Well, I stopped procrastinating, rearranged the garage, bought myself a lamp, and started prepping some Greeks for the Mantinea battle day project. I've jumped into cavalry and Theban hoplites first. The figures are a reminder of just how lovely the Xyston figures in this range are - beautifully sculpted, characterfully posed, and nicely proportioned; just slightly north of average for 15mm, they are not yet at the giant stage that the Hellenistics became - but also of how much of a pain it is to drill out hands for spears.
The other problem of course it that they are intimidating. For a limited painter such as myself there is always the feeling that you won't be able to do them justice.
|Garage prep space.|
But making a start is the thing.
In other news I succumbed to an artfully placed ad while browsing TheBookDepository and ordered Undaunted Normandy. It arrived on Saturday (along with my Landmark Caesar, which is just as good as I'd hoped) and I opened it up for a wee test run on Sunday.
|The first scenario in the game booklet|
The first thing you notice is that the components look a lot nicer on the table than they do in photos. I was impressed enough to almost go and order the expansions on the strength of the look and feel alone. Better sense prevailed however, and I decided that I would force myself to discover whether I actually liked the game before ordering anything more (radical idea, I know!).
How is the game? Well, I must preface my comments with the caveat that while I love the idea of squad level WWII games, in practice I mostly find them ho-hum. This one might turn out to be all right. It has a card management aspect to it that I think could be quite enjoyable with the right opponent. Solo it lacks a bit, but then that is true for most games.
The essence of the game seems to be to build up the cards in your draw deck so as to allow you to string together move and fire sequences (or fire and move sequences, if you prefer) that will put your opponent under pressure. Interestingly, when you fire and hit an opponent's piece, you don't remove the piece, you remove one of the cards which could activate that piece. The piece is only removed when there are no accessible cards for it remaining.
So there is a natural attrition there, but it takes place in the card decks, not on the board itself. Your pieces become less able to act the more they are hit (i.e. there are fewer cards left in the deck left with which the piece can be activated), and the more pieces move, the more undesirable cards are introduced into the deck, thus making it less likely that you'll be able to pull the cards you want when you want them. This is presumably a mechanism to represent the difficulty of coordinating effectively over longer distances.
Pleasingly, Undaunted doesn't have those overpowered 'heroic leadership' pieces which seem to drive so many tactical WWII games. Leadership is abstracted into allowing you to choose cards to put in your deck, and is not the old '+2 to hit when Sergeant Skegg is stacked with your MG squad' type arrangement.
|Not an heroic NCO in sight!|
I only played through about five or six turns, but will do a proper review when I've had the chance to mangle my way through a couple of games.
A good weekend, then! I hope any readers who've got this far also had a productive Saturday and Sunday.