Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Dystopian Wars Battle - loads of pics

So, having reviewed the fleet over the weekend, a 1000pt battle was organised with Pete for this evening. I debated at length what to put on the table, eventually deciding to leave the usual favourites (Mk.I Magenta, Marseilles) in the bag. Initially went with Tourbillon, Vauban, Couronne, Chevalier, Lyons, Ecuyers, and Voltaires. On a reflection I dropped the Tourbillon for the Mk.2 Magenta.

As it happened we timed out at the end of Turn 2 - neither myself or Pete play particularly quickly, and when throw in chatting, smoking, taking pics, and looking up rules we don't know, it's no surprise. I won, on points, because although Pete sunk the Couronne and a Chevalier, I'd stopped three of his destroyers, and a cruiser, and damaged one more. Both Pete and I are at an age now where finishing the game isn't that important - it's just nice to put our toys on the table and push them about.

Star of the show for me was the Ecuyers (again), and the Chevaliers (who throw out some serious firepower). The sheer number of TFTs gave me massive advantage, so I'll be doing that tactic again. Certainly going to get another squadron of Chevaliers - they're seriously good.

The bloody Time Dilation Orb of Pete's CoA proved a pain in the arse, as he teleported his carrier next to mine and absolutely hammered it. There's no way of combating it, just need to wait for the inevitable.

Anyway, here's the pics. Excuse the ones in portrait that aren't - using a different phone today, and it doesn't seem to auto-adjust

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Republic of France Fleet Review (arms race)

A quiet day at Port du Tangent, so the Admiral de la Fleet Atlantique (moi) ordered Garlic, Cognac, and Baguettes stowed in their lockers and undertook a fleet review.

First past the bench are the Ecuyer class support cruisers. Despite only having been in combat once - against the British - they proved surprisingly tough.

Now we have the two Epaulard class submarines. Equipped with bombard mortar, they should be good, but have so far proven ineffective. They also have mine-laying capability, but the mines in question wouldn't sink a canoe, so they tend to stay in port.

Now the squadron of Lyon class frigates steam past. Cannon fodder basically.

Now the mighty Vauban class sky fortress. A sort of battleship/carrier/airship - packing huge firepower, huge amount of tiny flyers, and all sorts of gadgets. This ship's predecessor was famously shot down in action against the Covenant of Antartica. A magazine explosion ensured that she took almost everything else down with her too.

Tiny flyers. The Republique field huge numbers of these, but so far they've only proven to be a nuisance. A change in tactics beckons where they should be used against destroyers and corvettes.

The Furieux class scoutship. Used for ranging far ahead of the main fleet. Perhaps that's why they've been shot to ribbons in every battle without really hurting anything 

Voltaire class heavy interceptors - theoretically very good, but only two fielded so far. Expecting more results when used in bigger numbers (see Arms Race below)

Marseilles class cruisers. Stalwart ships of the line - have dished out some serious punishment in return for few losses. Almost always fitted with retardant armour, which usually helps longevity.

The ill-starred Magenta II class pocket battleship. She's been crippled twice, and boarded once. The heat lance is a powerful weapon, but also a powerful fire magnet. Nonetheless, her faithful crew struggle on, hoping one day to prove their worth.

Ah, the belle of the fleet; the Magenta I class pocket battleship. Unlike her later Mk.II cousin, the old girl leads a charmed life; having survived every encounter with nowt but a scratch here and the odd dent there. Repulsed and then counter-boarded the Convenant's battleship during the same engagement that saw the sky fortress explode.

Then the mighty Charlemagne class dreadnought. Slow, ponderous, and incredibly powerful. Sunk a lot of British ships in one encounter, but otherwise remained resolutely in port. 

Arms Race
Thanks to the dastardly machinations of the Convenant of Antarctica, and to a lesser extent the Kingdom of Britannia, the Republique has had to embark on a programme of ship building.

Although this is supposedly secret, some details have leaked out. A Tourbillion airship, a Couronne class battle carrier, another Magenta I, and some Chevalier Destroyers and Frelon small flyers.

More are in the works, and even more planned, especially on the airship front - the British preponderance of torpedoes will be thwarted by simply not being in the water. The Republique will know victory once more (eventually).

Friday, 12 October 2012

Scenario Bag The Hun II Cards

I've been following the alarmingly prolific Jim at Jim's Wargames Workbench for a while, and saw a post from him about gaming on Tuesday with a 1940 Battle of Britain scenario based on real events.

For want of a couple of hours distraction, and because I'm generally quite nice to fellow wargamers, I offered to tweak my card deck for him in return for the scenario he'd written.

Here's one of what I did done make for him;

Never ceases to amaze me the photos you can find on the internet without much searching. The chap asleep in the chair is actually the very man who led the flight into combat in the scenario. Chap looking moodily off into the middle distance is 56sqn, although unidentified.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

More French floaty bang

Wargaming friends, who needs 'em eh?

Pete, owner of the highest lead mountain in all Hove, regular gaming opponent, irregular Northerner, and - to his eternal regret - one of the inner circle of Tangent, had to head North this weekend.

In the grim North there is a grim town called Sheffield, which is full of grim people and grim things. (Foreign readers please note that in Britain, anywhere North of a place called Luton is considered 'the North', and everything up there is grim). Anyway, Pete messaged me using the combined magic of 3G and Facebook and asked whether I would like a Dystopian Wars Republic land battle group boxed set.

 Does the Pope kiss runways?

Of course I did, even from the grim North, toys is toys. I also requested a Mk.1 Magenta pocket battleship. I've already got one, but two pocket battleships are better.

Suppose I best get my airbrush back from Pete, as the list of stuff I need to paint is getting quite long.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Dystopian Wars mega battle: planning

In a rare moment of coherency, my gaming group has decided unanimously (well, two of us) to stagger slowly towards an all-group mega battle of Dystopian Wars. Whether it'll ever happen is irrelevant - it was my idea, so I'll be planning it, and no doubt driving the reluctant collective to a) all appearing in one place simultaneously, b) sticking to the scenario without trying to deconstruct it and c) actually constructively assist with said project.

It should be said that in the seven or so years our group has been in effect, I don't think this has ever been achieved. Still, lost cause or not, I shall persist.

So, here's the idea; 12' x 4' board, in the middle a Panama or Suez canal type running across from left to right, covering 3 or 4 foot. In effect this will create an Atlantic side and a Pacific side. Land objectives to be some factory installations, some bridges, an airfield or two, and some other stuff. Rest of board to be sea with scattered islands.

At 2000 - 2500 points per side, this should give plenty of points for land forces as well as naval and aerial compliments. Limited to six turns only, it'll be Take & Hold objectives based, I should think. At this points level, with potentially five or six players at the table, it's easily an entire afternoon's gaming.

Scenery-wise we have enough bits of green tiles to make sufficient landmass to fight over, although the 2x2' tiles will present a problem for the making of the canal. I've got some 4 x 2 pink foam boards which were from an abandoned project now lurking in the loft. Think it might be time to press them back into service and get some bags of static grass.

Playable forces are fine for the most part - Covenant and Britannia are very comprehensive with land forces as well, whilst my French can easily field 2000pts of navy, but lack any land presence. There is a smallish Prussian contingent, and there's threat of a new player entering with a yet to be purchased Russian fleet.

So, first stage is to construct two opposite banks of canal (fairly simple), paint up some objectives, get a land force boxed set, and make some hills/mountains. Then I can start to think about objectives and scenario conditions.

Hope to get some progress during the week.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Sir, your dreadnought is wrecking my fleet

So far I've thoroughly enjoyed every Dystopian Wars game I've played. Despite the moaning on the DW forum about the system having inherent imbalance, I've yet to really notice anything out of the ordinary. There is imbalance in any wargame, it's just part of it.

My happy illusion was shattered last night when the French fleet once again took to the Felt Seas to seek glory and victory for the Republic. A bit of chaos and disorganisation prevailed in our Tuesday evening group; first we were five, then four, then one of the group - who has only played DW once - needed an opponent. Deciding to leave my usual opponent to play against our other regular player, I took up the challenge of playing against a borrowed Prussian fleet.

The other player prefers skirmish games, so for the sake of brevity we went for 600pts, ignoring the usual minimum/maximums of points for the various classes of ship. This proved to be a mistake, for my opponent immediately spent 50% of his points on a Dreadnought. A further mistake was to not put my foot down, but it was getting late and I couldn't be bothered with the argument. The final mistake was to not get my own dread' out of the bag, instead electing for two pocket battleships and a big airship.

So, off we went. Opponent elected to move first, and played it safe, just moving up a trio of Frigates. I decided that my solitary Furieux scout airship was just the ticket to deal with these;

Opponent followed up on my right with his destroyer squadron, which I moved to counter with my Tourbillon airship (no photos, unpainted resin lump). Then the Metzger moved in and took up firing positions on a convenient rocky outcrop

 I decided that it was time for the Voltaires to move up and throw some torpedoes at the dreadnought, but it was to no effect.

The dastardly Prussian dread moved up, and fired some effective shots around, succeeding in damaging the Furieux and Voltaires. So, I countered with the Mk.2 Magenta and the potentially hideous (if you're a dreadnought) Heat Lance;

Alas, it was to no effect, as was the Mk.1 Magenta's salvo which followed it. Just couldn't get the sixes rolling tonight.

Turn 2 and the Prussian dread charges across the board with a 'stoke the engines' card, plus some onboard generator thing adding 1D3". It pummelled the Mk.1 Magenta and then successfully boarded her, capturing the ill-fated French pocket battleship for the glory of the Prussian Empire.

The Mk.1 Magenta moved into support her sister, but just couldn't bring enough fire to bear on the mighty dread, only scratching the paint. The Voltaires were now too close to drop torpedoes, so they moved over the battle raging beneath and went for the Metzger, but cumulative damage meant they had little dice to play with. The Furieux died without further affecting the battle. The Prussian frigates swung round the back of the captured Mk.2 Magenta, but didn't hit anything.

Turn 3, and the Mk.1 Magenta swung round the Prussian dread to give it another full salvo and broadside. A little better on the dice, with a critical, just missing a double crit, but with 13HP it's a tough nut to crack. I had been looking to board the dread, but the combination of movement and tough AA meant the moment never arrived.

The Voltaires died, and the Tourbillon continued to not really achieve anything, so I threw in the towel, knowing a Mk.1 Magenta just isn't capable of a 1-on-1 with a dreadnought. This little action cost the French a battleship, two Voltaires, and a Furieux. The Prussians lost a Frigate and some tiny flyers.

To be honest I really didn't enjoy the game - the dreadnought is 260pts (from memory), but it withstood concerted assault from 300pts of pocket battleship, 100pts of interceptor, and 140pts of airship. The flipside is that had I got my dread out of the bag, then it just would have been a very dull toe-to-toe pounding for several turns.

I do think the dreadnoughts are too tough in this game to be used in anything less than 1000pts - there's just not enough on the table to achieve the target saturation needed to overwhelm one.

On the bright side, the Mk.1 Magenta again proved to be both lucky and very hard to kill. The Tourbillon also looks promising with good fire arcs on the main turrets, and a rocket battery. Thinking about things, a Furieux squadron with a Tourbillon could be a good combo - spotting from the Furieux for the rocket battery on the Tourbillon.

Ah well, that's for next time...

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Dystopian Wars - victory for the French

Bank Holiday Monday saw some gaming action in the form of Dystopian Wars Chez Pete

1000pts were the order of the day.

Amazingly enough, I won.

Setup, from right to left: Epaulard subs, Furieux scoutships, Vauban sky fortress, tiny flyers, Voltaire heavy interceptors, Lyon frigates flanking Marseille cruisers, and a Mk.1 Magenta pocket battleship on the far left.

Playing against Pete's Covenant of Antarctica, the Furieux died early trying to spot for the subs' mortar weapon and lay mines across the front of the CoA line. Frigates perished early too.

Then Pete pulls some surprise move involving teleporting his Battleship onto my left flank - it has some beam-mounted energy weapon and had the potential to wipe out my whole line in one go. Some supremely unlucky dice for Pete meant it did nothing. He then tried boarding my Magenta, and fluffed that too.

The Magenta counter-boarded the battleship and captured it.

As the lines moved forward, the balanced nature of my fleet meant I was concerned about it's ability to deliver a knock out blow. With six Icarus flying cruisers on the CoA side in the middle (seriously difficult things to kill), the Magenta delayed by dealing with the battleship, the Furieux shot down, the Epaulard subs doing nothing, and the Voltaires taking a hammering, I decided to move the very shooty Vauban into the middle to dish out some pain.

As the Vauban was moving in, the Voltaires tried to stem the CoA tide, but weren't packing enough punch
The Vauban closes up to support the Marseille cruisers (left) as the Voltaires also endeavour to bring down the Icarus flyers. By the end of turn 3 the Vauban was in the middle, over the top of 4 CoA destroyers, the two Marseilles, the Icaruses, and the Voltaires. The Magenta too far out to lend any significant weight.

Predictably the Vauban started taking damage, but overall was tipping the balance when... the as-yet unused CoA carrier moved up and threw a long range salvo at it. Some very good dice for Pete saw two critical hits and on the second crit roll he got snake eyes = catastrophic explosion! The Vauban died, in a big way, and took out everything within 4" (which was most of the remaining fleets of both sides)

Ironically, this kill assured me victory as Pete was basically left with a Carrier, and four frigates, whilst I was left with both subs, the pocket battleship, and a cruiser.
So, we called it a day. Totting up the points saw that I'd won, but only by capturing the CoA battleship (double VP) otherwise it would have been a drawn.

Another great Dystopian Wars game, and a rematch is expected soon.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

BTH Cards - now smaller

Pondering the logistics of 8 cards per A4 sheet, and the cost of printing a full 160-card deck, decided to look again at the test sheet I'd printed during the week. Then decided to see how big they'd be with 16 cards per sheet by turning it to portrait and then pasting two of the 8 card sheets onto it with relevant scaling.

The result is much better I think - they're a bit smaller than a credit card now, as opposed to just bigger than a  packet of cigarettes size. The real boon to this is that I'm using half the amount of paper to get the same number of cards. This means that I won't have to fiddle about with four or five way joint cards when I add the Pacific theatre to the set, and might even be able to squeeze some extras in like Kamikaze, V1s, and a decent amount of ship move and so on.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Bag The Hun Cards Pt 872

In the style of James T. Kirk...
More cards... losing will to... live... must... go... print... ers...

This is sheet 11, with a few more cards missing. This means my estimate of 96 cards covering everything was significantly under (I'd estimated 12 sheets of 8 cards would cover everything) - if I follow the same method for IJN and USN in the Pacific I'm going to end up with at least 160 cards in the complete set... which is a silly idea.

I could revisit the shared cards and make them properly generic to save on numbers, but I think that might take the fun out of it a bit, and would only save one sheet's worth at most.

I can cut down the German 'kette' cards to three from five, with reduction in 'air gunner' too - this would reduce the bombers on the table from 15 to 9, which is probably a blessing in disguise.

Going to give it some thought over the holiday weekend.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Bag The Hun Cards 4

A couple of more USAAF cards for BTH. Had a quote from the printers, to get them printed on postcard thickness cardstock, both sides (will be backed with a classic contrail image I should think). Will work out at about £8 for a full deck of 96 Cards - mix of RAF, Luftwaffe, USAAF, USN/USMC, IJN. Drop me a comment if you're interested.