Friday, February 27, 2015

Chaos Samurai, Podcast and Battle Lore

First of all the second episode of War Journal: Flames of War is up at (you can also get it at iTunes). In our Off Topic segment we talk about the game Samurai Battles. This game has been occupying my attention lately and I wanted to go into a little more detail about it here as well as mention my future plans concerning it.

Samurai Battles is more of a board game that has miniatures than a more "traditional" miniature game that I normally play. It is actually two separate games: Art of Tactics and Command & Colors. When we were talking about how much we love the game, we were talking about Art of Tactics. At the time it was the only one of the two I had played and it was the reason I started buying packs. Since recording the podcast I have played BattleLore which uses the same system as Command & Colors so I now have an understanding of both games. While I enjoy Art of Tactics much more, I still think BattleLore/Command & Colors is a very fun game that plays much faster than Art of Tactics. Both systems is something I will be investing in.

Here is a short descriptions how each game plays. Both games uses multiple troops on a hex map board. In Art of Tactics models are place in trays to form units. How many models per tray is based on unit type. Each unit has its own stat card that describes what actions it can take and its game stats. If you have multiple units of the same type, each unit would need its own copy of that stat card. Each model in the unit attacks so casualties reduce the units effectiveness. At the beginning of each turn both players write down their orders for every unit in secret. When both are done, everything is reveal and all actions are resolve at the same time in a specific order. In Command & Colors models are usually group in units of four and are place directly on the hex map. The game map is split into three sections which is a major element of the game. There is a deck of cards called command cards. Each player has a hand of these command cards and at the beginning of their turn will play one. These command cards decides what units are able to act and after resolving those units actions the player will draw a replacement command card and it is now the next player's turn. The number of dice used for attacking is determine by unit type and its not affected by casualties unlike Art of Tactics. One model in the unit will carry a banner and they are the last one to die. When the banner model is lost, it is claimed by the opponent and count as victory points. The first player to reach a per-determined number of victory points wins the game. Here is a picture of how each game arranges its units:

Art of Tactics on the left, Command & Colors on the right

Any game that interest me enough to play more than once is a game I'm looking for ways I can craft stories with it through the use of campaigns. And it is no different for Samurai Battles. The story line I'm thinking about at this point is pretty simple. A Chaos force (and maybe a few other armies depending who I can get to join) invades a new land across the sea. This new land has its defenders but the power of Chaos is relentless and its touch is corrupting. Very bare bones now but it will be greatly expanded upon as my Chaos Lore grows. Now taking a story that has been portrayed with Warhammer Fantasy and then start using Samurai Battles with it is a multi-step process. The first step is to stay with Warhammer. Beside the 15 playable armies in the Warhammer game, Games Workshop has mention many more nations in the background that they have never given rules to. The blog site Warhammer Armies Project has made and playtested fan rules for many of these nations. Of the many armies they have up there, they have two that interest me; Nippon and Cathay. They are pretty much fantasy Japan and China respectively. Using their fan made Nippon rules I can play out the initial battles with the Warhammer Fantasy system. With the setting of the story move to one the that is based on historic Japan, using Samurai Battles to represent some of the battles makes sense, at least battles with no supernatural element. As for doing battles with supernatural elements, I have two options for that (besides just playing Warhammer). One is to create a magic system for Art of Tactics. I briefly talked about working on magic rules in the podcast and I think if done right would create some interesting games. The other options is to pick up another game, BattleLore Second Edition. BattleLore has a fantasy setting that is somewhat similar to Warhamer with knights, monsters and magic (even has their on version of Chaos). With a little work I should be able to adjust the Command & Color system of both BattleLore and Samurai Battles to have them work together.

This may seem like a lot of work just for a game and it is. However I think when done right campaigns adds so much to your average game that it will make all this work well worth it. Campaigns allow players to craft stories around their games and building a campaign upon the history of others makes the experience even richer. Another reason to make a campaign around three different games is that it will allow more people to be involved. My friends that would be interested in playing BattleLore and Samaurai Battles is mostly not the same group who would be interested in playing Warhammer Fantasy. This will allows my friends to share a gaming experience they normally wouldn't share together. Nevertheless I'm a ways off from being able to put this campaign together. I need to pick up more Samurai Battles figures, buy a copy of BattleLore Second Edition and build a decent size Nippon army from the ground up. I will be talking about this project off and on as I am sure a lot of these models will be up on my gallery page.

If any of the games I've talk about interest you, feel free to check them out at the links below.

Warhammer Fantasy
BattleLore Second Edition
Samurai Battles

Monday, February 16, 2015

Border Prince - Turn 13 Map

Dieter's Vampire Counts appears to be unstoppable. His forces crushed both Chaos banners. Despite all of Dieter's victories, Amendial is unafraid of the undead and a showdown between the two is inevitable. A confrontation that could lead to the future ruler of the Border Prince region.

B1. Bloody Hooves
B2. Bloody Sky
B3. Herd of Rusty Fang
B4. Graby Taz
H1. Amendial
H2. Elendir
H3. Elendrial
H4. Aeylan
H5. Tarwen
H6. Zarial
H7. Samari
H8. Fariel
H9. Basui
V1. Unholy Undead
V2. The Night Riders
V3. Ethereal Enemy
V4. Ghastly Fingers
V5. Creeping Death
V6. Death Dealers
V7. Death's Head
V8. Vampire Toothpick
V9. Necro-Mongers
V10. Blood Drinkers
W1. Pandemonium
W2. Vanacyr's Blade
W3. Sun of Corruption
W4. Nature's Curse
W5. Chaos Black
W6. Blood Rage
W7. Rage of the Dragon
W8. Darker than Chaos

This turn we have 4 battles all involving Vampire Counts. Beastmen and High Elves have one battle each while Warriors of Chaos has two battles against the undead.

Graby Taz (3100) vs Death's Dealers (2800)
Amendial (3300) vs Creeping Death (2800)
Unholy Undead (3300) vs Rage of the Dragon (2800)
Ghastly Fingers (2600) vs Nature's Curse (3200)

Sunday, February 8, 2015

FoW Podcast

I've start co-working on a Flames of War podcast with Tracy George. Its called War Journal: Flames of War and we will talk about various subjects related to the game and our own personal twist to the hobby. The first episode is done and while its pretty rough I'm confident that over time our podcast will get better and sound more natural. You can listen to the podcast here:

Future episode will be out every other week. You can post comments or questions either here or at the address above.

We are now up on iTunes here.