would be perfect for Victorian horror, steampunk and adventure type gaming. Power level 2 is pretty much the default fantasy setting, while power level 3 is high fantasy and includes all types of magic, crazy magical creatures and monsters as well as super powerful traits allowing you to build very powerful characters and monsters.

26 August 2014

Royal City of Gdansk infantry regiment

The Gdansk infantry are now all painted up and I finished the bases late this evening. I still have enough miniatures for two more bases but the Gdansk skirmish list allows only 10 bases of musketeers and 2 bases of sharpshooters so I will probably save the remaining minis for something different.

Very happy with this regiment and will give them a baptism of fire this weekend. Hope to get some armoured Reiters painted up as well for my Gdansk force but it's a tight schedule...

Also a reminder about the ongoing Kickstarter for By Fire & Sword: Deluge which is nearing its end with only 4 days to go!

16 August 2014

BF&S Royal City of Gdansk infantry

Began painting infantry for the Royal city of Gdansk skirmish force which uses a lot of Reiters with arquebus (armoured and unarmoured), mercenary new type infantry and militia cavalry. These models are the Gdansk militia on foot miniatures which I will be using as all Gdansk infantry in that list. I also intend to use them in the Courland skirmish force and other Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth lists that utilize new type infantry with muskets as I really like the models.

Featured here are 3 bases of infantry and 2 bases of sharpshooters. Also a Gdansk commander painted up a few months back which I have been using as a command base for "western type" troops.
Limited painting time has forced me to adapt a new painting approach, I'm painting one base of infantry a day. We'll see how that will transfer on the cavalry miniatures needed later on (need to paint up militia and armoured Reiters).

However, I was digging through my BF&S stash and found a ton of minis that I had forgotten that I had, like Veteran Reiters, Invincibles Command, Imperial Commanders etc so my upcoming Reiter and command units will be full of cool looking character minis. I also have a bunch of awesome Polish special character intended for command teams which will be painted later once the Gdansk troops are finished. If all goes well I may end up running a Gdansk skirmish force in the Swedish tournament in September.

15 August 2014

Pictures from recently played BF&S games

Last two weekends the guys at the club played By Fire & Sword as a warmup for the upcoming Swedish tournament in September and in anticipation of the imminent release of the Deluge expansion book currently running as a Kickstarter.

I myself tried out a couple of the new forces hinted at during the Kickstarter so far, the Swedish Erik Jönsson's raiding force made up of Swedes, Transylvanians and Cossack units - as well as the new Polish levy of nobility skirmish force led by Samuel Oskierko.

The Swedish force was impressive and fun to play with. The raw power of Swedish veteran Reiter's armed with arquebus backed up by light Transylvanian household cavalry with skill 5 and armed in a Polish-Lithuanian style (bow/musketoon) made them a great backing unit to offer accurate firepower on the move. The mounted Cossacks were also a nice addition and lend a nice tactical choice of having them as mounted troops or dismounted infantry - using  "Rifled barrels" to fire their 50cm sniping shots at enemy commanders. This force also features strong recon points for its small size, and the average FPS value of the list will make surely lend itself well for being the defensive side often enough in which case the small number of hard hitting troops will do well.

I think the skirmish force will prove popular, and may be a good starting force for newcomers simply because of the quality of the units and not having to paint that many stands. It surely plays easier than the Polish Winged hussar skirmish list.

The other new list, the Volunteers led by Samuel Oskierko also proved fun. I love the Volunteers and really look forward to all the Polish-Lithuanian partisan lists of the Deluge book. The Swedish invasion of the Commonwealth is PERFECT for small sized skrimish battles and partisan forces represent the opposition against the invaders quite well. While the original Volunteer list of the main rulebook is very difficult to play well, the Volunteers led by Oskierko have a few details that make the list a bit more playable and fun. You can now field up to 4 bases of regular troops, (Cossack style cavalry or Dragoons).

My choice would be to go for the Dragoons to get some boots on the ground for defensive scenarios and the increased firepower. Cavalry can be fielded aplenty with the numerous Volunteer bases you get for low FSP value just like in the original list. And Oskierko has "Obedience" just like the original Volunteer list command, but on top of that Oskierko also allows your Volunteers to benefit from Reconnaissance effects at a small discount and can allow one unit to re-roll their morale test during Rally attempts (much needed with low morale units!).

One thing these troops are missing though is "Swimming" so they cannot cross rivers like regular Polish or Lithuanian skirmish forces, making them rely on flanking units when attempting to capture objectives like the bridge in River crossing.

I can't wait until the Deluge book is released and we get 10 new skirmish scenarios, previews are very promising and the guys at the club can now finally match their enthusiasm for the game with painted minis on the table. Hopefully the tournament in September will turn BF&S into one of the "regular" games down at the club alongside Bolt Action and FoW.

Oh, and I returned to painting BF&S minis this week and am painting up infantry and cavalry for the Royal City of Gdansk skirmish force. Will post pictures of the infantry bases painted up so far tomorrow.

11 August 2014

Cthulhu finished

Finished painting the "Reaper Bones" Cthulhu miniature last night and the base this morning. Here are some pictures of him against a themed background and one picture showing the size of the miniature compared to regular 28mm minis. I decided against matt varnishing him in order to keep the slimy/wet look on the skin.

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