Airwar: C21

I weakened over the weekend and put an order in for a new set of rules - Airwar: C21 from Wessex Games.

 I am a big fan of 'plane games' having both WW1 and WW2 sets of rules and I have always wanted to game modern planes too.

 I placed my order for a hard copy of the rules from Dom's Decals in the U.K. and ordered some Su-27s and F-15s to go with the rules so that I could play a game asap.

 I really wanted the F-22 Raptor, but it seems no one makes them in 1:600 scale, but the Su-27 and F-15 will allow me to play games over a longer historical period and to represent many different countries for scenarios/game settings.

 Having read a few Larry Bond novels, I am tempted to use some of these as the back ground for a modern war.

 Stephen Coonts also has a number of novels that could be used for game settings.

 When the rules and figures arrive I will do a review.

Farewell to hex mats

There are many games out there that require players to use hex mats in order to play the game.

 As I play a few games that require hexes, I duly purchased a hex mat. It wasn't perfect - the hexes were bigger than I wanted and this wasted a lot of valuable gaming space.

 So I came up with an idea to play hex based games without the need for a hex mat.

I printed out 'hex rulers' (for want of a better term) that are laid down in front of the plane being moved so that you can move the plane according to the rules that indicate movement by the number of hexes the figure is moved along/through.

I have used this successfully for both "CY6!" and "Algenon Pulls if off". For the demonstration in this post I will be using "CY6!" as an example:

The plane is in place ready to be moved

I chose the manoeuvre I want to perform... in this case a 'L43'

I place the 'hex ruler' in front of the plane

Move the plane to the required position

And remove the 'hex ruler' from the playing area

 Simple and fast to use. It also mean you don't have to count hexes to move, which speeds up play a bit more.

Rather than print out every manoeuvre needed for each plane I printed out a number of straight sections and some side sections that are placed next to each other in the correct position as needed. The example above is actually two sections.

 You also need a firing arc template that you place in weapon arc required for the firing plane/arc, and this too helps speed up play, as you can tell exactly what the range and if the target falls within the arc of fire.

 I have played a number of games using this method and those I have played with have enjoyed the ease and speed with which it is used.

Trees for my Mate

Last week on my Zombie wargame blog I made a post showing the trees I was preparing for added scenery.

 In this post I mentioned that a mate of mine had given me some trees he didn't know what to do with and that I was also preparing these to give back to him as a surprise.

 Well, I have finished the trees and will give them to him once he gets back from his holiday.

 In the mean time I will use them for my own games...

My 28mm WW2 figures

One of my concurrent projects (well, not that concurrent) is putting together forces for late war WW2.

 At this stage I have a platoon of British Infantry less command and support, a Section plus of British Paratroopers, and the makings of a Soviet Platoon with a scout section.
 I have two tanks - a German Panther that I had painted for me, and a Soviet T-34 that I might have to get painted for me.
 The Germans haven't been forgotten - apart from a couple of Artizan Designs late war Germans I also have the plastic set from Warlord Games.

Black Tree Design British

Bolt Action British Paras with a few Artizan Designs thrown in

Black Tree Design Soviets (one scout is a Bolt Action mini)

 I need get a lot more troops for all sides to finish off my armies - I want some more BTD British and Soviets, but a) BTD are very unreliable [it took me 8 months to get the Soviets] and they don't accept paypal... having lost over $10,000 to credit card fraud last year I refuse to use my CC online anymore. [the bank paid me back, but I had a really really really crap Christmas last year due to having no money.]

 The British Platoon will be painted up without any unit identification as I intend to get two uses from them. The majority of their use will be in the guise of Polish troops in exile, and when I don't want to use them as Polish I can use them as British troops.
 I need another section, command and support for them. I will make the Polish troops Dragoons, so I will need some vehicles to make them mounted troops.
 Even though the British figures are BTD I was able to get them when someone sold them cheap on a forum. I will look around at various ranges for figures to add to the collection.

 The Paras - I need a couple more sections and support for them. Being Paras I won't need a lot of vehicles, but the army lists allow for some to be included, so I will see how I feel when the time times to expand the collection.

 For the Soviets I will start adding Warlord Games/Bolt Action figures to the collection. At the moment the BA figures are only available in unit deals, so I am holding off until I can pick and choose the figures I want when they are released as individual figures.
 I am also thinking of add Crusader Miniatures WW2 Soviets to the pool as well.

 My German collection needs to be built - I think I have made one or two of the plastic figures to see if I liked them or not, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that I did like them.

As mentioned in a previous post I like to tinker with Alternative History. To this end most of my games will pit Allies (and to a limited degree the Germans) against the Soviets.

 The rules I will be using will be "Rules of Engagement" from Great Escape Games.

Black Powder Napoleonics

Today I am showing the 15/18mm British army I am making for Black Powder games.

Due to lack of space and money I have done something close to heresy for some wargamers - one base represents the whole unit, not a number of bases representing the unit.

An infantry corp with support. Four infantry bases represent a brigade.

One base of infantry (three figures) represents a whole Battalion, a base of cavalry (two figures) represents a whole regiment and one gun and crew is a battery.

 At the moment the majority of my figures are Eureka Miniatures, with some AB and CGM thrown in to fill the gaps in the Eureka range. I am also trying to get some Battle Honors British generals so that I can complete my command bases.

 By painting some extra units I can swap out a few units to totally reconfigure my army to represent an different Corp.

 For my Brigade command bases I am using Colonel figures with a standard. I know Brigades didn't have standards, but I wanted to add them as a bit of pomp and pageantry.

 I had to make some changes to the rules to accommodate my thinking - counters are placed next to a unit to indicate formations, and I need to use a record sheet to record morale and casualties, but this works ok.

 I still need to finish off my command, artillery and cavalry units, but I am able to field an army a lot cheaper than I could if I used the basing conventions in the Black Powder rule book, especially if I made my army in 28mm!

My Friend and I have played a number of Black Powder games, including this minimalistic approach and it works great. Being able to field a force larger than a brigade allows for tactics, defense in depth and even a reserve force is a vast improvement on Brigade level games, and we can field the armies in a smaller area.

 For the cost involved it is also feasible to build a number of armies cheaply. I am contemplating making a Bavarian and a Russian army, and I think I will put together a French army so that I always have the forces at hand to play a game.

Strange Aeons - review

I was asked to do a review on Strange Aeons, so here goes:

Strange Aeons is a wargame that pits 1920's agents against eldritch horrors. Whilst not actually set in the Call of Cthulhu universe, it does draw heavily on that background, with some of the same monsters included, and some included with different names.

 The Agents are known as "Threshold" with the horrors known as "Lurkers". The background for the rules has a strong US flavor to the game but it can be set anywhere. For my games I have used the UK as my background.

The playing area for the game is small, 2 feet x 3 feet is suggested, and scenery is only limited to your imagination.

 Each player takes control of 1 - 10 figures each and 25/28mm is the scale of choice for the game, but I have seen 15mm and even 10mm games on LAF. I prefer 25/28mm due to the sheer number of figures on the market: Pulp Miniatures, RAFM, Artizan Designs, EM4 and Uncle Mike's Worldwide to name but a few.

 Dice for the game are d6, with the occassional need for a d3; but that is just a d6 halved.

 All measurements in the game are done in inches, but if you are one of those that can't or wont use inches, then converting is easy.

Each agent/horror has a set of stats that reflect movement, the ability to attack and how sane they are. There are six stats in all.

 Skills are included in the rules - agents/humans (cultists) get to choose which skills they have, with most monsters having skills listed already, and in some cases monsters can be given extra skills.

Once the Threshold Player has created his team (up to a maximum of 15 points... this number can go higher, but only through winning games) a scenario is chosen and the Lurker player puts together his force.
 Each game for the Threshold player uses the same agents, where as the Lurker can change his forces each game. This is because the Agents are the main focus of the game.

 With the scenario chosen figures picked and scenery placed the game can now begin. 

 The initiative for the game is determined by the scenrio, and players take it in turn to choose a figure and give it up to two orders. Command figures can activate two other figures from the same side  at the same time if within command range.  This sequence continues until all figures have been moved.

              melee - both sides roll a number of dice indicated by the stats of the combatants. Dice cancel out each other, and the one with the most hits not cancelled out wins.
             Shooting - attacker rolls dice vs target's dex stat.

 Most cultists will be taken out with one hit (which is why there are a lot more of them in the game) whereas agents and monsters take a few more hits before they are removed from play.

 At first read the system for building your team of figures and combat can seem a little confusing, but going through it a few time and reading posts of LAF soon clarify any confusion.

 For example - when building your team (either Threshold or Lurker) you have Build Points and Base Points - both are abbreviated to 'BP'.  This seems to throw most players at least once.

 There is a Quick Reference sheet at the back of the rules, but it doesn't contain every thing you might like to know, so making one helps a lot. But there again, many rules suffer from this.

 This game is a lot of fun and doesn't break the bank when you start buying figures.

 The game doesn't have solo rules, but I created my own solo system that has even drawn  positive comments from the game's designer.

Strange Aeons quickly became one of my favorite games and I have had a lot of fun coming up with the background story for my campaign as well as making some scenery.

 Apart from the initial confusion with the rules (and a lot of people seem to suffer this one) the only other bad point I have is that where is no system for creating your own monsters and giving them a BP rating. I have created my own lurker monsters, but have no idea of the BP I should give them.

 Strange Aeons is quickly gathering a bit of a cult following in the wargaming world especially amongst Call of Cthulhu fans.

Strange Aeons

This is the first post where I will show case the various projects I have on the go.

 The first one is for the 1920's Horror game "Strange Aeons" produced by "Uncle Mike's Worldwide" in Canada. The game has a strong Cthulhu feel too it and is designed to be played in a small area with only a handful of miniatures.

The game pits the good guys, called Threshold Agents, against the bad guys, called Lurkers.

The game can be played as one off missions, or better still, as part of a campaign against the forces of evil using a detailed system in the rule book.

The rule book with the two supplements. The figures on the left are the Threshold Agents, and those on the right are the Lurkers. There are a lot more lurkers in the game than Agents, but the game has a sense of balance.
To the top are my solo play cards for a system I created, as well as some elder sign objective markers for scenarios.

A closer look at my Threshold Agents

My fledgling Lurker Collection. 

 I have some scratch build scenery I made for the game as well as commercially produced items.

For a closer look at my cultists I produced a small video that I posted on youtube:

For those interested in the game, you can visit Uncle Mike's Worldwide or the dedicated forum section that can be found at the Lead Adventure Forum.

My Current wargaming projects

Ok, when I am not playing zombie wargames I actually play a variety of other games.

Some I play more than others, and the rest are projects in the making as I slowly build up figures and scenery to a level where I can play a game.

 I used to suffer from complete randomness and 'ooh shiny', but I try very hard to keep some level of focus these days.

So, what am I playing?

Playable games (i.e. figures and scenery ready to go):

Strange Aeons - a 1920s horror wargame. I have developed a solo system for this game, as I have yet to convince any of my mates to play.

WW2 Dog Fights (Europe and Pacific): Using very tiny planes and "Check Your Six" rules I have a Battle of Britain setting to complete (I have enough for small games) and I want to do some Pacific War games, although I don't have any planes for this yet. I want to develop solo game play rules for this game too.

Wild West (28mm) - this was my main game played last year. After over a decade of having the figures but no scenery or even painted figures I kicked my mojo in to overdrive last year and got this project up and running. Using "The Rules with no Name" we had a lot of fun with this game, and I want to revisit it very soon - maybe as a solo campaign.

Projects to complete:

WW2 Pacific (20mm) - I have a decent collection of 20mm Australians and Japanese. I need to finish painting my Japanese figures and make a lot of scenery. I kind of put this project on hold due to the fact my Mrs. is Japanese. I am using "Arc of Fire" rules for this game.

WW2 Late War Europe (28mm - Alternative history) - I love alternative history, and in this setting I am pitting the Allies against the Soviets like Churchill and Patton wanted to do. I have the good makings of my figures for this game, but I am waiting for the Bolt Action figures from Warlord Games to release single "reinforcements" to fill out the holes I have in my platoons. I have "Rules of Engagement" as my rule set for this game.

WW2 Naval (Europe): I actually have enough ships for small games at the moment, but I want to develop this further. I am using "Victory at Sea" for these games.

15mm Napoleonic: I am building a British army for Black Powder. I played a good number of games last year and decided to ditch my 28mm figures in favor for 15mm. I have altered the rules slightly (one base equals a battalion - yes, I know, shock horror!) and I have an infantry corp painted up - I just need to finish my cavalry, artillery and command units.

15mm SYW - again for Black Powder. I have a large Prussian army ready to paint, and I want to put together a Russian army as well. I will alter my basing to match that of my Napoleonic games.

15mm ACW - A project I started a while ago, I hope to finish this some day and use the figures to play... you guessed it... Black Powder.

Pulp (28mm) - Using "Where Heroes Dare" or a variant of "The Rules with No Name" I am putting together a setting where the heroes look for a lost continent in the Pacific Ocean. A long way to go to get this project up and running.

Three Musketeers (40mm) - using Eureka Miniatures excellent 40mm figures and the rules that were released with them I need to repaint some figures, finish off a couple I didn't finish and make some scenery. I am thinking of using a modified "The Rules with No Name" for this as well.

Other Projects?

Yep, I have other projects around the place - I created a setting years ago for a Revolution in 1920s Britain (as post on TMP show, I came up with this idea before "A Very British Civil War" was released, and I have the information on a web site I was putting together.

 I also have the making of a Samurai skirmish game set in the Edo period. I need to finish painting a number of figures before this is ready, plus I want a lot more scenery.

Gladiators is another setting - I have a handful of figures, put yet again... I need to paint them!

I will take photos of my various projects to let readers have a better idea of what I am playing.