Saturday, 31 August 2013

The Hobbit: Dwarf Grimhammers

It's been a few months since my last trip to middle-earth, I've now returned and painted a box of dwarf grimhammers from the Hobbit range.  These are really fantastic looking models and I'm very pleased with them.

A couple of weeks ago I actually played the Hobbit game for the first time, playing through a couple of the scenarios in boxed set.  It's quite fun really and I'd like to play it a bit more and use the rest of my middle-earth figures, however to take the next step you really need to buy the £50 rulebook (for the army lists and points values), and that's a bit steep for me.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Axis & Allies: The Battle Of The Bulge

For the first time really this summer last weekend saw quite a bit of gaming activity, as well as playing a fair bit of Jurassic wars (see two posts back) we also finally got around to playing the Hobbit game from games workshop and my friend brought round a new board game for us to try, Axis and Allies: the Battle of the Bulge.  I've played the original Axis & allies game many times, but this is the first time I've tried many of the 'off-shoot' games that have been released using the same brand.  This one of course sets out to simulate the battle of the bulge at the end of 1944 in Belgium.  It's very different from the original Axis and Allies game.  The objective of the game is for the Germans to capture more territory than they did in the historical campaign and for the allies to stop them.

It started to go wrong on turn one as the Germans fail to push back the whole Allied line 

The board and pieces all look good, they don't scrimp on playing pieces either and we never go close to running out of any of the troop types.  I took the allies and my friend took the Germans.  The Germans start the game getting to attack on turn one without any response from the allies, this push didn't go as well as my opponent hoped, with one group in particular holding out unexpectedly, which critically slowed the Germans down.

By mid-game it looks like the Germans are about to breakthrough
Reinforcements are fixed and each turn both sides get a set group.  The Germans seem to start off getting the upper hand, but by the mid-game the allied reinforcements and planes (which you get from turn 5-8) swing it back in the other direction.  The other major consideration is supply (fuel, ammo, etc.)  which you also have to manage, the allies get the lions share of this too, but it can be captured.  This is designed well I think, it's not complicated, but does add another tactical layer to the game. 

Mike makes his next move
I won a convincing victory in the end, with the Germans only having around half the territory they needed to win at the end of turn 8.   I liked the game and in particular it's played at an interesting scale, but I also have a few concerns, I'd never played before, but had no real difficulty in halting the German advance against someone with experience.  Admittedly this is only after a single game, but the allies seem to have a distinct advantage.  My second concern is replayability, I want to have another go, being the Germans next time of course, but then I don't have a desire to play the game for quite a while after that.  The proscribed reinforcements hamper this as inevitably games are going to play in a similar way.

In the end the German attempted breakthrough is insufficient and easily knocked back.

Friday, 23 August 2013

40K Eldar Wraithlord & Space Marine Land Speeder Storm

I've been having a busy summer and have got almost no painting done over the last couple of months, but finally I've managed to finish a couple of bits off, first of which is this Eldar Wraithlord.  I'm pretty pleased overall with this guy, although I still haven't quite managed to get yellow right.

Also this scout transporting land speeder storm. It's supposed to have four scouts in the back as well being transported, which I will get to at some point (maybe) but this has been on my painting table for a year or so and I just wanted to get it useable as quick as possible, for a 50pt model it's taken a lot of work.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Review - Jurassic Wars

Today I'm having a look at yet another impulse purchase; a cheap travel card game called Jurassic Wars. The game features dinosaur cards which fight each other until one player has no cards left.  It feels like you're playing a more advanced version of Top Trumps.

The game comes in a small, but sturdy box, which is labelled as a 'dice arena', but it's just a box really.  The box contains a rules booklet, 7 dice and 33 cards.  The rules booklet is in black and white and is 8 pages long.  The rules are clearly and concisely written and we had no issues with understanding how it was to work.  You get 7 6-sided dice, 4 green (for the herbivores) and 3 red (for the carnivores), the green ones have 2 faces with stars and the red ones 3 faces with stars.  It's a nice little touch that they did special dice, ordinary D6's would have worked just as well, but simplifies the process a bit and makes the game more accessible.  Then finally what you're really paying for is the cards, they're standard playing card sized and seem to be of reasonable quality.  One thing I'm really impressed with is the artwork on the cards each dinosaur has been brilliantly rendered , if I'd have had these as a kid I've have spent hours just looking at the pictures.

Gameplay is a series of one on one dinosaur combats, which sees players rolling the number and type of dice shown on the dino's card and the player with the most stars wins that round and either reduces the opponents dice or kills him if there are no dice left to remove.  Play keeps going until only one player has no dinosaurs left.  Tactics revolve around which order to play your cards and when to play your limited supply of combat cards (that have various affects on the dice).

I think it works best as a two-player game really, and if you have the full 5 players there's going to be a bit to much waiting for your turn.  There's only so much depth in the basic game, but there's already a bunch of extra rules on the website which add that extra depth to the game and includes a couple of new ways to play too.

In my introduction I labelled this as a travel game, but that's not really fair, whilst it is suitable as a travel game due to its small size, we've been having lots of fun with this at home on the dinning room table.

In conclusion this is a great little game, inexpensive, good mechanics, suitable for players of different levels and with a great theme as well.  Highly recommended!

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Hunters, Explorers and Adventurers - Part 2

Somewhat later than anticipated we have my second bunch of explorers that I plan to take dinosaur hunting.

Starting with these 4 from North Star games.  These are the first models I've got from Northstar, pretty good on the whole, nice detail and character, but there was a lot of flash.

and then these which are from foundry like the last lot.

You'll notice a Renaissance captain looking slightly out of place on the right, foundry have started giving away a free model with orders (a fantastic policy) and this was Julys free model, jolly nice he is too.
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