Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Bandits & Brigands - Test of Honour AAR

For last night's games of Test of Honour at Half Day Studio, I decided to put away Jiro's warband and instead used the miniatures from the Bandits & Brigands box. 

My first game was against Bill. We've been discussing Osprey's Ronin rules, especially since everyone basically has a Buntai warband ready to go thanks to Test of Honour. I had asked Bill if we could try a Samurai only game, and he agreed.

We had 20 points to spend. Bill took his custom Lady Yoshikira, a Devoted Samurai, and a Ninja Lieutenant. I took the Bandit character hero, Kojiro, two Bandit Bruisers, and a Bandit Lieutenant armed with a bow.

The objective was to control the Torii gate by the end of five turns.

Both sides rushed for the gate, with Lady Yoshikira leading the charge. While my Lieutenant couldn't hit anything with his bow and arrows, a Bruiser managed to cut down one of Bill's supporting Samurai.

The dueling continued as Lady Yoshikira managing to fend off three attackers!

Unfortunately, Bill's warband couldn't recover from the activation imbalance, and both the Ninja and Lady Yoshikira fell, ending the game early.

The game basically confirmed what I had thought - Test of Honour is best used for warband sized games, while the smaller skirmish sized games should be left for Ronin, which does a better job of making close combat more interesting than just activating and rolling dice.

My second game of the night was against Sam. Using the Bandits again, I made the largest sized warband possible (16 points), which Sam then met.

Our warbands were:

Bandit Samurai Hero Character
Bandit Bruiser
Bandit Group
Bandit with Bow
Bandit with Musket

Samurai Hero
Wise Samurai
Sergeant of Archery
Loyal Bowmen Group

The mission was simple - whoever had the last Samurai standing, won.

With half of Bill's warband armed with bows, most of my initial activations were spent on Cautious Moves, which gave my warband free Evades in case of attacks. Sam's hero, hoping to get into my warband's flank, charged forward and used the terrain to block my Bandit archer's line of sight.

However, luck quickly turned against Sam when my Bandit hero managed to wound, then cut down his Samurai hero. Since I rolled a critical with the damage (at least 5 swords), my Bandit Hero was able to follow up and charge the Sergeant of Archery, who was also chopped into pieces.

The game ended the next turn, when Sam, unable to roll enough swords to evade, lost his Wise Samurai to my Bandit Bruiser.

This was a rough game for Sam, and my victory was secured more through lucky rolls on my part (and unlucky rolls on Sam's) rather than any kind of tactical genius.

I do have to say, the sculpts for the Bandits are fantastic, since they're all original, compared to the plastics that Warlord bought from the now-defunct Wargames Factory.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Pedal to the Metal - Gaslands AAR

Gaslands has been causing something of a craze recently, and it's pretty easy to see why. Post-apocalyptic, high-octane car racing is always fun, and the abundance of cheap cars means that anyone can stop by their local dollar store and walk out with enough models for a variety of options.

Bill's been excited to try out a game, and so Gaslands was featured for the first Friday Night Fights event at Half Day Studio

There were four players controlling two cars each. Bill had two pickup trucks, Kai went with a pickup truck and a car, and Keith and I chose a car and performance car combo.

We chose to use the Death Race scenario, where players have to race through a series of gates in order.

After a few missteps, we managed to get through the first turn. The game has an odd turn structure where there are six "Gear Phases" in each turn, ascending from 1 to 6. A car can activate in any gear phase that matches their gear or higher (so a car in gear 3 can activate in Gear Phase 3, 4, 5, and, but not 1 or 2). This means that a car can activate multiple times in a turn.

With most cars jockeying for position, I decided to have my performance car use one of its nitro-boosters to shoot through the gate. However, this (plus some collisions that my other car was involved in) caused both my cars to wipeout, reducing them back to first gear.

It became painfully clear just how problematic being stuck in first gear can be in this game when most of the other cars are in higher gears. I was stuck unable to do anything as the rest of the cars were able to make 2-4 additional moves.

Keith, Kai and Bill were mostly focused on each other, with Bill's and Keith's lead cars playing catch with Molotov cocktails.

It took us about two hours to get through one and half turns, which was mostly due to the four of us trying to work our way through the rules. That should speed up in the future.

However, it looked as though Keith was likely to stay in the lead, since Bill's pickup (the only vehicle with enough distance and speed to keep up) wrecked and then was destroyed.

I'm hoping to play more in the future, since the game should speed up once we have a firmer grasp on the rules.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Tides of Fortune - Test of Honour AAR

My last game of Test of Honour was against Kai. We played a 24 point game (the first full sized game since we started playing) with the Escort mission. 

Since Kai won the roll-off, I started with the objective, who I would need to escort off the opposite side of the table. I decided that my Devoted Samurai would be capable enough to handle the job.

This is also a pretty good shot of one of the tables Bill has set up in preparation for the upcoming Test of Honour tournament at Half Day Studio.

Both sides exchanged fire in the first turn, while my Samurai Hero led the charge into Kai's warband. I attempted to move the Devoted Samurai up the edge of the

I'm forced to admit that I may have gotten a little cocky during the second turn. With the samurai able to move so quickly, and most of Kai's warband too far to reach the Devoted Samurai and escort in close combat, I thought the scenario would quickly end.

Kai and his luck put the kibosh on my plan, as he managed to strike down both of my samurai in rapid succession. The escort decided to hide on the opposite edge of the hill - surrounded by Kai's soldiers.

Kai's Samurai Hero and his men decimated a unit of Loyal Spearmen. Things were looking pretty dire for my warband.

At the end of the fourth turn, Kai's warband still hadn't managed to secure the escort, but I was forced to concede. It was highly unlikely that my remaining commoners would be able to stop Kai's Samurai Hero and his supporting units, not to mention the other half of the warband on the opposite side of the table.

It was a fun game, with plenty of action, and a definite "win big, lose big" mentality.