Thursday, 28 November 2013

Surrounded by Heroes, Villains and Fiends

The new supplement for IHMN has arrived in the Man Cave and is now being eagerly devoured -Huzzah!

 It is 1895 and the future depends not upon the actions of governments but upon those of the Adventuring Companies, and will be shaped by countless engagements in city streets, ancient ruins, dense jungles, high mountains and boundless deserts. In America, good men fight to preserve their hard-won liberty and the great drive west is stalled by Native American mystics and powerful outlaw gangs. In Africa, native forces fight to push back the Pax Britannica – no longer is a Lee-Metford rifle and a disciplined resolve enough to put the foe to flight. In Europe, darkness gathers around the Austro-Hungarian court and the Great Powers watch warily, knowing its fall could precipitate a war to end all wars. Heroes, Villains and Fiends presents new Companies, from the rebellious Zulu and Apache to the spies of the Okhrana and Secret Service, and the mysterious forces of such groups as the Knights Templar and the sinister Hellfire Club. With equipment, Talents and Mystical Powers, additional scenarios and a sample campaign, Heroes, Villains and Fiends opens up new possibilities for In Her Majesty’s Name.

Northstar will be producing at least one new boxed set of minis to go along with the new book, and Osprey has also announced a second supplement is now in development. This time the focus will be in Asia and the Far East!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

IHMN Review

With the Heroes, Villains and Fiends expansion released today (and my copy en route) I thought it timely to share my thoughts on the core IHMN book and rules system.    Note that I have yet to play a game against a live opponent so this is more a list of thoughts vice a proper review.

Bottom line up front: I like this game.  The 64 glossy page book flows well, is easily understandable and the full colour layout with lots of pics is lovely.

With only four stats per model (Pluck, Shooting Value, Fighting Value and Speed) it is not a complicated game - the strength of the game is in its flavour and theme.  Firing is a d10 roll, adding the figure's Shooting Value and any weapon bonuses vs the armour value of the target (7 being an unarmoured target in civilian clothing).  If hit the target rolls a save using its Pluck value or is removed.  Melee is effectively the same except using the Fighting Value.  Figures can 'mob up' to increase the overall power of a shooting or melee attack, which means that a large group of cannon fodder can be dangerous to any character, no-matter how skilled or well armed/armoured they might be.

Turn sequence is not IGO-UGO, rather each player activates one figure in turn.  I think I would prefer a more random system so you never know who will be activating a figure next, similar to Bolt Action or The Sword and the Flame.  I'll definitely give that type of system a try.

There are a range of Talents which gives skills to your figures, and there is a list of Mystical Powers which special characters can use on themselves or others, depending on what it is.  Unlike some systems these don't seem overpowering, those I have yet to see many of them in action yet.  Weird Science apparatus lend steampunky options to your troops - and this is another area ripe for further expansion in the future.

Finally, the book contains 10 scenarios and 10 Landscapes, which detail terrain set-up, hazards and benefits.  Very basic campaign rules are included for character progression.

A highlight of the rules is that they give you everything you need to build your own forces and characters from the ground up.  The ten diverse Companies provided in the book are an excellent starting point, backed up by some beautiful minis by North Star for six of them.  But if you want to build your own force from the ground up, everything is here for you to do that.  Want an Eastern European Anarchist group? that's no problem.  Want to field a steam walker or vehicle?  The rules are there.  One of those new fangled flying contraptions? Sure thing.  Vehicle construction rules aren't it there - I'm sure that will come with more time, but there are enough basic models in there to keep you sufficiently amused in the meantime and its an infantry based game in any event. 

My chaps from Scotland Yard: 3 more companies are under construction!
Curiously, are no Victorian Horror elements in IHMN which seems a strange omission for the VSF genre.  Possibly, this was in trying to avoid an overlap with West Wind's Empire of the Dead, but such creatures would be straightforward to include using some special mystical powers and unique talents, so if this is your bag you don't have to go without your Vampires, Werewolves, Zombies and Ghouls.  Similarly, this approach would let you transform this system for Lovecraftian Horror gaming with few issues.

Using the errata is key due to some errors in the initial calculation for machine guns, which then flows onto a number of units.  You can get the latest from the downloads section of the official IHMN blog here.  Indeed you should go visit that site regardless as there are lots of other goodies to enjoy there, including some great Company lists made by other players.

Overall its a simple skirmish set of rules which are quick to play but neatly include many nuances, the theme is wonderfully integrated throughout, and the inclusion of everything you need to build your own units from the ground up is excellent.  I'm now developing a Company List for a Royal Naval landing party, equipped with (patented) armoured Kelly suits and supported by a bomb-toting dirigible - no doubt they will give Johnny Foreigner a good what for!

Thursday, 14 November 2013

'Thopter!

I spied this most lovely little 'Thopter this week - great for all sorts of VSF mayhem and there are even specific rules for Thopters in In Her Majesty's Name!
http://www.tobsen77.de/products/libelle.php#


Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Leviathan series

I've just finished Scott Westerfield's series of steampunk books: Leviathan, Behemoth and Goliath, and most enjoyable they were too.

Be Warned: these are Young Adult books and primarily centre around two youths caught up in a re-imagined WW1, so no complicated plot lines here.  But the best part of it is the background and detail that Westerfield has put into creating his alternate WW1 which in 1914 is setup exactly as the real world but for their technology

The Leviathan! From http://www.keiththompsonart.com/
The Allies are known as Darwinists and as the name suggests, utilise fabricated creatures to do everything.  So much so that mechanical power has been almost entirely replaced by beast power.  The main storyline focuses around a British Air Service airship, the Leviathan.  The Leviathan is a massive whale like creature which generates Helium and stores it in internal pockets, and has over a hundred symbiotic species that do other functions: glowworms for light without flame, flechette dropping attack bats, message lizards that provide a communications system, bees which harvest food from the environment and bring it back to the Leviathan to sustain it, etc.  The whole ecosystem approach and methods of controlling the beasties was pretty clever and was what grabbed me with this series.  The allies also have other awesomeness such as Kraken who hunt the seas, and massive attack bears and Mammoths in the Russian army.

Conversely, the Central Powers are known as the Clankers and embrace machinery.  As a result they have some very nifty toys from attack walkers to land battleships, and seagoing monitors mounting tesla cannons.
When the Navy Walked indeed! From http://www.keiththompsonart.com/
One of my favourite parts from Leviathan: German aerial stormtroopers! From http://www.keiththompsonart.com/






So overall I quite enjoyed this series of books for its wonderful WW1 flavour and the thoughtful divergence of technology.  Many, many modelling and gaming ideas here!  The only drawback is the young adult aspects, but then again these will be under Christmas tree for my lad so they also serve a different purpose!

Recommended!

PS When you've finished all three books, read the bonus epilogue chapter here - no peaking!

http://scottwesterfeld.com/books/leviathan/

Sunday, 3 November 2013

My Scotland Yard Company

This week I caught up with long time friend and fellow Blogger Dux Homunculorum (see his Blog here).  We enjoyed an evening of beer, gaming shopping, chatting and German food (mostly but not all in that order) and whiled away a most pleasant evening indeed. He also also presented me with this wonderful set of miniatures, being the Scotland Yard force for In Her Majesty's Name which he very kindly acquired and painted for me while I was away.  Thank you again kind Sir, and look forward to seeing them take down some of Her Majesty's enemies in due course!  See more great pics of this force at The Dux's blog here.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Tripods Ahoy!

Earlier this year there was a kickstarter for "All Quite on the Martian Front" which I missed while I was away.  In catching up on my aethernet news I saw these smashing pictographs from Historican 2013 in July of these wonderful models in action!






These pics are not mine, all credits to:
http://1000footgeneral.blogspot.com.au/2013/07/historicon-2013-thursday.html
http://www.wwpd.net/2013/07/lukes-historicon-picture-dump.html
http://agamemag.com/archives/6025

An exploration of debauchery, vice and other reasons to be a man!

An exploration of debauchery, vice and other reasons to be a man!