Monday, 30 May 2016

Why Do You Game?

By Podsy McPod

Why do you game?

Sorry I am jumping ahead.  Perhaps you don't game, you just like to collect and paint models.  That is fine, glad to have you on board as part of the hobby but you are not who this article is aimed at.  My target audience is people who actually use their model collections to play games.

About a year ago and about thirty five years since I started gaming I was struggling to find enjoyment in my gaming. This culminated in a sci fi game against a dear friend where I was beaten without being able to offer any real opposition and I threw a strop.  Yes a full on five year olds strop.  I apologise again to my opponent who luckily is still a good friend.  I was playing with beautiful models using a rule set I liked.  Afterwards for the first time in years I sat down and seriously asked myself why did I game.  I even contemplated giving up gaming.

The first thing I realised was I certainly did not game just for the sake of winning.  Sometimes when demoing a game to a new player I have wanted to crawl under the table as sheer good fortune meant I thrashed my opponent.  If you counted all my wins and losses over the thirty five years I am sure the losses would exceed the wins, so it could not be that. 

I used to play in the local competition circuit for ancient and medieval wargaming, travelling quite a bit to play.  I enjoyed it for many years but towards the end I began to realise there seemed to be competitors who just wanted to show how smart they were rather than being interested in the game.  I got the feeling they would have been equally happy to compare educational qualifications or bank balances to decide who won.  I saw some crazy things.  One novice competitor was playing in a game with two classical period pike armies.  His pike were better quality than his opponents so he rushed them to engage the enemy pike.  His experienced opponent tilted a unit at a bizarre angle and said this prevented the two lines engaging.  The referee confirmed this ruling.  Of course this was absolute historical nonsense.  Two lines of pike would not fail to engage because someone was not standing absolutely straight.  This was an example of how the leading players won not by using better tactics but by exploiting their superior knowledge of the foibles in the rules.  Eventually I decided this scene was no longer for me.  If your reason for gaming is solely to win, good luck maintaining a supply of opponents.

So if winning was not my reason for gaming, what was?  Very quickly I realised there was only one possible answer, fun!  So the real question became what made gaming fun for me.  There are different answers for different people.  As already discussed some people find fun in winning by doing whatever it takes.  Some people just like to throw figures on the table and see what happens.  I remember playing in one large fantasy game where people just opened their carry cases and threw out what they liked on table.  I nearly fainted on the spot, no army lists, what the heck was going on!  If your fun is found in games like that great, I wish I could, but for me things have to be a little more organised.  So what does make a game fun for me?

Playing opponents you like beyond the gaming table.  It may sound harsh but I have realised people whose company I enjoy or would enjoy on a social level make the best gaming opponents.  Life is too short to play against people you have a personality clash with, even for the sake of getting a game.  For years I struggled to find opponents but the advent of gaming communities on the internet means I now have to limit the amount of potential games I could play so that I still have some time for other things.

Games should have an element of luck.  Chess is not for me.  I love it when lady luck smiles on me and I am able to win a game that looked lost.  It also means I have something to blame for defeats when things do not go to plan.  Skill should outweigh luck.  Snakes and ladders is not my game of choice either.  In general the player using the better tactics should have the highest chance of winning.

Games should make sense within their own lore.  If I am playing a fantasy game a dragon should have more chance of destroying a mob of pitch fork armed peasants than the other way around.  It can be problematic for games without historical evidence to back up how things work but I think we all know pretty quickly if something feels right or not.

Having deeper pockets to buy more stuff should not give a better chance of winning.  I deliberately avoid games with their own dedicated model lines.  I have seen a lot of games that launch with balanced factions only for the balance to be lost when new models are released.  I can see why manufacturers do it.  They have to give you an incentive to buy their latest release but it is something I am very wary of.

Army lists and army building should influence but not decide who wins.  I fully admit to having spent hours over the years tweaking and developing army lists.   The advent of computer based army builders makes this even more fun, but a good army build should not guarantee victory before a game starts.

My ideal game is one that is closely fought with victory going to the player who has the better tactics or occasionally better luck.  Tactics are important to me.  A game that offers deep and real tactical choices is one that appeals to me above all others. Unfortunately for me at least the opportunities to play this sort of game seem to be ever decreasing.

I am amazed at how game design has improved since I started gaming.  The first rule books I used were small, closely typed in black and white with few if any illustrations.  I remember one world war two rule book that had a shooting table that involved looking for the technical name of a particular gun in a paragraph of about twenty names with ten or more paragraphs.  No one thought to give all the guns in a given category a numerical value and then put that in a table.  The quality and choice of rules and models has grown and improved enormously especially since the advent of the internet.  Not only have games improved themselves but we now all have computers and printers to make life easier.  I remember when affording to pay for photocopying out of pocket money was a real concern.  Photocopying was expensive in the early eighties!

For a long time I thought I just needed to demo games with greater tactical depth to get people interested.  I actually feel nervous when I give a game demo now.  If it does not go really well the system will never be played by that player again.  Why would they when there are so many alternative choices out there.  I realise now I was wrong in thinking that demo games would be enough to interest players in a given system.  With the multitude of games and systems available I realise most people only play the same game a handful of times in a year.  A single demo game is not enough for anyone to see the tactical depths of a given game. My current choice of sci fi rules is not decided by which rules give the greatest tactical depth but by the criteria of whether they can be understood by someone who plays the game casually a couple of times a year.

On the one hand this vast array of gaming products undreamt of in my youth is a huge blessing.  On the other it is a curse.  Barely has one system been brought to the table before people lose interest distracted by the latest game launch or kickstarter.  If you only play a given system a few times in a year you will not see the hidden delights it has to offer.  Now I do not wish to disrespect or discourage all the wonderful people in the industry bringing out new products.  If people are going to play your system I wish they would play it a bit more.  Neither do I wish to try and dictate to people what they do with their gaming time, but my suggestion is this, slow down.  If you are going to take the time to play any game, play it more than once.  Give it the time needed to fully understand the rules and explore different tactics when playing.  With the fantastic products we now have available I am pretty sure you will find there is more to the game than you thought at the end of your first game.  Who knows you might even have more fun.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

24 Hour Flash Sale from GZG


May seems to have passed in a blur, orders have been coming in and going out regularly (I'm fully up to date with all orders at the moment so turnround times have been back to the expected "rapid response" in most cases) while I've been having to deal with quite a lot of stuff regarding my late Mum's estate, and suddenly it's the Late May (Whitsun) Bank Holiday - so just on a whim, I'm doing a 20% off store-wide sale for 24 HOURS ONLY, from midnight on Sunday 29th until midnight on Monday 30th! To claim the discount all you need to do is place and pay for your order during that 24 hour period, using a special discount code that I will post on the store on Sunday 29th. There will be no minimum order value for the discount to apply, so if you want to get 20% off just a single pack of figures that is fine - but as usual the discount will NOT apply to postage/shipping rates, as sadly the miniatures don't magically get lighter when their prices are discounted!

Oh, and PLEASE remember that the timings of the sale start and finish will be strictly by UK TIME, so make sure you take account of the time zone differences wherever in the World you are!

Please drop back to rhe store again on Sunday 29th for details of the code to use and further info on the sale.....

Thanks for reading!

Jon (GZG) 28th May 2016.

What's In "Callsign Taranis"?

In the past few months we have heard a lot about Callsign Taranis, an upcoming supplement for the Ion Age that brings vehicles into the mix. Gavin and crew have already released their awesome signature vehicle for this expansion the Taranis tank in all its variants. We have also seen the remastering of classic Ion Age vehicles such as the Adder. All of this has been just the lead-up to this exciting new expansion to the vivid universe of the Ion Age.

Read on to learn more about the next big thing in the Ion Age.

Here's Gavin...

Get ready for the second book in the universe of The Ion Age and the first expansion to Patrol Angis! On 3rd June 2016 with great offers we will present Callsign Taranis to the world in an Early Supporter Offer. Missed the first look at the new book cover and the coming offers? See them on our blog HERE. Read on to find out just what is in this great new book!

15mm Expansion Rules set in The Ion Age.
Welcome to the Expansion of the One Hour Tabletop Wargame Patrol Angis.

Wargame expansion rules for use with 15mm miniatures and models from An enjoyable playing experience set in a space opera setting unlike any other. Patrol Angis is a skirmish level wargame and with Callsign Taranis you can move from the low intensity infantry focused warfare of the core game which was your starting point in this universe to something a bit larger and multi faceted too. Make use of vehicles from the humble Adder to the supporting Mullo and of course the mighty Taranis super heavy main battle tank. Introduce flying vehicles, hurwent energy shields, buildings, drones and mecha too. Play solo or with two or more players with games featuring one Platoon (22 Miniatures or several vehicles) a side up to four or even six Platoons a side (100 or more miniatures or a dozen vehicles) with smaller games taking less than an hour to play out. In Callsign Taranis you still choose to play as either the Prydian Army or in the employ of Canlaster or Yordan or any number of lesser rebel Marcher Barons all vying for the throne. This includes playing as a “Conda” or professional mercenary too for any side. Callsign Taranis contains all the rules you need to make use of vehicles and structures in other titles in the series.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Brigade Models - New Scenery and Weapons

Some awesome new stuff from the folks at Brigade Models. Continuing with their growing 15mm science fiction scenery range they add a new, raised colonial housing structure along with some new weapon emplacements.

Here's what they have to say about it....
Some houses in the desert wastelands are built up on high plinths to keep them safe from predators – this is one such design, accessed by a single stairway to a raised platform. This new 15mm building is available today.

I’ve also been tinkering with some of our recent releases, combining them with other parts to see what I could come up with. In particular, the new Fasolini tracked gun units have all sorts of possibilities. I’ve added a missile launcher and radar dish to the tracked base to create mobile anti-tank and comms systems, as well as a 5-barrel gatling weapon, known as the Lucane (Stag Beetle) family. I’ve also put the single-barrel gun on a ground mount to create a light AA gun (the quad gun was unfortunately a bit too big to fit the base and overbalances). These are listed under the EuroFed.

B15-130 – Plinth Dwelling – £10.00
SF15-416b – Lucane Tracked Missile System – £4.00
SF15-416c – Lucane Tracked Radar Unit – £3.75
SF15-416d – Lucane Tracked Gatling – £3.75
SF15-416e – Ground-mount AA Gun – £3.75

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Cell Block-H

From Brigade Models.

One of the most popular 15mm building sets we’ve come out with has been the Research Base. Possibly because it’s a very versatile design that will stand in as a military barracks, PoW or prison camp or general purpose civilian huts. Today we have a new addition to the base, a double hut connected by a central corridor – in other words, an H-Block. In its original guise as a cold weather research base it means that the occupants can move from hut to hut without stepping outside in the cold, which has to be a good thing !

B15-505 – H-Block – £10.00

Check out more - HERE 

The Ion Age - IAF035 Adder Combat Cars all six variants have returned!

After a break of several months the popular series of Adder Combat Cars the light vehicle of choice for Muster in The Ion Age have returned to our website and our trade accounts too. While the vehicles remain exactly the same in appearance they have been overhauled and improved in their design for resin casting. This means not only that they are easier to assemble but they are now also a bit cheaper (how often do you ever see that eh!) too. We pass the savings on to you. Go HERE or read on for more information.

One of the innovations that the very beginning of the Prydian Army made in the year before the battle of Fenway Prime was to bring back ancient military designs that had been brought to the Precinct by those first long forgotten Humans fleeing the anarchy of the species home world. While the powered armour and energised weapons were inventions from the Ban of Prejudice a thousand years earlier the patterns for what would become the Havelock and Duxis battlesuits were taken from this ancient knowledge. The Prydian Army had no ground transport for its Muster. Ground transport that could bring the soldiers to the battle but also support them while they were in combat. The answer came from this same source and became the Adder Combat Car series.

In the Resource Wars of the 21st Century before the time of the Ark Ships and mankind taking to the stars a similar style of warfare combined with a lack of raw material existed. The solution of the time for the bulk of infantry was the Combat Car. Easy to produce, easy to maintain and made from simple parts and well tested technology they were cheaper than any other vehicle of the time overall. They could carry a four man fire-team or they could act in a support role with mounted weapons in the same range as those used by crewed weapons or battlesuits. A modular hull meant that often only the turret and some internal systems had to be changed over to create a new model in the series. Fitting new power systems and drives and moving away from the fossil fuels of the twenty first century meant that Reckart Nevall and the weakened Aeddan Council on the New Glastonbury Tor now had the Adder.

Adder Combat Cars come in many types within the series including newer different drive systems but the bulk of them are four wheeled. With an average weight of just over five and a half tons and roughly sixteen feet in length that Adder is not a combat heavy weight like the Taranis. A colour coding system is in use to make Adders easy to assign to Regiments (and indeed the Marcher Barons use the same system) and to allow Muster who can sometimes not be as used to war as a Retained Knight a simple recognition method. The Red Adder is the standard Combat Car with space for four and mounting a turret with a Moth 88 Rotary Cannon. The Yellow Adder is the fire support car and has two crew along with a turret with an Anda 60mm Missile Pod. The Black Adder acts as an armoured punch giving the Muster the ability to knock out battlesuits and other smaller tough targets with two crew and a turret mounted Fretan Rail Gun. Less common is the Orange Adder which is infantry support mounting a specialised turret with a Moth 30 automatic 50mm Grenade Launcher which is a recent introduction to the series. Dedicated Adders include the Green Adder which is a command and control car at the battalion level and the White Adder for medical teams and battlefield triage. The 'Battle Taxi' type Grey Adder is heavily modified and can carry two fire-teams or a squad at a real squeeze. There are also some very specialised Adders too for purposes such as Blue Adder, the Brown Adder and the Purple Adder. Every Muster Regiment is in possession of hundreds of Adders across the spectrum for all its roles and since they are so easy to fabricate and to maintain they are making a real impact in the ongoing Civil War and in the Camarthen Star System too.

IAF035A Red Adder Combat Car (1 Wheeled Vehicle Kit)
This pack contains one white metal and resin vehicle. A four wheeled light vehicle in the 'Red Adder' combat car variant armed with a rotary cannon in a turret mount. This is the standard Adder for varied uses. An Adder kit once assembled is approx 45mm long, 35mm wide and about 25mm tall. This code can be bought as a pack or three packs saving 10%. Price 3.75GBP per pack.

IAF035B Yellow Adder Combat Car (1 Wheeled Vehicle Kit)
This pack contains one resin vehicle. A four wheeled light vehicle in the 'Yellow Adder' combat car variant armed with a twin Anda 60mm Missile Pod in a turret. This is the Fire Support variant. An Adder kit once assembled is approx 45mm long, 35mm wide and about 25mm tall. This code can be bought as a pack or three packs saving 10%. Price 3.75GBP per pack.

IAF035C Black Adder Combat Car (1 Wheeled Vehicle Kit)
This pack contains one white metal and resin vehicle. A four wheeled light vehicle in the 'Black Adder' combat car variant armed with Fretan type Railgun in a turret mount. This is the armour punch variant for anti-vehicle use. This code can be bought as a pack or three packs saving 10%. Price 3.75GBP per pack.

IAF035D Orange Adder Combat Car (1 Wheeled Vehicle Kit)
This pack contains one resin vehicle. A four wheeled light vehicle in the 'Orange Adder' combat car variant armed with a 50mm Grenade Launcher in a turret mount. This is the infantry support variant. This code can be bought as a pack or three packs saving 10%. Price 3.75GBP per pack.

IAF035E Green Adder Control Car (1 Wheeled Vehicle Kit)
This pack contains one white metal and resin vehicle. A four wheeled light vehicle in the 'Green Adder' combat car variant for command and control on the battlefield and mounting extra armour and comms gear. An Adder kit once assembled is approx 45mm long, 35mm wide and about 25mm tall. Used for a variety of purposes and in many variants it typically has a crew of two and is capable of dealing with low level threats. There are many IAF035 variants and also the IAF037 Smashed Adder which depicts your wheeled Adder on a bad day an excellent piece with a variety of uses. Price 3.75GBP each or see the option to But Three and Save 10%.

IAF037 Smashed Adder (1 Destroyed Wheel Vehicle)
This pack contains one resin terrain piece for your games. Laid on its side, axles broken and turret ring smashed this Red Adder Combat Car has seen better days. The Smashed Adder is approx 60mm wide and 35mm tall in one piece of resin. It can be used in your games as a terrain marker, a scenario objective or a casualty of an Adder in play. This code can be bought as a pack or three packs saving 10%. Price 4.00GBP per pack.

Go HERE for all the Prydian Army Vehicle codes on our website.

Thanks for Reading,


Monday, 2 May 2016

Brigade Models - Neo-Sov Conscripts

As mentioned before Salute, our 15mm Neo-Soviet forces are gaining several new packs of conscript infantry. There are four packs altogether – infantry (9 figures – six riflemen, squad leader, rocket launcher and LMG), support weapons (8 figures – 2-man missile squad, two 2-man gatling teams, plasma gun and sniper) and command (6 figures including a splendidly-hatted Kommissar and a comms specialist with satellite backpack). The final pack is a 32-man platoon which consists of two infantry and one of each of the other packs.

SF15-1264 – Conscript Infantry (x9) – £3.50
SF15-1265 – Conscript Support Weapons (x8) – £3.00
SF15-1266 – Conscript Command (x6) – £2.25
SF15-1270 – Conscript Rifle Platoon – £11.00

Sculpted by Martin Baker, these figures were originally owned by ArmiesArmy but as far as we know have not been previously released.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

IMP33 Planetary Militia female officer free miniature for May 2016!

Across the entire Prydian Precinct there are Planetary Militias otherwise known as Planetary Defence Forces. Each of these forces its own local designation and name but every one of them is known to the precinct as a whole by their home planet and numerical designation in the case that the star system has more than one inhabited world. Their primary role and in most cases only role is to defend their world against invasion and occupation. This they must sometimes do alone or more often with the bolstering aid of Muster and or Retained Knights from the controlling interest of that world; a Marcher Baron or the Prydian Army. Planetary forces owe their loyalty to the Marcher Baron who controls that world. In terms of numerical size the largest Planetary Militias number in the hundreds of millions on worlds such as Yordan Prime down to the smallest which number only in the dozens on foundling colonies. There is an emphasis among intra atmosphere defence forces on armour and equipment that has the smallest amount of maintenance and requires minimal training. As a result they make up for in numbers what they lack in skill against superior forces. Ease of use wins out over higher effectiveness. Often armaments are purchased or fabricated on mass by the Prydian Army or the local Marcher Baron and are based on the widely used Moth and Anvil families of weapons with additional simpler systems. Mark III Aketon non powered armour (a lower cost version of Muster Aketon MkIV armour) is the typical protection for defence forces with adaptations to local environmental conditions. These range from the closed helm and breather systems of the massive Bosworth ark cities to the bare headed and thin plates of an agri-world for standard Aketon to Cold Climes that are deployed in frozen conditions and Hot Climes in desert conditions. There are also localised space equipped troopers who protect off world outposts and moon bases. See other training series for information on Planetary Militia platoon structure, Steornede Battlesuits, Amber Portable Weapon Platforms, Amber Quad Bikes, Grima Robot Troopers and Magog GNATS. Training series searches for Colabreta and Hazelwurm along with Verticopters will provide vehicle information. All banner command level soldiers and knights must have operation knowledge of local system Planetary Militias. 

Academy Auto-Trainer Series 26, New Glastonbury, 4326IC

Welcome to May at The Ion Age. Didn't April just shoot by in a bolt of azure energy eh! Well this month we have one central thing to is Callsign Taranis time! That is correct this month will see a pre-order offer on the expansion title to Patrol Angis bringing in not only rules for vehicles and stuctures and more but also the second part of the story of the Prydian Civil War! There will be more on this in the coming week as well as some early looks at items from the book and more news too. Look out for these blog articles. For the moment we are all about IMP33 Planetary Militia Female Officer our free female miniature placed in every order during April. 

IMP33 Planetary Militia Female Officer 
For the whole of May 2016 this 15mm scale Human female officer is automatically put into every order at the rate of one per order regardless of order value. It can also be bought in any amount on the monthly IMP page of the website for this month only too before being withdrawn on the first of next month. Dressed in standard PM uniform with a beret and armed with a Tumbler Mpi she is a character miniature for any sci-fi setting. The miniature is one piece in white metal and stands approx 16mm tall.

Of course you earn reward points on all orders too through your account. We realise that some of you may wish to purchase the currently free miniature to get multiples of it without placing a lot of orders so you can do just that. Visit this page on the website for the miniature at a fair price for a special miniature. There is a growing page on the Ion Age website where the current and all former IMP series free miniatures are shown so that you can see what came before. Enjoy and go HERE

The Planetary Militia are a full force in the 15mm range of The Ion Age. They have packs of infantry and command along with battlesuits and light vehicles plus portable weapon platforms. There is also a whole platoon which includes a unique sniper miniature for free. You can see all of them on the website in this selective search HERE and HERE for vehicles. Plus discounts on two of those codes the Steornede Battlesuits both variants. 

Go Planetary Militia for your near future or space opera games!

Thanks for reading.