Saturday, 27 September 2008

NationStates vs ERepublik

For few years now I've been playing NationStates, a very primitive game but entertaining (but also very repetitive). A few months ago the news came out that NationStates2 was on it's way and in a beta state, so I signed on for it. At the moment I've not been selected to trial it but it is suppose to be coming online proper in the near future.

I've also signed up for the beta release of eRepublik, which initially appears to be from the same school of simulations but is very different in outlook and I'm not sure that I am enjoying it too much. Being a simulation of this world rather than an imaginary one has tied things closely into the real-life situations. Things have apparently gone so far that ePakistan has been described by the developers as a military dictatorship, despite the aim of the game\simulation to be 'western' style democratic government, and the first thing to happen when war was introduced was eIsrael being wiped out by an eTurkey invasion.

I will continue to play it in the hope that things will change once it goes live (Scheduled for early October) but I'm not sure how things will pan out.

The element of 'Gold' purchase, which the developers intend to finance the game with, is also a big negative, especially at the 'exchange rate' that is currently set. There is only a restricted supply of political appointments and as the user base expands there is little chance that Joe Bloggs will get that power. Especially as sock puppets and off site invasions appear common. I'm not sure that a game where the only thing that happens is you working in a factory is going to have much traction in the online community.

I can only hope that NationStates2 is better than this and without the overt racism. Information is only now filtering out of the play testing and it sounds like there is going to be a number of different 'worlds' and the potential for conflict between nations. This would be a big departure from the current setup.

With NationStates things aren't personal, despite the fact that it sort of encourages extremism due to the mixture of tongue in cheek policy selections and the satiric responses. My Nation currently hovers between being a Psychotic Dictatorship and being a Corrupt one! but importantly I'm not actually griefing anyone else by being so.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Pass the Dutchie...

...on the larboard side!

Martin has once more rejigged his prototype rules for the naval warfare of the Anglo-Dutch Wars.

10 ships a side and a mixture of warships and armed merchantmen plus a fireship each.

From Anglo Dutch

The English gained the advantage of the Weatherguage and move into position. Sending the fireship ahead to try and disrupt the Dutch's formation.

The Dutch try to close with the English to negate the more effective English cannons and to bring their own shorter ranged guns to bear.

Both Fireships actually made contact with target vessels and managed to tangle with the opposing ships. The English managed to blow the Dutch fireship out of the water but not before it had set fire to the ship. The fate of the English fireship was quite different...

With the ships boat destroyed normally the flaming of the ship would not happen as no captain would be foolish enough to torch a ship without some means of escape. Unfortunately the next thing to happen was the captain getting hit with a cannonball (a frequent occurance in this paticular game!) and the rules for that is that the crew continues with the previous orders i.e. Torch the ship! Soon both ships are ablaze and crews heading overboard.

The fate of the Dutch ship approaching the conflagration above was just as dramatic as a direct hit on its powder store leading to a massive explosion and an absence of the ship.

With the Dutch morale wiltering and almost an entire squadron gone the Dutch called it a day.

This game was played just a bit too late for 'International Talk Like A Pirate Day'

Pics from this and other playtests...

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

End of Season

This week was the end of the Battrick regular season, the First Class and One-Day seasons are now over.

Some how I've managed to get 4th place in the one day league despite predicting a relegation fight at the start of the season, and have all managed to get promoted in First Class, moving from division 5 up to 4. Playing at Div 4 level in both leagues is going to make things hard next season.

Unfortunately it looks like we have got a camper in my OD division as, despite dominating the division, he has thrown the last few games to ensure that he does not auto-promote and instead gets a throwable playoff match. I'm sort of hoping some quality teams come into into the division next season just to make life hard for him.

There is only the knockout stages of the 20-20 cup to play for and most people rate it as as 'Mickey Mouse' cup anyway. And possibly detrimental to the teams well being in the following season due to the fitness hits, which can get large as its almost mandatory to use the 'Go For It' setting. I've managed to win the first couple of games in the KO but will go out next round, and I'm not sad to see the back of it.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

LOTR - Round 4

Another Breakthrough encounter as Colin's Ithilien troops attempt to get through Tel's forces of Mordor. Given the ratio of points was heavly in favour of the hordes of Mordor a breakthrough was always a big ask. The Ithiliens went for a high risk strategy of charging their knights along with all their leaders straight ahead and hope that the fragile morale of the Orc warbands caused a rout.

Unfortunately (for the Gondorians) a sliding door maneuver lead to the cavalry's intended targets being replaced by a row of four Olog-Hai (Trolls) and the fear inducing Mouth of Sauron and his command team. All or nothing for both sides!

The crash didn't go well for the Knights despite being armed with throwing spears and getting a re-roll of all initial fails. Armour played a vital role as the Trolls made a number of 5+ saves. At the end of the combat it was 3 knights lost verses 1 scratched Troll, and the horses bounce back as the Trolls pursue behind ready to charge in their next turn.

The Trolls charge into the cavalry's rear and pushes\routs them through their own shieldwall which then receives the charge proper. Due to the fear effect the infantry are forced to make a morale check to receive and fail. Since they have no re-rolls due to all the leaders\standards being with the routing troops they rout but not fast enough and are then pursued and destroyed. This forces morale checks on nearby troops which causes a domino effect along the Gondorian line. Only the archers on his flank remained unaffected.

This is in fact near the end position after round 2, when Colin announced that he'll be withdrawing his one unbroken unit next turn, and I agreed that I was in no real position to chase and catch any of his other units.

My attempt at trying to flank his forces with the Warg Riders and some quick marching Uruks never had the chance to come to fruition.

The other battle of the night came to an almost as abrupt end when the Elves luck\arrows finally ran out and they were caught and thrashed by the forces of Saruman. By turn 3 it was all over, and the absent fairy queen will probably be furious when news reaches her\him.

Given that the final battle was in the middle of nowhere we ended by doing the map moves for round 5. The elves are now up against the wall at Helms Deep, while the army of Gondor is now being pursued by the forces of Sauron to Osiligath from Minas Tirith. The Haradrim have a slight problem as their Oliphant appears to have got bogged down in rough terrain, but at least it will give them time to recover.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Swedes rule the World

Another game of Svea Rike. Started off as a five player but then got reduced to four halfway through, this didn't really affect the game much though. In contrast with the last game that we played a couple of weeks ago this was very high scoring. Matt won on 17 status, Me next on 15, Martin 3rd with 12 and Alan trailing behind with 5.

All wars Sweden fought were comprehensively won, leading to lots of booty being dished out (and three status point from war based event wars). All fiefs ended up in play leading to a scramble for sets of Culture Cards towards the end. Taxation was the most common event on the History cards but none of the killer 50% tax event cards came out.

Svea Rike - Red Period

Also playing on another table was a game of Great War, once again based in Mesopotamia, with some Turks defending some trenches and a village from a British\Colonial assault. Some turncoat Arabs apparently didn't do the Turks much good, and neither did some accurately placed allied artillery.

Great War - Trench Assault

The club was a bit short of members with not many of the 40Kers turning up this time, Holiday season once again kicking in.

Finally, At the end of the night, we got round to doing the map moves for the LotR campaign, leaving us with three battles pending for the next round.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

More Great War

Another game of Great War, but this time a more open battle, set in Mesopotamia, and with a single objective: seize the ruins. No limit was placed on the number of turns so that it could take up the entire night (the table was also bigger than 6x4 so the extra turns would be needed). Reinforcements were also available based on die roll. The Turks have been strengthen with the presence of some German Jaegers and Cavalry, The British with an Armoured Car and a very large wooden crate with 'water tank' stenciled on the side.

Dave M. : Referee and troop provider.
Dave S. and Tel : Central Powers.
Colin and Co : Allied.

The Germans advance! Jaegers in the Centre and cavalry on both flanks. The infantry objective: To capture and hold the ruins in the centre of the table. The cavalry objective: Charge!

The initial British force. Note the Armoured Car in the Centre. The nearest units (platoon and MG) took the brunt of the Cavalry charge. Due to both the Infantry and MG moving the cavalry managed to charge in without receiving any serious fire. The Cavalry command section took out the MG before getting shot to pieces the next turn, the accompanying cavalry troop ending up in a similar situation, knocking the enemy platoon below five figures but dropping below five themselves. (These were the first close assaults we had done in either game, we reran the combat after getting things wrong the first time, and I think we also got it wrong the second as well, utilising the 'fix bayonets' as a modifier rather than an extra die each.)

Both sides attempt to take the strategically valuable hill on the Germans left flank. The Germans managed to get the MG onto the hill and pin down the British unit visible on the hill. The British assault against it fails despite damaging the crew badly, and leaves the hill open for the Turkish reinforcements that were making their way onto the field. If the cavalry had not taken out the British MG earlier then the situation would probably of been reversed. The Armoured Car in the distance was now effectively out of commission after having its MG destroyed. Prior to this it had caused real problems, almost single handedly taking out the other cavalry troop.

The Central Powers managed to claim the victory by re-taking the ruins. The British never managed to get any troops into them but had cleared out the German force that had originally seized them. The British never managed to get their tank into action and got minimal service from their light mortars due to some terrible reinforcement rolls, unlike the Central Powers who got access to the Turk reinforcements almost immediately (but did miss out on the available light artillery till too late in the day).

Breaking News: Rumour has it that the British may be getting some mounted reinforcements from the Bengal district of the sub-continent.