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Thursday, June 30, 2016

FoW Batrep: Tankovy Batalon vs. Panzer Kampfgruppe (Trained)

My good friend Dennis Jensen has been working on his Soviet tank forces for the last year.  To test the latest additions to his army, we get together every 2-3 months at Island Games in Chantilly, VA.  For this go around, Dennis is playing a Confident Trained Tankovy force from Red Bear, while I am fielding a Trained Panzer Kampfgruppe from Desperate Measures.  I might be fielding portions of this Kampfgruppe next month at the FoW Doubles Tournament at Historicon, so this game is a small tune-up for me.

The armies courtesy of Easy Army:

We rolled randomly and came up with Hasty Attack as the scenario, Germans defending.

I chose to defend the near side of the table.  I was worried the ridges on the far side of the table were a barrier in case I needed to shift my forces.  We played the rail line as a slow-going embankment.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Star Wars Armada: Wave 3 Rieekan vs Tarkin

Steven and Sean play another Wave 3 game, this time it's Rieekan vs Tarkin. Flotillas are back on the table (proxied) in anticipation of their release!

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Bolt Action - DIY MG Emplacement

By Dennis Berwick

Today I'll be taking you through a step-by-step guide on how to make this simple machine gun emplacement for use as terrain in your games of Bolt Action.

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Monday, June 27, 2016

Iron Sharpens Iron: Meta Gaming Courtesy

By Troy A. Hill

…[Meta] is something that breaks the game and gives players an unfair advantage.  Having been a gamer for a long time I never believed in the “Meta Myth” and feel the term is improperly used by gamers.
-Mitch Reed

Mitch Reed’s piece on Meta Gaming was published the week I got to face my first Eastern Front all Panther list. That was a learning experience. Even though the all Panther list is legal and has been played countless times, this was my first time facing it. Had I been faced with that list one or two years earlier, when I was a raw recruit to this hobby, I might not have returned to play again. Now, having faced it once as a semi-skilled player, I have an idea of how to play against it, and welcome the challenge next time.

Reading through Mitch’s piece on why the “Meta” doesn’t really exist in Flames of War, I thought back to my last three years learning to play the game, and what some of my challenges with these “meta” lists have been. This article is not a refutation of Mitch’s philosophy, but, rather, a look at the how to play with such lists and still provide a fun time for players on both sides of the table.
While Mitch did show that the definition of the “Meta” doesn’t fit FOW, I haven’t found a better term for types of army construction he listed. Those lists are designed to maximize one aspect, and minimize danger to the list. Min/Maxing in games has been around a long time. But, the term “meta” still fits in a loose way, so I’ll use that term throughout this piece to refer to those lists outside the types normally seen.

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Friday, June 24, 2016

"Unknown" - A cooperative survival boardgame by Rob and Dave games

"Uknown" is a (pardon the pun) relatively unknown game that I happened to come upon on Kickstarter. I thought it looked promising, backed them, and then completely forgot about it.

Check out Rob and Dave games on Facebook. I'm not sure if this game will be available for purchase soon, or what.

A few weeks back, a suspicious package (Man, that's a great band name- Suspicious Package) arrived on my doorstep, and this game was inside! I finally talked my buddy Sean into trying it out with me, and we were quite impressed.

The game consists of a group of survivors exploring their underground world. They fight monsters, avoid hazards, and gather food for their settlement.

Sean and I recorded a playthrough- check it out! The game is fantastic!

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Bolt Action - Panzer Grey painting tutorial

While painting the latest addition to my Royal Hungarian army forces, a Panzer IV, I decided to record the process to share how I have painted the model and in particular the 'Panzer Grey'. Read on as I show you step by step how I painted this vehicle.
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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Star Wars Armada Video Battle Report: Ackbar vs Motti

Admirals Steven and Andrew throw down in a last minute game of Armada with truly thrown together lists.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Counter Point: What is "The Meta"?

With much assistance from Eric Riha

My good friend Mitch recently posted a controversial article entitled "Myth Busting: The Meta in Flames Of War". While I think he makes a lot of good points, I fully disagree with a lot of his premise, and I'll outline why and how I view a "meta" below. As a quick aside- man, hearing the word "meta" just makes me cringe, what about you? I think it DOES describe a phenomena in almost every game I've ever played, but it just sounds so dumb.

The fact is, many popular games we play right now evolve. Why? Because that is the business model. New models to sell and new rules to make them easier to sell. We're all okay with that right? We want new and shiny and we want our favorite game companies to succeed so they can keep churning out new stuff. It's a win/win really, and the "meta" is just the obvious by-product. I think Mitch and I agree with each other in a very broad sense in that the "meta" isn't exactly bad. It just is, and it's a thing to consider.

Mitch used the definition of "Metagaming" from Wikipedia (which I've repeated below), and goes on to de-bunk the myth based on the fact that the Wikipedia definition implies something rule or game-breaking.

Any strategy, action or method used in a game which transcends a prescribed rule set, uses external factors to affect the game, or goes beyond the supposed limits or environment set by the game. -Wikipedia

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Flames of War- Game Vault 1500 Mid-War Tournament Recap

by Eric "Tarzan" Lauterbach

Some days you just get lucky as a tournament organizer - this was one of those days. First we had an even amount of players, then we had equal amounts of Axis and Allied armies with no effort at all. So with those two things happening before we got started it was shaping up to be a easy day for me.

The tournament was a local Virginia, DC, and Maryland player affair at the Game Vault in Fredericksburg.  The store owner had set the theme as open mid-war armies 1500 points. Missions played were one each of the three basic randomly selected by the players at the table. We had Soviets, Brits, US, Germans, and a Hungarian player so the mix of armies was pretty good.

The allies started out strong but the Germans were on the offensive this day!

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

LRDG II : Episode 4 – Return Of The Rising Sun (Another Bolt Action Only Episode)

LRDG II : Episode 4 – Return Of The Rising Sun

A loooooong time ago, the guys in the LRDG took a serious look at the Armies of Japan book when it came out. Since then, the Japanese army has not had much love on Bolt Action podcasts, to rectify this Old Man Morin has put together a formidable round table of IJA players to discuss common misconceptions about the army, tactics, favourite units and sooooo much more! 

Later in the episode, Brad is joined by Patchimus Prime to talk painting, upcoming events and Patch’s 2017 Cancon giveaway. It should also be noted that Patch says a VERY naughty word!

The episode is rounded out with a chat from another friend from the north side of Australia, Hari Turner. We talk listing for late war Fins, grudge matches and Bolt Action in general.

Stay tuned.. This is a BEAST of an episode!

As always, we would love feedback from you, the listener. Please find us on Facebook under The LRDG Podcast and let us know what you think of this, or any other of our podcasts.

You can download this episode from the iTunes store or you can find it directly HERE.
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Bolt Action - Blitzkrieg Wolverine vs Rubicon Achillies

Back in February 2015, I attended my first ever Bolt Action event. Is was called BAMF and it was a 750 point event where I met some incredible and lasting friends. Bryan showed up with his incredible French to show everyone what the gold standard was. Anf showed up with a multiple vehicle list and freaked me right out! And the LRDG were in the house strong with Old Man Morin running the floor and Lachlan and Dave throwing dice like a couple of furious honchos. At that event I was lucky enough to to win the prize I had my eye on all day, namely the Blitzkrieg Wolverine. 18 months later, and the Rubicon M10/M36 has crossed my desk. So as opposed to doing a straight up review of the Rubicon kit I thought I'd pit the two models against each other and see what's what.

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Monday, June 20, 2016

Elder Sign brief review and video Playthrough

I recently made the trek down to Game Theory in Raleigh NC for a Star Wars Armada Regionals tournament. I'm a big fan of that game shop; I visit it regularly as it's near my in-laws' place. So, I wanted to pick something up to support them (and, more importantly, feed the addiction). My friend Sean suggested Elder Sign, so I snapped it up. I've now played it many many times, as it's become a MacLauchlan house favorite.

In the game, 1-8 players work cooperatively to stop one of the Eldritch Gods from waking and bringing about our doom. The game reminds me of a streamlined version of Arkham Horror, and that's a good thing. It's quick to teach, difficult to master, and a barrel of fun! Check out a playthrough with my friend Jeff below:

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Leopard Arrives to Adrenalize Team Yankee

 By Mitch Reed and Luke Melia
 The good people over at Battlefront supplied us with an advanced copy of the first follow on module for Team Yankee. Leopard: The West German’s in World War III expands the NATO faction by introducing us to the host of the conflict. The 48-page softcover book, written by Wayne Turner, has all the information a player will need to run a Bundeswehr list; and also has a painting guide, new scenarios, and a back story that gives the player some context on West Germany’s military after WWII and their expected role in the event of a Warsaw Pact invasion.

Mitch has composed the majority of this article. I have inserted comments, review notes and opinions in italics to differentiate between us.  -Luke

"Armageddon It"

When making a game about a fight that never took place it is important that the designers give the player some idea about the environment that these forces will fight in. This background is explained in detail at the beginning of the book and explains the growth of the post war German Military and how it played a key role in the NATO alliance. Having the largest ground force in NATO and knowing that the next war would be fought on their land it, the role of the Bundeswehr cannot be overstated and including them made an excellent selection (if not the obvious choice) for the first module to follow on the initial Team Yankee Game.
OOB For KG Muller
The contextual back story leads to the introduction of Kampfgruppe Muller, which is a part of the 1st Panzer Division, 2nd Panzer Brigade that battles the Soviets in northern Germany. The WWIII fight of KG Muller is what the book’s lists and scenarios are based upon.
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Friday, June 17, 2016

Bolt Action - Review: Historique Pin Markers

By Casey

Hey guys, Casey here with a review of Historique’s line of pin markers and objective markers. ​I take a lot of pins…I mean A LOT. Players use everything from bottle caps, buttons, glass beads, spent shell casings, bones of past opponents, and the ubiquitous D6 die. I personally like a clean table, when markers start stacking up, it can get a bit chaotic if you are using multiples types of pin markers. I have seen dice acting as pin markers swept up at the end of the turn as well. In my quest for a better pin marker I came across Rob Prince and his company Historique.

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Warhammer Quest - Silver Tower

I recently picked up Game's Workshops newest board game - Warhammer Quest Silver Tower. This is a remake of their earlier classic, Warhammer Quest, although the mechanics are pretty different. I won't talk too much about how the game works, as they have a pretty good gameplay overview on their website.
The game comes with around 50 miniatures, with several of them being duplicate sculpts. These are GW style wargaming figures, not the cheapo plastic board game figures most dungeon crawlers come with. The figures require assembly, with clippers, glue, and all, and if you're adventurous, paint.

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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Flames of War - Type 97 Te-Ke Platoon Review

The Japanese Type 97 Te-Ke tankette was designed as an improvement to the machine-gun armed Type 94 based on the Imperial Japanese Army's experience in China. While the Type 94 had been useful, especially when deployed en masse against the Chinese, its armor was thin and the vehicle was vulnerable to Chinese anti-tank weapons. While externally the Type 94 and Type 97 tankettes are similar, the Type 97 was truly a completely new vehicle and could be equipped with a 37mm gun or a machine gun as primary armament. In Flames of War, the Type 97 Te-Ke can be fielded as Divisional Support in either a Tank Platoon (three to five vehicles) or a Recon Tankette Platoon (two to three vehicles) in Japanese Lists from Banzai. Battlefront has recently released this tankette as the Type 97 Te-Ke Platoon (JBX05) which contains five vehicles.

The first thing you'll notice when picking up this particular platoon box is that it is very light compared to other Battlefront offerings in the same-sized box. There is good reason for this.  Opening the box you'll see that the Te-Ke hull is molded tracks and all as one piece using Battlefront's new two-part mold process as detailed in their recent factory tour.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Bolt Action - Unofficial Unit: Canadian Skink

In March 1943, the Canadian Army Technical Development Board approved the development of the Skink anti-aircraft tank. Designed on the Grizzly chassis (the Canadian built version of the M4A1 Sherman) it mounted four 20mm Polsten cannons in an enclosed turret and was planned to be a mobile anti-aircraft platform to defend the Canadian ground forces against the dreaded Luftwaffe. Keeping with tradition of naming Canadian tanks after animals, it was named the Skink after Ontario's only native lizard.

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Star Wars Armada: Mon Cal Repaints and an ISD fit for an Admiral.

Relatively quick post today! I recently touched up some of my Armada ships just for fun. I took a lot of inspiration from Parker's beautiful paint jobs.

I settled on a blue-ish purple with white tiger stripes for the big boy and one of the shrimps. I really like how it turned out on the MC30, but the big MC80 is actually fairly difficult to get looking cool. It's just a lump of a ship, and sort of difficult to approach.
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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Myth Busting: The Meta in Flames of War

By Mitch Reed

Big Cats, Arty Parks, and Strelk Spam are all terms I have heard in my time playing Flames of War; these terms are in reference for what some folks call the current “Meta” of the game.  Let me first define this term which is really short for “Metagaming” and defined by Wikipedia as “any strategy, action or method used in a game which transcends a prescribed ruleset, uses external factors to affect the game, or goes beyond the supposed limits or environment set by the game.”  So by definition it’s more than just what is popular, it is something that breaks the game and gives players an unfair advantage.  Having been a gamer for a long time I never believed in the “Meta Myth” and feel the term is improperly used by gamers. Let me take you through some examples and facts in order to de-bunk this very popular myth.

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Monday, June 13, 2016

Star Wars Armada Video: Wave 3 Test featuring Flotillas!

Steven and Jeff test out some Flotillas with spoiled wave three cards! Steven's rebels are led by the new General Cracken, while Jeff's Motti fleet utilizes 2 Gozantis to push squadrons around. Great game!

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Bolt Action - Review: Mad Bob Miniatures Long Tom Howitzer

Recently I've been on a nostalgic jaunt with my Americans. This started when I had to write a gumby list for an event I ran recently. Whilst putting a tough but fun army list together I started going through all the different options for artillery and vehicles. Some I was familiar with others not so much. I'd read about the Long Tom howitzer but had never seen one on a table. To the best of my knowledge the heavy howitzers don't come out to play that often. They're large, require a substantial tow, they're also large, they're a bit of a points sink, they're large, they're magnets for enemy fire and oh yes, did I mention they're large?! Despite the drawbacks I decided that I'd at least like to see one painted up and after a quick look I found that none other than our friend Mad Bob was a purveyor of this awesome slice of HE goodness.
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Sunday, June 12, 2016

Bolt Action - Ghost Army Podcast Episode 17

Ghost Army Podcast: Episode 17

Patch, Bryan and Anf are back with another episode, talking about what they've been doing hobby-wise, what's been happening in the Bolt Action world and finishing off their discussion on the Australians in the Pacific Army List.

Find this episode in your friendly neighbourhood iTunes store or HERE.

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Friday, June 10, 2016

Factory Building Review

This is part three in my series of reviews on Battlefront's new modern building line for use with Team Yankee.

Battlefield In A Box has been a very good line of accessories for Battlefront's game systems.  They do not have to be used exclusively for Flames of War or Team Yankee, however, and may be used with any 15mm system.

Today we will be taking a look at the Factory Building, product code BB 192 and retails for $50.00 USD.

The reviews will all be relatively brief since there is no painting or real assembly required. That in itself is my favorite aspect of the Battlefield in a Box series; open the box and you have an automatic piece of terrain without the hassles of gluing things together and painting all for an affordable price.

The model comes in three pieces, all cast resin and fully painted. The model, when assembled, is 3" tall and 6.5" long. 

A view from the top of all three parts.

A view of the inside of the roof and a different angle.

Ground level view unassembled.  Please note the detail on the loading doors and the texture of the walls.

Ground level view of the factory from the front facing.

Ground level view of the factory from the rear.

I really like this model.  The color is great and fits the theme perfectly.  It is a bit bigger than the standard house that we have all seen from the Battlefield in a Box line.  It makes for a great terrain on the game table, especially when combined with other pieces of the new modern line. There is a limited amount of shading and highlights. The only detractor may be the price. $50.00 for a building is a lot of money for a single piece of terrain, however the quality is there and it is a lot of resin going into this building.  I plan on purchasing more of these buildings to add to my collection, which is the best recommendation I can give.  If I could change anything, I do wish they would come out with all Battlefront buildings in slightly different colors to give some diversity to the game table. 

4.5 out of 5 stars.

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