Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Traveller5 and Star Wars Edge of the Empire

I have been continuing the preparation of both the American and German forces for my 15mm D-Day games for Flames of War and as far as gaming goes I played a game of X-Wing Miniatures Game from Fantasy Flight Games.

But the bulk of this post is going to be something a little different. I purchased two rpg games recently namely Traveller5 and Star Wars: Edge of the Empire and though I have yet to read them cover to cover I will give a first impressions of both games being a long time player of Traveller since the original black box set and a Star Wars fan in general with some gaming experience going back to the West End Games edition.

First though modelling and games. Work continues on the German forces with the painting of a German 10.5 battery and I pulled out the airbrush again to put some camo on my StuG's and Tiger tanks. For the US I put together a spotter plane and will next finish off the bases for the infantry. I am trying to get enough paint on the figures that I don't mind putting them on the table! Pictures to follow next time. As far as getting in more D-Day games it may be early fall just judging by everyone's summer schedule but we will try to get at least one in before that.

The X-Wing game was another nail biter of a game. I played against Tristan and commanded the forces of order(The Empire) against the rebel scum. I had 2 TIE's, an Advanced TIE and a Firespray-31 against 2 X-Wings and a Y-Wing. This was a 100pt engagement and we played a straight up fight to the death. We closed quickly and after a good bit of dogfighting the Empire saved the galaxy from anarchy. Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures of the fight but it was a good game, I lost 2 TIE's and the others were both heavily damaged before the last rebel was blasted.

So the rpg games, I have played rpg's quite a long time though I don't play that frequently now but I do collect quite a few(ask my wife) mostly because I like reading the backgrounds and the game mechanics, it's what I like to read to relax, sort of like reading a novel.

First up, being the order I bought them, is the Star Wars Edge of the Empire game by Fantasy Flight Games. 

Initial impression: a very nice looking book, high quality full colour paper and binding, nice art work, table of contents and index. The book reads well, I haven't read it cover to cover but I have skimmed enough that I could easily play the game. The book is laid out well and logically so that you can read from page 1 to 443 or jump around a bit like I do and still understand the flow of the game. The game is backed up on FFG's website with downloadable character sheets and a few other things and the GM screen is out as well. One downside is that is uses custom dice so you either have to buy them, download the dice roller app or use regular dice with the numbers representing the different effects-and I don't think that would work very well.

Now for Traveller5.

The book is huge at 656 pages and seems to have everything in it. It is well bound and printed on high quality white paper with black print. I liked the cover as it looks like the traditional Traveller covers but my wife said it looks like a math text. Ok, so I was excited to see this book but I am a little disappointed. There is a table of contents but no index-656 pages with no index, come on. The art varies from some nice clean drawings to art that has been used since the 80's and is showing the age(and a robot drawing that looks like it belongs in a steampunk book not a hard sci-fi game). It doesn't read well and is broken up with pages of charts, acronyms galore which you have to keep finding the meaning for and some which are just plain dumb and/or unnecessary. The core game mechanics seem good and solid but there seems to be a lot of stuff put in because...well just because. I also can't find some things like character sheets on line or downloadable world map pages which would be very useful. I really like the world building chapter and the ability to build anything with the chapters GunMaker, ArmorMaker and VehicleMaker but would have liked to have seen a better section on predesigned guns, armor and ships.

Now I know FFG had more money to sink into this but it is not the physical quality of the book I am put off by which is top notch it's the lack of clear organization. I want to like Traveller5 but I am excited to play Star Wars and Traveller5...well I will make up a character, build a world and maybe, just maybe give it a try with some people that love Traveller.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

D-Day Begins

The D-Day preparations continue but enough has been done to start the fight!

I played a Flames of War game with my son Tristan. This was unrelated to D-Day and was more to get Tristan re-acquainted with the rules and also his first full size battle at 1500pts.

And he did quite well. He played a US armoured company from the book Blood, Guts and Glory while I used a Panzergrenadier company. He managed to hold up one flank and push onto the objective on the other flank for the win.

The other FOW game I played was for the world wide D-Day campaign, Operation Overlord, being run by WWPD (What Would Patton Do).

Here I commanded a Grenadier company against a US airborne company commanded by Chet and Tristan in the Seize and Hold scenario. Having never played the scenario before I made a few tactical errors in set up. The game played quite long as the fighting bogged down over an objective around some bocage. After a few turns of some high attrition assaults the US were able to push the Germans away from the objective for the win.

Other games I played were a few games of Forbidden Island and a game of X-Wing. We managed to win the co-op game of Forbidden Island while I lost the X-Wing game to Shawn though the game was quite tight with only one ship left on the board at the end. Some rule errors were made during the game though and a rematch is in order!

A few pictures of the first FOW battle followed by a short battle report of the airborne landing.

The US armoured company.

German Panzergrenadiers

End of turn 1. The StuGs and Shermans at the top of the picture ended up trading shots all game without destroying a single vehicle.

From the POV of the US M10's on the ridge, 1 Panther goes up.

The P-47 harasses the Panthers in the town.

And another Panther gone.

The StuGs and Shermans still slugging it out.

Near the end, the P-47 has taken out the infantry on the objective and the US armoured platoon moves in for the win.

 D-Day Battle Report.

The US airborne forces using the full Easy Company rules.

The German Grenadier company.

The battlefield with Carentan on the right.

Turn 2. US has entered with1 platoon occupying the lower field and 2 platoons coming through the bocage on the upper right. The Germans occupy the town with 3 grenadier platoons and some AA guns. The objectives are in the white building near the centre of the board and the other 1 is in the bocage by the tree line.

The US approach the town and take some fire, it is still dark. The red die is marking the platoon that fired giving away their position.

The US are nearing the objective in the bocage, no German reserves have come in yet.

The 1st of the German reserves come in behind the advancing paras who turn around. Meanwhile more US glider troops show up near the Germans. Note: here is one of my big set up errors. I had the mortar platoon held in reserve thinking they would be coming in on my side of the board and then read the reserve rule for the scenario and realized I had no side of the board and they would come in on a random location.

The beginning of the contest for the objective. The Germans move out of the town to stop the paras from controlling the objective.

Finally my reserves are all in. The Tigers are trying to double time it to get into the fight before it is too late while the P-47 tries bombing them. My AA guns cover their advance.

More Germans are thrown in as the HMG platoon moves into position.

After fighting off numerous assaults from the airborne the Germans are getting too thin.

And finally they have had enough! The US wins a Major Victory.