Friday, January 23, 2015

Mars Attacks

In the campy near future there is only war. Mars Attacks: The miniatures game is made by the other miniatures company in Nottingham, Mantic Games. The second of two big Mars-themed minis game to get funded on Kickstarter (All Quiet on the Martian Front being the other) it promised a fun and fast playing skirmish game. So how does it do?
Short answer? Very well. The base game (which can be had for $61.00 on Amazon) comes with a bunch (40) of nice looking figures. The Martians have clear helmets that need to be put on them, but all the rest are one piece molds and are ready to play out of the box. Cardboard stand ups are provided for five civilians, a giant bug, and the flaming cattle. We'll get back to that last part in a bit.

You get a fair amount of nifty ruined brick building modular scenery and a smattering of urban accessories. Also included is a well illustrated 44 page rulebook, the game map, a deck of action cards, game counters, and a handful of eight sided dice.
Helmets not yet attached
The game is played on a 8x8 square grid depicting the center of small town, USA. Being grid-based it removes all the fiddly bits of using a ruler for movement and weapons range. The ten scenarios in the book follow the story of the Martians attack on Greenville and ramp up in scale and complexity. Not that this game ever gets very complex. Which is one of the reasons I really like it.

Gameplay. Oh yes, the real reason we are here. Theme and nice components are fine but can only carry a product so far, especially a licensed one. Play is smooth and fast. On a Player's turn she may
activate up to two individual models and/or play a action card. This alternates between players until all models have been activated. Then both players draw new actions cards and the next round begins. Victory conditions are generally achieved by reaching 8 Victory Points first. VPs can be gained in a number of ways depending on the mission, such as killing units, finding items, and holding positions.
Combat is resolved quickly via an opposed dice rolls for both ranged and close combat. The heroes are the meat of the missions and are varied and interesting, with some good skills and abilities.

The action cards add that something "extra" to the game. The cards may help an attack, be powerful off board attacks or a random event. The events are fun: civilians popping up and wandering around the battle zone, stray artillery strikes, a giant mutant bug, or a herd of flaming cattle running across the map.

I recommend this game. It is low-complexity, fun, and fast playing. Mantic has a number of expansions coming soon, so replay value looks to be high. Now I just have to find the time to paint up the minis...

We Come in Peace!
Ack, Ack, Ack! 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Knights Strike Back

Sanctus Reach mission 2, the Knights headlong charge into the Ork hordes. I am usually loath to use stand-ins for a real game, this time I had no choice. The Imperial side wanted just Knights, to properly represent the "historical" setup. That is five Knight for a 2K game, I only own three. So we used a Tau Riptide and a Eldar Wraithknight at the start of the game and subbed them out for proper Knight models as we took losses.

The Imperial forces must exit the board and half the Orks start in reserve. Sounds like a cakewalk for the Knights. It's not. All Ork reserves have Outflank and the Knights are going the long way down the table. Mrs. Blackheart started all her Dreads and Kans on the field. As awesome as Knights are, they can be overwhelmed. We lost a Knight for three dreads and two Kans.
Then a mob of Tankbustaz arrived right behind the Knight Errant on our left flank. It only took a single point of damage from 15 rokkits, but only killed off three orks in hand to hand. 
The remaining dozen orks with tankbusta bombz did the trick. Of course only two tankbusta boyz survived the resulting explosion.
More ladz arrived but were mown down before they could do enough damage. The three remaining Knights survived, (one had only a single hull point left) and squeaked out a victory, 5-4.
A good, close game. I am having a lot of fun with the Knights, they are powerful, but far from invincible, and look great on the table. Well worth the work I out into them.
Two weeks until the next battle report. In the meantime I will review Mars Attacks and Star Wars: Imperial Assault next week.

For the Emperor!
Orks:1, Imperials:1

Friday, January 9, 2015

Sanctus Reach, Mission 1

And we are (finally) underway! The two supplement books that make up the Sanctus Reach Campaign tell a good story of an Ork invasion of a Imperial Knight World. The missions are varied and a have good flow to them, each one a highlight of the "historical" war.

Mission 1 is The Red Waaagh! Descends. The Orks making planetfall against Imperial defenders using the revised Planetstrike rules. I took two platoons of Guardsmen with heavy weapon sections in support to start in the fortifications. A pair of Leman Russ tanks and three Sentinels were my reserve force. Matt, the Knight commander had a Paladin and a Errant, also starting in reserve to avoid the first turn bombardment.    
Mrs. Blackheart started the Firestorm bombardment and did a lot of damage to the defenders, notably most of my anti-aircraft assets and heavy weapon squads. Then the ladz came from the sky, and using the Heavy Duty Drop Stratagem, two Deff Dreds and a unit of three Killa Kanz came with them.
She chose suicidally dangerous drop sites. To our dismay, they paid off and Facerippa with his meganobz, plus a unit of Boyz landed inside the walls of the firebase.
I took my lumps, and waited for the reinforcements to arrive. Sadly they came piecemeal and died the same way. Mrs. Blackheart was able to mass her forces and with a well timed Waaagh, spelled doom for the Knights and any hope for the defenders.
The Orks paid a very heavy price but in the end the Imperials ran out of troops first and the Firebase fell to the invading horde.
The battle did not go our way at all, but it was a tense, fast moving affair. It always seems to come down to reserve rolls. If the Knights had shown up together we would have had a real chance to hold onto the base and win. Maybe.

The Enemy is Upon us!
Orks:1 Imperials:0

Friday, January 2, 2015

Another Year Closer to the Grim Darkness

Happy New Year and all that! 2014 was a very good year for my gaming interests, I can't wait to see what 2015 brings. What new madness will GW unleash? Is Wizkids dumping Star Trek Attack Wing? Will Fantasy Flight Games run out of awesome gaming surprises? We shall see.

I have a bunch of 40K projects for this year (some left over from last year) and a slew of new games. Last year I started to expand the scope of this blog beyond that of just 40K, and I will continue to do so. In the wings I have All Quiet on The Martian Front, Mars Attacks, Deadzone, DUST Tactics, as well as some new board games. Is there a game that you would like to see more coverage of?  Let me know.

My blog goal for this year is to have a new post every Friday at least, more if possible. Lots of fun stuff will happen this solar cycle, I'm glad you are a part of it!


The Emperor Protects
But not against cheap champagne hangovers

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Codex Blood Angels

Everyone's favorite space vampires are back! The boys in red got a serious FOC readjustment. This brings the Blood Angels back in line with the fluff, that they are a Codex Chapter with just a few quirks. They like to get up close and personal, but aren't made out jump pack troops.

Here is a quick run down of the big changes that jumped out at me.

Everybody that isn't a tank or speeder has Furious Charge. Oh. Yeah. No more rolling for Red Thirst.

The Baal Strikeforce FOC is 1 HQ, 2 Troop, 1 Elite compulsory and the regular optional choices. Which means you can have 4 Elites in your force. The Command Benefit: Red Thirst, +1 Initiative on the turn any unit charges. Very stabby indeed.

HQ
Lord Dante and Master Seth are in the Lord of War slot. Dante got some nice buffs, Eternal Warrior, and his Axe of Heretic Smiting is now +2 Strength, Master Crafted.

Librarian Dread is now a HQ. The Sanguinary Priest is a HQ and a single model with two wounds and Ld 10. Brother Corbulo is a seperate choice. Captain Tycho has two profiles (again), and the Techmarine now a HQ choice. The Reclusiarch is gone, and the 2 wound Chaplain moved to HQ.

Troops
Big changes here. Now only two choices! Tactical Squads and Scouts. Tac Squads gained Grav guns and Heavy Flamers as options, but lost Land Raiders as a dedicated transport.

Elites
Lots of choices here, good thing you can take 4 in a FOC list. Vanguard Veterans, Death Company and Lemartes, and all the non-psychic Dreadnoughts are now here. And yes, Blood Talons lost their "mulch" stetting and have to settle for x2 Str, Shred.  

Fast Attack
The Assault Squad is the only addition in Fast. Vanguard and Baal Predator moved out.

Heavy Support
The Baal Predator went from Fast to Heavy. Predators, Whirlwinds, and Vindicators can buy overcharged engines. Land Raiders no longer fall from the skies.

Being a (mostly) Codex chapter I was disappointed not to see the Stormtalon gunship, or the Landspeeder Storm as a transport choice for the Scouts. I also miss the Reclusiarch. The rest of the changes make sense to me. I have yet to look deeper at the Psychic stuff, and the of details on some units. That's why there will be a part II.

"So fear not and be proud, for we are the sons of Sanguinius, the protectors of Mankind."
-Commander Lord Dante