Monday, August 31, 2009

Space Hulk Arrived~

There was a package for me when I got home from work today. I knew exactly what it was. It seems, Games Workshop, was not supposed to ship them til Sept 5th, but the gobbos in the shipping dept didn't get the memo, or ate the memo. Either way, my box slipped out the door before the gate slammed shut.

So risking the wrath of the wife, I ignored the call "dinner's ready". And dove into exploring the box. The box is heavy and jam packed. Five large sprues and one small sprue, terrain tiles, markers, doors, dice, empty plastic bags(storage?), egg timer, rulebook and Mission book.

It was I think $107 after taxes. That's a lot for a game, but I think there is a lot of value here. The figures are gorgeous and the terrain tiles are very solid. Like I said in another post, easily twice as thick as previous editions. They also are "embossed" I think was the term. It gives them a little texture.

I would have loved to started a game tonight, but figures will need work. They are such nice figures it would be a shame not to paint them. I never did finish my Gene Stealers from 1st edition, which sadly got sold in a period of low finances. All my other projects just got pushed to the back burner and I will start on these ASAP.

Here's a link to all the pictures of whats in the box.

Space Hulk Photobucket

Cheers, Xin

Thursday, August 13, 2009

First game of Forge of War

I saw this game mentioned on TMP so I joined this Yahoo Group and downloaded the rules. After a read through they seemed worth a playtest.

I threw together a quick scenario just to get a feel for the rules and invited my friend over for a battle.

The Setup: Rebels seize a relay station on a small backwater colony,and were filling the air with their brand of propaganda, as opposed to the official brand of propaganda. A unit of Presidential Guard was sent to recapture the station. The forces:
Rebels: 1 Command Squad, 1 Mortar team(both ex-military) and 3 squads of Militia
Presidential Guard:1 Command Squad(special forces), 3 squads and a mortar team(veteran commandos)

The number of troops was equal, but since the rebels were defending, I made the PG better trained.

Scenario rule: The rebels deployed around the Relay Station with hidden counters. The rebs put down 10 counters, and only 5 were real squads.

The Battle:
The PG Squads surrounded the station. I brought in a squad from each corner of the table the mortar section just to get the whole station in range. The rebs didn't move since they didn't want to give away their positions.

So I advanced again till my command squad moved up to the building with the Radar Dish. The reb command squad popped up(reaction fire to nearby enemy) and fired on my squad, but the hasty shot missed. At this point the reb mortar team on the 2 story building opened up and dropped a shell right on my command squad. He got 2 kills or D-Markers. I took the d-markers on my command squad. I returned fire but missed.

Now in FoW D-Markers represent disorder, damage, demoralization. You can choose to take D-markers instead of casualties, but each d-marker is a minus in morale, shooting, and fighting. You can also take d-markers from terrain effects like moving full speed through difficult terrain. If you spend a turn resting, you can try to roll off your D-markers.

The rest of the turn I moved my other squads closer and my mortar section started some counter-battery fire but I missed. The rebs had my command squad out in the open, so they fired again, missing. He also revealed another squad and sent it into the woods to get my mortar. My command squad pulled back and to the side to cut off this attack

On the other side of the field I advanced towards the station, using what cover I could find. Eventually revealing another roof top emplacement. They engaged my squad and caused 2 hits, but I took the d-markers. I returned fire, but with the d-markers and the cover the rebs had, I missed.

The 5th and final reb squad appeared over by the radar dish, and moved into a covering position for the squad advancing into the woods. My command squad came out of the woods took the reaction fire (cover+ armor, no hits) and put 2 hits on the squad in the open. The rebs then dropped a morter round on my mortar, giving it 2 d-markers.

Here is where I think the game turned against the rebs. He had 3 squads and the mortar focusing on my one command squad and mortar team. That left one squad to cover the rest of the station and defend against 3 of my squads.

I had 2 squads fire on the remaining roof top reb emplacement Causing 3 hits(2 d-markers and one kill). My 3rd squad slipped into the base and starting shooting at the rear(no cover) of the rebs across the compound causing more hits and kills.

At this point the rebel commander realized he could not hold out any longer and detonated the demo charges on the radar dish killing himself and his command squad. Tactical victory for the Presidential Guard, Moral victory for the rebels. I will point out, that my troop quality was a big factor in the win. The quality was more inportant than the defending positions the rebs had.

In summary the game flowed pretty well and most of the rules and game play were easy to follow after only one read through of the rules. There are 2 things I really like about the rules. The first is the D-marker concept. It simulates fatigue, ammo loss, non lethal injuries and stress, all rolled into one. Most game systems at this level only deal with kill/no kill situations. I really feel this is the heart of the system. One thing I failed to mention, units based on their training have a maximum level of d-markers they can take before guys are just killed outright. So kills do happen.

The 2nd thing I liked was unit activation. I didn't mention it above, but each unit has to activate based on it's training and tactical situation. D-Markers play a factor here. We did have some stuff not activate, and when you fail to activate, the initiative passes to your opponent. It creates an ebb and flo, a lot like Song of Blades and Heroes.

As for things I didn't like, not many there. One thing I and my opponent had trouble wrapping my head around was the "no save" roll. The math for shooting at and killing someone is all wrapped together. My mind knows that having a "save" or lower chance on a single shoot/kill roll can be the equal, but the gamer in me missed the "save roll".

The only other thing I felt needed work was the rules layout, one or two things need a little better explaining.

All and all, a decent set of rules, well worth the cost(free) and worth a 2nd playtest. In case anyone was wondering the buildings were inspired by Inari7 from TMP and his post here.

Cheers, Xin