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...