Saturday, 24 June 2017

Thursday, 15 June 2017

SUN TZU

With Qcon only a couple of days away, I have begun preparations for the excursion to Belfast. Rules are being read, player aids printed, play through videos watched and a few games acquired. Oh and a bit of contemplating whether to create a vlog on my experiences at the event, more possibly later.

Having sold "No peace without Spain" a game sadly I never got to play, I reinvested the profit into what else but more games, to do anything else would be silly really. First up, I acquired a game I have been after for about two years, "Condottiere". 



The game has been out of print for some time and I didn't want to pay the prices been charged on the secondary market, waiting instead on the reprint, which is not that far off. But I spotted the game on BGG's market place for a good price and I couldn't resist it. Condottiere is one of my favorite area control games, along side the wonderful "El Grande". It only has a BGG rating of 6.7, which I find rather strange. Usually I tend to only purchase games over 7.0 but having played it at Qcon last year I knew it was one for the collection

From BGG

"The object of Condottiere is to acquire four connected provinces in renaissance Italy. To do this players auction off different provinces on the board and bid on these provinces with a hand of cards representing mercenaries, seasons, scarecrows, and political figures. However, unlike standard auctions in which only the highest bidder loses their bid, in Condottiere every player loses their bid. Players are, in effect, bidding the number of troops they are willing to lose in order to win a province. However, several special effect cards shake the contests up and keep the players guessing.

Check out Marco's  " video " on the game, excellent as always.

The other purchase was "Sun Tzu" another area control game.



I happened to be out for lunch with the family last weekend and nipped into my local "The Works" store which can often have interesting board games for sale and I stumbled across "Sun Tzu". For only seven quid the game has been a steal, it fits into the half hour filler category. The components are top noch , the rules are only two pages, it plays in 30 minutes and already my nine year old and I have had many battles across China's provinces. It will be added to the game bag for Qcon.


Sun Tzu game during play.

Belfast awaits and a three day gaming marathon, tallyho. 

Sunday, 4 June 2017

POPULAR FRONT.


A brief, very brief chat about the board game Popular Front . Recorded one Friday evening in May.

Monday, 29 May 2017

WHATS ON THE TABLE JUNE 2017.


 

I have been playing around with the video editor to try and make these videos a little bit more professional. Hope you enjoy.

SPRING CLEAN.

Fog of War.

I have had a spring clear out of the game shelf recently. Out when "Formula D" in exchange for the above game "The Fog of War". "The Fog of War" is the first wargame design by Geoff Engelstein and the first wargame released by the publisher Stronghold games. You maybe familiar with Geoff Engelstein if you follow the "Ludology" podcast, worth a listen.  The game plays in two hours and is a grand strategic wargame covering the European theater of World War II from 1940 to 1944. One player plays the Axis forces, and the other the Allies. I have introduced miniatures from Memoir 44 to replace the army and navy tokens in this game as they tend to get lost on what is a very colorful map. I would recommend watching the "How to Play" video by the "Board Game Network" if you are interested in this title, as it has proven a great help in learning the rules.

I have sold "Hammer of the Scots" a game which got many many plays and one which I have only good memories off, see a previous post "Spare no one" on one such play. It has been sold because we have worked the game out and there is no more morrow to be sucked from its gaming bone, its replacement is -

Quartermaster General 1914.

I have been following the "Quartermaster General" series of games for a while now. The funds provided by HOTS enable me to purchase "Quartermaster General 1914" the world war one version. Reviews and comments on the geek have been positive so I look forward to breaking this one out at "Qcon" next month. 

Continuing the world War One theme, I also purchased -

                                                                    Fields of Despair.

Fields of Despair: 1914-1918 is a 2-player hex-based strategic level block war game set on the Western Front of the First World War. Players take control of the Allies or Central Powers fighting the war on land, at sea, and in the air all the while making tough economic and technological decisions at home. The component quality for this game is outstanding and some interesting mechanisms for artillery, air spotting, abstracted naval and eastern front warfare make this a game I can't wait to bring to the table.

Finally I should mention "Battle Line"

 Battle Line.

the go to filler game we play at the minute. I traded "Hive" for this Reiner Knizia classic, which is one of GMT's all time best sellers. In "Battle Line" two opponents face off across a 'battle line' and attempt to win the battle by taking 5 of 9 flags or 3 adjacent flags. Flags are wooden meeples. Flags are decided by placing cards into 3 card poker-type hands on either side of the flag The side with the highest 'formation' of cards wins the flag. Simple but addictive, the ideal filler.

Monday, 15 May 2017

CHIMERA CON ROAD TRIP.

Recently, Arthur and I spent a most enjoyable weekend on a grognard road trip. We travelled to Dublin to attend Chimera Con. Chimera con is a day long board war-game convention, with a focus on the larger, longer and more complex war games. This event is designed to create the critical mass of players, time and table space, to make these games happen. The convention included experienced game facilitators, tutorials for new players and a free play area for pickup or shorter games.

The trip started on the Friday when we hooked up with gaming buddy Al, who happened to be in Dublin for the weekend, for a game of Triumph and Tragedy. This game went the full term, with a Western Allied hegemony victory eked out in a very tight affair. The Allies (played by moi) remained at peace while the Russians (played by Arthur) and Germans (played by Al) got involved in a costly war in the Balkans, triggered by the ever aggressive "Reds", who got over zealous following early military success’s. Will he never learn? .The night was finished off with a few beers and the excellent card game "Battle Line" as the perfect filler, a new version has been developed with a medieval theme.
On the Saturday we started early and made the short trip to the Teachers Club in Parnell Square where Chimera con was being held. We joined thirty eight fellow grognards for a day’s gaming, attendees were mostly Irish with a few brothers in attendance from Poland and Italy. A range of war games were played on the day including …..
 ASL.

 The Longest Day.

 The Longest Day.

Here I Stand

 Here I Stand.

 It Never Snows.

 It Never Snows.

Triumph and Tragedy.

Struggle of Empires.
The day was closed out with a few well needed pints in the clubs bar with organiser Rob and fellow attendees. This was a chance to do a little post game analysis and talk all things wargaming.  A BIG thank you to Rob, who organised the event and was the driving force behind the whole endeavour. All in all it was a wonderful opportunity to network with fellow hobbyists from across the island of Ireland. Hopefully this is the first of what will become an annual event in the Irish wargame calendar.
On the way home on Sunday we visited Glasnevin cemetery. The cemetery contains historically notable monuments and the graves of many of Ireland's most prominent national figures. These include Michael Collins, Daniel O’Connell, Parnell, De Valera, O’Donovan Rossa, Kevin Barry and Roger Casement, to name but a few. Arthur remarked how ironic it was that some of those who were bitter rivals and enemies in life now lay a few feet apart united, neighbours in death.

Tower, Glasnevin Cemetery.

Tree lined avenue Glasnevin Cemetery.
The final event on the trip was a visit to the Irish Military Museum outside Ardee in County Meath. The site covers 5000 square feet of floor space and recreates examples of trenches from the First World War. The Museum also houses a large collection of WW2 Allied and Axis vehicles and deactivated weapons. By good fortune we happened to visit the museum on its annual open day weekend so found a large number of military vehicle enthusiast’s and reenactors in attendance.
 Comrades pass the vodka.

Pak 40. 

Weapons and uniforms.

 Armoured Car-Desert Rats, last seen service in First Gulf War.

WWII reenactors.
 Wild Geese - Vietnam reenactors.

Bray opens up with the Vickers.

A most enjoyable excursion. Now it's time for a good sleep, a welcome return to some proper food and planning how to inform the wife that the Qcon road trip takes place next month. Ear plugs any one!

Monday, 20 February 2017

OHHH YES.

Out of the box.

Ohhh yes indeed. At long last the deluxe version of  "Triumph and Tragedy" has become available and Mr Postman left it with me this weekend. Triumph and Tragedy now sits at number five in board game geeks wargame list, having had a rapid rise through the ranks. I sold my first edition copy a while ago because I wanted the upgraded version. The upgrade includes a mounted map, improved chits, a larger box and updated rules with minor changes and errata update. All I need to do now is round up the usual suspects and roll a few dice.

Mounted map.

 Chits, old above new below.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

WHATS ON THE TABLE FEB 2017.


Whats on the gaming table for February. 

I am playing around with some of the functionality within YouTube, trying to edit video etc. Coppola, Tarantino watch your back.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

RIGHT TO THE WIRE.

The aftermath of Sekigahara.

Al and I broke out Sekigahara for a couple of games this afternoon. Its been in hiatus for a while now and its return has been long over due. Our last play went right to the wire, to the very last card in fact. I just about managed to hold of Als "Tokugawa" resurgence. 

This GMT gem is now in its third printing and one of those games that I will always have in my collection. Its a classic that is engaging for those non wargamers who like to play card games, while having enough tension and tactic's to hold the interest of the grognard.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

KURSK "43".

 Decisions, decisions.

I just spend a wonderful days gaming with fellow grognard Arthur. We got stuck into a learning game of the Kursk scenario from Columbia games "Eastfront II". The rules are tight with no ambiguity and run to twenty four pages . We covered everything except paratroops, sea movement and breakthroughs in our game. Sadly we didn't get to explore the joys of pocketing or the terrors of blitz exploitation, so very little experience yet of the supply rules. Its early days but the timing of blitz's would appear to be very important as would the ability to maintain any breakouts with sufficient HQ support.

Marshal Bray ponders his options.


Can't wait to get this one to the table again and try new stratagems. The ultimate goal is to play the full campaign from Barbarossa to the fall of Berlin. A welcome break from some of the lighter fair I have been playing recently. 

Friday, 9 December 2016

EASTFRONT II.

Cover art Eastfront II.

I have been after a copy of Eastfront II for sometime, it has been my grail game. I had been watching ebay and the geek for quite a while to try and acquire a used copy, all to no avail. Finally I decided to purchase the game new but it was unavailable in most UK stockists and it required a little searching to eventually locate a copy. 

I played the first edition a few years ago at Qcon and enjoyed the experience, even if I had my rear handed to me by David my opponent, who kindly taught me the game. I have printed player aids, additional copies of the rules and even made additional chits for blitz, river crossings etc. 

Eastfront map in all its glory.

After reading the rules a couple of times I have set up and played the Edelweiss scenario solo, which is recommended for the newbie. Tonight I set up the Kursk scenario and Arthur is coming over on Monday for a learning game. All is now ready, start up those Panzer engines, prepare those katyusha rockets, the biggest tank battle in history is just about to begin.

Edelweiss scenario from the Russian perspective.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

CAESAR'S GALLIC WAR.

The wonderful box art of Caesar's Gallic War.

I have managed to play a game of "Caesar's Gallic War", a block wargame by Worthington games. The game is themed around the Gallic Wars a series of military campaigns waged by the Roman proconsul Julius Caesar against several Gallic tribes. Rome's war against the Gallic tribes lasted from 58 BC to 50 BC and culminated in the decisive Battle of Alesia in 52 BC. Rome's victory resulted in the expansion of the Roman Republic over the whole of Gaul, present-day France and Belgium.



The game feels quite fluid, with cards available to change the allegiance of tribes. It is difficult for the Romans to build a platform to drive the Germanic tribes back across the Rhine without them looking over there shoulder at the ever resentful and potentially vengeful Gallic barbarians who have been subjugated or are allied. We played with the full optional rules, as ever once you have played a game to get a handle on the rules you can focus on strategy in subsequent plays. One slight issue I have with the game is the graphics. My old man eyes struggle to make out what tribe each block belonged to. The tribal names could have been increased in size or used clearer font. It's a bit early to tell if this is a keeper or if it should go on the trade list. The initial signs are good however. A couple of plays should reveal all. 

Monday, 17 October 2016

LET THE GAMES BEGIN.

Twilight Struggle.

I have been spending a little time with the classic above and it has been goooood. During the last game with Al, I managed to trigger a thermonuclear war, having drawn a number of war cards and been unable to dump them to the space race. Plenty more meat on the bone of this one.

 Caesar's Gallic War.

I acquired Caesar's Gallic War on ebay recently, it's a block war game by Worthington games set during Caesar's campaign to pacify Gaul. Looks interesting and has been described as "Hammer of the Gauls", taking as it does many influences and mechanisms  from Columbia Games "Hammer of The Scots". I hope to do an unboxing in the near future. The wife has been known to raise her eyes to the gods and shake her head at my viewing of unboxing video's. She doesn't understand this is vital research, vital knowledge etc etc. It in no way means that I am a sad and obsessed grognard game addict, who needs to get out of the house more or at least undertake counselling for Peter Pan syndrome, the boy who never grew up. 

Screw that, I will do the video when she is out shopping, I'm not mad and I don't have a problem.

Space Hulk.

Finally my son and I followed Rodney Smith's "Watched it Played" youtube videos for "Space Hulk". We both enjoyed them so much that I bought a copy. Three games later and he is not hooked. My daughter has expressed an interest in playing a game so I will hold on it for a little longer, but it may be be shown the door soon if it fails to gain some traction. Not sure if an introduction to "Aliens" will improve the games up take or hinder it. 

Space Hulk, scenario one ready to go. Sensors on 
click ... click ... click.  
We're all gonna die, man.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

BEST SERVED COLD.


Al and I have being indulging in "Hammer of the Scots" recently, a fun intro wargame, It is light and frothy but now its time for a change of pace, time for a more meaty dish. That dish is best served cold, a Cold War - Twilight Struggle. In talking to Al he informed me that he was at school and remembered the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. Similarly I remember many of the late war event cards from this classic card driven game. We plan to commit to a number of games of  "Twilight Struggle" as repeated plays leads to familiarity of the card deck which in turn will lead to greater enjoyment.



                                                     

Friday, 23 September 2016

ENNISKILLEN MUSEUM NEW WING.



Last month I had the opportunity to attend an evening preview of the new galleries at Enniskillen Museum. Four new galleries have been created the Fermanagh Lakelands Gallery 1 and 2; the Our Town Gallery; and the Full Circle Art Gallery. What had once been an old health centre has been transformed into an impressive Visitor Centre. The centre includes a cafe and shop on the ground floor; a genealogy centre; a castle viewing area; and a history hub, providing access to the museum’s photographic, oral and digital film archives. I have included a few photographs taken while on the tour. The highlights for me were a digital display of my grandfathers homestead, a building I played in as a young child, and a number of items from the collection of Johnny McKeagney a local folklorist and historian, now sadly deceased. The museum is a must visit for locals and visitors to the county. 

The sloped wall of the ammunition magazine, slopped inwards to contain any accidental explosion.

Crannog.

Door of Enniskillen goal.

 Stone sculpture.

 A view from the castle walls over looking Lough Erne.

My grandfathers homestead.