Force on Force: Thunder Run Sunday, May 30 2010 

Franaine and I tackled the Thunder Run scenario in the Force on Force book last night. We were moving slowly, between chatting and looking up rules, so only got into turn 2 in two hours.  We called it early owing to flu and exhaustion. But it looked great in 20mm and 1/72 and we had a lot of fun.

Americans vs Iraqis in Force on Force game

The middle of a massive firefight.

The picture shows the end of the second turn for the Americans. How to sum it up? A blazing firefight that resulted in tons of lightly wounded Republican Guard and fedayeen who kept bouncing back. All the Iraqi tanks were damaged, but none knocked out.  The highlight of the game was a suicide bomber repeatedly charging the American column, being machine gunned and stopped, but turning out to be just lightly wounded and trying again, only to be machine gunned and lightly wounded. Could probably have gone on all game.

All in all, it was a lot of fun, though it didn’t strike me as requiring much skill. Hopefully that will come as we get more familiar with the rules.

Happy Gaming,



Warmaster rebased for Basic Impetus Fantasticus Friday, May 28 2010 

Been a week — put my back out then got a miserable cold or flu. I’ve gotten nothing done in a week, but maybe I can manage to post a picture.

10 mm figures for Impetus and Warmaster

Warmaster and Impetus Fantasticus miniatures on my workbench.

This picture shows Warmaster and Battle of Five Armies units. In the front are 3 Warmaster Troll Slayers, based for Impetus. I’ve left them on the Warmaster stands, but glued them to a sabot. The sabot is 80mm x 40 mm, plastic sheet from a modelling store. I think it is 1.8 mm thick — thick enough not to be floppy, but thin enough to cut with a paper guillotine. I’ve just used Crazy glue to attach, since I can easily pop the stands off if/when I go back to Warmaster. Each sabot holds four Warmaster stands.

Note that I’ve based my Trollslayers with a single strip per stand for Warmaster. I used to think it was blasphemous, but played against some guys who based their missile troops with just a single line per stand. It actually looks way better! And your dollar goes twice as far, an important consideration when dealing with the filthy moneygrubbers behind Games Workshop. Missile troops, special troops and light infantry look good this way. Heavy infantry and mobs look better with two strips (12 figs) per stand in Warmaster.

Behind the Troll Slayers are BoFA goblins and Warg Riders, as well as a unit of Wolf Riders from Warmaster. All are still based for BoFa and Warmaster.

Happy Gaming,


Ambush Alley: Contractor Trouble Monday, May 24 2010 

In the end, we didn’t try Force on Force as Franaine didn’t have enough terrain. So we tried the introductory scenario for Ambush Alley, Contractor Trouble.

As always, Franaine put together an incredible table. And, as always, my camera skills just don’t do it justice:

Wargames table set up for Ambush Alley

Somewhere in Mogadishu, I think.

The scenario starts with two wounded contractors (of the Halliburton or Blackwater variety, not Mike Holmes) hunkered down next to their broken-down pickup. Hard to see them in the photo, but you can see the pick up.  Two fireteams of Marines are sent to extricate them and tons of local militia think otherwise.

Ambush Alley is a neat game, I have to say. Very fluid, lots of shooting, quite cinematic. My PDF of Force on Force is 155 pages, somehow. But the game is pretty straightforward once you get into it.

One of the neat concepts is ‘Out of Contact Movement’, which lets unseen groups of bad guys move anywhere on the table until they are in line of sight of the good guys.

Here we have Somalis sneaking up behind the Marines:

picture of wargames scenario

We'll show you who owns Mogadishu!

How’d the game go?  Well, frustrating for me. Combined with a lack of sleep, the frustration made Dan a less than ideal opponent. “Bitchy” might be a good word. My troops were soon surrounded and seemed unable to cause many casualties, while Franaine’s Somalis kept pouring onto the table. So much so that we ran out of Somalis to bring on.

It was only in reviewing the rules that I discovered the problem: I wasn’t returning fire in reaction to attacks by the Somali irregulars — little wonder I was being so thoroughly outgunned!  I’d started off doing it right, but then we somehow lost track.

Nice to know the problem was me, not the game.  I’m now quite looking forward to trying it again.

This week’s beer was another Phillips product — Springbok. Lighter than the Double Barrel and not so much to my taste. Not bad, but not my new fave either.

Impetuous Blogs Friday, May 21 2010 

Picture of flag from Social War blog.I was pleased to discover that Social War is on of the ‘Impetuous Blogs’, that is blogs about Impetus.

Great play on words, Lorenzo!

Phillips Double Barrel Scotch Ale Thursday, May 20 2010 

Beer Label


Franaine and I agreed it is probably our favourite beer of all time. We split a large bottle during our last game of Basic Impetus. Man, it was good.

Since F does all the set up and provides most of the figs and rules sets, I take it upon myself to come armed with a different beer or two each game. There’s a huge variety of interesting stuff on the market these days, so no end of choice.  Often I go with whatever beer has the most appropriate name to go with whatever we are playing.

All of which is to say… time to add a new category to the blog: Reviews of beer we’ve drunk during the game. I think I’ll tag it ‘beer’.

Here’s to you Phillips brewery… so far, you are the reigning champ.


Back to Basics… Basic Impetus, that is Tuesday, May 18 2010 

28mm Punic heavy infantry miniatures

Franaine's veteran Punic infantry, the best looking unit in the game.

We are back to playing Basic Impetus, wargame of choice for me. I’m still surprised at what a taut, interesting game BI produces and usually in well under 2 hours.

Our last two match ups were Carthage vs. Rome. Both ended as decisive Roman victories. With VBUs of 6 and pila, the Legions are just brutal. I’m guessing that a Carthaginian victory requires a bit more finesse and a bunch more luck.  For now, though, we are going to try out Force on Force for a change of pace. So the rematch will have to wait.

I think that what I like about BI is that the restrictions on movement mean that your moves really matter. There is a surprising amount to think about, for such a simple rules set.

The other thing that seems to work well is the uncertainty of how much damage you will take in a combat — flub a cohesion test and your unit is GONE.  In reading the rules, I really doubted it would work. Yet it really does. There are usually great swings of fortune in the game and issue is exciting, without becoming arbitrary. I’m surprised. I really thought I’d prefer a game that allowed for a slow incremental wearing down of opponents.

I remember reading on Geektactica that he was back to playing Basic Impetus instead of Impetus. At the time, I thought “How could he stand to do that?” But BI is a very good game in its own right. Especially when you consider it is free. And you could get a pretty satisfying army out of two boxes of 1/72 figs, or about $20.

Sorry to sound like I’m the Impetus salesman. Really, I’m not on commission!