Monday, 30 July 2018

OHAA Beta Planning and playtesting a project

Dearest reader, my profound gossips, plug back your lug holes (your own, unless consenting adults) and here my thoughts.

Projects. Heart of any wargamers purchasing excuse. The reason we are wargamers. This particular one mulled in the back of my consciousnesses for a few years, waiting for the time to be right and the figures to be available. And the rules. Mix in the availability of an opponent with the time and money.

Real serious gamers could probably do the maths.

My first project? Well I was pre-teen when Dr Who came out, missed the first episodes. Then there were Daleks. Are you familiar with this blog? I can remember (one of my first memories) thinking how great it would be to have an army of Rolakin Daleks in something to carry them. Still working on it-!

This project. The premise. Imagine, if you will an island off the beaten tracks. On this island there's 2 races and 3 main terrain types. In the mountains Bakemono, Oni's and other nasties. In the forests there's a fey race that could be identified as Tennin. The coastal regions and plains are unused as neither side uses grain based agriculture or herd animals.

Lets now zoom over to Japan. The huge culture shock came with the Mongol invasion. Now I'm guessing that the results of the hurricane were similar to that of the Spanish Armada. Ships and survivors would have been spread over a wide area. It's true that the Japanese were not a great seafaring people, but there's lots of fishing villages and pirates. Now if a captain and crew were captured and able to bargain for their lives, information on a new, rich land?

So the 12c Japanese turn up, settle on the coast, spread upriver. Eventually they are going to get into conflict.

NB, the premise predates the LOTR films and I was originally thinking of Australia or Papua New Guinea.

The figures. The fantastic Sengoku range manufactured by Alternative armies was the first step. The latest wave included separate heads, the helmet includes shoulder armour plates. That provided the kick start for the second phase, RPE's oriental Dark Elves. With the helmets & hats, add on armour and bits from their accesory pack plus sweet 20% off deals I could put together a large, decent force with lots of conversions. Next, I'd bought some of Peter Pigs Dark Elves. His figures are true 15mm rather than the scale-creep of the other manufacturers used. A comparison showed that the Sengoku goblin and the Peter Pig figure are comparable. Ah hah! Looking through his listiing there's peasants, monks, Ikko Ikki, markers so a wide range of potential. A rather large order delivered to a show.

I have great pleasure in giving credit to Gisby, his use of Dark Elves as Martians is inspirational and I want to thank him for the kick!  I hope I inspire people, but not aware of any yet-.

I have backed this kickstarter for yet more Oni. I'm hoping like mad that these figures actually go on sale, rather than the one-off production of the bulk of such projects.

The Rules. No good having the figures if the rules arn't there. Back in we decided that we wanted to do some larger fantasy than OGAM allowed.. Don't get me wrong! Love OGAM! It's proper thinking persons wargaming. I'd compare the bulk of fantasy/sf Igoyougo games as draughts, then OGAM is competition level chess. We got some, did some playtesting that was frankly a waste of money.

Then along came the beta trial set of Of Hordes And Armies. You could say that this was what we needed! Let me give you a quick summary:
Not yougoIgo.
No measurement, uses area movement.
3 simple stats and simple “App” add-ons. Let's look-
Lightly Armoured Bakemono 4 3 5 Devastating charge, 2x16 = 32 @ 16 = 512
Quality 4 (average human) gets a 4,5,6 pass on Actions and Reactions
Attack 3 (shooting will be different as it's an App) Adds 3 to each figures D6 to beat opponents armour. Armour 5 light armour, probably leather and some metal, this is the score that opponents have to beat.
App Devastating charge, if charges can reroll any 2 (unless a 2 is a hit!)
There's an exel spreadsheet that calculates costs in seconds. I'm fielding 32 @ 16 points = 512.
It's quick. We played the game below in 2 lazy hours, considering we were rather rusty.

That's not to say those are the only rules we'll use. If you look back at my mercenaries on Mars series, this was an organic process of taking a small group of survivors from a larger battle and playing their adventures. There was a good dose of Hammers Slammers and James Rouch in there. There's a proposed fantasy version of Rogue Stars, using about a dozen figures so more like a small unit that Swords of Blades & Heroes. That would be ideal!

Test Game. In 40 odd years of wargaming I've never used pikes. Go figure. Do giants work well in groups? We know single ones tend to die spectacularly. Have I got the mix right? Is this series going to be fun? I've already invested time and money (I'm retired, so limited and fixed income) in this project so I want to suck it 'n see.

Yes, I haven't done much painting. I've been busy, that's why I did the RS Moon campaign.

I decided to try a semi-wooded environment. If the Ten Hin inhabit such an environment their army should be able to work in such. I'd considered a Tercio type of arrangement but here I've just used 2 of the 3 elements. The Bakemono/Oni are rather tribal so we start with an armoured leader and bodyguard/champion, then unarnoured Oni, armoured Bakemono Samurai equivalents, lighter follower/ashigaru medium warriors and then the great unwashed. I decided to keep the same combat score for all Bakemono as they probably use their own choice of weapon.

I got the chalk out and resquared the mat. I diced for each square, any 6 got shrubbery. Basing plants on 2p's plays off here.

Oni/Bakemono force
Armoured Dai Oni 4 4 8 Giant L3 Tough 3xtra lives 2 x 90 = 180 (one's a general)
Oni 4 4 6 Giant L2 Tough 2xtra lives 4x62 = 248
Armoured Bakemono 4 3 6 Devastating charge, 16 @ 22 = 352 Red tray
Lightly Armoured Bakemono 4 3 5 Devastating charge, 2x16 = 32 @ 16 = 512 Green trays
Unarmoured Bakemono 5 3 4 Devastating charge, 2x16 = 32 @ 10 = 320 Brown trays
Total 1,612

Ten Hin
Armoured Pike 4 2 7 Pikes Slow Drilled 4 units of 4 x 8 = 32 @ 24 = 768 (one's a general)
Heavy Crossbow 4 2 6 Shoot 2 Drilled 2 units of 16 = 32 @ 26 = 832
Total 1,600

1,500-2,000 points is an average game.

The Game
Tony got the Bakemono and won the initiative.  For once the dice didn't go all his way and I was able to move up.  He threatens my centre with his mediums.

Always leave room for your troops to retreat.  He hits my pike like a buzzsaw, 16 vs 8.  He wins, mine retreat, disordered.

His Oni come on strong, not giving my shoots a chance to shoot- error, I could have shot them goin in, but lost -1 on combat.  I killed 1, wounded another but got smacked.

Lone survivor!

C'mon if you think you're 'ard enough!  I kill the wounded one, but get stomped.  3 left, a viable unit.

They're looking at the survivors-.  The ones at the back are the deaded.

Meanstwhile, the Bakemono heavies finally come on at my reduced pike-.

I get lucky, manage to swap in a full unit betwix my general and the heavies.  I like the look, no mistaking one side from another.

The mediums veer off to deal with my other crossbow.

They crash, I lose my crossbow but they do a lot of damage in return. 

They couldn't resist.

But my crossbow have their measure!  The Oni are banished for loss of only 1!  Still a viable unit!

Crossbows shoot the survivors down.  But there's more coming, time to move out!

The armoured Oni champion moves up.

The crossbow get all the way back just in time to meet the mediums charge.

Ouch!  But 2 left, still going- just.

Here comes Mr Big.  The remaining mediums crash into my Generals unit.  You roll (3 different colour) dice for the General, if total is 5 or less, he dies.  I do really, really crap, only the General kills 2!

That's not what I wanted, roll over and a reaction for Tony!

The reaction sends the Oni in.

I lose, but not too badly.

Oni Busting Crossbow Heroes!

Oh, Ok, but he loses a life as well.  2 down, 1 to go.

I manage to get a semblance of a formation, which is good 'cos here comes the rabble!

Boy did they do well!  They wipe me out but lose half in the process.

I'm left with bugger all.  all Tony's units have a few left.  One rabble refused to move!  The general moved once-.

Quick, fun, nice challenges and a few surprises.  Slow pikes need to be in 16's.  Slow means 1 move per 2 actions, so several times I had to push them to get 'em in position.  That fatigues them which is a risk.  So far so good, I can better see how to develop the forces.  I need more rabble-.   Plus ranger type skirmishers.  I have other types in production, I just wanted to keep things simple.

Rabble Bakemono, Peter Pig with one Sengoku.  Little or no leather armour, bamboo spears and clubs.

Bakemono light armoured.  Mostly leather but some metal.  Better range of weapons.  I think the poses and sizes match well.

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Fl Rewenge of Princess Pnumonium, daughter of Minge the Munificent

I get it, if I put Mars in the title, you're all hungry for it. There's more and more VSF in popular media, but this isn't being addressed in wargaming.

A BIG “thank you” for all those following my recent posts. I've had some great comments. These helps, we are out here playing away in the hope that we are inspiring you to get out there and play.

So last week I tried using Flying Lead as it isn't. So now lets use it as it is- an excellent small unit modern combat game.

I know I presume that you are familiar with the basic workings of the rules. Just in case- all Ganesha's work on the same mechanism, but that is evolving. At its heart is the 3 dice activation. The Q – quality of the troops determine the score required to activate those troops. Flying Lead has individual activation for each soldier, but a leader can use 1 activation to cause the group activation of 4. The leader can also call for volley fire against a single target. (I use that to good effect below).

If you fail with 2 dice the initiative passes to your opponent. That simple mechanism destroys yougoIgo. We add the later mechanism of reaction (evolved since the rules were written) a failed activation can be taken as a reaction by the other side. You choose a figure, roll as per activation and any successful reaction comes before any action. Flashing Steel (a variant) limits what you can do on a reaction. We don't, we take the 2 failures as reactions before the turnover proper. 

 Plus, we include the leader in that who can then group-move or volley fire. There is another new variant whereby the 2 fails can be taken as reactions or initiative switch (turnover) used in Rogue Stars.

So, if you have higher quality troops you are less likely to lose the initiative and gain more reactions.

There's 3 builders online, you see the results copied in these posts. The weapons available in the rules range from bolt action rifles, crossbows and compound bows up to basic SF designs. But you can design your own.

I'm using a strong repeating crossbow as the equivalent to a bolt action rifle. If you look up the efficiency of a Chinese repeating crossbow (higher rate of fire, quiet, indirect shooting) that more than held its own against Victorian rifles.

So I'm “taking it down”.

Green Martian shooter Points 104 Quality 3+Combat 3
Drum Fed Light Machine Gun, Body Armor, Fearless, Poor Shot, Strong
Green Martian Warrior Points 88 Quality 3+Combat 3
Bolt Action Rifle, Body Armor, CQB Specialist, Fearless, Poor Shot, Strong

Green Martian Cavalry Leader Points 206 Quality 3+ Combat 5
Large Calibre Pistol, Body Armor, Combat Fiend, Dashing, Fanatic, Leader, Long Move, Mounted, Poor Shot, Strong
Green Martian Cavalry
Points 176 Quality 3+ Combat 5
Large Calibre Pistol, Body Armor, Combat Fiend, Dashing, Fanatic, Long Move, Mounted, Poor Shot, Strong

Attacking force
Leader 206
2 cavalry 352
3 shooters 312
6 warriors 528
Total 1,398

Bodyguard of Princess Pnumonium, daughter of Minge the Munificent

Pilot & Pnumonium
Vehicle 10, Long move 10, 1 fighter 3, difficult target 10, C&C 15, Q3 35 C 2 70

Gun Sled Vehicle 10, Thin armour+1 10, up to 8 fighters 24, Q2 40, Cbt 5 25, 109
Light Martian Cannon Points:15
Armor Piercing, Combat +3, Max Range 3 Medium, Very Slow Reload
8 Elite Martian Warriors 464 Total 588
Elite Martian Warrior Points 58 Quality 3+Combat 2,
Pistol, CQB Specialist, Dashing, Elite, Poor Shot, Steady Under Fire

Crossbow Points 39 Quality 4+ Combat 2
Modern Crossbow, Body Armor, Short Move, Steady Under Fire, Strong

Crossbow Skirmishers/bodyguards Points 59 Quality 4+ Combat 3
Pistol, Body Armor, CQB Specialist, Light/Bushwacker, Steady Under Fire

Sled with Pnumonium 70
Gunsled & fighters 712
6 Bodyguards 354
7 Crossbow 273
Total 1,409

The Game

Tony took the Greenies again (he likes cavalry) and won the initiative.

Using individual activation means you get a scattered force, as you'd  expect with an irregular force.  Using your leader to push groups helps.  Reactions can encourage stragglers. Turnover.

Over to me, keeping the princess close-.

Brave chap going out in front.

A close shot causes the leader to do a twirl.

Being out in front- shooting starts to take effect.  Note the skirmisher hiding around the corner.

The pounding of gert big feet.


One cavalryman is deflected by shooting, the leader goes in.

The flyer lands and disgorges infantry.  It's the beans you know.

Suck on that, greenie swine! But only knocked down.

Swine gets up and the crossbowman pays for his uppetyness.

Infantry stand back so as not to get in the way.

The cannon goes bang!  Startling one mount.

Doesn't stop their wampage.

Got one! Volley fire!

I get the sled going and try for a ram, but shooting causes it to swerve, which gets it peppered and pummelled by the shooters.

A skirmisher gets a lucky shot.  6:1 is a gory death.  Causes morale checks that sees some retreat a bit.

The square piece of scenery, I made it in 5 minutes years ago to use up a few small bits.

The leader does a twirl to re-establish control.  But i've lost too many, so a Greenie win.

But before I go, volley fire brings a shooter down and another volley kills him.