Saturday, May 31, 2008

Gaming Podcast review 14 Contact with the Enemy

Contact with the Enemy takes its name from Helmut Von Moltke's aphorism that "no battle plan survives contact with the enemy". This is a new podcast on board wargames presented by Martin Burke and Paul Glenn.

The content so far has been in depth discussion of wargames, so far the games covered are Hannibal: Rome v Carthage, Here I Stand, Up Front and Attack Sub. This is very useful if you are looking to buy or already play one of these games. For me it is likely to mean that I tend to listen to only a proportion of the episodes as I don't always have time to listen to content about games of marginal interest to me.

Like most new amateur podcasts the technical quality has been a bit rough as they are needing to record with Skype as the two presenters are in different regions of the USA. I think this will improve with time and experience, but it can make parts of the speech unclear. The downloads are pretty smooth and the podcast is available through iTunes.

This is a useful podcast for players of board wargames and I would recommend trying it even though technically it still needs work.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Creating C&C Character part #4 Knight

I went with physical rather than mental primes as a warrior knight rather than a courtier.

Character Name: Owain Llandwyr
Rank/Position/Concept: Minor nobles' son
Sex: Male
Species: Human (Tharbrian)
Homeland: CSIO
Age: 19
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 150lbs
Colour of - Hair: Black Eyes: Pale Blue Skin: Ruddy
Appearance: Tall, slim, Athletic
Clothing: armour and green cloak, unarmoured white shirt, black trousers and boots
Demeanour: Energetic, commanding, arrogant
Martial glory - Owain longs to be spoken of in the bards' songs
Father's approval - as an unwise youth Owain has recieved much approbrium from his father and seeks redress

As the youngest son of the laird of the hamlet of Bridale Owain sought adventure joining the Knights of the Pegasus to protect travellers on the Rorystone Road knowing his 3 brothers would be ahead of him for inheritance. As a junior knight he has been sent from Haghill to find out what is happening in Winkdale with the priests of Nepthlys sending Alwyn to represent them fearing disruption of the valuable lead mining around Gaehill.

Cumail Llandower, laird of Bridale - father Fighter 2?
Jovan Mizic, commander of the Knights of the Pegasus in Haghill (only an area commander - l3-4 Knight most likely)
Lodrin - NPC from Gaehill - captain of guard

Class: Knight Level: 1 XP: 0

Stats / Skills & Saves, inc +6 Prime bonus:
Str 14 (+1)/P (+8)
Dex 12 (+0)/ (+1)
Con 8 (-1)/P (+6)
Int 11 (+0)/(+1)
Wis 8 (-1)/(+0)
Cha 15 (+1)/ P (+8)

GP 19 SP 6 CP 4
Prime Characteristics: Charisma, Strength, Constitution

Background, Race & Profession:
HP: 4
AC: 15 (+4 scale, +1 Shield)
Class Abilities: Horsemanship, Inspire

Large wooden shield
Leather Coif

Heavy Lance +1 1D8+1
Broadsword +1 2D4+1
Dagger +1 1D4+1
Shortbow +0 1D6

Riding horse 'Shadow', tack and saddle
Shortbow, 20 Arrows in case
Signet ring and sealing wax
1 weeks rations
Armour and weapon oil
High boots
Small belt pouch
bandages (4 wounds)
Hooded lantern
5 flasks oil
1 weeks horse fodder

Creating C&C Character part #3 Rogue

A Rogue where I went with the prime on intelligence because of the class skills linked to it, which would have been a reason for also selecting Wisdom, but I decided on Constitution to match my concept of a hardy peasant background.

Character Name: Meurig Parry
Rank/Position/Concept: Servant to Owain LLandwyr
Sex: Male
Species: Human (Tharbrian)
Homeland: CSIO
Age: 22
Height: 5'7"
Weight: 150lbs
Colour of - Hair: Brown Eyes: Brown Skin: Ruddy
Appearance: non descript
Clothing: leather armour/jerkin, green shirt, brown breeches and brown leather boots
Demeanour: Meurig is cheeful with a tendency to mutter under his breath,
Earn money not to have to toil in the fields like his family
Send money back for family to own their farm

Servant from the household of Cumail Llandower, sent with Owain to redeem himself after found stealing apples, Meurig is a quick wittted, but foolish individual that grew up as a peasant's son and managed to get himself hired as a servant rather than being stuck in the fields. For being suspected as the culprit of some petty household thieving Meurig was sent out into the wilds with Owain as his servant.

Brydon Stone - thieves' guild master in Gaehill and fence

Class: Rogue Level: 1 XP: 0

Stats / Skills & Saves, inc +6 Prime bonus: .
Str 10 (+0)/(+1)
Dex 14 (+1)/P (+8)
Con 10 (+0)/P (+6)
Int 12 (+0)/P(+8)
Wis 6 (-1)/(+0)
Cha 11 (+0)/ (+1)
GP 4 SP - CP -
Prime Characteristics: Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence

Class skills: Back Attack, Cant, Climb, Decipher script, Hide, Listen, Move Silently, Open Lock, Pick Pocket, Traps
Background, Race & Profession:
HP: 2
AC: 13 (+2 Leather, +1 Dex)


Club +0 1D6
Sling +1 1D6 50ft
Dagger +0 1D4 10ft

Rogues tools
Flint & steel
Small belt pouch
50 ft hemp rope
5 spikes
1 weeks rations

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Gaming Podcast review 13 The Games The Thing

Lucky thirteen is going to be The Games The Thing.

This is a fairly long running podcast, though it has not had the sheer frequency of production that some of the other long running shows have, but 30+ episodes in 2 years is pretty frequent. There is a tendency to split shows by content, so there are RPG and boardgames episodes. This probably is good for listeners as it means that they are not forced to skip or listen to content that they are not interested in.

The two regular hosts at the moment are Ron and Veronica Blessing, but there are plenty of additional contributors and interviews in the podcasts. I tend to be more interested in the RPG podcasts, though there is a bit of a bias towards the Savage Worlds game. Well with some podcasts you sometimes feel that the presenters are married, here they are for sure! I've liked the roundtable feature of the reviews as it helps to hear a range of opinions and brings out more points in the discussion. Listening to the interview with Dave Blewer about the Sundered Skies setting has made me interested in both that setting and Savage Worlds now, so it can be guilty for hurting my wallet.

Most of the episodes I've heard have been clear and easy to listen to, including what I suspect have been interviews using Skype so this passes muster.

I like this podcast and will be picking up the episodes that contain the content I'm interested in on a pretty regular basis now. This podcast is highly recommended to players of Savage Worlds as it looks like one of the top sources for interviews and discussion of this game.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Creating C&C Character part #2

This proved to be a much quicker exercise than the Conan characters, as there was not the need to work out all the skills and feats for the characters and this is why I managed to get 4 done in only a few days.

This character is a cleric, as the Wilderlands setting has a huge number of possible go ds it took me sometime to decide which one he should follow. In the end I had a concept that made me choose Nephtlys, goddess of wealth. Unlike 3e D&D there is no need to identify the domains of the god though it is nice to have appropriate spells as I don't see a cleric of Poseidon having too many flame spells.

The tricky part with C&C characters tends to be identifying which attributes to make primes, which is in some ways harder with humans as you are able to have two more on top of the class prime. With characters with less high quality stats there is no longer the desire to min-max by putting all the primes on attributes with positive bonuses and this could lead to better characterisation and role play. In this case I've gone with Intelligence as a prime, despite it being a poor stat to reflect a shrewd if unintelligent character.

The character concept as being more of a talkative priest rather than a warrior priest means I've made the three primes on the mental stats of intelligence, wisdom and charisma for this character.

Character Name: Alwyn
Rank/Position/Concept: Acolyte (trainee) cleric of Nephtlys.
Sex: Male
Species: Human (Alryan)
Homeland: CSIO (Haghill)
Age: 20
Height: 5'9"
Weight: 170lbs
Colour of - Hair: Black Eyes: Brown Skin: Ruddy
Appearance: Portly, unremarkable appearance, scar on left hand
Clothing: In town Alwyn wears the green robes of the priests of Nephtlys, while travelling usually he wears his armour more openly due to the dangers of the Rorystone Road.
Demeanour: Gregarious, talkative,
Wealth, spreading the worship of Nephtlys, encouraging merchants and trade, becoming rich

Growing up as the son of a merchant in Haghill with its frequent visits from the caravans trading between the City State and Thunderhold Alwyn regarded trade and wealth as important and he became an acolyte of the temple of Nephtlys goddess of wealth as a teenager. He regards growing wealthy and acquiring its trappings as important making money from tithes from merchants, selling healing and other spells to other parties and acting as a scribe. He has spent much time talking to travellers and joining caravans on their way to the City State and back before being sent north to Gaehill to investigate the rumours about Orc raids by Tilya, priestess Nephtlys at Haghill.

At the tavern at Gaehill he found himself joining Durren Bury and Owain LLandwyr with their similar missions to investigate happenings at Winkdale, he has joined them knowing that his skills are not in combat, but in negotiation and that Orcs may be hard to talk into trading pacts.

Contacts: Ranald Stark, merchant in Gaehill.

Class: Cleric Level: 1 XP: 0

Stats / Skills & Saves, inc +6 Prime bonus:
Str 9 (+0)/ (+1)
Dex 11 (+0)/ (+1)
Con 12 (+0)/ (+1)
Int 6 (-1)/P(+6)
Wis 15 (+1)/P(+8)
Cha 12 (+0)/P (+7)

GP 3 SP 2 CP -

Prime Characteristics: Wisdom, Intelligence, Charisma

Languages: Common, Alryan
Background, Race & Profession: Priest of Nephtlys, goddess of wealth
HP: 1
AC: 14 (+3 Ring, +1 Large shield)
Class abilities: Spells, turn undead

Spells per day: 0: 3, 1: 2, 2: 0, 3: 0, 4: 0

Spells known:
Level 0: First aid, purify food and drink, detect magic
Level 1: Cure light wounds,
Level 2:
Level 3:
Level 4:

Armour: Ring Mail, Large shield, Normal helm
Weapons: Heavy mace +0 1D8
Quarterstaff +0 1D6
Silver holy symbol
Soft boots
Hooded Lantern
4 flasks oil
8oz ink
10 sheets parchment
Scroll case
1 weeks rations
2 bottles common wine

Sunday, May 25, 2008

All the boardgames I own part 2

To continue my earlier post

  1. Flight Leader - Modern air combat, one that I haven't played all that much with the advanced rules, but I remember the importance of fuel conservation for many aircraft. Probably one that I will break out again sometime.
  2. Red Baron - WWI Air Combat game from the Wargamer magazine. One that I liked playing and a decent rather than outstanding game. Air combat is always tricky to simulate in 2d, but I prefer these earlier periods where the slower speeds and lower capabilities of the aircraft make it easier to deal with.
  3. Sticks and Stones - Another Metagaming microgame, stone age man in combat This contains a solo scenario for a mammoth hunt and I'll look at doing a review on this one some time both for a solitaire game and a
  4. Metric Mile - a game that I really like both as a game per se and as a simulation of my favourite event from track and field athletics the mile/1,500 metres race. This is a really good game that I have reviewed at Boardgamegeek and as a former miler myself I can say that I feel it is a good simulation. Lambourne Games have released a follow up game, but I've not had the chance to play that so I'll have to reserve judgement.
  5. One Page Bulge - one of Steve Jackson Games' earliest releases, a straightforward WWII game with the rules fitting on one sheet of 8.5" x 11" paper. An easy to play little game, but not a classic given the constraints.
  6. Up Front - the Squad Leader card game as it was called, though unlike SL or ASL it really is squad level with individuals in a squad being controlled. It works really well and provides plenty of challenges even to experienced players due to the randomness from the card drawing mechanism. Probably got the cover artwork that I least like to be seen with though.
  7. Banzai - expansion one for Up Front brings in the British and Japanese and a set of new scenarios allowing US Marines v Japanese games where the USMC have a distinct set of differences from the regular US army squad in the regular game. Of course I mainly bought it to be able to play the Brits.
  8. Desert War - the second Up Front expansion brings in the French and Italians. Neither is that effective, but for me it was nice to get the game and all the expansions.
  9. Mythos - well as I've included Up Front, I'm going to include other card games. This is the original game that broke Chaosium and I did actually like it, but obviously didn't buy enough boosters so that there were an awful lot left unsold till late on with this game.
  10. Munchkin - Another Steve Jackson Game, this is an entertaining 'beer and prezels' game, but wouldn't be one that I would want to play every week. I've had my copy signed by John Kovalic, but this is far from unusual ;) - a reflection of how willing John is to sign stuff at conventions rather than a bad thing.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Gaming Podcast review 12: Bacchus miniatures

This is a podcast from Peter Berry of Bacchus Miniatures though he does include other contributors and other manufacturer's products as well as his own 6mm miniatures and rules. Not forgetting a word from Igor.

So far there have only been 3 episodes with the most recent in January 2008. The content does include a fair amount of discussion of UK wargames shows which is interesting to me, particularly hearing the traders' perspective. There have also been some thought provoking discussions of areas with gaming like the new ranges of 40mm figures being released, which actually inspired me to make an earlier post on my blog. The reviews of other products are useful and tied into ones which will support Bacchus' ranges for understandable reasons. At around 30-40 minutes long I think this is a decent length podcast and doesn't struggle to fill time like some others.

Sound quality is nice and clear and I've found downloading from the Bacchus website easy.

I'll certainly go back for later episodes of this of this podcast

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Creating Castles & Crusades Character #1

Well for a PbP game I've ended up needing to create 4 characters with the GM using the 3d6 in order method for the character's statistics, this gives much lower rolls than the usual D&D /D20 games where 4d6 dropping lowest has long been the norm. These characters are for the Judges Guild Wilderlands of High Fantasy setting.

With this character the class prime was intelligence and I selected strength and dexterity as matching my 'agile fighter' type concept. My biggest worry was really the low constitution as it is tough for a fighter to be on low numbers of hit points. I suspect that this party will use a lot of ranged combat till they hit second level at least.

The first of my 4 characters follows:
Character Name: Durren Bury
Rank/Position/Concept: Human scout/Orc hunter
Sex: Male
Species: Human (Dunael)
Homeland: CSIO Dearthwood
Age: 23
Height: 5' 6"
Weight: 135 lbs
Colour of - Hair: Brown Eyes: Hazel Skin: Olive
Appearance: slender,
Clothing: Grey broad brimmed hat, Green cloak, Grey shirt, Brown breeches and boots. Wooden shield
Demeanour: Taciturn, studious
As a Dunael Durren's mission is to help protect the humans and other communities of the Dearthwood from the Orcs and other chaos creatures to maintain order in the Roglaras and keep the City State safe from attacks.

Personally Durren seeks to learn more magic finding new spells to bring back to his mentor Scriabin the wizard at his tower in the deep woods. Durren yearns to become more capable as a wizard and be able to use the powerful spells that he has read about.

Durren grew up in the huge forests of the Dearthwood learning how to fight the Orcs of the Purple Claw and help preserve the forest from their incursions. He started learning his trade as a warrior with the rangers of the Dunael, but his sickly constitution made it hard for him to fight and march as well as his comrades. Tracking an orc warparty into a little visited part of the forest his band found the orcs attacking a tower. From the window slits bolts of energy could be seen streaking out to injure orcs as well as arrows and darts fired by the defenders. Despite this the orcs were battering at the door with a fallen tree and looked likely to break in. The rangers formed themselves and attacked the foul creatures from behind, killing many before the survivors fled. The owner of the tower, the wizard Scriabin, thanked the rangers and let them make camp at the tower.

Talking to the wizard Durren was invited to stay as his aptitude for magic was obvious to the Wizard, since then he has learnt to read and some simple magic while maintaining his combat skills by hunting and defending Scriabin's tower for the last 3 years. He has left to head to Winkdale as Scriabin has heard rumours about the orc attacks and suspects there being more than just normal raiding behind it.

Contacts: Wizard Scriabin - magical mentor

Class: Spellsword Level: 1 XP: 0

Stats / Skills & Saves, inc +6 Prime bonus: (eg a 3rd level character's 16P stat is 16/+11).
Str 13 (+1)/P (+8)
Dex 13 (+1)/P (+8)
Con 6 (-1)/ (+0)
Int 16 (+2)/P (+9)
Wis 6 (-1)/(+0)
Cha 11 (+0)/(+1)

Prime Characteristics: Intelligence, Strength, Dexterity

Background, Race & Profession: Dunael
HP: 4
AC: 15 (+3 Studded Leather, +1 Shield, +1 Dex)
Weapons Specialisation: Longsword

Wealth: GP: 7 SP 2 CP -
Languages: Common, Dunael, Orc, Elvish
Spells Known:
Level 0: Dancing Lights, Prestidigitation
Level 1:
Level 2:
Level 3:

Armour: Studded Leather, Leather Coif, Shield
Longsword +2 1D8+1
Sling +1 1D4+1 50 ft
2 Javelin +1 1D6+1 30 ft
Dagger +1 1D4+1
Heavy boots
Broad brimmed hat
Small pouch
Map/scroll case
10 pieces parchment
8oz ink
Rations (1 week)
2 flasks (1 ale)
4 torches
50 ft Hemp rope
2 small sacks
hooded lantern
2 pints oil

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

So what else to review?

I've got a few more podcast reviews lined up, but looking further ahead does anyone want a particular podcast reviewed. If so please add it as a comment to this post.

Reviews lined up:
Bacchus Miniatures podcast
Dateline Jasoom
The Game's The Thing
Contact with the enemy

Monday, May 19, 2008

All the Boardgames I own Part 1

Well, it may be lazy blogging as well as lazy journalism to just produce lists, but here we go anyway. Actually incorporating my comments makes this a much bigger exercise than a simple list would be. I've included collectable card games as well as they are often looked at in a similar light.

  1. Squad Leader - one of the first serious wargames I bought back in the late 1970s and one that I've played large numbers of times, though much more on the Ostfront scenarios as it was always easier to lay them out unlike some of the Western Front scenarios with boards end to end. The real level of course is more like company/battalion leader, but the actual name is catchier.
  2. Cross of Iron - Squad Leader gamette no 1. The eastern front revisited with the Axis minor nations, SS, much more detailed armour rules and huge numbers of armour and ordnance counters. More of a tankies' game than the original, but still largely an infantry commanders game.
  3. Crescendo of Doom - Squad Leader gamette no 2. The early war and British, this also includes the French, Finns and Allied minor nations. Not played as much as the other two due to rules complexity and time pressures as I started working.
  4. OGRE - now onto the little stuff, the first Metagaming microgame I bought. Probably one of the most played games that I own too as it is quick to set up and play and simple to teach a new player.
  5. GEV - The follow up game to OGRE that allowed a lot more variety of terrain and units with many scenarios having regular armour and infantry on both sides to fight it out.
  6. Ambush - I've already written a bit about this game, the level really is Squad Level as your US recon unit takes on the Germans.
  7. Black Hole - another Metagaming Microgame and very enjoyable as two sides fight it out for a donut shaped (ring) asteroid with a black hole contained in the centre by alien technology.
  8. Football Strategy - one very heavily played game and very much about the players trying to outguess each other as this game has some of the lowest amount of die rolling of any game I own.
  9. Baseball Strategy - another sports game that is highly abstracted and an enjoyable game because of it, there are more variables than in Football Strategy so it is even trickier at times to call the pitch and batting attempts.
  10. Backgammon - the copy I have is a promotional travel set that I got with Hugo Boss aftershave a couple of years ago. An enjoyable game for when I'm not up against more hardcore gamers.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Gaming Podcast review 11 Point 2 Point

Point 2 Point is a board wargaming podcast, I feel that I need to make the point that it is based on boardgames as my reviews are including miniatures wargames podcasts as well.

Well this is very much a wargames podcast, with a bit of emphasis on the competitive as well as social side. The content includes other contributors now, with ASLSK fan reviewing air wargames in some of the recent episodes I've listened to. The two regular presenters Jason and Scott have a good interplay and this has really stimulated my interest in getting back to gaming with board wargames again.

The show pretty regularly features interviews with these having included Don Greenwood, formerly of Avalon Hill, and these are always a highlight of podcasts for me. These episodes with interviews tend to be my favoured ones, though sometimes the reviews or discussions feature games I'm particularly interested in. One nice thing is the amount of times the discussion of games are clearly based on good playing experience.

I've found that the technical quality is pretty good and this is not an issue with the show or the file size.

This is a podcast that I will listen to regularly, but probably not every episode as some of the convention reports are not all that relevant to me in the UK.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Updated Podcasts

Well of my favoured podcasts the following have been updated: Horror on the Orient Express episode 27 is now out

Meeples and Miniatures - episode 32 in two parts

Dial P for Pulp - episode 7

Cthulhu podcast has reached episode 17 which is now available from its new site

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Musings on miniatures scales

Listening to Peter Berry of Bacchus Miniatures blog has made me think a bit about figure scales for wargames. I remember starting with Airfix 1/72 and 1/32 scale plastics and Britains' 54mm Deetail figures before looking at metal figures. With metals it was mainly Miniature Figurines (Minifigs) 25mm and 15mm and Lamming and Garrison 25mm, mainly for medievals or fantasy.

The 25mm from those days look tiny compared to today's 28mm+ figures. For example the Reaper fantasy range that I like a lot has a real compatibility problem with my old fantasy figures from Minifigs and Ral Partha. The jump to 40mm could just be seen as the evolutionary path from the growing 28mm (many really 30mm+ in reality) ranges.

I think that Peter Berry is right about the growth of the military modeller approach to the hobby, though it was always present to a degree as the wargaming and military modelling hobbies have always overlapped to a great degree. The nice aspects in wargaming have been better miniatures in terms of detail and design, vastly improved terrain at shows and so on, but it can be a bit of a deterrent to newcomers who see all these things and wonder how they can ever do it. It also tends to imply much more time on the painting and collecting side rather than playing games which is ultimately what the hobby is really about.

One attraction of board games and block games has to be the lack of time that needs to be devoted to making the figures and terrain ready to game with, but I think clubs need to be able to accept armies of undercoated figures being used if it means players game more regularly. At least that is my feeling on this.

I'll be posting a review of Peter's podcasts soon, but might wait for a couple more to be released.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Gaming Podcast Review 10 2d6 Feet in a Random Direction

Gaming podcast review 10 2d6 Feet in a Random Direction

2d6 Feet in a Random Direction is a multi-genre game podcast covering RPG, boardgames and minatures gaming. It has been going since July 2006, making it pretty well established and coming up to its second anniversary soon. There are two regular hosts: Brian Isikoff and Chris Hanrahan.

The content has a mixture of discussion of games, including one thing that I love which is reviews, gaming news and occasional interviews with games designers and other industry insiders. There is a good interplay between the regular hosts though I have to confess to finding their voices a little similar at times. There is a good proportion of the talk given to discussion of games and reviews and its interesting to have the retailer's perspective from Chris Hanrahan.

I've found the 64kbits version that I download is clear and easy to listen to and I've not really had any issues with clarity on these shows, including where there are guests as well as the regular presenters.

I like this show a lot and it has gone onto my list of preferred listening. After all how could I not like a podcast named after a Warhammer FRP critical?

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Gaming Podcast Review 9 All Games Considered

Gaming podcast review 9 All Games Considered

All Games Considered or AGC is another of the longer running gaming podcasts, it has a fairly wide range including RPG, wargames and boardgames, but is largely concentrated on RPG. There are a number of regular hosts, with the main ones being Mark Kinney, Chris Heim, Ben Balestra, and Carol. There are rarely more than three hosts present at one time which can avoid the 'who is this talking' syndrome with large numbers of hosts.

AGC has a number of regular segments including Games you may never have heard of; Gaming for cheap bastards; and these do help to structure the shows. Gaming for cheap bastards covers the various free systems available on the internet and this is interesting as there are some very in-depth reviews included in it. Games you may never of heard of is very interesting though there have been a few things in there that I had heard of (advantages of being a grognard).

I've found that the audio quality is pretty high and there is little trouble in hearing all the presenters clearly.

AGC is an entertaining show with a good level of content to the chat among the usual podcasts. It will probably not join my regular listening list as I've got limited amounts of time to listen and it doesn't have as much wargames content as I would like. I will still tend to pick up episodes for specific content though. It is worth checking out to see if it matches your requirements.