Friday, 29 May 2015

Assassinorum Execution Force.

Games Workshop recently released a new limited edition board game, Assassinorum Execution Force.

The so-called limited edition nature of it may be a bit of a fib though. In 2009 I shelled out a fair bit of money for the limited 3rd edition of Space Hulk. I was very pleased to have gotten it before it sold out. I had fond memories of the game from when I used to frequent Games Workshop Ealing and the components are lovely. Last year, 2014, GW re-released it, identical but for a few extra components, as 4th Edition. I did feel a bit cheated.

Here's a look at the boards with a few of the included unpainted minis and box for A.E.F..
The board components are heavy weight and well printed with nice graphics. The models consist of standard Warhammer 40,000 models, a load of Chaos Cultists, some Chaos Space Marines, a Chaos Sorcerer, a Chaos Familiar and the four new Imperial Assassin models which, I've been told, will only be available with this game. You also get a card for each assassin which details their powers and abilities, some dice and plenty of tokens to keep track of various game elements.

This is a rather blurry picture of the four assassins on their starting spaces (they can be put on these spaces in any order). From left to right we have the Eversor (a combat-drug fueled close-quarters monster), the Callidus (a shape-shifting stealth specialist), the Culexus (anti-psyker) and the Vindicare (a sniper). These models can be used in the Warhammer 40,000 wargame. However, 40K uses true line-of-sight rules. If you can see a targeted model from the viewpoint of a model firing a ranged weapon at it, you can hit it (assuming you roll a high enough number on your dice). The Eversor and Callidus models have scenery pieces as part of them that would quite significantly increase the visibility of it on a 40K battlefield making them much more visible and, thus, vunerable.

The object of the game is to infiltrate a captured Imperial facility and assassinate a Chaos Sorcerer before he can complete a dark ritual.
One to four players can take on the roles of the assassins whilst another player fields the Chaos side.
There are four large board sections included with the game. The first three go together to form the main part of the facility. The last piece represents the inner sanctum of the Chaos Sorcerer. To get to this last section, the assassins must work their way through the main facility exploring rooms until they find  their primary objectives, a teleportation platform and the platform's control room. The main board has many areas on it which represent unexplored rooms. When an assassin gets to a doorway of one of these, a stack of smaller board tiles are shuffled and one chosen at random. This smaller board tile is then placed on the main board in the room space and shows what the assassin has found. This usually turns out to be a number of Chaos Cultists but just might be one of the two aforementioned primary objective rooms. In the game that I played, these two turned up as the antepenultimate and penultimate rooms and, so weakened was my force of assassins, that I was unable to make it to the Sorcerer's sanctum and slay him. This revealing of rooms reminded me happily of my very first foray into a GW game, Hero Quest, which was co-produced with MB Games.
Choas Cultist patrol the board in a semi-random way until an Assassin comes into their line of sight at which time their controlling player can use them to take more direct action. Patrolling models move a number of squares equal to the roll on a six-sided die (as do the Assassins). During this move, they may land on a square with an arrow or arrows on it. In the case of a single arrow, they will continue in its direction. In the case of more than one arrow, a die roll will determine which way they go. These aspects of the game remind me somewhat of a game I read about on Boardgame Geek a while ago called Nuns On The Run, in which senior clergy attempt to track down novices who have escaped their rooms in the middle of the night and are roaming the abbey in which they live.
A.E.F. also contains a deck of cards that feature random events that may help or hinder a player. One or more of these cards are revealed at the beginning of a turn.
The Assassins each have a unique set of abilities that really capture the flavour of their rulesets from 40K. The most amusing of which, I found, is the Eversor's Bio Meltdown, which sees him exploding, damaging those around him when he looses his last point of health.
As the Imperial player, it doesn't pay to dawdle. There are only a fixed number of turns in which to find the primary objective rooms, teleport into the Sorcerer's inner sanctum and kill him, before he completes his ritual and you loose.

This is a picture from near the end of the game that I played. My last surviving assassin, my Eversor, faces a conga-line of death in the form of many cultists and a Chaos Space Marine (in the bottom right hand corner).

My verdict.
It's a fun game but definitely not worth the hefty £75 price tag as I think you would only play it a couple of times (once as the assassins and once as the Chaos force) every six months or so.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Salute 2015.

Saturday the 27th of April this year was Salute 2015.

Salute is the country's biggest wargames show and I try to go every year. It features a ton of traders plying their wares, a handful of participation games and some beautifully put together display tables.

I don't have a great deal to say about this years event but I thought I'd share some pictures from it with you.

You get a few cosplayers turning up. This first picture is of a Blood Angels Space Marine and a Cadian Imperial Guardswoman. They are from Games Workshop's Warhammer 40,000 wargame.

This second picture is of some Star Wars Stormtroopers who, I think, call themselves the 105th after a platoon first mentioned in a suppliment to Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game called Wretched Hives Of Scum And Villainy. A dad decided that it would make a cute picture to have his little girl snapped with the Troopers. One of them decided it would be funny to mime shooting her teddy bear.

 Whilst approaching the queue for a Salute several years ago, these minions of The Emperor saw that I was wearing my Rebel Alliance t-shirt and arrested me. They searched my bag for contraband before sending me on my way. If only I'd had my light sabre with me, they wouldn't have gotten away with it.

As I mentioned above, you get to see some truly beautiful display table at this event. Here's one of my favourites form this year.

Apologies for the blurriness but I only had my phone camera to take photos with. This is an amazingly detailed pirate town. I don't know what game, if any, it was showcasing but I thought it was beautifully done.

Here's a closer look showing more of the detail.

Another nautical themed table. Again, beautifully done. And again, I don't know what game for.

Dropzone Commander is a fairly new game (about three years old I think) by Hawk Wargames. It has some very nice miniatures and is, I've been told, very fun to play. The thing that put me off of it though was the price. It has come down with the change from resin to plastic miniatures for some of its range though.

This picture is of a huge spaceship that is in scale to the 10mm wargame. Along it's side are openings containing dropships that are actual game pieces.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Tabletop Day 2015 and Dungeons And Dragons Attack Wing.

The 11th of April was this years Tabletop Day, so off I trotted to The Wayland Games Centre (formally, Tabletop Nation)

I took my camera along, as when I had gone in 2013, there had been loads of demonstration games going on featuring lovely looking miniatures and I thought I'd get some great pictures. I was mistaken. There was but one demo table there on the day which consisted of a couple of participation games of a new title called Guild Ball and the opportunity to buy it. I was pretty disappointed. Guild Ball is a fantasy football game. The models are nice enough but it didn't really appeal to me.

Fortunately, I had other things to do.

I had travelled with my best mate, Richard (if you scroll down a bit on this blog, you will see a picture of him asleep on a train) and he was to run a couple of Attack Wing tournaments, Star Trek and the newish Dungeons And Dragons. Now, I didn't really fancy the D&D game. I already owned a load of stuff for Star Trek Attack Wing and some for the X-Wing Miniatures Game which is very similar. I didn't need, so I thought, another game using the Flightpath System. Also, having looked at the D&D Attack Wing minis in their blister packs and boxes, I thought that they looked cheap, rather like kid's toys and way overpriced. So, we played the Star Trek Tournament and it was, as it always is, great fun. Then came time for the D&D. I hadn't intended to play in this tournament. However, with the lack of participation demo games going on and the offer to borrow whatever models I needed from Richard (he has bought every release for this and the Star Trek games), I thought, why not.

I had thought the models, when in their packets, cheap looking and childish. But once they were on the table, I understood...They are awesome in a totally over-the-top way. Compared to Star Trek Attack Wing and X-Wing models, they are huge, but all the better for being so. They don't have great build quality but they are just fun.

Below is a picture of the force that I chose to use.
It consists of a Frost Giant, a Stone Giant and a Red Dragon. I didn't know how well they would do compared to other stuff in the game, but I liked them so that's what I went with.

It turned out that they didn't do too well at all. The combination of my lack of experience (this tournament being my first three games) and the not really knowing how to use these models to their best (is that the same thing?), meant that I lost all three games. It was fun though, my favourite moment being when my Red Dragon breathed a cone of fire on three of Richard's Gargoyles, killing them.

 The winning build consisted of a Silver and a Gold Dragon. Here it is.
They made a pretty formidable pair. They were run, one dragon each by two of the Star Trek regulars, Mike and David (who had, as I, not originally intended to play in the D&D). I think these models were also borrowed from Richard. We had been taking the previous Star Trek tournament quite seriously. The D&D though was played with a more relaxed attitude and thus, for me anyway, was more fun. Mike had decided that his dragon, the gold one, was called Steve and came from Lisbon. Why? I don't know.

I have since bought into the game. I bought a starter set very cheaply from Richard (who had bought a second after turning up at Dark Sphere (another awesome discount gaming shop) to play in a tournament and finding that he had left his original one at home). I have added to my collection with prize dragons (As with Star Trek Attack Wing, you can win cool limited edition gaming pieces by taking part in Organised Play events at participating retailers) and from the second tournament that I played in's blind boxed model. The current group of tournaments (which will continue running over the next few months) feature a blind boxed game piece. The official rules are that you have 90 Legion Points (that's what Wizkids (the company that produces the game) have called the build points in this system) to create your force, then an additional 30 points to add to it from the model and cards in the randomly allocated box. This is the same as in the recent Star Trek Attack Wing "The Collective" and "Resistance Is Futile" Borg tournament campaigns. Also, as with each of the aforementioned Star Trek campaigns, there are five models to collect. The ones for D&D are a Human Paladin, a Human Fire Wizard, a Wood Elf Druid, a Human Ranger and a Half-Black Dragon Fighter (the most notable feature of which is that it has a tail).

I am really enjoying this game. I'm taking it a lot less seriously (the models help with this) as I have Star Trek Attack wing in the past and am thus finding it more rewarding.

One more thing...Tiamat. If you know a bit about Dungeons And Dragons, you've probably heard of Tiamat, the queen and mother of evil dragons in this setting. Wizkids have already released a model for her. Here she is in all her multi-headed glory.
I actually think it's a horrible model and at around £40 (that's the very cheapest I could find it), I won't be buying one. But I thought you might like to see it anyway.