Monday, August 30, 2010

Future War Commander: First 15mm Game

I played my first game of 15mm Future War Commander last week so I thought it was about time that I posted some photos. I'll save all the opinions until the end of the post. That way, you can look at the photos and ignore the opinions if you like.

Chris brought two of his 15mm armies. I played his mounted infantry force. Here are my transports advancing under the cover of a heavy battle tank.

I sent this small command around the flank in an attempt to be sneaky.

This damn anti-tank weapon really did a number on my force.

Some of Chris's infantry advancing.

I believe that this tank was a plastic or resin model. Can't remember. It also caused me headaches.

Headache in question.

Chris built this nice objective from a cardboard container and various plastic bits.

Fighting across the road.

The fight over the objective.

Chris moves his right command across the road after more or less annihilating my infantry units.

The state of affairs at game end. We never did any calculations, but it was a clear victory for Chris's force.

Let's get this clear first. I've enjoyed many games that I've lost and have been left unimpressed by many I've won. This one was a combination of the two - a game lost that left me unimpressed. As I said to Chris the next day, I'm a having a problem with Future War Commander that is hard to ignore - I like it a little less every time I play it. FWC and it's sister game Blitzkreig Commander are popular with three or four members of the group, but I can't seem to get into it. Allow me to explain.

First of all, the game seems to depend on unit selection a little too much for my taste. Games that I really love - Impetus, Warmachine, Chaos In Carpathia - are all very different games, but they seem to be more dependent on the choices one makes, not with the specific units that are fielded.

Secondly, although the guts of FWC are derived from Warmaster (a game that I love), all of the tension and drama of Warmaster seems to have been lost. I guess that in Warmaster, emphasis is on melee rather than shooting, so giving successive commands is more difficult, as with each command given the unit is generally farther and farther from the commander. In FWC, however, many units simply stay near a commander and are given too many shooting commands too easily (in my opinion anyway). Without the desperate need to get one's units across the field, the game tension drops dramatically.

Anyhoo, I've only played the game four of five times, so I shouldn't judge yet. To complicate matters, science fiction gaming is not something that particularly inspires me at the moment. I guess the one thing that we can all agree on is that Chris's armies look great.

Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Irish Nobles (unit #1)

Impetus Unit Type: FL
Base Size: 8cm x 4cm
Special: Javelins, Mounts
Manufacturer: Feudal Castings and Corvus Belli
The Irish Noble unit is essentially an elite Bonnacht unit and this one in particular houses my commander-in-chief. The Poor Command Structure of the Irish army makes mobile generals essential. I imagine that the general (sword raised) is surrounded by his most trustworthy men and, as well, has brought his rather disappointing son to the the battle with the hopes that some of his passion for table might be redirected towards war and conquest.

The boy is a Corvus Belli Celt model while all of the rest are from Feudal Castings. The two spear-toting models are actually from the Pictish range but I think they have a tough bodyguard look to them. Both shields were supplied with Corvus Belli Irish Kerns and the wolf design on the beige shield is a GW Space Wolf transfer that has been applied and highlighted to get rid of the flat look.

One more thing. It may seem odd to include horses in a unit of light foot. Some Impetus units, however, have the option of taking a Mounts upgrade for 1 point. This represents the fact that the Nobles would have often ridden to battle and dismounted when the fight was about to begin. In game terms then, this unit behave like cavalry for the first turn of the game and as infantry thereafter.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Impetus Battle Report - 28mm Fantasy Test Games

We finally had the opportunity to try some games of Impetus Fantasy using Chris's collection of 28mm Lord of the Ring models. He put together two 250-point forces - an Elf-Gondor alliance vs. the forces of Mordor.

In the first game, Chris commanded the forces of evil and I took command of the good army. As you can see, Chris put his painted models in GW's movement trays for the War of the Ring game. These bases have a frontage of about 11.5 cm. It's a shame that they weren't a tiny bit wider.

The good army was much smaller than the evil army.

The orcs were fielded as large warbands. This was the first time that anyone in our group has ever used Large Units in Impetus. They are quite effective when used correctly.

The orc warband smashed into the elf archers but, thanks to a miscarriage of fortune, the orcs were driven back and destroyed shortly after by the combined efforts of the elf spearmen and the elf archers. The elves are VBU:4, armed with longbow A, and have the Eagle Eyed ability, so they are pretty nasty at range.

The Gondor heavy foot units have the Long Spear ability which turned out to be useless in a game with no cavalry.

During the final battle of the first game, my orcs charged Chris's general's unit and won the combat. Chris rolled a 6 on the cohesion test and, after all variables were taken into account, the entire army fled the field.

"Whaddya gonna do? Let's play again!"

Chris played the good army this time and spent the first half of the game putting most of his melee units on Opportunity while I advanced.

The orcish menace.

I assume that there's a special place in the Grey Havens for Elves who die at the hands of goblins. Oh, for shame!

Thanks to the following official rules amendment, formed missile troops and light foot are even more handy when deployed in front of heavy foot:

Amendment to Paragraph 5.10.1 Voluntary Interpenetration.
Units of Missile troops (T) and Light Infantry (FL), except for Impetuous troops, can be interpenetrated by any type of troops and for the purposes of Interpenetration they behave like units of Skirmishers (S), and so are placed behind the interpenetrating unit even if the interpenetration is not complete.
Missile troops and Light Infantry (not impetuous) can also interpenetrate any type of Unit or Large Unit (including Schiltron, Pikemen and Impetuous troops).

The Impetus gods shone down on me again as I drove Chris's good army from the field.

For the third game, I went back to the good side of the table while Ken stepped in the command the evil army. I took less photos at this point (I was getting tired of taking photos) but I remember quite clearly that Ken rolled over my army.

An eye candy shot of Chris's elf archers. Can't remember why I took it now.

Ken used the mass of goblins very effectively to swarm my heavy foot.

The evil army arrives at my line in more or less good order and starts the business of changing the history of Middle Earth.

Another shot of the elf archers.

Thoughts & Commentary

Impetus is pretty much my favourite ruleset. It combines the perfect balance of intensity and relaxing gameplay. However, I'll be honest - I still prefer my 15mm historical game. Now, don't get me wrong. I'll be starting a 28mm Impetus Fantasy army this week and I'm overjoyed that the group has embraced my favourite ruleset, but it won't be stopping me from proceeding with my historical projects. Thoughts in no particular order:

  1. Scale
    Although 28mm minis are more detailed and all that, I find that 15mm armies strike the right balance of detail and ease of painting. Furthermore, the 6x4 table that we are usually restricted to is a relatively larger playing surface when the 15mm armies are on the table. So, on one hand, the game is faster with 28mm (where inches are used instead of cm) but there is less maneuver than in the 15mm game.

  2. Complexity
    In short, the historical armies tend to be comprised of units that are more consistent in their make-up. In other words, all FL in Impetus move 8cm and tend to have similar (if any) abilities. One thing I like about Impetus is that I don't have to get into remembering different abilities (or at least very few). I can play the unit types without getting caught up in special rules, if that makes any sense.

  3. Genre
    Finally, I'm just plain more interested in historical armies these days than in fantasy ones.

So, there it is, the beginning of an era, I'm sure. For those looking for a decisive and rich fantasy ruleset I would strongly recommend Impetus Fantasy. I'll be posting units as they are painted, so don't stray too far.

Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Next Impetus Army: The Results Are In

After posting a poll a couple of weeks ago, I sorted through the staggering number of responses and prepared the final tally for your contemplation. As you can see, the votes are split near the 50% mark and the results help to reinforce a decision that's already been brewing.

Since I added this poll to the blog, the guys held a geek meeting (from which I was absent) and tossed around ideas for a project that we could work on together. There's a lot of games in our group right now, but there's no one game that we are all playing. After some discussion, the guys decided that 28mm Fantasy Impetus would be the next common game for us. Being my favourite ruleset, I certainly wasn't complaining about their decision. However, I won't be giving up on the Irish either. Here's how it shall play out.

15mm Irish

It's been a while, so to re-cap, here's the test base of Irish that I painted last December.

Since posting the poll my painting has started to pick up again. As I work my way through my Hungarian Monster Hunters for Chaos in Carpathia, I've begun picking at some Irish Nobles that I primed some months ago. Using the Norse-Irish list from Extra Impetus #2, I will aim for this modest 204-point force to start with.

00 - Poor Command Structure
40 - Fair Generals x2

40 - Nobles (FL) x2; including Mounts upgrade
76 - Bonnachts (FL) x4
24 - Kerns (S) x2
24 - Bowmen (S) x2

This list will allow me to...

  • Field an equal-sized English army using my Free Company models so that others can learn to play Impetus using 15mm models.
  • Add some light horse to field a 14th century Irish force to play against Marc as he completes his English army.
  • Add some Norse heavy foot to field a Dark Age Norse-Irish force to play against Chris's forthcoming Norman army.

28mm Fantasy

As I explained above, this will be inevitable in our group as the Fall unfolds. With that in mind, I'll certainly be joining in. The question now becomes, what army should I paint? The thing is, I already own enough GW models to make a good start on either a Chaos army or a Goblin army. I plan on trying to convince myself to make the responsible choice and to paint one of these two options. Unfortunately, the Warhammer style is a little "clunky" for my tastes these days so it may take a little extra motivation on my part to get one of these moving.

The other option of course is to purchase some new models that are more in line with my current tastes - the GW plastic LOTR range or maybe even some nice 28mm historic models that could be supplemented with some mythical elements. More pondering required.

Anyway, I think the important thing is that I'll be doing both forces instead of choosing one over the other. After I finish the base of Irish Nobles I'll probably do a base of something fantasy and see how alternating my painting back and forth between the two projects works out. Until then...

Thanks for reading,

Friday, August 13, 2010

Workbench Update: Odds & Ends

The past month and a half has been tiring, I won't deny it. Keeping baby Jake fed and happy takes some effort, and even though I'm not at work right now, when I do have some downtime I often spend it flicking channels or reading. However, since setting up a temporary painting station on the dining room table, I've started making some humble progress.

As most of you are aware, I'm very inspired by our Gothic Horror campaign as of late. I've already painted vampires, werewolves, and a collection of villager types, but I decided that I would also like to field a human warband as well. I just finished painting this Westwind model. His name is Count Konrad Von Krumm and he will serve as the expedition leader for my Hungarian Monster Hunters.

After a small lull, we've recently restarted our Impetus gaming. Now that we are playing again, I've realized how much I miss painting 15mm historical models. I find it to be a truly relaxing experience. I grabbed this 15mm horse by Feudal Castings and painted him yesterday. He will be added to a base of Irish Nobles (FL) along with another horse and a holder to signify the Mounts upgrade.

It's good to be back on the painting train again. My work area is surrounded by a small handful of Irish, some more Monster Hunters, and a small sci-fi force for Future War Commander. Now that I've started to pick up steam, I'm hoping to complete some projects in a timely manner. Stay tuned, and it goes without saying...

Thanks for reading,

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Chaos in Carpathia - Monster Hunters vs. Mad Doctor vs. Werewolves

Although not an official campaign game, Marc, Chris, and I played a three-player game of Chaos in Carpathia last night and I thought you folks would enjoy seeing some photos of the warbands in action. Without further ado... the photos:

We rolled the Ghostly Voices special event, however, we chose to ignore it as three warbands kept the game busy enough. The scenario was an objective grab. In short, three objectives were placed in a triangular layout on the table and each warband was assigned one objective and deployed on a b-line across from their objective.

Chris's warband: British Monster Hunters led by Sir Thrustam Mannleigh. objective: statues outside village.

Marc's warband: Mad Doctor's creations led by Dr. Prometheus Hartstone. objective: old cabin on outskirts.

My warband: Werewolves led by the Great Wolf. objective: mausoleum at edge of cemetery.

Dr. Hartstone and his minions try their best to cross the river under the cover of the bridge.

Mannleigh and his companions started straight down the main road towards the bridge and the statues beyond.

The Great Wolf had a free move before the game began thanks to the Old Woodsman's Guide ability. By the end of the first turn he was well positioned to cause trouble and (hopefully) cross the road the the graveyard.

The rest of the werewolf warband made their way across the fields.

Here we see Rutter running away after Sir Thrustam made a dash to the bridge and was subsequently taken down by a crossbow bolt. Dick also has his hands full as Bloodrunner does some ripping and tearing werewolf style.

The Great Wolf finds himself right where he likes to be - in hand-to-hand combat with British Hunters. I should point out, Johann (the gent with the torch) shot the Great Wolf in the back three times without doing any appreciable damage.

Meanwhile, Dick, on his last legs after his scuffle with Bloodrunner, finds himself in the powerful grasp of the Monster. Needless to say, that was the end of Dick's attempt at crossing the bridge.

I sent Blackmaw in with the hopes of keeping Marc's monsters tied up while other members of the warband made for the mausoleum.

The British expedition member Egon Fisching tries to make his way across the bridge. It has to be said, he made it this far after surviving a werewolf attack and three or four crossbow bolts.

After recovering his nerve, Rutter charges into the monster and is quickly dispatched.

I sent an escaped inmate in to tie up the hunter so that the Great Wolf could leave combat unmolested. Then I made my mistake. Instead of dispatching the other hunter, I got impatient and went straight for the mausoleum. Johann took advantage of the situation, and in spite of the Great Wolf finding a great hiding spot in hard cover, silver bullets finally took their toll.

Seemingly harmless, the mysterious Delilah spent the majority of the game staying back and helping to keep the doctor's monsters under control.

I managed to run Crazy Nell around the outskirts of the battle and get into position to ambush the doctor's man Johnson. Sadly, Nell was taken out by a crossbow bolt not long after.

Delilah moved onto the bridge, and after surviving so many brushes with death, it was the knife of a painted Jezebel that brought Egon's heroic run to a tragic end.

Towards the end of the battle the majority of my werewolf warband were out of commission. The Old Woodsman, however, hung back and fired at the doctor's advancing monsters, trying to stop them from reaching the objective.

In the end it was futile. When the game ended, the doctor's greatest monster reached the objective while both Chris and I saw our warbands more or less cut to shreds and failing to complete their goals.

What an awesome game! Like all three-player games, regardless of ruleset, there's always a tendency for one warband to be a little more ignored than his two opponents, and I think that's what happened here. However, Marc also kept his band together while Chris and I spread out, so perhaps there's something to be said for strength in numbers. Either way, everyone had a relaxing evening of adventure gaming and I think that there'll be more multi-player games in the future.

Thanks for reading,