Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Hell on Wheels gets its First Outing

Steve's American Armoured Company saw its first action last week.  Work commitments (otherwise known as four days of fishing in Golden Bay) have got in the way of this being posted, so my apologies for it being a little dated.  But last Wednesday Steve was able to put together a 1300 point American Armoured Company known as "Hell on Wheels".

We played "surrounded" with my Fallschirmjargers holding the middle of the table.  I was using a Bridge by Bridge list of Ersatz FJ, with Panthers in support and those rather handy panzerfaust teams that Colonel Von der Heydte comes with.  Here's some pictures:

The FJs in the centre:

The American armour lined up:

 Panthers lie in wait:

The view on the right flank:

The aftermath:

 After some initial gains, the American armour was dealt a heavy blow from the panzerfaust teams in the woods.  We muddled through the rules a little on them, but they hit a hard blow against the Shermans.  The Panthers took care of another platoon on the far side and Steve soon called it a day.  He had taken out two of the pak 40s and a number of infantry teams, but was on the brink of having most of his platoons destroyed.

It was all played in a good spirit and Steve was a good sport despite my panzerfaust guys being a little too strong it seemed...  He has plans for next time, which include a better terrain arrangement.  On that note, the eagle eyed of you will see that there are the new Battlefront buildings there - the corner store, the large house and the Bastogne Church.  All looking good on the table top.  The paint job on the church is a bit average but the others are all very good.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Stripping thunderbolt

That was as raunchy I could make that title sound. As you probably guessed this post is about paint stripping my battlefront P-47 thunderbolt. After multiple attempts of trying to paint the panels white unsuccessfully I finally made the decision to strip the paint and start again. When I made that decision, instead of feeling like I wasted hours it felt good knowing that I had accepted defeat and could start afresh. Unfortunately I did not take photos of my failed paint job so you will just get some pictures of the stripped model.

The first choice I had to make was what to strip it with. I read some pretty mixed thoughts about using nail polish. One forum had some guy saying...
Whens the best time to use nail polish to remove paint? Never! 
So what do I do? Tempt fate and use nail polish on my ?resin P-47 Thunderbolt because I couldn't be bothered getting anything else. Here is the chemical ingredients full of nasty things that may ruin my model.

I believe I read some advice that dipping for short 5 second period then scrubbing with a toothbrush did the trick. So that is what I did. About 10 minuets later this is what I got: 

Not bad. I didn't get some of the paint off, not sure why but it just wouldn't budge. I believe there is some definition missing but nothing noticeable. I guess I would recommend for those who are planning on doing this. Dip the model in nail polish for about 5 seconds, then scrub some paint off the repeat till its all shinny. 

I think I will do a paint scheme along these lines...

Except for with teeth and:


Quoted of course from Apocalypse Now, brilliant film.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Hell on Wheels objective markers

In preparation for my Hell on Wheels companies first outing this Wednesday I have whipped up a couple of objective markers. I had a spark of creativity, 'I know lets use newspaper to make it look like top secret information'. So I stuck some cardboard together, used a bit of sand and painted the Hells on Wheels patch to get this:

Well I think in the end it looks alright, but just alright. I guess my main concern is it doesn't really fit the theme of the game, unless the ol' man likes his morning news paper. I can't say I knew what I was expecting yet this will do the trick until I make or get some new ones. A advantage of these is I prefer flat objective markers as it stops the confusion of the markers not being terrain pieces. 

Sunday, 16 February 2014

M3 half tracks

Finally after much procrastination I have finished my American armoured rifle platoon. A few weeks back I completed the infantry and now I have completed their rides! Without more to do here are the pictures.

I numbered these to match up with the infantry squads

Now for some close ups.

There are a few more infantry models I need to paint up and glue into place however these are good enough for now. It was a real mission painting up the armoured rifle platoon due to the share size of it but if feels great having it done. Now I am moving on to an armoured mortar platoon with M4 81mm half tracks.

I am taking these suckers out for their first spin on Wednesday with Dan. I can't wait to see how they get along, it will likely end it bullets and explosions.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Gateway Games

More recently I have been trying to add board games to my collection which are more accessible to a wider audience. I have finally come to the conclusion that not all wish to sit down for a 3 hour game of Eclipse or Agricola. After reading a post on Will Wheaton dot Net I found out that the games I have been trying to add to my collection are called gateway games. On the post he gives a list of the top 10 gateway games as rated by board game geek, here they are:

Ticket to Ride/TTR Europe
Carcassonne (all)
King of Tokyo
5 For Sale
6 Diamant/Incan Gold
7 Can’t Stop
9 Love Letter
10 Settlers of Catan
I copy and pasted directly from his website and the links to the episodes of Will Wheaton's episodes of tabletop came too, hence the links in the list. 

Will then went on to say this...
different games work for different people, and someone who loves Ticket To Ride may not like King of Tokyo at all, so ask your non-gamer or tabletop-curious friends questions, and choose their gateway game carefully. All of these games have a high ratio of luck to strategy, which makes it a lot of fun for experienced and new players alike to play together.
I feel like that makes a lot of sense, by having a decent diversity of 'gateway games' in your collection ideally there will be a game for everyone. This has an added bonus of playing more games!

As this has been something on my mind for the past while I have accumulated some more games which are easy enough to pop out and work for most audiences. Some of these games are admittedly not on the list above but still they seem to do the trick and I would consider to be gateway games. Here is a list of my new gateway games

  1. Saboteur
  2. Galaxy Trucker (although it doesn't work for the easily frustrated)
  3. Tsuro of the Seas
  4. Bohnanza. 
  5. Coup (as seen in a previous post) 
  6. Twilight Imperium... I kid. 
Anyhow I am planning on doing a post now and then about some of these games, probably quite sporadicly, to give you all some ideas. I will create a label for gateway games to make them easy to navigate for those interested.


Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Coup and a brief journey through childhood

When I was a kid I believe I first got into 'serious' board gaming when I was introduced to the classic world domination game Risk. I was especially drawn in as I won my first game. I remember then playing army soldiers with my friends using little risk pieces which eventually led to Warhammer Fantasy. My Warhammer days didn't last to long as a kid. I eventually sold all my troops only to find that many years later I would get back into painting figurines.

My antiquated version of risk I scored for 3NZD at an op-shop

Another game I got into when I was young was the bluffing and deduction game Mafia. Mafia is a game where you all a dealt secret identities and some of the players are mafia and are trying to kill everyone else. The aim depending on who's side you are on is to kill of the other side either by publicly hanging the Mafia or killing the innocent citizens in their sleep. I simply loved this game! I recall one time after going for a tramp in the depths of New Zealand in the pouring rain having a raucous time in our little cabin playing mafia. I must admit I still love bluffing and deduction games and that is why my attention was brought to a relatively new game Coup which is getting some very positive mentions.

Playing Mafia in Jerusalem at a very young age, can you read that face?

Current Coup box art

Now that we are done with a slightly off hand introduction... Coup is, you guessed it, a bluffing and deduction game for 2-6 players where the aim of the game is to be the last man standing. Each player has two influence which are represented by charter cards, each charter gives the player a special ability on top of the standard actions. There are 3 of each character making a deck of 15. Here is a photo with a description of all the different actions.

You need to reduce all the other players to zero influence with the above actions thus eliminating them from the game. The real magic is that the cards are face down so you can take actions from charters you don't have in your hand. However players can challenge you, if you were bluffing you loose an influence turning a card face up and if you were truthful you prove it, get dealt a new card and the challenger looses an influence instead. Of course if you loose two influence you are out of the game, making it a short 10-15 minute game.

Unfortunately this game, unless you want to spend exorbitant amounts is quite difficult to get due to the next print run occurring in April or May.  Undeterred I decided to play with a pack of playing cards and some fake money from Arkham Horror knowing that if I like the game I will probably get a copy when it is reprinted. In short it is a very fun game of deception and deduction. Due to the length we played multiple games back to back and had roaring time doing it. It worked well with some of my less gaming buddies so was enjoyable for the whole family.

I have read a couple of convincing blogs sharing the various strategies you can use in this game leading me to believe that not only is this a great inclusive game but it has some serious strategical depth to it. I wont go into it myself but check out a stella example by the Tao of Gaming here. Unfortunately despite multiple thorough readings of the strategy he lists I still seem to loose every game. At least I have a blast loosing! I would highly recommend taking this game out for a spin sometime, after all whats 15 minutes of your life?

Friday, 7 February 2014

Betrayal at House on the Hill

I have been meaning to do a post about Betrayal at House on the Hill since the blog began all those years ago, err well months is more accurate. Unfortunately it is really a bit cruel because in the unlikely circumstance that this post makes you want to purchase the game, you can't. Betrayal is currently out of print so a copy on amazon is roughly $260, yikes! Fortunately if you wait till the end of the year I believe another print run is being undertaken.

Please note some of the things said below could be considered spoilers but I don't really think it will ruin your experience of playing the game. Read on at your own discretion. 

So what is Betrayal? It is a game for 3-6 player tile laying game where you explore a haunted house, after 30ish minuets of exploring a random haunt begins involving (in most cases) one player betraying the rest of the investigators. There are 50 different scenarios such as one player controlling a raft of zombies or becoming a demon lord. One scenario involved the betrayers body splitting right open and a two headed snake emerging. My all time favourite scenario involved gigantic 747 sized eagles plucking the house from the ground to feed you to their kin, of course there are less parachutes (yes parachutes in a haunted house) than the number of players so you have to fight for them to jump out first.

This game over the last few weeks has become a bit of a hit with my flatmates and neighbours so it has been given a good run. Here are some photos from a recent game where Ben ended up betraying us, becoming a zombie lord and ripping us apart.

Top left is the basement; centre is the ground floor; bottom right is the upper floor

The game board towards the end of the game. The haunt started when Ben summoned the Zombie lord with the Ring of King Solomon. Our goal was to steal the ring which gave us the needed strength to kill the Zombie Lord. (Please note the game actually called them demons but one in our group wasn't so fond of demons (naturally) so we just changed the villeins to zombies).

I was playing Father Rienhardt a 70 or so year old preacher who's hobby was (yes past tense) exploring haunted houses... Unfortunately after wounding the Zombie Lord once he got his comeuppance and I got killed first. 

Flash who's hobbies are running and Shakespeare died next, its worth noting Flash was the Betrayer so he deserved what was coming! 

Little Miss Mazey died next, the creepy kid holding a teddy bear. She died from an event card, thats what you get for running away from the Zombie lord! 

The kid died next, who ever thought it was a good idea to take a kid into a haunted mansion, his hobbies are sticks and collecting bugs. Ben finished the game victorious and no doubt took over the world. Oh here is the end flavour text if the bad guy wins

The Hellgate is open. You scrub the blood from your eyes with the heel of your palm. Th sickly sweet tang in the air is just like that in your dream. The tangled bodies of your fellow explorers form a throne of flesh for the demon lord. The screaming has only just began. Just as you've always dreamed. 

Now no doubt I love this game, heck, who doesn't like acting out a good old B-Grade horror. I got it after I acquired and promptly sold the decidedly average Mansions of Madness as a replacement. It certainly doesn't disappoint and 50 different scenarios and the random nature of the house make it a totally different game each time.  The game isn't equal however, the scenarios are often weighted in one sides favour but in the end skill and strategy are only a small part of the game, the role playing element prevails making this game a real treat each time it comes of the shelf. 

PG for pretty good. 

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Fallschirmjager Mortar Platoon Finished

It is fair to say that I have been in a bit of a hobby funk recently.  I have been away on holiday, reading books and the like, and well one's spare time can change some what so instead of picking up that paint brush one finds oneself with a book in one's hand. And a glass of scotch...

Any way I have finished a mortar platoon for my FJ army.  For the eagle eyed you will see the two story house from the FOW subscription.

All quiet on the gaming front as well.  Steve and I are meaning to get some more FOW going, but we are playing board games right now.  Me thinks that Steve too is in something of a hobby funk too.  Snap out of it Steve!  You have a lot of painting to do!
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