Heretical Gaming is my blog about my gaming life, featuring small skirmishes and big battles from many historical periods (and some in the mythic past or the far future too). The focus is on battle reports using a wide variety of rules, with the occasional rules review, book review and odd musing about the gaming and history. Most of the battles use 6mm-sized figures and vehicles, but occasionally 15mm and 28mm figures appear too.

Monday 23 January 2012

Review of Meeples & Miniatures Episode 4

In Meeples & Miniatures Episode 4, Neil reviews the boardgame Doom which is based on the video game of the same name. The review is extensive and explains the background used, which you might not know if you were unfamiliar withe the computer version. The game sounds quite good, as a similar kind of game to Space Hulk with some of the 'Deathmatch' and 'Capture the Flag' type scenarios in as well. Neil goes on to make comments about the lack of support that Fantasy Flight Games gave to the game subsequently, which might put some people off.

However, the sound quality is really pretty poor for most of the review. The main review was recorded for the "It's Time for Games" podcast and Neil has recorded an introduction and conclusion to tack on (both of which sound fine). I recommend you give this a go if you are thinking of playing Doom, otherwise the poor sound quality makes this one quite missable.

Review of Meeples & Miniatures Episode 3

Meeples & Miniatures Episode 3

Neil reviews three Reiner Knizia games: Poison, Mmm Brains and Tigris & Euphrates. The reviews are standard, high-quality fare: descriptions of the components and how the games look, a review of the mechanics, how much Neil enjoyed them, who might enjoy them, what the best number of players to play the game is and if they feel like value for money. This seems to be the template for most of Neil's reviews. The reviews of the simpler games are so detailed you could almost design a similar game yourself on the basis of Neil's description.

On the strength of this review, I'm actually thinking about buying Poison (for the chidren) and Tigris & Euphrates, so Neil was doing something right! Definitely worth a listen if you are thinking of playing or buying any of these games.

Sunday 22 January 2012

Review of Meeples & Miniatures Episode 2

In Meeples & Miniatures Episode 2,Neil reviews the Hammerhead Show 07. He gives a few brief comments about shows work in the UK and the differences between the UK and the USA in this regard, and then explains why Hammerhead goes against the grain of UK shows.

The main part of the show is some comments on figure ranges that caught Neil's eye, in particular Flashing Blade's 40mm Greeks, Graven Images 40mm Skeletons and the Storm of Steel WWW2 Robots from North Star.

Neil finishes by giving some comments on the show as a whole, and how much his son enjoyed the day.

The show is fine but unless you are particularly interested in 40mm figures or the Hammerhead Show there isn't much reason to re-visit it.

Friday 20 January 2012

Review of Meeples & Miniatures Episode 1

Meeples & Miniatures Episode 1

Neil Shuck reviews Victory at Sea as comprehensively as an 'out-of-the-box' review allows, although I'm not generally a fan of such reviews as many plus and minus points of a game can only ever be discovered when putting it all into practice. However, he does a thorough job of reviewing the component parts of the game and is even-handed about giving out praise and minor criticism. He gives a brief, but comprehensive review of Take Six!, a card game, with a description of the mechanics and some comments on how and where the game works best.

He also gives an 'as played' review of Arkham Horror, an HP Lovecraft-based boardgame, enough to give a little of the flavour of the game but without going into the mechanics. Perhaps the show would have been even better if it had focussed on this game rather than Victory at Sea.

In retrospect, it shows what a good idea the Meeples & Miniatures show was, as although the format changed from time-to-time in subsequent shows, it has always tended to return to this basic idea: a quick chat about what Neil has been playing and what is on his radar followed by an in-depth review of a game or two.

A good show all-in-all, with acceptable sound quality.

Sunday 15 January 2012

2012 Shopping List

So what is on the shopping list for 2012 so far:

20mm modern NATO and WARPC troops, for Force-on-Force, Firefight and Twilight 2000 RPG. Phil Barker's 'The Sharp End' might get a look-in too. WARPAC troops will probably be the Orion plastic set, maybe with some old Esci figures if I can find a few, the NATO troops will be from Elheim miniatures. I've already ordered some of the latter to see what they are like. They looked lovely on the website. Some plastic kits for the vehicles probably. On the other hand, perhaps 6mm would be better...

Baccus 6mm Saxons - I want an army to oppose my Normans. They look lovely too! I might get enough spares of each to create a real mini-game - 6mm Saga. On the other hand 20s and 28s might be more appropriate...

Baccus 6mm 1815 Allied troops - Brunswickers, Hanoverians, Dutch-Belgians - more Napoleonics when I already have lots, but very nice additions they will be.

and these I'm mulling over:

Baccus 6mm ECW - I'd love to get into ECW but I'm not sure I 'love' these figures. There is a part of me that wants to buy them anyway and just get on with it, another part says 'Wait!' - those sculpts will be bettered one day...

Baccus 6mm late C15 - see comments above. The difference here though is that I don't have any of these figures already, so I will need to get a few to see what I think of them...

20mm WW2 - I already have painted 15mms - what madness is this? Well, the madness was getting the 15s in the first place...does anyone really want to have both 15mm and 20mm figures in their collection. Just have one, make them all compatible for terrain. We shall see though, it is emotionally quite difficult to get rid of armies that are, to a certain extent, done...

2012 Gaming Resolutions

1. Play more games.
2. Don't worry about getting figures painted - only do it if I feel like it.
3. Don't tinker with rules, except to fit in with which models I'm using or if makes the game quicker and easier to play.

Saturday 14 January 2012

An Heretical Thought

I've been pondering the possibility of using models spray-painted a single colour to do up armies very quickly for games, so the armies would look like Risk armies or Axis and Allies forces. On the one hand, I think it would be easy and fun: buy some rules and figures at a show in the morning, prepare the armies in an afternoon, play the game in the evening! And some of my most enjoyable gaming experiences have been like that: Heroquest, Space Hulk, Advanced Heroquest, Recon RPG, some WH40K games and so on. But there is a fixed, conditioned idea that miniature wargames 'should' be played with painted miniatures. And I share it, at least to some degree. Such games do look nice. But are they better games? Does the effort expanded on even such basic set-ups as my own, never mind the works of the modellers' art that I see a couple of times most years at Partizan, genuinely repay the effort invested in created it over much more simple set-ups?

The basic reason for thinking about this at all is that I like gaming many different periods at many different scales of action. I'd like to be able to read a wargaming magazine and play any of the scenarios publised in there. Now there are many ways in which I could tackle this:

I could aim to build enough conventional wargames armies to cover most periods enough to look 'about right from a distance'. However, that commits one to a lot of painting - and although I like painting, committing to painting that many models seems just daunting. I could use proxies - but this has two problems. There is only so far a proxy can go - somehow using Panzergrenadiers as Sumerian spearmen would actually be more distracting than using pennies; but even within narrower bounds, would I unconsciously think that a load of Napoleonic French Cavalry was Napoleonic Cavalry, even if I was using them as Royalist ECW Horse? I could use counters for certin periods and buid up new armies slowly. Two problems with this: making counters can be a real faff, but secondly, using counters with model terrain is actually distracting, at least for me. I have a feeling that 3d 6mm models all painted red would look a lot less incongruous on a green felt cloth with little wooden houses and little model trees than large cardboard counters. I feel less strongly about this using Junior General pictures, but it is more of a faff making vertical counters and artillery and vehicles always look really wrong in the 3d terrain.

Or I could approach the problem another way, give myself a stiff talking to and tell myself that my eyes are too big for my belly and that the best thing to do is to concentrate on playing more games with the armies I already have: after all, not many people can play all that many games and that certainly includes me. Stop thinking about it, be happy with what you've got and just slowly add to what you've got until you can't be bothered anymore. And this has powerful resonance with me. But I do think 'Ooh it would be really interesting to re-fight Pavia, how might I do that?'

I can see that I'm not clear in myself where to go with this, I hope I get some inspiration soon. The worst thing of all is endlessly and unprofitably musing on such things...

Thursday 12 January 2012

The State of the Nation

...or at least, the state of my gaming life!

Primarily I enjoy wargames, but I also play and enjoy some boardgames and computer games.

My main wargaming interest is in the Napoleonic Wars. I mostly play battles with 6mm figures from Baccus 6mm using their Polemos Napoleonic rules. I also like:

Horse, Foot and Guns by Phil Barker of WRG/DBA fame
Grande Armee by Sam Mustafa
Napoleonic Wargames for Fun by Paddy Griffith
a set of free rules by Paul Leniston
and a set of free rules by Steve Jones

I have three Peninsular War armies: an Anglo-Portuguese Army, a Spanish Army and an Imperial French Army. This year I hope to add Dutch-Belgians, Brunswickers and Hanoverians to this. I'd like to add Russians and Austrians too, but that might be asking too much of my painting time this year.

I'm always on the look out for more however and I'm certainly interested in many other periods. I have played and enjoyed some Ancient, Marlburian, ACW, WW2 and Vietnam games in the past couple of years.

I have sizeable 6mm British and German WW2 armies, as well as the same armies in 15mm. I have 6mm Roman and Celtic Armies painted up as well. And, like many wargamers I suspect, I have lots of odds and ends lying around, especially 1/72 plastics for various periods. I also have some 28mm fantasy and SF figures.

I love playing face-to-face with others, but I also love playing solo. I find them very different as experiences, but enjoy them both.

So where do I want to go with all this year?

I want to play more WSS games against my semi-regular opponent Tim this year. He has some lovely armies from Baccus and we use the Polemos WSS rules. We've had some very close, enjoyable games last year and I'm hoping this year to get some more in. We've even briefly talked about doing some campaigning...

I want to play lots of Napoleonic Games using a variety of rules. I aim to use some scenarios from the Polemos Companion, some from old wargaming magazines and some designed by myself. I want to play a full Peninsular War campaign. I'm stll not sure how exactly to best do this.

I want to play more WW2 games with my 6mm stuff. Off-hand, I think I have the following rules lying around:

Flames of War
Tactical Commander
Troops, Weapons and Tactics

I've played them all except Firefly at some point, but I haven't played WW2 regularly. I'm hoping to play them all a few times this coming year. The armies seem pretty complete, I don't envisage any large-scale buying of WW2 stuff of this size this year.

I have a 6mm Roman Army and a 6mm Celtic Army, which I have used to play the rules in Neil Thomas' Ancient and Medieval Wargaming and I hope to use the same armies to play Polemos SPQR this year.

I am busy painting up a 6mm Norman Army and I hope to get a Saxon Army, and maybe a Viking Army too. I'm not sure yet which rules to use for these.

I'm hoping to get some modern skirmish gaming in as well - Vietnam and Cold War mainly. I've got two forces for Vietnam, which desperately need re-painting, but that shoudn't take too long. As for rules, I've got Force on Force and Firefight, but I may also use the rules from the RECON and Twilight 2000 RPGs.

I want to build a couple of small forces from the plastic mountaion this year: British and French forces to play Sharpe Practice and two C17 forces to play Once Upon a Time in the West Country

However, who knows which miniatures games I shall actually end up playing...

As for boardgames, I'll probably get some of these games played with my wife or with friends:

CSI Boardgame
Cat Attack

Plus lots of Orchard Games with the bairns, too numerous to mention!

And I hope to get one or two games in myself with some of these:

Tomb of an Empire
Achtung Spitfire!
Whistling Death
Bag the Hun

Naturally these plans will fail - the only questions are in what way and to what extent...

Another Attempt At Blogging

This is my third attempt at creating a gaming blog - hopefully it will be more successful than the last two! What I hope to put on here are reviews of games, rules and figures; some of my thoughts on wargaming and gaming; some of the scenarios I have written; and perhaps some reports on any battles I have managed to get played.

What will probably not feature here is pictures of beautifully painted figures on lovely terrain, as I have no such figures and terrain, no tips to pass on about how to creaate such things and perhaps, in the end, a lack of real interest in such things. I've never been sure that wargaming should be mainly about military modelling...