31 October 2011

DW Sunday at End Game Center

Last week my usual opponent and I took a drive down south to meet some new DW players and check out a game store I visited when I first moved to the area three years ago.  We played a game of DW and talked about the game with other players.  The big DWVA Autumn Event 2011 is only a week away now, and Kyle wanted to play a practice game with his 800 point fleet.

Kyle's Covenant fleet moves into position; with 800 points he included both a battleship and a flagship; I included, for the Blazing Sun, an unpainted Kraken as a proxy for the Mechanical Squid, along with the battleship Ontake.

17 October 2011

Battle of Castle Rock Island

A mist forms above the cold, still waters of the Sorylian Sea around Ratrap Island.  Ships take shape in the mist, black smoke belching from their stacks, the hiss of steam from engines, as two Dwarven fleets approach Castle Rock on the island renowned for the presense of a sinister mage.

Our first proper game of Uncharted Seas in more than a month, we started by setting out the sea mat and islands to play Dreadfleet, but we decided to break out the reliable old fleets instead.  800 points in each fleet, no composition rules and no special objectives.  I placed my Shroud Mages along the southern edge of the space, a pair of frigates to the north scouting for a battleship, then a pair of heavy cruisers, the flagship Lightbringer, a squadron of Adept Destroyers, and, somewhere, a Ripper Submersible lurked beneath the becalmed waters.  And barely three feet away, suddenly appearing as the fog lifts slightly, and just within long range, was Admiral Redhammer's fleet of Iron Dwarves with battleship, flagship, heavy cruisers, destroyers, and their Cursed Bellows Skyships.

Start of Turn 1:  Iron Dwarves to the North and Shroud Mages to the South.  Note the coffee mug from the Blogger's favorite used bookstore just beyond the southwest corner of the board; not for any good reason, I was just very pleased to be sipping hot coffee from my Powell's mug while playing my usual opponent my favorite tabletop naval game on a new sea mat during a comfortable Sunday afternoon.  No harm in recognizing the pleasure of having the time (and cash) to enjoy this hobby.

15 October 2011

Our First (and Last) Game of Dreadfleet

My usual Dwarven opponent, the one that usually sinks my Thaniras Elven fleet, stopped by last night to try Dreadfleet.  We just played a trial game, the Dwarven ship proxied by his Iron Dwarf Dreadnought against the Shadewraithe which I had just started painting.  We started on opposite sides of the map, about 36 inches apart, and our respective ships closed, each opening broadside failing to scratch the other.  On the first turn both ships were pelted by a rain of sea snakes which were swept from the deck out of hand.

By turn 3 my Shadewraithe had pulled alongside the Dwarven ship and fired a volley which managed to damage some crew, but then the Dwarven ship moved into a stern raking position, and canonballs smashed the mizzenmast into so many splinters (corporeal or otherwise), reducing the speed of the Shadewraithe by several points.  Meanwhile, according to Fate, a Bone Hydra (represented by the beautiful yet unpainted merfolk) emerged from the waves and attacked the Shadwraithe.

The Shadewraithe's crew finally repelled the Bone Hydra which slipped back between the waves, but not before the Dwarven ship approached to ram the port side.  A brief action ensued with the Dwarven captain wounded by the Shadewraithe's Wraith-Captain, and the Shadewraithe managed to successfully escape jeoopardy and, the grappling hooks from the Dwarven ship slipping through the ghost ship, slowly started around the south side of the volcano island.  But the Dwarven ship took immediate action, repaired damage, and by turn 5 the two ships were again trading broadsides at point-blank range before a ferocious boarding action ensued.

We finally called the game, deciding we would have preferred to spend the hour playing Uncharted Seas.

On the positive side, both of us enjoyed playing on the sea mat, and we agreed it was equivalent to a twenty dollar value of the total cost.  Also, my opponent wanted to buy the Dwarven ship, still on the sprue, for ten bucks.   Despite the fragility of the models, compared to the certain heft of Spartan resin & metal ships, we determined each model worth 8-12 dollars just for the detail alone.  And the assortment of islands are cool, not to mention the measuring stick which I've been painting bleached bone white with brass highlighted inch numbers.  So, in the end, I feel the price was worth the ship models, islands, play mat, and the inspiration provided by the Fate & Damage cards to develop my own "perfect" tabletop naval game.

13 October 2011

DW Tournament

Place: The Game Vault, Fredericksburg, VA
Date: Sunday, November 6th
Time: Dice roll at 11am
Cost: $5
Prizes: 1st Place: 50% of all entry fees, 2nd Place: 30% of all entry fees, 3rd Place: 20% of all entry fees
Because of the demand for something including Uncharted Seas, I'm also going to run a multi-player scenario for Uncharted Seas starting at noon.  Only DW players will pay the $5 entry fee and be eligible for victory winnings for the DW event.  The "best painted fleet" by secret ballot, however, will be open to both DW and US players.

Naval Clash in the Bermuda Triangle
Fleets from all corners of the globe clash in the Bermuda Triangle in search for and take control of a Sturginium Gate rumored to be recently discovered in the area.

Winning Conditions:  Three rounds will be resolved between random pairings by lottery of players and their respective fleets.  Accumulated Victory Point scores from all rounds combined will determine first, second, and third place winners.  Each player will participate in 3 different scenarios against opponents.  Late players may be allowed to participate, but only in remaining rounds.

Fleet composition:  400 and 800 point fleets according to Tournament Game specifications according to DW rule book page 28.  In each fleet there must be at least 1 squadron each of Small, Medium, and Large.  Painted models are not required.  Different fleet compositions may be used in each round, and the 400 point may be part of or completely separate from the 800 point force.  Please bring a copy of your fleet lists to share which include ship and squadron point costs as a courtesy to your opponents.

Special Conditions:  This is primarily a naval engagement; land units may be included in fleet lists, but deployment and area of operations for land units will be severely limited by the few islands involved in scenarios; include steam tanks with your force at your own risk.

Air Support:  The contested area is far out to sea, beyond the range of Tiny Flyers from land airstrips.  Bombers are within range as well as Tiny Flyers attached to carriers.  But no 10 free tokens of Tiny Flyers are allowed in any rounds.

Victory Points:  VP will be counted according to enemy ships destroyed and damaged beyond 50% in addition to bonuses for completing objectives according to respective scenarios.  Scenario objectives will be revealed at the start of the respective rounds of the tournament.  Each registered player starting the tournament on time will be able to participate in all three different scenarios.

Registration:  Pre-registered players on the DWVA forum will receive a custom badge at the start of the event.  Register at:  http://www.etcinversus.com/dw/forum/

Special Prize:  Also, we'll have a secret ballot among all players for the best painted fleet, DW or US, and I'll personally buy a paint pot of the winner's choice and award a certificate suitable for display in the admiral's quarters.

07 October 2011

The new human imperial ships coming out for Uncharted Seas feature some topgallant sails... more sails all around.  Now it's time for me to begin learning how to rig model ships in earnest.

06 October 2011

Thoughts on opening my new copy of Dreadfleet

"Wow!  This castle island will look great as a fortress for DW games."
"The black kraken will make an awesome proxy for the Blazing Sun mechanical squid, and it's just the right size!"
"The dragon models are perfect tokens for my dragon carrier ship for my Dragon Lords faction in US."
"These two ships will work great as heavy cruisers for my Imperial Human fleet in US."
"The Tomb Kings galley will fit right into my Bone Griffons fleet in US."
"This High Elven ship will work fine as an Elven merchant ship, if nothing else in US games."
"Wow, the shipwrecks are cool!  I need more shipwreck markers for Uncharted Seas!"
"I wonder if I can incorporate these great FATE and DAMAGE cards into Uncharted Seas?"

The Grand Alliance

Since I started tabletop wargaming with some passion two years ago I've had my eye on Games Workshop, specifically the Warhammer Fantasy Battles, and I even went so far as to sign up for a forum for players with a preference for Wood Elves, even tinkered with some Mantic elven spearmen figures in some Autumnal colors, but I never purchased any new GW products.

Until now.  When I saw the news of the Dreadfleet release I started looking for information on Man'O'War in a way I started looking for information on Battlefleet Gothic when I bought and started playing Battleship Galaxies two weeks ago (and BG was the first Hasbro game I've bought in decades).  Sure, I read the hype along with the skepticism, but critics of everything produced by GW remind me of the days when I was involved in the live rock music scene when I lived out on the West Coast with cool dudes talking about bands selling out because they got a record deal.  Dreadfleet caught my interest because it's a fantasy naval game, and I can't seem to get enough of those lately.

I bought a copy of Traflagar a few months ago, a bit late, but I was interested in how the system compared to Uncharted Seas as well as some other historical naval games I've played, like Wooden Ships & Iron Men or Flying Colours.  I suppose my used copy of Trafalgar was technically my first GW purchase, but with Dreadfleet my money when directly to GW through my FLGS.  And I felt justified by my purchase, especially after I opened the box.  Sure, there were an awful lot of skulls on those islands, but nothing a little flocking couldn't help, and the models certainly looked better in person than they did on the Beasts of War video I watched the previous week.  The scale was about right, and I saw no reason why I couldn't incorporate most of these ships, wrecks, and islands into my regular games of Uncharted Seas.

But the system, simple enough, really grabbed my attention with the FATE and DAMAGE cards.  Sure, Uncharted Seas is designed for fleet actions, fun and fast, but Dreadfleet looks like a game for a few big ships firing broadsides into each other at close range.  So, why not take the system for a spin?