In a recent game of Steam Wars, I tried out my flying bomb rules. The idea here is that it fires in a units first activation and the bomb is positioned halfway to a target point. The opposing forces then may have a chance to shoot it down, or at least move away from the target point. In the following turn the flying bomb comes screaming down and blows up with spectacular results.
Originally it was designed to be an anti vehicle weapon, but it has devastating effects on infantry so its strength has been reduced a bit, which of course means it does not hurt vehicles as much.
We had a go at Dragon Rampant for the first time week and I have to say I like the game. It is a simple set of rules, always a good thing when we seem to jump from one game system to another on a regularly basis. Another reason to like it is due to the fact that it is another Osprey book at a very reasonable price point.
The rules are based around single models to small units and it is up to you to decide how many models are in a unit. A typical unit has a strength value of 12, which is also the total number of wounds that the unit has. So you can have one big scary model with 12 strength and wounds, or 12 basic warriors, or 4 big models or any combination you can think of, as they all have 12 strength and wounds. It makes no difference to how the unit behaves, other than the space it actually takes up on the table.
The model profiles are generic enough that you can pick any models in your fantasy collection and make an army from them. Our first bash was with my Rackham Orcs against Mr Steinbergs human Knights. Units are divided into a number of classifications such as Light Foot, Heavy Foot, Light Riders and Heavy Riders and depending on their weapons, armour, move and how good they are at combat.
Each player activates (or attempts to) all of his units before play switches to his opponent. Each unit has one action per turn and it must make a test to perform the action, if it fails, the players turn is over. We had two turns where neither of us activated a unit, I failed my first activation and the Knights failed their first activation.
The rules really are very simple but make for plenty scope of what to do with a unit, especially as you may not get to activate all our your units each turn.
The game was enjoyable and we are already eyeing up alternative forces that will slot into Dragon Rampant very nicely. I have a collection of forest types somewhere that should be sufficient for a small 24 point warband. I can also start thinking about using all my other Rackham models like my recently painted Tir-Na-Bor Dwarfs, the Devourers and the as-yet-unfinished Mid-Nor Chaos Dwarfs, which may encourage me to actually get some more painted.
In yet amother Steam Wars game, the British went up against the as yet countryless Navy and their new skimmer ship.
One day I will get the rules posted here, especially now that they are pretty well sorted. Some new situations come up most games, but we have all been playing with toy soldiers for many, many many years, we usually find a nice resolution. I have been trying to keep the main rules to four pages and then have some extra bits for setup and abilities. So far so good.
The theatre of operations was Mr Steinbergs townscape with plenty of buildings for the troops to utilise as cover.
We picked 1000 points again, it seems to be enough units to get a good mix of models and enough on the table for a game lasting a few hours.
The Ironclad Medium tank provides great cover for following infantry.
As usual, there was a three bike unit of LMG Treadbikes, these have so far been in every British force I have fielded.
The Navy had some new artillery to call upon including a heavy canon with a tractor to quickly move it around.
Unarmed transports do not count towards the vehicle limit when constructing a force, this means it is easy enough to include a few extra vehicles to ferry troops around to critical locations.
Above shows the Treadbikes and a Machine Gun equipped armoured car ready to advance.
The Rivet Mortar is an indirect artillery weapon able to sit back and lob shells across a great range.
It did not take long for the first British tank to brew up, although it still makes for great cover for the following troops.
The advancing British Iron Man unit came under attack from Navy infantry but the heavy armour of the British held up well.
Only a few of the British Commando unit made it to the artillery unit and engaged them in melee.
More Navy infantry attacked the Treadbikes but their great speed allowed them to accelerate away from the combat.
The Ramshackle Brass Coffin armed with a Heavy Machine Gun turret provided the Navy with plenty of support fire.
Ironclad vehicles on both sides faced off for quite some time. We really need to pick some other colours for each side!
The Navy do look mighty well turned out in their crisp whites.
The British force called up some air support in the shape of an Armorcast Steam Plane, a Gnatt MK1. This was the first outing for an aircraft in Steam Wars and the flying rules worked well.
The British Rocket Launcher stayed well back in its own deployment zone and rained two indirect blast attacks every turn.
There was plenty of terrain for the infantry to use all the way across the table.
With this and the other games played recently, the rules are just about finished. I had to do a bit of a rewrite to the spreadsheet that calculates the army lists and the guys have been busy updating their army lists!
We had our first go at Black Ops last week. We played a straight forward encounter rather than a stealth mission just to get to grips with the basic movement and combat rules.
The rules are pretty simple, but in places the rulebook could be better laid out. There are a number fo profile errors, with incorrect save values in a couple of places.
The rules contain loads of weapon abreviations that are a bit confusing, I’m not even sure what some of them are. But it looks like the Assault Rifle will be the weapon of choice.
The card activation system is good and adds some randomness to the turn sequence, basically, the main characters are the Aces, heavy weapons are the Kings and the troopers are the Jacks.
None of the model profiles seem overpowered, the leader of a team does not really have any extra game turning abilities other than he can be a bit more difficult to damage.
Close combat seemed a bit under powered, we had several rounds of hand bags with not a lot happening. Stealth kills should be different.
Snipers are quite good fun, especially if they are we positioned in cover, not only are they hard to hit, but their save gets improved as well.
My Sedition Wars models did the job for Black Ops, they fill the role of high tech Special Forces with some serious looking body armour.
We have another planned next week where we will try one of the missions and the stealth rules. It will be good to see how the noise rules work and how unaware sentries gradually twig that something is going on.
We had the second play test of Steam Wars and having tweaked the vehicle rules and wound levels, it worked really well. I made some simple paper markers to show if a unit had been “activated”, if it had been “pinned” or if it was “ready” (which is overwatch really but sounds a little less like a certain other game).
The rules have expanded from two pages to three pages, but it is still a very simple system. I have borrowed favourite bits from other games and made up a few bits where I thought other games lacked.
The two forces were pretty similar to the first game, but I did use some more artillery. An artillery unit can use a spotter to give Line Of Sight an indirect firing weapon, so it can be positioned in cover and out of harms way. Well, at least until some jump pack infantry swoop in to cause havoc…
Close combat is brutal, a unit of Meridia Heavy Infantry were quickly taken apart by some close combat Prussian Assault Troops with their steam powered Chainswords and Energy Hammers.
Jump troops are fun, these bronze Prussian jump troops bounded across the battlefield to attack the Meridia artillery position.
The poor old artillery crew had a hard time when they were assaulted by heavily armoured jump troops, only the Meridia Sergeant with his pistol had any chance of hurting the tough Prussian close combat specialists.
Where possible, infantry units make the best use of cover and two units facing off against each other can have quite a fire fight lasting several turns.
Command units can be packed out with some specialist models, the Commander obviously, a medic, an engineer and a standard bearer, all of which provide some benefits.
Mr Steinberg is working on some missions and objectives that we will include so it becomes less of an annihilation game and may even introduce some strategy!
If I can get my flying stands sorted out, we will try the rules for flying machines soon, four Zeppelin airships and six steam planes zipping around will literally add another dimension to the game.