Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Infamy, Infamy! Test Game

Martin and I got together to give the Infamy, Infamy! rules a try on Sunday afternoon.

I have read through the rules twice and watched several YouTube videos on the game, but the rules are so complex and (dare I say) poorly-organised that I have difficulty keeping everything in my head. The index does help a lot though. Martin is totally unfamiliar with the rules, but with some quick intro was able to get the gist of it.

I chose the Patrol scenario as it seemed the most straightforward one, and rolled up the terrain based on the 5 x 3 grid area on my mat that corresponded to the playing area in our half-scale version of the game. The first set-up had all the terrain clustered on one side of the table, which would probably have made for a boring game, so I re-rolled the terrain, and ended up with something more interesting.

Martin started the game by sending his two units of Auxilia forward to probe towards my Ambush Points. In response I deployed two units of javelin-armed skirmishers to shoot at them, to little effect. As the second unit of Auxilia got too close to my second Ambush Point, I launched an ambush with two units of warriors, hoping to sweep them off the field before the heavy legionaries have even arrived. But the dice gods had it in for me, and the Auxilia actually managed to hold off my warriors, and indeed push them back - Martin rolled an ungoldy number of 5s and 6s.

Martin then sent his legionaries onboard and quick-marched them to the flashpoint, and saw my warriors off for good.

The legionaries then continued moving against one of my remaining Ambush Points in strength, and that was when I decided to throw in my remaining four warrior units in a bid to settled the issue by force... but the legion movement turned out to be a feint: Martin sent an Auxilia unit down the other flank, and with some good dice (rolling two 6s on movement) captured another Ambush Point, and won the game

I am pretty sure we missed out most of the rules - half the time we didn't know what to do with our in-play Signa cards, but I think we got the core of it, and the spirit of the rules.

The barbarians are very difficult to play, since the warriors are essentially a one-shot weapon. Without time pressure, the Romans can advance very methodically, making it hard for the Germans to wrong-foot them.

The game is intriguing enough that Martin has decided to give the rules a closer look; we thought that we can each study our own side more closely so we can play them optimally the next time. Hopefully my Germans will give a better account of themselves the next game.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Thaw of the Lich Lord Game 4

Game 4 in the campaign was another one where the treasures were to be had in the centre of the table. I set the table up as a graveyard, and ignored the set-up rule about leaving the central square foot of the table with no terrain - the result was the scramble in the photo above.

We all made for the central sqaure, with my skavens arriving first and grabbing two of the four treasure chests there, but they were attacked by the other warbands and had to abandon one of them.

I equipped two of my Treasure Hunters with magical items which I picked up in the earlier games, and both of them were "killed" during the game, forcing me to assign extra warband members to grab the items and try to make it off the table instead of staying and contesting the treasures, on the belief that a known magical item is better than the contents of a random treasure chest.

At the end of the game I am still at the bottom of the table, just 5 Experience Points short of level 11, but the surprising thing is that the other two wizards are within 35 points of my wizard.

My grab-and-run strategy has not put me too far behind the other two warbands, but I am definitely having difficulty coping with the area effect spells from FG's wizards: the Grenade spell which can take out several of my soldiers in one shot, and the Mud spell which negates to a degree my speed. I will need to change my strategy if I am to get a edge...

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Forged in Battle 15mm Early Germans

This was an unplanned project, but Infamy, Infamy generated so much buzz when it was released earlier this year that I decided to look closer at it. Now Martin already has a large 15mm Early Republican Roman army painted many years ago, but we never really had a chance to take them out for a spin. It occurred to me that we could possibly play Infamy, Infamy in 15mm.

What we needed, aside from the rules and necessary counters, was an opposing army. It turned out that Martin had a couple of packs of Forged in Battle (aka West Wind) 15mm Early Germans and some Litko DBX bases lying around, so that made the decision for us on which barbarian army to raise. Had we started from zero, I would most likely have gone for a Gallic army and made a diorama of Asterix's village...

I painted the two packs of Germans, bought another two packs to make up the bare minimum to field a German army, and after a few weeks of work, had this ready:

I decided to use DBX basing as Martin's Romans are already in DBX basing, and because it's an old habit. The rules require warrior units to have the same frontage, while skirmisher units have a wider frontage, although I suspect that is less important as they should not be in melee if things are done correctly...

The round houses are actually pdf paper models of Celtic round houses - I cannot actually find photos of what pre-Roman German village dwellings look like, let alone models for them. The paper models have a nice texture (several options are included in the file), and they can be scaled to various miniature scales. I wanted to give some sturdiness to the houses, so in addition to giving each a PVC foam sheet base, I used cut sections of a plastic water bottle to form the wall of the house.

The photo above shows a Status III leader (with a 25mm base), three Status II leaders (with 20mm bases), and a musician and a The Sign of the Boar retinue figure. A Wailing Women base would have been great too but West Wind did not have a pack.

Here are the seven warrior units I pained. Now I dislike painting irregular/non-uniformed armies as the lack of a uniform colour scheme gives the units a messy appearance when viewed at wargaming distance. I used a number of "natural dyes" colours for the clothing, but to tie the whole force together, I used only red, black, and white for their shields (except for a few leather brown ones). I also decided to give almost all of the shields a unique pattern - as a result one of the figures actually hold a shield that looks like a pokeball.

Barbarian warrior units come in ten figures, but DBX has warbands in four figures on a 40mm x 15mm base - this meant that to make a warrior unit, I needed two bases of four figures, and one of two. For this 'third' base I decided to base two figures on a 40mm x 20mm base, and leave an unflocked square on one side of the base as a die-holder to track the Fervour of the unit.

Here are the three skirmisher units I painted. Unfortunately West Wind does not make German slingers, and their slingers from the other nations have too distinct a look to fit into the army. The menhir is the background is a resin piece painted by FG.

Getting the army painted is of course just the... second? step in the process: we still have to see how the game plays in half-scale with multi-basing - although a straight 1" to 1cm conversion makes the most sense in terms of frontage, I feel that at that scale the playing area will look too small.

I am also planning to use the 20cm grids I have on my mat for terrain placement, and use the neoprene area terrain FG bought; these cover about one grid each, which makes them perfect for my plan.

I have read the Infamy, Infamy rules twice, and I feel I have a basic understanding of how they work, so we will try to muddle through a game soon.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Thaw of the Lich Lord Game 3

Game 3 of the campaign featured a cultist cart at the centre of the table which our warbands had to rob, so the game saw a headlong rush for the centre and some conflict between my normally skittish skavens and FG's medievals. However, as random monsters began to appear on the exit sectors of Adrian and FG's warbands, they had to abandon the struggle in the middle and pull their forces back to ensure that they could get their treasures off the table.

My skavens suffered appalling casualties, chiefly from the Grenade spell from FG's wizard - I must learn to make them keep tactical distance between each other. Only five of the original eight soldiers made it off table, with one of my treasure hunters going down and nearly losing his Gloves of Strength to the other warbands (we played that any character with a magical item could be looted). On their way back they were attacked by a wraith, which was immune to non-magical weapons - another weakness in my line-up.

After the game we realised that random monsters should only have a 50% chance of appearing with every treasure token looted, instead of being automatic. This would change the complexion of the game - with fewer monsters to worry about, we can focus more on robbing each other instead.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Thaw of the Lich Lord Game 2

We played Game 2 of the campaign last week. The game once more saw a skirmish between FG and Adrian's warbands, with my skavens skulking on the sidelines until the NPC wizard was weakened by the barbarians before I moved in for the kill.

Unfortunately, I ended up with the least amount of experience points from my strategy, but I did have fun using my Control Construct scroll on the construct that FG's wizard created!

Also of note was the fact that both Adrian and I actually forgot about one treasure token which was hidden from our real-life lines of sight, and FG got an easy treasure!

We are planning to play Game 3 this week, and I think my skavens will have to take a more aggressive strategy if I am to not fall behind.

Sunday, September 06, 2020

Frostgrave 2nd Edition - Thaw of the Lich Lord Game 1

Even though FG and I playtested for the first edition of Frostgrave, we did not actually play the game after it was released by Osprey. However, having tried a game of Mantic's Vanguard and finding it not quite what we wanted for a fantasy skirmish campaign, we decided to give the newly released second edition of Frostgrave a try instead.

At FG's suggestion, we decided to try and play through the Thaw of the Lich Lord campaign. FG used his generic medieval warband made up of Perry plastic miniatures, Adrian fielded a barbarian warband using his Blood Rage miniatures (supplemented by a few of my Frostgrave barbarians), while I stuck to my Skavens.

The game was as fun as we remembered it, with a lot of tactical decisions to be made, as well as strategic ones due to the campaign nature of the game.

My skavens made it off the table virtually unscathed, while FG and Adrian's warbands clashed briefly before deciding to withdraw with the treasures they have each collected. The end result saw all three wizards gaining between 200 to 300 experience points, so the campaign is still on paper balanced at this point.