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Friday, November 28, 2014

Bolt Action - Happy Thanksgiving Weekend BARbarians

The boys are busy pillaging the neighbors farm and searching the internets for Black Friday army deals.  We hope everyone hada safe and filling thanksgiving, see you monday for more articles and Bolt Action goodness.

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What Caen you do on your iPad; Wars and Battles Releases on iOS

By Mitch Reed

Being a longtime Grognard who still enjoys the old map and counter experience, I have always looked for ways in which I can enhance this experience by using my iPad or tablet. In the last year my dreams have been increasingly fulfilled with the release of various titles that either scratch this itch or have left me thinking that tablet wargaming is still a pipedream.

Wars and Battles, a recent release by the French company Kermorio, fills a void that is missing from tablet gaming.  Wars and Battles is a “Portal” in which a gamer will be able to play key campaigns throughout history, with planned titles that include Napoleonic battles to the more recent Arab-Israeli War of 1973.  I wondered how one game engine could do all of this, so I was able to give the first title in the collection Normandy-1944 a spin, and I was pleased with what I saw.

In Normandy-1944 a player has the choice of playing out the battles of the entire invasion of Normandy Campaign as either the Allies or the Germans.  You have the option of playing 18 small campaigns or 11 advanced scenarios in Normandy-1944, or for a real challenge you can play the entire battle in 2 massive scenarios that throw in a few “what-if” factors to challenge you.

What I initially liked about this game is that instead of pushing around abstract forces on a map, players are given the actual units, with realistic characteristics (over 100) to move around the map.  This appealed to that old gamer in me and it showed me that some historical rigor went into the design of this game.  The game features 7 different types of units (armor, infantry, artillery, mechanized infantry, ships, aircraft, and leaders) who have the same distinctive characteristics as their real life counterparts did. Players can also choose from a 3D or 2D map, so you can have little tanks, planes and soldiers on your map, or have what I perfer, the 2D counters that look like the games I play the old fashioned way.

3D View

2D View

The map is also very well done and Normandy-1944 features 9 different types of terrain. Once in-game the interface allows you to tap on a unit (or a stack of two units) to select it. Once selected you can move that unit up to its movement allowance and if it's adjacent to an enemy unit (or in range for artillery) you can give attack orders. This is where the game shines; once you select a unit to attack you are given the combat odds and a screen that can allow you to select units (air, naval, or artillery) to support your attack. This really gives you the feel of an operational commander; allocating your resources for key attacks.

You see the part of the map that is used in the game you select


As we all know, a flashy shell sometimes hides a poor game play engine.  I can say that while I do not know very much detail about the engine, it seems to work well in this game.  The interface from the "portal" screen on down is easy to navigate, and you can quickly select the theater you wish to fight in.  Once in a spesific battle you can choose to play any of the advanced or large battle scenarios.  The smaller campaigns have to be played in order, so if you win the Bloody Omaha scenario, you can then go on to the next mission.  Once unlocked, you can go right to that mission in the future.  The game also allows you to save up to twenty games with an autosave feature. 

Naval gunfire.. enough said...

There is a lot of this game that is under the hood that players will either become familiar with over time or by reading the information found on the developer’s website.  Such as supply which is a major factor in the game and how action points work.  I was able to get into and win a game or two without reading up on the system; however it did help as the smaller battles got harder as I advanced.  Each turn a side is given a certain number of action points in which they can use to move or order their units to attack.  I usually had to pass before I ran out of these points; however I am sure that action points play a role in the larger games. Once you pass it is the enemies turn to move or attack.  This is one drawback that found when playing the game, the lack of a detailed rule book.  While the game is very enjoyable, I do not know the action point cost of certain units, or how being cut off affects my units until they are isolated.  I also do not know how units become replenished during the game, but I can see their ratings change if I have them sit still for a turn. I hope that in the future the developer adds this missing feature and shows off some of the well developed engine this game runs on. I will recommend that a player should read the pre-battle brief and the tips as they pop on the screen, they will teach you the rules as you play.

Weapons details in case you wanted to know

One other question players consider when purchasing a new game is how tough will the AI be.  I have to agree that if a game lacks a challenge you are not likely to play it very much.  From my time in the game thus far I can say that AI is very aggressive and it looks to cut off units or moves forces to key areas to support an attack.  The AI also does something that I have noticed lacking other games; it tries to take back objectives you have captured since you earn victory points for them each turn.  With this aggression you can also cut off your enemy and shift your attack to where the enemy is weak.  In the game there is no way to lower or increase the skill of the AI or to set the game on an easy or tough mode. Also, the game has the “fog of war” where you cannot see your entire enemy's force; this too cannot be turned on or off.   Some of the games I have played have been tough affairs where I have had to try the mission again using different tactics. 

Pre-brief, I would suggest reading it!

While the game can time-out and base victory based on points, I have found that I was the loser in these instances (I have played mostly Allies so that should figure) and I have a better chance to win the game by destroying the enemy's force in its entirety.   You can also win and automatic victory by capturing all the objectives at any time, but the tough AI did not allow me to do this very often. I also have realized that support elements such as artillery seem to work better when used on their own, rather as a support in an attack; perhaps this would make a good engine for a Great War game (hint hint).

The game tracks your progress as you play

One aspect that I was not able to test in the advanced copy is the multi-player version of the game.  Which if done like other iPad games are done turn by turn with players saving their latest turn to a server, so you can play a turn and come back to play the next at your leisure.

For $6.99 you get the Campaign in each battle of Wars and Battles portal. In Normandy 44, you can play more than 15 scenarios in Campaign mode. Then, when the next battles will be released, you will be able to play the Campaign of each battle. In other words, for $6.99 you get 7 campaigns amounting to more than 70 scenarios. Advanced and Battle scenarios can be unlocked via in-app purchase. So Normandy-1944 will cost you $9.99 for all 31 scenarios, the next title “October War 1973” will cost $6.99 for the full unlock. I feel you get a good product for the cost and it is great that the developer lets you buy only a small portion of scenarios if you do not like the topic.

Guns and Smokes....

The publisher has informed me that they plan to release a new title every two months with “October War 1973” coming available in January 2015.  Future titles feature battles such as, Gettysburg-1863, Kharkov-1943,   Austerlitz-1805, Market Garden-1944, and The Korean War-1950-1953.  This is a lot of content in the pipeline and the publisher states that different aspects of the games engine will be turned on or off depending upon the period, where issues like unit facing, game scale, anti-tank missiles, and the potency of air power, etc will change with each title. Overall if the future content keeps to schedule and if it has the same quality as the first installment, I can see this Wars and Battles becoming a huge hit.

Overall Assessment
I would have to give this game a solid 4 out of 5 rating.  The lack of a comprehensive rules book prevents this from becoming the great game it probably is, a real hex and counter wargame on the iPad.  Other bugs such as dead units that stay on the map were minor occurrences in game play and I hope will be corrected in future patches.  Along with the lack of rules preventing this game from scoring higher is the unknown of how the multi-player game will work. Having played other multi-player games on my iPad I know a bad multi-player engine can kill the best of games.  I also hope that the bi-monthly release schedule will be maintained because I am excited for the proposed titles that are planned.

Actual units with their combat stats

So, if you are a casual to hard core gamer who longs for the days when they pushed cardboard around on a map, your prayers have been answered and Wars and Battles is the experience you have waited so long for.

Wars and Battles will be available in the App Store 27 November 2014 and you can find it by clicking here
Morto's Rating

4 out of 5

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New indexes added for LOTR and Conquest

No real update today as we celebrate Thanksgiving here in the states, but I wanted to take the opportunity to point out the indexes we've added for LOTR and Conquest. Just look up a few inches to the menu!

Thanks for reading Outpost Zero!
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Fate of a Nation Jordanians

 By "Tarzan" Eric Lauterbach

At last!!  The New Fate of the Nation book is coming out!  My Jordanians are saved!!  I was about to dump them on eBay for a song... and not even a very good song.  I was ready to do this because, lets face it they were useless and unplayable. It was a huge exercise in frustration to play Jordanians vs the Israelis - it was not even a game. Because of this, they were banished to the bottom of the gaming closet not even fit to be a paper weight.

Now.. the new book has arrived and breathed new hope into my scrap army..can they be the "Jordanian Lions" I once hoped for?  Well they are certainly a lot better. So what were the major fixes for this army?  Death to dreaded "Taa"(Hen and Chicks) rule.  Now it is possible to move and shoot and have a decent chance of scoring a hit, which really unties your hands now you can at least dance a little vs the Israelis.  This fix was the most needed -  it is no fun when you can't shoot.

The next major change was the addition of the "Professional Traditions" rule, which is you may re-roll main gun misses when stationary at targets over 16" away. The Israeli player will now think twice about the long range duel with Jordanian armor.  Another rule that tips the balance of power back to something reasonable is "Operation Tariq" which is Jordanian armor companies always defend.  I find this to be an interesting change and certainly will add more of challenge to the Israeli armor player.
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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Giving Thanks!

With the Thanksgiving Holiday going on, we're not going to post any content today.

Instead, I'd like to personally take the time to thank each and every person who contributes to the WWPD network of sites. When this blog began as a personal pet project several years ago, I had no idea it would grow into something so big! So many people have contributed their own enthusiasm and passion for our hobby to make WWPD the resource it is today, and I am so thankful for those contributions.

Secondly, I'd like to thank you! The community who continually comes to WWPD to share in our enjoyment of the hobby are what keep us coming back. We're so thankful for all of you!

We'll be back tomorrow!

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Bolt Action - Bolt Action Radio Episode 30

In Bolt Action Radio, Episode Thirty, Nemesis Andy, Dano de los Danos and Judddson both take off and return from another glorious Fall-In trip. Tune in and listen to the tournament report that avoids giving you a turn-by-turn, roll-by-roll snoozefest and instead focuses on the big picture. Do armored platoons fit in well in the standard reinforced platoon scene? Do the scenarios still work well when treads are trundling across four-by-six foot battlefields? Are super-heavy guns over-powered? (Ha.) This and much more gets tossed about in the latest episode of BAR.

Also if you live in the neighbourhood, you should check out this good cause: 
"We are doing an event on December 6th here in Flint, MI at Gamers Sanctuary where we raise money for the local food bank. We have done this for a number of years and we are pulling in Bolt Action this year.


If you would like the  direct link to this episode... You can find it here.

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The LotR LCG: Celebrimbor's Secret Review - Part 1

In many game systems there are times when players think that it's been far too long between any exciting releases. Then there are other times when the releases are coming so quickly that the fanbase can barely keep up. This is currently one of those times. In the last couple of months FFG has released several adventure packs and one deluxe saga expansion, inundating players with new quests to overcome and new player cards to enjoy.

Celebrimbor's Secret (henceforth CS because there is no way I'm typing out "Celebrimbor" multiple times) is the latest release to hit the tables, and has had an immediate impact. Let's take a look at some of the cards, starting off with the big one:

That's right, the preeminent Elf lord of Middle Earth has made an appearance in hero form. This card is a winner on all three fronts: gameplay, theme, and art. First of all, Magali Villnueve has once again outdone herself, capturing Galadriel's grace and beauty while hinting at her underlying power. There is a fantastic article at Tales from the Cards which outlines how multi-dimensional Galadriel truly is. She wasn't always the incorruptible figure that is portrayed in The Lord of the Rings, and I think this card art portrays just a bit of her potential for destructive power. Granted, in our timeline it is the servants of Sauron that have the most to fear from her, so what will the encounter deck be up against in terms of gameplay?

To start, we really can't analyze her impact on the game without talking about a hero-specific attachment for her: 

Elrond gets Vilya, Galadriel gets Nenya. This attachment unlocks her 4 willpower by basically allowing her to quest without actually committing her to the quest. 

Steven's Thoughts: I was totally on the fence about Galadriel, but I have seen the error of my ways. She rules! When she is thematically paired with Celeborn, and Silvan allies are questing without exhausting, not having Nenya doesn't even hurt that bad. In fact, I tend to use Nenya more to help generate lore resources than use its actual ability. Rarely do I add her willpower, unless we need to do a big push. I love Galadriel! -S

Next, allies do not have to exhaust to commit to the quest on the turn that they enter play. This is huge, and gives players a ton of action advantage with their allies.

Finally, you can exhaust Galadriel to lower your threat by 1 and draw 1 card. Players could, potentially, keep their threat static throughout an entire game, barring any Doomed effects or any failures against the quest. 

To get the most out of Galadriel and Nenya you'll need to get some sort of readying ability onto her. Unexpected Courage is the obvious choice, and Lembas is another in-sphere option for her (remember, with Nenya she gains the Lore resource icon). She takes some commitment to get going, but can be very powerful once she is fully equipped. Also, she is a 9-threat hero, which is pretty low these days and provides great value.

The downside? No attack or defense capability, but that's a weakness that questing heroes like Eowyn suffer from as well. As someone who doesn't run Silvan decks, my biggest downside is that I'm going to lose the awesome Ally Galadriel in my other decks!

Let's take a look at some of the other player card highlights from this pack:

Heir of Mardil - This is a great attachment for Galadriel, because there are many ways of shifting resources around via card effects. This would allow her to get the most out of her special abilities provided there was no other action-advantage available for her at that point. It's a fantastic attachment for other heroes as well, provided they have the Noble trait (sorry, Mablung, this card would've been perfect for you). I think this pairs very well with Theodred, for example.

Orophin - A strong contender for the MVP of the pack, Orophin (who is Haldir's brother, by the way) is an excellent ally card for anyone playing a Silvan deck. With Celeborn and O'Lorien in play, Orophin can enter for the cost of 2 resources, quest or attack for 3 (and, if Galadriel is in play, he can quest and attack), and bring an ally back from the dead. 

Wandering Ent - This is a fantastic card that is going into all of my Lore decks. He provides Ally Haldir-level stats for half the cost, which the slight catch that he comes into play exhausted. Frankly, I can wait a turn in exchange for his great value. Barring Hero Galadriel, this guy is probably my MVP of the Adventure Pack. In several solo games now I've dropped him into play for one cost thanks to Grima, and then because I had Keys of Orthanc in play I immediately made that resource back!

Galadriel's Handmaiden - This is a fantastic ally that deserves to quest round after round...but generally ends up dying right away. Think about it: with Celeborn and O'Lorien she enters play for 1 resource, quests for 3, and then with Galadriel on the table she's still ready to defend later on. She's the ultimate Silvan chump blocker! Perhaps Orophin can bring her back at a later point.

Charge of the Rohirrim - It's good to see that my loyal riders of Rohan haven't been abandoned by this AP. I see a lot of potential for this card, but so far I've been unable to pull off any fantastic combos with it. I think it suffers from the same problems as Forth Eorlingas: it's a little pricey for what it does, and can be very situational. I'm trying to work this into a combination with Dunhere and Rohan Warhorse, but so far I've been unable to get the combo to work as intended.

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for Part 2 where we'll explore what exactly Celebrimbor stored away in Ost-in-Eidhil. Special thanks as usual to the Hall of Beorn card search for the images. 

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GREAT WAR: Through the Mud and Blood Bat Rep

By Mitch Reed and Sean "Throckmorton" Sarah

Ever since I finished painting all of the blisters not found in the box sets I have been itching to play a Great War game with all of the support options available.  I have also been looking forward in playing the “Though the mud and blood” mission having played the other two Great War missions. Sean has been also itching to play as the Germans in a game, and why not? They have some cool toys that the British do not possess.  We decided on going with a 1500 point game and both made out lists adding up to 1490 points, a big departure from our 2120 point smack down in our first game.

The Through the mud and blood mission is a bit different than other scenarios.  The attackers have to set aside some of their forces for a flank attack that comes on in reserve.  The defenders get the trench line and one of the back quarters of the table. 
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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Bolt Action - OXI - Greek Army Project Part 2: Converting Greek Artillery Crew and Officers

With limited option available to anyone wanting to collect a Greek army, you may be require to get creative to fill out your collection and meet your army's needs.  I ended up lacking officers, characters, and gun crews for my artillery.  I wasn't able to find figures that liked or, in the case of artillery crew, wasn't able to buy crew separate from their guns to make the purchase worth it.  So instead I made my own figures from bits I had laying around from old kits and models I had in the house.

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Diesel N Dust Episode 10

Diesel ‘N Dust Episode 10 (Click to Download)

Diesel ‘N Dust goes red!
This month’s podcast the lads have only one thing on their minds……. Barbarossa.

In this episode Ben, David, Scotty and Lachlan talk what’s on their painting table, discuss Barbarossa lists and spoil the new EW & MW Otto Carius warrior in 38t.

And in Act 2, We get furious about the new tank movie 'Fury', laugh and cry about the new tournament points and announce the one day EW at SABRE 2015.
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The WWPD Fellowship Podcast Episode 3 (LOTR LCG)

Episode III: Handmaidens are a Dime a Dozen
Click here to download

The WWPD Fellowship returns for episode 3! After an action-packed AAR the gang dives into Celembrimbor's Secret, Solo vs. Group Questing, and some personal breakthrough moments. They round out the episode with their standard player card highlight segment. Elrond himself would learn something from this episode!

Make sure to check out our Fellowship Campaign Mode report as well!

And check out all the great websites we probably mentioned:
The LOTR LCG OCTGN Facebook Group
Hall of Beorn
The Grey Company
Cardboard of the Rings
Tales from the Cards
Couple vs Cardboard
To the Eyrie

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Beyond the Foxholes Episode 21

In Act One we join Ben, Winner Dave and Adam as they chat about what they have been up to recently before taking a look at Barbarossa.

In Act Two we hear Ben and Adam's interviews from the weekends Reading Warfare convention. Including an interview with Will from the Plastic Soldier Company, Steve Charlton's Mounted Assault tactica (yes we did Mounted Assault finally!) and many more.

In Act Three Ben and Adam give their MW AAR from Reading Warfare.

And finally in Act Four the guys drive into Dave's Mail Bags before ending the episode with look at commonly overlooked tactics.

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Bolt Action - Review: Blitzkrieg Miniatures Honey Stuart and Bandai Valentine

When Blitzkrieg Miniatures announced that they were going to be offering free shipping world wide I immediate purchased two more of their amazing Honey Stuarts to form the core of a new British Armored Platoon.  The Honey Stuart is a iconic tank and Blitzkrieg Miniatures does this tank justice.  Blitzkrieg makes all resin tanks that require very little assembly.  The Stuart kit includes a hull (with tracks attached), a turret, a hatch, three MMGs and a main gun.  It took me less than twenty minutes to assemble all three of my Honey Stuarts and the detail is as good, if not better than, the best alternative kits on the market.  If your a gamer who wants high quality model tanks, but you don't want to frustratingly labor through the assembly process there is no better choice than Blitzkrieg Miniatures, especially if you game in 1/48 like me.

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Monday, November 24, 2014

BatRep: Raiding Aces - OSS vs Autosahariana

My buddy Michael R and I got together recently and played a Flames of War Raiding Aces game.   These have been a favorite of ours since we played our Raiding Aces campaign a few years back.  The Raiding Aces Lists and missions can be found in the Burning Empires book.

We both prepared a 1000 point list and prepared to roll off on the mission chart.

Michael's American OSS List:
My Italian Autosahariana Force:

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Conquest Warlord Focus: Colonel Straken

If you saw my Conquest overview articles (part one, part two), then you know that each player's deck and strategy revolves around a Warlord character. In the core set, we receive one warlord per faction, and as I wrap my head around the game, I thought it would be helpful (mostly for me!) to discuss each warlord in turn. I will be focusing on their signature cards primarily, with some thought towards their abilities.

There's no better place to start than my personal favorite so far- Colonel Straken. He's a badass colonel in the Imperial Guard- er, Astra Militarum who fought for many years as a Catachan jungle fighter. Enough fluff, let's crunch!

In the realm of core set warlords, he's more or less par for the course in his basic stats. 2 attack and 6 hitpoints is (fittingly) a bit more on the "fight-y" side of the Warlords, but the differences are relatively minor. His 7 starting cards and resources are also par for the course for every warlord in the core set.

His special ability, however, makes him very dangerous. He wants to be in the thick of the fighting, boosting other units into pure killing machines. For this reason, Straken should be committed to pivotal battles each and every turn- and he should be commanding an army! Be careful though, his ability makes him a prime target for the enemy as bloodying him severely reduces your force capabilities.

Straken's Command Squad (4x) is pretty solid. With 4 copies in your deck, it needs to be! 2/2 is respectable, but not exactly awe inspiring. But when paired with Straken, your enemy is faced with a nasty prospect. Here's a relatively weak unit that will be hitting for 3 with Straken nearby... and if you kill them, they're replaced by a Guard token (which is a 1/2)! Even the guard token will be attacking for 2 with Straken. For a relatively low cost and a decent ability, Straken's Command Squad is a solid core. Plus, dude in the picture has a rockin' stache and kind of looks like Apone. "Stay Frosty, marines!"

Omega Zero Command (1x) is a fantastic support card. Unfortunately, only 1 exist in the deck- I'd have 3 if I could! While the Guard (sorry, I just have trouble calling them Astra Militarum) under Straken's Leadership want to have a horde at pivotal battle planets, this card makes planning ahead nice. Win the command struggle at planets 2, and 3, and you're guaranteed a solid unit in the coming battles. The few times I've gotten this card on the board, it's been great! Plus, it's one more boost for the Conscripts. Good card, but with only one in the deck, it'd be hard to work into an overall strategy since you may or may not draw it.

Now Glorious Intervention (2x) I can get behind! With two copies in the deck, you're bound to see it at least once. Your know who makes a fine candidate for sacrificing? An exhausted Straken's Command Squad. Why? They go away, deal 2 damage, and then get replaced by a ready Guard token! Save this for a big bad attack, and you may turn the tides of battle.

Straken's Cunning (1x) is probably my least favorite of Straken's cards. It's not that it's bad, it's just that with only 1 in the deck, and how situational it is, it's a bit too random. Still, if you draw it, I suppose it's nice to have due to its flexibility. 3 armor is hard to come by, and that is probably the main way I would use this card unless I am having some real trouble with card draw. 

I hope you've enjoyed this article, please sound off on the forums with any feedback- particularly if you disagree! I am very open to reinterpreting cards in new light, and these are my favorite so far.
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Bolt Action - Preparing Resin Vehicles for Painting

I have been painting resin vehicles for a few years now from various manufactures and I have had a few issues over that time which could have been avoided with proper preparation. I did not really understand how to prime resin to allow for the paint to bind and hold over the long term. If you are new to the scene this could help you out and it is based on my experiences only so opinions may vary. I am far from an expert and just your average Jo war gamer but I have learnt some small tricks along the way.

You can see the symptoms starting to appear, this is not a good day

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