War of the Ring

Screen Shot 2018-09-22 at 9.24.07 AMWell, this is what I got for present recently. I like the idea, and I like the execution of the system. Because it is published by Ares and not some unnamed company, there is a decent chance this time around that it is not overburdened by errata upon errata… Anyways, components are beautiful… except the figures. Why, oh why has someone made the call to use figures in this kind of game? Figures add precisely nothing to the game but confusion and reduce playability. Anything would work better. Wooden cubes, or better still, counters.

Screen Shot 2018-09-22 at 9.28.27 AM Think about it how great would war of the ring look if the armies would be nice big colorful counters like in Age of Napoleon? Wouldn’t it be outstanding! Just think about it.  Of course I would not mind some figures to represent individual heroes, like the “standing” counters used in games such as Hannibal, but now this is just a mess and identifying factions not to mention setup without some labeling system is a nightmare. O why! why!

It could be salvaged if the figures would be even half-decent quality but they aren’t. In fact everything else is a top notch but then the figures are what exactly? some bendyplastic blobs that require hours of work to get them to even close to the painting table? (cleaning flash, mandatory replacement of virtually every flagpole, shaft and bow with metal ones. Even this would not guarantee that the paint would stick to the end result) In my humble opinion the world would be far better place without that plastic garbage.

Long story short. Any advice where I could gat custom printed counters with my own graphics to remedy the evil? Or other ideas to give the game worthy visual uplift. 😀

Or should I just change the bulk armies with cubes or correct faction color and keep the special characters?

Rest of the game, I do like it so far.

Posted in Boardgames, Fantasy | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Winter Offensive!

woASL. Yay! What’s better than that? Deluxe ASL. What else could it possible be? Of course it could be many, many things, such as Armies Oblivion preorder? Indeed, that too.

Have I ever mentioned that I like Deluxe ASL? I have been longing for some new content for it (Hedgerow Hell is the weakest of the products, no doubt) and now MMP has done just that with Winter Offensive #9. 5 scenarios are not a whole lot, but they look really interesting, and cover interesting geographies. New Deluxe maps look very good as well, and they fold neatly to the default map size so storage options are far better than with the older ones.

Cannot wait to get some Italia-Russia game on table 😛

Good job MMP, and great many thanks for giving more life to DeluxeASL!

Posted in ASL, Boardgames, WWII | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Non-Epic X-wing

These days what constitutes an X-wing game is following: Build a fleet that is potentially interesting to play, then realize that the opposition has opted to choose some highly optimized list from some tournament circles.

Next step is to start the game, and for next four or more hours of checking of errata related to some specific aspects of cards and their interaction is certain circumstances, clutter etc. Somewhere between the errata and rules referring there is few minutes of actual game buried under someplace. Game itself now mostly constitutes of realizing that the now-current uber Tie XXX shoots twice in round, and cannot be harmed in any way. Resolving number of rules conflicts, one finally forgets already what was going on. Another such interrupt soon follows and so it goes from one interrupt to next.

This time game was over of course before it even begun. Meanwhile I could cause some player pain and suffering with Wolfwarro – not a real damage of course, but Decimator-like irritation just by staying alive for very, very long. Of course there is no point in that, but that’s how the games look about every time now.

Well, metagame and tournament orientation of X-wing has been always been what it is, but because of the optimization for paper-sicssor-rock approach it seems no longer possible to play even casual games without spending massive amount of time optimizing the ships against that one specific combination – or get some ready made list that has been build for the purpose of defeating the opposition. Gone are days one could just have fun and experiment with unusual and non-optimal combinations.

3 ships a side and game took about 6 hours. How is that even possible? That is a timeframe one usually attributes to ASL…

X-wing boredom - 6X-wing boredom - 4X-wing boredom - 5

There was another match with the bigger ships, a game that actually initiated the whole errata checking. Biggs Darklighter card was – as I suspected – corrected. That lead to argument where player of Rebels held opinion that correction is not in play, and no errata of any kind should be used. However, because it is literally not possible to play any FFG game without extensive errata, it brought up a question how to resolve almost every aspect.  All this thanks to extremely poor rules writing and lack of index.

Rebels lost the game (not a surprise) but it was rather far from fun – even to look at, not to mention the outside referring that took almost 3 hours of the play time. There was no way Rebels could have pulled it off of course, considering that Decimator was barely scratched at the end of the game.

X-wing boredom - 1X-wing boredom - 3X-wing boredom - 2

That was it I think. I’m done with X-wing and it’s derivatives. Really.

Posted in AAR, Boardgames, X-wing | Tagged , | 11 Comments

X-wing, another epic

I have tried to like X-wing, and especially I have tried to like the Epic. That said, in our most recent game our Rebel faction decided not to take the CR-90, full aware that opponent would take both Raider and Decimator – or that was what we counted on.

Off we went and of course both ships were there – how else.

We on the other hand were quite ordnance-heavy and were poised to make sure that no decimator – or Palpatine in it will walk away from the field. Two things happened. First, our little fleet did indeed destroy, not only the Decimator with relative ease, but also the mixed bag of supporting craft. Because we opted to take the distance from the Raider, we actually had ample time to deal with the other ships before Raider became too much of disturbance.

Then, when Raider was finally in range to do any damage, it actually was already half disabled and powerless. Decimator lasted three or four turns of fighting while Raider, well, it was practically dead after two b-wings laying ordnance on it. It was darn expensive 120+ points for our opponent…

On the other hand, the Furballs are actually genuinely funny to play.

Seriously now, what fun is there??? Do we really need to look for other ruleset to make fights fun?


Posted in AAR, X-wing | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Summer came – Summer went…

It’s been remarkably busy season for anything else but actual wargaming. Of course some of that has been fitted in, but paints have been in the shelfs for past few months. Meanwhile I did finally collect my old ASL collection from storage, and have now some surplus but nothing dramatic. I’ve also collected some other classics, but most of them will go for sale because I do not have too much shelf space – and frankly very unlikely that I will ever play them. These include Pacific War and Imperium Romanum II.

We have ongoing 3 player live game of Pax Romana where some of the Eastern powers are put against each other. Lady luck gave me Egypt and our little territorial disagreement with East (what is Ptolemy to do?) gave some head start for Greece.  As a result I am not exactly in good fighting condition at the moment. East was much favored by lady luck in the alliances, but not really in dices and he did lose quite bit of valuable troops. Of course much can happen because we are only entering turn three and things are far from being lost.

Pax-Romana-Eastern - 1

Initial troublemaking in Greece mainland by two SoF armies.

Pax-Romana-Eastern - 2

Pax-Romana-Eastern - 3

Tensions rising at the Egyptian border – I am completely innocent here 😛

Pax-Romana-Eastern - 4

Pax-Romana-Eastern - 5

Waking realization that Greece is on a runaway. End of our Eastern dispute – for now.

Pax-Romana-Eastern - 6

Consolidation of remaining power – To Crete. Excellent olive oil there.

Pax-Romana-Eastern - 7

See that super stack? That is the Eastern Alliance killer stack.

Once again, Pax Romana is super fun game. Absolutely one of the best world domination game ever made. Especially in such an excellent company. To be continued….

Posted in AAR, Ancient warfare, Successors | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Bravest of the Brave

He was probably one of the better known Marshals of France originating from modest beginnings. A son of a master cooper, later Marshall of France and duped Bravest of the Brave by Napoleon, he met his end facing the firing squad at the wall of Luxembourg gardens 7 December 1815. It was claimed that he committed a treason and by no means he was without a fault.

Today his memorial stands shaded by trees at the far end of the Explorer’s Gardens in Paris, near Port Royal metro station which I strolled by the other day.

Ney - 4Ney - 2Ney - 1Ney - 3

Posted in Locations, Revolutionary wars | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Naval Gunnery and disaster of 1628

For quite some time I have tried to find a good example for couple of friends to explain what kind of damage solid cannon ball does when fired against wooden ship of solid construction. Now I have found excellent sample at most excellent Vasa Museet, in Stockholm. There are of course cross section of the result, but also video of the shot – which highlights just how bad the splintering it really is.

It seems to be rather complicated to explain the grounds why certain aspects of naval gunnery in early days were as they were and why some rulesets get it just plain wrong. Material from Vasa Museet is extremely useful in that regard. After seeing the video recording, importance of crew morale becomes evident. No surprise that morale wavered much before significant structural damage were sustained during age of sail.

Vasa - 2

Entry wound. Two round shots were shot through the planking.

Vasa - 3

Exit wound. Notice the area of splinters, small and larger. Consider that after even slightly longer action, the planking would fracture considerably, and every further shot would cause increasing amount of splintering.

Vasa - 1

Cross section from the entry/exit wounds after the shot. Shows the hull construction and the penetration power that the shots have carried.

As it is rather well known, 10 August 1628 disaster fell upon Swedish naval ambitions.  Build to be strong vessel, and carry all of Swedes imperial prestige, foundations of Vasa were questionable. The dangerous instability was not such a surprise as believed. Tests committed by crew of around 30 men running from side to side showed that Vasa was indeed what was feared. It was the poor project management combined with overambitious direction and fast schedule that doomed the ship. At 64 guns, she would have been powerful indeed, but transitional period emphasized both, heavy board side and tall castles to aid boarding battles. Vasa’s fate was to sink after sailing of 1,3km, never seeing any action, or in fact, fire a shot. Considering that during the age only few could swim, only 30 hands of her crew were lost. Her sister ship Applet was 1m wider adding to the stability and she proved to be functional design. Vasa’s wreck was located in the 1950s and she was finally salvaged in 1961.

Below some eye candy of the Vasa reconstruction work. Indeed it is a mighty sight.

Vasa - 8Vasa - 5Vasa - 4Vasa - 7Vasa - 6

Posted in Ancient warfare, Locations, Naval engagements, Signal Close Action | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment