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Friday, August 30, 2013

"World of Flames of Tanks of War" Mini Tourney

-by Jeff Flint

Recently, Chris Hecht (Darqueling on the WWPD Forums and also known for his World of Tanks YouTube videos) was in town and wanted to get his Flames of War on.

RangerDane on the left and Steve T (Chris Hecht is in the middle with his back to the camera)
Well, I couldn't just let a WWPD and WoT celebrity go by without a little fanfare, so I turned on the SonBaeSignal at my FLGS (The Foundry) and tried to arrange a short notice mini-tournament on a Monday.  What was I thinking...Well, lo and behold we had 7 people show up besides Chris and 8 person tourney on a weeknight!!!!  Gotta give 'uge props to my local players.  Thanks showed Chris a great time! to the meat of this article. 
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Bolt Action - Soviet Infantry! (Or: Surviving a Sale!)

If you're reading this, chances are you've seen a Black Tree Design sale or ten since Bolt Action first hit the scene a bit over a year ago; and if you're anything like me, you've taken advantage of one or all of these sales. To those of you familiar with what I'm talking about, this will look familiar to you:

Degenerates order by weight.

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Review: T-26 obr 1933 Light Tank Company

- by Chris Hecht

One of the most prolific tanks of the Soviet Early and Mid War eras that has been getting a lot of list time has come out in a new box set.  Already released from the new Early War army book by Flames of War Rising Sun, comes the new revision of the T-26 Light Tank in the form of an earlier variation, the T-26 obr 1933.  I personally could not wait to check these guys out as lists in both EW and MW have been including T-26s, here was my chance to paint some up and see how they stack up to other models.

The contents of the box are both full of options, but lacking in accessories at the same time.  Within the box, set we get plenty of extra bits and the different options for the T-26 with a 45mm Anti Tank Gun. We also get the option to convert to the flame tank, the KhT-130 with a different mantlet and barrel.  Some things that are noticeably absent from the box are some of the more common things in Battlefront box sets these days, such as decals and magnets.  While there technically is no place to mount a magnet to the chassis of the tank for a turret magnet to adhere to (this will be explained later), it would still have been possible and nice to have a set of magnets to make the tank a little more stable.  On the decal front, there is plenty of surface room on the turrets themselves, and the box art does show each tank with different decals; I would have expected a decal sheet to be included, especially for the little red stars that are shown on the front of the turret mantlet.
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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Waltzing with Matilda's: Medium Sensha Company vs. Aussies (AAR)

- by Throckmorton

Hey all, Throckmorton back again to give you another Flames of War Early War bat rep featuring the Japanese from Rising Sun against a list distinctively not from the Rising Sun book.

This time the Australians and their mighty Matildas face off against the (relatively lightly) armored fist of the Emperor's Imperial Japanese Army. This could actually be a (somewhat) historical battle as the Australians and New Zealanders certainly fought a long and bloody conflict in the Pacific alongside the British and Americans.

A British history nut friend of mine even let me know that most of the Matildas used by the Australians and New Zealanders were actually committed to the Pacific Theater. So, if you will, ignore the desert scheme and imagine we're deep in the jungles of New Guinea. In the pre-dawn hours a medium Sensha Rentai set's off to reconnoiter the no man's land between themselves and a defending company Australians.

This time around I get to push the armor. I'll be playing the Japanese and my friend Mitch, with whom we're testing a series of Japanese lists, will be playing the Aussies.

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Bolt Action - AAR: The Fire Brigade's Counter Attack

Over the weekend I had some buddies over to my house for a game of Bolt Action.  For several of them it was their first time playing, so I fielded basic units in a homemade scenario designed to introduce them to the game.   For added flavor each side also had an armored platoon.

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Review: PSC M5A1 Stuart

by Dirty Jon

We were lucky enough to get our hands on some Plastic Soldier Company Allied M5A1 Stuarts, so I decided to paint some up for my growing American army.  Though I am not the King of The Stuarts like Luke, I did want to pick some of these up to flesh out some of my options moving forward.  The US Stuarts are rather nice - 16" move, Recce [Editor: Thats only Brits!] and Stabilizers make these very dangerous on the battlefield.  With up to 5 machine-gun dice, you just can't beat these guys.  So, lets see how there went together!

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Monday, August 26, 2013

On the Road Episode 6: Iron Tom and the Boys

Tom and two of his local "BattleVault" gamers, Ed Hall and Tony Thompson, record a a podcast driving up to and back from a tournament in Ohio.  They discuss their lists, predictions and results of the tournament.

Download the Episode here!

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Warmachine: Battle of the Barges

Owen and I got in a 35-point game of Warmachine using an old first edition barge scenario. The scenario takes place over water, with two barges that move D6 inches a turn across the water. It really captures a "boarding party" feel to the game.
Chris made up two quick barges out of foam and popsicle sticks

As usual with Warmachine, the main goal is just to beat up on the opposing army. However, you can also shoot the opposing barge, and blast template weapons automatically hit the opposing barge in addition to enemy models. When a barge reaches the opposite end of the table, the player's barge with the most damage loses, if a player hasn't won by killing his foes.

Retribution barge
Owen took (roughly from memory and pics):
  • Kaelyssa
  • Phoenix
  • Daemon
  • Aspis
  • 2x Mage Hunter Assassins
  • Fane Knight Issyen
  • Narn, Mage Hunter

Cyngar barge
I took:
  • Epic Caine
  • Cyclone
  • Journeyman Warcaster
  • Avenger
  • Gun Mage Adept
  • Stormsmith Stormcaller
  • Full squad of Tempest Gunmages
  • Full squad of Tempest Blazers
Turn one Owen's barge only moves one inch, so he just took a few long range shots that mostly missed or did little. On my first turn, my barge only moved two inches, but that was enough to get a small gap to get in!
The barges are close enough for the Tempest Blazers to charge forward and block the entrance!

The Daemon has an attack that pulls everything close to it's impact hit and then explodes outward. It wiped out most of my Tempest Gun Mages and the Journeyman Warcaster, leaving the Avenger to go offline without a controller! Nasty!

Narn charges in but fails to hit a Tempest Blazer

Kaelyssa hiding being the Retribution Warjacks

A Tempest Gun Mage moves up and shoots the Daemon with a knockback effect. It's not enough to knock the Daemon off of the barge, but it does create an opening...

Caine has a clear shot to Kaelyssa. By clear shot, I mean shotS, as he unleases his unlimited rate of fire hail of death and takes down the opposing Warcaster for a Cygnar victory.
Whelp, that's it. Top of turn three win. We barely even put any damage on the barges. With caster-kill as a primary victory condition in Warmachine, it can frequently lead to very short games. Some folks really like the mechanic, some folks really despise it. Unfortunately, it does make for very short batreps!

Our game was pretty short, but I thought the novelty of the barge scenario was cool enough to warrant some pics. I do want to try out the barge scenario idea with some other games as well, such as Infinity. The constantly changing LoS arcs really add a new dynamic to the game.

Are you a current active Warmachine player? If so, post up some pics of your armies on the forums! While it's far from my main gaming interest, the models are super awesome, so let's post some pics!

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Bolt Action - Review: Tamiya SdkFz 251 and Puma

I picked up some 1/48 scale Tamiya models for my Bolt Action Germans recently.  It was nice to pick them up already built.  As much as I love 1/48 scale vehicles, I loath building them.  I went ahead and repainted the SdKfz 251 and Puma because they did not match my style.  In about 2 hours of work I had them ready to rock in roll.  Since I did not build the kits from the start I am not able to do a full review of these kits, however news on the streets is Tamiya is pretty solid. 

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Friday, August 23, 2013

Flames of War Vietnam: Resistance Teams Review

by Jeff Flint

I reviewed one half of the units in the Local Resistance Company (VPABX10) box set released by Battlefront for Flames of War in this post. Now, I get to talk about a cool addition to any army of the communist menace...I mean freedom fighter...I mean...never mind....we get to talk about the Resistance Teams!!!!  Again, for matters of full disclosure, this boxed set is one that I purchased from my FLGS.

One thing that makes these figures cool is that they are non-military sculpts (at least non-military sculpts that serve a gaming purpose :-/ ). We have farmers, Grandpa taking rice to the market...Grandma carrying a basket...and a young mother with a little baby in her arms.  Talk about a different color palette!

These teams represent the nastier guerrilla fighters...the punji stake diggers...the IED planters...the Booby Trap Bubba.
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Bolt Action - New To Bolt Action: Baxter's Next 500 Points

In our last article we looked at things to consider when building you initial 500 point Bolt Action Army.  Judson started out with a 500 point British list, and I started out with 500 points of Russians.   Your first 500 point forms the core of your army and I chose to fill mine with figures and troops I will hopefully use in most army lists I create.  Here is my 500 point list to recap what I bought.

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Flames of War ANZAC Review

by Sean O'Hara

At my first glance at the Flames of War Vietnam Tour of Duty book, I wanted the ANZAC forces.  The pictures looked phenomenal and the rules seemed to fit my play style.  Luckily, Steve was able to procure some for me to paint and review.  All in all, it was two platoons of infantry, a box of M113s, and a box of the Centurion Mk 5s. I saved the Centurions for last as I was most excited about painting them.

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

AAR: Hohei Chutai vs. Panhard Horde

by Throckmorton

Over the weekend my buddy Mitch and I decided to try out some Rising Sun Japanese lists against opponents not from the Rising Sun book. This gave me the opportunity to whip out a couple of my favorite Flames of War Early War lists and give them a test against the flower of the Empire of the Rising Sun. 

In the first battle (the second report is coming soon) I lined up my beloved French "Panhorde" (Panhard horde) against the giant infantry units of the Imperial Japanese. It was a quick and bloody affair that really showcased how fast Japanese can get into combat, and what a bloodbath results from not retreating in the face of massed machine guns. 

Points: 1500
Mission: No Retreat!
Attacker: Japanese in a night attack
Defenders Reserves: All 3 Panhard Platoons and the Somua medium tanks. 

The Lists!
Japanese (sorry no Easy Army yet):
Fearless Veteran Hohei Chutai
HQ, with Regimental Banner
Platoon 1: Full with 3 Nikuhaku Teams
Platoon 2: Full with 3 Nikuhaku Teams
2x 37mm Anti-Tank Guns
2x Type 41 75mm Field Guns
3x Type 95 Ha-Go Light Tanks
3x Type 95 Ha-Go Light Tanks


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Bolt Action - Review: Stone Manor

Recently one of my gaming buddies made the decision to retire and move out of state. As he prepares to move he has been downsizing his collection of all things gaming. He more or less opened his war room to his friends and said, "make an offer."  I snagged a sweet stone manor from him, along with a bunch of 28mm Germans and a resin barn, for a groovy price.  I have been eye balling this piece of his collection ever since I started playing Bolt Action.   He has had the manor for a while, but it just sat, unpainted, collecting dust.  As soon as it was mine I took it home and painted it right away.

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Review: Firefly (The Board Game)

I was lucky enough to get a copy of Firefly at Gencon. Let's take a look, shall we?
At the top of this writing, it's #1 on "The Hotness" at BoardGameGeek, and has a rating of 7.5. It sold out at Gencon in well under an hour, but should be available from Battlefront/Gale Force 9 soon. The rules can be peeped for free on BF's website here.

I won't go too much into the rules and gameplay mechanics, since you can read the full rulebook linked above. A general overview of the game - it has a strong "multi-player" solitaire theme for it - kinda like Dominion or Catan. You are competing to accomplish goals ahead of other players, but you can't directly screw your opponents over. You do get to occasionally send the Reavers or the Alliance their way, and it's possible to steal their crew in certain circumstances, but that's about it.

This side box "art" is actually helpful info for new players that aren't familiar with the show. Also, check out that sweet chair in the background.
 The game comes with a pretty big (size-wise) 18-page rulebook, chock full of pictures from the show.

The rulebook.
 The board is a little under 3x2 feet. It's divided into Alliance space and Border space. One big thing I like about the game is the board stays relatively empty - just the player's ships, the Alliance Cruiser, and the Reaver Cutter. Everything else stays off of the board, keeping it clear and clutter-free. (There's A TON of stuff off the board, so it does take up a lot of table space!)
The clutter-free board.
 All of the ships in the base game are the same. One person gets the Serenity, and the three other players get other Firefly-class vessels. They each come with the same stats - a basic engine (Radion Accelerator MK-1 for you Browncoats), eight cargo slots, four stash slots, and six crew slots.

Note that there is a promo ship available from GTM, which has slightly altered stats.

Serenity gets to be orange.
 The game has six different missions, with one of them being designed for solo play. You randomly pick one before the game starts. Below are two of them. The first player to complete the three goals in order wins.

Solo mission on the right
You get two actions a turn - fly, deal, work, or buy.

You have two types of flying - you can "mosey along", moving just one space, or "burn", moving up to five spots. If you burn, you have to flip navigation cards each square you move and see what happens. The vast majority of them are just empty space, but you could run in to trouble (Reavers, Alliance, or mechanical failures) or riches (salvage ops come to mind!)

Some examples of nav cards from border space

Some nav cards from Alliance space
 Once the nav decks have been fully cycled through, the Alliance Cruiser and Reaver Cutter get shuffled in, and the decks get reshuffled every time they are drawn, so there is always the danger of them popping up. The Alliance Cruiser is at best a minor annoyance, stopping you for inspection regardless, and possibly a major headache if you've become an outlaw. The Reaver Cutter can potentially kill off a lot of crew unless you have a top notch crew of Pilots and Mechanics, in which case you can spend fuel to get away.

A big part of the game is hiring your crew, getting them gear, and upgrading your ship. These are done in five market hubs, which each have their own deck of upgrades available for purchase. For example, Silverhold is full of guns whereas Persephone has a bit more....class. You always get to look at up to three cards and purchase up to two. You can either draw fresh unseen cards from the deck, or rummage through the discard pile for other people's trash, or both.
The market hubs

You can purchase

  • Crew - Fill up your quarters with crew to help you get jobs done. But be careful - the more crew you hire, the more cuts you have to set aside for their pay!
  • Gear - Most crew can use one piece of gear, and a few can use more. Gear can be permanent things such as an Alliance ID Card, or one-use items such as grenades.
  • Ship Upgrades - Your Firefly has three upgrade slots. They can be things like improved engines or expanded crew quarters.

Some gear

Once you have a crew, it's time to get some work. There's five different folks you can work for - quest givers of sorts. Some of them offer mostly "legal" work (move stuff from point A to point B), while some offer...less legit...employment (stealing slaves from a competitor, stealing drugs from the sick, causing mayhem, etc)

These folks will offer you jobs
Once you complete a job, you get a payout. From the payout, you have to subtract crew costs - an awesome crew will make jobs a lot easier, but also a lot less profitable. Failing to pay the crew results in them being disgruntled and possibly leaving.
Some sample jobs
Illegal jobs usually require you to "misbehave". Misbehaving is where the major of the stat checks in the game come up. You'll have to flip 1-4 Misbehave cards, and complete the goals on them. Many of them will REQUIRE advanced crew and/or gear to complete.

On this misbehave card, you can either 1) Make an average difficulty mechanics check, 2) A pretty difficult fighting check, or 3) Skip it with a Hacking Rig
  It's all done for the money. The money pieces are actually really nice quality - not crappy like monopoly money. Good thick paper, lots of detail printed on. A small, but nice quality addition.
Mo money, mo problems.
 So, all said and done, what's the bottom line? I think it was best compared as a "Lords of Waterdeep in Space". It's a pretty average board game, and if you're not a Firefly fan, I could see it not being appealing. However, the attention they gave to quotes from the show and little details like that push this game over the top for the Browncoats out there. There's just so much flavor and theme. I'm not really even a BIG Firefly fan - I caught on to a lot of references and cool aspects, and I'm sure there's tons more than I missed.

All the major characters from the show are in the game, and tons of minor characters as well. Also, the major characters are just plain better than the others, which makes sense. I like how they characterized the characters too. For example, River can be AWESOME or USELESS - she's totally random.
The figures and sweet Firefly dice 

Things I wish were improved. Why the bloody heck can we not get box inserts that fit sleeved cards. It clearly has the space to be able to be done. Also, there's six victory path cards, with one being a solo mission. I would have liked to see eight, giving a wee bit more replayability. I'm sure more will come with expansions...but still.

These were the tables BF was giving demos on at Gencon. Me want!
All in all, I give this game an 8/10 salvage ops.

TL;DR/Cliff Notes Section
  • Plays in 3-4 hours first game, 2ish hours after that
  • Average replayability
  • Not a ton of player interaction
  • Very, very strong theme with the franchise
  • Great quality pieces

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Review & Build: PSC Cromwell Boxed Set

Hi WWPD! Throckmorton here stepping in on my first official post as a WWPD writer. I'm really excited to join the team and lower the level of discourse around here a little bit.

So, without further ado I give you a complete review, build and paint of the new British Cromwell Tank set from Plastic Solider Company.

I love the Cromwell tank. I think it's my favorite Allied tank of the war, with the Chaffee being a close second.  There's just something about the look of these guys that feels like World War 2 armor to me. Now that I'm working on an Overlord Desert Rats army for my ever increasing Flames of War collection I jumped at the chance to review these when I saw them available at my FLGS.

I have a love hate relationship with PSC. Their tanks are dirt cheap, and that's great for a gamer on a budget. They're plastic, so paint is less likely to chip off and, due to the molding process used to put parts on sprue, they're less likely to have serious manufacturing defects than other forms of casting.

However, multi-part plastic kits are not everyone's bag. Sometimes you just want to crack open a clam shell, slap some super glue on there and get priming. But my real issue with PSC, and it's in evidence here, is the fidelity of details on their soldiers and crew. I like chunky details in 15mm, it allows for more visually striking contrast on the table. Which I think is one of the keys to a good 15mm paint job.

Here's the stats rundown on the Cromwell from the wonderful Easy Army website:

A light, smoke shooting tank that also comes in artillery bombardment form. This sounds like exactly what I want out of a tank. To bad it doesn't have .50 cals. But no girl is perfect right?

Now, on to the build and review!
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Monday, August 19, 2013

Review: Boss Monster

Today we'll take a quick look at Boss Monster, a newly Kickstarted game from Brotherwise Games.

Boss Monster combines a new take on dungeon-building games with a deckbuilding aspect, all wrapped up in a hilarious retro eight-bit video game style. The basic premise of the game has you taking the role of a dungeon boss monster, creating a dungeon out of various room cards, hoping to lure heros to your dungeon with the promises of treasure and princesses, only to squash them down like the puny heroes they are.

The instruction "booklet" even comes packaged like that from an old NES game.

Inside of the rules book. Oh yea, those two pages make up over 50% of the rules, too.
 But enough of the instruction booklet - that's not what we bought this for. So you have five different types of cards.

 The boss card is you. The various bosses don't really change too much of the game - they come with a basic type of treasure to lure heroes, and have various "level-up" effects - an effect you gain once your dungeon reaches five cards deep.
Jarin has a spellbook to lure mage-type heroes (seen in the bottom left of the card). His level up bonus gives you an extra coin (victory point) once your dungeon "levels up" (reaches five cards in size).
 The majority of the game is based around room cards. There are monster rooms and trap rooms, and they all have various synergies that play off of each other. Generally, monster rooms do more damage to heroes, and frequently get stronger with adjacent monster rooms. Trap rooms are often a little weaker, but can be consumed for a bigger effect, such as outright destroying a hero in the room.

Each turn you get to play one room card, building your dungeon out from right to left. The max dungeon size is five. You can play rooms overtop of other rooms, so that when you consume a room (or it's destroyed by another player!), the room below is there there. In the bottom left of a room card is a heart with how much damage it deals to a hero. In the bottom right is a treasure type - the strength of the room at luring heroes to your dungeon. In the middle is a text box - most rooms have some kind of special effect or bonus.

Two monster rooms and a trap room. 
 Every turn, a set number of heroes are revealed. Heroes have a particular type of treasure they will seek. The thief below is looking for bags of money, as indicated in the top right. This particular thief has 6 hit points, as shown in the bottom left. The hero will attempt to travel through whichever dungeon has the most treasure, and will take damage based on the damage value of the rooms he goes through. If he takes six or more, he is defeated and becomes a victory point for that particular boss. If gets through, he becomes a wound. 10 VP and you win - five wounds and you lose. That's about it!

A thief.
 Oh yea. About halfway through the game, the heroes get stronger. A lot stronger.

This fighter has 13 hit points.  He also counts as two wounds if he gets through, but is also two VP if he is defeated.
To assist against the "epic heroes", there are also Advanced Room cards. They are just plain better than normal rooms, but can only be placed on top of a room of the same type. For example, an Advanced Monster Room must be placed on top of a Monster room. So they don't help you make your dungeon bigger, but they do make what you already have better. Because of this, usually advanced rooms don't come out until the dungeon is already at max size.

This Advanced Monster Room's strength is equal to the about of monster rooms in the dungeon, so potentially a whooping five.

The last tool at the boss's disposal are spells. Spell cards are one-time effects that can be played to strengthen your rooms, weaken your opponents rooms, or just in general, cause havoc.
Zombie Attack is a spell that takes a previously defeated hero from an opponents VP pile, and sends the hero back through the dungeon again - with two extra health!

Boss Monster plays very quick, with an average game taking perhaps 15 minutes. It is also pretty easy to teach - you could probably play a game just by reading this article. (There's also a learn to play Youtube video available here). It doesn't have the deep complexity of many of games, so if you're looking for an epic gaming experience, you probably won't find it here. But if you're looking for a quick game to throw down between rounds at a tournament, or during rounds at happy hour, Boss Monster makes a great choice.

I give Boss Monster 6 out of 8 bits.

Boss Monster was a Kickstarter game, but is now available from many online and retail stores. You can get it directly from Brotherwise Games, or any retailer via ACD distribution.

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