Thursday, 24 April 2014

Long Rifle: French Indian War Skirmish Game, Basic Rules: 1 Activation

As it had been a while since we both played the a game by Two Hour Wargames; we thought it might be a good idea to run a walk through of some of the basic mechanics of Long Rifle rules before embarking on a game.

Ed Teixeira has includes some short but sweet examples of the game mechanics in Long Rifle to help you learn the rules and recommends you 'STOP' and follow a few short actions to check you've understood the rules. Here's one of them.

Long Rifle: Activation

We grab two D6 of different colours and two figures from opposing sides, placing them 12" apart from each other. Both figures are considered to be REP 4. (REP stands for Reputation, it is a combination of experience, fighting ability and morale that marks the general capability of the character. REP runs from 2-6, with 2 representing the old, very young or infirm and 6 representing backwoodsmen or warriors of exceptional ability.)

Before we go any further, lets us introduce our opponents:

First up: Alexandre. Alexandre is a REP 4 French Regular Infantryman, depicted here by a figure from QF-40 Regiment De Bearn, Line Infantry Loading

Alexandre. REP 4, French Regular
Next up is Windrunner. Windrunner is a REP 4 British Allied Indian. Windrunner is represented by RSF-16 Raid on St. Francis, Woodland Indian Attacking

At the start of each turn an Activation dice is rolled for each opponent, or 'Group' of opponents.

The goal is to roll under or equal to the REP of your character (or leader of your Group). Only those with a REP equal or higher to the Activation dice score can activate. If both sides succeed in rolling under their REP, the side with the highest score goes first. If the die scores are the same (doubles) simple re-roll both dice again.

We take a green die for the French (No Blue dice to hand) and a red die for the Indian.

In this instance, we roll a 2 for the French and a 5 for the Indian. Alexandre has rolled under his REP. His die is the highest to 'succeed' therefore Alexandre gets to activate first. Windrunner has not rolled under his REP; he has not 'succeeded' so unfortunately for him, he does not get to activate this turn. Could this spell trouble for Windrider?

We'll find out next time as we explore some of the basic mechanics of Long Rifle.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Long Rifle, Review and Introduction: Two Hour Wargames' French Indian War Immersion Game

Long Rifle: Man to Man Skirmish on the American Frontier is a skirmish game from Two Hour Wargames set during the period of the French Indian War.

Long Rifle, written by Ed Teixeira, is a companion to Muskets and Mohawks and whilst the latter is a unit based game, Long Rifle is a scenario driven individual skirmish game focused on a small band of individual figures where players take on the role of an individual character and with a little bit of luck, strategy and sound think, lead their band to fame, glory and victory.

Ed pitches Long Rifle as an 'Immersion Game'. We've had some experience of Ed's immersion games, playing All Things Zombie: Final Fade Out, in which you lead a band of survivors through the varying stages of a Zombie Apocalypse.

Long Rifle uses the Chain Reaction system for its base. Instead of the traditional IGO UGO, in which each player takes a turn, individual characters take 'reaction tests' so that, just like in the real world, if a character takes fire, spots an enemy (the 'In Sight' test), sees a comrade fall, or a variety of other reasons, they may: duck back behind cover, flee the battlefield, drop prone or charge the enemy.

Whilst the base of the system is shared with all of the Two Hour Wargames games and probably shares more with THW's 5150 science fiction system that with any of the other games, enough has been changed to fit the style and of the genre. Like many other games of the black powder periods Long Rifle uses a re-load mechanic, with rifles taking a little longer to re-load. Where the style comes into it;s own are the scenarios, which, aside from then usual battle encounter (which are inlcuded) characters can find themselves, hunting wild game in the hopes of obtaining furs to trade, defending  a settlement form a war party, acting as a courier for the military of civilians or escorting either faction or settlers through the wilds.

As you begin your campaign you can choose to affiliate yourself with either the French or British or stay neutral, but as the scenarios progress, one way or another you may get drawn into the war, like it or not, as you could find yourself fighting for either side at any time, making mortal enemies along the way.

The game used traditional D6 and two key mechanics are worth re-iterating, simply because they are initially counter intuitive if your are used to game where rolling high is good.

The first is 'Passing Dice' in which a character rolls a number of D6 and any score that is equal to or lower (underlined as this can be counter intuitive) has been passed. Regardless of how many dice are rolled a character can pass, 2, 1 or 0D6.

The second is 'Successes' in which a rill or 1, 2 or 3 is success and a roll of a 4, 5 or 6 is a failure.

Other dice rolls, such as rolling to hit or to damage an opponent, higher is better.

To drive the narrative and add some interesting results, there are some reference tables involved. This may put some off when they first read the rules of play their first game, I was one of them, but after a couple of games I quickly realised that for the most part they are quick reference tables and they've been constructed to very thoughtfully and don't get in the way of the game.

All dice rolls can be modified by circumstance and the quality of the character making the check or taking a test.

The beauty of Ed's immersive games is, the game encompassed not only what happens on the battlefield, but what happens before and afterwards, and your success or failure in a variety of scenarios help drive a very strong narrative. Some of your band may loose confidence in you, and branch out on their own, or simply flee the battlefield, never to be seen again, if things get too tough.

Any scale of figure can be used and, one of the other great features is the generally low figure count. You generally only need a very small number of figures to play the game. Having enjoyed All Things Zombie: Final Fade Out so much, it was obvious to us that a narrative campaign that runs through the French Indian War would give us the perfect excuse to play some small scale skirmishes and follow a small group of character through the development of the war.

If you're interested, check out Long Rifle at the Two Hour Wargames store.

We're also going to run a series of posts introducing the basics of the rules so stay tuned.

Friday, 4 April 2014

JJD UK at the London Toy Soldier Show

It's been quite a while since we've posted anything for a number of reasons. JJD UK has ultimately been more successful than we could have imagined over the last two and a half years and taking a business from its infancy to where it is now, significantly larger, has disappointingly, left us little time for the gaming aspect of our hobby.

Not that we're complaining, it's just for a while there something had to give, and for the most part it was our gaming. We got in a few very small games, and had some fabulous adventures although having so little time meant the cameras never came out. and telling those tales without pictures might become a little tiresome quite quickly.

We had a fabulous time at the London Toy Soldier Show on Saturday 29th March 2014. The show was once again held at the Islington Business Design centre in London. It was fabulous to meet so many collectors who are just as enthusiastic about John's figures as we are and we always come away so inspired.

Various British Figures from the Battle of the Plains of Abraham collection.
For anyone who didn't make it, here's some video from the show.

We've picked up some new rules and we have added plenty of fantastic new figures to our collections of John Jenkins Designs models, and we're excited about some of our plans for the future.

We're going to share a little bit more about what JJD UK has been up to, including some of our diorama boards and modelling successes so stay tuned for more and, with a bit of luck and a few ounces of determination, a more regular posting schedule.