Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Match Day action!



Last November I posted about the new tabletop soccer rules called Striker and my painting of a pair of soccer teams.




Well since then I have finished the two teams (Manchester United and Chelsea) and made a pitch with goal posts so it was time to actually play a game.



The complete set up. Eureka miniatures soccer players , goal posts, corner flags and game officials.
Homemade soccer pitch made from green felt and lots and lots of masking to paint the lines!




Since posting the pictures of my pitch and teams on our club page a few club members expressed an interest in giving the game a go, so last Friday we finally set up the game and got stuck in.


We had given the rules a quick read through and fully expected the game to run slowly at first, but speed up as we grew more familiar with the rules and so it proved. By the time we stopped play we were moving along quite nicely, only checking the rules when we had to handle a free kick or corner.




The game turn is broken into phases of attacker (the team with the ball) and defender. Each phase has a number of actions that can be performed. These include moving a player off the ball, passing the ball, dribbling the ball, kicking ball into space and running with the ball (a combination of kicking ball into space and moving off the ball). For defenders it normally means moving players off the ball and tackling with a couple of special "defensive moves" that we'll cover later.




The turn sequence consists of attacker (4 actions), defender (2 actions), attacker (4 actions) and lastly defender (3 actions).  On the completion of this 4-2, 4-3 sequence the time clock is advanced one phase with 30 such phases making one half of football. If at any time there is a change over in possession or play stops because the ball went out of play or there's a free kick the whole sequence is restarted (and the time clock advances).




As you can see the attacker gets more actions in the sequence and this really allows the game to flow quickly and lets the attacker set up some nice combinations of passes and player movement. The defender can only really react to the attacker.




Passing is fairly straight forward; measure the distance, and roll a d8 to see if a pass is successful. A pass can fail, in which case it can scatter from the target player or position where it is collected by the closest player. It can be successful but an imperfect pass. This means the player has the ball but could not control it enough to advance the ball in that sequence or the pass can be a perfect pass in which case the player with the ball can then carry out another action.





Ready for kick off!


When a player with the ball is tackled the two players roll a d6 each with the highest number winning the challenge. Defenders get +1 modifier for tackling and there are other modifiers depending on the direction of the tackle. If the defender wins they steal the ball. If the attacker wins the defender is beaten and moved past the striker potentially opening up the defense. If the rolls are tied then there is likely a foul which may result in a free kick, yellow cards etc.  Players can choose to make a professional foul but the outcomes are usually bad for the offending player.





Chelsea defence foils another United attack as the defender successfully tackles the United Striker and runs the ball out of danger!



Foul! No! The referee has missed it! United have the ball!


These sequence of actions, the passing mechanics, and tackling mechanics are quite easy to pick up and the play really starts to move along quite nicely. I found the game develops its own narrative as you play and you can almost imagine the commentators calling the game.


In addition to these basic rules there are a few good additional rules that add a bit of flavor to the game.




If an attacker strings five consecutive passes together they have "momentum" this forces the defender to automatically move a player out of position potentially opening up the defense. This rule is a way to simulate the "one touch, tiki taka" style of play.




Defenders have two special rules. They can spend two actions to execute a "defensive power move" which is essentially the offside trap where the whole defensive line moves forward to put opposing strikers in an offside position. This forces the attacker to spend actions putting players back onside before continuing with their other actions.

 

United pulls the offside trap catching two Chelsea strikers offside.



There is also the defensive press which can allow the defending team to put more pressure on attacking players but we never got around to trying this rule out in our game.


One thing I think this game would have benefitted from is a basic explanation of the offside rule. I think I know the rules of soccer okay but even I was stumped by one situation when I was unsure if the attacking player was offside. We allowed the play to continue and it turns out on review I was wrong. The player was offside.





Is he through? No the Linesman has spotted him. Offside!


We also didn't know how far away from the kicker a defensive wall could be set up for a free kick.


Not everyone who plays this game will know the rules of soccer so some basic explanation (maybe with some diagrams) would help a lot. Something to consider for the next edition?


One thing that is missing from the rules is any form of campaign or league system or a way for a team or players to gain experience. Teams can be grouped in Tiers for passing and tackling so a Tier 1 team is slightly better than a Tier 2 team. However it is not too difficult to run a campaign/league and experience could easily be incorporated using either a variation of the Tier system or just adding re-rolls e.g. An experienced striker can reroll when shooting on goal






In my final summary of these rules I would say they are really quite good and provide an exciting and fun simulation of soccer. Several onlookers at our club were suitably impressed and are already talking about getting some teams from Eureka miniatures (www.eurekamin.com.au) and painting up their favorite teams. Maybe we'll even get a league going!



 

The Striker is through the defence! (We later found out he was offside after all)



 

Just the keeper to beat!


 

What a save! Corner kick!




























Sunday, January 8, 2017

2016: A year in review....



So as the sun sets on another gaming year its time to take stock of this year's gaming, accomplishments and plans for the coming gaming year.

If I had to sum up the year it would mainly encompass one word.....Frostgrave.



This game has certainly taken up a large chunk of the gaming year. I have painted up many miniatures (probably around 100) and made up a heap of terrain. From little things big things grow as they say, and after starting Frostgrave at our club we now have around eight active players and a campaign in full flight.



Our games have focused so far, just on the scenarios in the main rulebook, so we have plenty of gaming to look forward to as we work our way through all the expansions. I just recently completed my final purchases (a bear and a vampire) to complete my Frostgrave Bestiary  from the main rule book. I expect a fair amount of my 2017 hobby time will involve adding the creatures from the expansion books and building the scenario specific terrain pieces. I am looking forward to painting some Barbarians from Northstar (lovely figures!)

In a related topic, I think I will pick up a copy of the Otherworld Miniatures fantasy skirmish rules or maybe Songs of Blades & Heroes as an alternative fantasy skirmish rule set to try some different games since I already have the miniatures painted.

Beside Frostgrave, some of the other games I played was Chain of Command for WWII and Sharp Practice for black powder skirmish games. Both these rule sets are terrific and I really want to explore these rules with more games. On the painting front I need to finish off a little bit more stuff for my 15mm Early War Germans and Soviets. After that I will probably move on to late war Brits and Germans for Normandy. 



For Sharp Practice I still need to keep working on my Napoleonic Russians and paint up a small French force to oppose them. I also have in the painting queue some seven years war Prussians and Austrians for SP. I need some new terrain for these games also. Some nice German and Russian 28mm buildings.

 

Lion Rampant was another popular game this year. I have a couple more units to paint up for this too so that I have two retinues to play at home. Only problem is the mounted knights are a pain to paint with all that heraldry! I also have a big terrain project planned for this but that's a secret!!




Other smaller projects that occupied my painting time were Early Imperial Romans, Mars Attacks Martians, Super Heroes and my recent Soccer players. I think these projects will continue to move slowly along filling the motivational gaps in my bigger projects.



My painting total for the year has ticked over 250 miniatures. I think that was a pretty good effort but a bit shy of the 365 I was aiming for. Next year, if I focus on projects where the figures are more "uniform" like Romans for example, I can probably boost that total. However with around 350 miniatures purchased for the year I certainly need to rein in my purchases so the lead/plastic pile doesn't increase.


So will there be any new projects for 2017??

In a word, yes!

I am pretty much set on getting into American Civil War in 28mm. I did have some 15mm figures from Blue Moon but besides our 15mm WWII forces I just can't get excited by painting 15mm figures. I will sell my 15mm figures and I am looking at using Perry miniatures 28mm plastics and building up forces for Sharp Practice games. Eventually working up to Black Powder sized games but probably only SP for 2017.

Another project I am still in two minds to get into. I have been thinking of getting into Saga. Looking at Vikings and Saxons or Welsh. Dark Ages gaming has never been much on my radar. It is fairly popular at the club and I think Saga is a good sized game. I can also use Saga figures in games of Lion Rampant so that is another plus.

Finally we are looking at another Lion Rampant rules variant called "The Men who would be Kings" for Colonial gaming with the period of choice being the Sudan. I already have a heap of terrain for the desert so I just need to paint up a small force and maybe make a Nile river boat or two. Should be a nice small project.

So farewell to the gaming year that was 2016 and bring on 2017!




Happy gaming everyone!


2016 final painting totals and my top five games of the year.

Happy New Year fellow gamers!

Before I kick off the new gaming and hobby year I would have a final look back on 2016. I covered most things in my previous post so this is just a postscript to my first post.

Painting and purchasing totals for 2016: My final total of painted 28mm figures for the year was 267. 98 short of my target but a good total.
Purchases left me in the red with a total of 391. I received a box of Perry ACW Union infantry as a Christmas present.

For 2017 I am aiming for 365 painted and I want to keep my purchases to a minimum and reduce the lead and plastic pile.

Finally following on from the Meeples and Miniatures podcast where they listed their top five games for 2016, here is my list:

Number 5: Sharp Practice 2 by the Two Fat Lardies.
A terrific set of rules and definitely will feature very prominently in my 2017 gaming. I will be producing armies for Napoleonics, Seven Years War and American Civil War.

 

Number 4: Black Powder: Pike and Shotte by Warlord games.
A perennial favourite. I play at least half a dozen games a year and the rules are solid and allow for really big games.

 

Number 3: Chain of Command by Two Fat Lardies.
A brilliant set of rules. The Lardies really know how to write a god ruleset. I definitely need to play more of this in 2017.

 

Number 2: Lion Rampant by Osprey Games.
A real fun "big skirmish" medieval ruleset which scratches the medieval itch. I will be playing more of this in 2017 along with its fantasy version Dragon Rampant.
 

Finally my number one is ....

Number 1: Frostgrave by Osprey Games.
Was there really any doubt? A great fun game that gives me a great nostalgia kick back to the eighties and my D&D halcyon days.
We will be working our way through the expansions as we continue our campaign.

 

Honourable mention: Super System 4th edition by Four Colour Studios.
Only managed one game this year but the rule set is a lot of fun and allows for creating your own superheroes. Gameplay is quick and really captures the genre perfectly. Another one to watch for 2017.

 

So that's my list for 2016.

Besides my usual painting targets and playing wargames in 2017 one of my New Year Resolutions is to play more boardgames.
I have a few games sitting on the shelf plus a couple more on the way from recent Kickstarters so I will be posting more on boardgame reviews in 2017.

Happy New Year!