Print and Play board game Tutorial.

I recently bought YAAH! magazine number 9 as I was interested in the game based around the battle of Donetsk Airport in 2014-15, rather than pay a lot to have the printed version shipped across the Atlantic I bought a PDF from Wargames Vault:

http://www.wargamevault.com/product/214499/Yaah-Magazine-and-Complete-Wargame-9?src=hottest

I thought I’d share a quick tutorial on how I made the game.

First things first is to print the relevant game components and counters, I think that YAAH! uses American rather than British paper sizes which makes things a little more complicated.. I don’t have an A3 printer so I tiled the game board across three sheets, likewise the counters were spread across two pages. I printed them out using the highest print settings on to matte photo paper.

Next I assembled what I needed:

IMG_7178

Scissors, metal ruler, cutting mat, glue- I used Fast Tack glue, I find it better than PVA for gluing paper as it is less runny, Craft knife- use a new blade; the usual caveats about sharp things apply, clear sticky backed plastic- very Blue Peter I know, and a seam roller – meant to press the seams of wall paper flat it is great for getting things properly stuck down, I used mount board from the local arts and crafts shop as a base for both the game board and the counters.

Firstly I tackled the game board:

IMG_7180

When I tiled the board for printing I allowed for an overlap, I then trimmed each page down for gluing onto the mount board. I decided to work from right to left overlapping as I went, so cut the print outs down accordingly.

IMG_7181

Squirt some glue on to the back of the first piece.

IMG_7182

Then spread it out into a thin layer to get a nice even coat of glue using an off-cut of cardboard.

IMG_7183

Then using the roller ensure that the whole piece is firmly stuck down.

IMG_7184

Repeat the procedure for the next, middle piece…

IMG_7185

… and also the final piece, get the pages lined up whilst the glue still allows you before pressing the page into place using the roller.

IMG_7189

The three pieces stuck down together.

IMG_7190

Carefully trim the excess off to leave the game board.

IMG_7192

Layout a section of the clear sticky backed plastic, sticky side up and the carefully place the trimmed game board face down on to it. Once again use the roller to ensure good adhesion.

Next I moved on to making the counters.

IMG_7179

One page was roughly trimmed, then glued and rolled as before on to the mount board.

IMG_7187

Then both sides of the counter sheets were carefully trimmed to the exact, same size before they were stuck together. Makes sure that the glue is spread everywhere on the counter sheets as they will be cut up into small sections, and blank un- glued patches will cause problems later on.

IMG_7188

Now you should be left with the two faces glued to either side of the mount board properly lined up.

IMG_7191

The final job is to cut out the counters, an sharp bladde is essential here to ensure a clean cut.

IMG_7193

The finished result, not bad for an hours work, with the thickness of the card and the sticky backed plastic the components are surprisingly durable.

Cheers,

 

Pete.

 

 

 

Back to Africa with 5core Skirmish.

Last week I hadn’t had the time to prepare a game like I usually do so Evan had an idea for a skirmish based, I think, on the ‘Tears of the Sun’ film he is a fan of… I’m not sure I’ve not seen the film.

20170711_194412

(Apologies for the picture quality as I was using the camera on my phone.)

 

He had a group of 6 SOF (2 M203s, 2 M4 Assault Rifles, 1 Light Machine Gun, 1 Sniper) types whilst I had a group of African militia (Mostly AKs with a RPD, a RPK and a few PPSh SMGs). After entering the village Evan’s figures had to search the buildings until the Doctor was located, I wrote down where I had hidden him.

20170711_194421

This was the table. I set up in a rough circle protecting the centre of the village whilst Evan’s forces could enter from any side.

20170711_195545

Evan moved his men in carefully clearing as the went covered by a sniper he put up a tree.

20170711_195551

I tried to slow their advance with my RPK wielding figure but he was taken out by the sniper.

20170711_202109

At times the fighting degenerated into a violent melee as I tried to force the SOF back. With 12 figures to his 6 I tried to win by a bloody process of attrition.

20170711_204613

At the games end Evan had searched all the buildings which have had their roofs taken off in the above picture. Unfortunately he didn’t find the doctor; I had hidden him in the toilets which is where Evan said he’d have put him too.

My attritional tactics worked in the end just. Evan failed a squad morale roll before I did and withdrew from the field.

In retrospect it was a good fun game but would need tweaking a bit if we were to play it again. Both the SOF types and the African militia had the same chance of shooting each other which seemed wrong given the vast difference in marksmanship skills so I think that more use of the skills and benefits that are in the rules will give a better feel for the game.

The plan is to try a stealth type game next.

Cheers,

 

Pete.

 

This War of Mine- the board game.

A few years ago a small indie computer game came out that became a bit of a cult hit and broke the stereotypes as to what a ‘war’ game was all about. Based on the experiences of civilians trapped in Sarajevo amongst over places, This War of Mine is a survival SIM where you direct a group of survivors trying to scrounge for food, barter for goods and fend off bandits. Whilst the game was not graphic in the gory sense it pulled no punches as to the mental breakdown and hardships suffered by the civilians under your control. Having a character commit suicide whilst under your control is an emotive experience that is simply not present in most other games. It should go with out saying that this is a pretty powerful game rather than a bit of whimsy.

A years or so ago a board game version was launched via kickstarter and I backed the campaign. Yesterday my pledge for the base game and a few expansions arrived. I’ve not had the chance to play or even read the rules yet but I thought I’d share some pictures.

 

IMG_7140

The basic game and the kickstarter extras in the brown card box.

IMG_7142

The components seem high quality. A nice touch is the pad of mini maps to record your progress in the game allowing you to ‘save’ your progress so you can spread your game over several sessions.

IMG_7144

The game board; the art style has been directly lifted from the computer game.

IMG_7145

The plastic figures that come with the game are pretty decent.

IMG_7146

A bit of an empty box but it made sense for shipping purposes. Other backers may of had more in their box as didn’t get all the extras that were on offer.

IMG_7147

Some of the stretch goal extra figures and a rather nice statue piece of terrain.

IMG_7148

The the paper extras were safely packed in a stiff envelop.

 

I’m really looking forward to giving the game a go, it came with a ‘ read this first book’ (something that I think is always a good idea so it should be an easy game to pick up. I’ll blog again when I’ve had a chance to play it.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

 

Urban Nightmare: State of Chaos- the first ever Wide Area Megagame. 1/7/17.

Last weekend saw the first event of its kind a ‘wide area megagame’, simply put this saw multiple venues each put on the same megagame all at the same time with interaction between each game possible. Jim Wallman of Megagame Makers came up with the concept and scenario, a monumental expansion of earlier game designs of his, and bravely decided to make the experiment happen. The scenario saw a zombie outbreak hit modern day USA; each venue hosted a game representing a single state, whilst in London there was a game set at the Federal level that was linked to all the other games concerning itself with shuttling resources about. In all there were at least 500 players in 11 locations in 5 countries (1 game each in Canada, Holland and Belgium, 2 in the USA and the remainder in the UK), it goes without saying that to have simultaneous gameplay with time differences the players in the Americas had to get up rather early. Each state was made up of several cities, each with their own police, emergency services and Mayor, state police and National Guard as well as a State Governor. In additional there were a few players taking on the role of Federal Liaison linking them to the Federal game in London.

Pennine Megagames decided to host two of the games rather than just one. I was originally slated to be a city control for Leeds but due to a personnel change I ended up going down to Birmingham to act as WAMCOM (Wide Area Megagame COMmunications) control, I had the job of co-ordinating any game information that had to flow from my game to any other and vice versa. The meant I had a much better idea of what was happening in the rest of the game but surprisingly little of the detail of the Birmingham game. Accordingly, I can only give an account of how I felt the game ran rather than the detail of the happenings within the state of Shawnee (basically Kentucky). For a better insider’s look, you’d be best off heading to Facebook and reading the player’s reports on there.

20170701_114334

The players seemed to get into their roles with gusto, with separate cities there was much politicking going on as there were state wide elections to be considered while trying to stop the zombie outbreak.  Unlike the previous Urban Nightmare games this one had an open map meaning the players had to interact with the rules directly and there was a lot less hidden information about zombie numbers and strengths. In the other games, the zombies were played and human directed but given the Birmingham game had relatively little control so the zombie spread was administered by them, I think that this made the job of the Shawnee players a bit easier than that of the other games.

20170701_114345

From the emails that I got in the early part of the day the zombies hit hard, many cities declared a state of emergency (necessary to call in state assets) after only a few turns of the game. This didn’t surprise me that much as I had helped to play test the game before hand and new that they had the potential to get out of control very quickly unless the players were very aggressive early on. After a few cities had fallen states were announcing a state of emergency so they could get access to federal help; Shawnee was the last state to declare a state of emergency. I did write little notes to keep our political control team up to date with the nationwide state of play, these were then passed on to the press team player, the media played an important part of the game, necessary in any game set in the present day really, these became known as the post-its of doom as I never had any good news to pass on. Not sure how many made it to the players as I know that most of the new generated was to do with our own state.

You can read the press reports that the game generated here: http://unsoc.net/

By the middle of the afternoon several of the states were in mass panic with cities completely overrun with zombies and in some cases completely abandoned to their fate, in comparison the Birmingham players were doing well. Rumours abounded of other state’s governors being hunted down and arrested as well as one state being taken over by a National Guard coup (there were rumours at this point of a nuclear weapon being used, I’m not sure one was but I did see a picture of a release form allowing the use of unconventional weapons signed by a state governor. I’m not sure what the federal team were up to but a great deal of military hardware was released to them along with all manner of experimental medical equipment. In the end, I think a cure had been developed and then aerosolised and was being prepared to be spread out over the states. This came at a terrible price to both lives and infrastructure of the affect states through the four days of game time.

Overall, I think the first Wide Area Megagame was a great success, credit should go to Jim Wallman for putting it all together, also to the control and players around the world. A few technical issues popped up but not enough to break the game. For one I struggled to get access to the relevant game server through the firewall of the school hall’s wifi. We ended up having to use a mobile phone hot spot for the duration of the game. At an individual venue level, I think that the game worked better being multiple cities in a state rather than the previous games of Urban Nightmare that I’ve played that were just based around a zombie outbreak in a single city in one state

It was great to go on something of a megagame road trip to a new part of the country and see some new faces. Hopefully they’ll make it up to Manchester at least for future games.

Will there be another Wide Area Megagame? Who knows but I’d like to be involved if there is based on my experiences of this one. Everyone in Birmingham had a great time and it was great hearing all the individual game stories in the pub afterwards.

Cheers,

 

Pete.

http://www.penninemegagames.co.uk/

http://www.megagame-makers.org.uk/

A first try at 5core Skirmish (3rd Edition).

I, like most wargamers I think, am never 100% fully satisfied with any given rule set and so I go through stages of tweaking bits, rewriting others or adding bits in. Also I’m always keen to try a new set of rules to see if the grass is greener on the other side. The obvious answer would be to write my own set but that is always easier said than done.

Given how much I and the others have enjoyed playing Nordic Weasel’s 5core Brigade Commander rules in 6mm I decided to pick up one of their skirmish sets from Wargames Vault and give it a go.

I grabbed what was handy fromthe shed and Brian and I had a quick run through of the rules. I set up a 4 by 4 table (I’ll say here that we played with all measurements doubled) to look a bit like Rhodesia (Zimbabwe). The light green patches were  bits of scrub, mid green defined the edge of woods.

IMG_7046

Brian got 2 four man teams of RLI each with 3 FN FALs and 1 FN MAG:

IMG_7044

Whereas I got 10 assorted ZANLA (5 AK, 2 SKS, 2 PPSh, 1 RPD), all of the figures were from Under Fire Miniatures.

IMG_7045

My ZANLA move up the left flank.

IMG_7047

Whilst others advance into the kraal.

IMG_7048

The RLI move into position at the edge of the woods, this was just before we found out how powerfully an FN MAG is.

IMG_7049

We used a lot of counters (Green= hidden, Orange= fired, White= Panic, Red= Knocked Down, blood splat= out of action) I know that is not to all gamer’s tastes but for me function follows form if it for the sake of game play.

IMG_7052

RLI advancing through the scrub on the ZANLA right flank.

IMG_7053

In my last two turns I managed to combine a scurry followed by a fire fight; I got my men into position weathered the return fire then was in a good place to shoot. I took a few casualties (4 out of the fight) but I gave the RLI a bloody nose (2 out of the fight) which historically they would have found hard to countenance.

IMG_7058

First impression on the game were overwhelmingly positive from both of us- clear rules and it played nice and quickly too, ideal for a mid- week evening. The mechanisms are very similar to the brigade level game but feel right for a smaller level of play. Having three reserve activation dice to use throughout the game is a nice feature, standing in for the asset cards in Brigade Commander. The RLI didn’t do as well as they should have, even with the tactical advantage, but if we re run the scenario I’ll add in some skills to boost their performance. I wanted to keep things simple for a first run through.

The only two minor quibbles would be how to have assault and bolt action rifles on the table at the same time. We decided to just treat the AKs and FN FALs as infantry rifles and the SKS as a single shot rifle to provide some differentiation.

Also I’d have like to see some rules for medics too – but that can be easily house ruled (and that takes us back to the top of the post).

I’m very taken with the set and am already planning future games as well as tie ins with our 6mm Cold Wars games in a mini campaign.

Cheers,

 

Pete.