Sunday, 28 June 2009

End of June Update

This month's target was met about a week or so ago, which was nice. I am now looking forward to next month's objective. I have identified some Wargods of Aegyptus figures that I would like to get painted and some 6mm figures for variety. My plan is to paint all of my remaining Totanem (children of Ptah), which amounts to one unit of warriors, one hero and a stone colossus that I bought last year at Salute. Having seen the retail price for the colossus now that it has been released, I think I got a bargain. I also plan to paint the figures I had set aside for my Border Kingdoms army in our Warrior Heroes campaign. My original goal was to use Normans for this army, but there are none on the market in 6mm that I like, so I am going to go with more Wars of the Roses period figures from Baccus. This has the advantage of adding to my Wars of the Roses collection so that I can fight larger battles with those armies too. I recently bought Warmaster Medieval Armies and would like to try those rules. The army lists are a bit of a nonsense for this period, but the game is fun and I can always write my own lists if necessary.

Other options for the month include rebasing my 15mm Vikings for Basic Impetus and patching them up. I have had most of these Vikings since the late eighties and it shows. The paint jobs stand up well enough, but the paint is flaking and the figures look decidedly like grizzled veterans. I have a ton of 15mm Saxons and Normans to paint so adding them to the queue would be useful, and I could use them as opponents for the Vikings. I also have a half-painted Qin Chinese army that I bought to fight my brother's Han Chinese. We had planned to use Armati for this battle but my brother lost interest in Armati after a poor showing at a tournament, so I put my figures to one side. Now I am tempted to dig them out and try Basic Impetus with them too. I think I actually have enough unpainted Chinese to produce a couple of Warring States armies. I doubt any of these 15mm chaps will be the subject of a monthly objective because Steve has no similar figures to oppose me, but I may well treat them as a personal subobjective. With two armies on the table, Steve can hardly refuse to play me, can he?

Thinking back on the drive for thrift, I am quite pleased with what I have achieved so far. The challenge is now 6 months old so I thought I would pen a few words on that. Steve and I have managed to paint a bunch of old lead without buying too much new lead, which is a good thing. I have certainly curtailed my spending quite significantly, which is also a good thing, and I have dealt with a number of projects that had previously languished through lack of focus. This is brilliant. Adopting this project-oriented approach has really helped in getting things completed. Mind you, I have not really noticed any diminution in the lead pile, but that is probably because it was so large to start with.

One thing I have done each month is define a realistic goal. I have not posed any difficult challenges because I felt that over-facing myself would be counter-productive and kill my motivation. Therefore I have looked at what I wanted to achieve and what I could achieve, and have set my targets based on that. On the whole this has worked well. I have had moments when I did not feel like painting at all, and others when I felt like painting all the time. This has balanced out and I have been able to make steady progress. One thing that has really helped, has been playing a game with the new figures each month. By using them almost as soon as they are ready, I have been more motivated to complete the next project.

So, I now face the next 6 months. Steve and I have agreed to expand our Warrior Heroes campaign with new nations. We plan to paint and add a new army every couple of months to the campaign. This will give us more options for the campaign and will help to ensure that there is a continuous stream of battles. At the moment, there has been an unpleasant outbreak of peace among two thirds of the participants. We need to deal with that. We also have the annual Wargods tournament in November to work towards. I cannot decide which army to take and may well opt for some unpainted units just so that I get more lead painted. There are also numerous rules sets that we both want to try; rules are our real downfall. We keep seeing cool rules and getting them, although my thrift drive has led to me spending less on rules too.

If you have managed to read this far, thank you for reading. Pictures will follow as I tackle the July objectives. In theory I could have them done in early July, but I am still looking for a new job and working on my thesis, both of which take up rather more of my time than you might think.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

The Battle of Hälsingborg, 1710 - The Swedish Army

On 10th March 1710, the Swedish army marched on Hälsingborg fuelled only with a shot of schnapps that morning. It was a frosty day, which worked to the Swedes' advantage, for that meant that the marshes and bogs along their line of march ceased to be serious obstacles to their progress. The Danish army was deployed north of Hälsingborg but the Swedish approach march was aimed at their flank so the Danes had to quickly redeploy, leaving most of their artillery behind.

About ten years ago I decided that I wanted to refight this battle. Don't ask me why, because I have no idea why this particular battle became the focus of my efforts. I had been looking at the Baccus 6mm Great Northern War ranges and decided to make a large purchase, my first from Mr Berry. I then set to painting the figures and doing background research. I found Dan Schorr's excellent Northern Wars website, and also Nick Dorrell's work on the same subject. Communications with Dan Schorr led to him sending me a copy of the Danish General Staff's description of the battle, which still languishes half-translated on my hard drive. One day I shall finish the translation but in the meantime I have read it through a few times and been able to apply what I knew to the production of my armies.

Having bought vast quantities of 6mm figures, I needed a set of rules. I had played Koenig Krieg before and liked them. I also had Volley and Bayonet, which I also enjoyed. I opted to produce my armies for Koenig Krieg. What I fool! Had I but realised, I might have had this project completed ere now by simply opting for Volley and Bayonet. So, I painted all the figures and dutifully began building terrain. Unfortunately, the project lapsed and languished not forgotten but merely shelved, because my opponent moved away and I had no one enthusiastic about the project to keep me interested in finishing it.

And so we return to the present. Followers of this blog will have read my reviews of Polemos: GNW, so you will have seen that Steve, my regular opponent, is foolish enough to have shown some interest in this period. Bwa ha ha ha ha! As a result, I have stuck all of my figures on bases to a Polemos standard, which will also work for Volley and Bayonet. I have just completed the rebasing process for the Swedish army, so here is the full Swedish army according to the order of battle in Polemos: GNW. A Volley and Bayonet version of the same army would be about half this size. I have posted more pictures of this army on my Photobucket account. Although I have not photographed them, each regiment has a full set of casualty markers in its own colours too. How sad is that?

The Swedish Army at Hälsingborg (click the pictures for larger versions):

Jönköpings regemente:

Smålands och Östgöta femmänningsregemente till fot:

Östgöta kavalleriregemente:

Along the way, I appear to have successfully managed to paint a whole pile of extra bits too. Some of these are versions of the infantry regimentes in the main army, but with pikes, while others are spare bits as a result of the change of order of battle caused by using different rules. The vast amount of artillery is brought about by a general feeling that I wanted it.

And finally, if you have been interested enough to read this far, I shall work up a scenario for this battle at some point in the near future and post it here. I also need to do the basing on the Danish army, so that will be one of my next projects. With that done, perhaps I can turn my attention to finishing the terrain. Fortunately, there is not a lot there because there were only a small number of low hills on the battlefield, none rising higher than 40' above ground level.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Wargods - Punishment of the Priest

We played Wargods using our newly painted figures last Thursday. If you can remember that far back, we painted Wargods figures for our May objective. I painted a Khemru (children of Khnum, the goat-headed god) warband, while Steve painted Heru (children of Horus, the falcon-headed god). So, we agreed to play a basic 1000 point game using those figures.

My warband had two units of slingers, one of mace goats and a selection of heroes to captain the units. I also had a beastmaster with three lions, and a master of words as well as my harbinger (a warlord type figure imbued with the power of his god).

Steve had a unit of Heru archers, a unit of halberdiers, some heroes and a unit of Anubi warriors, together with his harbinger.

Wargods comes with a list of 10 scenarios in the rulebook and 20 sub-plots. We rolled a d10 for the scenario and rolled up The Punishment of the Priest. In this scenario the defender has to protect a priest, while the other side is trying to capture him. I was the defender, so I received the priest. Steve was not allowed to kill the priest, so he had to capture him and stop me from getting him back. As a further complication we rolled a d20 to get a sub-plot. We rolled up Sandstorm. I groaned when I saw this, because it would reduce visibility and make my slingers less effective. They were the backbone of my warband so I was relying on them to weaken the enemy before he closed to melee. My problem was that the Heru are brilliant in melee, while my Khemru are rubbish. I could only hope for some good dice on the visibility roll. If they were high enough then the sandstorm would abate. I did have one advantage though. My master of words had a spell that would remove the sandstorm for one turn each time it was cast. Perhaps all was not lost.

We set up and set to. I hid the priest behind my slingers, who were on a sand dune. Meanwhile my mace-goats and my beastmaster set up on the right flank. Steve set up opposite with his troops focused on the area where the priest was.

It did not take long for the troops to clash, although Steve was a trifle upset to lose half of a unit to a Spiky Ground spell. That did help me though! You can see the Spiky Ground template just in front of the temple. Between it and the temple, you can see the proxy shining chariot with the Heru harbinger in it and my harbinger attacking from its flank.

With the troops closing on each other, I chose to run the priest off into the temple, to try to keep him out of harm's way. At this time we both envisaged a bit of a Benny Hill finish with his troops running around after the priest.

I could not foresee my Khemru holding out or even beating off the Heru, but, as the final shot shows, they did. Although two of my units routed, they recovered immediately and returned to the fray. Meanwhile, my harbinger had dispatched his harbinger, which really finished the game. At this point, Steve had a hero left and a small number of troops. We agreed to call it a day.

Wargods is an annoyingly good game. We both had an excellent time playing and the game was tense. The way to win at Wargods, is to second-guess your opponent. You could try to design a broken tournament army if you want, but the warband design system is such that this is not really possible. This means that most games of Wargods are all about sussing out your opponent and doing the unexpected. Sometimes we do this by forgetting which is our left and which is our right when putting out turn orders. More often it is about trying to decide what you opponent is planning to do and then spoiling it for him. This makes it a great game.

So, why is Wargods annoyingly good? Well, that has to do with the support it receives from Crocodile Games. They are a small company, so they cannot afford to produce new figures all the time because they rely on sales of the newest release to fund the next release. But, worse than that is the lack of focus. Some years back Crocodile Games released some figures for the Wendigo, hairy snow beasts. There were enough figures to form a warband, but not to do all the options available in the rules they released for it. Of course, these rules are playtest rules and have never been released in a final format. Similarly, they released the Olympus playtest rules and finally the Spartans. However, at the time, there were not starter sets for each of the races in Aegyptus. Some races had starter sets but not all of them. There are more figures available for Aegyptus now, but you still cannot buy a starter set for every race. This is quite a psychological barrier when trying to get other people to play. I cannot help but think that more focus on the Aegyptian races and less on expansions would have benefitted the game and made it more popular. If you could get a starter set for every race, people might be more willing to invest in it. You can still form warbands for every race. That is not a problem now, and new figures are in the pipeline to expand these races, but people see the game as incomplete because of the starter sets.

So, it is annoyingly good because the game play is brilliant but people see the lack of starter sets and don't want to start playing it. Still, we enjoy it.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

The Great International Christmas Pudding Hunt - A Tusk Scenario

I have been considering, but not getting round to doing yet, a Christmas game using Tusk rules. I then thought that if I posted it here, perhaps someone else might get it done. So, with apologies to the Goons, I hereby present a daring tale of mens' trousers in a far off land.

[plays stirring martial music]

[puts on pith helmet and shorts, revealing short fat hairy legs]

Gentlemen, I give to you:
The Great International Christmas Pudding Hunt
On the far distant island of Neringi-Baba roam the great herds of wild Christmas puddings. Every year fearless adventurers must brave the dangers of this island to supply families with their Christmas puddings. People have tried domesticating the Christmas puddings but they always die in captivity, so wild puddings must be hunted down every year to ensure that Christmas cheer is there for all.

The table represents the plains of Neringi-Baba. It should be mostly flat with a few lakes of brandy sauce and a little intervening terrain (holly bushes, Christmas crackers, presents, etc.). Brandy sauce lakes are generally shallow but sticky. Figures may move through them at half speed for the turns they are in the lake and also one full turn after they leave the lake, because they are too busy licking the brandy sauce off themselves. Players should agree how to deal with other terrain before the start of the game.

At one end of the table is a small volcano. The volcano will spew out gouts of burning hot custard at the end of any turn in which two players roll a 6 for their APs.

Each player gets to place two pits anywhere onto the table, into which they will try to herd the puddings. They may also try to shoot or net the puddings if they prefer.

A herd of puddings is placed near the centre of the table. It should consist of one male pudding per player and two female/child puddings per player.

The Custard
Each custard splatter is the size of a CD. Randomly place it by any means you prefer. Anything that the custard lands on must roll a 6 or less on 2d6 to dodge the custard or be killed. The custard remains on the table for the duration of the game. Anything that moves into the custard splatter after it is placed is killed automatically.

Christmas Puddings
Christmas puddings come in two types:
Males - These are large and ferocious. They will savagely protect their herds against all comers, including other Christmas puddings. Male puddings use the T-Rex reaction tables and are treated in all respects as T-Rexes.
Females and Children - These are smaller than the males and more docile. They use the Brontosaurus reaction tables and are treated in all respects as Brontosauri.

Game End
The game ends when there are no puddings or only one player's figures are left on the table. Alternatively, you may set a time limit on the game; give it a couple of hours and plenty of brandy.

The winner of the game is the person that captures or recovers the most Christmas puddings. A player may only win if they have figures left alive on the table.

Puddings that land in a player's pits are automatically captured by that player as long as they have figures left alive on the table at the end of the game. Figures may also recover dead Christmas puddings by moving into contact with them. The first player to move into contact with a pudding automatically recovers it.

Other Rules
Players may not directly attack each other.
Players must wear odd socks for the duration of the game.

Final Thoughts
Depending upon the scale of your figures, you may be able to find cheap plastic Christmas pudding decoration thingies to use. Otherwise, it should not be too difficult to paint up some table tennis balls or polystyrene balls.

I am not sure about the size of the custard splatter. If a CD seems too large then reduce the size of the custard template to something you are happier with.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Tusk - A Review

Tusk: Mammoth hunting from 12,000BC to 1914 is a set of rules by Matthew Hartley and published by Irregular Miniatures. The rules cost £3.00 for a 16 page A5 card-covered booklet. The art-work is amusing, though amateurish compared to more modern, glossy rules sets. On the other hand, it is also amusing and there are a couple of really bad jokes in the pictures that I appreciated (I have a terrible sense of humour!).

The basic rules deal with how to hunt with cavemen. There is a points system that allows you to buy your hunters. These can consist of hunters with hand weapons, hunters with missile weapons, fire-makers (they can set fire to things!), Og the Hero (a character) and dog packs. Once you have bought your hunters it is time to set out and catch some dinner.

Irregular Miniatures 6mm Caveman pack (click the pictures for a larger image)

The system uses Action Points , much like DBA PIPs, and you roll 1d6 each turn to see how many you have. You then use these points to move your hunters and set fire to things. You can move hunters more than once per turn by spending multiple Action Points on them.

Fires, once lit, have their own place in the turn sequence and can spread across the table if you are not careful. They are useful for herding mammoths over cliffs, but you could also wind up getting burnt yourself.

Combat occurs when hunters with missiles are in range or hunters are within 2cm of their target. 2d6 are rolled and if the roll is high enough the target is dead.

The basic beast in the rules is a mammoth and the first two scenarios deal with hunting mammoths. Beasts do not have their own turn per se. Instead, their reactions are controlled by a reaction table. Each turn, each beast tests its reaction according to the most serious circumstance that pertains to its situation. Circumstances include: being near to a fire; being attacked in close combat; being near dogs; being attacked by missile fire; and a couple of circumstances determined by how close they are to humans. The reaction table will tell you what to do with the beasts, which could include running away, attacking or just simply grazing, among other possibilities.

A herd of Irregular Miniatures 6mm Mammoths

So, that is the basic system. It is simple and elegant and finishes with two scenarios. The first scenario is a solo mammoth hunting one. It is really a training scenario. You place a mammoth in the centre of the table and try to kill it. I played this through a few times and it was amusing, but began to pall after a while because there is a technique to mammoth hunting and once you sort that out, then you can win most of the time, subject to the luck of the dice.

The second scenario is a competitive game. The king is dead and the players are vying to become the new king. To prove their worth, the players must hunt mammoths successfully. The player that kills the most mammoths wins. The number of mammoths in the herd is determined by the number of players, so there should always be plenty of mammoths for you to hunt. I have not played this scenario yet, but my experience of one of the later ones suggests that it could easily descend into the most enjoyable chaos as players try to kill mammoths, drive mammoths over their rivals and generally disport themselves disgracefully.

The appendix then deals with Victorian hunters and also adds dinosaurs to the mix, specifically Brontosaurus and Tyrannosaurus Rex. Instead of hunters, the Victorian party will consist of Adventurers, Stalwarts (regular soldiers, etc) and Rabble (porters and similar ilk). You also have the option of recruiting Sir Harry (hero) and Artillery! Now, it may seem unsporting to use artillery against dinosaurs, but sometimes needs must.

Irregular Miniatures 6mm Sir Harry Pack

The appendix finishes with two scenarios using the new troops types. The first is a solo game where you try to capture specimen dinosaurs, much like the mammoth hunting scenario, by driving them into pits you have dug. I have not tried this one yet, but suspect that it could get nasty if you try capturing Tyrannosaurs. Mr Hartley recommends starting gently with Brontosaurs.

The second scenario is one that I remember fondly from many years ago. We had a most enjoyable evening's gaming as we tried to escape from Island X before the volcano on it erupted. Unfortunately, between us and our boat was a herd of Tyrannosaurs. Eek! The players must try to get from one side of the table to the other, past the Tyrannosaurs, and the winner is the one who gets the most of his group off onto the ship before the dice roll indicates that the volcano explodes and wipes the island out. This is a scenario where you try to position your troops so that they drive the Tyrannosaurs into your opponents and then gloat as your opponent gets eaten, and I highly recommend it.

Figure Packs
As you will have seen above, Irregular Miniatures also supports these rules with a number of packs of figures, both in 15mm and 6mm. I can only comment on the 6mm offerings because that is all I have bought. I received four dinosaurs in each of my packs and bought my mammoths separately.

The packs give you around 25 points or so of troops, which is enough for the scenarios in the rule book. You also get two pits (actually shell crater models) for capturing beasts. The figures are typical Irregular Miniatures fare. Some are a bit rough in the lead but they all paint up well. Personally I think that the weakest sculpts are the Stegosaurus, but even they are not too bad once painted and on the table, despite my paint job. The main problem I see with the packs is that both come with dinosaurs. It would have been more useful to get mammoths with my cavemen and Tyrannosaurs and Brontosaurs with the Sir Harry pack, because the Tusk rulebook does not specifically include Triceratops and Stegosaurus. Still, you can treat these latter as Brontosaurs for the purposes of your games and all will be fine.

I like these rules. I am not sure how much longevity they really have because they are a beer and pretzels rules set but they are fun to haul out every so often. They take no time at all to learn, so everyone can play and enjoy themselves from the off, even if they have not played before. I would recommend Tusk to anyone wanting a game that they can haul from the shelf whenever they do not feel like playing a "serious" game.

I like the figure packs that Irregular produces for Tusk too, despite my reservations above. The figures were easy to paint up and you get enough for one player in each pack. For the price, it is definitely worth investing in the 6mm sets. I am currently working on the Piedmontese International Scientific Survey and will add them to my set. After all, the game is fun and is worth playing every so often.

On a final note, there are two supplements for Tusk: Tusk II The Wrath of Kong and Steel Tusk III: Apocalypse Soon. I plan to review Tusk II once I have tried the rules in that supplement, but do not have Tusk III yet. As a taster, I can tell you that Tusk II includes rules for Raptors, Giant Wolves and Triceratops. It also adds rules for attacking other players, trained beasts and various new figure types and weapons. I am looking forward to trying this one out too.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Ja vi elsker dette landet ... (more about Forsvaret Skandinavias)

Following my rather abysmal attempt at a photo yesterday, I decided to take a few detail shots of Forsvaret Skandinavias. These have come out rather better than yesterday's attempt. So, without further ado, I present to you the troops that defend the Scandinavian nations and maintain their neutrality throughout the problems that afflict the 31st century. In the description of the following pictures, I have linked the names of each vehicle to the codes on the appropriate manufacturer's website. Remember to click on the pictures for larger images.

A tank section with a self-propelled anti-tank section behind it:

The typical tank section consists of 3 Thor MBTs, a medium hover battle tank. The chassis of the Thor MBT is used for many variants, such as the Thor Salvo Missile Tank section behind the MBTs. The Thor SMT provides effective close support and a devastating punch for taking out enemy armour.

Armour is good for blasting holes in the enemy battle lines, but only infantry can really hold the objectives. A typical FS platoon consists of one infantry command squad carried in a Lynx IFV (front right in the picture), four infantry squads carried in standard Lynx APCs, and a Lynx Mortar Carrier to provide additional fire support. The infantry all carry standard FS Assault Rifles and wear uniforms reinforced with Kevlar in vulnerable areas, heavy Kevlar jackets and a Kevlar helmet (infantry by Baccus).

The Recce Section is an essential part of any armed force. You can't fight the enemy without good intelligence and these guys get the info at the sharp end. This section consists of two squads of infantry carried in a Lynx APC and a Hyane Armoured Car with 20mm Autocannon. The recce infantry are armed in the same way as the ordinary infantry but their role is not really to fight. The armoured car and the APC have weapons primarily so that they can shoot and scoot once they have the intel that they need.

Supporting arms of the FS include artillery and the Luftvern (air force). Here we see two artillery batteries. All artillery in the FS is self-propelled. At the front of the picture is a battery of Sigurd SPGs, another variant on the Thor chassis, and beside them is a Forward Artillery Observer with his comms vehicle, a Thor Command Tank. Behind them is a battery of Lynx Salvo Rocket vehicles, with an FAO in his Lynx Command Vehicle. These chaps provide the occasional artillery stonk when it is needed to encourage the enemy to vacate positions that the FS does not want them in.

The Luftvern provides both air support, in the form of Wespe Light Attack Aircraft, and air defence such as these Lynx AA Gatlings. The Forward Air Controller is carried in a Lynx Command Vehicle, much like his artillery counterpart.

Finally, someone has to take charge, so you have the headquarters unit. Here we see the overall commander (centre) carrying out battlefield analysis and conceptual modelling of the situation in front of his Thor Command Vehicle. His ADC is helping him, while the comms teams relay urgent information from their Lynx and Thor Command vehicles as needed.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Forsvaret Skandinavias (June progress update)

In the 31st century, the world was rocked by natural disasters and economic collapse. Countries went bankrupt by the score and only those with oil survived comparatively unscathed. With their economies in ruins, Denmark and Sweden were left floating dead in the water until the Norwegian government threw them a lifeline. At an historic meeting, the three countries united in the New Kalmar Union. Each retained some devolved power, but ultimate power lay with the Norwegian government.

With the growing unrest in the world, Scandinavia needed to beef up its military power. It is only really possible to maintain neutrality, as they wished, by having a strong defence force, and so the armed forces of all three countries were united and rationalised. Thus was born Forsvaret Skandinavias.

Click the picture for a bigger version, although I admit it is rather a rubbish photo. I shall try to get better pictures when we play. I have only painted about a dozen vehicles for this force in June, but I thought it all looked better with the whole force present. By finishing this lot off, I have now painted all of the 6mm sci-fi figures I have.

At the front of the formation is a recce troop with three scout cars and the recce infantry. Behind them are several ranks of infantry platoons, each with APCs, an IFV for the commander and a mortar carrier to provide support. Behind that is a battalion of Thor MBTs, two AA vehicles and an SPAT section. The back rank consists of three SP artillery batteries (Two batteries of Sigurd SPGs and one of SP Salvo Missile Launchers). On the left of the photo is a flight of Wespe aircraft with their FAC.

We plan to play Dirtside 2 (freely downloadable) and FutureWarsCommander with these figures. We may also play Iron Cow when it is re-released, and it would not surprise me if Steve knows of other suitable 6mm sci-fi rules too.

The vehicles are all Brigade Models' ONESS Germans, while the infantry are from the Baccus Command Horizon range. I really like all of these figures. They were all pretty much flash free when they arrived and they have all painted up well.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Beamstrike - Battle Summary

We played Beamstrike using our 15mm sci-fi figures from April's challenge this week. Beamstrike is a set of rules inspired by Imperial Commander. The original intention had been to approach Richard Halliwell and Brian Ansell for the rights to produce a second edition of Imperial Commander, but that went nowhere, so Beamstrike was born. Beamstrike is more complete than Imperial Commander and includes additional rules for vehicles, tanks and aircraft that are not in Imperial Commander. It still plays similarly, but I am not sure that is enough to get past my Imperial Commander Nostalgia (tm).

For our game, we decided on a Patrol action. This is a simple meeting engagement set up with a view to both sides driving each other off. Our forces comprised 500 points of troops and we both had similar forces. The Bwendi patrol consisted of two tracked APCs, each carrying a section of Men-at-Arms, and led by Lord Knight Gladiolus himself. The rules do include heroes, but the heroes are not overpowering. The Albion Defence Force also had two squads, each in a hover APC, and led by their high commander, whose name is not really significant. The main difference was that the ADF had one Veteran squad and one Regular squad, while all my troops bar my hero were Regular. The game began well. My Anti-Matter Beamer nailed an ADF trooper, while my Heavy Gyrobolt Gun wounded another. That was the limit of my success. My troops advanced. Steve's troops advanced. My troops got shot up. Steve's troops did not. The APCs came into range of each other and I blasted his gun off the turret, but he brewed up my APC. My second APC advanced and was nailed with a single shot from a bolt rifle and brewed up too. It took Steve three shots to kill both of my APCs. I fired a dozen shots at his and completely failed to kill anything except the driver of one of them. Ouch! With my left flank shot to pieces, Steve ran his second APC behind me to try to take out my other squad. Meanwhile, his Veteran squad was advancing on my troops. With the death of my second APC, my army was 'shaken'. I only needed to roll a 7 or higher on 2d6 for them to be 'broken'. That did not happen before we surrendered. Still, being 'shaken' is a right pain. You cannot advance, so your only option is to hold the ground you already have, or to retreat. This means that the game is effectively over at this point unless there is a chance that your opponent will break shortly. Steve was nowhere near breaking.

Close to the end of our game (click picture for a larger image):

This was a good fun game, and will be helped when we work up a better QRS to suit us. Poor QRSes is a recurring problem we have had with games. They slow play up by being poorly organised and do not always include the information that you really need for the game.

We plan to play again, but I did not think it really felt like Imperial Commander enough to benefit from my nostalgia. That may change as I become more familiar with the changes. I look forward to finding out.

End of May Update

Well, it has taken me longer than I expected to get around to photographing the last of my Khemru. Here we see a unit of mace-goats, which was my final unit to paint in May. Victory! Remember to click on the pictures if you would like to see larger versions of them.

The mace goats are the main melee arm of the Khemru. Armed with sturdy bronze maces, good armour and a stout shield, they are able to wade into battle and get slaughtered by their enemies, while the slingers evade like mad and try to stay away from the enemy's archers, who outrange them.

The next picture is of an approximately 1000 point warband for Wargods of Aegyptus. As you can see, it comprises two units of slingers, one unit of mace goats, the harbinger, a beastmaster, a hero, a master of words and a priestess. I have put together this warband as a pure Khemru force to play in our game next week.

Although I have designed this force using solely Khemru figures, Wargods does not insist on uni-racial warbands. In fact, you can mix and match to suit your preferences for the main part. Some races will not permit others into their warbands, such as the Typhon (followers of Set), who hate the Heru (followers of Horus) with a vengeance. Because Set slew Horus, neither will work with the others. This mix-and-match mentality is brilliant because it allows you to use all the cool figures in your warband. I should point out that Wargods warbands are mostly governed by the need to have figures that look cool in them. Often these figures are not particularly effective, but that is beside the point. Some munchkins and beardy wonders do try to min-max but they are the exception rather than the rule and we do not share our Jaffa Cakes with them. Jaffa Cakes are the food of the gods!