The Old Giant

Home » 2014 » October

Monthly Archives: October 2014


DZC – 1st game of DropZone Commander

Having “ummed and ahhd” about this game for the last year I finally got a game of DZC in. I had skimmed my old Version 1 rulebook and wondered how complicated it would be.

When my gaming buddy Dan offered to show me the game I jumped as I really do love the models.

We played at our local NWGC, Stockport. Sadly, I couldn’t quite get the camera to focus properly despite taking a number of shots of Dan’s beautifully painted Shaltari force. I only had my phone camera and I always seem to struggle indoors with these. The Shaltari have an insectoid look to them that when painted really shows the functional yet aesthetically pleasing designs. The designer has done wonders creating the models.

Having seen another army being played (PHR) that were also brilliantly painted (by James I think?) I have to say that the bar is set hight on painting these forces.

So, is this just about nice models or is there a good game?

Dan set up the basic poster mapboard, buildings and starter scenario from the starter set. He used Shaltari not UCM, I took an unpainted Scourge army. The points value for these basic forces is about a 550 point ‘skirmish’. That gave us 3 battlegroups apiece, one infantry plus transport, 1 tank plus transport, 1 AA unit plus transport. the Shaltari were a pretty new force for Dan and the transports (Gates) seem to work a little differently to the standard transports. That aside, we got stuck in.

The missions mean scouting out buildings with objectives and searching them. Once successful, the infantry need to get the objective out of the building and back off their baseline to capture it. As there were three objectives to take, the winner would be the one with most captured and removed from the table.

On Turn 1 Dan won the activation roll and moved one of his units. He got his infantry into the building on Turn 1.  I then moved a unit – tanks I think by dropping them off my dropship in cover. The activation is done alternatively until all battlegroups have moved (the unit and their transports).

He positioned his Gates on the board – it looks like the Shaltari and use the Gates to move around the board instantly. Nice. I need to read up more on these guys!

We then moved alternatively until the turn was ended – I used my infantry to take the central building.

Dan got the initiative again. His infantry searched the building on this turn and got the objective. I spent three more turns trying to get the objective in my building.

Meanwhile I had left my infantry transports in the open (silly me) and got the dropship and an APC blown up.

My forces took it in turns to fire on the building that Dan’s infantry were holed up in. Dan pulled the objective out of his building but couldn’t get the troops out so quickly – the Gates I think have a restriction on how much can pass through them in a turn.

Gradually that building was destroyed before Dan could get his men out. My tanks, infantry and AA kept pounding it and it collapsed, killing the occupants and one unfortunate Shaltari transport that was too close to the building as well.

My infantry were killed off down to two damaged stands but I got the objective and left the building. With only one APC left for them, they had to try to get off the map.

At the end of Turn 6 (end of game), my APC was just 4 inches form the edge of the board. Dan won by 1 objective to nil.  If I had grabbed one, it would go to kill points. Dan had destroyed most of my infantry and a whole unit of my tanks. I had only killed his infantry unit. Well done Dan!

The aim of this game was for me to “learn the ropes”.  Afterwards Dan showed me how a close combat works. Basically it was a fight in a building that took three turns. It was pretty evenly matched. That would have tied up those forces for most of a game!

What did I think? Brilliant. Not only are the models good, the game mechanics are good too. It’s not too difficult to pick up the rules quickly and the game plays quickly too. Units roll on to the table, carry out their missions and support each other. The end result was a close game. Having an alternative unit activation mechanic means that each player is on the alert all the time, not waiting for “their turn” to come. It spices up the game. A unit may not get to move exactly when you thought it would as you may lose initiative.

The contents of the starter box (Scourge and UCM) plus all the buildings, map boards, counters, templates, dice, tape measure and rulebook really are good value.

Now that the starter forces (4 of them) are in plastic, the game has become good value and “do-able” even on a budget. You can build on the core force to build it up to 1000, 1500 or 2000 points.

I am really hooked now and want to get into this game. The system reminds me of the fun of playing the old GW epic space marine (2nd edition) but is a little more complex. There’s a lot more to discover as you can have Commanders and Command Cards. More to take on board! Looking forward to my next game! Big thanks to Dan for taking the time to play my first game through. Thoroughly enjoyable evening.

Apologies for some fuzzy pictures… it gives a flavour even if I couldn’t quite get those lovely Shaltari Gates and vehicles into focus.


Flames of War AAR: LW 1500 points British Trained Tanks v German Infantry

It has been a while since I last played Flames of War –

Local gamer Andy agreed to play on Friday and we chose Late War 1500 points.



(11 armoured, Normandy, Confident Trained)

3 x HQ Sherman V (making a 2iC platoon with two tanks)

3 x Combat Platoon (3 x Sherman V, 1 x Firefly w. AT14 gun)

2 x Rifle platoon (cmd rifle/mg, 6 x rifle/mg, piat, mortar)

1 x Heavy Mortar (4 bases) plus observer

1 x recon (3 x Universal carriers)

(8 platoons) – Attacking



(KG Arnhem from Bridge by Bridge, Fearless Veteran)


2 x Panzerfaust SMG, 2 x Panzerschreck (135 points)

Combat Platoon:

SS-Panzergrenadier platoon – 1 x cmd SMG Panzerfaust, 6 x Panzerfaust MG (290 points)

Pioneer Platoon (CV) – cmd Panzerfaust SMG, 9 x Pioneer rifle (245 points)


SS Heavy platoon – cmd SMG, 2 x HMG, 2 x 8cm mortars, observer (145 points)


Hummel Tigers (CT) x 3 (435 points)

Light Panzerspah patrol (3 x kfz 222) (120 points)

SS AT guns – cmd SMG, 2 x PAK 40 (120 points)



Breakthrough (2.5 hours) – defender wins if out of time, attacker has to seize an objective on or after turn 6.



AAR (2)


AAR (4)

Defender choose the two quarters to defend from. I choose to run from the river end to the opposite quarter. I have to get some tanks across the river (slow and bog test except at the ford).


Turn 1:

Brits go first and move forward – tanks to the left, straight on and mainly to the right to cross the river.

AAR (5)

British Mortars try to pin the Axis infantry in the middle of the table.

AAR (7)

Axis Tigers move up toward the big red building on the left of the British position.

The left most platoon of tanks hides to the left of the wood, with the red building in front of them.

AAR (6)

Tanks pile over the river, recon gets to a good distance on the right flank to use eyes and ears next turn…

The platoon in the river bogs a tank.


Turn 2:

AAR (9)

The right flank sees the Sherman’s go for the Axis Pioneers platoon.

AAR (11)

Allied Recon carriers use Eyes and Ears to remove Gone to Ground on the Axis Pioneers.

The 2ic platoon moves up behind cover of the buildings in the centre.

The left most platoon moves up to the red building, keeping the firefly back to deal with any peeping Tigers!

AAR (13)

The Allied 1ic has bogged down on the River somewhere.

The Tigers move back to cover the middle.

AAR (21)


Turn 3:

The ‘river’ tank platoon makes it but the bogged tank stays fast on the river bank.

the 2ic platoon help the right most tanks to attack the pioneers.

AAR (12)

The Axis pioneers are shot and assaulted and whittled down….

AAR (14)

The left most platoon move to the other end of the red building – the Tigers have moved back toward the objectives.

AAR (15)

The Tigers moved to get a bead on the bogged Sherman.

Sadly, the Allied 1ic tank is bogged just a few inches. The Tigers get 2 hits, force the 1ic to join the other tank and so get 1 shot a piece. Boom for both.

AAR (19)


Turn 4:

British infantry arrive from reserve. The Axis have already moved their MG/HMG teams up to cover the entry area.

AAR (23)

Axis still command the centre of the board.

AAR (27)

British tanks move up the far right, avoiding the Tiger way back in the wheat field.

In the centre, a few Axis Grenadiers are removed along the way.

The Axis observer is taken down as a mortar round lands on his head.

AAR (29)

The other British tanks on the left were going to make the long haul, but time is running out and they think what to do.

AAR (30)

The two Tigers move up to the village and command the road. The Allied advance on the road and tight is stalled. two platoons can’t move that way!

AAR (33)


Turn 5:

The second British infantry platoon arrives. The first platoon has been damaged by Axis fire in turn 4.

AAR (34)


Turn 6:

The Allied tanks on the far right shoot the lone Axis team – I think this killed off the  pioneer platoon.

AAR (36)

The Allied 2ic “goes for broke” and shoots/assaults the Axis 1 and 2 ic in the centre. They do 7 hits and kill the 1iC – the Axis 2iC escapes.

In return, a ‘faust or two take down the 2ic tank platoon….

AAR (37)

Giving an either/or to the PAK40’s…. they can shoot the big tank platoon or turn and shoot the 2ic platoon…. they stay and wait…. the allied tanks kill the PAK40 command team.

AAR (38)


Turn 7:

The Allied tanks on the left turn and “go for it”. They move and shoot 4 shots at the back ends of the Tigers. They kill one and bail one!

AAR (40)

Flaming Tiger…. a high point for the allies….

AAR (41)

The Allied infantry assault the defenders on the objective and take it. I think this may have been the end of the Axis heavies – 2 platoons down now.

AAR (43)

Axis shooting kills more British rifles – bad 222’s!

AAR (45)

The Tiger un-bails…

AAR (46)

The last three Axis infantry near the objectives assault the British infantry. They destroy the British platoon and take the objective back. The Axis Recon help their infantry.

AAR (47)

The Allies have now lost 3 platoons I think (infantry and two tanks).  The Axis have lost two platoons and a fair whack of the Grenadiers. But their 2ic survived(!)


Turn 8:

At this point we had reached time. The Allies narrowly failed to keep the objective. The remaining infantry platoon could not un-pin so the game ended there, with the Axis Tigers, PAK40’s, recon cars and a few infantry teams left to win the game, 4-3 to Axis, well done Andy.



The Mortars did do some damage but the Axis made just about every unpin test as I recall. The combination of mortar and tank shoot/assault killed off a couple of Axis infantry platoons, but in the end the Tigers did for the Sherman tanks and the attack ground to a halt.

It was an enjoyable game and it was fun to be attacking for a change. Deciding a strategy is always hard for me. I should really have pushed hard on one flank, but dealing with those Tigers and AT guns with just 4 Firefly tanks in the army seems hard to me regardless of how I came in!




Jugula – another 4 Gladiators painted

Here are the next batch of 35mm scale Gladiators for the Jugula game.

Painted with basic colours (red/white/solver) to easily identify them in the Arena, I used Vallejo Game Colour paints.

They were finished off with a ‘dip’ to give some depth of shading then a matt spray to un-gloss them. Finally, sand was PVA glued ot the base, in three layers of fine sand.

These guys represent four of the light gladiators you can use in the game: Retiarius (net), Veles (spear), Dimacherius (two swords) and Thraex (falx and small shield)



Flames of War – painted up Axis and British units

I finally got some British and Axis 15mm Flames of War units finished. There was a bit of a block there for a while. I usually need the pressure of a deadline to really motivate me sometimes – a game on Friday did that.

All models were:

Battlefront resin/metal/plastic 15mm FoW models.

Undercoated with Halfords white spray Primer.

Painted with Vallejo Game Color acrylic paints.

Coated with Army Painter quickshade ‘dip’ (painted on) – black for Axis and light brown for British

Sealed and matted with Army Painter matt spray.





British tanks with decals added (I used Dom’s Decals)… (I wish I had cut around the decals more finely – even with a sealant of matt varnish you can still see the square of the decal transfer around the blue triangular tacsign decals on the sides of the Sherman tank turrets. You live and learn. It took a good couple of hours to get the decals on so I am not going to try to redo them now!

I am really liking the Lord of the Rings LCG game

A month ago I had not really heard of this game, but after watching some of the videos of games played and reviews on the website I was a bit hooked. I picked up the base game from a local games store and started playing the game straight away (it has a solo mode that is basically the full game minus others to help).

There is a review here and plenty more on the net as the game has been around for a while so I wont bore you with another full review. A LCG (living card game) gives you everything you need for a game in one box or pack rather than a collectible game (like the old Magic the Gathering game I played many, many moons ago). Each expansion that comes out has enough (with the base game) to play it without having to buy endless packs of cards to get the best deck you can buy. I like this idea as it places it firmly back on the “board game” area but without a static board to play on. You just use the desk space in front of you to play the cards on. Its kind of like “Hobbit Solitaire” but far more fun.

Solo games that engage are not that common IMO so this turned out to be what I expected. Engaging, tactical and frustrating.  Trying to beat the first set of quests turned out to be hard enough. The starter game has a lot of cards, but not quite enough to make a really good custom deck. I decided to keep on with the Mirkwood theme and over the next couple of weeks I got five of the six Mirkwood cycle expansion decks. The last one is OOP at the moment and looks pretty tough anyway.

It took nine goes with various decks to get the hang of the first set of Quests (“Flies and Spiders” quests going through Mirkwood with a message and meeting spiders and orcs!). The second one, a “Journey down the Anduin”, is much tougher. You can take four types of Hero’s and they event and ally cards, but as a solo player you can only have three Heroes which makes selection very crucial. You don’t have the advantage of  various players choosing the best from each area of skill : Leadership, Tactics, Lore and Spirit.

I found that a couple of Tactics characters and one Leadership served quite well, but as soon as I got to a Quest that needed speed and a low profile, it suffered for lack of Willpower to Quest with. Getting the balance is hard, and you will probably want to use two or three decks to tackle each new Quest with. If deck building is your thing you will really like this game.

When you look at the cost of the base game and the other expansions, you get a lot of play for your money out of this game. The artwork on the cards is excellent. I am going to give it a solid 8 out of 10 as a Solo game for its theme, engagement, replayability and fun.  I would like to try it multiplayer as I think that would offer up a whole new set of challenges!

Thanks for reading!


Progress on Saga BTD Camels

Last weekend I found some time to get my nine Blacktree Design Camels mainly painted. Here is my review for these models… link.

Cleaning these up was a bit of a pain. There was more solid flash than I thought when I reviewed them which led to some serious work with craft knife, pliers(!) and a file. About 2 hours for all nine. The riders were pretty straightforward though, thankfully. Most of the time was spent on six of the camels hind legs, where the top meets the underside. Some solid blocks of metal were looking a bit ugly.

I superglued the camels to Renedra cavalry bases after flattening off the bottom of the base. Painting has been straightforward so far and I intend to wait to the end to glue on the rider and shield.

I will need to add some solid wire spears to some of the riders, I got some from gripping beast some time back as spares. You do get some wire in each pack of three but I prefer a more solid spear. At least the hands of the models were cast open and required almost no cleanup.

Here are some pictures…