20 April 2016

Blood and Plunder KS

Nobody needs another new project already and we've all backed too many Kickstarters recently but...

and the Frigate model upgrade option looks superb :-)


14 April 2016

The Gladiators of Ludus Caeruleus

These are the first gladiators of Lanista Paulus Barbatum (Paul the Bearded) and his Ludus Caeruleus (Blue School) for use with Tomahawk Studios' Jugula.
Antonitus the Thraex (Foundry)
My School is named The Blue, in the style of the Chariot teams in the Hippodrome being named after colours.  It then gave me a colour palette to use to theme by Ludus.  Perhaps they look a bit too much like a sports team, but I am hoping that in the massed fray of a Jugula game it will be easy to pick out my gladiators.
Barbus Magnificus, the Provocatur (Foundry)
Jugula requires a Lanista to field four gladiators in every match, all of a different type and Ludus Caeruleus begins the fighting season with a Retiarius, Thraex, Murillo and Provocator.  Winning gold through matches, a Lanista can expand his Ludus with new fighters and support staff including medicae, trainers and ladies of questionable virtue to keep up the, ahem, morale of his fighters.
Noctis the Murmillo (Foundry)
These figures were kindly gifted to me by Dux to paint for AHPC VI (but it didn't turn out that way...).  I had initially planned to put a bit of blood and gore on the weapons and bases but have decided not to...for the moment.  As our campaign progresses I shall decorate them appropriately for the kills and maimings they inflict. Bwahahaha!
Sicarius the Retiarius (Crusader)
Note that our club rules require that Appeals to the Crowd (for popularity points) must be done out loud and in Latin.  Given that Alan and Slowpainter John implemented this rule, and both have studied Latin extensively,  this would seem to be unfair.  But it does give rise to great mirth and recreation of such scenes as:

11 April 2016

Great Solo Wargames

Amongst my other gaming meanderings over the years, I have played a number of solo boardgames.  This came up in the context of some other chatting but I thought it might be worth mentioning a few of my favourites here and seeking recommendations from others for new ones.
In no particular order:

B-17 Queen of the Skies.  A classic AH game.  Despite many a wound, crash landing and dreaded BIP (AA burst in plane, usually with fatal consequences), I don't believe I have ever finished 25 missions in the same plane or with anyone left from the original crew.  A great game, after a dozen missions or so it can however feel like there is too much chart filling and 'lap of the gods' destiny rolls.

BTW here are a range of great expansions for this game, for playing out of Italy or flying an RAF Lancaster in Bomber Command.  It also spawned a sequel game many years late B-29 Superfortress.  I helped play test that but it dodgiest have the same tension and excitement of the original game.

One of my 'bucket list' gaming activities is to be in one of those massed convention games where everyone plays bombers on the same mission together.

EDIT - looks like B-17 QotS has been updated as Target for Today by Legion Wargames here: http://www.legionwargames.com/legion_TFT.html

Ambush!  (and its sequels Move Out, Purple Heart, Silver Star).  A wonderfully narrative campaign system in which you command a squad of GIs through the latter stages of W2 in the ETO.  Strongly recommended but you'll need a bit of time to do this one right.

Patton's Best
Command a Sherman Tank in Patton's Third Army from Operation Cobra onwards.  Great mechanic for Tiger Fear - where any unidentified German tank/gun effects you as it it was a Tiger/88mm until you ID it otherwise.  Really drives scouting and pushing forward to recon properly and quickly ID new contacts.  Would love to see this game refreshed with a new version.

The was an expansion for driving a Sherman of the Canadian Amy and a home-brewed variant for commanding Panzers on the Russian front during the Fall of the Reich era that I haven't played but look rather good.


The Hunters and Silent Victory
My solo submarine games of choice that I've been blogging about lately. Love these.

Thunderbolt/Apache Leader
I know DVG did a refresh on this a few years back, but I still prefer my original GMT version.  Lots of other sequel games on this game mechanic too, though most seem rather lacklustre and less successful.

Nemo's War
Play Captain Nemo and drive the Nautilus around the seven seas on your variable missions.  Discover Atlantis, defend yourself from the navies of the world's Great Powers and fight the giant squid! A new second edition was recently funded via KS and looks fantastic.

Wings over France
Command an RAF Squadron France during the Bloody April campaign of 1917.  Not for the faint of heart.  Duels, death spirals and getting jumped by Richthofen and his Aces in Jasta 11.  An excellent set of mechanics make up for the graphically dull game components and make for some exciting adventures over the trenches.

Command your own airship of the Imperial German Navy or Army during WW1.  Like Wings over France this is not a graphically impressive game but the game design and mechanics are well researched and captivating.

Toe-to-Toe Nu'klr Combat with the Rooskies
A quick to play delightful game, this is a real hoot.  Definitely in the beer and pretzels category, its themed on the classic movie Dr Strangelove.  If you liked that then you will have a blast with this game.  And if you loved that movie then you are going to really love this game!  I'm definitely in the latter category so check the blog for more gaming notes and AARs here:

In fact I love this game so much that I designed a follow up game to bomb Commie targets in other places too, but it never got up.  Fun though :-)

There are many others but these ones have been my favourites over the years.  There is a definite platform simulation trend to this collection too, which reflects my RPG/immersion preference for solo gaming.

I'm sure I missed many other favs, but I would welcome recommendations to expand my retinue

07 April 2016

Silent Victory

Exciting news: look what tuned up in the mail today, courtesy of the game's designer Greg Smith
My awesome Hunters series swag collection :-)
Silent Victory was released earlier this year is the sequel game to The Hunters, and instead of sinking Allied convoys in the Atlantic in your Uboat, you command a US Navy submarine operating in the Pacific against Japan.  This system has some nice differences to deliver a wonderfully thematic game without getting bogged down in too much the detail.  And unlike B-17: Queen of the Skies (which I still love) you feel like you are really driving the story rather than just rolling dice on endless charts.

The game has the added bonus of some particularly well researched contributions...
I was delighted to help out Greg with some aspects of this game, as well as another (hopefully) upcoming expansion in due course.  Here we are at Fall-In last year.  Your turn to come visit me this year mate! (and my shout for dinner too as I recall :-)

I admit to some bias here, but its a great solitaire game and I highly recommend it.  If I can get enough players together in the Sydney area I would love to try playing a tournament where players vie for greatest tonnage and medals. Read more about the game here:

And watch a review here:

And the nuts and bolts of how to play here:

Next up in this game series is The Hunted in which you'll command a U-boat in the later years of the war when the Allies have the upper hand.
To survive is to win.

03 April 2016

Are you not entertained?

Reillius Maximus - ready for the Arena!
Coming off the AHPC VI high, I am currently finishing up my first ludus for Jugula in the hope of starting up a campaign with Dux in the near future.  In doing some research I remembered these pics from our visit to the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa last year.

In addition to their excellent permanent exhibits, they had a temporary Gladiator exhibition, "Death & Glory", which had some great relics, recreations and finally some 'dress up' stuff which gave one a good feel for the weight of the equipment.

 There was a particularly good section which described the classic 'match pair' types of combatants

Having pursued the displays it was time for "hands on" section of the exhibit:
The Lad dressed up as a Retiarius - does everyone recall how that ended up in Spartacus? (the movie that is...)

The Lad discovers the Murmillo's limited field of vision
And the Thraex is no better 
Ave Imperator, morituri te salutant!
Naturally, the inevitable then ensued...

...at which point we were asked to stop the combat!

Paulus the Gaul asks the obvious question: "Are you not Entertained?"
And finally an original Murmillo helmet circa 100AD that we found on display in the British Museum while passing through London last Christmas.