Thursday, 19 February 2015

When the Stars are Right.................

Your Cthulhu Wars Kickstarter arrives!

Yup this massive box arrived this week after much expectation. Cthulhu Wars was launched as a Kickstarter in June  with an estimated delivery date of December the same year. Yup that means it has landed only 14 months behind schedule - Yay Kickstarter!

The designers were looking for $40,000 and instead they got $1.4 million. I suspect this is where the delays started to pile up as the designers had probably not expected that level of demand (no shit Sherlock! I hear you exclaim) and they had to rework all their production schedules. Anyway back then, this Kickstarter announcement coincided with a rare bit of good fortune so I was not only tempted but just about able to take part, and between us me and my regular gaming partner Paul managed to scrape together the ££ or $$ to get one of the "bigger" pledges. Our main reason was the figures, which were promised to be 28mm and therefore usable in other games, Call of Cthulhu RPGs and just nice to have around, and there are a lot of them, even in just the basic box. The actual game was of secondary importance - board games had only a passing interest at that point.

In the year and a bit that followed we sort of got resigned to the fact it would be here sooner or later - and by the constant delivery date push backs, probably later. Strangely however in that time we did start playing some board games which is a happy coincidence. The game has finally arrived - all six kilos worth, and we broke it out and tried it Monday night. I have to say we really enjoyed it. Very interesting to play, with the four different factions having totally different options as to how to meet the same victory conditions. The models are pretty damned good too - although original plans to paint them may have to go on hold - there are just so damned many.

Was it worth the costs and delay? Not sure. I am certain that I would not be in a position to pay the RRP on the bundle we are getting \ have got, which is "silly" at £120 for the starter set alone, so maybe. If I had known about the delay, probably not. On the whole I'm happy we took the chance.

So if there are delays reporting on stuff happening on the blog, at least some of those may be down to the arrival of some Great Old Ones.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Sometimes I think if there is any value in the narcissistic process we call blogging, it may be that it gives you an opportunity to vent to the anonymous and amorphous "internet".

Here's the thing - why do we (wargamers) accept and do things that are in "the rules" when they are patently counter to history?

A couple of weeks ago I was playing my second game of Muskets and Tomahawks, this time against a player who plays regularly at another club. M&T is a skirmish game set in the French Indian Wars. They're a fun set of rules with a healthy dose of flavour.

Line of sight and line of fire are blocked by other models unless it is a friend from the same unit in base to base contact pretty standard fare so far. They also have a formation rule for the trained troops that fought in firing lines - basically they are easier to hit but get some morale bonus. Anyway we set up and I was somewhat surprised to see my opponent and his Woodland Indian troops formed into units two ranks deep. When I queried this he said the rules allow it, and its a good formation that maximises firepower while at the same time keeping the unit compact and easy to control - which of course it is.  In fact it exactly replicated the firing line formation of the formed regulars, but with none of the restrictions or disadvantages. It is also not disallowed in "the rules". This is true, but the end result is a game that bears no visual resemblance to the historical record or even the pop culture impression of the war in the woods and forests of North America - in fact it looked much more like a bad 1:60 ratio Napoleonic game. It has been bugging me since.

So whats the solution?

"Its only a game" - sure, but its a game about something real. Not sure what the solution is, probably just need to be less uptight :-)

I think I'm going to have a bit of a tinker with that in our games to discourage Indians and irregulars forming ranks. If it works I'll let you know,

Back from Vappa - York Wargames Show

No pics this time, just a bit of a report on my visit to the Vapnartak show in York last weekend.

Since "Vappa" moved out of the atmospheric, but poorly lit Medieval Merchant Adventurers Hall to the vast glass and chrome racecourse, the show has been constantly on the up and up.

I liked the Merchant Adventurers Hall as a building and a concept - we hear so much about "Guilds" if you play any of the fantasy\medieval role playing games, or even Medieval wargames, but to actually visit a guild hall helps put it into perspective. As a venue for a trade show it was far from ideal because the lighting inside was limited, and space was at a premium.

The new racecourse venue is much better. Lots of space, and well lit. Actually when I say lots of space, it is still a bit too crowded for my liking, but that may be because it is so popular :-)

This year was the first year for a while that I had not been in any of the competitions, so I had the experience of having to queue to get in with the rest of the unwashed, but on the plus side it did mean we set out at the more civilised time of 8:30am rather than the usual 6:30. Vappa is split over a number of floors - the racecourse building is unsurprisingly long and narrow, with most of the traders and demo tables on the ground and first floors, and the competitions higher up. There was a good selection of traders and the demos were also of high quality, and I would safely say Vappa is now the best show in the North East of England by quite a margin.

Now to the crucial question - what did I buy :0)???

Surprisingly little. Partly because finances had taken an unexpected hit over the run up when our hot water system needed some urgent repairs, but mostly I would like to say due to a most uncharacteristic attack of self restraint. I did pick up a box of Wargames Factory Woodland Indians to add to the expanding Muskets & Tomahawks collection, a canoe from Coritani to move them around, and some civilians to run away screaming on first sight of them. Other than that I bought an X-Wing Miniatures starter set - I've been sharing one with my "oppo" Paul but it was a bit of a faff so we now have 2 between us. And thats it! I managed to dodge any number of potential impulse purchases, D&D Attack Wing (and Star Trek), Malifaux, even some modern 28mm that was calling seductively from Empress Miniatures. This last one is mopt so much a dodge as a postponement - as soon as Two Fat Lardies bring out their modern version of Chain of Command I will be there like a shot. Other than that I tried to buy some cabin furniture from 1st Corps but they had sold out.

I also got to sit down and talk to Martin Goddard from Peter Pig about his new version of the PBI rules that was due for release this week, and played a turn or two. They seemed quite interesting, and I would recommend having a look it you want something a bit less full on than FoW. I dont think I will be heading off to play them yet, but maybe once the lead & plastic mountain is back under control I may give them a try.

All the best