18 April 2015

Cossacks vs Muscovites: Delay the enemy AAR

Earlier this year I ordered a painted up army of Cossacks from the court painter over at Wargamer.pl. I had seen his work on some kickstarter armies and was confident he would provide me with a solid tabletop standard using painting techniques that I liked.

In total the army can be maxed out at around 20 points and includes:

8 wagons (4 with artillery)
6 mounted cossacks
18 Moloitsy
12 Registered Moloitsy
14 Cossack Rabble
2 Scouts
2 Plastuny

In other words, enough models to field the troops as an Allied regiment for my Polish-Lithuanian army as well as a variety of "builds" at skirmish level. So last weekend I brought a 15 point and Johan provided a 9 point Muscovite Border Dragoons who ended up with "Delay the enemy" on their scenario roll.

This is a scenario with two hills, and the objective for the defender is to prevent his opponent from capturing the hills as well as prevent him from moving any troops off the opposite table edge. The attacker needs to capture the hills and also attempt to move as many troops off the table as possible.
Playing a Cossack army I could pretty much forget about capturing the far away hill - and I had only my Plastuny to make a Flanking maneuver and to bring off the table. Everything else was a solid mass of slow moving infantry and war wagons.

12 April 2015

Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the cursed island review

Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the cursed island is a worker placement co-op game for 1-4 players where you take on the role as castaways trying to survive and escape 6 varied scenarios.
It's a game with a very strong theme, and a game that can be extremely unforgiving and difficult if you have bad luck, make poor decisions and/or the scenario objectives work against you in perfect synergy. 

Each scenario is set on an island and has its own starting conditions, objectives and special rules. As such most of the 6 scenarios included in the game play as a completely new experience. Being a co-op game it is fully suited for single-player gaming as well - in such cases you randomly pick one character and play with Friday and a dog. The first scenario is really a take on Robinson Crusoe, you are shipwrecked and have to build a huge fire to signal to ships that start to pass by the island on a certain turn. Beside building the bonfire you also have to gather food not to starve to death, build a shelter not to freeze to death, build improvements that can stand against the increasingly bad weather and possible wild animal attacks. 

02 April 2015

By Fire & Sword Grand tournament 2015 AAR

Much of the past month was spent preparing for the grand tournament in Warsaw, the guys at my club got to play the new Deluge book less than they had wanted to due to the late delivery. However we managed to try out many of the new rules and I toyed with several army lists up until the departure.

Initially I wanted to play the Royal city of Gdansk, I even made 3 army lists that I figured would be very competitive and fun to play at low/middle/high end points. Sadly I realized soon during my playtesting that the army would have a difficult time with the new Deluge scenarios, additional effects and pretty much formed a new (better) paystyle at the skirmish level. Deluge rewards mobile armies, and you will have a hard time with a very static force. Imo 7 out of the 10 scenarios in Deluge are very hard for static armies, and only 2 could be counted as directly favorable for static gunlines (defend the crossing and defend the village). 1 last scenario, "Delay the enemy" can also be played with static force but its imo risky to the point of being 50-50.

I was then considering bringing a Swedish force, but wanted to have dragoons - and lacked the models. So in the end I brought a Lithuanian army divided into 3 lists that looked like this:

Lithuania 1655-61
41 Recon points

On their own ground, Swimming, Left hand division Right hand division

Colonel 3 Command points
Rotamaster 1 command point
6 bases of armored Reiters
6 bases of Reiters
12 bases of Cossack style cavalry
10 bases of Volunteers
2 bases of Dragoons

06 March 2015

BF&S: Deluge rulebook review

My Kickstarter package arrived this week and I've spent some time browsing the new rulebook called "Deluge: Northern war 1655-1660". This new tome is made up of 248 pages and filled to the brim with news. There are new scenarios, new nations to be played, new takes on core-rules, new additional effects, new recon effects and a major overhaul for the Polish-Lithuanian army as well as replacement lists for the Swedes.

It is easy to be overwhelmed by the new content but let's stick with the major rule changes firsts:

The rules for charging have been rewritten to be more clear. Much effort has been put into guiding the player through each step of the charging process with all the different situations and options that may occur. These rules are covered on 4 pages.

Rules for ploughed fields, wheat fields and roads have been added - a much welcome addition (and they play pretty much like the guys at my club have been playing using house  rules.

Rifled weapons fire mode now have a 20cm short range! Better representing the accuracy of these weapons and making them even deadlier than before.

A major change has been written into the "Elite cavalry", which is now a hybrid formation that if formed like normal cavalry in closed order and moves like cavalry in open order. This will definitely speed up gameplay when using forces that have a ton of Elite Cavalry units, but also reduce the cheesy tactics available up to this point where you could exploit the insane maneuverability of saids units to envelope enemy units with a charge.

A completely new addition is the "Battalion rule" for Pike & Shot formations, in which you get a more coherent mixed arms formations of pikes, muskets and artillery that work together with great defensive bonuses. The Pike & Shot rules from the core rulebook have been re-written in such a way that troops have an easier time to pull off defensive pike walls against charging units with musketeers running behind the pikes. Artillery crews may now also benefit from the protection of pikemen should their  gun be charged. All in all this rule will make Pike & Shot regiments and battles against them much more dynamic and interesting imo.

26 February 2015

The Witcher Adventure Game [boardgame review]

I am crazy about everything Witcher related so I was initially super excited when I heard about a boardgame being made based upon the Witcher books. I got onto the bandwagon early with the digital version of the game released for tablets and had been playing it a bit but it didn't really satisfy me (never mind the online part playing with gamers suffering from acute ADD!).

Once the game was finally released as a proper boardgame my interest had cooled off a bit, I was no longer sure if it would be a good investment of money in relation to fun/depth/value. Following the release I was on the fence for a couple of days trying to read up on the game and what other people thought - the opinions were many and divided but generally the game seemed to fall into a average scores on review sites. It was really more a surplus of cash than anything that prompted me to buy this game in the end.

(What follows bellow will be my first review written in the reverse order with teh critique first and the positive aspects last)

So what exactly is the Witcher Adventure Game in terms of gameplay and style? Well, I would probably put it in the same category as such games as Talisman. It's a pretty casual game that is very easy to get into but does not offer too much in terms of depth. Basically it's a race for 2-4 people competing against each other. Every player attempts to finish a set number of quests before any other player and then you count the victory points. A "normal" game means finishing 3 "main quests", then there is the very long game that has 5 quests and you can play a shorter variant as well. 

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