Sunday, August 17, 2014

Warhammer Quest (simplified) with my children

Introduction
I mentioned on some forum that I occasionally played Warhammer Quest with my children.  The response was that I should post a report of one of the game, just to show how it goes.

The box

Background

The game
My best friend gave me the option of getting a lot of his games when he moved interstate about 4 years ago.  One of those games was Warhammer Quest. I put it away but about two years ago, I thought it would be fun to get out and just push around some figures on the tiles with my children (at that time 3 and 5 years old).  We pushed them around and had fun.  Late last year, I dragged it out again and actually skimmed the rules this time (I had played it once in the 90's I think, possibly I have never played it) and put something together.  Lots of fun.

Heroscape
Early this year I found Heroscape in a charity store going cheap and just had to buy it, although I had never heard of it.  Glanced at the rules and played my own version of it (very simple!) with the children a few times.  The reason I mention Heroscape is the combat system: Heroscape combat uses d6s with two blank face, two faces with red skulls and two faces with blue shields. the attacker rolls a certain number of dice and it looking for skulls, the defender also rolls some dice and it looking for shields.  compare skulls to shields for a result.  While this could be implemented just as easily with normal d6's and just look for 5s and 6s, my children caught onto this straight away,unlike using dice.  although, naturally they are good at reading dice - but comparing dice...easy.

Putting it together
So we have played about 3 games of Warhammer Quest in the last 6 months. My children are 7.5 and nearly 6.  Applying the Heorscape combat system has made it great.  I can vary the length of the game by the number of passageway cards and the numbe rof monsters that appear.  The game I am posting is one that they asked about playing after about a month had gone past since the one previous.

The simple rules
If you know the rules to Warhammer Quest you will recognise some of the rules below. I write them down only to serve an example of what I have done! Note I have still only skimmed the rules.  Once. About 2 years ago.  I do make stuff up on the spot but that is rare. The rules I write below I keep in my head - I need no charts, QRSs etc.  I have never had to refer to the rules, only as that will slow the game down!  I don't use the character sheets. Why?  Because I want a game that will take less than a hour.  That is about the amount of time I have at night to play a game with them. Some of the stuff in on the cards, which makes it easy. I do look up the adventure book.  I do expect as they get older I will actually read the rules and play them!

Shaun's simple WQ rules (skip if don't care)
Note these rules are for 3 players.  Normally I am the barbarian, my son is the Wizard or the dwarf and my daughter is the elf or the Wizard. I end up the Barbarian every time. They take turns each game being the Wizard as the Wizard gets to roll a die at the start of each turn.

One of them picks the end board.  I then randomly pick 3-6 dungeon cards (3 for a short game, 6 for one hour).  I do not use the T sections (no splits).  I make sure there are 2-3 rooms and 2-3 passageways.  The end board dungeon card goes on the bottom.
The actual game has a really nifty system for T intersections and ensuring you never know when the end board appears. The children do not count cards and so do not care.

Starting the game - draw the first dungeon card and place the characters on it.

Game turn
Wizard rolls the die.  A 1 indicates a random event so draw a card and perform the event.  Remember the other number - that is the Wizards spell points.
If no event, everyone can move about 6 spaces. Whatever is required to get to the next door.
Draw an event card when you enter a new room (not a passageway).
That's it.

Events 
Events are normally monsters (but not always).
I fudge the amount of monsters as there are only 3 characters, but it is about 2/3rds of what is on the card. Normally the characters get to attack first. Monsters will fire bows if they have them, or move to fight a character if no bows.  Each monster will pick on only one character and just keep attacking them.  Monsters will also distribute themselves fairly evenly against the characters.  If there are both strong and weak monsters, the weaker pick on the Wizard, while stronger monsters pick on the Dwarf/Elf/Barbarian.  They don't gang up on one character.  And characters generally cannot move if attacked - they have to keep attacking the monster attacking them.

The events that are not monsters, such as poison gas, I convert that into something that works with the combat rules.

Draw a treasure card after every event.

Combat
Combat happens first for all the characters who have an attack, then all the monsters have an attack.

Each figure has attack dice and defense dice and hit points.
Dice are Heroscape dice with 2 skulls, 2 shields and 2 blanks.

The attacker rolls their number of attack dice and counts skulls.
The defender roll their number of defense dice and counts shields.
If more skulls than shields, the defender takes that many hits.

If a monster reaches their hit points, they are dead.  If a character reaches their hit points they are unconscious, but if they exceed their hit points they are dead.


Character Stats
Elf and Barbarian have 4 attack dice and 4 defense dice and 4 hit points.  The elf also has a bow that fires with 2 attack dice.
Dwarf has 4 attack dice and 5 defense dice and 5 hit points.
Wizard has 2 attack dice and 3 defense dice and 4 hit points.  The wizard also has, once a turn, a fireball spell of 4 attack dice.  And it also gets a number of attack dice to use based on the roll of the dice at the beginning of the turn, unless a 1 was rolled.  These attack dice can be used once or added to any attack or attacks, including the fireball spell.
Note the barbarian comes out fairly poor in comparison to the rest.  I think I will be going with 5 attack dice next game, just to make hum a little different.

Monster Stats
Minotaurs (my son's favourite's) are 4 attack, 4 defense and 4 hit points.  They are tough!
Orcs are 3 attack, 3 defense and 3 hit points
Skaven are 3 attack, 2 defense and 2 hit points
Goblins are 2 attack, 2 defense and 1 hit points
Snotlings are 1 attack, 1 defense and 1 hit point
Bats get to attack first and are like Snotlings

Healing
The Elf has the healing potion.  Each turn (unless an event is rolled) each injured character can roll 3 dice and the number of shields is the number of hit points received. If they are unconscious, restoring hit points will allow them to wake up.

The Game

Note: we play on the carpet on the floor.  For some reason, we play all our games sitting on the floor.

And before you ask, Sacha is a boy (he is the one nearly 6).

The early game
The Wizard, the elf and the Barbarian ready to enter the dungeon. 
First tile is an empty passageway.
The next room see some bats appear.  But they are easily dispatched (note this is not always the case but this time, it was all over in two combat rounds). 
The treasure found in the bat room was the Chalice of Fate.  Wizard Nadia saved this to near the end. See later for details.  
A '1' is rolled meaning an event.  3 orcs!
Sacha the Flf roll brilliantly - this is just one example.  4 dice and 4 hits.  I think 2 orcs were dispatched by Sacha the Elf alone!  
The party continue on down some stairs.

The dwarf, the dead body and the Minotaur

The next room has a dying dwarf in it.  We go over for a chat and he gives us the key to the portcullis. This is only useful if you get the portcullis event, which we did not. 
..but we did find a treasure.  And a good one too.  To convert into my rules, Sacha the Elf can roll 1 extra die (3 dice rather than 2) when firing his bow.  This was used to great effect for the rest of the game. 
Another passageway.  Boring. 
And another passageway. Boring.  unless you roll a 1 for an event and get...
..a dead body  that I take the bag from and roll a 1 - Poison Gas!
We take a few hits each...
Just in time for a minotaur to show up (another 1 roll at the start of the turn).  Wizard Nadia was tempted to re-roll this event, but held off.
Sacha the Elf fires his bow (at top) for a great result.  The Minotaur defends (at the bottom) for an even better result.  I was starting to panic a little at this moment. 
The three of us ran up to the Minotaur, who managed to swing his axe and miss, and each had a go with great dice, and his dice were poor beyond belief. Obviously he had used up all his good defense dice on the first arrow.  Sacha the Elf heals us all with no unexpected events interrupting us.

The Chasm!
We arrive at the final room - the bridge over the fire chasm.  Defending the room are two minotaurs, 2 goblin archers and 2 orcs.  We have to eliminate them all, and also destroy the bridge.
Things are not going so well.  The goblin archers do some damage to the wizard and the Elf.  I do manage to put a few hits on a minotaur.
Wizard Nadia's  fireball takes out the minotaur.  4 dice, and another 5 from the wizard spell roll. Sacha the elf takes out one of the archers. 
Despite me calling out not to move on the bridge, Sacha the Elf''s blood is up and he advances onto the bridge.  Now he faces the minotaur alone and no one can help him.  He defeats the minotaur with ease, taking two hits in the process.  The minotaur falls off the bridge into the lava below.  Sacha the Elf likes that, especially as one of his favourite things in Minecraft is lava!  
The Goblin archers shoot me for a few hits and I am down and unconscious.  Not to worry though, Sacha the Elf has dice that can do no wrong and dispatches a blocking orc while taking only 1 hit.  Another monster falls into the lava!  The Wizard and the Elf take out those pesky archers!
For those making it this far, Wizard Nadia very early on had the chalice of fate allowing a re-roll once.  Wizard Nadia had been saving it for when things were really bad. Very handy right now as we are all very wounded and she rolled a 1 for the start of the turn.  This would normally mean an event - and with the Barbarian unconscious and the Elf with only 1 hit left.  She re-rolled to something else. Whew.  
We all get healed and hack at the bridge until is is destroyed.  We gloat over the amount of treasure in the room.
A shot of the whole dungeon.
Verdict
This gamer took about 10 minutes to set up and just under one hour to play after that.  The last 10 minutes was over their normal bedtime but we were at the Chasm - no way were we going to stop.

Post script: Heroscape
The Heroscape box is out, and we have played it before.  So, a few days later, my son and I play about 3 games over an hour.  It is not Heroscape - it may look like it but we just run around the battle board trying to get counters and fighting over them.  It works really well.

A small Heroscape battle setup. Normally we play on something larger.   Combat is a light version of the Heroscape rules and works a bit similar to the Warhammer Quest combat I use and is described earlier.



Friday, August 15, 2014

NUTS Comic WW2 battle report - North of Cheux Normandy Game 02

Introduction
This is the second game in a short campaign following a British section post D-Day.  First game is here:  28 June Cheux Normandy Game 01 

I am using my streamlined version of the NUTS! rules and 20mm figures on a 2'x2' table and am halving all distances in the rules. The terrain generation is from Platoon Forward and the wound effects and random events are based on Patrol:WW2.  The writeup is using Comic Life.

Background
I am loosely basing the campaign on the journey of the British 7th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment of the 43rd (Wessex) Division in 1944.  28-30 June 1944 saw many patrols and a few German stragglers captured.   

It is my second game with NUTS! and I have done some streamlining to the rules, mostly converting it to single d6 rolls but it is still mostly NUTS!.  First games was 5 soldiers, this time it is the whole section, well 8 of them as one died in the first game and another is recovering from his wounds.

Game

Click on the picture for a larger image.










In NUTS! terms
A random reinforcement turns up just behind the LMG team.  Like the first game, the random placement put it right next to some British soldiers.  The LMG team gain the initiative from the In Sight test but miss.  The German LMG'er receives a light wound and goes prone while the assistant hunkers down (going prone).  Next activation the British charge and the LMG and assistant surrender.

For the other section members, once near the buildings, no PEF appears in either.
Box and others advance into the barn, resolving the PEF for in the barn, becomes 3 Germans.  The British win the in sight and the room is sprayed with SMG and rifle fire for a dead German and the other two duck back to behind the building.
The British then charge into melee with the 2 remaining Germans and win that too!
All of the three PEFs on the table at the start resolve to nothing.

Verdict
Another fun game.  It is really interesting as you have no idea what you will come up against, nor how it will play out.  I think two things helped with no casualties for the British.  Firstly, the dice were with the Allies and so bad for the Germans.  And secondly, I fudged it when Box and the others stormed the barn.  I could just visualise them kicking down the door and firing the SMG into the room.  So that is what happened (the Germans did roll poor dice for whatever test would apply). but the damage and result was rolled for.

The game still took too long (just over 1.5 hours excluding setup but it does include taking about 100 photos and writing some notes).   Mostly it was looking up some rules clarifications on the tablet and also how PEFs moved.  I have created a cheat sheet for PEFs and random events and my recent third game (yet to be posted) was 1 hour excluding setup.  Getting faster!



Sunday, June 22, 2014

WW2 20mm West Front Goodwood mini-Campaign Game 7

Introduction
I have setup a 1/2 a table tennis to play a 7 game mini-campaign set over 2 days at the opening of Operation Goodwood. This is the last game, game 7.  Game 1 and some more background, see this blog post.

Scenario 6 - Assault on Chateau St Pierre D'Oursin
Elements of the 12th SS Panzer are defending the Chateau Pierre D'Oursin.  The Irish Guards need to clear Chateau of forces to protect their divisions left flank.

Overview of the battlefield.  The British on the left have to cross the large open fiend to the woods on the right.
Troops
Germans
1 Veteran Panzer Grenadier HQ
3 Veteran Panzer Grenadier squads (each 6 figures + MMG)
1 JangpanzerIV/L48

Reinforcements:
1 Veteran Panzer Grenadier HQ + Sdkfz 250/10
3 Veteran Panzer Grenadier squads (each 6 figures + MMG +Sdkfz 251/1)

British
1 Squadron
    2 Shermans
    1 Firefly
2 Infantry units
   1 Infantry command (5 figures)
   3 Infantry squads (each 10 figures)
   1 PIAT team in Bren carrier
1 Bren Carrier with HMG team.
1 FAC in Sherman tank
2 Daimler Armoured Car

Overview of the British troops.
Scenario changes
Game is supposed to be on a 6'x6' but I am playing on a 4.5'x5'.  No changes to accommodate this.

The campaign so far - Germans have won three (blue) and the British 3 (orange).

Deployment
The British setup behind the hedge.  The Germans are spread out along the tree line with a central vantage point for the JadgpanzerIV.

Where the units are at deployment
Game
A open field to cross.  Slow and steady it is. The Shermans have been advancing with the infantry following behind them in shelter.

The British tentatively advance.  the infantry hid behind the advancing tanks and the Daimlers are out in front. 
The Daimlers advance and manage to spot some units.  The Panzerfausts (I allowed 2 as per the scenario) all missed.

A Daimler makes it to the woods and spots some infantry.  Panzerfausts all miss and they are 
But return fire from Sherman HE manages to pin the squad. In the rules, a recce unit may contact the closest unit and tell them where a spotted unit is.  In this case the Shermans were closest and fired at the Germans in the woods.

The Other Daimler spots some infantry behind the hedge in front of the chateau.

The other Daimler spots units in front of the Chateau.
Time to call in the aircraft, Success and 6d6 of bomb damage sees them reduced heavily.  Some other Britsih infantry are advancing, further back than the tanks, and also the sole MMG dismounts but within range of the woods.

While an earlier image than previous, the units are still steadily advancing and the dismounted MMG and carrier can be seen at the back left.  

The Germans begin to fire back with the MMGs and pin some advancing infantry. The Germans in the woods are routed eventually by quite a bit of HE fire from the Shermans.

The Chateau and the objective for the British.  MMG fire from here was lethal but aircraft bombing and strafing managed to clear out any troops in it.
The building is bombed a few more times until the aircraft missions ran out.  it did cause the MMG to go, and also the HQ unit in the building.  And one of the units hiding behind the hedge in fron tof the chateau.

The Jagdpanzer decides to open up now and manages to KO a Sherman.  It was easily spotted but the Sherman return fire is ineffectual.

Jadgpanzer in the woods. I only have the L70 model, and it is standing in for the L48 version.
Still slow going - the British are getting closer to the wood line and chateau.  Half the tanks gone, the infantry that is advancing is half gone.  But there is another load of infantry ready to take advantage of the situation as soon as a foothold can be made.

Mid game - lots of losses for the advancing units, but the Germans are reduced quite a bit as well.  The British still have a lot of troops in reserve behind the hedge on the left.
And then I bring on the German reinforcements.  In fact, I only bring on half of them as I have an idea what is going to happen.  I bring on three MMGs rather than 3 MMG and associated infantry (15 figures in all).

The MMGs are brought in on the German right and advance, without being seen,to the edge of the wood.
The MMGs setup on the edge of the wood near the road and are not spotted.  They open up.  4 dice each, 5+ required to hit the closest units.  10 hits from 12 dice!  2 units are gone.  End of turn. First card for activation on the new turn is German.  The three MMGs fire again on the next unit.  12 dice but now need a 6+ as it is long range.  5 hits!  Another unit gone.  The Jagdpanzer then takes out a second Sherman and the last remaining Sherman decides it has had enough (failed morale test).

At the end.  While the British have a lot of infantry left behind the hedge, they have nothing else.  and the Germans command the field with the MMGs.
So the British now have no tanks, no aircraft, one MMG and lots of open ground to traverse - taking about 4-5 turns.  The Germans have 3 MMGs, in cover, that can reach the entire table.  The British retreat.

Verdict
Another open ground battle went as expected. I believe I played the British the best I could do, but it is hard to attack over an open field against hidden forces.  But I did enjoy trying it out.  I believe I will not be trying out open field battles like this again!  It also likely has something to do with playing the scenario based for one set of rules and using another.

This is the last battle in the campaign and the table has been put away.  I started work on some company level rules and realised I am not entirely happy with Advancing Battalions as a ruleset.  They are good, but not great (and I wrote them!).  Playtesting them in these 7 battles has been useful.  I think infantry to hit is too easy and am changing the base to hit from 4+ to 5+.  Also, I would go back to the original way I did morale and add back in suppression.  So while the rules as there were for these rules were a leap forward in mechanisms, I have toned it back a little to what I am more comfortable with.  I have updated the rules (but are untested) and they will be the final version for a while until I get back into battalion sized battles. 

Campaign result



The rulebook has a method to calculate who won the campaign based on a weighted score for winning battles and cross referencing each sides' totals on a small table:

Centre Battles
Game 1 - German win
Game 3 - British win
Game 6 - German win
2- 1 German victory gives 1 campaign point to the Germans
Right Flank Battles
Game 2 - German win
Game 7 - German win
2-0 German victory gives 1 campaign point to the Germans
Left Flank Battles
Game 4 - British win
Game 5 - British win
2-0 British victory gives 1 campaign point to the British

Final result
Cross referencing this on the table gives a narrow German victory.

Final word
With the table away, I am back to 2'x2' table battles for foreseeable future.

Monday, June 16, 2014

NUTS Comic WW2 battle report - Cheux Normandy Game 01

Introduction
I was going to do a company based 6mm ww2 Normandy mini-campaign on a 2'x2' board. I am likely to still do so.  But I have been distracted by an idea to use my 20mm figures on the 2'x2' table and play skirmish instead.  I have always wanted to have a go with Two Hour Wargame NUTS! as it is very solo friendly and will use that, although the terrain generation is from Platoon Forward and the wound effects and random events are from Patrol:WW2.  Lastly, comic style AARs are all the rage at the moment, so I used Comic Life (for the first time) to do the report.

Background
I have recently acquired the history of the British 7th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment of the 43rd (Wessex) Division.  I am loosely basing the campaign on their journey.  28-30 June 1944 saw many patrols and a few German stragglers captures. 

It is my first game with NUTS! so I am going with only 5 soldiers. I expect I will normally run with an entire section.   With the small 2'x2' table, I am halving all distances.

The Game
Note: images can be clicked on to show a larger version.











Commentary
I rolled randomly for 5 British soldiers.  I chose not to use any Stars:

Corporal Box, REP 5, Stealth
Private Harrison, REP 5, Tough
Private Jones, REP 4, Hard as Nails
Private Killan, REP 5, Nerves of Steel
Private Trimmer, REP 3, Runt.

Campaign Morale: 4
British Investment Level: 3 (on Patrol)
German Investment Level: 3 (Brits are on Patrol)

I made a mistake with the first German fire when I rolled for all the 5 Germans firing and then started applying damage to the different figures.  I should have done it one by one.  But I did remember half way through, and even remembered the Man Down tests.
There was a time when Killan and a German traded shots - three times each - without hitting as both in cover.  That was frustrating but part of the game.
There were three random event in a row near the end of the the game.  I used Patrol:WW2 and the third one was the artillery strike (the other events were less exciting such as finding a PIAT).
I could not believe it when I rolled German replacements as Box and Jones were returning back to the line.  And even more unbelievable when the entry location was so close! It was a squad so I rolled a d6 for the number of soldiers that turned up.
Lastly, I should have picked up the wounded soldiers.  I forgot and only remembered when I got to the end.  If real life, they would not have forgotten so assumed they made it back.

Using Patrol: WW2 I determined the Out of the Fight effects::
Harrison:  Light wound Arm; out for 8 days.
Killan: Light wound Arm; Completely healed within the day.

Verdict
Well, that was fun. Comic Life runs a little slow on my under-powered machine but it was so easy to use and I really enjoyed putting it altogether.  I also really like Nuts! for its solo suitability and also the campaign detail.  The whole game took 2 hours from taking out the board, filling it with terrain and playing the game.  I did not use any paper and referred to the rules on a Windows 7 notebook.  The bookmarks are fantastic and I found the rules fine to work with.  I think the game with 5 soldiers would be over in under an hour in a game or two.
But of course, and I had a feeling this would happen, there are a lot of dice rolls in the game. I did think about switching to something similar with less dice and Gut Check! looks good.  However, as an incessant rules writer,  I am already nearly finished writing a simpler set (infantry only so far) borrowing some of the reaction concepts but with less dice rolls.