Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Firestorm Armada: FREE Rules and more!

Today, I was sat at work cruising the Internet (in my lunch beak, of course!), when a colleague, who is a fellow wargamer pointed me in the direction of the Spartan Games Website, where they now have the newly revised rulebook for Firestorm Armada available for free download!  I'll admit, it's been a while since i've visited their site, so this was a very pleasant surprise.

It seems that at the point my friend Byron and I were introduced to Firestorm Armada, the rulebook had just gone out of print, and after trying in vain for around two months to secure a copy, we just continued playing with the photocopied sheets and tables that had kindly been provided by the chap who introduced us, and decide we would look up the book again in a few months. Having forgot that, and then not dusted off my Directorate fleet for a couple of months, the book now lands on my desktop, for free!

As soon as I got home, I managed to download the 7mb .pdf of the rules, and they look good.  They even include the tokens you need to print off to use in the game.  The rules actually total around 50 pages, and the rest of the 63 page document is the tokens and some pretty pictures of some of the ships you can use in the game as well.  Obviously the hardback version of the game rules contains more than this simple .pdf file, but it gives you enough to play the game, and even gives you a little bit of the background of the game.

AND, as if that wasn't enough (A free game!), you can still download the print-off and cut-out ship models of the original three fleets (Terran, Dindrenzi and Directorate).  All you need to do is print the sheets off as A4 and then cut the 2D paper ship models out.  As the game really is in 2D, the 'flatness' has no effect.

So, there you have it.  Here is a free wargame to play.  Rulebook, counters and ships, all you need to try out Spartan Games' superb space combat system!  I'm off to digest the book, and hopefully get a couple of games, then i'll be back with a review and some comments (hopefully).  Until then, here are some links that you may want to visit...

Rulebook Download
Terran Alliance cut out fleet
Dindrenzi Federation cut out fleet
The Directorate cut out fleet

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

The Week of AD&D Excitement!

So, this week, when digging around that web I have found two pieces of juicy Dungeons and Dragons/AD&D/RPG information, although I think i'm somewhat late to the party, and others have known a fair while.

Firstly, this Saturday, sees the release of the first issue of 'Gygax Magazine', a new magazine from the newly formed TSR (It's a new company, not the old one back from the grave, but it seems to have pretty much the same ethos).  The people behind this venture?  Well, primarily the main backer and publisher is Jayson Elliot, along with his colleagues James Carpio and Jim Wampler, as well as Luke Gygax, Ernie Gygax, (Sons of Gary Gygax), and the Editor of the old Dragon Magazine, Tim Kask!

If this magazine were to be anything like the old Dragon mag, I would be most pleased.  I used to look forward to buying it each month, it always had such a varied content, for many different gaming systems.  In fact, it got me into a few systems I would likely never have heard of as a 10-12 year old boy in the North of England (I'm specifically looking at you; RIFTS and 'Underground'!).  I rarely buy actual print magazines now, mainly the occasional Miniature Wargamer, I just don't see any that appeal to me.  This does, and as soon as I find out how to get it to the UK, i'll be getting it!

I've seen the content list for the first episode over at Gamers & Grognards and Greyhawk Grognard here on Blogspot, and along with the following quote from James Carpio himself, i'm not going to lie, I can't wait:

"GYGAX Magazine is an exciting venture from Luke & Ernie Gygax (Gary Gygax's sons who helped create much of what fans know as D&D), Tim Kask, the original editor of Dragon magazine, and Jayson Elliot, publisher and creative director of the project.
In the spirit of the original Dragon magazine, GYGAX hopes to rekindle the old school spirit for a new generation of gamers. GYGAX magazine will focus on the entire tabletop gaming hobby and community. The magazine will focus on the overall dedication to the gaming hobby, but will give a healthy amount of attention to the 1st and 2nd editions of AD&D, Pathfinder and D&D Next. Popular gaming systems such as Cortex +, ORE, WH40K RPG, etc. will be featured each quarter, giving GYGAX magazine a well-rounded feel with content that appeals to every gamer."

Secondly, I've read today that WotC have now released a selection of original and classic Dungeons and Dragons, and AD&D products from the various previous systems, over at DriveThruRPG and its various sister sites, and also under the dedicated site Unsurprisingly, immense traffic has already taken most of the sites down, but from what I have seen so far there is a decent selection of 1st and 2nd edition core modules, and plenty of other stuff from the various campaign settings as well, at decent prices.

Our group mainly plays 1st & 2nd Edition AD&D, Primarily in Greyhawk and Forgotten Realms, and although we have the majority of releases for these settings and plenty for many others, there is a wealth of extra stuff on here I am sure we now 'need'. I'm equally as sure that come pay day, i'll be making a few selections!

I'm a big fan of DriveThruRPG and the electronic method of buying modern games, but every other AD&D product I currently have (two bookshelves worth) is in hard, paper format, so this is going to be something of a wrench for me.....

Communications breakdown...

Just in case you thought I had disappeared off the face of the Earth, I haven't!  I am having something of a problem reaching the internet (for the past week in fact).  I am (un)fortunate enough to have Sky Broadband, and as you may have seen in the press today (It's taken them a week to actually admit there is a problem), they have dramatically over-sold Sky Unlimited broadband in some areas.  The result of this, is that a number of exchanges (mine included) or so over subscribed, that congestion is causing excessive bandwidth drops.

At the moment, my download speed is a mighty 0.085mbps, so i'm struggling to upload pictures on my connection (I'm been doing a couple of posts that contain pictures), and most sites that use any kind of active content, simply don't work at all.

Of course, Sky are working on the problem, and assure us that it will be working on February 2nd....

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

The first Flames of War game of 2013 (Part one)

I was hoping to do a full AAR of this game (with a load of pictures as well), which had been in the pipeline for around a month, but as it turns out, I ended up being quite ill with Bronchitis!  So, here I present the set up of each force and in the next/final part I will give a brief run down of the battle as it took place..

Usually, on or around bank holidays our group like to have a big game of Warhammer 40k or 40K Apocalypse, but over the past year things have been a bit quiet on the 40k front for us, and a few of us have been playing other games such as Flames of War and Firestorm Armada, we decided to play something else.  As soon as the idea of Flames of War was put forward, everyone was keen to play, particularly the guys who don't already play it (I'm putting this down to excessive playing of World of Tanks over the past few months!).

So, we arranged a simple British vs German battle, around 3200 points (As to fill an afternoon/early evening), mostly using Turning Tide and Earth & Steel.  We had two companies per side, with one FoW newbie on each side.  Luckily I had just received the Open Fire box set, so had an Armoured Company to allow a second British detachment!   From what I remember, the forces were as follows:

Airlanding Company
Company HQ with Sniper + 3 x PIAT Teams
3  Airlanding Rifle Platoons (with 3 Rifle Teams)
Airlanding Pioneer Platoon
Airlanding Machine Gun Platoon
Airlanding Anti-Tank Platoon
Commando Company

Armoured Squadron (From the Flames of War 11th Armoured Division pdf)
Company HQ (2 Sherman V)
2 x Guards Armoured Platoon (2 x Sherman V and 1 x Sherman Firefly VC)
1 x Guards Armoured Platoon (3 x Sherman V and 1 x Sherman Firefly VC)
1 x Anti-tank Platoon, Royal Artillery (4 x M10C 17pdr SP)
101st Airborne Parachute Platoon

German Panzergrenadier Lehr Kompanie
Company HQ
2 x Panzergrenadier Lehr Platoon (with 3 Panzergrenadier Squads)
1 x Panzergrenadier Lehr Platoon (with 2 Panzergrenadier Squads)
Panzergrenadier Lehr Heavy Mortar Platoon (1 Section)
Tank-Hunter Lehr Platoon (3 x Jagdpanzer IV)

Panzer Lehr Kompanie
Company HQ (2 x Panther A)
Panzer Lehr Platoon (4 x Panzer IV H)
Panther Lehr Platoon (4 x Panther A)

So there we go, we've got a British infantry heavy force of Fearless Veterans, elite Airlanding troops and commandos, supported by the solid, confident veterans of the 11th Armoured Division.  On this misty June morning, they face off across the countryside of Normandy against the Confident Veterans of the Panzer Lehr, equipped with not only the rapid and devestating half-tracks of the Panzergrenadiers, but also the devestating strength of the Lehr's finest tanks.  

Will the daring British advance succeed, or will it be crushed by the well equipped and trained Panzer Lehr?  In part 2, we will find out...

Friday, 4 January 2013

Geeky Gaming Goodness!

Since I've just finished relocating all my Christmas goodies into their various new homes, I thought I might as well post a picture of the geeky elements of the horde of gifts I seemed to receive this year!

I chose/bought some of the stuff myself (I don't my wife would have managed to get the Army Painter bits without my aid), but a fair bit of it was a surprise, especially the awesome Hobgoblin pewter ale tankard!

I won't lie though...I received XCOM: Enemy Unknown as an early present a couple of weeks before Christmas, and after playing it every day, I'd already completed it before Christmas.  It's pretty much all I've done with my free time since I got it!

The DVD haul is pretty cool, I wasn't expecting any of these and there's over 90 hours of  stuff to watch.  I've already watched the first six episodes of 'the World at War', it's a superb series.  I've learnt a lot about WW2 already from watching it. Dad;s Army is self explanatory I hope, it's one of the best British comedies I've seen.  The War of the Worlds TV series is one of my favourite TV shows, and after many years of waiting it has finally come out to buy and watch at home!  I've never met anyone else who has even heard of the show so far though...

Wargaming wise, I'm set up for the next few months by the look of this little lot!  Open Fire, I have kept the Brits and sold off the Germans to one of my FoW playing friends.  I also got a box of Plastic Soldier Company 15mm German panther tanks to go with my FoW German Army (4/5 are already built!).  The Italeri American Special Forces and Vietnamese Army/Viet Cong, and Airfix M113 should set me up with enough troops for a few battles of Force on Force/Ambush Valley as well!  Hopefully, with this little bundle i'll be able to get some of my friends fired up over FoF!  Finally, I've bought some Army Painter coloured primers for my DA force.  I hardly ever play 40k anymore, but I want playable force for the occasional game with friends, so i'm just going to us these to get them quickly up to tabletop quality.

All in all, I think i'm going to be busy for a while!

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Gaming Resolutions 2013

This year, I've decided that i'm going to make a concerted effort to get my existing wargaming and roleplaying projects caught up to date.  Since I took a 'break' from playing 40k just after last Christmas, I've gotten into several new games, and although I've hand a handful of games of each, I've spent little time actually painting the models.  The result is that I now have a veritable horde of miniatures stacked up waiting to be painted!  Although I feel i'm a competent painter, I've started collecting non-28mm scale models now, so this may turn out to be a challenge.  New models I've bought this year that need finishing are:

  • Flames of War:  British Airlanding Company and Support, Irish Guards Armoured Squadron and German Bodenstandig Grenadierkompanie.
  • Firestorm Armada:  Directorate Starter Fleet and Carrier.
  • Force on Force:  Various forces for Vietnam, Somalia and Modern Afghanistan.
This is in addition to my existing Blood Bowl teams (three), Epic Space Marine army and a new Dark Angels force i traded with a friend (Four sets of the Dark Vengeance Dark Angels) - Yes, my 40k hiatus lasted just under a year!

So, with all that in mind, my wargaming shelves are already fully loaded, and there is much work to do!  My resolutions for 2013 are as follows:

  1. Complete all three Flames of War armies and my Firestorm Armada fleet to at least tabletop standard, and do not buy any more models for these armies until this is achieved.
  2. Play a minimum of 1-2 games per month (of any wargame).
  3. Finishing building up the Epic Space Marine force and play at least one game with it.
  4. Try using the 'Army Painter technique' to paint my Dark Angels up to TT standard ready for the Easter game.
  5. Complete enough models and obtain enough scenery to run a Force on Force campaign (Probably 'Day of the Ranger') for my gaming friends and hopefully get them into FoF.
  1. Bring my Conspiracy X campaign up to date (and do so after each session) on the Obsidian Portal website.  
  2. Run the Conspiracy X campaign a minimum of once each calendar month (as promised to the players already!).
  3. Finish writing the Call of Cthulhu Campaign I have been writing since last year.
Now I look back, there are actually a few more than i expected, still I feel these are attainable, and I need to make up for this year, where I've managed to convince myself that moving house in January is still a legitimate reason for not getting back to the painting table by December...

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

New beginnings, etc.

So, it's a new year again and I find myself setting the same old resolutions I always seem to set myself, yet never really fulfill (gaming-wise, at least).  I've always liked the idea of creating a blog to record my adventures and experiences in my various hobbies, and I expect, my occasional thoughts on other things that interest me.  It also struck me that I may actually make some progress on my various goals if I actually had to document what I was doing.

So, I've decided to kill two birds with one stone and create my very first blog (ta-da!).  You'll have to bear with me while I get the thing customised and set up just how I'd like it, but it shouldn't take too long.  In the meantime, I think its best to get on with the real 'meat' of the blog and post.