Thursday, 23 March 2017

Flames of war version 4 - First impressions

After my first test of V4 rules I have tried to put together some changes in a summary. I might have misinterpreted some of the rules, but to write it down here as I remember  it will help me and maybe others to transition into the new system.

Read the battle report here

Overall I like the changes to the core rules and the old rich detailed army lists are still there in EW and LW. Regarding MW I'm not at all convinced, as the army lists seems very thin of units and the new point system has less detail for small upgrades and adjustments.

Who takes first turn
There are now 3 ways to choose attacker, but in many cases I think it will come down to a dice roll. I think this an open field for some "house rules".

there are six standard scenarios and they have less special rules than previous. But most things are similar to v3.

All units must deploy in command of their leader (15cm or 20cm). This results in more compact deployment overall. Also gun team command sections and staff teams are not deployed (only guns deploy).

The benefit of having an even number of platoons is now gone! You must no longer test for company morale, but if the company has less than 2 combat platoons or HQ units on the table it automatically retreats the battle. Platoon tests are made if the platoon have taken any causalities and have 3 or less infantry teams left, while guns and tanks test if they have two or less teams left (guns only counting gun models). Tank terror seems gone!

Infantry is now faster with a standard 20cm tactical move, while tanks now always move 25cm regardless of terrain if they want to shoot in the shooting phase. Both tank and infantry can Dash at faster speeds (tanks taking cross checks for terrain), but then loose the ability to shoot and assault. There is a few ways to alter this by tactics (see below).

This is a big difference to v3. Now skill and morale rating influence the units ability to take additional moves. With a skill or morale check one of the following extra maneuvers can be made by any team in command of the unit leader (in his own unit):
Dig in (skill, instead of movement): The unit digs in if the roll is successful. Regardless if it is successful or not the unit shoots as if it has moved, is concealed and may GtG. It may not assault.
Blitz (skill, roll before movement): Move 10cm without loosing RoF. But if check is failed, the unit does not move and suffers an +1 to hit in shooting. Assault is not allowed in the assault phase.
Shoot and scoot (skill, roll instead of assault): May move 10 cm, exactly as the old storm trooper rule.
Follow me (morale, roll after movement): Allows an additional 10cm move after ordinary movement. Regardless if it is successful or not the unit cannot shoot, but can assault in the assault phase!
Cross here (auto-success, movement): All units in command of the unit leader adds 1 to their skill check for crossing terrain/obstacles. But the unit cannot shoot or assault.

The German storm trooper rule allow the Germans to take a shoot and scoot maneuver in the assault phase in addition to having taken another tactic move in the movement phase!
Also, trained armies (like hero soviet) benefit more from their higher skill rating despite only being trained! Fearless armies will also be more likely to reach assault range with "follow me"!

Company commander
Higher command is now considered a separate unit and will confer morale re-roll to any unit within command distance. The CiC will not flee the battle if the unit using his re-roll fail its test.

Hit allocation
To-hit ratings are same as v3 but the shooting player choose which teams are hit, starting with "unconcealed/close range" teams. The target player may then try to swap all hits taken on a team on 3+ for another valid target within 15cm. Aircraft are now always hit on 5+ rather than the skill of the AA unit.

All infantry teams and guns always starts the game dug in and GtG. All guns (incl. immobile) benefit from concealment in foxholes. All infantry teams, light and medium guns always have 3+ save. Heavy and immobile guns always have a 4+ save. Aircraft have a 3+ save (making it much harder to destroy), but are permanently destroyed if it fails. Tanks work as per v3.

Yo can aim wherever you want as long as spotter or artillery team can see the aiming point. "Range in" and "to hit" are "inverted", meaning that it is the spotters skill that counts for ranging in and the targets training that decides if the team is hit or not. Repeat bombardments range in automatically and the opponent must re-roll inf and gun saves! This makes artillery overall much deadlier against soft targets. Also add that firepower is now better for all FP 4+, 5+ and 6+ guns! However, all artillery now have lower AT ratings so don't expect artillery to shoot out tanks anymore.

You can now only assault with teams that are 10cm of an enemy team, or if you can get into base contact with a friendly team that just assaulted with a 10cm move. You must be in base-to-base contact with the enemy or a friendly team in base contact to hit the opponent team! All teams may now shoot at tanks in assaults (using side armour) or use tank assault rating 2 at top armour (or higher if they have a special rule that says so). Remember that only teams in base-to-base contact can act in assault. Otherwise assault and defensive fire is mostly as per v3.

Flames of war - Free for all

Hero strelkovy 1500 pts (Berlin book) - 6 platoons (Fearless trained)
Kampfgruppe Knaust 1500pts  (Bridge by bridge) - 8 platoons (confident trained)

The scenario
Both players alternate placing troops, with the aim to capture one of the two objectives placed in the opponents table edge. The player who rolls the highest gets the first turn but in the fist players shooting phase all troops fire at moving RoF.

Turn 1
(S) The soviets start the battle taking the first turn. Moving forward on their right flank and pushing further with a blitz order issued by the t-34 commander.

(G) The Germans also advance, killing three infantry teams in the open with a panzer platoon. One tiger Blitz forward and fire with full RoF at the SU-100, but misses. Then it uses the German Storm trooper rule to make a Shoot and scoot back 10cm out of sight.

Turn 2
(S) The AT-guns pass a blitz order to get 3 halted and another moving shot at the panzer platoon, while the t-34 pass another blitz to get into better position to fire on the infantry. However the AT-guns roll 4 ones to hit the tanks.

(G) The panzers on the left flank moves forward to engage the t-34, but not risking a +1 to hit with blitz as there only trained. They do however destroy one of the T-34s at long range. The panzers on the right side dash forward towards the objective. The tigers once again blitz forward but miss the SU-100, and now fail to Scoot back into hiding

Turn 3
(S) The t-34:s and the infantry both move forward to get into assault positions with the "follow me" order. Both orders are successful and neither unit may shoot, but move an extra 10cm. In the shooting phase the mortars repeat their bombardment at the infantry and nebelwerers, auto hitting and forcing re-rolls on saves. Three infantry teams and one gun is destroyed! Changes to the assault rules now only allow teams within 10cm to participate in the assault move, or if they can reach a fiend in base contact with 10cm move (but we missed this rule in the battle)... The infantry platoon is destroyed and only one nebelwerfer survives the assaulting tanks. The infantry reach the pak40s and destroy two of them.

(G) Both nebelwerfers and pak40s have to pass a morale test as they are now two or less guns. They pak40 fail and flees the battle. The panzers kill three more infantry teams and reduce the platoon to 2 teams - enough to force a morale test each turn.  

The German right flank infantry platoon now advance with a dash move to threaten the objective together with the panzer platoon. The panzers, now in assault range of the infantry launch an assault. Theyre taking cross checks to fight each turn - and with two rounds of fighting 5 soviet teams are killed, but the tanks fail their next counterattack and have to make cross tests to fall back. One tank fails and is captured. The infantry, still over three teams strong, does not have to take a morale test.

Turn 4
(S) The now reduced infantry platoon on the right flank start their turn taking a morale test but pass it. The AT-guns attempt to blitz the panzers, but fail their order, and suffer an +1 to hit modifier. Combined fire from the AT-guns and the t-34s does however destroy two panzer III:s The bailed panzer III is assaulted and destroyed (also no more tank terror tests).

(G) The tiger tanks move forward and destroy one SU-100. The last panzer on the left flank push forward to contest the objective and manage to destroy a t-34. On the right flank, the remaining three panzers flank the SU-100, but only one can shoot and miss its shot.

Turn 5
(S) The right flank soviet strelkovy have to take a platoon morale test as they have three or less infantry teams left. They barely stay with a helpful reroll from the commander. The SU-100 also test as they are now two or less tank teams (and have taken causalities) and pass their test. Combined AT-gun fire and t-34 fire only manage to bail the last panzer 4 on the right flank. The last SU-100 destroy one of the tiger tanks.

(G) The panzer IV fail to remount, but pass it platoon morale. A panzer III hits and bail the last SU-100. The infantry assault the four man soviet infantry platoon, killing two teams and forcing them to fall back.

Turn 6
The SU-100 fails its remount test and has to take a platoon morale test - it fails and the platoon is destroyed. Another two platoon morale tests are made for the two strelkovy platoons, but they both pass (one with help of the commander) witch mean that the T-34 takes the objective (as the bailed panzer iv can't contest objectives). 

If both platoons would have failed their test, the company would have had to take company morale test - failing this would have meant instant soviet defeat.

Results - Soviet victory
With only one dead unit on the losers side (but another two almost dead) the game is considered a winners stunning victory with 8 score against 1.

Read my attempt to summarize the rule-changes here

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Blood bowl - Bunker bowl Playoffs

Group stage
Bunker Bowl season 1 has ended! Our first season had eight participating teams, for a total of 7 group games for each player. The now infamous Misery carneval performed 4 ties, 2 wins and a Walk-over. Enough to take the team to the playoff session.

Semi finals
Misery Carneval vs Lokomotiv Omskva

The two Chaos rivals, dwarf and beastmen alike, both line up for winning a spot in the final. I added a mercenary chaos blocker as he dwarfs had slightly higher TV and I had some spare cash. Still the dwarfs were outnumbering the beasts.

Lokomotiv begin the first half as receiving teams and goes for a running TD, but the beastmen line pull up to the challenge. The first half played mostly in the dwarfs favor, with two causalities against zero, as the beastmen repeatedly fail to break the AV 9 of the dwarfs. Add also the struggle with 
guard skill of the dwarf linemen (good choice). But the  ball somehow dropped fast resulted in a last turn TD for the Misery Carneval. 1-0.

I switched dice for the upcoming half and suddenly the un-penetrable armor of the iron dwarfs started to fail. The second half must have been the climax of a bloodbowl fans expectation on the field, as a beastman is killed and another is put of action for the next game. But somehow four of the five Chaos dwarfs finds them self badly hurt (or maybe they found some beer in the infirmary) and the slightly more agile beastmen pulled off another TD in their 8th turn. 

5-4 Cas for Lokomotiv. And 2-0 TD for Misery Carneval, running for the final.

Misery Carneval vs bugmans Pint

So with nine players and less difference in TV, now I had to play the final with two Journey(beast)men, But final it is! And another dwarf team!

Misery Carneval start as the receiving team, going for a running TD (I actually made a pass as well). The first half plays out quite ordinary, as the Beastmen slowly push down the right side of the field. Even though the dwarfs manage to blitz the ball carrier, the last turn comes down to a 3+ dodge to score. And sometimes a dodge is actually passed! 1-0 for Misery Carneval.

Setting up for the second half, both teams have suffered plenty (3 each) of knocked out players, but not yet any casualties (to the crowds disappointment). So after two attempts to get KO back (dwarf turn 8 fist half and 1 turn second half), both teams are 11 man strong for the second half.

But again, this is bloodbowl. in a few turns the dwarfs have badly hurt 3 chaos players and seriously injured another one. In return, The beastmen Badly hurt 2 dwarfs and injures another. The Dwarfs formed a cage along their right flank, but a blitzing beatsman knocks down the ball carrier and suddenly the chaos team is swarming the ball.

With some help from unlucky dwarf dauntless rolls, the Misery carneval grabs the ball and score another TD in the 8th turn.

2-0 TD for MC. 4-3 CAS for Bugmans Pint.

Misery Canreval are Season one champions!

I never imagined that a set of games between high AV teams would yield so many causalities, not taking in consideration the number of dead players in season one (2 rat ogres for instance). I would really like to play Dark elves in season 2, but being slightly overpriced to start with, replacing lost players would be an expensive enterprise. Still Blood bowl is probably better than it ever was considering the rules have been continuously improved from the same ruleset over 20 years (unlike most other games).