Saturday, April 30, 2022

April Roundup

After a couple good gaming weekends in March, things slowed down in April. In amongst other things I had to take care of, I was able to paint up some ships and play a game of Saga.

Since this blog is named Naval Gazing, it seems best to start with the ships. I finally got back to working ships for the planned Battle of Lissa games (early playtest photos here). I have five ships I'm working on: Re Di Portogallo (that's the big one in the middle below), Ancona, San Martino (both Regina Maris Pia ironclads), Varese, and Palestro (the smaller ships). All the ships are 1/600 scale from Bay Area Yards. Here they are after the initial paint work. 

Lissa ships ready for fitting out
After the paint work, I started putting together masts for the ships. They didn't come with any, so I had to make my own out of plastic rod. Here are a couple of photo with masts.
All masted up

Grouped a little closer, so you can see the masts a little better

As far as I can tell, the ships were all jackass-barque rigged. Meaning they were partially fore-aft rigged and partially square-rigged. With the masts in place, the next step is adding ratlines and rigging. 

In the middle of the month, one of my gaming group said that they were putting together a Saga army. All of the sudden several others chimed in that they already had armies and it was off to a new project. The base rules of the game are pretty easy, the real meat of the game comes from the faction battle boards. The battle boards give each faction their own advantages and actions. Players roll Saga dice and place them on their battle board to activate units and gain advantages in movement and combat. Most of the group already had armies for the Viking era, so I decided to get in with a Norman army. I chose the Normans because there was only one other person in group with Normans and I thought they could always double as Crusaders. While my army was on order, I had a chance to play my first game with a borrowed army. We started with 4-player game with two Viking armies up against an Anglo-Saxon army and Norse Gael army. I was one of the Vikings and faced off against the Anglo-Saxons.

The setup from the Anglo-Saxon view
I had some archers, a couple warrior groups, and a couple Hearthguards (aka Hirdmen). I was the least experienced player and was just trying to figure out how everything worked together. I did start off with some good early shooting dice for my archers. 
My borrowed Vikings looking for some leadership
One thing I didn't appreciate when we started was how different the battle boards are. The Vikings are a pretty basic melee army. The Anglo-Saxons are more of a big unit, sit and wait type army (I'm sure more experienced players will tell me I'm wrong, but that was how this battle went). After my initial success with shooting, I moved in for melee and my dice went cold. I threw my forces against the Anglo-Saxon shieldwall and bounced back. I know I made some mistakes in my attacks (they were too spread out) and my poor understanding of my opponent's capabilities compounded my mistakes.
Now there are a lot fewer Vikings looking for a leader
It was good to try out the rules, but I'm glad I didn't get a Viking army. The Normans have more shooters and charge/melee options, which I think will better suit how I play games.

On a personal note, April was a little more challenging. I had some test results that concerned my oncologist, so I went in for a CT scan and bone scan. The scans showed that my cancer was growing again. My oncologist recommended we start a new chemotherapy series as soon as possible (I had my first series last summer after my initial cancer diagnosis). So, I'm back in treatment and it will last until late July. This series will use some more powerful chemicals. In addition to the normal fatigue side-effects, it will really affect my immune system. That means I'll have to avoid large groups of people (especially if they are a little sick) until August. So, I won't be able to attend the Enfilade gaming convention in May. I had been hoping to attend for the first time in 2 years (technically, the 2020 convention was cancelled), but no dice this year. I was planning to help out with the Lissa game and the group decided to post-pone it until I can be there to help out. Needless to say, my gaming will be somewhat limited until August. But I still plan on painting and getting in a few small game sessions.