Sunday, 31 January 2016

Marts Book Corner : Nemesis - Max Hastings

Today we look at another ww2 history book by Max Hastings, on a subject not often covered by British authors.  The war in the Pacific and Far East is somewhat of a forgotten war to the British even though large numbers of our troops fought and died there.

A narrative history of the climactic battles of the Second World War, and companion volume to......

Marts Book Corner : The Forgotten Highlander by Alistair Urquhart

In this book corner, we look at the Forgotten Highlander by Alistair Urquhart.
The Forgotten Highlander, an account of the three and a half years he spent as a Japanese prisoner of war during his service in the Gordon Highlanders infantry regiment during the Second World War.
Urquhart was conscripted into the British army in 1939, at the age of 19, and stationed at Fort Canning in Singapore.  He was taken prisoner when the Japanese invaded the island in the Battle of Singapore, which lasted from December 1941 to February 1942. He was sent to work on the Burma Railway, built by the Empire of Japan to support its forces in the Burma campaign and referred to as 'Death Railway' because of the tens of thousands of forced labourers who died during its construction. While working on the railway Urquhart suffered malnutrition, cholera and torture at the hands of his captors.

After working on the railway and in the docks in Singapore................

Friday, 29 January 2016

House Martell Faction focus for A Game of Thrones the Card Game Second Edition LCG

In this faction focus we look at House Martell.  We will be looking at their strengths, and weaknesses and some of their best cards.

" 'Unbowed, unbent, unbroken'. The words of House Martell. A promise to our enemies, and a challenge to our lovers."
―Oberyn Martell
House Martell of Sunspear is one of the Great Houses of Westeros. It rules the peninsula of Dorne in the far south of the continent from their castle Sunspear. Though loyal to the Iron Throne, it has pursued a more isolated role in wider political events since Robert's Rebellion.
House Martell's sigil is a red sun pierced by a golden spear, on an orange field, a combination of the original Martell sigil - a yellow spear - and the emblem of Princess Nymeria - a red sun - to symbolize the marriage of the warrior-queen to Mors Martell. The motto of the House is "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken"
Lets take a look at some of their cards.......

An interview with the latest member of The Garage Gamers

I am sure you have all seen Heph`s article by now, he did a great series on Star wars Gaming, and his Ridend stuff is excellent.  I am proud to announce him as a member of the Garage Gamers, so have a read below to get to know more about his hobby credentials, and what he will bring to the blog, as it will be some great and even more varied stuff!

1.  How did you get into tabletop gaming?

Way, way back in the day when I was a little nipper I first got introduced to the miniatures hobby by accident really when my father and his father-in-law discovered they had an old hobby in common – good, old, historical, poison-laden lead-based Napoleonic’s. This led to a bit of a revival for both their hobby, with dozens of new, non-poisonous models and reference books making it into the house.

The actual gaming element came later when I got a copy of Rogue Trader through a school buddy, this was somewhere around 90-91. Though back then it really was mostly about playing with some intricate toys and endlessly re-reading the Rogue Trader rulebook. It took till the end of 2nd edition/start of 3rd edition 40K before my tabletop wargaming really took off. The release of the first Tyranids codex in 2nd edition, as well as the awesome Dark Eldar models of the 3rd edition starter set really got me into to building, painting and gaming side of the hobby.

From there things quick expanded into the Fantasy and Specialist Games ranges while becoming part of a small collective of outcast nerds at school. Geekdom, though certainly not as bad as I’ve heard from others who played the first edition of D&D, was certainly not a celebrated thing back then. Save for a short break away from the hobby around my 16th, kids and distractions right, I stayed with the GW brand through the start of uni.

During that period I more and more started enjoying the conversion and painting side of the hobby, partially the result of having limited time to get games in with my old group and the new, local scene pretty much being made up out of solely tournament-style players. Nice guys and gals, just no room for more narrative play, let alone Specialist Games. So my gaming more and more shifted to the hobby side.

This was also the period during which the miniatures market, especially in Europe, was mostly a reactionary business. GW would release a new codex or army and all sorts of smaller, often 1-2 man team companies, would start churning out resin conversion bits and pieces. Privateer Press was pretty much the only real, big alternative in those days, Rackham had sadly enough bitten the dust, boardgaming was only slowly starting to crawl back into the mainstream, GW was still in the business of releasing ‘just for fun / alternative’ armylists, LotR was in full swing, Apocalypse was just around the corner etc.

Having only limited opportunities and time to get any real life hobby or community into my gaming, I turned towards the internet. There we had, and in many places still have, a thriving community of folks from all over the world, quite often also dealing with limited time, gaming opportunities and such hassles as coming back to the hobby after extended periods of time. This especially became the place to share, support and get feedback when GW turned away from their community, dropped support on Specialist Games and shut down their forums completely. This pretty much continued until the release of the first, stand-alone Grey Knights codex, where I quite simply could not take the madness of the rules system and gaming community anymore. The combination of the toxic tournament scene, the only real gaming opportunity I still had, GW turning into a faceless plastic peddler, the embarrassment that was Finecast
and simply a case of grimdark-burnout led to me quit playing GW games.

Save for the incidental, ‘cool model’ purchase, I pretty much stepped away from the GW side of the hobby. Instead looking back at those smaller companies from a few years back that now all of a sudden, thanks to the internet and a more focused design and sales approach, were now able to turn those years of experience and frustration into making their own, unique miniatures and rulesets. Add in the double-edged sword of crowdfunding and all of a sudden I had a dozen smaller, warband-level armies in half a dozen new settings on my hobby desk. These really felt like a breath of fresh air after way too long time spent solely on grimdark.

Fast forward another couple years and I now have a miniatures collection that contains models from dozens of smaller companies and games, several of which get to see the tabletop a few times a year. Though for the hobbyist in me it couldn’t be a better time with such a diverse range of models out there, there’s truly something for everybody to be found out there these days!

2.  What are your top 3 favourite tabletop games and why?......

Monday, 25 January 2016

House Greyjoy Faction focus for A Game of Thrones the Card Game Second Edition LCG

In this faction focus we look at House Greyjoy.  We will be looking at their strengths, and weaknesses and some of their best cards.
"We are ironborn. We're not subjects, we're not slaves. We do not plough the field or toil in the mine. We take what is ours."
―Balon Greyjoy
House Greyjoy is one of the Great Houses of Westeros. It rules over the Iron Islands, a harsh and bleak collection of islands off the west coast of Westeros, from the castle at Pyke. The head of the house is the Lord Reaper of Pyke.
House Greyjoy's sigil is traditionally a golden kraken on a black field. Their house motto is "We Do Not Sow."
House Greyjoy boasts descent from the Grey King, a legendary King of the Iron Islands said to have ruled for a thousand years and taken a mermaid as wife. Like the vast majority of ironborn, they worship the Drowned God.
Lord Balon Greyjoy is the most recent head of the house. He led a rebellion against King Robert Baratheon eight years before the events of the series begin. Balon's sons Rodrik and Maron were killed in the unsuccessful rebellion. Balon's only surviving son Theon was made a ward of Lord Eddard Stark to ensure Balon's submission to King Robert

Lets take a look at some of the cards.......

Friday, 22 January 2016

Ridend Project I from Tor Gaming's Relics

Good day everybody, Hephesto here again with something a bit different this time.  Over the course of the holidays I've doing some inventory of the miniatures pile and, to say things mildly, I've gotten a tad concerned with just how many unfinished models and projects I have around. So some of the goals for my hobby year will involve clearing out some of the unused stuff, sorting out 1+ hobby, charity project (probably something along the lines of last years Little Heroes for Little Heroes - link) and finishing some actual, even if just small, projects. Heck I think I have around a dozen small factions from various, skirmish-level games around that need/deserve attention.
One of these projects centers around Tor Gaming's Relics (link), a skirmish-level game with around 20-30 models per player. Now I really enjoy the setting of the world and the core mechanics of.....

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead board game from Z-man games review

I like Zombies, even though it seems they have been "done to death" (see what I did there) with everything having a zombie theme these days.  When it comes to Zombies they come in two main sorts, the classic Romero ort (my favourite), slow and shambling, or one becoming more common now where they are fast moving.  I grew up on Romero Zombie movies, Night of the living dead, Dawn of the dead (my top zombie film of all time the original 1970s one that is) Day of the dead etc.  So when I first heard about The Walking dead TV show I was intrigued.  After research I found it originated in comic form, but I have never read them, heard of them or seen them before.  After watching it when it came out I was hooked on it, if only there was a game about it... and well there was....

Robert Kirkman's the Walking dead from Z-man games is based on the comic series as opposed to the AMC TV show, but the world is the same, hordes of walkers shambling everywhere and a struggle to survive.

The game recommends 1-6 players so that's good that it can be played solo, and a game time of around 30-60 mins, which seems about right from what I have played so far.  The age suggested is 13 plus, though if your young one is brave enough for the subject, and can read well enough for the encounter cards (or have them read to them) then they can join in.

The art style matches the comic from my research, though some may find it a little dull, and colourless I think it suits the world and theme well.

What's inside the box then?

Monday, 18 January 2016

Star Trek Attack Wing Halik Raider Ship build

Today  we take the Kazon Halik raider into the shipyard to get her fir for duty.  As always we follow the rules of no more then 50 points per ship, and only using the cards that come in the pack, we shall see what we can come up with and how she can be used.
 So here is what we start with... lets see what they are and how we can use them.....

Friday, 15 January 2016

Battle of Falling Waters (Hokes Run) July 2nd 1861 Battle Cry battle report

Today we have another battle report for you from Battle Cry, with me taking the role as the Confederates, and Olivia commanding the Union forces.

The Battle of Hoke's Run, also known as the Battle of Falling Waters or Hainesville, took place on July 2, 1861, in Berkeley County, Virginia (now West Virginia) as part of the Manassas Campaign of the American Civil War. Notable as an early engagement of Confederate Colonel Thomas J. Jackson and his Brigade of Virginia Volunteers, nineteen days before their famous nickname would originate, this brief skirmish was hailed by both sides as a stern lesson to the other. Acting precisely upon the orders of a superior officer about how to operate in the face of superior numbers, Jackson's forces resisted General Robert Patterson's Union forces briefly and then slowly retreated over several miles.

On July 2, Maj. Gen. Robert Patterson's division crossed the Potomac River near Williamsport, Maryland and marched on the main road to Martinsburg. Near Hoke's Run, the Union brigades of Cols. John J. Abercrombie and George H. Thomas encountered regiments of Col. Thomas J. Jackson's Confederate brigade, driving them back slowly. Jackson accomplished his orders to delay the Federal advance, withdrawing before Patterson's larger force.

Casualty figures vary. The National Park Service quotes Union as 23 and Confederate as 91 (without differentiating types of casualties).  Kennedy cites 75 Union deaths and 25 Confederate deaths. In his Official Report, Major-General Robert Patterson states the number of Confederate deaths as "over sixty" but does not describe Union casualties.

Will History repeat itself? or things work out differently? read on to find out......

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

House Tyrell Faction focus for A Game of Thrones the Card Game Second Edition LCG

In this faction focus we look at House Tyrell.  We will be looking at their strengths, and weaknesses and some of their best cards.

House Tyrell of Highgarden is one of the Great Houses of the Seven Kingdoms, being Lords Paramount of the Mander and the liege lords of the Reach. A large, wealthy house, its wealth is only surpassed among the Great Houses by House Lannister, and the Tyrells can field the greatest armies. Additionally, if they call the ships of the Redwyne fleet, the lords of the Shield Islands, and the coastal lords, they can command a navy that equals if not surpasses the royal fleet of King's Landing.
Highgarden is an ancient seat of rule and the heart of chivalry in the Seven Kingdoms; the Tyrells style themselves 'Defenders of the Marches' and 'High Marshals of the Reach', and traditionally, they have been Wardens of the South and Lords Paramount of the Mander. Their sigil is a golden rose on a green field, and their words are "Growing Strong." Members of the family tend to have curly brown hair and brown or golden eyes.
Lets take a look at some of their cards.....

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Star Trek Attack Wing RIS Apnex Romulan Science Vessel Build

The Apnex is a tiny little Romulan ship, in size and stats.  but does that mean its useless? with the right build no.... and here is my attempt, again following the 50pt rule, not a problem here with the Apnex.....

As you can see its really manoeuvrable, no red manoeuvres on it at all, a white come about, this thing is nimble, but look at its stats... it NEEDS to be.

onto the ship....

Friday, 8 January 2016

House Lannister Faction focus for A Game of Thrones the Card Game Second Edition LCG

In this faction focus we look at House Lannister.  We will be looking at their strengths, and weaknesses and some of their best cards.

House Lannister of Casterly Rock is one of the Great Houses of Seven Kingdoms, and the principal house of the westerlands. Their seat is Casterly Rock, though another branch exists that is based in nearby Lannisport. Their sigil is a golden lion on a field of crimson. Their official motto is "Hear Me Roar!" However, their unofficial motto, equally well known, is "A Lannister always pays his debts."

The Warden of the West is a Lannister by tradition.
Fair-haired, tall, and handsome, the Lannisters are the blood of Andal adventurers who carved out a mighty kingdom in the western hills and valleys. Through the female line they boast of descent from Lann the Clever, the legendary trickster of the Age of Heroes who tricked the members of House Casterly into giving him Casterly Rock during the era of the First Men.
The Lannisters reigned as Kings of the Rock until they fell to the Targaryen conquest, but were allowed to remain the liege lords of the westerlands. The House had fallen on hard times during the rule of Lord Tytos, but was restored to its former glory by Lord Tywin. His daughter Cersei is the queen of King Robert I Baratheon, while her twin Ser Jaime is a knight of Robert's Kingsguard. Members of the family tend to have golden hair and emerald green eyes.

Lets take a look at some of the cards Lannister has to offer.....

Star Trek Attack Wing IKS Maht-H`a Vor`cha Class build

The Klingons have some of the coolest ships and characters in Star Trek.  So today im looking at the Vor`cha class ship for my Attack Wing fleet.  As in previous builds I am following the tournament standard rules of no more then 50pts per ship, and here is what I have I have come up.
I am taking the named ship over the generic as for only 2 points more you get another shield and the inbuilt ability of the ship.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

The First Battle of Bull Run July 21 1861 Battle Cry battle report

Today its our first battle report from Battlecry  Olivia takes the role of the Union commander, whilst I Am in command of the Confederate forces.

The First Battle of Bull Run, also known as First Manassas (the name used by Confederate forces), was fought on July 21, 1861, in Prince William County, Virginia, near the city of Manassas, not far from the city of Washington, D.C. It was the first major battle of the American Civil War.

The Union's forces were slow in positioning themselves, allowing Confederate reinforcements time to arrive by rail. Each side had about 18,000 poorly trained and poorly led troops in their first battle. It was a Confederate victory followed by a disorganized retreat of the Union forces.

Just months after the start of the war at Fort Sumter, the Northern public clamoured for a march against the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia, which they expected to bring an early end to the rebellion. Yielding to political pressure, Brig. Gen. Irvin McDowell led his unseasoned Union Army across Bull Run against the equally inexperienced Confederate Army of Brig. Gen. P. G. T. Beauregard camped near Manassas Junction. McDowell's ambitious plan for a surprise flank attack on the Confederate left was poorly executed by his officers and men; nevertheless, the Confederates, who had been planning to attack the Union left flank, found themselves at an initial disadvantage.
Confederate reinforcements under Brig. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston arrived from the Shenandoah Valley by railroad and the course of the battle quickly changed. A brigade of Virginians under the relatively unknown brigadier general from the Virginia Military Institute, Thomas J. Jackson, stood their ground and Jackson received his famous nickname, "Stonewall Jackson".

The Confederates launched a strong counterattack, and as the Union troops began withdrawing under fire, many panicked and the retreat turned into a rout. McDowell's men frantically ran without order in the direction of Washington, D.C. Both armies were sobered by the fierce fighting and many casualties, and realized the war was going to be much longer and bloodier than either had anticipated.

Lets see how it turned out on the tabletop......

Monday, 4 January 2016

Star Wars Armada CR90 Corvette unboxing

Today we look at the CR-90 for Star Wars Armada, if you know what Armada is you know its excellent, if you do not know then take a look here

The first starship to appear in the classic Star Wars trilogy, the CR90 Corellian corvette is a small capital ship of roughly 150 meters that featured prominently in the Rebellion, largely due to its versatility. Often referred to as “blockade runners,” CR90 corvettes can be outfitted to slip through Imperial blockades, haul cargo, serve as trooper carriers, or engage Imperial ships in battle.
You do get one of these in the core set, but here is the Wave 1 expansion, it comes with new cards to add some more options.

Lets see what you get to add to the Rebel forces......

Friday, 1 January 2016

Star Trek Attack Wing IRW Valdore Romulan Warbird builds

The Valdore is a great looking ship, so I want to include it in my Romulan fleet.  It is also a powerful warship in its own right, so I thought I would see about getting the best of a build I could from it.  Again only using the cards that come with it, and staying under 50points.  So what can we do with the Valdore?

We start with the named version of course, allowing you to get an extra attack dice after a green manoeuvre can really pump some firepower into this ship.

We have Donatra as captain, at skill 6 she is not too bad and has an elite talent. Her inbuilt skill in more support then useful for the valdore itself.

Then we also have...