Archive for March, 2013

pic566305[1] You can count the number of non tabletop figure wargames based on the Wars of the Roses on 1 hand (Kingmaker, Wars of the Roses – Lancaster vs York being the only other two I know of) and the former being the only other one I played in my youth so while there are probably more out there, they’re almost certainly a lot more obscure than this offering from Columbia originally published in 2009/10. I used to enjoy Kingmaker (Avalon Hills version) but found it a bit light on actual combat action with some fiddly rules and it that took hours to finish, infact I never did finish a game. It also had an unforgivable flaw in that the Earl of Oxford was not represented in the game but the absurd stench ridden Scrope of Bolton was! So it was with some surprise and not a small amount of delight that I discovered this game when it was first published in 2009/10. This is one of the few games I’ve acually managed to play with someone else as oppose to playing with myself…. where following the dastarly heroics of The Earl of Suffolk led me to being bottled up in South Wales and seeing the crown slip out of my grasp. But thats another story…… So here’s my general thoughts on the game.

Whats in the Box?

  • Game map (approx 36″x 24″) – printed on heavy duty card. Sadly the days of a proper hard backed game board are long gone but at least this one is printed on heavy duty card as oppose flimsy paper. It takes a bit of an effort to flatten it out mind so a sheet of perspex would be invaluable to rest over it.
  • 63 wooden blocks (31 red, 31 white, 1 black) – essentially the playing pieces
  • Label sheet – adhesive labels to stick to the blocks to represent the nobles
  • 25 Action cards
  • 4 dice (d6)
  • 8 page rule booklet

Do I need a degree in “Transmitter of Matter into Interstitial Time” to understand it?

No! Taking out of the rule book the chrome such as historical data, contents, scenario setups etc you are left with effectively 5 pages of rules. Some of the grognards may find this just too lightweight which compared to WRG tabletop miniatures wargames or an Avalon Hill game it could fairly be described but despite this I would say the system works well enough to keep the most hardened embittered old soaks occupied while still being fast play. Better still its a good way to introduce those people suspicious of board “games” to try it out as its not too taxing.

Columbia games use the same feature on all its wargames of wooden blocks to represent the units, each sides are only visible to the owning player (remember Tank Battle?) giving you that element of Fog of War where although you can see where your opponent is you dont know his exact strength until brought to battle. Each block has a label on 1 side that during the course of a game will be rotated anti-clockwise gradually depleting its strength until reinforced or eliminated.

Whats the Hardest part of the game?

Choosing who has to represent the Yorkists.

Game Play

The game consists of campaigns, each of 7 Game Turns & a final political turn. Each game turn has a card phase, action phase, battle phase and supply phase.

  • Card Phase – A player plays a card giving him a number of actions.
  • Action Phase – Use action points from the card to move blocks.
  • Battle phase – Fought over a number of rounds both sides blocks line up against each other and are revealed. Attacks and retreats are declared. Modifiers for Heir charges, friendly cities, Nobles home counties etc are applied. Treachery rolls are made – This is a great rule and very apt for the game. Instead of launching an attack in some circumstances a player may attempt a treachery roll on 1 Noble of the opposition. Some noble blocks have dubious loyalty reflected as a rating on their blocks. If successful that block immediately switches sides sometimes with catastrophic results to the original owner. With combat each block has a unique combat rating letter and number. The A blocks always attack before the B,C and D blocks. The number after the letter corresponds to the “firepower” of the unit. Each block rolls a number of dice equal to its current strength (the pips on the top of the block) and to score a hit must roll equal to or less than its firepower rating. See example below

IMG_1361So here Oxford & Warwick run into Worcester and Hastings. Oxford attacks first having the A2 combat rating. He is at full strength of 3 pips so rolls 3 dice. A 1 or 2 will inflict damage on Tiptoft as Oxfords combat rating is (A)2. The dice are rolled and 2 points of damage are inflicted on Tiptoft. As he only has 2 pips being a universally despised billy no mates he is eliminated.

If it was the other match up both sides have B ratings so in the case of a tie the defender goes first. If that was the Yorkists, Hastings would have 3 dice at strength 3 to roll a 1 or 2. If the Lancastrians were the defenders, Warwick at his reduced state from 4 to 3 pips would get 3 dice to roll a 1,2 or 3.

Note, Warwicks counter has a number as oppose a rose on 1 corner, this is the loyalty rating. The others are staunch supporters of their cause shown by the rose of their colour and thus cannot be turned.. If a treachery roll was attempted a rating of 3 would mean 3 dice thrown. If all numbers are even then he defects.

  • Supply phase – Players check all units are supplied and adjust strengths accordingly.

The turn ends after all battles have been fought and after the conclusion of the Political turn where levies disband & usurption attempts are made. After that victory conditions are checked and if no clear winner then the 2nd turn commences. There is of course a lot more to it especially combat with larger groups but hopefully this gives you a flavour.

Do I need to book a weeks Annual Leave to play it through?

No, again the novel fact about this game compared to other wargames is that its relatively fast play and should normally be completed in 1 session of 2-3 hours as you can play 1 of 3 scenario’s. The main scenario set up (1460) is included in the rules. The shorter 1470 & 1483 scenario’s are available free to download from the company’s website, as are the full version of the rules

Is it worth it?

At £45 in 2010 thats a tough one. Cardboard map, 8 page rules, 20 odd cards, some wooden blocks and a sticky label sheet. Ok the import costs to UK outlets are nuts but its still $60 to buy in the States. Columbia have hit on a way of producing games where the buyer ends up partly assembling the game and also when reading the rules finds that some parts although not essential to get started aren’t even included and are only available free to download from the website. I find that cheeky but in the current climate and the struggles the gaming industry is going through one I reluctantly accept. If you are in regular steady income, can afford it and have someone to play against regularly then yes I’d give it a punt. Personally I like it enough not to worry about the cost but that was when I was employed.

Anything else?

Where’s Scrope, Audley or Martin Schwyz’s German Pikemen? After a few plays thats what I thought. Just like Kingmaker the makers made a decision who to include and who to leave out realising that to include every noble would slow game play to a standstill. But never fear Columbia sell blank blocks and armed with these you can create your own heroes and villains historical or fictional. All you then need do is create a shield, choose the respective stats of the noble and print. Easier than it sounds as I managed to do just that and had them published on Board Game Geek soon to be available here

Oi Gold....nooooooooooo

Oi Gold….nooooooooooo”

My growing dissatisfaction with the relaunched Doctor Who is well known amongst friends and enemies alike. Right from the first episode where one of the most frightening monsters from the original series, the Autons turned up in a sanitised form running through at break neck speed what was effectively no script but a launch vehicle for the Doctors new chavtastic assistant I was harbouring doubts that at the time I kept to myself being carried along on the wave of euphoria with the series revival. But over the years its steadily and rather depressingly gotten to the point where I just watch, tut, and moan or in the case of those despicable new style teletubby wheelie bins swear my head off at the way a cherished series from my childhood has been so bastardised.
Russell “can you guess?” t Davies with his agenda of packing out the show with the audience of an Erasure concert doing a Judy Garland/Liza Minnelli tribute night  was so boring although not as irritating as his Adipose invention so when he handed over the reins to Moffat I was hopeful of a return to form. Sadly the BBC’s terrified fear of political correctness with the merchandise buying public means that regardless of script, in nearly every story they’ll be a couple who happen to be super cool and just happen to be in a same sex, quasi-religious, different race/species relationship. For a childrens programme originally pitched at 7 year olds? There have been some very good bits amongst the dross, the ann-droid, some of the humour, the first incarnation Daleks and of course The Weeping Angels but I’m in danger of writing an essay without even getting to the point of this post and thats Murray Gold.

Now I could live with a lot of what I’ve just moaned about as its normally just the sub plot stuff but with this “composer” I’m getting very cross. It took a while to realise just how irritating his “music” was but it winds me up so much now that I have to skip the intro theme music to the show. Delia Derbyshire must be turning in her grave at how he’s single handedly destroyed her epic iconic theme. Not only that but the sub-plot motif themes played repetitively throughout the show and at every occasion that specific character opens their mouth are absolutely pathetic and shows a total disrespect to an audience that are evidently incapable of picking up the mood of the moment.  Add to that the deafening “action” incidental music blasted over the dialogue and I fear the time to switch off for good is looming. Deep breath…………of course I won’t just yet (unless they retire the original classic Daleks for good for those primary colour blashphemous filth buckets) but why oh why did they have to muck up the signature tune and then get this fool to write such banal irrelevant tosh is beyond me. So for these very reasons he now has qualified for a place of infamy in my hall of Villains. “Mr Gold…….you’re name vill also go in ze book”

I’ve always been a Logophile, I just didn’t realise that there was a name for it. So now that I’ve discovered that there is, and might I say that Logophile itself is a truly fine word in its own right, here’s the first in a series of words that I like very much. No sanity blasting phobic gusseted cagouls here.

I give you PROCRASTINATE – Something the wife excels at……….

IMG_1366Finally after 5 months of solid research, changing ones mind more times than one cares to remember caused by being ambushed with temptation from a certain someone and having to wait impatiently for the manufacturer to produce one of the items, my collection is finally complete. From left to right:-

Fairey Fulmar – RAF

Henschel Hs 126 – Luftwaffe

Fiat G.50 Freccia – Corpo Aereo Italiano

In all their new born, 1/600 flash ridden beauty.  This labour of love now includes no less than 153 aircraft models with which to pimp the game – RAF (West End Games). What started out as just buying models of counters of the core game for that 3d effect ended up with me poring over tomes and the internet scanning for all sorts of weird, wonderful and wacky aircraft that were either at the periphery of the Battle of Britain or could have hypothetically taken part and ending up with 20 more models than the original set.  All these 3 models pictured did participate during the battle to a minor degree with little success.  The variant rules have been written, the card counters made up, the models purchased, all thats needed now are to get these buggers painted……….

brighton-v-crystal-palace[1]I like to regard myself as a fairly well adjusted sort of chap (ok I do talk to myself a lot but I put that down to being an only child) yet when the fixture list throws up Palace against the Seaweeds from sussex (west), in the space of a few hours I turn Jekyll and Hyde like into a stereotypical rabid football yobbo overflowing with out and out utter sheer hate towards the Sussex rivals who by some strange quirk of fate I now find being probably the nearest football club to where I live. Over the years I’ve lost count of how many people ask me bemusedly why Palace and Brighton are rivals being 50 miles apart although an infintiy in class. You’ll have to search the internet for a more coherent answer be it Venables & Mullery’s club rivalry when playing for spurs, eagles vs seagulls, mullerys £5 gesture at Palace, the cup replays and penalty victory between the 2 in the 70’s, the ease with which to get to both clubs on the london to brighton line, Henry Hughtons fair not criminal assault on some Brighton nobody, the fact both were pushing for promotion in the 79/80 season etc etc etc. But since the mid 70’s its stuck. I remember when ground sharing with Charlton and later Wimbledon how those sets of fans sang anti-Palace songs, also going to Millwall to experience their unique brand of welcome to away fans yet it pales into insignificance when compared to Brighton, infact we couldn’t give a monkeys about Wimbledon which is probably the reason why they got so annoyed as no one was interested in them. So here I am wrapping up my latest batch of worldly goods sold on ebay to make a few pennies to set aside my frail old age listening to the game on 5 live sport and so pumped up that I don’t know what to do with myself. Its so much worse when you dont have a ticket but the wife has called time on reliving the good old days and living where I do in East Sussex I haven’t discovered many other Palace fans yet and dont expect to either.

ADAM ANT – Red Scab

Posted: March 14, 2013 in Adam Ant, music
Tags: , ,

Adam[1] mqdefault[3]First heard this as a b-side (baby) to Goody Two Shoes. BUT its much much older than that, a bootleg from 1978/9 proves it. Anyways I just found this you tube link to a more recent rendition, not his most recent band incarnation but one that the band and Mr Goddard seem to enjoy nevertheless. “Until I reach orgasmo”…………..Enjoi

richard_the_lionheart_statue_by_venozio-d41t7cj[1]Well after discovering that the links I put up on the CR part of my wargames blog don’t actually work, (you need a BGG account apparently) I’ve decided to save the docs another way and make accessible via this medium. So here it is. Crusader Rex Variant #1 Armenians of Cilicia, Ghazi’s and Muttawi’ah. I’ll make the other variant rules available in slower time and you will also be able to access via the CR part of the Wargames menu.
The idea was to add a few extra blocks/units to give a bit of historical flavour to elements or troops not covered in the original game. This entry went down fairly well on the BGG community with over 325 downloads to date so hopefully I’m doing something right that other old farts like me will appreciate.

So here it is:- Crusader_Rex_variant_1