Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Normandy to Reach... The joys of tabletop gaming!

Reach for the stars... climb every...

First of all this week has seen a lot of TANKS action. Shaun came over on Monday and we had a few games, playing normal scenarios to see which ones could be incorporated into the Normandy campaign. I used my new Brit list of three Comets (A troop) and their 'call up' tank destroyer in the form of a Firefly. Pleasingly historically accurate they also work well. The Comets have to be about one of the best tanks in the game point for point (although as they are all pointed to a formula this shows I am actually just as biased as ****). Nonetheless they did me proud against the might of Shaun's Germans.

On Tuesday they repeated the success against my games against Charlie's Germans winning 2 out of 2 scenarios (although both were very tight) before I swapped them out for 3 Comets (to see how they worked) in an intro game kill fest while we were teaching the rules to someone. A German swarm led by a Panther (2 IVS and 2 StuGs) in a kill match was never going to be easy and in the end an unlucky engine hit (which waved goodbye to my moving last with 3 moves shenanigans) saw my last tank unable to make the brave last stand, if only just.

But Tuesday was also noticeable for another reason. After getting back in touch with my old, and dear friend, Neil (Mr. SpartanGames) and arranging a visit I was hooked onto Spartan's newest release (technically shipping right now) :

Yep... (1/100) 15mm Halo ground combat (which complements Spartan's Fleet Combat game). Now I have known how much a FANBOY Neil is of Halo from way back when (Wargames Journal days would often see him dreaming of making a HALO game) and was really happy for him when Spartan got to do the fleet combat game. But up close and personal ground combat is really where the game (as in the video game) has its roots. And here it is:

Now, being a SONY family I have only got to play HALO a small number of times and because of this have never really got into the books etc. BUT being a 15mm fan (again numerous hours were spent at WJ and later Spartan HQ devising our own 15mm WWII game) I couldn't leave it alone. Plus in a very short space of time I have learnt about the Halo Universe and especially all about the planet of REACH. Long prose way of saying - it's freekin' arriving very soon!

Made in pewter (for detail sake) the miniatures do look stunning:

But a game is only as good as its rules. Obviously a better in depth look at the rule mechanics will appear in a short while but suffice to say they have adapted the Star Fleet rules to cover ground combat. Design wise I suspect Neil has had to keep a number of hats on. I know he likes to cover stuff in detail and was never really a fan of much abstraction, or rules that made little sense except for the game play. But this will be a game for not just experienced table top or wargamers but for those HALO fans who will want to try it out - especially with the blossoming in the trendiness of playing 'games' on the table, not just online. As such it will need to be relatively easy to pick up, but with enough depth for experienced players. This is a very hard goal to achieve, but I bet the Big Man has come up with the goods.

One thing I am glad that appears to be in there is a mechanic to liven up the 'Igo Ugo' system, which for its target audience it has to be. Having tried to teach free flowing games to non gamers it seems to be that it is just too much to take in. The reaction system that they seemed to have settled on is one that has been toyed with for a long time - the unit (base, figure etc) has a reaction stat and if this is rolled over the unit can react to anything done by the active unit (and it seems to be alternating unit/group activation). Nothing new perhaps (Ambush Alley, THW, Infinity and others have similar) but in HGC it appears that the unit will have two stats for reaction - one target number for the first reaction and then one for subsequent reactions. This means it is a tactical decision to react (as it means you can't activate fully that turn) and also it gets harder to keep reacting. Also it looks as if some units have a second reaction TN of over 12, this in theory means they can't react again but there are some command decisions which can modify your roll. Also super units (think Spartans here) are game savers and could have a low second reaction target meaning they can keep on and on like the proverbial Duracel Bunny !

Can't wait to try this out, also can't wait to mod it to my WWII figures and Stargate  - but that is another story.

So if this whets your appetite then I shall report back more later SIRRR !

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