Monday, 21 August 2017

Tiny games!

August is shaping up to be a pretty manic month with work, but last weekend I spent an evening playing games. But not wargames... We played Tiny Epic Quest from Gamelyn Games, and The Cousins' War from Surprised Stare Games.

I had played Tiny Epic Kingdoms a couple of times previously and rather enjoyed it. Tiny Epic Quest was also enjoyable, but perhaps not so much. The abstract nature of the game system works really nicely when played at a kingdom level, but I found some aspects of the system didn't work quite so well at the level of individual adventurers. Regardless, a fun game and with some great wee components.

Earlier in the evening, we played three games of The Cousins' War. TCW was only released in June this year, and I hadn't heard a thing about it (not being much of a board game player) until Thomas Brandstetter (AKA Frank Shandy) posted about it HERE. I have since also discovered a video review on Board Game Geek which is worth a look. I don't have a lot to add to their reviews really... 

In short, this is a great little pocket-sized game. Literally. It fits in your pocket. Quite easily. Games last around 30 minutes, give or take, with a maximum of five turns. For a tiny game, there is a great deal of depth. England and Wales are divided into a northern, central and southern region, and players compete for influence in each.

Your influence is measured in a finite number of blocks. These can be seen to represent supporters. They can exist off the board in the supply (manpower which can be tapped), on the board in the regions (garrisons), in reserve (the uncommitted field army, or committed to specific battles.  As we discovered, the longer the game takes the more important it is the carefully manage your influence.

Each turn sees the opposing sides play a number of event cards which all can be used to achieve certain strategic or tactical feats, or as generic 'command points' to help you shift your influence around the table. They also all have a secondary function which can only be used in specified turns.

In our three games, the Yorkists won in turn two in the first game, and turn three of the second game, but those dastardly Lancastrians won in turn 5 of the third game. It will certainly come out again!


Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Dan Mersey on Y Gododdin

Image borrowed from the interweb...
Dan Mersey, author of Dux Bellorum and Song of Arthur and Merlin among many other fine games and books has posted an interesting article on early Medieval warfare and the poetry of the 6th century. Well worth having a look if you have even a passing interest in the period.



Saturday, 12 August 2017

Palaeo Diet - out now!

A very quick (and delighted) note to say that Palaeo Diet: Eat or be Eaten is available now as a pdf direct from Ganesha Games. A hard copy will be available in the coming weeks.

Check it out here ---> http://www.ganeshagames.net/product_info.php?cPath=1_59&products_id=328&osCsid=35svq6v12mkl49hvf76kf3tpq6

Palaeo Diet: Eat or be Eaten is a stand-alone set of gaming rules for recreating prehistoric animal hunts on your table top. The game models a time when humans were not yet in control of the world around them, when the landscape could just as easily give succour to a struggling tribe, as it could cripple a thriving people.

Designed with solo and multiplayer games in mind, players take on the role of the hunting party while an integral response mechanism means that beasts react in different ways in different situations.

In an unforgiving world, the choice is simple - either eat, or be eaten.

Full color PDF, 58 pages, $10

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Big trouble in the desert - Sci-Fi beast hunting with Palaeo Diet

Captain Concordia slid her mobile scanner back into its pouch on her belt. She nodded to her men and motioned over to the far side of the empty plaza before them. Quietly, almost under her breath, she outlined her plan over the internal comms system. 

The reports that had come in from the hinterland had all hinted at a sand prowler. Vicious, destructive beasts that could clean out a village the size of this one in a single evening. Shadow scouts had pinpointed its location, and now it was down to Concordia and her specialists to flush it out, and take it down. 

As long as the beast is killed, the mission will be a success. If it escapes or kills Concordia and her men, it will be a failure.


From left to right: Trigger, armed with a sniper rifle (a bow, but with the Hunter trait allowing a reroll of one shot per turn); Concordia carrying a powerful blaster pistol (a spear, as well as the Thinker trait allowing her to send commands to her men); Sparky the bot handler armed with a standard blaster (a bow) and controlling a bot (using the hound rules).

Concordia's opening activation roll included a failure. The sand prowler (an apex predator) reacted by aggressively prowling into the plaza.

Sparky makes his way across the plaza and opens fire. His flurry of shots miss, but prompts the prowler to make another, more cautious advance towards his position.


The bot moves into a defensive position, between its controller and the beast. Concordia moves into a supporting position within range of her own pistol. Meanwhile, Trigger has taken up a rooftop position and starts to line up his shot. 


 Another activation roll, another failure. The sand prowler leaps towards the nearest target - the bot.

A quick swipe, and purple sparks start flying out of the poor bot.

Concordia activates and orders Trigger to take the shot. With hawk-like accuracy, he makes his shot count, causing the first wound to the beast.


The beast howls out with rage as it's blood sprays on the ground. While the elite forces stand firm, the bot's programming kicks in and it takes evasive measures.

Unfortunately the fleeing bot opened the way for the prowler to attack Sparky directly. Coming to her subordinates defense, Concorcia fires a couple of close range rounds. 


None of the pistol shots cause any real damage, but it is enough to drive the beast back.


Further fire from Sparky has the same effect, causing the prowler to seek the shelter of the alleyway.


But then it turns, suddenly, and lunges back towards Sparky.


Coming back online, the bot rushes in to protect its controller, battering into the beast and causing another wound.


Concordia calls in another shot from Trigger who fails to wound the beast.


Enraged, it lashes out again. More purple sparks fly around the bot and it drops offline again. This time, permanently.


In his own activation, Trigger continues to snipe from the roof top, driving the beast back, but unable to make any of his shots count.


The wounded beast starts to head away from the plaza.


Sparky opens fire, but this only drives the prowler further away.

It dashes between buildings and out towards the open countryside.

The kill team hurry to redeploy, taking up positions to try to annihilate the beast before it escapes into the open.


Failed activation dice prompt the beast to react. It launches itself back towards Trigger...


But covering fire from Sparky forced it back again...

... before it once more turned and started back towards the team. 


It roars in anger and pain, causing Sparky and Concordia to scatter for cover. Trigger remains calm...


And takes the shot. The beast is down. While there is no helping the unfortunate villagers from this place, at least the surrounding settlements will be able to sleep at night again. At least for tonight.

While I would hardly say that Concordia used sophisticated tactics, the AI mechanisms as written worked well for a crazed desert beast being hunted. The prehistoric rules did work for this particular set of models, but obviously some of these aspects were a bit of a fudge. The bot acted like a hound, not a programmed robot, and you might think that sci-fi weapons would have had longer range - although you'd be wrong there. Just because. :)

SSD faction leader in a litter

I recently picked up this Xyston 15mm pack which is supposed to represent the diadoch Antigonos Monophthalmos (One-Eye). Antigonos had been left as the satrap of Phrygia as Alexander continued east, and was one of the major players in the power vacuum left by Alexander's death. He obviously had lost an eye somewhere along the way, but I don't recall any specific reference to him being carried into battle on a litter - he died at the battle of Ipsos (301 BC) leading his phalanx on foot at the age of 81. Regardless, the model is great and I couldn't pass up the opportunity of having it feature in the streets of Antiocheia Mikros. In Song of Shadows and Dust, I would give him the following profile:

Faction leader in litter (52 points)
Q3 C3; Clumsy, Group Fighter, Leader, Short Move

As I was paying postage anyway, I also picked up some Jewish archers to be generic Jews or Arabs with bows, and some Greek hamippoi as Greeks with swords.

As a quick and badly framed photo of all 46 models (+ chickens) in my SSD collection - not including the 10 gladiators who are elsewhere with my Blood, Sweat and Cheers stuff.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Elysium Trading Corp.TM - Firefly Inflitrator

Elysium Trading Corporation TM is proud to unveil the latest step in economic security. The Firefly Infiltrator combines powerful - jump jet augmented - legs, with the agility of much smaller walkers to create this state of the art P2 frame. When you have a trade alliance to negotiate, or a hostile takeover that turns heated, you need a walker that can get in where the big boys can't. You need the Firefly Infiltrator.

Scale photo comparing a standard airborne infantry section, light artillery, the P2 Firefly Infiltrator, and the P3 IRN Mech.