Friday, 12 September 2014

Not so merrily down the river



After a long summer hiatus, our SoBH campaign game between arabianknight's Woodland Realm elves and my First Law humans resumed with an unusual challenge - a spot of river rafting! This scenario, The Haunted Wreck. 

The warbands have heard of the wreck of a treasure ship which was broken up by a violent storm. Only one sailor, by the name of McGuffin, survived and he was driven mad by his ordeal. He keeps saying, "their dead hands reached for me. They were dead I tell you! They reached for me..."

Both warbands seemingly commissioned the same carpenter to provide a couple of basic but hopefully sturdy rafts, so it was on a fresh autumn day the two parties found themselves anxiously standing on riverside beaches and arguing amongst themselves who would be the raft pilots. For the First Law crew, Black Dow was volunteered as he was still nursing an injury and new recruit 'Red Hat', wanting to impress, volunteered to pilot the second. Threetrees was recovering from his previous injuries and stayed ashore, although the others thought this was probably for the best as the muscle-mountain might sink the raft!


So it was that the first raft got awkwardly underway, with Red Hat, Logan, Ferro and Jezal on board. The remaining warriors followed on the second raft, with Black Dow grumbling at the helm, Bayaz unsuccessfully attempting to appear resolute and Curnden Craw shouting jibes to his compatriot, Red Hat in the lead raft. After a very nervous hour of crashing into banks, almost capsizing and a couple of crew overboard incidents, the bedraggled human warband headed down-river.


The humans eventually spot the elves ahead on their rafts - heading straight towards a large wreck beached on one of the rivers numerous islands. Game on! Bayaz watched the elves come alongside the wreck whilst letting one of their crew nimbly spring aboard. Almost immediately there is a loud pop, the air appearing to momentarily shimmer. A figure appears near the bow of the wreck in the garb of a pirate captain! The ethereal captain raises his sword and gives a rictus grin. More 'pops' and 'shimmers' follow; a nightmare crew of ghostly skeletal warriors and archers form up alongside the pirate captain.


Bayaz quickly recovers from his surprise and shouts orders for this rafts to steer clear of the wreck for now, hoping the elves and the mysterious pirate crew will be so pre-occupied with each other it'll allow his warband to take advantage of the situation. 

The elves board and quickly engage enemy skeleton warrior and archers. A hard fight ensues, with the elves valiantly skirmishing on the deck against the skeletal warriors, with supporting fire from their archers on the rafts. The skeletal archers return fire, with arrows grazing armour and shields on both sides. The elves eventually manage to get a couple of their warriors behind the pirate captain and, after overcoming their Fear, they attack. The pirate captain screeches and desperately attempts to counter the skilful and focused attack from the elves.




But it was too late, the elves rain blows  and with a deafening 'crack' which momentarily stuns all the combatants, the pirate captain quickly leeches out of existence. The skeletal warriors all stop fighting and as one run to the wrecks sides and jump overboard, following their captain into oblivion , their dry bones sending up an acrid smelling, hissing steam cloud wherever they hit the water.
The meantime humans eventually come alongside and try to take out the rearguard of elves still on ship (transfix from Bayaz, Curnden fluffs his boarding). Opportunistic? Och Aye!

Whilst the elves regrouped and uncouple from the wreck. Red Hat, quickly mastering his piloting skills , manoeuvres his raft against the current and blocks the elves. The elves, still battle high, take the initiative and board first. Melee ensues. A very hard fight, with blades and arrows flying. Ferro, Logan fall. Jezal is pushed overboard but comes up on downstream island. Red Hat sizes up the situation - being alone, outnumbered and still holding onto the tiller, abandons ship and ends up on same island as Red Hat.


The humans are all but in rout, so the elves confident and treasure-laden, but typically merciless...sent an arrow Red hat's way whilst semi-drowned and beached. It was all Bayaz could do but order his raft to divert to the other side of the island  to pick up Jezal and the injured Red Hat.


Bugger! Another CP lost. The First Law crew still weary after the last two rough encounters. However, with the tower of Threetrees and  the exuberant Nicomo Cosca back in action, the crew are seriously wanting to recover pride.. and treasure.

In the intertest of balance... the elves point of view.


Monday, 1 September 2014

NUMA: The Affinity Chronicles



A quick preview for you! The guys over at Livingston Battleground are a talented and resourceful group and have been coming up with many home-grown and scratch-built projects over the years. So it's no surprise they've used all that experience to develop a game with a potential commercial release in mind. 

After a long period in development, with numerous re-designs and lots and lots of play-testing, the game, NUMA: The Affinity Chronicles, is the distillation of all that time and effort. As its still in 'beta-test', (to borrow software release terminology),  I can give you a basic summary of the game.

So what is it? It's a Military Sci-Fi,  hex-based board game where players build a squad of mercenaries from a number of available factions, with the aim of being the first to complete three Victory Conditions / Contracts (VICONs). 


Each player will start with an officer faction card, each with their individual stats and abilities, initially two 'energy' to use on your squad's HUD and a random amount of cash. From there on players start to develop their squads by using trading posts on the board to buy new recruits and kit.  Managing your squad and available resources to complete your objectives is an immersive and key part of the game.
 
NUMA is an unstable and dangerous world, both politically and geographically, where players will have to contend with each other, NPC factions and random events - both good and bad (Wipeout!) - at every turn. From fierce fire fights to Orbital Strikes, from shady contracts to surviving quakes and tremors in treacherous city blocks.

I have only scratched the surface of NUMA: The Affinity Chronicles, hopefully wetting your appetite for a full review and  AAR in due course!