Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mammoth Steaks & Bronto Burgers

It was many years ago that I first became aware of Tusk, a set of miniature rules written by Matthew Hartley. It was the tag line 'Mammoth Hunting from 12,000 BC to 1914 AD' that caught my eye and made me want to learn more about these rules that were designed to portray prehistoric hunts. I was intrigued. I mean how cool would it be to have a group of cavemen hunt mammoth?

Then back in June this year I came across a review of Tusk on The Ooh Shiny Complex blog. This again got me interested and I was excited to learn that the rules also included Victorian hunters and dinosaurs.

Well, just today I saw a post on Tim's Wargaming Stuff blog where he talks about using the rules for a Star Wars-themed hunting party of Tusken Raiders. He even included a link to the rules at Wargame Vault where you can download the pdf version of the rules for US$4.95.

I'd felt I'd put off purchasing these rules for too long and the little voice inside my head was telling me that I hadn't purchased much gaming material this year. So I made a quick trip to Wargame Vault, input my credit card details and downloaded the rules.

Here's the blurb on the rules:

Tusk is the widely acclaimed set of Mammoth hunting rules written by Matthew (Aeronef, Scudbusters) Hartley.

Tusk includes rules for cavemen hunting mammoths using stone age weapons, fire, dogs and also heroes called Og! The mammoths are controlled by a reaction table so Tusk makes for an excellent solo game as well as one played by two or more players (whether in competition to get the mammoths or in co-operation).

Beyond mammoths, Tusk also includes rules for pre-historic beasts to allow you to recreate Hollywood-esque cavemen versus dinosaur battles.

Additional rules allow you to include Victorian adventurers who discover beasts from forgotten ages on distant plateau in South America or Central Asia.

I'm sure I've got some plastic mammoth and dinosaur models around here somewhere...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Epic Heroscape battle

I was looking after the kids today while my wife was working. Maddie has been bugging me to play HeroScape for a while now so we decided that today would be the day. Coincidentally it's been just about one year to the week since we last played. Also coincidentally I faced the same opponents across the table the last time we played; my 9 year old daughter Maddie and family friend 9 year old Jackson. They beat me last time but would I have my revenge this time?

My opponents - Maddie & Jackson

Maddie organised their armies the previous evening. We had decided on armies with a maximum point value of 600. She took Raelin the Kyrie Warrior, Kelda the Kyrie Warrior, Jorhdawn, Chardris, Warriors of Ashra and Fyorlag Spiders x4 (600 points). Jackson's army consisted of Charos, Sonlen, Ulginesh and Venoc Vipers x2 (600 points). I was very impressed with her army creation skills.

I ran two armies. The first consisted of Tor-Kul-Na, Ne-Gok-Sa, Grok Riders, Marro Drudge x2 and Marrden Nagrubs x2 (600 points). My second army was made up of Taelord the Kyrie Warrior, Deathwalker 8000, Krug & Mimring (580 points).

Each army had an artifact glyph sitting on its base line. Victory would be achieved by either of two ways. Either totally wipe out the opposing army, or grab the opponents glyph and throw it into the well in the middle of the raised tower in the centre of the board. The first team to achieve either of these objectives would be declared the winner.

The view from my side at the start

The view from my opponents' side at the start

My strategy was to get Deathwalker 8000 to the top of the central tower and snipe the enemy. As they focused on the threat in the centre I would use my fast moving Grok Riders and Marrden Nagrubs to race down the flanks to threaten their artifact. Meanwhile my heavy hitters like Tor-Kul-Na and Krug would move down the sides for support while I left Mimring the dragon guarding my own artifact.

This strategy worked fairly well and Deathwalker 8000 was able to pick off several enemy. His downfall came when the mighty dragon Charos flew to the top of the tower and destroyed him a few turns later. The fighting was fierce and due to my fast moving attacks the battles were all on my opponents' side of the board. During the entire game they never did make it on to my side.

There were many ferocious battles. Brave warriors fell on both sides. At one point one of my Marrden Nagrubs grabbed my opponents' artifact and headed back to the central tower. The fighting was fierce but in the end I prevailed and totally destroyed both their armies.

Krug and Taelord attack the two Elven Mages, Jorhdawn and Chardris

I have to say I didn't pull any punches and was playing to win. However, every turn I gave Maddie and Jackson advice on their options and tips on tactics. I wanted them to learn the game as well as give me a challenge. When I gave them options and explained the tactics they invariably chose the best moves. After a while I didn't have to tell them to look for terrain height advantage or remember to use their character's special abilities or any other tips. In the end they were conspiring and even asked me to leave the room on occasions so they could assess the battlefield and make plans.

It was a great game and we all had fun. They even helped me pack everything away...with a little persuasion.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The eve of battle

The jungle is quiet this evening.

Tomorrow morning these ruins will echo with the sounds of battle. Weapons will be clashed, magic will be wielded and blood will be spilled.

From the chaos of combat one side will emerge victorious...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Saxon Stories - 5

Today I start the next book in the Saxon Stories, The Burning Land by Bernard Cornwell. This is the fifth and latest book in the series and was published in 2009. I hope Mr Cornwell is set to release the sixth book soon.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Legend of the West

I just had to record that today was the day I achieved the final trophy of the Red Dead Redemption video game. As a result of this I was awarded the 'Legend of the West' Platinum Trophy. This is a Playstation 3 trophy specific to this console and is unlocked when all other trophies have been earned, excluding downloadable content (DLC) trophies.
"You've become a true legend of the west!"

I'm quite chuffed as this is also my first ever Platinum Trophy. However, there are still further trophies that have been released with downloadable content for this game so the trophy hunting will continue.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mop & Bucket

I found a package from my brother in the mailbox this afternoon. It was an unexpected package and on opening it I found it contained a black 100% cotton t-shirt. When I held the t-shirt up I recognised that it was a Mop & Bucket clan t-shirt!

You see, when I got my PS3 back in May this year my brother invited me to join the PS3 gamer clan of which he is a member - the Mop & Bucket clan. A clan (or guild) is group of players who play online games together. The Mop & Bucket clan have members from all around Australia and they are a great bunch of guys and gals.

The front of the t-shirt has the M&B logo

The back of the t-shirt has the M&B motto and is personalised with my PSN username DocShatgun.

I just wanted to say "thanks Bro!", it was a pleasant surprise and I'll wear it with pride. It's my shout next time you're in Brisbane.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hordes of the Things rules available for free download

Hordes of the Things is a set of fast play fantasy miniature wargame rules designed by Phil Barker, Sue Laflin Barker and Richard Bodley Scott. These rules are based on the concepts of the popular De Bellis Antiquitatis (usually known as DBA) rule set.

On his website Phil Barker has made the HOTT rules available for free download. He writes:

Some time in 2009, these rules went out-of-print and the copyright reverted to the three authors. They are now unavailable from any supplier I have been able to find. I have consulted Phil and Richard and we are agreed that until it is possible to publish a new edition of HOTT, we will make it available at this website. Anyone who wishes to play HOTT, has our permission to download a single copy of HOTT version 2 for his/her personal use. (Also page 23, sorry for the omission. I'll redo the whole thing soon. )

The rules are available via the links above or go to Phil's site and click on the History of W.R.G. link at the top of the page. The HOTT rules are about half-way down the page. Don't forget to download the separate page 23.

I already own a published set of these rules and have a few Lord of the Rings-inspired 15mm armies in various stages of completion. This is a rules set that I've read and admire and I intend on playing in the future. I don't know when I'll get around to playing but it's definitely on my 'to do' list.

Check them out.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Still even more westerns

My interest in westerns continues unabated with these recent viewings.

"Badges? We ain't got no badges. We don't need no badges! I don't have to show you any stinkin' badges!" - 'Gold Hat' played by Alfonso Bedoya - The Treasue of the Sierra Madre (1948).