Sunday, February 16, 2014

SAGA – or how we learned to read funky dice

This game this week was learning the basics of SAGA from Gripping Beast in England, or from Architects of War in the US.  3 of the group that made it Monday night had played before so that helped a lot learning the basics.  Of the 7 members who were there, 6 brought figures for the game. I was the lone “don’t have any” guy.  Gary and Steve brought buildings, we used Steve’s for some terrain, but they were just for show.  I was very impressed by Gary’s buildings from 4 Ground also from the UK. Not too bad a price for them pre-assembled either.
SAGA uses a unique method of activation. You get X number of dice to roll per turn, this amount is determined by the type and amount of troops you have on the table. Roll the dice and place them on the battle board that is for you troop faction. Each faction has unique traits.  It gives a better feel for the different factions much like the traits in Bolt Action rules, only better.

Steve warming up the dice before he stomped Keith and I. Murphy was coaching the game.

The key seems to be good planning and good dice rolling. That is a  bit obvious but hard to do on the first game when you are learning the system.  Step one figure out how many dice you can roll.  If I remember correctly, 2 for the warlord and one for the other unit except the levy troops.  Then subtract the ones that might be left on the battle board from previous turns. Then comes the challenge of planning. Matching up what you want your troops to do and match that up to what your dice will let you do on the battle board.
About the dice, SAGA uses custom D6 (very expensive) with symbols from the different faction’s written language (I think). We used battle boards that had been translated into normal D6 numbers, thank goodness.  Different rolls can do different things. For example any roll that is 1 to 6 can be used to activate your warlord (general) or elite troops. A roll of 1 to 3 and 6 can activate your warriors, where 4 to 6 can activate the levies. Then you get to the different traits. Some are faction only but many are the same on all the boards.   One I tried at the end of the game with the Vikings was Valhalla. Put the correctly rolled die in the box. Activate a unit, move it into combat (this takes an activation die first) then play the Valhalla box (remove the die from that box). The box says something like “Remove 3 figures and get 3 dice for each one in attack”.  That unit of warriors went from 8 to 5 figures and I got roll 14 attack dice in that roll.  Alas Steve rolled his 8+2 dice ( his bonuses of the his board) for his elite troops and got 8 hits, I was able to get 4 saves but one man units run away. I only rolled one 6 on my attack and my entire unit was lost in that combat. 

                             Bruce, Michael and Gary the other SAGA game.

Bruce was comparing it to DBA with the different flavors of things each faction can do. I think he has a very good point that you should play only one or 2 different armies at first instead of trying them all. SAGA will be back, there are more than enough figures and the players seem to enjoy it.       

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Fields of Fire rules

This last week I brought out a new set of rules “Fields of Fire” by Larry A Yeager, published by Proving Ground Games.  Miniatures rules for Modern Combat 1975-Present is the subtitle. I ran across these on Facebook, from a post from Game Craft Miniatures back in December. I downloaded the armor only version  that is on their website and tried them last month.  That play test worked pretty well, so I attempted to understand the full basic game and got out my 30 year old 1/285 armor.
For the USSR I have a battalion of both T72’s and BMP1. Out they came on the table, a small recon unit and 3 off board batteries of 152mm. The Americans got a company of M60A3 and Mech Infantry in M113 with mortars and M150 TOW launchers. Off board one battery of 155mm artillery. So there was only about a 2 to 1 force ratio, not really enough but you play with what you have. I did cycle back in Russian armor that had been destroyed.

Setting up for the game, L to R Chris, Michael, Scott and Bruce.

Since there was only one bridge, I made the river was fordable as to not make it too much of a choke point. The Soviets never did make the far side. But then we only went through 1 and ½ turns in about 2 ½ hours.  Too much mini goodness on the table for a leaning game (a fault I keep repeating). The sequence of play is a bit confusing and I will be checking on the Proving Ground forums for some clarity.  There are 2 identical phases in the middle of a turn when move and fire happens.
From the quick reference cards 

 The middle of the 2nd turn with the Soviets advancing as fast as possible.

The game uses a decimal system for artillery deviation so there were some big misses. I know I forgot to account for the forward observer bonus that would have reduced the dice by 25%. The Soviets killed a couple of their own with friendly fire and a 2 US tracks. But that was it.  
Tank fire is pretty deadly if you can hit the target. While we did not use the snap shot rules, fire against non-hull down US tanks was pretty deadly. Hull down halved the chance of hitting as well as moving fire. This dropped the odds of the advancing USSR armor to 10 to 20%.
I made some big mistakes as far as learning the rules….. I wasn’t well versed it them as I should have been and that messed the game up. The group liked the game and is willing to try it again. I will be planning another test using much smaller forces. That should keep things manageable while we get the flow down

Lucky for me the group will play most anything as long as someone provides the figures.

As far as tactics went the Soviet players put 2 companies on the south (top of picture) side of the board as a feint, they were dead at the end of turn one. The main push was to the north towards the bridge. The US used every bit of terrain to hide in that they could. For the next game they will get a couple of sets of emplacements to shoot and scoot.  The units in the woods were wiped out.
I have more infantry on order for both sides to be able to deploy them from the infantry carriers. Not that they were used much. The US were shot up as they fired Dragons and the Soviets dismounted a company so they would still be alive after the BMP’s were blown up. No close assaults so far.      

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Friday, February 7, 2014

New beginnings

  .              Hello fellow gamers and those others who unfortunately found their way here. My name is Dale and I am a miniatures gamer. I decided to start a blog about gaming, so if it is connected to gaming and interesting to me I plan on commenting about it. You have been warned. 

          Let’s start off with some background. I live in the Pacific Northwest, currently in Tacoma WA.  I have been playing with model and toy soldiers for as long as I can remember. I discovered organized gaming in the 90's and started a local group about 5 years ago. 

When I was still living in Olympia a bunch of us started to get together on Tuesday nights for gaming. We have moved the game north a bit and changed days to Monday. We have a Yahoo group, Olympiagaming. If you can make a game we would love you have you join us.

          I also have a wide range interests that I game (or would like to game :) ).  Some of the periods that I collect – Ancients, Napoleonics, American Civil War, WWI Biplanes WWII, Modern, and Science Fiction. The rules are as varied as the eras a few of them are, De Bellis Antiquitatis, The Sword and the Flame, Wings of Glory, Tomorrows War, Fubar, Full Thrust, and Fields of Fire. The scale of the figures varies as well- 25-28mm, 15mm, 10mm, 1/285, 1/2400, and fleet scale.

          And those are just my interests. The other members have their own interests that they bring out to play as well. Eras like English Civil War, Star Wars X Wing, WWII in 28mm, some Interwar, and even Pulp games.  We play test new rules sets, and bring back old ones that we liked.

The whole purpose is to get together with some good friends, roll some dice and have a great time.

Next time – A report on last Monday’s game of Cold War micro armor.