Saturday 26 November 2022

A Xenos Rampant game

During the week a copy of Xeno Rampant rules arrived in the post and I have been waiting for the weekend to setup a game. It also gave me the opportunity to get the sci-fi themed backboard out again, which I finished a week or two ago.

A assault between Genestealers and Space Marines

The rule book has 194 pages and contains:

  • Building Detachment
  • Battle Rules
  • The game uses the same mechanisms as Lion Rampant 
  • Xeno Rules
  • Scenarios
  • Campaigns Rules
  • A series of scenario campaign settings
  • Appendicies - rule quick reference and detachment roster sheets

The rule set

Part of the game's preparation is building the detachments and unit profiles. The unit profiles are similar to other Rampant rulesets. The differences are units have strength points and quite a few options to tailor a unit's capabilities. Included in these options are ability to increase the units size from the standard 5 strength points to 10 or 15 strength points. This is particularly useful for units with minimal armour strength is it makes them more resilliant. Depending on the unit type, some get free actions to shoot, move or attack. Elite units get a couple of free actions to reflect the level of training and experience.

Unit profile sheets at the back of the rules are very helpful

Both detachments were setup ready for an encounter game. The Space Marine force consisted of:

  • 5-man Tactical squad (with commander)
  • 5-man Tactical squad with heavy weapon
  • 5-man Assault squad with jetpacks (flyer)

The Tyranid detachment consisted of:

  • 2 x Termagants 10-creatures with short range weapons
  • Genestealers 10-creatures
  • Broodlord with Genestealers 10-creatures
As this was my first game using the rules I opted not to include any commander traits.

Space Marine Detachment

Tyranid Detachment

The encounter battle has both detachments arriving from the tabletop edge. The Space Marines have the shooting capabilities and will be sitting back and taking aim as the Tyranids advance towards them to engage in close combat.

Game setup

On to the game report...

Tyranid units advance towards the Space Marines

The Space Marine squad with heavy weapons prove very effective in causing casualties, but the Tyranid units keep moving forward with their free moves. On the right Assault Marines and Genestealers clash repeatedly with neither gaining an advantage.

While the Assault Marines are forced back by the Genestealers, the combined firepower of the tactical squads eliminate the Broodlord and the benefits of the "hive-mind" option.

The Genestealers are finally eliminated, the heavy weapon option proving very useful again.

Thoughts on my first game using the rules:

  • I liked the different sized units They give lighter armoured a better level of resilience, especially as units that have list more than half their strength points halve the number of dice they roll.
  • The free actions work well reducing the likelihood of failing an activation and ending a player's turn.
  • I enjoyed building the unit profiles with the options, including quite an extensive list of Xeno Rules to further add the a unit's options. These include flyer, hive mind, psychic, and number about 35 in all.
  • The firefight rule allows units shot at to return fire. However, I forgot about the rule during the game. This would have benefited the Space Marines if I had remembered.
  • Writing up the profile cards helped speed up the game. The core rule mechanics of activations are quickly remembered.

Wednesday 23 November 2022

Two new books arrive

Two new books arrived during the week. Both are welcome additions to my ever increasing library of Wargaming books. I am currently reading through the Xeno Rampant as quickly as I can with the intention of having a game with it at the weekend. It is a good job I completed that Sci-Fi themed backboard a coupe of weeks ago.

From what I have gleaned from the book so far the rules are geared to a 4x4 foot tabletop with 3-10 units and be most suitable for getting my under utilised W40K figures into a game. The size of the games remind me of when I first started playing 40K with my son, where we both fielded a handful of units along with a vehicle or monster (I liked the Tyranids) and an elite unit.

The recent arrivals

If I get the time I will then see if I can get a commando raid on to the tabletop, but if the weather is fine I will be making some siege engines to go with my recently completed Medieval castle.

Sunday 20 November 2022

Medieval Castle for some siege games

This has been a very productive weekend of scratch building a Medieval castle. In the back of my mind I have been thinking about playing some siege games and including them into a planned campaign. Lacking a castle and not wanting to spend any money meant scratch building was the only option. Fortunately, I had all the materials I required on hand:

  • 90mm x 90mm wooden post cut into 180mm lengths
  • MDF for the battlements
  • 10mm x 20mm wooden strip for extending the parapet on the bastions
  • Gesso Primer (to disguise failings in woodwork)
  • Grey Paint
I am preparing for some Medieval sieges in the near future.

Most of my terrain is home made and my buildings tend to be blocks of wood with their detail painted on. The advantage of this is approach is I can throw them into a container without worrying about breakages. Some previous examples can be seen here:

Samurai buildings and castle keep.

Saxon and Norman Buildings

General 18th Century Buildings

St Nazaire Raid Buildings

The following photographs show the process used to create the castle.

The walls and bastions are made from 90mm x 90mm wood for posts. I had some from a previous and defunct  project already cut. The bastions needed to be a bit wider for my unit's to fit, so to increase the size I added some 10mm x 20mm strips of wood around the top. Finally MDF is added for the battlements.

Some of my sawing is not always that precise. To help fill in any gaps and give the walls some texture, Gesso Primer is painted on.

The texture the Gesso provides can be seen here.

All three bastions and four walls are primed with Gesso.

The base painting is done with a grey which is later sponged over with a black wash and brown wash. This breaks up the flat looking grey.

The grey is used again to dab on dots randomly. This is to give the impression of stone blocks.

The process of random dots continues with a darker grey and dark brown. This all adds to the impression of stonework.

At this point you maybe wondering about the battlements and where are their indentations or openings (embrasures or crenelles) which give them their saw-tooth look. Rather than cutting them out I cheat a bit, or is that a lot, and paint the openings. I start first by creating a cardboard stencil which I will use to mark out the openings. I them paint over the marking with black or a very dark grey.

A stencil is used to make the openings regular and consistent.

All marked up and ready for painting.

The openings all painted on.

Additional features like the gate are painted on.

The castle pieces can be setup in a couple of configurations on the corner of the tabletop, either 3 by 1 or 2 x 2 (see below). I am hoping the different configurations will help mix up the types of siege wargames and provide some variety.

The castle can be setup on the corner of the tabletop on a 3 by 1 wall configuration.

A corner setup with a 2 by 1 wall configuration.

The next step is to build some siege engines. All being well I should be able to make them next weekend. As I progress with this project I will be referring to my trusty copy of Military Modelling's "A Guide to Siege Waragming" by Stuart Asquith.

My old copy

Sunday 13 November 2022

One Fantasy unit painted and another rebased

This week has been very productive with the making of a Sci-Fi themed backboard and now a couple of Fantasy units are completed. Off the painting desk came a unit of Centaurs. I was very relieved to have finished these. They are metal figures with separate arms and equipment which all seemed a bit fragile and had to be drilled and pinned, so I don't get any breakages from handling on the tabletop. This was very time consuming and my enthusiasm dropped during process, but now they are finished all that is forgotten and I am pleased with the end result.

Centaurs completed - from Mantic Games

A side view

Out from storage I pulled out some Goblins for rebasing from their individual bases to larger multi-figure bases. A total of 30 Goblin figures fit quite nicely on three bases (which are 3x3 inches).

A close up of the Goblin standard. I painted these 10 years ago when my eyesight was better.

The Goblins all rebased as a unit.

As the weekend comes to an end I could not resist trying out the Sci-Fi backboard which I completed on Friday. A quick game has been thrown together. It looks like an ambush is on the cards.

A game is setup and ready to begin.

Saturday 12 November 2022

Making a Sci-Fi Backboard for the tabletop

Today I was able to spend time making an alien looking backboard for some Sci-Fi games. The backboard is made from foam board. I have used this material before for other backboards. It is light and sturdy and can be easily clipped on to the side of the tabletop.

An alien landscape backboard

For this backboard I first quickly sketched out a suitably alien looking landscape, then used cheap poster paints to block in the base colours I planned to use. Once the paint was dry I used soft chalk pastels to draw on the details. This all got sprayed with a can of clear semi-gloss varnish.

The backboard blocked in with paint.

The board itself is 9.5 inches tall.

On the back of the board I tape some wire bent at 90 degrees so I can clip the backboard to the tabletop.

Wire is taped to the back

Clips are used to secure the backboard.

All ready for a game

Friday 4 November 2022

WW1 Palestine Campaign - Turn 4 Game 1 Report

The Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF) are now advancing again having spent 4 months regrouping and preparing for the next stage of the campaign, the advance upon Jerusalem, will see them fighting over some rugged terrain. In this game they are attempting to capture a bridge over a wadi and hold a nearby town. While the Turks have a counter-attack planned using a couple of crossings which the EEF are unaware of.

The game is using Scenario #18 (Counter-Attack) from One-Hour Wargames

In the early morning EEF forces moved into their positions around the town ready for the assault upon the bridge. They were expecting re-enforcements at midday with the arrival of a mounted infantry unit. The assault began as planned with their forces advancing upon the bridge while their 2 artillery units bombarded the Turkish defenders who are entrenched on the opposite side of the wadi.

EEF forces take up position for the assault

Late in the morning just as success seemed to be in hand for the EEF. Turkish reserves arrived to bolster their bridges defences. The EEF pushed on with their assault while their artillery were providing accurate fire. However, at midday Turkish troops appeared on the EEF's flanks.

Turkish reserve units arrive to bolster the bridge defences and cross  to wadi to threaten the EEF flanks

EEF mounted infantry reserve arrive

During the afternoon as the EEF became busy defending their flanks from the Turkish and were unable to effectively support the assault on the bridge. It was not until late afternoon, after the flank threats had been neutralised, that they made a final attempt to dislodge the Turkish defenders. As evening arrived and with water and ammunition supplies running low, the EEF were forced to call off the assault and retire back to their starting position.

The EEF has a toe hold on the bridge, but their flanks are under pressure.

The EEF are able to hold off the flank attacks, but are unable to support the bridge assault.

With the flank attacks neutralised the EEF make a last ditch attempt to take the bridge, but are unable to remove the defenders and the bridge remains contested.

Neither force was able to achieve the victory conditions of the scenario and the game was drawn. The Turkish counter attack while disrupting the bridge assault did not come near taking the town. In scheme of the campaign a draw for Turkish forces is a good as a victory, as the EEF will have to spend valuable time preparing for another battle.

Having purchased a tripod I have given the videoing another go (this time without assistance). The game is condensed down to 1 minute and 7 seconds and can be viewed below.

I am still working on getting some closer shots of the action and will have to practice that next time.

Tuesday 1 November 2022

WW1 Palestine Campaign - Turn 4 Game 1 setup

The last game of the campaign saw the EEF finally break through the Gaza defensive line on their fourth attempt. The offensive now moves on to the hills around Jerusalem as the EEF try and regain the campaign momentum. The area now being fought over is rugged terrain with hills and wadis which will likely slow the advance.

Campaign map showing the EEF advance to the next campaign step.

The EEF Headquarters has chosen to spend an additional month preparing on top of the 3 months they automatically spend preparing to move into the next campaign stage (4). The campaign turn clock moves forward to October 1917.

The EEF order of battle has 7 units:

  • 2 x Mounted Infantry
  • 3 x Infantry
  • 2 x Artillery

The additional Mounted Infantry, which arrives from reserves on turn 8, came from the turn of an event card which the EEF get for spending an additional month preparing. This is on top of the 3 months the EEF automatically spend when advancing a campaign step. The campaign rules can be found here and are the featured post.

The Turkish defenders have 6 units which are well equiped with machine guns:

  • 2 x Infantry with supporting Machine Guns
  • 3 x Infantry
  • 1 x Artillery

One unit will begin on the tabletop and will due to their event card be entrenched.

One Turkish unit defending a bridge begin on the tabletop with the advantage or being entrenched.

The remaining Turkish forces in reserve.

The scenario selected from the One-Hour Wargames book is #18 - Counter-attack. The river in the scenario become a wadi which can only be crossed at the bridge and two other crossing points only known to the Turks. The EEF are advancing with the aim of occupying the town and capturing the bridge. While the Turks are planning a surprise counter attack with the hope of capturing the town while denying the EEF from taking the bridge.

A view of the tabletop showing the bridge and two concealed crossings only known by the Turks

The EEF plan is to occupy the town and swiftly advance to take the bridge. They are unaware of the other crossings. The Turkish counter-attack using the crossings plan to take the town and swing around on the flank to disrupt any attack on the bridge.

EEF plans in red and Turkish in blue. The two objective which must be controlled are the bridge and town.