19 August 2015

Protect the Patriarch

Last week we used the excellent Clash on the Fringe rules to set up a fight between some tyranids and a genestealer clan. I had just finished painting up my clan figures so I couldn't resist and James was happy to oblige.

We rolled up the objective "Monster" on the random scenario table and decided that the bloated Genestealer Patriarch was already starting to send a psychic beacon to attract his parent Hive Fleet to come and assimilate the world he had conquered. The invading nids, however, were from a different hive - the patriarch didn't want their fleet to come in place of his own. So, my mission was to capture one of the Tyranid Warriors to send a "false alarm" message so their fleet would pass us by. The invading tyranids had to capture the patriarch and alter his beacon to alert his fleet that the world was ripe for the taking.

The Magus boards his limo, ready to lead from (almost) the front.

My lascannon guards one of the long streets.

My full deployment.

The Tyranids deploy mostly to the centre and their right flank.

The Tyranid swarm surges forward, scuttling over buildings.

I spot a lone Tyranid Warrior on their left flank...

...so I focus the assault on my right. My hybrids move diagonally left (by the small dishes) to lend support. I also move a truckload of Brood Brothers up. It's risky as fierce gaunts are nearby but allows them to get support where it may be needed.

The truck also spotted for my mortar which won a lucky hit on the gargoyles in the distance (along with some gaunts bunched up with them)! 

The surviving gargoyles leapt from building to building posing a serious threat.

Below them, out of shot to the right, another warrior with gaunt support were harassing the brood brothers by the three tanks.

The brothers were ultimately killed leaving the gaunts free to look for the Patriarch. They were no longer much of a threat, though.

The remaining brood brothers disembark in the middle of the table to prevent anyone hindering the final advance on the lone warrior.

That said, the warrior is no pushover and takes out all but one of the advancing genestealers.

As the brothers from the truck move in, their small arms prove useless against the warrior. The last genestealer tries to take it down in close combat but is pushed back. The Magus arrives in his limo to watch the battle.

It is ended as a hybrid armed with a plasma gun downs the beast. The clan is safe for now.

Thanks to James for a fantastic game. I think we possibly had too many figures on the table and, if I'm honest, I probably had a slightly more powerful force. It was also James's first time with the rules and we are both going to revise the build of our forces now we've had a chance to use them with CotF.

16 August 2015

The Yellow Rose of Messier 67

Last week we used Gruntz for the first time in ages. There were four of us playing an ambitious set of linked games with a central theme. The setting was our own background using our Messier 67 forces.

Each player fought in two games with the winner of each earning a token (marked either R, O, S or E for reasons that will become clear). What follows is not so much an AAR, since I was only properly following my own games, but will follow the linked scenarios and report how it played out.

The Yellow Rose of M67

The overarching plot is the quest for a rare plant. It was described in the notes of a famous deceased botanist who had visited the planet Hillier. It is thought that she planted the flower in an area of the planet (or its moon) with specific environmental conditions. Each location is the setting for a game but only one of the settings contained the real "Yellow Rose".


Aslan (Dave): Although they have not been seen on the world since the arrival of the human ark ships, the Aslan claim it is theirs. The plant matches the description of a known specimen from their own history. If they can find the plant and validate it is the same, it will justify their claim.

Anarcho Communist Commonality (Me): Under its environmental protection laws, the rare plant must be retrieved, protected and cultivated.

New Commonwealth (Anthony): The flower looks stunning and will make a fortune!

2nd Confederacy (Ross): The botanist once visited a 2nd Confederacy fringe world whose population was primarily of Texan descent. As well as hinting at the plant having healing properties, she allegedly joked that it looks like a yellow rose.

Slot 1, Game 1 - Aslan v 2nd Confederacy

A dense jungle has formed at ground zero of a terraforming pod. Indigenous locals have advised that they have seen a yellow plant along the banks of a river. Due to translation problems, the exact spot has not been described properly but three locations fit the description.

The tribe refused to act as guides in this area of the jungle. When asked why, the answer was difficult to understand. However, in needing to ask about the flower, the offworlders had learned the local words for different colours. The natives were scared of “something pink” in the trees.

Three markers are placed along the river which runs from corner to corner; one in the centre and the others 12” either side.

Forces start within 12” of the other corners and must examine the markers. An action is spent to check for the plant. Only one marker is actually the plant which must then be removed via one of the table edges adjacent to your starting corner.

When passing through area terrain, a skill check is needed to avoid disturbing a pack of Terrorformed. Activation is by card...draw a card for each unit on the table then assign each to any unit. Activate in descending order. When Terrorformed units are in play, they get a card too.

Both forces advance on the river

Dave's Aslan sent drones ahead to disturb the creatures near the 2nd Confederacy. This strategy pinned them down for most of the game. You can see the Aslan crossing the river to two of the possible locations (yellow flowers).

The Aslan found the flower (Token R) at the first location but that didn't stop them pretending they were still looking leaving Ross to stay on mission and leaving his Texans knee deep in pink horror.

Slot 1, Game 2 - Anarcho Communist Commonality v New Commonwealth

A small colony on the barren moon of Charlie fled when they heard about the Aslan fleet. At the centre of their colony is a biosphere. The plant might be located here.

Retrieve the plant from the dome and take it off your table edge. When infantry are hit and the damage check exactly equals their armour, they must take a skill check (12) as the toxic atmosphere tears at their body and they try to patch their suit.

The target flower was in the dome on the left.

Ant's Commonwealth sped up and started harassing my powered armour. To the left, my Boudicca APC is finding somewhere to drop two fireteams under the cover of the hab units.

That went badly wrong. After the first team deployed, a push move (move, move, shoot) saw one of Ant's units round the corner and kill my men with a well placed rocket! The second team disembarked and I returned the favour.

The APC had an exchange with a couple of Ant's vehicles amid the huts but was ultimately removed. At this point, we only had a few stragglers on each side. Our commanders, pictured here, had a rumble with Ant's leader heading off to the dome. Luckily, the remainder of my powered armour took him out.

The remainder of the commonwealth infantry used the other dome to get safely past my tank. They knew they had no hope of escape, though, so surrendered humiliatingly amongst the cabbages.

My last trooper entered the dome and collected the yellow flower (Token O).

Slot 2, Game 1 - New Commonwealth v Aslan

The botanist left some plant samples with an old farmer for safekeeping. The farmer has since died and the ownership of the holding has changed. The new owners know nothing of the agreement and likely ploughed the field where the plant was growing.

Some of his animals are behaving strangely...one in particular.

Both human forces must attempt to kill (or use a tranquilliser round) the cow and spend a turn at its body removing the contents of its stomachs. The sample must be removed from the table.

The cow starts near the centre of the table and moves 6” in a random direction each turn. Its herd of 5 other cows surround it (radius 3ish”) and will attack anyone that come within charge range.

Daisy and her bodyguard at the centre of the table.

The Aslan and New Commonwealth forces are both fast so there was a rush to the centre to fight over the cow. At this point, Daisy is still alive but some of her herd are dead.

Ant's forces include missile defence and devices that hinder targeters in close proximity which gave Dave some problems. Daisy's stomachs (Token S) changed hands a couple of times but, in the end, the New Commonwealth won. Not before one of the cows killed a grenadier, though!

Slot 2, Game 2 - Anarcho Communist Commonality v 2nd Confederacy

The botanist’s original lab was located somewhere in Dimmock City. The city was destroyed by a WMD and is now deserted. Although the rough area of the lab is known, its exact location is not. The plant is still in the remains of the lab.

At the end of six turns, the location of the lab is randomly determined as being in one of several buildings. Whoever has the nearest unit is the winner.

Deployment: Players assign a number to each unit and list which of the 16 imaginary grid squares each unit is in. Where a player is the sole occupant of a square, that square is locked and belongs to them. Where two players are in a square, they roll a d6 for each unit and keep the highest. The player with the highest dice locks and owns the square. The loser must retreat to one of the surrounding squares that is not yet locked.

Dimmock City ruins.

This Confederacy gunship buzzed round the table for most of the game. Luckily for me, Ross rolled poorly for it throughout and it did nothing! Unluckily for me, The "cube" building below it had two of my fireteams inside. They were caught in crossfire between Ross's men in the two adjacent buildings and a third, closer to the camera (out of shot).

My actions at this brick building were also a disaster. I should have stayed in there and held it but I got greedy and tried to string men out to the crashed dropship to control more ground. To the right was another building housing Ross's bots. I was hoping to spot them and rocket them from my tank. Yet another crossfire with the bots and a unit in the central building wiping the team out.

I had better luck with Commander. He fired in through the windows of a small building (just in front of the green truck), killed the unit inside and held his ground. Although Ross held 6 buildings against my 3 (effectively half the table was uncontested for him!), the lab turned out to be the building my commander was in (Token E).


Aslan Dave: Token R
Anarcho Commie Me: Tokens O and E
British Ant: Token S

With that, we went out to the missus' flower bed were I'd sealed the identity of the real Yellow Rose in a box. But it was dark by then so, Ironically given the ACC environmental laws, I probably crushed a load of flowers!

And the winner was my Arnarcho Communists. The Rose was token O and had been in the Bio Dome on the rocky moon. Yay!


Loads more happened than I can remember or write (or you could stand to read). It was an ambitious day but we all agreed it worked well and was fun (or the others are just humouring me!). Four different types of game with a central theme. Gruntz allowed us to put some diverse forces of our own devising on the table.

The missus is back from France tomorrow. I think the garden is still alive thanks to another British summer.

Other pics as requested by MrHarold:

Reverse angle on the domes
Slightly wider shot of the city. Here you can see the building housing Ross's bots (bottom left) and all three buildings surrounding my units and pinning them in the "cube" building.
Better shots of the jungle terrain can be seen here where we played the original version of this scenario in January.

05 July 2015

Clash on the Fringe - Game Review

As promised, here is a review of Clash on the Fringe by Nordic Weasel Games. This follows a few read throughs of the pdf and a small game (report HERE).

The product

Clash on the Fringe is a scale agnostic sci fi wargame by Ivan at Nordic Weasel Games. Ivan doesn't like the term “wargame” with regard to CotF as it is designed to be suitable for small clashes between gangs, law enforcers, space pirates and the like as well as the usual military factions common to the hobby.

The writer has stated that the game is an unashamed homage to Rogue Trader and other games of that era but with a modern take on the mechanics.

So, how does that translate into a game?:

The rules

Ivan has gone for simplicity with a heavy dose of common sense. A recurring theme is mitigating the opportunity to metagame. You’ll see what I mean as I go on.


The turn sequence is based on opposed dice rolls between the players with the winner deciding which of their (remaining) units they would like to activate. Once that unit has done its piece, another opposed roll is made.

There is extra depth to the game here as the roll is modified by the quality of unactivated units: depending on the composition of his force, the player will have tactical decisions about whether or not to activate better troops early on or hold them back and benefit from their initiative. As a result, activation ranges from completely alternating to runs of the same force.

There is a chance that some units will be unable to activate which adds a nice “fog of war” touch as well as suggesting some narrative to be added to the fight. Notably, some units will fail to activate because one player has many unactivated units left when the other player has finished for the turn. This nicely avoids metagaming of the “multiple small unit” style.


An activated unit is given an order from a selection. The order type will determine whether the unit can shoot, rush into combat, use or receive reactive fire and so on. In our game, we found that sometimes a unit was in a position where the order didn’t matter too much (it wasn't able to shoot or be shot at) so, we just chose one of the orders that has a full movement element to it.


The amount of movement varies based on a several factors such as the species and “class” of the figure and the type of armour it is wearing. There are a couple of other factors such as cinematic bonuses for heroes and being slowed by heavy weapons and the like. This really does take me back to the days of 1st and 2nd ed 40k, Necromunda and similar games. Frankly, if something is supposed to be fast, then it should have a higher movement score!

There is no unit coherency although it benefits troops to be near to a leader (as he can help them remove pinning or use extra shots etc.). This means that individuals can take cover when under fire instead of being draped artificially across an open kill zone. It’s also liberating as a player as you can imagine a fire team coordinating their advance around a building or keeping apart to avoid fire. I guess there might be issues with similar looking units getting muddled up but I think the pros outweigh the cons.


Shooting is a simple “roll equal to or less than your stat” on a d10 while close combat uses opposed d10 rolls with the winner scoring a ”hit”. As you can imagine, these rolls are modified by cover, targeting systems and all the usual fayre. Although I quite like the bell curve probability associated with 2-dice-roll systems these days, there is an elegance to using “flat” d10s...they are easy to understand. If you need 5 or less to hit, you have a 50 per cent chance of hitting. The modifiers are then just as easy to understand and even “hacking” the ruleset is intuitive if you want to introduce your own bonuses and what not.

More common sense abounds here as you cannot shoot through your own figures. There is no point in taking a daft unit of 30 men to lever yourself 30 attempts to hit. They will just shoot themselves in the back of the head. Such a unit is also realistically inefficient since Ivan has given automatic weapons an area template...attacking a large, bunched up unit would be a turkey shoot. This often plays plays well with the lack of unit coherency mentioned above. If a unit gets trapped in a bottle neck they are easy to take out...didn't Sun Tzu write something about that? Regardless, it’s nice to see in this game.

With a hit scored, you might wound the target (depending on the weapon strength and the armour/durability of the target). If not then you’ll probably pin them with a Heads Down marker. In fact you can sometimes force a heads down even when you miss the target. This makes even unlikely shots worthwhile from a suppression point of view.


There are two distinctive stats that deal with morale, leadership, courage or whatever you want to call it. Discipline covers the ability to come under fire (avoid suppression) as well as determining the distance of your own battlefield awareness (for reaction shots and the like). Morale is how a unit deals with adversity such as taking casualties. Instead of just turning and blindly running, failure of morale adds Stress to a unit, affecting all of its stats as things get more dire. Eventually, the unit might just be removed.


These are handled using various exceptions and enhancements to the core rules. Again, this is standard stuff such as longer movement, grav vehicles flying over obstacles, increased durability. Stats are given for an assortment of vehicles divided by movement type and size. Notably absent for a Rogue Trader-esque game are jet bikes. Even He-Man used jetbikes back in the 80’s and they should be here!

When vehicles sustain damage, a table is used to determine what happens. Variuos type of damage might occur from losing weapon systems right up to exploding completely.

The Setting

Once you make it make it past the rules and have realised they are simple and sensible, you are rewarded by a huge section detailing different races and “classes”. These fit into Nordic Weasel’s “Unity” setting which has been used in his other science fiction games (though they are familiar tropes so you can represent all kinds of existing settings or make up your own).

The setting premise isn't original but isn't supposed to be: Unity is a galaxy spanning empire of humans and sanctioned aliens. Other aliens have their own agendas and may variously be allies or enemies. This allows a gamut of settings to represented from rebellion on core worlds to the excitement and randomness of exploring the eponymous Fringe worlds. It feels like the Imperium of Rogue Trader is born again but without all the skulls and grim dark.

19 races or human variants are described. Ivan has provided special rules for some but none of these are so outlandish that they mess with the game engine too much. There are also 11 “classes” which many of the races can access. These have suggested stats for the likes of law enforcers, gangs and elite assassins. In many cases, the racial differences are simply modifiers applied to these classes...a veritable cosmos of characters.

There is much more to this section than just racial rules. Here you will find ideas about how the different tropes might be represented, suggestions for what their miniatures might look like and alliance/force organisation proposals. This has been really well thought out and is a valuable asset to the game.

Point System

I’ll admit that I haven’t looked into this part too deeply. Ivan includes more than one disclaimer about points systems (in any game) and how well balanced they can actually be. That said, it looks like a well considered system and will at the very least act as a guide for straight up shoot outs or designing scenarios. As mentioned above, the engine is so easy to understand that astute players should be able to judge where forces seem desperately outmatched.

The bulk of the points system is aimed at the listed classes and races but Ivan’s formula is included so you can build your own.


There’s plenty of fun stuff here. All the basics such as table layouts are included but there are some (big) random tables to prompt scenario ideas. Who is fighting, what for, their environment and some twists to include (wandering monsters, dangerous weather and the like). This is fantastic and fires the imagination. If you are a Rogue Trader fan, think of those scenario tables (Abdul Goldberg and all that) back in the day.

CotF comes with suggestions for different gravity and other physical properties. I think this is missing from most sci fi games. All these worlds to play on but they always end up feeling like Earth. Ivan’s got this covered, albeit briefly. As ever, the system is easy enough to tweak if you want to explore this further.

Other Stuff

  • There’s a fairly extensive section for solo players (not something I do but it looks comprehensive).
  • Rules for “monsters” and critters on the battlefield.
  • Campaign ideas are covered.
  • Throughout, there are some flavourful pieces of fiction and fun thematic quotes. I was worried these might be pretentious but they are very well done.

What I didn't like

I guess by now it's obvious that this is a very positive review. It’s hard to find fault with what Nordic Weasel has produced (especially for the price!). So, in the interest of fairness, here’s what I didn't like:

The layout

It’s functional and well structured but it just doesn't look that appealing. I appreciate that this is an indie game but similar products have put more effort in here (such as Victory Decision or Gruntz). I know it shouldn't matter and, once a game is under way, who cares? I do have friends, however, who would be put off buying because of this.

The same issue really. There is no artwork but there are a few photos of miniatures. These are well painted and look good but they are just pictures of miniatures with none of the game’s flavour being dynamically represented. Where there is an attempt to do this, 6mm kit has been used. With sincerely no offence meant to Angel Barracks, at that scale I can’t really tell what is going on. Don’t get me wrong, they are attractive 6mm pieces and scenery but the photos just don’t evoke the spirit of the game. Maybe I’m nitpicking.

Reactive Fire
One of the mechanics allows reactive fire which is great but, in all cases, it only allows a 1 in 10 chance of hitting. I think this is fair for genuine unaimed shooting but seems unreasonable to apply it when someone is effectively on overwatch (a well trained troop on guard should be better than an untrained troop on guard). It’s easy to house rule and, to be fair to Ivan (who always responds to customers), he said he didn't want that level of defensive strategy to be core to this game. I guess it jars with me because other situations are so well represented in the game.


For $15 (or a tenner in real money), there is a huge amount in this game. If you are looking that old school Rogue Trader feel or just want to put some of your unused sci fi figures down in anger but in more than a small skirmish situation, this is the ideal game.

The system is simple yet deep and often “realistic”. I've got all kinds of ideas flying round my head inspired by this game. My brace of Daleks are now looking for someone to exterminate; The Jury have some wrongs to right (see my earlier post and Adam’s write up below for AARs) and I'm hoping my friend Ian will get his Space Wolves on the table and play them how he wants to (he hates 40k!).

Great work Nordic Weasel Games! I now remember how I got into this hobby in the first place.

After Action Report

Adam's write up of our game is below (my original AAR is HERE). I think he has an eidetic memory as he covered much more than my demented, half-remembered ramblings.

We had a first run through of the rule set Clash on the Fringe (CotF). We played in 28mm with roughly twenty figures a side and no vehicles.
The scenario
CotF is intended to be scenario driven (although it can be played head to head with points values). As a group we quite like scenarios any way so this play style was the natural choice. To get the full CotF experience, we decided to use the random tables to roll for force types, terrain and objective. We rolled an anti–robot cult fighting hired guns amidst urban decay over a scientist.  We fleshed this out, deciding that the scientist was working on cutting edge AI, which infringed the law. A local paramilitary vigilante force known as the Jury (Lea’s force) were out to enforce this law terminally.  Anticipating that there might be trouble, the Scientist had called in Nakamura Security Incorporated (Adam’s force) to protect him. The Jury had The Foreman and four squads of regular soldiers with a Gatling gun and a missile launcher.  Nakamura had a Daimyo, two squads of regular soldiers, one of hardened veterans and one cannon toting Mech.
The scientist was holed up somewhere in a complex of four lab buildings in a rundown sector of town and probably cowering under cover. Both sides had to search the buildings; searching required a training role.  The Jury were looking to kill him and Nakamura to escort him to safety. The Jury came in from the west and Nakamura from the east.
Jury set up
The Jury lined up two squads to cover the comparatively open ground of the south aiming to head forward and then sweep into the south and east buildings. The central squad and the Foreman were advancing on the west (and therefore) closest building. The final northerly squad was planning to go wide on the flank to cover them.
Nakamura set up
Nakamura set their mech up to suppress the southern killing field and be a relatively static lynch pin for that wing of the force. The veteran squad were on the centre aiming for their closest building. The two regular squads went north aiming to outflank the jury.
How it went
There were some early long-range exchanges. Very early. CotF has unlimited maximum ranges (at an accuracy penalty) and there was an unexpected fire- corridor from the open south west to the door of the east building. Unexpected at least to the Nakamura veteran squad who lost two men (including the HMG).  The remaining three were pinned down hard (five heads down tokens between them).
The Jury fired their missile launcher at the mech but it pinged off his armour. He responded by striking out with his Gauss cannon at his attacker, punching a hole clean through him (no survival roll was allowed. Well it is an anti tank weapon). With the main anti-armour threat removed the mech could breathe a sigh of relief. Not completely though, as a lucky assault rifle hit could still take him down. Unsurprisingly therefore the mech received a lot of small arms fire from one and a half of the southern Jury squads.
There then followed a flurry of inactivity with two squads on each side failing to activate (basically a tied initiative roll means both sides have to pick a unit to remain inactive for a turn).  The Nakamura Daimyo had the tough choice of whether to effectively freeze active units or render the pinned and hurt veteran unit immobile in the killing corridor. This would have effectively written them off. Instead he elected to regroup them and pull them back. Some luck on their side saw them regain composure and drop back into the shelter of an easterly burnt out car. In hind sight this was probably a key moment with Nakamura centre still holding albeit weakened.
Jury forces advanced purposefully in the centre and to the north. They got three men into the western building and after a very thorough search established that the scientist was hiding elsewhere.  Behind the searchers, the foreman was quite cautious and held back. He had given his attention to activating other units at the cost of his own movement.
There was something of a straight road across the northern face of the complex. Jury and Nakamura units exchanged fire down this straight line.  The Nakamura regulars filed in to the road in a line and enjoyed some early successes taking three Jurors down. Unfortunately to maximise shots on target they had bunched up into a small area.  They paid for this with return fire shredding their unit (Most weapons including assault files have area effects in CotF which I felt really gave the game a modern/sci-fi feel). Ultimately, one Nakamuran was left pinned in the road and one was forced out wide in to a forecourt area. The unit leader who had no ranged weapons (a lovely mono-katana but nothing ranged) took cover behind abandoned agricultural machinery and waited for the flanking reinforcements.
The southern Jurors began to swing round in to the centre to exploit the hole in the Nakamuran line left by the retreating Veteran squad.
However the veterans were now (somewhat) refreshed. Emboldened but still down to three men. They strode out from their cover firing double shots before dropping back in to the car wreckage. (in CotF you can opt to move then fire or fire then move – so you can step out of cover and fire at the end of your turn and then fire and drop back into cover - ideally early in the next turn. This blunted the southern sweep as did the threat of the cannon-toting mech on the south Eastern corner. The veteran leader did pay for their renewed courage getting killed whilst out in the open and one of his fellows bought it amongst the wreckage of the car. The shots came I believe from the Jury’s Gatling gun. However, the Jury advance was not fully blunted as Jurors did enter and search the southern building.  However, the scientist was not hiding there.  
Whilst all this was going on the Daimyo had hoped to swing round on the northern flank supported by the most northerly Nakamura squad but a number of failed to activate rolls had left this squad lagging behind (also unattached heroes are quite quick in CotF). Undeterred the Daimyo advanced on his own behind cover and ended up charging into the flank of the northern most Jury squad (now down to two men) He won the only melee of the game but failed to kill and drove the juror into the open road.
The northern most Nakamura squad (the one who had not kept up with the Daimyo) moved into fairly dominant position behind some upright vats. From here they could cover the forecourt in front of the northern building (which was still unsearched) and even fire into the path down towards the unsearched eastern building.
The End
Due to the late hour, we stopped the game there and went to panel decision. Both teams had effectively lost two squads, (the Jury wings and the Nakamuran centre). The Nakamura force had  dominant position watching the access routes to the two unsearched buildings and the remaining veteran was crouching next to one of these ( the eastern one). Any southern advance by the Jury was also complicated by the presence of the Nakamuran Mech. So the Nakamuran forces controlled access to the two buildings where the scientist could possibly be.
Outcome (by Panel Decision)
A win for Nakamura security Incorporated.

26 June 2015

Clash on the Fringe - First Game

Adam and I tried a game of Nordic Weasel Games' recent addition: Clash on the Fringe last night. Ivan at NWG admits this is unashamedly a return to the days of Rogue Trader and the like. CotF shies away from huge battles where special rules, maths and metagaming win the day and attempts to play out something narrative with sound tactical considerations.

This will be more of a light battle report than a review of the system (which I will do at some point). Even so, I'll interject with some system related observations as I think they really affected our enjoyment of the game (in a good way!).

My force, The Jury, has interpreted the law such that advanced AI is illegal. They are aware that a scientist is developing an intelligent droid and will hunt it down and destroy it. The prof has called in mercs to defend him but they too, are unsure where he is exactly. If I find the droid, I win; Adam must defend it.

The droid is in one of the four low buildings.

Adam has a mech behind shed 2 (right) and has a string of infantry along the far table edge. I have a small unit out of shot to the left and a team with ant-vehicle capability to the right.

My plan was to send the leftmost team past the cylindrical towers and on to the front of the left objective building with the team by the barrels supporting them (maybe scaling that building then searching the middle building). The teams on the right would hold the mech at bay, while advancing to the look inside the comms tower building.

Stag beetles are a group of about 1,200 species of beetle in the family Lucanidae...

The team on my left flank were weakened by some luck long shots (CotF has unlimited ranges but higher chance of failure over the the weapon's optimal distance - nice!).

With the left team pinned and at half strength, their support team decide to search the middle building instead. The droid is not here. The team also has a plasma weapon so moving them right might position them better to deal with the mech.

These are the swines that took out my left flank. Adam advanced half of them, as the game went on meaning I had to focus on the centre of the table for my advance.

My anti-vehicle team are still out of shot below the image. They do hold the mech up but the missile launcher has a heavy rail gun fire at him. A nice feature of the game is that there are very few auto wins/fails due to a natural roll of x. If something hits you that should kill you, you will die!

My anti-infantry team (by the three containers) move up slowly and heavily suppress Adam's chaps under the walkway of the comms building. They cover the advance of the team above them who will search the comms building then move onto the building X5 (by the distant satellite dish). It nearly works.

The lead man checks out the comms building. The Prof and his droid are not there.

The team drop from 5 to 2 men. Luckily their resolve holds - the word of the law is with them!

Adam had given up on his unit below the walkway. CotF makes use of Heads Down markers to represent pinning and suppression. I had thoroughly suppressed them. However, the presence of an inspiring leader and a well-timed regroup action brought them back from the brink and allowed them to halt my advance.

One of my survivors peeks from the behind the far cylinder. Adam's team stay here. This is the back of building X5. If they go forward and turn left, they set up a crossfire with their team under the walkway (mentioned above).

On my left flank, my beleaguered unit are pinned behind cover. Adam's "under the walkway" team and the those pictured above effectively cut off off my two depleted teams from searching the last two buildings.

I lost.

So, what did we think of the game? We really enjoyed it. Some highlights of the system that stood out for us:

  • No unit coherency. Although it benefits you to stay close to the team leader (as Adam's suppressed team discovered), you can make proper use of cover instead of "stringing" your self across gaps.
  • Automatic rifles have a template. This means if you shoot a "conga" line of targets, your rounds don't miraculously stop in mid-air just behind the last man. Bunching up and advancing through narrow gaps is lethal...as it should be.
  • Deciding who activates a unit next is random but heavily influenced by the training level of your force's best unit(s). This means you might have alternating activations or runs of the same player activating. There is a strategic element in deciding whether you use the better teams early on since their bonus to the roll is lost once they act. There is also the chance that both players will have to select a unit that "failed to activate". This is a nice "fog of war" element.

What I've written above fails to convey how well the game works for casual and narrative scenarios. It certainly does achieve this and I look forward to using it for all sorts of skirmishes and dust ups in the future. I'll cover this more when I write my review along with a look at the other content such as force generation and scenario ideas.

The game we played here was to get our head around the rules and use some much neglected figures without an oppressive ruleset spoiling our fun. We succeeded. We've found only a couple of very slight issues we'd like to tweak but, this is a very capable system with rules that seem sensible and "right".