Chile ‘ 73- Board game review.

I noticed on Saturday on Brian Train’s blog [clicky] that he has released a new game “Chile ’73” [clicky] and it was available as a print and play edition from Wargames Vault for a very reasonable $8.99 (price I bought it at) [clicky] so I bought myself a copy and got printing.

 

Unfortunately I’ve had a viral infection in my ear that effected my balance, cognitive abilities and motor skills (much better now though) so I made a bit of a hash of assembling the components, not everything is straight or wrinke free. No worry I thought: if I like the game enough I’ll print the pages out again and have a better go at it.

 

I decided to run through a quick game on Monday evening with Paul [clicky]  , as I know he is working on a coup/ Juntas inspired megagame at the moment, and see what we made of it. The game is based around the 1973 coup against President Allende, events which ultimately lead to Pinochet becoming President (spelt d- i- c- t- a- t- o- r in his case). Other than that I know nothing about the events that are being simulated so I can offer no opinion on how well the game works in simulating history.

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Chile ’73 is a game of two halves:  pre and post coup. Players, 2 or more no upper limit is specified, start by deciding which faction that they want to play and also which hidden agenda they want to follow, this matters only with 3 or more players as it determines who on the winning side claims overall victory. In the pre coup turns players  get 3 actions try to amass forces on to their side by drawing randomly from a cup (your own faction is easier to recruit), moving units on the map or collecting/ using action chits. The action chits can be used to thwart opposing player actions, spy on them or saved for later.

This continues until one player (me in our playthrough) decides the time is right to launch a coup. If there was more than just the two of us players would have to declare which side to support but in a 2 player run through Paul defaulted to the loyalist position, also in a 2 player game they have a 50/ 50 chance of getting the remaining units onto their side. From now on the game is a fast playing urban combat game that continues until only on side remains in play. In our run through my coup attempt was succesful due to superior numbers but I paid a heavy price from Paul’s air attacks. The placement of units in the pre coup phase is important as it is possible to convert some civilian units to armed units if key areas are held. Likewise keeping hold of an aiport is vital if you want some air support (something I neglected to do). In the case of two or more players on the same victorious side a victory points table is consulted to see who can claim overall victory.

All of the mechanisms are simple enough but give you enough choices and create the right thematic atmosphere. There are a few negatives though, there are a few ommissions in the rule book, stacking limits for units in a city area aren’t defined clearly but it can be inferred from a rule on staelmate that it is three. A few of the counters don’t have the correct backs on the sheets provided but it isn’t too muchof a problem. Fortunately these can be rectified and updated files posted on wargames vault. I think that we didn’t get the most out of the game with only two players, with more the pre coup phase wouyld be more interesting as you would be trying to work out other players agendas through the employment of action chits, that combined with the greater uncertainty of possible allegiances would make for more tension. Likewise competing with a ‘team’ for overall victory would add an other level of play.

EDIT- Ignore my comments onthelack of stackinglimits- I was writing bollocks- my illness addled brain missed the rules even though they are clearly marked; as the rules designers has pointed out inthe comments below.

The question is will I be printing it out again. The answer is yes, my current thining is to blow the board up twice as big and the counters one and a half times the size to facilitate a multiplayer game. I’m looking forward to a game with at least 5 of us….

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

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New Years Eve game-athon.

Last weekend for NYE my friend Simon came up for a weekend of gaming. We tried to fit as many in as possible and in that regard we did pretty well.

Starting things off on Saturday we played a ‘Cold War goes Hot’ game of 5core: Brigade Commander. Bill had an early finish from work so he brought round a late 1980s British armoured  brigade which he has been working on recently. I decided to umpire so I gave Simon a reinforced Soviet Tank regiment and a pair of Mi24 Hinds. The game went back and forth, with heavy losses on both sides.

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An overview of the table.

The battle swung back and forth with heavy casualties on both side although all of the helicopters survived until the end of the game which is unusual in itself. The brace of Hinds found their role as a QRF. Simon used them to plug the gap when ever Bill’s Challenger tanks opened up a hole in his lines.

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Russian tanks and mech infantry take cover in a wood.

Brigade Commander is a great game imo. It plays really well and is easy to pick up with everyone I’ve shown it too being really favourable to it. I’ve plans to try a large multiplayer game of it soon -ish so watch this space….

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A pair of Hinds covering the tank company in the wood.

Later on that evening Simon and I looked at Nuts! publishing’s Urban Operation boardgame. It started off life being developed as training aid by a serving French Officer before being released as a commercial project. Being a block game it adds a nice bit of fog of war combined with nice chunky playing pieces. The use of generic blocks combined with unit cards allows a large range of scenarios and campaigns to be included. We decided to look at a one off game based around the Russian attack into Grozny in 1996.

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My initial defending positions as the Chechen player.

 

The game handbook suffers a little in its translation and the jargon heavy military style of the rule books could also be looked at for the civilian market but it does provide a good playable modern warfare simulation. It can be frustrating to platy as the rules punish mistakes quite harsly but I suppose that is the point. FIBUA  has never been described as easy. However, the forces in a scenario do provide you with the tools you need to win… as long as you use them wisely.

The next morning, suitable fortified with a fry up we looked at ‘War Plan Orange’, a C3i magazine game that takes GMT’s Empire of the Sun board game of WW2’s pacific war, trims it down and sets it 10 years earlier. It is quite a heavy game requiring a lot of careful planning to get your fleets in the right position.

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Simon’s IJN fleet spreading across the pacific, with suitable reading material to hand.

My luck was not with me. I won the unimportant encounters but 5 of my 6 attempts to take central pacific islands were rebuffed. In the end I ran out of time in the game to either retake territory of inflict an attritional victory. That said I really enjoyed the card driven mechanics and look forward to a second game. Also I’ll keep an eye out for Empire of the Sun too.

Following a trip to WW2 in the pacific we went right up to date and looked at a print and play game that I had made from Yaah! magazine (it was the one I featured in my tutorial a bit back). The game is set around the Russian separatist attempts to take Donetsk airport from the Ukrainians in 2014. For a magazine game the rules were very well laid out and played nicely without the errors that tend to creep into these things.

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The separatists force their way into the airport buildings.

About halfway through the game I had to break off and get some food on te go. Fortunately Chris had turned up so I delegated the defence of the airport to him. With beginners luck and a few judicious decisions he completely pulled around the course of the defeat I had been staring into and won the game. Finding my carefully placed ATGM that I had forgotten about and using it effectively seemed to turn the tide, that and rather aggressive moves with BTR80s. Another game to revisit soon.

After tea and with some beer/cider/whisky we set up another GMT game: Andean Abyss. The first and in some ways the simplest entry into the popular COIN series. Four factions battle for control of Colombia in the late 90s/ early 00s.

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Mid game, FARC are ascendant with two areas designated as FARC zone so no-go areas for the government. 

Playing as a threesome Simon took the government forces, Chris the AUC and myself the FARC. The drug cartels themselves were run through the games flow charts- something that always provides a tough game. Mid game we all called a truce to beat them so we wouldn’t be beaten by a game mechanic. In the end both Simon and I were over our victory conditions but as he was over by the bigger margin the victory went to him.

As the night was still young we dragged out my favourite ‘fun’ game then a laugh: Twilight Creation’s Innsmouth Escape.

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Trying to rescue trapped students from hordes of deep ones.

The human player, me in this instance, has to navigate the board trying to rescue the requisite number of students before escaping the board. The game uses a nice hidden movement mechanic and the waves of re-spawning deep ones generate a tension as you always seem to lose more health than you can heal. In the end I had rescued enough people but was killed before I could exit the board.

On Monday Simon and I had enough time for one final game. We decided upon returning to the naval theme and getting my 1/2400th Russo Japanese ships out. Taking the Japanese I had 2 battleships with 3 cruisers and 3 destroyers to Simon’s 3 battleships and the same number of cruisers and destroyers. My collection is pretty small still so rather than fight out a particular historical battle I just pulled together what I thought would make an interesting game.

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Destroyers may get a lucky hit with their torpedoes but they don’t last long when under the guns of bigger ships.

The rules we used were ‘Tsushima’ from A and A game engineering. Fast playing bckets of dice style rules that give a nice fast game. The opening stages of the game where you move by counters provides a nice tense mini game where you try to jostle for position.

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Right at the end of the game Simon got a critical hit on the bridge of my flagship… even though the battle had gone in my favour the fate of my avatar had to be determined. We gave me a 50% chance of death and a 50% chance of heroic scarring… the dice were kind and after a painful recovery I have some impressive battle damage to show off around Tokyo.

 

On the subject of the Russo- Japanese Naval War I picked up White Bear and Red Sun rules/ campaign system in the Wargames Vault sale, so when I’ve got more ships in my collection I’ll look at running a campaign on the conflict.

All in all a cracking few days gaming- we managed to get seven different games in.

Simon has put his thoughts on four of the games over on his blog, have a look here:

http://lestradesgame.blogspot.co.uk/

Cheers,

 

Pete.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A busy few days: Recon show, Necromunda, The Great War and Wargames magazines.

Last weekend I, with Paul, flew the flag for Pennine Megagames by taking the demo version of ‘Harrying of the North’; it is a simple map movement and battle board participation game.

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The Normans have to hoover up supplies whilst Saxons under Edgar the Etheling try to stop them. It is mainly to show off the combat mechanisms I plan to use in the future megagame. Be honest about it, whilst the game works, it take too long for what would be available in a megagame turn so it needs streamlining more. However, with Fall Blau on the horizon I am devoting my energies into that. I plan to take a demo version of it to the Hammerhead show at Newark and possibly Chillcon in Sheffield. Pleasingly the paper figures that I cut out seemed to be very popular with the punters at Pudsey. Given how little time they took to construct I’m really pleased with how they turned out.

A couple of posts ago I mentioned that my sense of nostalgia had been tweaked by Games Workshop’s reissue of Necromunda. Well my friend Jonathon has a copy so I popped round to have a game.

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Having got such fond memories of the original and gaming in my teenage years I was hoping that it lived up to the hype.

I quickly came up with a Goliath gang and got on with it, I’m pretty sure a few of the subtleties of the rules were missed but it was good to get a feel of the new version.

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The production quality is outstanding, as it should be for such a company, and the new figures are miniature works of art. My choices for the gang weren’t ideal and as the Escher were so very good at ranged combat I took heavy casualties until I got into close combat. Still it was a learning experience and I know what I’d do differently next time.

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I’m really tempted to get the game- sadly running out of space means I may not. I’d love to make a detailed vertical board for it but the question is where to put it… I guess I really should sort out my shed. It may be the impetus I need. Either way I may start with a Goliath gang of my own for a starter; it shouldn’t be too hard to find space for ten figures.

I also played a quick game of PSC’s The Great War with Evan. Given the kickstarter I mentioned has been funded it was good to get it on the table again. The scenario we chose to play was based on the famous action of a tank named ‘Fray Bentos’ at Passchendaele:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/world-war-one/10358335/WW1-The-siege-of-Fray-Bentos-at-the-Battle-of-Passchendaele.html

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My Germans, despite getting off to a good start, failed to achieve much. Aggressive infantry backed up by the immobile but still shooting tank completely outclassed me. Another game I’ll do better at next time….

I also picked up two of the three big wargaming magazines, it is not something I often do but they both had articles that looked interesting, the differences between the two are quite marked though.

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Wargames Illustrated has by far the better production but the depth of the articles left something to be desired: the Russo-Japanese one, whilst featuring some lovely photos was a bit shallow so to speak. The campaign on the fighting in Prussia in WW2 was interesting but could have done with some better editing. Great eye candy though but little in I’d refer back to later beyond the campaign.

Miniature Wargames has undergone a few changed from when I used to buy it; it looks far more professional now. It always had the best articles in but was often let down by poor photos. Under new owners and editorship that has changed. The reason I bought the magazine was that it featured an article on the Warsaw battle 1944 by Jim Webster, he is much under rated as a games writer in my opinion. I’ve always found his writing to be worth the price of admission alone. His ideas on gaming urban warfare are no exception and something I’ll try out on my own table top soon hopefully.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

 

 

 

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:

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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:

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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.

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

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

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

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Repeat the procedure for the next, middle piece…

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… 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.

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The three pieces stuck down together.

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Carefully trim the excess off to leave the game board.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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

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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.

 

 

 

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.

 

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

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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.

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

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

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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.

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

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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.

 

Update.

Been a while since I’ve done one of these. I’ve finished the module work on my MA for the time being (just got some reading to catch up on) so I’ve got a bit more time to myself.

 

Accordingly I’ve been getting some work done in the shed- mostly focussing on my 6mm 1980s Cold War forces. A bit tricky to paint as they are rather small but I’m going for effect when they are massed together rather than individual masterpieces. There will be photos in due course. Also started on some 20mm Commandos for the Guild Forum’s group build.

 

Managed to get a few games in- well umpiring them at any rate. Funny how much of the rules we had forgotten.

I ran a Normandy game:

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A Stalingrad game:

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This evenings game wasa tank fest seeing hordes (well 8) of T34/85s facing off against a pair of Tigers. Sadly I didn’t take any pictures.

 

With regards to boardgaming I got in a game of ‘Fire in the Lake’ the Vietnam COIN game published by GMT. Their series has quickly become my favourite board game series and this Vietnam game is my preferred installment.

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Its belend of Euro game style mechanics with a strong military/political theme makes for great game play.

 

Additionally I backed the ‘This War of Mine’ kickstarter. Based on the powerful and moving PC game I’m looking forward to early next year when I should get my copy.

 

Megagaming is going from strength to strength too which is very encouraging. The next one is Jena 1806 wher I’m stepping into to Boney’s shoes, should be an interesting experience and one I’ll do a full report on.

 

That’s all for now.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

 

 

 

The Great War- Kickstarter boardgame arrival.

Today my copy of Richard Borg’s new boardgame arrived.

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I backed the kickstarter and am really pleased that it arrived in the time frame stated. The game came with the stretch goals that formed part of the funding campaign- namely an extra two scenarios, plastic artillery pieces and white metal command figures.

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I haven’t had the time to have a proper look in the box but all the parts seem to be a decent quality and plenty of figures too. As they are in 15mm I’m tempted to swap them out for 20mm versions so they match the rest of my collection (and flog the 15s) though this may well depend if Plastic Soldier Company upscale the sprues as they have done with their other releases.

Either way I’m looking forward to giving the game a go- hopefully it will be easy enough for younger members of the family to play it too.

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Cheers,

Pete.