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A plan so cunning…

I’m going away on holiday over half term, so the usual posts won’t be appearing for the next week or so.

However, we have been busy planning our podcast schedule between now and Christmas, so here it is, just to whet your appetite:

jugulaDue for release in the next few days, Episode 134 will have a review of the game Jugula, from Studio Tomahawk and Gripping Beast.

Copy%20SmallThe week after my holiday we will be chatting to Richard Clarke of Too Fat Lardies about his new ‘Pint Sized’ campaign series for Chain of Command. This will be released as soon after the 1st November as possible.

Sword & Spear cover medNext we will be talking to Mark Lewis all about his Sword & Spear rules. This is due for publication on the 15th November.

open combat coverThe first show of December will find us in conversation with Carl Brown and Gav Thorpe about their new set of skirmish rules: Open Combat.

Gruntz_15mm_coverTo round off the year, we will be chatting to Robin Fitton about the Gruntz 15mm Sci-Fi rules.

As we enter 2015, we will also be publishing our usual ‘end of the year’ show, as we look back at our highlights of 2014.

There you have it: a breakdown of what we plan to publish before the end of the year. Hopefully a bit of something for everyone to look forward to…

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New ‘Pint-sized’ campaign supplement for Chain of Command

Copy%20SmallToo Fat Lardies have just released a new campaign supplement for Chain of Command.

“29, Let’s Go!” is concerned with the fighting which took place immediately after D-Day; in this particular instance the clash between the US 29th Infantry Division and the 352nd Infantry Division of the German Heer as the former advances to seize the bridge at Isigny.

This is a 32-page PDF supplement. The first half give a complete background to the campaign, setting the scene using several maps and an engaging description of the fighting immediately after D-Day.

The second half of the book concentrates on the actual campaign. You have specific force lists for this book (including any special rules), five scenarios with colour maps, plus umpires notes for each scenario and the campaign as a whole.

At The Sharp End coverThis supplement is designed to be used in conjunction with At The Sharp End – the campaign rules for Chain of Command, so not all the rules required to run this ladder campaign are presented in this book – rather you will need to refer back to ATSE for several key components.

“29, Let’s Go” is a great addition to the range of supplements for Chain of Command, and is very good value indeed at a mere £3.50 (the price of the aforementioned ‘pint’).

I understand that this is the first of a number of these supplements that are planned. This one will give the average gamer several evenings worth of entertainment – very much worth the cost.

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Mikes Blake’s 7 project – part IV, Terrain ideas and a first look at some figures

ByNZm2YIcAA0iRNPodcast host Mike Hobbs continues his series on gaming “Blake’s 7″

Has it been a week already, must be time for part 4 of the articles on my B7 project, so where were we? Oh yeah I’ve waffled on about my ideas for the games and discussed rules and figures, so let’s move on a bit…

A little while ago my order from Crooked Dice arrived so I now have enough figures to get me going, well I still need to paint them but hey you know what I mean.

I was really impressed by the speed and level of service I got from Crooked Dice with good communication via email letting me know my package was on the way. The 2 starter packs arrived in DVD style boxes and the other 2 figures were in a small jiffy bag so no chance of the figures being damaged.

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The figures are well sculpted and cast with minimal mould lines, and are full of character so I’m looking forward to painting them, don’t worry I’ll post pictures of the finished figures in a future article

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Basing figures is always something I try to get right and for this project I’m going to try something new and mount the figures on transparent acrylic disks instead of standard resin bases. I’ve already ordered an assortment from Sally 4th and they should be arriving any day. Clear bases seem to be the next big thing with skirmish games so I thought I would jump on the band wagon and try them out again I’ll go into how this all works in the next article.

I am still mulling over rule sets but as I said last time I am going to play a small test scenario with the 3 sets of rules and work out which one gives the best feel for the campaign, but in the meantime it means I need to give a bit of thought to the issue of terrain.

One good thing about this series was the limited amount of sets they used, I think the types of terrain used in all 4 series could be condensed down to 3 types of locations, and they were:-

  • On the Liberator space ship itself, either on the flight deck, the transporter room or occasionally the hold
  • On an alien world, often this would look like an abandoned quarry (the BBC did love to film in quarries) or occasionally in a forest, or an industrial area
  • Inside some base or another space ship, again this might be filmed in an abandoned factory, or some tunnels or more than likely some futuristic set with walls made out of plywood

So that does make things simple, games played outside of a ship or a base could be handled with my existing desert and skirmish terrain. (I have loads of stuff for these types of games) But I do need something modular for the inside sets i.e. space ships or bases and what could be better than my latest big purchase, the Battlesystems Sci-fi terrain:

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This stuff is fantastic, it’s printed card and can be clipped together to form the inside of a space ship or a planet side base. I did get enough of this to create multi-level buildings covering 4ft x 2ft and with the bunker add-on I have outside walls which allow me to play games were Blake and his band of misfits have to break into a base and locate some object or blow something up, it’s absolutely perfect.

To be honest it was the purchase of this terrain system that finally allowed me to think about starting this project at all, as the purchase of resin based terrain would have worked out far too expensive. Plus I know I would have never finished assembling and painting it.

So there we go, my figures have arrived, my terrain is pretty much sorted, next big hurdle is to decide on what game system I want to use and start mapping out some scenarios

See you next time where I’ll plan out the test game and try to get some dice rolled…

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What do you do with those odd few figures you’ve got lying around…?

…why, create a warband of course!

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There has been a new set of miniature wargaming rules launched this week (well, it was actually soft-launched at the Derby show last weekend). These are Open Combat from Second Thunder.

They have been written and created by Carl Brown (@athousandhats on Twitter), whose name may be familiar to some as he used to work for Games Workshop back in the day.

These rules are designed for small warband skirmish – think 5-10 figures a side – on a 2′ x 2′ board. So far, not much different from what we’ve seen before…

…however, these rules are designed to be used with a completely open system, which means they can be used for any pre-gunpowder period, whether historical or fantasy. It’s been designed as a system without limits – to quote from the rulebook:

OC warbandOpen Combat has been written to be as flexible as possible with regards to warband creation and so imposes no restrictions or limitations during warband construction.

In our own games we simply build warbands to suit our own perception of what the particular models represent and what we feel they should be capable of on the tabletop…

…This is your chance to make your elves, dwarfs, Roman legionaries or Celtic fanatics as fast, skilled or tough as you think they should be. It’s your warband, you build it the way you want to

It’s a really interesting design concept, and a good, well written, set of rules to boot (as well as looking great).

I got chance to speak to Carl for half an hour or so at Derby (along with his ‘partner in crime’ on Open Combat: Gav Thorpe) – he’s a thoroughly nice guy with a huge amount of enthusiasm for the hobby – his ideas and plans for this system are pretty exciting!

I’m hoping to get Carl (and maybe even Gav) on the podcast to chat about these rules sometime in November. In the meantime, you can purchase the rules for the bargain introductory offer of £7.50 from the Second Thunder website.

It does mean, however, that I have a new game to play with all those odds and ends of figures which were about to go on eBay…

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Mikes Blake’s 7 project – part III, Campaign setting and rules?

ByNZm2YIcAA0iRNPodcast co-host Mike Hobbs continues his series on his latest wargaming project…

I finished off the last article by talking about what kind of games I wanted to play in this project, I think it’s safe to say that any games will be gang sized or small skirmish level games, just simply because the show had no real budget and you only really had a handful of people in a scene at any one time. This actually makes things a lot easier as I don’t have to worry about mass battles or anything like that, but I do have to consider the thorny issue of how I handle the campaign as that is key to this project.

The campaign itself is probably the thing that’s giving me most headaches at the moment as there are a few ways to manage it, I could just do a simple set of linked scenarios where each game has a set of objectives but where the results of each wouldn’t really affect the actual story arc, this would be the simplest as I would only need one player to run the good guys and I could play the Federation or whatever aliens the crew bump into during the game. Alternatively I could try to play a more open campaign where the results of any game have an effect on the story line, or I could even introduce a map system and allow the player or players to decide what their next mission is and where they would strike next.

I really want the campaign to somehow follow the story arc in the series so what I really need to do is to pull out key moments from the series and plan a bunch of scenarios around those moments. This does raise another small issue with the fact that the series had 4 seasons and the cast did change and ‘shock horror’ cast members did die in some episodes. So maybe I should handle it in the same way that the script writers did and do 1 season at a time and break up the campaign into more bite sized sections.

But I still need a set of rules that will be open enough to fit into the Blake’s 7 universe and that I can use as a vehicle for playing the games, so what rules do I use?

There are a few alternatives that I could go for and each has its own pros and cons;-

First up I could go for 7TV by Crooked Dice, this is the obvious choice as it’s a game set up to play cult TV show style shows and it even has a B7 supplement that’s free to download, the downside is I haven’t played it so I’m not sure what kind of game it gives. Another strong contender is Pulp Alley, this is a really adaptable game that I am familiar with but my main concern is would it give the Blake’s 7 feel that I want the players to get. A third option is the Judge Dredd miniatures game by Mongoose publishing, this does have a few things going for it as I know the rules and it does handle experience in a very nice way.

So far this whole project has been a bit of a paper exercise but in the background I have actually done something which will help me get the project moving. Yes being a natural wargamer I’ve brought some figures, and when I say figures I mean this lot

Crooked Dice’s Future Freedom Fighters:

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Their Federated Security set:

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And finally these 2 baddies:

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Well that’s a good start I’m sure you’ll agree, BTW if you can’t work out what they are you really shouldn’t be reading these articles

Right my next course of action is to work out which set of rules to use and for that I’m going to write a simple scenario and play it using all 3 sets of rules to see which one is the best. This might take a while so in the next article I’m going to talk about terrain and hopefully show you some pics of the figures I’ve ordered

A Podcast & Blog about Miniature Wargames & Strategy Boardgames

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