Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Good Games for Busy Gamers 3

Here is another great little game that can be played in short sessions and is a lot of fun.  It is called "It is Warm Work".  It can be purchased at the pdf download sites and there is an active yahoo group. 
We play it on the cheap using old Pirates pocket models.  The great thing about this game is you can put 30 or 40 models on the table and finish a game in a couple of hours easily.  Even though it is simple to play, it provides for the main "flavor" items needed in any age of sail game.  Wind, tacking, wrecks and hulks etc. and the fighting power of the ships goes down as they take damage which is tracked on a simple record sheet that is easy on the eyes.
An important feature of this game is that record keeping is very minimal and very simple.  The thing about sail ship games is that there are a lot of great rules sets but they come in a wide variety of complexity.  Over time this set has become one of my favorites because I can get it out and start playing with very little prep.  Here are some pics from a recent game we played.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

More Beer and Pretzels Punch Ups

Here are some shots from our "home brew" big battle skirmish rules we have been working on.  It is coming along pretty well and hopefully we will have it sussed out in another couple of months.  We've been on this project for a while but I am determined to get it done.  As with many insane gamers, we have way more figures than we can actually use in normal rules sets and I want to see lots of toys on the table!  These rules are also designed to allow a pretty wide variation of adversaries which is something we like because we have no issues with putting up odd match ups.
This was a King of the Hill game we threw down just to test some mechanics.

My Samurai.  These are actually Heroscape minis.  I like them a lot; they look decent and I didn't have to paint them!

Mike's Vikings start to appear through the trees.

Jil brought skeletons and Goblins.

Nick (my 12 year old) came with Orcs and Demons.  More Heroscape stuff here as well.

Mike's Vikings are pretty darned cool looking.  Right away he grabbed some cover and formed a battle line to keep an eye on my Samurai.

I sent my Ashigaru and Ninjas into the woods to scout the Viking position.

Nick played like a girlie man and kept dancing around behind the hills.  He couldn't decide who to go after and so his guys just marched around like morons.

Jil's awesome dark minions didn't waste any time getting down to business.  He grabbed the high ground and started harassing everyone with his archery.

Here's Nick's Orcs working up for a charge, but he chickened out when he saw my Samurai form a battle line.

Jil's Goblins being very annoying with ranged attacks in the center.

Caught between Jil's ranged attacks and the threat of my Samurai, Mike decided to close up and fortify.

My Samu line advancing!

Jil managed to get some Goblins around the rear of the Viking position and makes a charge from the woods.

About the same time my Samus start to assault the Viking laager.

Here are my Samus taking it to the Vikings in a sudden charge.  The initial impact was going well for the Samus.

The Samus were kicking some Viking butt!

The Samus were handily thrashing the Vikings in the open but things started to change as they attempted to eject them from cover.  Here are my lads trying to go over the walls.  BANZAI!

Jil took this opportunity to bum rush the Viking laager from the other side with his Goblins.  Those nasty little guys were quite formidable as well.

My Samus did a lot of damage but the Vikings have finally stabilized the situation at the walls.  They've managed to throw my attack back and my lads are milling around trying to gather their courage for another go.

Nick is still trotting back and forth indecisvely.  All he's managed to do is fire a few arrows in Jil's direction.

Vikings and Goblins are still locked in combat at the laager.

The battle is locked and neither side is backing down.  The Vikings have proven to be some tough hombres.  They took the assault from both the Samurai and the Goblins and are still standing.

My Samus and the Vikings have both blown their wad and are now just milling about skirmishing.  At this point I retire to regroup which gives the Vikings a chance to do the same.

And now the Vikings are on the move!  I think they want some payback on the Goblin King.

While the Samu/Viking battle was cooling down, Jil's skeletons with Goblin archer support have gone on the offensive and are assaulting the Demons.

Skeletons fear nothing, and they are very nasty adversaries in our games for that reason.  Our rules put a lot of emphasis on morale and the mental state of the troops.  Skellies have a huge advantage here.

My Samus are back in good order and getting ready for another go at being King of the Hill.

The Viking horde makes a mad dash through the trees in the center.  Where are they going?

Yep, I was right.  Mike is after some payback on Jil.  While Jil's Goblins and skellies are taking it to the Demons, the Vikings make a mad charge to their rear!  At this point the Vikings, Goblins, and Demons were all mangled and my Samus arrived in good order.  We didn't bother finishing it.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Good Games for Busy Gamers 2

Next up is one of my all time favorites for easy session gaming.  The simple Axis & Allies minis game.  Along with War at Sea (another game I really love), they make for some very fun sessions without much work.
Of course, they come pre-painted and look fairly good, so that is a huge plus for busy guys, right from the start.  But the one thing I really like about the game is that it allows me to play a lot of variety that I would not be able to afford to do otherwise.  I don't know about you, but I get tired of playing 1944 all the time.  In this game you can throw up some pretty obscure times and places with little effort and low cost.  Sure, I'd love to have units of every year and theater in some line of minis like Flames of War, but it isn't going to happen on my budget.  Bang for the buck, you get a lot of fun out of this game.
But to get the most out of AA I recommend doing two things.
1.  I really recommend getting a hex mat and playing in 3D terrain.  The one big negative to the vanilla game is the 2D maps.  Just doesn't do it for me!  Now in a pinch, if traveling light, they can be ok, but normally I need some good looking table in front of me.
2.  Use hidden units and dummies.  For simple no-record keeping FOW, we simply put the unit cards down on the table and cover them with another card until they are spotted.  Along with a few dummies, this makes the game a real blast and takes advantage of the great recon units and their abilities in this games system.  This simple technique makes a good game great.
Here are some pics from a couple of recent North Africa games we did.  My friend Jil (Herrodadog) threw down some 1:600 scale terrain he uses for other games on a 4" hex mat and off we went.  This is our typical type of set up for this game.
George was playing the Germans and had to get across the map and escape.  He gets points for anything he kills as well as anything that gets away.  Jil was the Brits and had a couple of slow but very menacing Matildas which do a great job of controlling whatever area of the battlefield they happen to be on.

We were playing late N. Africa and for simplicity we allow any units you like as long as they fall into that year's availability.  So sometimes we get some strange appearances like that Brumbarr which actually wouldn't be here.  I also believe it came out too late in the year for even a theoretical appearance, but what the heck.  George likes his Brummies!

George's recon keeps dancing around and spotting Jil's positions so he can decide upon his strategy.  Recon units are had to catch, but if you do they are in trouble!

Here is Jil's Humber recon getting caught!

Oops, looks like a Mattie just caught that SDKFZ as well!

The Brummie lurking on the outskirts with a burning PZ I in the background.

A fast moving PZ II has encircled the British position but can only watch from a distance as the Matildas own the roads.

George took a big risk using the PZ III to decoy while his other units get away.

A kubelwagen that got caught by the RAF.

Speaking of the RAF, here is that pesky pilot again, but this time he is going after some of my infantry in another game we played right afterwards.  George played the same British force that Jil played previously, and I brought a new German late N. Africa force.  Final days of the African campaign.

For fun I invested most of my points in a early Tiger that actually was present historically.  Looks like the Matildas won't be total Queens for this match.  I would have liked to see the look on the Matilda's crews face when they came over that rise!

That darned RAF maniac is at it again.

I love the look of the Matildas and they are fun early war tanks because everything else sucked so bad.