Thursday 22 January 2015

Rocket Science

I think, in general war-gamers don’t like it when non-wargaming stuff appears on wargaming blogs. Please keep on reading. This is wargaming-related in a strange way.

After play-testing Aaron Overton’s ruleset WarEngine a couple of days ago, which took about three hours, Krüger stayed for dinner. We went to the supermarket and bought a Czech Budweiser for Marjorie, a non-alcoholic beer for me and an artificially flavored yoghurt drink for Krüger. It came in a large white plastic bottle.

My son Hendrik tried the yoghurt drink and enjoyed it so much that it became his favorite drink that night. After dinner Hendrik asked Krüger to build a rocket for him. This is the result:

scratch built rocket

Then Hendrik asked about an astronaut for the rocket. I said that it is possible to make astronauts from the cardboard they had used to make parts of the rocket. I said I could do this, but that we should postpone the project, as it was already getting late. Krüger said that I was bragging in front of my children and that only a genius could make a figure out of cardboard that resembled a human being. He said: „You already have difficulties making human figures out of green stuff.“

This reminded me of another situation. A couple of years ago, Krüger and I were sitting at our kitchen table. Krüger was painting space marines and I was sculpting two horses.

green stuff horse 2

Janitz, one of Marjorie’s friends, who had come over to see her, asked if I had sculpted the space marines. Krüger replied: „No! Of course not. If Karl had sculpted the space marines, he would be a genius.“ (Please keep in mind that Krüger isn’t four years old like my son.)

Now, I don’t think a lot of people would consider me a genius if I could make space marines from cardboard, but somehow I’m tempted to do this now. It would gain me the respect of Krüger and Hendrik, I guess.

Sunday 18 January 2015

Play-Testing WarEngine v 3.0.1

orc warband

Aaron Overton, the author of WarEngine, is currently play-testing version 3 of his rules. You can contact him through his WarEngine Yahoo Group.

WarEngine is a generic skirmish game. It caught my attention a couple of years ago, when it was used by a group of French wargamers for their Golgo Island setting. The second edition of the ruleset is in my bookshelf but I never tried it.

I'm currently preparing an ancient campaign with fantasy elements, so a generic skirmish game would be an interesting addition to HotT and Warhammer which we play regularly.

Last Tuesday, Krüger and I had our first game of WarEngine 3.0.1. We played Hoplites vs Orcs & Goblins, using about 3800 points each. I played 3 units of hoplites, 2 units of slingers and 5 Thracian riders. Krüger played 4 units of orcs, one unit of goblins, a unit of wolf riders and an ugly giant.

WarEngine is a modular system. You need to define how weapons, figures and units work, before you write an army list. I gave the hoplites the tweak combat assistance, for example, and added a champion with 6 hero points to each unit. To be honest, during play I forgot most of the advantages the tweaks gave me, but it was ok.

WarEngine feels lighter and is more flexible than a game like 40K, without being too simple. It has some interesting game mechanics involving control, reserved actions, massed attacks and suppression fire. You can add powers to simulate magic or psychological effects. Since every figure only has one life point, the game is fast. This allowed me to finish Krüger's giant in turn 1 with a group of slingers.  (David and Goliath.)

The only doubt Krüger and I had about the rules concerns the use of hero points. Figures get hero points through tweaks. They can be spend in combat to alter the attack and defense scores, after the dice are rolled. Both players know how many hero points the other player's figure has. Our first impression was that hero points are very powerful. Maybe it would be more fun to spent hero points first and then roll the dice for the attack and defense scores.

All in all, WarEngine is lots of fun and we will have another game soon.