Sunday, 31 December 2017

Battle Companies II

Well, it seems, after several store visits and phone calls to GW, that Battle Companies is a direct only product. So, I decided to order up the book on the web store and get it delivered to my local store - saves a couple of quid on postage and as I need to pop up to the Broadway to do some other stuff soon anyway fits in well with my plans.

The book took one day to be "in process" and then be despatched. It took around 3 or 4 days for it to arrive in my local shop. I was not impressed with the local staff as I called on several occasions after I got the despatched notification - the first call it was not in and I was asked to call back two days later. I did so only to be told that it may be with the post at the shop keep's house! He checked it out during one of his breaks and confirmed it was there. I popped up and collected the book later that afternoon. Talk about right hand not knowing what the left hand was doing - these one-man operations don't seem to cut it in my opinion.

Anyway, onto the book itself. It is beautifully presented with plenty of eye candy on offer. It is a hard-cover tome, so should prove nice and hard wearing. There are 14 pages of actual rules - the main rules are obviously going to be those from one of the main rule books that are already out there; so you will need an additional (the main) rule book in order to be able to play Battle Companies. To be fair, this is mentioned on the back of the book, so no confusion allowed. A good point is that it mentions the Middle Earth Strategy Battle Games rules manual - things are moving forward with this franchise.

The main rules are then followed up with the actual Battle Company descriptions split between good and evil factions; for the good side there are 5 companies for men, 3 for the Elven lords, 2 for the Dwarf realms and one for the Shire. For the evil side there are also 11 companies that can be used to represent the majority of forces you may wish to represent from both the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. There are promises within the tome to say that more will be forthcoming but may be presented in either a future supplement or within the pages of White Dwarf.

Next up are a bunch of scenarios (12 in all), with a nice little section presenting some one-off rules for particular locations if you wish to fight your battles all in one locale, Lake-Town for instance. These are an interesting addition to the basic rules and will add to the fun when played. The scenario section is completed by a new narrative style campaign/scenario - set in Arnor.

The next section, more to use up page space methinks than to add anything to the rules, contains some representative battle companies created and played with (presumably) by members of the GW staff. I must admit they do look good and give one something to strive towards; the back stories/recollections certainly make the companies feel like real forces of troops that grew organically rather than at the whim of a points jockey's calculations.

Finally, a short missive tells one how to utilise one's Battle Company in a main stream LotR:SBG game - some nice rules in here.

Overall, I am so glad that these rules have been given the time of day and released to whet our appetites for the main course which should be out sometime in the first half of next year. That said, I do wonder what will happen to the unofficial supplement doing the rounds on the internet...

A big shout out must go to the authors of this excellent supplement - a lot of time, effort and skill went into creating what we all wanted after GW stopped supporting the idea. Hopefully, the people involved were/will be contacted by GW for some input and maybe a new supplement with some of the Battle Companies within this PDF will see the light of day again. Perhaps even some of the minor rules alterations can be incorporated too?

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Battle Companies

On the gaming side of things, I have renewed my interests in the Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Games with the advent of the new Battle Companies rules.

Unfortunately, I have visited three Games Workshop stores and drawn a blank so far; The flagship Warhammer store in Tottenham Court Road only sells their Warhammer ranges - so I can forgive them not stocking it, but my two local stores have both been closed when I got there even though their opening times were advertised on the website and on the shop doors! I am not amused as both times it cost me a lot of time and effort to go out of my way to personally pick up the product (and I was aiming to grab some hobby related goods too).

Recently, my youngest son, 8 years old, decided he would rather play with figures than Lego now. This is without any prompting from me. He noticed an old 2008 GW catalogue lying around and picked it up for a read. This then led him to asking me what I was going to do with a box of Night Goblins I have had lying around for many years. I said I would make them up for him and he could play with them if he wished. Next thing I know, a small parcel came through from an eBay purchase - he had asked his mum for a few items when he visited her and a little later he received some Snotlings. Not to be outdone, I grabbed him some second hand Ogres and Gnoblars at a show I recently attended. Finally, he was able to get hold of a couple of boxes of Warriors of Chaos (3 in each box) to make his little army a decent size to play with.

The other day I popped into the kitchen/study area to find him with my dice out on the table running a battle with rules he had made up himself - even down to using the direction die to see where the ogre cannons and goblin arrows flew. He was rolling to see how far they moved, to resolve combat and even took account of casualties on multi-based units.

He has a load of old LotR miniatures that I bought for him off eBay a few years back, and he has also got those out to fight against his ogres and goblins etc. He is getting more gaming in than I am these days! I will see if I can get some photos of one of his games in progress soon, and some idea on the rules he uses.

This winter holiday I will be gluing up as many miniatures as I can in readiness for a spring undercoating offensive. Then, when the light improves more (I had a serious issue with my eyes recently that has not really got much better - it is not sight-threatening but the reduced level of vision I have will not get any better) I will get some painting done both for him and for me. I am going to enjoy teaching him how to paint, and hopefully his older brother can help out too?

2000AD Winter Special Prog

After all the recent bad events begin to get recede into the memory banks and the present begins to take precedence I will begin to update this blog a little more frequently. I have finally managed to sort out all the after-shocks of the last 18 months and I can now hopefully get together some semblance of an ordinary life again.

First up, to get the blog moving again, is the final 2000AD 40th anniversary signing of the year - the 100 page Winter Prog (#2061). I know most of the latest updates have been 2000AD related, but they are the only entries I can put onto the blog due to their slight nod towards gaming (there are some 2000AD games, figures etc. being played out there).

As usual, one of the London comic shops, this time Forbidden Planet, put on a signing for the die-hard fans. Five out of six of the advertised art droids turned up, which was almost as many as those in the queue. For some reason it was very pooorly attended when I got there (maybe 15 minutes after it started). Perhaps several people had been through the process before I got to the back of the queue?

Anyway, I managed to get my copy of the magazine signed by all five of the very friendly chaps, but as I am still about 10 years behind with my (re-)reading I didn't have any questions to ask any of them. Perhaps in a couple of years' time when I have finally caught up again I will have more that I can chat about? Anyway, these signed copies have been tucked into my collection in their places and will hopefully come as a pleasant surprise when I encounter them again on my read through.

Next post in a couple of minutes...