Daily Archives: November 9, 2009

Remembrance Day, a late tribute

In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colred poppy, symbol of remembrance dayonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.



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Galley Warfare: A Roman Seas game at Fall In 2009

“Anyone can steer the ship when the sea is calm” –Publius Syrus

I managed to skeeve my way into a game of ROMAN SEAS, a game of galley warfare at Fall IN 09 on Saturday in the AM.  The GM was Mr. Brian Cantwell, a fan of the Roman Seas system and a builder of the paper galley figures. Long term readers of this blog may recall ancient galley warfare is a favorite period for me.


Ram Speed line of battle...

I liked the rules, which are far more simple than, say, Naumachiae, but more complex than the old metagaming Ram Speed or NavWar’s galley warfare rules. A nice balance of realism and playability. Eric Hotz’s rules work very well, they emphasize the current speed of the ship being activated as well as the experience levels of the respective ships in action. I would definitely play these rules again.


The Saxons and Imperials shake it up some

By far and away, the gem of this event was the paper galley miniatures published by Hotz Artworks. They are amazing… fantastic detail, lovely scale to work with, and with proper care and attention and effort put into constructing them, one of the most affordable methods of creating a galley fleet I know of. Each CD of ships comes with a pretty thorough order of battle for Romans, Carthaginians, and Saxon. So for about 20 USD you get a set of PDFs that can generate as many fleets as you like. The mind boggles at what a great bargain this is. I inquired of the GM about his method of creating ships. He prints the ships out (no rescaling) on 8.5 by 11 color paper, then takes it to kinkos to have it laminated on heavy (800 weight is what I heard) card stock. Then he cuts the ships out and mounts them on a piece of cut wood he uses specialty bases made out of hardboard, but basswood is possible, too.


Attack of Dewey LaRochelle's Imperial Liburnian Squadron

As far as the game went, I did reasonably well– charging my squadron of rebel/separatist Liburnians (all experienced, except one veteran) into the opposing Imperial line. Dewey LaRochelle was on the opposite side, running one flank of the Imperials, facing a Saxon Fleet allied to the Rebels. The Southern Imperial commander formed line and I charged his left flank of the line, raking one ship’s oars, engaging in missile fire, and attempting ram across the line. This isn’t a subtle situation.

Two of my ram attempts worked, one did not and one did not have the impetus to crash in the first turn, so instead went in for the oar rake and some missile fire mayhem as we sailed past. Grapples in the subsequent turns were hit and miss. I did manage to connect (or be connected by) imperial ships and managed to board and do some damage. Alas, Dewey got tired of slapping around the Saxons and detached a fresh squadron of Liburnians to head south to help his colleage admiral. That changed the odds drastically. My squadron was struck in the flank by Dewey’s squadron and pretty much disintegrated. Such are the fortunes of war!

The GM declared it a marginal Imperial victory and handed out prizes. A fun time was had by all who played!


An Aerodrome 2.0 game at Fall IN! Somewhere over the Pacific…

I had opportunity to play Aerodrome 2.0 for the first time at the recent Fall-IN! convention, hosted by the designer of Aeordrome himself, Mr. Stan Kubiak.  Stan was running Aerodrome 2.0 all day long on Friday. I actually was planning on attending a different event, but as the GM did not deign to show up, I had some free time, and since I like Air games and this game was open at the next table, why not.

Corsairs Attack!

The game plays almost exactly like Aerodrome 1.0, which is his World War One game that came out first.   Essentially the player plays the pilot of the airplane which is represented on the table by a model on a stand.  Each plane has a series of maneuvers which are conducted on a hex grid.   Players program three phases of activity in advance, then move the plane models to see if they guessed where the enemy plane would be in time to shoot it down.  This is a mechanic common with many airplane combat games, such as Wings of War and Blue Max.    Players program movement and attacking using a very visual aircraft pilot display.

aerodrome2 board

The Aerodrome 2.0 board

Players conduct maneuvers per three phases, left to right, using a series of pegs and .22 cartridge casings for gunfire.  All of this is pretty much like Aerodrome 1.0– the real difference between 1.0 and 2.0 is the speed of the airplanes and the maneuvers they can conduct.


My Own Hapless japanese

As for my own experience, I have played Aerodrome 1.0 many times under the expert eye of Hal Dyson, a past master at this system. He has cheerfully ran Aerodrome games at every convention (local to me) for most of the past decade and a half I’ve known him. I like the system a lot, the guessing and counter-guessing and projecting where you would be 3 turns from now is a fun element of these mechanics. My Japanese pilot rose up to meet the oncoming Wildcat, jinked left through a cloud bank when it became clear I was setting him up to be riddled with bullets, flew parallel to the Allied plane (see “pilots wave at each other” in the slideshow), did a barrel roll to reverse and fly straight to gain altitude, another reverse, and then a series of complicated hard right turns. Each time you pull a hard right you have to roll a 1D6 to see if you go into a spin, and my luck ran out on the second try– I was spinning down into the ocean, and thus a sitting duck. At this stage most of us were running out of ammo, and the Americans (save one) and Japanese (save me, in a spiral) headed to the edge to exit the battlefield. The last American DID have ammo and managed to save me from an ignominious fate of plunging into the sea by blowing my airplane to bits. YAY!

I had a great time, and was pleased to meet Mr. Kubiak and play the latest iteration of his system. It plays fast and well. Mechanically, it is not very different from Wings of War for me, though– the two games are very similar in that both players have limited maneuvers– in Aerodrome you use a Blue Max style chart, in Wings of War you use a series of three maneuver cards. Of the two, I’d choose Wings of War for the cost savings– you can have a pretty good game of WoW for a lot less investment than Aerodrome. For convention games, however, I still like Aerodrome for the visual appeal.