Friday, August 29, 2014

Lion Rampant solo test

Using my Dark Age figures it was easy enough to find suitable units to represent them in Lion Rampant for a solo test of the rules. I made two 16 point forces but did not battle to the end of a game but managed to get a few turns under way to try the most important factor of the game to me. How does it feel?
Feel of a game is hard to pin down as your experiences will be different to mine but gamers instinct and intuition kicks in eventually.
Even though Lion Rampant is not designed for the Dark Ages I think it could actually work really well provided gamers used history and imagination for inspiration on what units to use. For the Vikings it was 2 units of Fierce Foot (FF) and 2 units of Foot Serjeants (FS). FF of course being the younger and more eager boat crews who have many shirtless members and just can't wait to prove themselves. Subject to Wild Charge they may just attack without waiting on instructions. FS on the other hand are perhaps a little more cautious and experienced long boat crews.
For 16 points of Anglo-Saxon defenders of England I mixed it up with a unit of Archers (Slings in this case) some Serfs (12 Angry Monks substituted), 2 units of FS and 1 unit of Yeoman. Yeoman are very similar to FS but less armour (not enough helmets and chain mail to go around lads, sorry about that). 
OK so that feels fine. On to gaming.

Activation. Initially it was moving to contact each other. No Wild Charges to test for a few turns. Wild Charge is the FF just charging in to attack at the start of the turn whether you want them to or not (must be in charge range though). FF however had 8" movement compared to everyone else on 6". They got across the table first but it was interesting when snake eyes shows up to activate and the turn ends without moving anything. Makes for a fast feel to the game.  
Eventually a Viking FF pulled of a Wild Charge on a group of Serfs (Mad Monks) and wiped them out immediately. Serfs really are a speed bump! Could be an interesting tactical choice though to lure units forward though.
Bye Bye Monks (Serfs). Nice knowing you.

Anglo Saxon units activated Schiltron moves. In a nutshell you just reform the unit into a 2 deep shield wall and it improves armour by 1. Doesn't sound like a big deal but it made a big improvement to survivability from receiving an attack by Viking Lunatics.
The bottom line in hand to hand combat in Lion Rampant is that you want to be the one pulling off the most Attacks. Attacker will usually have increased chances of inflicting casualties over defenders. 

Shooting. I only had 1 round of shooting before I packed it in for the night. I had to watch the Rabbitohs beat the Bulldogs on the telly. I back the Rabbitohs so I was happy about that. 
Anyway back to shooting, only 1 figure needs line of sight and range is measured from the nearest figure. Any cover only increases armour of target unit. This meant that I could target a unit of FF that was mostly behind an intervening friendly unit. Cool! I could imagine that rising and plunging image of arrows on the Medieval battlefield.
Slingers shoot over a Schiltron (Shieldwall) into some Fierce Foot Viking raiders.

Overall it felt like one thing was missing to add the more dynamic aspect of the game as it is intended. Mounted units. They will be awesome for getting across the table (when they do as they are told that is).
The game has a great feel about it. At 24 points there will be a lot more things happening on a table. The variety of scenarios will also be a challenge. The Author suggests that perhaps an all Knight force may struggle in some scenarios against an all infantry force. Which leads to consideration of Army balance. There is no restriction on Army build by the way. You could have all Knights if you wanted. 24 points will get you four 6 figure units. 24 figures in total. Economic perhaps.

Anyway cheers for now from Brendon.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Dystopian Wars Mercenary Painting Progress

Prior to the arrival of the Lion Rampant rules I started work on addition to my Dystopian Wars forces. I decided to start an alternate force from my Blazing Sun fleet and looked at the Mercenary forces. I started with a Black Wolf box and after looking at the rules they can have access to a Landing Strip fortification. It functions like a Carrier except it can't move. They can be placed on the Ocean surface like a giant oil drilling platform. After taking a while in deciding a suitable layout I glued the buildings on the big clear plastic deck then sprayed black. The set actually comes with two bases so another one is now in the 'round-to-it' file.You get a good variety of detailed buildings including two really big towers but I only plan to place one on the next platform. The air strip has some etched markings that I used for painting the runway markings.

The eight small Black Wolf ships became tests for a colour scheme I had in mind and this is reflected in the airstrip base. I am also working on a East India Trading Company Merchant fleet as well in the same dark colour scheme. The idea of course is for them to form one combination force of The Black Wolf Vodka and East India Pale Ale fleet.  
Just two quick pics I took on my painting table. When I have some more completed I will take some more pics with them on an ocean surface rather than making waves across my table.
Cheers from Brendon (The Kiwi)

Friday, August 22, 2014

Lion Rampant quick flick review

The cover!

I am super happy to have these rules in my hands. Been looking forward to acquiring this one.
Lion Rampant is Medieval Wargame rules by Daniel Mersey published in the small book format from Osprey Wargames. It's skirmish style (like Saga). I haven't played a game yet but have been reading the rules (just got it a few days ago) and am really liking what I see. It has a lot to offer wargamers. It is written in a friendly style with a lot of non rule banter all over the place. This may not be to everyones liking but I like it! It keeps it light and makes reading enjoyable and not a po-faced exercise in technical rules listings. Rules are explained but it might also be suggested on how to alter this rule to your liking. I am not saying that the rules are wishy washy at all but lots of suggested scope for intelligent wargamers to adapt the rules for their own purposes. There are lots of suggestions and tips on what a unit could represent. As an example the author makes suggestion on using the rules for Orcs and Goblins and fantasy armies and what 'counts as'.
Reproduced here without permission!

There is a big array of unit types and even within these you can alter them. You want your English Archers in the 100 years war to have a slight edge then upgrade a Missile Unit (Archers or Slings) to Expert for the cost of 2 points. Typical game is described as 24 points to build your Retinue and you are free to make whatever composition you like. Suggested Table Size is 6 x 4 for 24 point games.
Huge scope here for imaginative gamers.
Mounted = 3 types, Foot = 5 types and Missile = 3 types. If you include upgrades which are one Stat adjustment, removal/addition of a special rule or equipment adjustment you really get an even bigger scope.
There is no restrictive ideas in this book over what your figures represent. This is not a rules book from a figures company which might have something to do with that but it is likely to have more to do with the Authors excellent pedigree of gamer.

Example Retinue from the book...
Teutonic Order (You seen those FireForge miniatures... they look kick ass).
2 Mounted Men-at-Arms 12 points
1 mounted Sergeants + crossbows 4 points
1 Foot Serjeants 4 points
1 Crossbowmen 4 points the figure count is...
2 Mounted Men-at-arms (Knights) 6 each unit
1 Mounted Sergeants 6
1 Foot Serjeants 12
1 Crossbowmen 12

The boss or Leader of the Retinue only has a few extra rules. The Leader can issue a challenge and fight in a Duel and may have a special skill. Otherwise he remains a part of a unit. This is not a scientific exploration of Medieval warfare. This a game first and foremost for us to use with our figure collections. Yes, it has flavour of those times but it is even written in the rule book that this is the case. My opinion on that is...good! Should be a good game first and foremost over an historical recreation.
Another peek inside my copy. Now go get your own! You know you want to.

Scenarios (Missions). An incredible total of 12 different scenarios to battle through. More than enough for a club to run a campaign or league. I can easily visualise gamers creating a simple background such as...It's the time of the Mongol Invasions. You are a local Lord. Now get out there and Patrol, Collect Taxes, Escort something and Meet the Neighbours. Or it's the time of that Scottish rascal William Wallace or, it's set during the Crusades...etc etc.
If you win a game or fulfill certain objectives you earn Glory (Victory Points) and you can gain more by fulfilling a pre-game Boast during the game. Unfulfilled Boasts can also lose you Glory. That will learn your arrogant Lord for being such a show off! It's not terribly complicated or mathematical as well to work out Glory 2 Glory for each objectives set on fire.

Lion Rampant does not really offer you pages wasted on Historical backgrounds. This is a wargame rule book not a history source book and really there is too much to cover in that regard in my opinion. Besides Osprey have plenty of other books for you to buy as well. No doubt this helps keep the book at a good compact size of 64 pages and a great price (value for money!). Plenty of Osprey illustrations (Knights attacking each other etc) and photos of miniatures with some to help illustrate rules as you can see above.

Like you I am a typical gamer who sees rules as a puzzle to unlock. How do units function? How do I develop tactics to have an improved chance at winning a game or at least being halfway competitive? That's the fun of gaming in a new set of rules. But beyond that also the hobby options is a big part of the fun...which plastic box do I buy first...go all War of the Roses with Perrys...get all Teutonic with FireForge...go all horsey shooty with FireForge Mongols. Hmmmmmm!

Cheers from Brendon