Sunday, May 1, 2016

Tomorrow's War participation game approaching!

On May 21st the Dutch Conflict Simulation society (DuCoSim) will celebrate its 40th birthday!

I thought it fitting to stage a seriously big and good-looking particpation game and chose Tomorrow's War as the ruleset.

While I am still working on the scenario and handout material, the table and figures have been finished. So here's some eye-candy for the time being. Watch this spot for mor news!

Oh and the game will be hosted on May 21st in Theater De Flint in Amersfoort NL. There will be two games starting at 1100 and 1400.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Various Frostgrave and Shadows of Brimstone paintings

Some staged pictures for a wintery Frostgrave scenario 

Vendel Reivers battle DeeZee wolves in the woods around Felstad.

A Heresy Werewolf ambushes a Warlord (or was it a Perry?) archer.

Hobbits, the quintessential Thieves

Some ancient adventurers, most likely Grenadier or perhaps Ral Partha

And a few professional adventurers of more recent stock. The middle one -don't ask me why- might die a lot....

Rangifer based on Imaginative Miniatures' Waldvolk. 

Made for Shadows of Brimstone but eminently suitable as a large metal construct for Frostgrave this Targa Guardian makes for a magnificent model. 

Flying Frog Serpent People for Shadows of Brimstone

And slithering towards the end of this blog post this really yucky Swamp Slug

Friday, February 26, 2016

En Garde review: touché!

Once more Osprey has released one of their little gems in the Osprey Wargames series. A Rennaissance successor to Ronin called En Garde is the latest addition. 

En Garde is a tabletop skirmish wargame based on the Ronin rules "engine" en set in the Rennaissance period. Meant to be played with some 5-20 figures per side it covers the historical period from around 1550 to 1750. That means fans of the Three Musketeers, Alatriste, the Border Reivers and all kinds of small actions in the English Civil-, Thirty Years- and Eighty Years War have finally found their ruleset! 

Cardinal's Guards sneaking through an alley
It is written in the standard Osprey format: A5 booklet in full colour across 64 pages providing a complete ruleset. Apart from the rules the book offers special rules, army lists as diverse as Conquistadores and Aztecs, Musketeers and Turkish Janissaries, scenarios and some tips on making your own army lists and reading.

But how does it play and how does it compare to its parent ruleset Ronin? 

Just like in Ronin a turn has a Priority (Initiative + Morale) , Movement, Combat and End (Combat results) phase. The Action Phase however has been dismissed. 

Also like Ronin the game has an alternate turn sequence. Players move their figures alternately starting with the player with highest Priority moving one first, then the other player moves one et cetera until all figures have been moved. 

Aramis in serious trouble....

This achieves the same tactical depth in the game, as figures strive to maneuver into the best positions one by one. Unlike Ronin, En Garde enables group Activations by ordering groups around a Commander (an Attribute for high-ranking figures) to execute the same action all at once. Deadly musket volleys ensue! 

D'Artagnan escaping through the back door of the tavern

Missile weapons only fire once per turn in En Garde and usually must be reloaded, which also takes a turn. As the Action Phase has been removed, firing and reloading missile weapons now happens in the Move Phase instead of Moving or (modified) after a Short Move. Miscellaneous actions happen in this Phase as well, instead of or alongside a Move. 

The terrific Combat system from Ronin has been transplanted and improved. While in Ronin combatants could use chits from their Combat Pool to simply enhance attacks or defences, in En Garde opponents may choose from a number of specific enhancements. Parries, Feints, Ripostes and Mighty Blows all cost Combat chits but deliver different benefits and penalties. Selecting your Combat Pool is now only the beginning. 

This results in opposed die rolls where the difference between the rolls determines a succesful attack or defence. Only succesful attacks may cause damage and the larger the difference, the more serious the damage. 

Poor old Planchet laid low by a musket volley
In practice this results in a tense and quick game wherein a skilled Musketeer can hold his own against a horde of knife-wielding ruffians, may play for time by Feinting but may still be overwhelmed by their numbers before reinforcements show up. 

The black powder firearms are slow to reload, but have range and are especially lethal at short range. Interestingly, pistols may play a part in close combat. 

The book includes 8 scenarios and a simple campaign system. Inspiration for more scenarios is not hard to find in movies and books of the period. There are even tips for adding Fantasy elements like witches, werewolves and Revenants and a certain duo of large Barbarian and wiry Thief
As yet untried is a simplified Attack procedure also included in the book to facilitate larger group actions. 

Conclusion: like its predecessor Ronin En Garde is an interesting, quick playing game with lots of athmosphere for the period it is placed in. Recommended! 

I already have a Dutch Revolt table in mind.......

En Garde
64 pages paperback
By Craig Woodfield
Osprey Publishing 2016

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

PolderCon 2016: bigger and better!

After months of preparation the second edition of PolderCon finally became reality. 

The idea was conceived a few years ago by two friends who liked the idea of a convention where you could play all day instead of just watching and buying stuff. The first 2015 edition received quite favorable feedback so it was no wonder we were encouraged to try and improve on it! 

PolderCon is almost completely crewed by volunteers. All participation games and workshops are hosted by hobby enthousisasts who share their passion and skills with the visitors. There are a few traders present who support the games and workshops but the main event is Play and Do! 

So last Sunday in the deep of night (well in the early morning actually) we gathered in Utrecht for games and fun. 

The first coffee, an absolute essential!

Building up before the visitors arrive. 

One of our foreign guests, mr Richard Clarke of Too Fat Lardies eagerly anticipating hs game! 

My invaluable better half welcoming hosts and visitors alike (and taking their money from them).

And off we went! Visitors could register for a maximum of four activities of their choice. We hosted a grand total of 27 games, workshops and Celebrity Talks and a copious lunch in the middle, all included in the entry fee. 

Here the concentration is palpable in the kitbash/conversion workshop by Manoah.  

Of course there was a Painting workshop wherein Maartje and Pascal gave insight in their arcane skills with brushes and paint.

Shifting Lands' Gerard introduced people into the sheer limitless possibilities of styrofoam. 

And then there were games, lots and lots of games! 

Below WSS editor Guy Bowers shares his new game Black Ops with some guests.

Richard Evers' stunning Ancient naval wargame was a favorite of mine.

In one of the Celebrity Talks Richard Clarke shares his insights into game design. 

Last year's newcomers Imaginiative Miniatures 

Warlord's Andrew Chesney graced our event with his visit and took part in a Celebrity talk about the future of wargaming.

One of our Belgian guests gathering intelligence...

Definitely deserving mention here is Marcel of Pear Shaped Miniatures and his unique sculpting workshop!

Mr Clarke enjoying his own rules on Eltjo's award-winning table.

Wooden SHips & Iron Men, a well-loved classic hosted by my own local gaming club.

And there were lots of chats!

Fellow organizers Jasper and Patrick hosted a Land of the Free game, a new AWI game that has already spawned a mysterious apple pie related tradition....

For some of us the long hours at the cash register posed a particular challenge, well met in a very creative way !

And of course there was ample opportunity to enjoy a extensive lunch!

And play on!

My boy introducing people to Shadows of Brimstone

My God what have we done? 

Of course there were goodie bags, generously filled by our sponsors. Some people couldn't wait to get home and started on the contents immediately!

And then it was over! See you next time!