Category Archives: Wargaming Rules

Kings of War Historical- a review

Couple of days ago I finally received my preordered Kings of War Historical wargaming rules. They had been released by Mantic Games and present their foray into historical wargaming. I do have to say it was a good move on their part. Continue reading

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Monstrous Arcanum book by Forgeworld

Few months passed and we have another lovely book from Forgeworld in their expanding Warhammer Fantasy Battle list of products. As usual we decided to get a copy for our club and I am using this opportunity to write a review.
So what do we get?
Book looks really nice- same style of cover as Tamurkhan:Throne of chaos so fake leather, nice colorful picture and every page inside made look like an old book with yellow background. As I said in my Tamurkhan review already, I think that style works really well and puts Imperial Armour books from FW to shame.
For 32 pounds we get 113 pages full of very interesting content. First few pages are filled with a story of one of Tilean cities and its fight for dominance and survival.. of course with use of big monsters! This is quite a good story, introducing some new monsters and giving us “feel” how the rest of book is going to be like.
There are some special rules (including few new ones such as Colossal Beast or Largest of monsters) and more magic items and artifacts to use in your games as well. Main part of the book is all about (mostly) new monsters. Very interesting idea of incarnate elementals and plenty of other creatures that can be used for Storm of Magic games or with scenarios provided in this book (I will get back to those in a moment). Some of those monsters we already know from FW website and they have miniatures available, but some others don’t have a model yet, so we can definitely expect more resin toys sooner or later. Rules are definitely not meant for competitive play though- lots of units are really overpriced for what they do and few are definitely underpricing, but this book is not meant to be used in competitive play and most units/monsters are very interesting and characterful- at the end of the day that is what counts most.
A moment later we are given more opportunity to use all the new and not so new creatures in 9 brand new scenarios centered around big gribblies. They definitely look interesting and will be worth trying when you want something slightly different that your standard rulebook WHB scenarios.
At the end of the book we have something I personally really like- full campaign called “They fall of Tor Karyndis” which is a 5 scenario campaign involving Skaven and high Elves and looks very promising, with some very own special characters, rules etc. that lets you play relaxed and fun few games, with outcome of one affecting next one as well. Scenarios are mix of normal rules plus some rules from SoM. Exactly my kind of stuff!
Last two pages of the book have comprehensive list of all monsters and their relation to each army, divided into three categories: Abhorrent( it means your army can only ever have one of particular monster), Binding Scroll( as per Bound Monster rules) and Kinship (as many as you want within your army’s percentage limit). Always helpful to make more “fluffy” armies as one of my main problems with Storm of Magic supplement is that some of the rules and monsters you can include there are just plain ridiculous.
In general it is another very nice book by FW and we can only hope for more publications of the same quality. It is lavishly illustrated as well, even better than Tamurkhan and full of little stories making it a pure pleasure to read that book. Definitely worth getting!
S.

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Flames of War V3 hardback review

(another review courtesy of Lee Parnell from http://www.safetymarkings.blogspot.com thanks mate!)

Seeming as I’m killing time whilst I wait for the Aussi GP qualifying to start, lets do a quick review of the Flames of War Version 3 Hardback! I haven’t got any photos to go with this but there are plenty on the Flames of War website.

Firstly, your £35 isn’t just getting you one book. Within the rather flimsy sleeve (which is more packaging than traditional hard board slip case) you get:
A full size (A4), hardbound rulebook
A soft back “Forces” book
A magazine-like Hobby booklet.

Let’s talk about the rulebook first. It’s basically a page for page upscale of the A5 Softback ruleset. The only new content added is a ten page intro section which, rather handily, exists outside of the page count (i.e. I, ii, iii, then switches to numbers) so that you can still say, “look at the shooting rules on page x” and be equally applicable to both forms of the rulebook. Unlike the version 2 rulebook, the hardback does not introduce any specialist rules and missions or campaign rules.

With the exception of the cover, the presentation is up to the normally high standards of Battlefront’s modern books. The book is split into the typical sections, “movement”, “shooting”, etc, each of them proceeded by appropriate re-use of book and box art; I think they only new content is the early war Sdkfz 222 preceding the “specialist section.. Barbarossa cover?” My favourite is the re-use of the “Cobra” army book cover for the “morale” section. If a Sherman crushing your anti-tank gun whilst the tank commander shoots you with his M1911 doesn’t necessitate a morale check, I don’t know what does!

My only gripe with presentation is the cover which is a little… underwhelming. It’s basically the name in red on a grey background. It’s not going to draw much attention off anyone coming to the game entirely blind and hopefully the upcoming “Achtung” intro boxset will have a more eye catching cover.

The rules are presented much the same as previous editions with actual rules being denoted by italic text, box summaries and an end of section summary checklist. The new introduction is a series of full-colour comics that explain how the rules work visually. This helps a lot with some of the trickier concepts in the rules, but I did find that one more in the counterattack section of the assaults may have helped avoid some of the discussion going on on the forums about how the 8” bubble works.

Overall, the game’s basics are still much the same as previous but with a few details tweaks. Both Aircraft and Assaults have had the largest changes with Assaults being simpler for new guys to understand how much return fire they are going to trigger (no more daisy chains or off putting interleaved platoons) and Aircraft now requiring only one aircraft model along with revision to AA guns and lines of sight.
In my opinion, about 95% of the changes are for the better. I really like the new assault rules, new smoke rules and how transports are handled (softskins are not the place to be in a battlezone!). The 5% I don’t like really extends to how the line of sight works with aircraft. It’s now WYSIWYG so you draw range and line of sight to the actual aircraft. This assumes a standard 1:144 model on a standard flying base which, after the free for all of V2, seems a dangerous assumption. It also allows aircraft to get cover from trees and buildings which seems ahistorical (tree top level attacks is fine but below tree top level?).

Final assessment of the rules? Largely positive. There are some grey areas in places that will need explaining for the tournament crowd but we have managed to get by in day to day club gaming. I’ll say its the best edition to date.

Now, lets look at the other two books. If you recall that the rulebook in V2 days was £30 then this is £5 of extra material!

The Forces book (100 pages) is somewhat underwhelming. This is better off thought of as a set of “get you by” lists for the new player to tide them over until they purchase a proper army book as there are only three lists per nation (Germans get an extra one for GepanzertePanzergrenadiers) with limited support options (no nebs for the Germans? No AOP for allies?)
Within that limitation, the actual lists provided are certainly viable for club gaming and provide the veteran gamer with some interesting insights into what we can expect for the newer v3 lists (Ask Mike E about the 6 gun Sherman 105mm assault gun troop). Sadly the 17pdr seems to be stuck at an underwhelming AT13!
The presentation keeps to the high standards of the rulebook and reinforces the impression that this is for the new player. Each tank gets a visual readout of its armour and weapon characteristics (first seen in Hellfire and Back) and the Infantry forces get a comparison of their relative firepower. The flowchart organizations that appeared in V2 appear to have been slightly tweaked to incorporate the HQ costs and options but that may be a space saving feature.
Overall, not a replacement for Fortress Europe. But if viewed as a introduction for new players (or something for us old hands top lend out to get them into it wink.gif) then its a serviceable set of lists.

The final book is the 40 page Hobby book. This deals with painting example infantry and tanks for all four major powers and some thoughts on terrain and table set-up. Like the forces book, this is very much geared up for the new players although the section on setting up good tables is interesting reading for the veteran player. I was hoping for some campaign ideas and random terrain charts like the old V2 book but that seems to be out the scope of the book.
Overall, its not bad and worth a read. But probably the least use for anyone coming over for V2.

As a package, this is very much geared for the new player, BF probably assuming that most older players will have stuck with the softback V2 trade-in. I think its still worth the veteran players time, if only for having a book that can live near the home based games table or computer. At the very least its probably an investment for a V4 rulebook!

Any of the new guys with a V3 book, I’d be intersted in hearing your insight!
Lee Parnell

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Red Bear book for Flames of War

So the Read Bear finally arrived. Many of us at the local club were waiting for this book. I managed to borrow a copy off Nathan for few days so I can write a review and in a new year I will be getting y own copy as well.

Red Bear covers allied forces on the Eastern Front from January 1944 till February 1945.

Book costs 30 pounds and its 218 pages, A4 format in harback. I have to say that it is beautifully made with maps, pictures and photos of games played and it looks great so spending 30 quid on it is fully justified!

So what do we get?

First of all book co

ntains bit of history and description of ost important operations and battles on the Eastern Front, fro relief of Leningrad till invasion of Hungary. I didn’t have a chance to read it yet but I am sure most of us are not getting this book because of historical references 😉

ain thing of course is army li

sts and we have plenty of those here. Some of them had been released as PDFs, lots of them were in River of Heroes and other supplements. Now they are all in this book with adjusted point values and some rule changes.

Following lists are inclu

ded for Soviet forces:

tank battaion

guards heavy tank regiment

guards tank battallion

heavy self-propelled ar

tillery regiment

light self-propelled artillery regiment

lend-lease tank battalion  (usi

ng American and British tanks)

motorised rifle battalion

forward detachement (very

interesting list I must say!)

recoinessance company

guards cossack regiment

rifle battalion

machine gun-artillery

battalion (defence formation with access to fortifications)

penal battalion (ever dreamed about showering your opponent with bucket loads of fearless guys with lots of SMGs? here’s list for you:)

partisan brigade

shock rifle battalion

engineer-sapper battalion (one that I am taking to a next tournament in January)

storm battalion (infantry formation for urban assaults)

On top of that we have Polish Home Army Battalion included (thats for people wanting to play battles during Warsaw Uprising) and Romanian forces that were allied to Soviets after their defeated in 1944 (with 5 different lists).

Of course apart from that we have some special characters that can be included in some of the lists.

It is hard for me to say what units changed their costs exactly, but definitely t-34s are more expensive, sapper engineer infantry went up as well, whereas lots of Assault Guns and all other ROF 1 tanks went down in cost. Changes are ranging from small to very big (80 points less for platoon of 4 ISU 152 assault guns!) so in certain lists you will be definitely able to pack more stuff in, whereas in others you will have to limit number of your vehicles/troops.

There are few important changes though that had been already discussed a lot on forums. Russian rule “Hen and Chicks” changed (so now other tanks have to move if commander moves and cannot move if he doesn’t move, get +1difficulty to firing on the move wherease before they couldn’t fire at all if they moved too fast and also they can fire their MGs at the same time)  and all medium ortars seem to be able to fire directly as well.

All in all I can say that so far so good and haven’t spotted any rule or point costs that I would really dislike.

End of the book has very good section on modelling (3 pages about odelling your Home Army forces for Warsaw Uprising ), painting etc. with nice pictures of Soviet and lend-lease tanks and their painting schemes.

If you are playing Soviets in  Flames of War (Late War period) this book is must-have!

S.

 

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Tamurkhan – The Throne of Chaos review

There are quite few people down my local club  that have been waiting for that book for quite some time. I was one of them as well. Since it was a first release from Warhammer Forge (in case you don’t know it is part of Forgeworld dealing with Warhammer Fantasy Battle)  I was really keen to see what sort of quality we can expect. After missing the fact that few locals went to Games Day we had to wait few more weeks, having to content ourselves with reading forum threads. Local GW also didn’t have it in stock and didn’t have idea when we can expect it here, so I went with the FW mailorder for extra fiver. I have to say that book arrived very quickly (2 days).

Price that you have to pay to see it is 45 pounds. Expensive as usual for Forgeworld products but this time I am definitely leaning towards the opinion that you are getting your money’s worth. So what’s inside?

Book deal with a story of yet another Chaos invasion on Empire, this time of Nurgle chosen Tamurkhan and his stinking crusade 😉

As I understand originally it was part of a different concept by Rick Priestley (something akin to alternative Warhammer where Chaos finally triumphs) but it ended up being book describing another campaign in the history of Old World.

First half of the book (just over 100 pages) deals with the story itself, describing Tamurkhan journey, his battles against different foes and alliances he made on the way (chaos dwarfs, ogres) and finally his attack on Wissenland.  I have to say that I liked the story, its well written and also little bit different to most “chaosy” stuff out there.

Book itself is lavishly illustrated and hard cover is wrapped in fake leather- guys at FW really did an excellent job here, I loved the illustrations, little campaign maps, even the way pages are stylized to look old. Definitely no disappointments here.

Second half of the book is most interesting though as it deals with extra rules and army lists. I have to say that I really liked what I read here. Part of second half deals with the playing the Tamurkhan invasion as a campaign, with special scenarios and extra rules included, all very interesting and well written, already tempting me to play the whole thing (and with one of the local players making Nurgle warriors army it might be possible quite soon).

Even more interesting bit in my opinion is an alternative list building for armies of Chaos. Now you can build Host which can comprise units from all three Chaos armybooks. Very interesting idea and one that certainly lots of Chaos players will welcome, at the same time author managed to do it in a balanced way (at least at the first glance).  Then we have all sorts of new units and characters that can be used in normal games. We have Tamurkhan himself and his horrible Plague Dragon (very, very hard to kill from what I could read but its high points cost makes it usable only in battles of 3000 and above), sorcerer Fayl the Faithless and his special chaos spawn (both quite reasonably priced as well), Nugle knight hero that allows you to upgrade your knights with Rotbeasts which are better and tougher mounts with special abilities as well. Then we have new units such as plague toads, pox riders of Nurgle, bile trolls and older stuff with clarified rules such as chaos siege giant and chaos war mammoth.

Another sections is about Empire and provides some new characters such as Champion of Nuln Theodore Bruckner on his Demigryphon mount, Nuln engineer allowing you to upgrade one unit of handgunners to Nuln Ironsides (essentially handgunners with heavy armour), Magisterix Elspeth von Draken on her Carmine Dragon (beautiful model and interesting rules as well- dragon has a special shooting attack that causes multiple wounds and allows no saves and Magisterix herself besides being a loremaster of Death is quite difficult to wound), mercenary captain van der Kraal allowing you to have stubborn mercenary swordsmen unit, shadowy mercenary general Lietpold the Black (allowing you to bring in one core unit from Bretonnia, Ogre Kingdoms or Dwarfs into your army but also limiting your character choices quite seriously as he has a bad repuation and lots of heroes will not fight on his side) and the last but not least Marienburg Land Ship which is one of most ridiculously hillarious models for WHB I have seen and has some interesting rules as well. Overall those additions are fun and full of character, but most of them too expensive point wise to became any sort of competitive choice, maing sense only in campaigns and themed games.

Last part of the book is actually separate army list of Chaos Dwarfs. Again I have to congratulate Alan Bligh as he did excellent job on this one. Certain chaos dwarf units are allowed to be used in Warriors of Chaos lists as well. Evil stunties get their own lore of magic (Lore of Hashut)  that I have to say is very powerful (mostly direct damage spells ) and few magical items that are also very good (which is luckily offset by their relatively high point cost).

They have one special character on bale taurus, very decently priced sorcerer-prohpet as a lord choice (being a mix between good warrior and magic user with options for riding monsters such as Great Taurus, Lammasu and Bale Taurus), 4 different hero choices (hobgoblin khan, infernal castellan, bull centaur hero and deamonsmith sorcerer). As far as their core units go there are only two choices- hobgoblins and Infernal Guard with three different weapon options (great weapons, fireglaives being a mix of handgun and a halberd and finally Hailshot Blunderbusses being roughly small equivalent of ogre leadbelcher cannon). There are few special choices available including bull centaurs (personally I think they are really too expensive.. but they have high T so perhaps they are worth it), elite infantry with magic weapons, K’daai Fireborn constructs for monstrous infantry (they look really good on paper but again, perhaps bit too expensive), magma cannon, rocket launcher and massive Iron Demon War Engine (this stuff has very, very interesting rules- just try to imagine massive, shooting train ruthlessly moving forward…). Rare choices give us two more war machines (Dreadquake mortar and hellcannon) plus surprisingly enough hobgoblin light cavalry (I could understand putting them in specials, but rare? really?), K’daal Destroyer (massive construct that doesn’t have a model yet but FW had been kind enough to let us know what the base size should be to avoid abuse and arguements) and chaos siege giant. This can be really interesting list to play against. Not too many options available unfortunately, it could do with some more units to choose from and by the looks of it FW will not be doing anymore chaos dwarfs for a while (reliable internet rumour mongers stated that this is what we get for chaos dwarfs and thats it).

Book ends with scrolls of binding for new monsters to use in Storm of Magic games.

Great book, really good addition to our club library. I wish it would be cheaper, as 45 pounds is till expensive even for such nicely produced and written piece.

Overall 8/10. Hopefully FW will continue to release books at the similar level.

S.

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Very British Civil War book “The People’s Armies” review

I just got my copy today, fresh from printing (I had it on preorder) and already finished reading it. Solway Crafts and Miniatures released another great sourcebook for their more and more popular Very Britush Civil War.

Book (or rather booklet) is beautifully printed in A5 format and has 28 full colour pages.  It costs 8 pounds plus postage. Perhaps not the cheapest but Solway being a small one-person wargaming venture, it is definitely worth supporting and ordering. After all its roughly price of two pints (maybe three if you include postage ;)). This one is written by  Dr Paul Cunnigham and I have to say he did an amazing job! Myself being a VBCW player with my large Brighton Anarchist Militia and some Independent Labour Party contingent I was waiting eagerly for its release.

There are no rules here as in other sourcebooks, as people use variety of wargaming systems for VBCW. It is filled with stories, pictures and drawings.  It describes history, organisation, uniforms and armament of Workers Defence Corps, Anarchists and Independent Labour Party Militias and then finally Communist-led People’s Assault Columns. There are 6 plates of beautiful colour drawings of different militias by talented artist  Pete Barfield known from other Solway Crafts VBCW books,  very much in style of Osprey books, making it look even more professional.

If you are a fan of VBCW then this booklet is definitely worth getting.

Myself after reading it I can say that I am definitely not regretting spending my money on it. I am quite tempted to buyA Guide to Tanks and Military Vehicles now 😉

S.

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“September Campaign” – fan made campaign book for Flames of War

Couple of weeks ago  a link appeared on our local club forum.  Somebody said I might like it. And clicked, had a look, then downloaded it and I was blown away.

September Campaign is a fan made book for Flames of War players allowing you to play German invasion of Poland in 1939. It was made completely by one Polish bloke living in Sweden and it is distributed for free in PDF format. I will not lie if I will say I have never seen so much effort put into a free publication before. Book is over 100 pages, full colour and beautifully made.  I was totally impressed with its quality, especially taking in account that this is a one-man project.

It is made of3 parts. In first you can read fair bit about historical background of September Campaign, short descriptions of main Polish commanders in that period and also chronology of most important events, maps etc.

Part two deals with the campaign itself and to my pleasant surprise includes even extra rules for things such as 9TP tanks that had been used in defence of Warsaw (and at the time there were only few prototypes of them), polish airforce etc. This part also allows you play whole operations from that period and also isolated scenarios depicting most important battles of September 1939. We have all together 4 operations and 5 isolated scenarios, with a promise of more to come (including part dealing with Soviet invasion of Poland on 17th of September).

There is also one operation from the point of view of German 4th Panzer Division (as all the others are played from the point of view of Polish forces) and another surprise- extra operation allowing you to play battles connected with cavalry partisans of major “Hubal” operating in Poland in 1940. All battles are really well researched and scenarios are written in very clear, easy to understand manner with a lot of optional things. As a historian I have to commend the author on very good accuracy of everything he had written about.

Part 3 is very well written and laid out “hobby part” with lots of practical tips about painting, scenery making and all things useful for actual miniature aspect of the book.

I say that very rarely, but this project gets 10 out of 10 easily! Looking forward to extra ddditions and hope they will be as good as this book. Thoroughly recommended!

S.

link:

http://anatolisgameroom.blogspot.com/2011/07/september-campaign-download.html

 

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