Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Frigians from Battle Valor Games

I recently purchased some models from a new company called Battle Valor Games.  They are producing 15 mm metal fantasy figures.

There are only a few races currently available, but the list of upcoming races is pretty staggering.  The traditional races (such as human, dwarf, elf, and orc) are all present, but the company also has a variety of other races including a snake race, beastmen, ratmen, and others.

Each race has a name that ends with -ians:  Orcians, Dwarvians, Elvians, etc.  The setting of the universe they are making these models for is called Legian so the names all fit with that.  A bit silly in my opinion, but if the models hold up, I don't really care what they call them.

I am very excited about the upcoming Decians (skeletons), but since they are not yet available, I thought I would get a few Frigians (Viking-esk humans) for the Decians to fight against when they become available.

I have to say I am pretty impressed.  My 15 mm experience has primarily been with sci-fi, but I do have a few DBA armies.

The variety of poses and armament options are pretty impressive.  I believe the pack of axe armed Frigians has 20 poses and the bow armed Frigians have 10 poses.  There are packs available with swords, axes, bows, double handed axes, spearmen, mounted with spear, and mounted with hand weapons.  In addition to this each force has a smallish beast unit (war hounds for the Frigians), a large infantry unit (ice trolls and giants for the Frigians), a large monster unit (war mammoth for the Frigians) and a flying unit (hippogriff riders for the Frigians).

With this variety of troops and about 20 factions on the list, this looks to be an enormous line of figures and I hope them the best as they work on bringing all these out to the market.

I ordered a pack of Frigian axemen and Frigian bowmen.  Each pack contains 35 models.  Some of the poses are not hugely different, but they are enough to give a good look of variety to any unit.  Included in each pack is also a selection of command models; a champion, a musician, and a standard bearer.

Below are some pictures of the miniatures so you can see how these look.

Frigian axemen next to a roman soldier (Essex)

Frigian axeman (right) next to a Viking (I don't know the manufacturer)

Champion  (I love the looks of this model)

Bowman (the bow seems a little short, and I'm not sure why he is standing there with both arms sticking out?)










Sheilds (front and back)
Standard Bearer
Overall, I am happy with these guys.  They look nice and are cast well.  Not too much flash.  One of the bows was a little short (I'm guessing that was a casting issue) but everything else looks good.  Eventually, I will try my hand at painting these up for a game.

Note:  Each of the axemen has a hole in their arm.  This is where the shield goes.  If you don't want shields, I think a little putty would fix that easy enough.

I plan to get some Decians when they become available and depending on the other models, might get a few others as well.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear! - Game Review

I picked up a copy of Conflict of Heroes:  Awakening the Bear! 2nd edition a while ago.  It has sat on my shelf for some time.  I decided to pull it down and read through the rules.  I liked what I read and watched a few YouTube videos on the rules.  I was a little worried about this game being a bit heavy, but I think it is a pretty intuitive rule system.  I have played it mostly solo (not with the solo expansion) controlling both sides myself.

This game takes Operation Barbarossa and puts it on the table where players take control of squads and tanks to resolve tactical situations faced during WWII.

This game is highly ranked on BGG (19th War Game) and well respected by many of the reviewers that I enjoy; Derek Case from SingleHandedWarfare and Bart "The Chief" from The Dice Tower.

Games last between 1-2 hours depending on the scenario played.

All of the artwork in this game is top notch.  The map boards look fantastic.  The tokens look great with all the pertinent information being easy to read.  My only complaint about the layout is that I would reverse the front and flank armor values.

Component Quality
Everything in this game is top notch.  All the tokens are printed well and punched out well.  The maps are very nice and, as stated earlier, look great.

Game Play
Each mission offers a different challenge and troops types to engage in the battle.  There is a specific objective to accomplish and details on how each force earns victory points.

Players take turn activating units to move them across the board or shoot at each other in an effort to accomplish the mission's goals.

A player can complete a single action on their turn.  This can be moving a single unit, shooting with a single unit or using a group activation to have multiple units move together.

When a player activates a unit he gets 7 action points (or a random number as an optional rule) to use on that units actions.  There is also the opportunity for shared actions, or group actions that allow more units to activate at the same time.

Players can use opportunity fire to react to the enemy by firing with an unactivated unit and then immediately flipping that unit to its spent side.

In addition, players have Command Action Points (dictated by the scenario) that they can use throughout their turn (and can even be used on spent units).  As a player loses units, they get fewer Command Action Points in future turns.

The activation system really forces players to think about what they are doing because you might have several things that you want to do, but you are limited in what you can do.  The decisions in this game matter and sometimes you can't always do everything you want.

This game has several expansions.  Some are expansions from the first edition and others from the 2nd edition.  More are in the works as well.

The big one that I was most excited about was the Solo Expansion.  This has a variety of scenarios and AI cards that allow the players to fight solo battles where the enemy really fights back.  The battles are very challenging and you will need to use your wits to accomplish the mission in these battles.

The next expansion that has intrigued me is the Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear - Firefight Generator Expansion.  This expansion allows players to build scenarios using a deck of cards.  The cards are used to determine units, victory point conditions, weather, etc for each side.  The players take turns going back and forth with selections so you can react to what your opponent is doing.  This expansion allows you to create an enormous variety of scenarios to play.  The great thing is that this expansion also works with the Solo Expansion.

Overall Thoughts
I think I found a new favorite board game...

This game is challenging, but I have loved every minute of it so far.  The decision points are constant and I love that to do one thing you may be giving up the opportunity to do something else.  There is a level of detail in this game that won't be to everyone's liking, but I am very pleased to have this on my shelf.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

OHW - Bottleneck Scenario

I broke out my Epic 40K models for another game of Neil Thomas's One Hour Wargames.  I used the WWII with the tweaks I talked about in this post:  One-Hour Wargames - Book/Game Review.

I chose to play the Bottleneck scenario (scenario 24) for this game.

I also decided to make use of one set of the random event cards suggested on chapter 22 of the book.  The author suggests each force draw a card each turn but I decided to just have the Marines (my force) draw each turn.  You can see the card for each turn in the photos below.

Again the Eldar and Marines are facing off against each other.  With the Eldar holding the crossroad in the last engagement, the Marines have decided to take a different approach as their forces advance, but they've come to a bottleneck between a forest and a lake.  As they move toward the bottleneck, the Eldar launch an attack and attempt to again halt the Marine advance.

Eldar forces

Marine forces


Turn 1
The Marine forces moved onto the board.  The Eldar moved forward and the infantry in the woods fired on the tank to no effect.  Not a lot of action this turn.

Turn 2
The Marine infantry and walker moved forward while the tank opened fire on the infantry in the woods.  The Eldar focused fire on the Marine tank.

Turn 3
The Marines changed their target to the tank as it can deal out a lot of damage.  The Walker still fired on the infantry in the woods as it have a shot on the tank.  The Eldar fired kept pounding on the tank and put some fire on an infantry stand as well with a very good roll.

Turn 4
Both tanks were taken out this turn.  

Turn 5
More fire on the damaged infantry and the woods and some fire on the Eldar jump troops take them out of action.  The Eldar move an infantry stand into the woods and take out a Marine infantry stand.

Turn 6
The woods offer good defense to infantry, but these two stands just don't seem to have much of a chance to last through this pounding.

Turn 7
The Marines move up to get everyone into a better firing position while the Eldar continue to defend the forest.

Turn 8
A tough card flip for the Eldar (though it did fit with the situation), plus incoming fire from 4 units.  The poor Eldar took 12 damage in a single turn.

Turn 9
Ammo shortage for the Marines, but it turned out only 1 infantry unit was affected and the remaing forces finished off the Eldar.

Battle Summary
The Eldar were at a disadvantage having jump troops in this scenario, as they can't enter the woods.  But with the random force roll, you get what you get.  In hind sight, I probably should have started the Eldar infantry at the back of the woods and moved the other infantry up into the woods straight away.  It would have given the Eldar a bit more time to shoot instead of moving up to meet the oncoming forces.

As I stated in my previous post, these rules are pretty simple, but they provide a fun game that plays very quickly.  I'm still thinking about letting units move and shoot, as the game is kind of static once people are in range.  While that is probably appropriate for the WWII setting these were originally written for, I think the sci-fi world would have more movement.  I'll probably play a few more games before I make that change.

I've added and finished a bit of terrain for this game.  I painted and drybrushed my board, but will probably add some flock as it is pretty barren.  I cut some felt to define forested areas and water.  Very cheap, but effective.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Scatter Terrain - Boxes and crates

Scatter terrain is always a good thing.

There is always stuff sitting around to offer cover or to hide behind in our real world.  It is also a good thing to add into your terrain selection for any miniature games you might play.

I have put together a number of boxes and crates to add to my collection.  These will work for both 15mm and 28 mm games.

I went to my local craft store and bought a couple of packages of square blocks.  I think the 4 bags I got cost about $10 total.

I used some wood glue to make little clusters of these crates.  After the glue dried, I painted the blocks a variety of colors.  Some were pretty bright but wasn't worried as I would be dulling the colors with a wash.

Finally, I used some MinWax as a wash to dirty these ups and to tame the bright colors.

You can see the group of my new terrain.  This will offer lots of cover for my troops to hide behind.