Thursday 31 December 2020

SAGA: Republican Romans

 It's been a long time since we played SAGA, in fact my last post about it is from August 2018!

But having recently purchased the Age of Hannibal universe book I've been looking at my Romans & Carthaginians to see how they can be converted from Clash of Spears to SAGA. Whilst Clash gives an interesting game with lots to think about I feel that SAGA will give a quicker game that can be enjoyed in an evening and also a more relaxed game.

Iberians in Disguise

A quick look at the Roman battle board and force composition rules suggested that they would be making use of multiple points of foot Warriors fielded in smaller units. They have no abilities that benefit cavalry or shooting so it won't be worth investing heavily in either of those. I would think a decent starting force would be:
4 points of Warriors fielded in 4 units of 8 (Hastati, Principe, Samnite Allies)
1 point of Levies fielded in 1 unit of 12 (Velites)
1 point of Hearth Guard fielded in 1 unit of 4 (Triarii)
1 General

In order to make the Hastati up to 16 models I added 4 extra Iberians with Roman heads and shields, once in the main unit they blend in well. Other than that no extra models where required to field the 6 point army.

I was interested in how the game would handle Roman Pilum throwing and the Pilum ability allows one unit either a shoot and free charge in your turn or a reaction shot in the opponents turn. For a common dice this is a nice flexible ability and gives you the choice of having a shot on the way into combat or trying to weaken and fatigue and enemy charging you.

As with all the Roman abilities this only benefits foot troops and in this case only your Warriors. As the Hearth Guard are armed with long spears this ties in nicely with the different roles of the troops.

The battle board offers some damage mitigation and Close Formation is a good common dice ability and the rare version with the option to re-roll any 1's or 2's on defence should make that unit extremely durable. The board also has a couple of abilities that automatically cancel wounds, again making the Romans hard to kill.

This could be very important if you decide to leverage the abilities which work better if you have less models in the combat than your opponent, making sure your units still have enough models left to generate SAGA dice could be key to victory.

An alternate way to deploy your units to leverage these abilities would be a force composition of:
3 points of Warriors fielded in 4 units of 6 (Hastati, Principe, Samnite Allies)
1 point of Warriors fielded in 1 unit of 8
1 point of Levies fielded in 1 unit of 12 (Velites)
1 point of Hearth Guard fielded in 1 unit of 4 (Triarii)
1 General 

Several of the abilities have the Maniple keyword, this is only applied to foot Warrior/Hearth Guard units that start the game with 8 models or less, again this discourages the use of larger units.

Being able to remove fatigue in SAGA is an important move and having an ability that does so isn't something every battle board has, so Legion is a good addition to the board, for maximum benefit you'd want to keep your units close together.

The last ability I want to highlight is Gladius which for a common gives you 3 bonus attack dice and for a rare also removes 3 attack dice from your enemies pool. Not cheap if you want the extra defensive bonus but again a nice way to make sure your smaller unit can survive combat with a more numerous foe.

So that's the Romans, I should have the Carthaginian force ready next year so will have a look at their battle board then.

Saturday 26 December 2020

Deadzone: Puppet on a String

 The Asterians are an aloof alien (by that the GCPS mean non-human) life form who are highly advanced and have thus far stopped the continued expansion of GCPS space. They are best known militarily for making widespread use of pilot controlled robots in combat zones. The most basic version of these are termed Marionettes and one pilot can control multiple Marionettes at once. 

The Warpath sourcebook (free at time of publishing) tells us this:

I'd been waiting for the arrival of a new metallic colours paint set from Army Painter in order to start these models off and once it arrived I put them to use. 

Painting was pretty straight forward with two thin(ish) coats of the metallic paint being then covered with a black wash. I then carried out two layers of dry brushing, the first with the original base colour and then the second with the Fairy Dust paint. Army Painter suggest using the Fairy Dust for edge highlighting and dry brushing and also say you can mix it with any acrylic colour to make a metallic version of that colour, something I may need to have a play with.

Prime, front and centre

The Marionette Prime is a Command option fort the Asterians, it's main strength is the low cost of only 20 points and the recently upgraded Splat Linked which allows you a second shot with another Marionette model. The fact you can use this on already activated models is rather handy and should help to make up for the 5+ shooting across most of the Marionette units.

The New Matsudan sub-faction also brought another leader who synergises well with Marionette's, the Toshiyori, it's ability buffs the Marionettes for this turn but means they do not get to activate next turn.

Next up are three Specialists, the hard plastic sprue that the models came on had plenty of options for upgrading the basic model so whilst the Prime got all the extra pieces I gave one upgrade to each of the Specialists. I also went with a general scheme of more red coverage for the Prime / Specialists.

L-R, Grenade Launcher, Phlogistor, Sniper

All of the Specialists shoot on a 5+ and I had the parts for one Phlogistor (Flamer), one Grenade Launcher and one Sniper.

Keeping a couple of normal Marionette's near snipe so he can be activated for a couple of extra shots via the Prime's Splat (if you got lucky on the command dice) would seem to be rather tasty.

Lastly we have six of the Marionette Troop type, at only 10 points each these are a cheap unlock which is very useful in a Matsudan list as they are all Specialists and around the 20-25 point mark so you want a fair few cheap Troop's to get the maximum number of the Matsudan in.

Their stats aren't anything to write home about but they are Constructs so cannot be pinned, which is rather handy, not being knocked over is always good.

So a nice start to the next Deadzone faction, I have a reasonable number of models left to paint including the Spectre which I am really looking forward to getting some paint on. The plan is to play around with variations on the colour scheme with the small models so I can have a guide to what should be done with the big robot at the end.

Sunday 20 December 2020

Halpi's Rift: Capture the Chroneas

 Having been transported through the portal last week onto the Abyssal Plane both sides sent out their Vanguard forces to try a tame a nearby Chroneas, with the hope of turning the powerful monster to their own uses.

The aim was to wear down the Chroneas and accumulate enough victory points over the 5 turns in order to be able to field it in the next battle.

Once more Burke the leader of the Undead Company took the field along with his trusty veterans of the last battle, Radolf despite being felled had shown remarkable regenerative powers and suffered no long term ill.
1 * Burke the Necromancer
3 * Skeleton Archers
3 * Leonard, Tasha & Turner the Revenants
1 * Pascal the Soul Reaver
1 * Radolf the Werewolf

And also as before, Senban the leader of the KoM Company declined to take the field and sent a lieutenant instead. The KoM also sent a berserker instead of their Ogre to this battle.
1 * Leader
1 * Akatasos the Hunter (Skirmisher)
1 * Skirmisher
2 * Foot Guard
1 * Foot Soldier
1 * Wizard
1 * Berserker

The first turn saw the Men push up and loose some shots at the Chroneas whilst for the Undead Radolf made use of his superior speed to charge and cause damage on the target, this gave Burke a 3-0 VP lead at the end of T1.

Rolling for the direction that the Chroneas moves is always a tense moment in this scenario and the first move was away from both forces so caused little damage, with only Radolf taking a wound. Turner the Revenant was shot away by the Men however. It also meant that both sides could get some melee units into contact. Both sides managed to cause an equal amount of wounds so it remained 3-0 to the Undead.

The Turn 3 movement was less kind to the KoM as it took the Chroneas through their forces killing their Foot Soldier, it did mean however that the Chroneas was a long way from the Undead forces. The turn also saw Radolf being floored once again by Akatasos the Hunter making good use of his Pound ability. Whilst Radolf was able to survive the fire from the other Skirmisher and the KoM Wizard he was finished off by the Berserker. So once again Radolf perished though this time he had killed a Foot Guard before he died.
With the Undead unable to cause any wounds on the Chroneas the Leader of Men had a free swing to gain 3 VP's, unfortunately that free swing entirely missed so whilst the KoM got 1 VP for the death of Radolf the Undead still lead 3-1.

Start of T4

On Turn 4 the Chroneas again crashed through the KoM and knocked several down, the Undead also managed to concentrate enough fire on Akatasos to kill him and revenge the death of Radolf. The KoM Berserker charged into Pascal the Soul Reaver and despite causing a wound was then knocked to the ground to be finished off by Tasha the Revenant. Pascal then killed the other Foot Guard straight out and this left the Men with only 3 men left. The positioning of the Chroneas did mean however that the Undead could not cause any damage on it and the remaining KoM skirmisher managed to cause a couple of wounds on the Chroneas so they took the lead 4-3 going into the final round.

Start of T5

During the last turn the Undead knew they could at least get a draw by killing the KoM Wizard so the Skeleton Archers threw everything into the effort and managed with the final ranged shot to take the Wizard out, tying the scores at 4-4. The KoM where unable to get into position to put any damage on the Chroneas so with a Surge and then a charge Leonard the Revenant was able to make contact with the beast and get 5 solid hits, victory beckoned!

Unfortunately the beast made all it's saves so the scenario ended in a tie 4-4, though the Men had suffered significantly more casualties than the Undead who had lost Radolf and also the Revenant Turner.

After a fierce battle both sides rolled for their wounded, Radolf with the help of Leonard the Company Healer once again made a full recovery and Turner was left in a weakened state. The KoM did not fair so well with Akatasos the Hunter who had caused so much trouble to Radolf dying of his wounds. The KoM also had a Foot Guard who whilst trying to evade capture after the battle was cut down. The Wizard managed a full recovery though so it was not all bad news for Senban.

Saturday 12 December 2020

Halpi's Rift: Dominate

 The next battle in the Halpi's Rift campaign saw both armies take to the field in an attempt to access the portal to a new plane. We played out the Dominate scenario which is won by having the most Unit Strength within 12" of the table centre at the end of the game. For this scenario I added a portal (impassable terrain) to the centre of the table. The artefact's captured in the first scenario also gave the unit carrying them +1 Unit Strength in addition to their magical bonuses.

Lady Mhorgana's forces comprised of:

1 * Zombie Legion
1 * Revenant Inf Regiment
2 * Wraith Troop
1 * Soul Reaver Inf Regiment
1 * Zombie Troll Horde
1 * Revenant Cav Regiment
2 * Revenant Cav Troop
1 * Goreblight
2 * Revenant King
1 * Liche Queen
1 * Necromancer
14 Units - 21 Unit Strength

The Kingdoms of Men fielded:

1 * Pole-Arms Horde
1 * Foot Guard Regiment
1 * Bowmen Troop
3 * Knight Regiment
1 * Mounted Scout Regiment
2 * Mounted Scout Troop
2 * General on Winged Beast
2 * Wizard on Horse
1 * The Captain
14 Units - 23 Unit Strength

The KoM took the first turn and both sides moved forwards with the Men being more aggressive on the flanks and the Undead advancing further in the centre. The Men's shooting was entirely ineffective in the first turn with no casualties being caused whilst Lady Mhorgana (who comprises the only offensive ranged attacks for the Undead) managed a good roll with her Blizzard and took off a Mounted Scout Troop.

The Men had left their left flank without a source of inspiring so one decent nerve roll was enough to take off the Scouts. On their right flank both of the Generals pushed forwards and the Scout Regiment pushed through the woods they had deployed behind.

Turn 2 seems to have seen a change in camera brightness that I didn't spot and also KoM moved forwards again on their right flank and straightened up the line in the centre. The KoM firing was a little better this turn but not enough to trouble any of the Undead.

The Undead again pushed forwards in the centre and got into charge range on their right whilst staying out of charge range on their left by pulling back a little.

I seem to have missed taking photos for turns 3 & 4 but on the Undead right one Knight Regiment was forced into a charge against a Revenant Cav Troop and then taken off by the combined charge of the Zombie Trolls and Revenant Cav Regiment, the other Knight Regiment charged and took off a Wraith Troop which had managed to one shot a Mounted Scout Troop. This left the Knight behind a building with no clear path to the centre.
In the centre the Soul Reavers charged and took off the KoM Foot Guard Regiment and a chain surge saw the Zombie Legion crash into the Pole-Arms Horde and cause a few casualties. In response the Pole-Arms charged back and the Bowmen Troop charged into the Legion's flank. The Pole-Arms managed enough wounds to take the nerve test down to 11's but then the Bowmen managed an amazing 6 wounds (16 attacks hitting on 6's due to be hindered) taking it down to only 5's, which they managed to role. This meant the Pole-Arms Horde now had the regen armour and the elite giving sword artefacts.
On the Undead left they kept giving some ground whilst the KoM pushed around the wood with their cavalry  and down the table edge with the Generals on Winged Beast. 

During Turn 5 on the Undead right they moved the Troll Horde back towards the centre and it managed to be chain surged into the Pole-Arm Horde which had already been charged by the Soul Reavers.
The Revenant Cav Regiment also moved backwards to come within scoring range.

On the left the Wraith Troop was holding up the Mounted Scouts who they managed to route in melee that turn and the double charge by the Generals had taken out the other Revenant Cav Troop.

In the centre despite doing a total of 35 wounds the Pole-Arm Horde held firm when I rolled double 1's on the nerve test, this left them devastated but still on the field of battle.

The Goreblight and attendant Revenant King charged into the two Generals and managed to cause at least one wound each meaning they could not fly in turn 6.

In the final turn the Pole-Arm Horde failed to take off the Soul Reavers who in turn counter-charged and took them off. This left the Undead with a clear Unit Strength advantage and also in possession of all three artefacts for the next big battle.

I think one big issue for the KoM was the flanking forces never made it into the battle with around 800 points of troops on the flanks that never really saw combat it was easier for the Undead to concentrate in the centre and ensure a victory.

Next game in the campaign will see the forces on the Abyssal Plane attempting to capture a Chroneas.

Tuesday 8 December 2020

Kickstarter Update: Or how I Kept the Economy Afloat

One of the advantages of getting things on Kickstarter is that you generally get things below the end sale price and with a few extras to sweeten the deal. The downside is you are never entirely sure when they will arrive as even though all the projects have an expected delivery, they are often late.

So with all that is going on in the world as present and the fact many games are produced in China it came as no surprise today to find out that League of Infamy has been delayed again. This delay is down to issues getting a ship to carry the container to the UK, hopefully that has now been resolved and the container should be leaving China on around Dec 15th to make it's way to us in time for all the post-Brexit confusion to have cleared up at British ports. Mantic are now looking at a shipping date of Feb/March so it's going to be a while before I can get my hands on this one.

To quote the game description 'League of Infamy is an occasionally co-operative dungeon crawler for up to 5 players, where it pays to commit dastardly deeds and partake in foul thievery – often against your own party. Created by the team behind hit games Hellboy: The Board Game and Dungeon Saga: The Dwarf’s Kings Quest, this is a dungeon quest like no other.

Join a rogue’s gallery of misfits, ne’er-do-wells and miscreants on a disgraceful mission to kidnap cute little baby Drakons, steal their eggs and viciously wipe out any irritating, goody-goody Elves that try to stop your nefarious schemes.

But it’s not just the Elves you’ll need to keep a wary eye on. Your fellow (mis)adventurers are just as likely to betray you and steal your loot, shove you into harm’s way or just leave you in a dungeon full of unbeatable foes. As they like to say in the League of Infamy – ‘keep your enemies close but keep your friends at knifepoint’.'

The full game contains over 120 models consisting of villains, Elf, Halfling, & Trident Realm defenders and a cast of wondering monsters. This should give a good variety of models to paint up and also several Vanguard warbands that can then be fielded.

I'm also waiting on some extra Drakon riders which are to be converted into Kings of War Generals on Winged Beasts for my KoM/Ostrogth mounted army. So that looks to be an army which will not be completed in a hurry.

One Project that should arrive sooner than later is the Celtic style ringfort being produced by Fogou Models. This one has only recently closed but being a smaller project being produced entirely within the UK it should be less prone to unforeseen delays. I'm not entirely sure what use I can put a ring for too but having backed a previous KSer from Fogou and being impressed with the quality of the mud brick buildings I received then I thought it was worth backing.

As well as the normal fort they also produced a fantasy style gate with towers which looks really good and then a series of extras such as houses, a pig pen & granaries. Also included are steps up to the wall and a breached section.

For the mud brick KSer I didn't go all in but I made no such mistake this time and as the project reached all it's goals I should have a pretty big stack of resin heading my way early in the new year.

My final ongoing Kickstarter is Bardsung, which despite have a terrible name looks to be a promising dungeon crawler.

This one has also only just been funded but being a larger project than the fort is not scheduled for release until May 2022.
Bardsung is 1-5 player PVE dungeon crawler, so all the players are on the same side and all fight against an AI dungeon deck. The layout of the dungeon is generated as the players go along with a deck deciding which dungeon tile the players get to lay down next. One of the aims seems to be building the dungeon to reach a specific spot on the game map. This should mean a good variety of layout but also one which can be influenced by the players.

The contents of the newly laid out tile are also decided by a deck so it could be a chest or a horde of ravenous monsters that the adventurers have just discovered. 
The game comes with a host of models for both the heroes (in yellow) and the monsters, again as the project reached all it's stretch goals then it contains lots of bits that got unlocked.

Can you see the Cave Shark?

For this one I didn't go all-in as that contained some 3D terrain I didn't need and some other bits like duplicate monsters and a neoprene mat that added nothing to the game play. I did get The Lost Levels expansion box which contains some extra adventures and some clock-work robot style men who look like they could also work in a sci-fi setting as well. 

So that's my efforts to keep the world economy ticking over for the moment completed, apart from the bit where I weakened and got myself the SAGA: Age of Hannibal book, but more on that another day.