Saturday 31 December 2022

0200 Hours: First Impressions

Stu popped over from Cirencester today which gave me the perfect chance to break out the newest game in my collection, 0200 Hours. This pits an elite raiding force against a less well trained defending force in a boys own style adventure. The starter box comes with British Commando and German Static Defence forces so we played those. I've not yet got all the correct greys and khaki paints so went for a basic black undercoat and grey to white dry brush to bring out the details on the model. Even this small effort looks much better than plain grey plastic and as all the battles are set at night, it gives a decent night fighting vibe.

We played out the first scenario in the book which sees the British trying to cross the table in the face of an already alerted enemy. Perhaps they are attempting to escape after a successful sabotage mission. I added a couple of extra models per side to give us more to play with as I'd stuck them together.

As the game progresses you have to make tests against the various stats on your troop cards with you looking to roll equal to or less than the number of chevrons for that stat on the dice. The dice come in white a grey varieties with the following sides:
White: 2 * one chevron, 1 * two chevrons, 1 * three chevrons, 1 * medal, 1 * spotted
Grey: 1 * one chevron, 1 * two chevrons, 1 * three chevrons, 2 * medals, 1 * hide
 Essentially the louder an action the more white dice you are going to roll and the more likely it is you will be revealed. As you can only shoot / fight against revealed targets then staying hidden is extremely useful. Each side starts with none of it's models revealed.

In this first scenario the defenders start occupying two thirds of the table and need to kill three of the attackers as they try to cross it, the attackers need to get three men off the opposite side. Players take it in turns to draw a chit from a cup and then assign it to a model to activate. Also in the cup are three clock chits and once the third one is drawn the turn is over and all the active chits go back in the cup. Each normal model gets 1 activation chit with leaders getting 2.

The early part of the game saw the Commando's enter the table split between each flank and then start to advance. The attackers can use a Sneak action to stay hidden and more importantly move in a direction chosen by their commander. The defenders need to use a patrol action which by default moves straight ahead but can also have it's direction determined by the direction the chevrons on their dice point. This lead to many of my Germans wandering backwards or towards table edges away from the approaching British.

In fairly short order however my Germans had managed to wander close enough to the British for some fire to be exchanged. The first shot was by a Commando who took out a Feld gendarmerie without being spotted. Then on the opposite side of the table a clumsy Commando attracted the attention of the dog handler and a pair of SMG toting guards. He avoided the rifle shot of the dog handler but went down in a hail of MP 40 bullets. His death gave the his two comrades pause for thought and failing a trauma test they opted to stay in place for a turn.

The Commando Officer also took out another guard on the German right and continued his advance trailed by the pair of rifle armed Commando's. Only the German Officer stood between British on this side and escape, and he spent a lot of timing tramping around in some bushes and never actually spotted any Brits.

On the German left one of the Commando's made a dash for it as they became hemmed in but he fell to the SMG fire of the guard who up to this point had been walking up and down a hill to the rear. We left him standing so we could have a try at the melee rules which we hadn't managed to get in thus far.

As the game drew to a close the British managed to get three men off in a rush to secure a win, but they did leave two bodies in the woods with a third man being in a perilous position with Germans closing in. 

By the nature of the way the patrol action works you can end up with some models who don't really get involved as a defender and these three didn't make a massive contribution to the war effort having not fired a single shot.

Overall it was an enjoyable game with a bit of rule checking as you would expect for a first game but we got through the turns quickly and many of the tests became second nature even during such a short time. I expect us to play again, perhaps in the desert as Stu said he had plenty of terrain and was planning on getting some Italians.

Saturday 24 December 2022

Firefight: The Rat Before Christmas

Another week without a game just means more time to paint so I've been cracking on with more Veer-myn. I've now got a veritable horde of rats ready to hit the table.
As well as basic troops I've been working on the leaders for the army with the force box coming with two Progenitor models. Their command ability lets you move units an extra 3" without becoming activated. Considering most units will be charging 15" in the Veer-myn list this gives you an 18" threat range which seems to be the range of most small-arms. 

The first variant comes with a Spitter Rifle and I also bashed together a couple of Malignus with Spitter Rifles to go along with it as bodyguards. The Sniper Scope allows you to choose which model is removed if you get a kill (normally your opponent chooses which they lose). As most units seem to have options to bring special weapons the ability to force your opponent to remove them rather than the normal troops is a good bonus. Having a range of 36" is also great so they could hang right back to offer Inspiring to your backline troops and still contribute to the fight.

The other option is to take a Grenade/Smoke/Toxic Smoke launcher. This gives you an extra model to lay down some smoke for your melee troops to move up behind. I've gone with the Heavy Ray Gun's for the bodyguards as it keeps the unit cost down and because I had a couple painted up for my Deadzone strike team.

It seems popular for Veer-myn players to model the unit leaders up with 2 daggers so I took this a little further and used the swords from the Ratkin sprues I bought. In reality they will just be armed with the same weapon as the rest of their squad but it will make them easy to pick out. I think all of the measuring in Firefight is done from the leader model so having them easily identifiable is important.

Your standard Veer-myn comes in two flavours with the Stalkers being the melee variant. They trade off 6" in shooting range to gain a 4+ (on D8's) for fighting. They aren't particularly brave and they certainly aren't tough but they are fast and shooting orientated troops won't want them to get a charge in. They don't have any re-rolls or armour piercing but the Veer-myn have some command abilities that help with melee so they can be boosted.

These units are more likely to be used to screen other more dangerous units or to try and focus the enemies attention on themselves whilst other units get close. At only 85 points they are very cheap when compared to the 150-160 points for 6 Steel Warrior units the Forge Fathers are paying.

Most likely I will run the Stalkers without any special weapon but I did have the models spare so I painted up a couple of Chem Thrower Malignus' to add in if I felt the need. These can also be used in Deadzone as well so should feature in one game if not both. The It Burns! rule gives you the chance to activate an enemy unit so they not only miss a turn but it also restricts their reactions to being charged.

The Crawlers are the shooting variety of the basic Veer-myn who I painted up the launchers for the other week. They really don't shoot very well but the basic Crawlers are included mostly as fodder to keep the launcher ones alive. As mentioned before, laying down smoke should be a good tactic to get the melee units up field without taking casualties. It could also be used to hide units sitting on objectives and as the Toxic version can cause damage, forcing your opponent off an objective.

That's all the standard Veer-myn painted up now but I still have plenty more to do. The advantage of cheep Troop options is you can fit in more the Specialist and Support options so have some Nightmares to paint up and a few vehicles. I stuck the big Veer-myn vehicle together this week and it's a mighty model so that will take some work once I get to it.

I'll probably do that one last as I did for the Forge Fathers so plenty more to do before that one gets done!

Saturday 17 December 2022

Firefight: Growing Pest Problem

Having completed all the Forge Father models I currently have I've moved onto my force for Firefight, the Veer-myn. These are the delightful little (and sometimes not so little) space rat faction who I also play in Deadzone. The armies strength lies in it's melee combat units so it needs to have some way of closing the gap against strong ranged opponents. Fortunately they can field two types of smoke launcher in the Crawler units. I started with these models as I wanted to make up the maximum number from the army box. Now the Veer-myn sprue doesn't actually contain the smoke launcher as a weapon option so following someone else's inspiration in the Facebook group I made mine by repositioning the Chem Spitter weapon from under the arm to over the arm. I used a Spitter in my Deadzone force so I have one to compare against.

I haven't yet painted any of the normal Crawlers but I have stuck them together so they are in the queue to be done.

The smoke rules require you to hit a spot for it to be deployed so with a shoot of 6+ you want some insurance that your smoke will be out to protect your melee troops as they advance. I can see me wanting to field at least a couple of units with dual smoke launchers and then some normal Crawlers to protect them from fire. When removing casualties the player controlling the damaged unit gets to choose the order or removal, apart from the unit leader who must be last.

I've also completed a unit of Clawshots which add some long range sniping into the Veer-myn army, which otherwise doesn't carry a lot of ranged threat over 18". Mantic do make some proper models for these in their Kings of War range but I'd decided to kitbash some up as I had some spare Ratkin bodies I'd bought for a bargain. These are meant for KoW as well and fit reasonably well with the Veer-myn models made for Deadzone/Warpath. To the Ratkin bodies I'd seen someone add the rifle arms from GW Kroots onto a Veer-myn on the Deadzone Facebook page so I sourced some from a 'bits' website and did the same. To cover the arm joints I used some spare shoulder pads from the Forge Father kit that I had left over. The proper kit comes with a shield for each Clawshot to hide behind so I added some of the small concrete barriers I'd received from Chris at Fogou Models. The small versions aren't yet released for general sale so I was very lucky to get them.

The unit leader for the Clawshots has a different weapon to the normal rats so I distinguished him with a more imposing looking helmet, he's also the only one looking to the left of his barrier.

So these chaps are all ready to pick Dwarfs off at a distinctly unfair range and having a bit of armour piercing should help open up the more heavily armoured Forge Fathers as well.

Wednesday 14 December 2022

Going Commando for Christmas

Despite the chill in the air this feels like the perfect time of the year to go commando. With Christmas fast approaching I thought I'd pick myself up a present in the shape of 02 Hundred Hours by Grey for Now games. I'd seen it advertised in a few places and it looked interesting. The game is based around small scale commando raids in World War 2 with one side playing the sneaky attackers and the other the soon to be surprised defenders. The starter box is £48 direct but I got a few £'s off by going via The Pit Gaming
The starter set box is about A5 in height and width with plenty of goodies packed inside and pretty deep box.

Front and back look very nice with some good art-work on them and a teaser of the contents on the rear.

The contents are nice plastic tray for all your bits and bobs which already holds some cards and the custom dice for playing the game.

The tray has plenty of space for the counters you get, in fact you get two sets of these counters which are in good thick card stock. I've not read the rules yet but the counters hint at the sort of thing you'll be tracking in game.

Talking of the rules they come as an A5 softback book of 64 pages, a quick look shows around 30 pages of actual rules with the rest filled out with 8 scenarios and some background text. At only 30 A5 pages it feels like this shouldn't be a game overburdened with complex mechanics but all will become clear once I read them through.

Here are the custom dice and some of the cards, each unit has it's own card along with some weapon cards and also what looks like cards for the defender to play so the attacker doesn't have a smooth time. 

The last components in the box are the Wargames Atlantic miniatures, these are all hard plastic. 

For the Germans you get three identical sprues each of which is enough to make six defenders. If you wanted to expand the defenders you can by box's of 30 defenders as well. It looks like you get a good selection of bits to customise your defenders including two guard dogs per sprue.

For the British you get two identical sprues to make twelve SAS/Commando types, again you can buy box's of 30 of these if you want extra. Again, lots of options for heads and weapons and equipment so you won't have a two soldiers looking the same.

Having just bought a snow gaming mat I'm tempted to steer clear of the obvious French setting for the game and perhaps take it to the Norwegian theatre, though of course you could do France in the winter. I'll need to have a look around for building and winter clothed models options before deciding what to do. I would imagine that an SAS in the desert setting would be in the works given the fact that the BBC have started a new series which will hopefully run for a while.