28 October 2014

5 days to go

The Strange Aeons Kickstarter is going great guns and today saw the last Monday Monster revealed- the Shoggoth, which is a great companion to the Dark Pupeteer from last week!

5 days to run and very much worth getting onboard if you are into the genre.  Uncle Mike's Worldwide is a small operation in Canada which has a proven history with the 1st edition.  The next edition is very exciting indeed!


27 October 2014

Tanktober humour

An oldie but Goldie, in honor of Dux's "Tanktober" campaign

20 October 2014

Desert Hazards

Continuing my slow buildup of goodies for North Afrika, I picked up the "Desert Hazards" Battlefield in a Box set this week, and very impressed I am too.  In it are four pre-painted wrecked vehicles - a PzIII, a Crusader, a M13/40 and a bogged truck - plus a couple of rocky ground markers and two desert bases.  Very nice indeed and great value for money I think!

17 October 2014

Dispatches Issue 2

Iron Fist Publishing has released edition 2 of Dispatches, the periodic e-magazine for its Battkegroup series of rules.
It includes rules for a Slovak Division in BG Blitzkrieg, lots of Q&A/FAQ, and an Ardennes 44 scenario.
Plus its free!  http://ironfistpublishing.com/?page_id=8

15 October 2014

Mars Attacks!!!

Comade James reporting: I mentioned a few weeks ago that September was Mantic Month in my Garage Cave, and finally my kickstarter Mars Attacks arrived....

This is only the first part of the kickstarted goodies, I will get extra building pieces, another squad of US Marines, a saucer, giant ant, and lots of other goodies.....
The game is designed as a board game vice miniature game, so all the mini's are one piece, and are coloured to allow playing without painting.
The playmate is paper, although the neoprene deluxe version will be part of my kickstarter. The ruined brick walls clip together exactly like the Deadzone ones, allowing infinite combos of terrain. The nice thing about this game is the one piece scatter terrain, roadblocks, rubbish, broken rubble etc that all go to make up the look of the ruined town.

Like Deadzone, played on an 8 by square mat

The US Marines, including a missile launcher and LMG

The human Heroes, including a knight escaped from stasis from an earlier Martian mission....

The dreaded Martians, led by General Tor. Back rank has helmets, front rank without

The ruins pieces, including a wire fence, brick walls, picket fence and scatter terrain

The Martian figures have detachable clear plastic helmets that allow you to paint the figures before putting the iconic helmets on.

Gameplay uses the familiar Mantic system of short and long actions, that players of Dreadball and Deadzone would be familiar with. The abilities have been simplified however, and the cards are universal for either Martians or Humans. Like all Mantic skirmish games, Mars Attacks uses a D8 system, with exploding 8's, and a base 3 dice for each test, adding and subtracting dice according to modifiers, and then attempting to hit a target number.  The aliens tend to be better shots, whilst the Marines are better at close combat.

Once I manage to get a game in, I'll post a first thoughts .......

13 October 2014

MOAB 2014

Comrade James Reporting: MOAB, the Mother of All Battles, is the annual gaming event held by Sydney gaming club Southern Battle Gamers. The convention has been growing in size over the years, and I myself have not been there for nearly 20 years, and was pleasantly surprised how big it has grown.
I managed to convince Significant Other at 430pm the day before to hop in the car with her kids and drive the 3 hours to Sydney so I could compete in the MOAB Bolt Action tournament. Significant brownie points spent believe me.......

I'll cover the tournament in a separate post, and will cover some of the action at MOAB here.....

Main hall, with traders along the walls and demo games and participation games in the middle.

Dropzone Commander...how good is that terrain ??

Cardboard never looked so good........

On the Seven Seas, by Osprey...


Battletech, an oldie but a goodie....

Me old fave, Flames of War...

Obligatory Warhammer 40K tourney

One of the personalities in the Australian Bolt Action scene is David Bruggeman, or the Demo Gamer. Dave and his three teenage sons host massive demo/participation games of Bolt Action on amazing tables that they build specifically for cons. MOAB was no exception, and the following pics show their amazing multilevel table, built from 4Ground buildings and printed street textures glued to MDF panels.....

With the recent re-release of Space Hulk, I was pleased to see this amazing 3D version as a participation game....

Another fave of mine and Pauls, X-Wing, by FFG.....

Command and Colours:Napoleon board game converted into a miniatures version....

Overall the convention lasted three days, of which I saw the first two. As well as the main hall above there were several smaller rooms filled with gamers of all descriptions, including BloodBowl, 40K Apocalypse, Warmachine, Warhammer Fantasy and obscure historical games....
The traders seemed to be doing a ripping trade, and it was great to catch up with John of War and Peace games again (my opponent at Wintercon earlier this year)
Not sure if I'll get to MOAB next year, but I'm keen.....

Will be back shortly with the round up of my Bolt Action experience.....

12 October 2014

Book Review: Brazen Chariots

In a characteristic flash of brilliance, Dux Homunculorum recently announced that this month would be "Tanktober"with all sorts of associated armoured goodness (see here).  I'm unable to participate much on the Hobby side, but in the spirit of Tanktober, I offer the following review:

Brazen Chariots
By Major Robert Crisp, DSO, MC

Brazen Chariots is an easy to read account of the Desert War as viewed from the turret.  Set in Operation Crusader in late 1941, it is a first hand account by South African Robert Crisp who was a troop and later squadron commander in the 3rd battalion of the Royal Tank Regiment.  Its hard to put down and gives the impression of confused, highly mobile armoured warfare. Crisps’ battalion was re-equipped with the US made M3 Stuart Light Tanks immediately prior to the operation and faced significant challenges against the DAK’s PzIIIs and IVs.   Interestingly, he recounts taking the tank for its first trial run and the origin of the name ‘Honey’.  Light hearted mostly with dash and bravado, he also describes his emotional challenges and difficult decisions which no doubt haunted him for many years.  It also shows the reliance of the tank units on their supporting echelons and the challenges of limited fuel and munitions that plagued both sides in the desert.

This witty and absorbing account is strongly recommended – I can’t believe I haven’t read it before.

Some Desert War gaming aspects I got from this book: 
  • I'm now going to have to build a troop of M3 Honeys in my 8th Army force
  • Ruined vehicles and their use as decoys will be important terrain elements
  • From an Operational view the destruction of enemy forces is the main tactical objective
  • Logistics was the achilles heel of all - if a support column got lost, interdicted or captured, whole units were immobilised or had significantly reduced combat effectiveness the next day.
  • Units often became widely scattered, leading to vast difference in their makeup and strength on a daily basis, and ad-hoc combat formations.
  • Battlegroup Tobruk force lists will be interesting - be ready to make some tanker trucks!

08 October 2014

300,000 Visits

There is always much speculation about the accuracy of various hit counters, visit counters and stat keeping software.  I have been using a couple of different ones over the years, but two of them are in broad agreement that in the last few days this Man Cave blog passed the 300,000 Visitors count (as opposed to page views).  Along the way we have collected 491 followers - Pretty amazing! (Those last 9 seem a bit elusive though :-)

Thanks to Comrade James for his excellent input here, both as a poster and a friend participating in many of the games, and everyone who has popped in over the years.  Here's to many more - cheers!

07 October 2014

OGRE Mk 0.1?

The KV-VI is actually a hoax, started by somebody photoshopping a column of KVs so it looked like one giant tank. But that doesn't mean its not cool of course, or that I don't want one on my WWW2 table!
From: http://xmb.stuffucanuse.com/xmb/viewthread.php?tid=4693

The Russian land battleship - KV-VI Behemoth tank

A fascinating tale of state power over commonsense military design. Stalin wanted a land battleship, and he was going to get one no matter how impractical it was.  Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, new facts have surfaced about the secret weapons developed by the Red Army during WWII.

One of the most fascinating of these was the KV-VI Behemoth. In July 1941, Stalin learned of a single KV-II that had held off the entire 6th Panzer Division for more than a day. With the incredible success of this single tank, Stalin ordered a crash program for a land battleship based on the KV-II design.

It was to have three turrets and be very heavily armed and armored and able to defend itself against all types of attack.

The project was given to the joint team of Kotin/Barkov. When the designers complained to Stalin that the insistence on three turrets made the vehicle too long to have an acceptable turning radius, Stalin's answer was: "It doesn't need to turn, it will drive straight to Berlin."

The final design became known as the KV-VI "Behemoth". The KV-VI was a multi-turreted tank using components of the KV-I and II, Bt-5, T-60, and T-38. The use of existing tank designs was necessary because of pressure from Stalin and the strains put on Soviet industry by the German invasion. Because of its massive weight, the tank was equipped with wading devices permitting it to traverse rivers up to 9 feet deep

The team also designed a removable observation tower that could be used to direct the fire of the howitzers and rockets while the tank was in a turret down position.

Operational History
The first prototype was completed in December 1941 and was rushed into the defense of Moscow. In its first action during a dense winter fog, the rear turret accidentally fired into the center turret. The resulting explosion completely destroyed the vehicle.

The second prototype was completed in January 1942, and was sent to the Leningrad front. This one had indicators installed to show whe another turret was in the line of fire. In its initial attack on the Germans, the tank broke in half when crossing a ravine. A spark ignited the leaking flamethrower fuel and the resulting explosion completely destroyed the vehicle.

The third prototype, shown here, had a reinforced hull and was also sent to the Leningrad front in early 1942. It did manage to shoot down three German aircraft. In its first ground engagement, the KV-VI was firing on German positions when coincidentally all of the guns fired from the 3 O'Clock position a the same time. The tremendous recoil tipped the tank into a ditch and the severe jostling set off the 152mm ammunition, which completely destroyed the vehicle.

After these failures, Stalin cancelled the project, and many of the design team members spent the rest of their lives in the Gulags of Sibera. The KV-VI was nicknamed "Stalin's Orchestra" by the few Germans that encountered it because of the variety of weapons it deployed.

KV-VI Specifications

Crew: 15 men and one Commissar Length: 51 feet, 4 inches
Height: 15 feet, 3 inches Width: 10 feet, 10 inches
Height/tower raised: 37 feet, 8 inches Weight: 138 tons
Engine: 3 X V-2 at 600 horsepower each Max Speed: 13 mph
Max Range: 98 miles road; 43 miles cross country
Armor: 160mm maximum; 7mm minimum
Armament: 2 X 152mm; 2 X 76.2mm; 1 X 45mm; 2 X 12.7mm DShK; 2 X 7.62mm Maxim; 14 X 7.62mm DT; 16 X BM-13 Rockets; 2 X Model 1933 Flamethrowers


Picture below of the mighty KV-VI Behemoth land battleship as a model, and a rare photo of the first version of the land battleship (note the track covers on the early version that were removed because of high track maintenance needs)

behemoth-tank.jpg - 48.62kb 

04 October 2014

Back into the Hulk

GW fans will have been following this for some time, others on the periphery like me (whose only GW gaming is a few Specialist Games) only just became aware: Space Hulk was released mid last month. Yes, that limited edition one that came out in 2009, which was never to be repeated and which I tired to resist but failed...(see here).  Well it has indeed been repeated, and thus it has met mixed reactions.

For those who missed out last time and bought it from evilbay for lots more than the RRP, there has been much sadness.  No doubt there are those who had a bunch of nice shrink wrapped ones ready to demand ridiculous prices on ebay - they too are sad.  For those who otherwise missed out last time there is happiness.  For me, any renewed interest and the possibility of new material and I have a big smile.

So the new boxed game is the same as the last release with a few extras - 4 new scenarios, 2 boarding torpedo counters, a 6 square turbo lift section and new damaged room section voiding into space.  Thats it, its all the same otherwise.  Not enough to make one go pay for another set anyway. Though mine is on the other side of the world for the next 18 months or so...

What I did get instead was the WD#33 which is the issue which accompanies the Space Hulk release and has a bunch of details within.  It shows the new board sections, though they are clearly smaller so just cutting them out and sticking them to cardboard won't work.  It has a step by step playthourgh of the first Mission - Beachhead - which is one of the new ones, so you get that in this mag along with the rules for Boarding Torpedoes (which are essentially introduce a mildly randomised entry point).  There is also a WD exclusive new scenario - Disable the Shields.  I'm hoping that future issues similarly have new scenarios but I won't hold my breath. The usual game overview, painting guides etc are all in there too.  Not bad value for $4

There are also digital rule additions available as iBooks to add 3 other Chapters to the game.  I have yet to see these myself but understand that each one has 3 new scenarios.  And at these prices I am unlikely too see them either just quietly:  Downloadable content for physical games? Sure, I'm all for that. But surely a bundled hardcopy version isn't too much to ask for the veterans amongst us, particularly when most of it is recycled material from older editions. I'd love to hear from anyone who has these and what they think of them.

Space Hulk Mission Files: Ultramarines - Duty and Honour $15.99

Duty and Honour is an exciting expansion for the Space Hulk board game that allows players to field the peerless warriors of the Ultramarines 1st Company. It follows the boarding action and purge of the space hulk Hunter of the Void. In this expansion you will find rules for the weapons and wargear of the Ultramarines 1st Company, including cyclone missile launchers, as well as guidelines for making up your own custom Space Hulk missions.
Preview here: http://www.appannie.com/books/ibooks-store/book/918155554/
Bringer of Sorrow is an exciting expansion for the Space Hulk board game that allows players to field the legendary Deathwing. It recounts the perilous campaign to destroy the space hulk designated Bringer of Sorrow in a race against time before it reaches the hive world of Corinthe. In this expansion you will find rules for the unique weapons and wargear of the Deathwing, including plasma cannons and halberds of Caliban, as well as guidelines for making up your own custom Space Hulk missions.   
Preview here: http://www.appannie.com/books/ibooks-store/book/918154957/

Space Hulk Mission Files: Space Wolves - Return to Kalidus $15.99

Return to Kalidus is an action-packed expansion for the Space Hulk board game that allows players to field mighty Wolf Guard Terminators. It charts the mission to deactivate the Scion of Darkness’ potent void shields, and bring about its annihilation. In this expansion you will find rules for the unique weapons and wargear of the Wolf Guard, including frost axes and Wolf Guard Pack Leaders, as well as guidelines for making up your own custom Space Hulk missions.
Preview Here: http://www.appannie.com/books/ibooks-store/book/918155295/

03 October 2014

Strange Aeons Kickstarter now Live

Uncle Mike's Worldwide, publisher of Strange Aeons, is launching a new range of models and a second edition of the rules.  This new edition will incorporate all the material published thus far into one book of 180 pages.  Its being funded through Kickstarter and met its minimum targets in just 28 minutes!  I went for the Early Bird Agent package  myself - to start with anyway!

If you are into Pulp and/or Horror gaming, this is a must get - Ia! Ia! Cthulhu fhtagn!

EDIT - Day 2 and the first three stretch goals have already fallen with a fourth about to be unveiled...