Sunday, October 28, 2018

Review: Chaos Child by Ian Watson

Chaos ChildChaos Child by Ian Watson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ian Watson offers my favourite interpretation of the 40k universe, though Dan Abnett is a close second. Chaos Child, the conclusion to the Inquisition War trilogy, is a curates egg - good in parts. Watson's command of description and character is as good as ever, but sadly he doesn't stick the landing.

Plot is not Watson's strong point and he is far better at describing the dream like absurdity of the setting than he is at paying off the story points he's laid down for himself. The book as a whole undergoes a significant tonal shift half way through as the over arching plot he has been playing with for the previous two books is sidelined in the pursuit of what seems like a far more personal quest.

The characters are all still interesting and writing is as good as ever, but ultimately, nothing really changes as a result of the events of the book and that is a shame. If you are a fan of the setting and would like to take a tourist trip through some of its weirder locales, this is a book well worth reading, but if you just want to enjoy a story - there are better uses of your time.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

D-Day Part Two - Sword Beach

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Sword Beach - Someone appears to have removed the artillery from this German emplacement.

This game was played quite some time ago. You can read about the first game of three we played here.   Looking back at my records, we played it in February - which just goes to show how long its been taking me to get around to blogging. 

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But there are still enough troops inside to wreck the Allies day. 

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Sword Beach - the Germans ponder their options.  Beach landing scenarios can be difficult to turn into interesting games because the defender often doesn't have much to do other than hunker down and fire at the closest target.   A good game isn't impossible, but in this case it relied on the Germans having some artillery and some limited reserves. 

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Sword Beach

Now one of the advantages of playing Memoir '44 is that the scenarios are available and lots of folks have played them.  Consequently there are a lot of statistics available on the games as whole.  The British typically win this scenario 75% of the time, but with a far lower margin of victory than the shellacking that the Americans typically get at Omaha.  They win, but they don't win by a country mile. 

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The Allied players were a lot happier with this setup as the terrain wasn't as steep and actually getting off the beach wasn't so challenging. 

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Allied armour charges up the beach. 

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The landing craft are mainly set dressing - in that they don't have a game effect, but we used them to count victory medals.  Each time the Germans scored a point, we added some smoke to "blow up" a landing craft. 

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The British armour is trying for a breakthrough. 

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The British infantry slog it up the beach, forcing a lodgement in the centre, while the German pummel them with artillery. 

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A British commando appears behind the cafe and knifes a German sentry.  This marked an early lead for the British as they stormed up the beach. 

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The German commanders had some tricky decisions to make.  Should they try to contest the allied landing while it is still on the beach, but risk committing their small reserves too soon or should they try and draw them into the close country further up?

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German infantry occupy the town, counter attacking the advancing British commandos. 

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A desperate German counter-attack onto the beach can't save the rapidly collapsing German centre. 

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The Cafe  gets rather crowded as the last few defenders are driven from the beach.  A British victory put the Allies even going into the final game.  We used the 'Allo 'Allo figures as a means of counting victory medals.  Every time the Allies scored a medal, we added another character to the Cafe Rene.

It inspired Edith to give us a bit of a song.

After setting up the next table, we repaired to a local greasy spoon where several mixed grills were consumed.  I had the fish and chips and they were tip top.  Savage joined us briefly for grub, but he'd snorted some absinthe that didn't agree with him the night before and had to head relatively soonish.

Hopefully, I will get to the next post and the end of the campaign before too long, but I'm trying to discipline myself and update J&F at least once a week. We shall see if that lasts. 

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Back once again...

Looking at my blogging of late, it has been far far too long.  Weirdly, I have a couple of entries in the drafts folder, but I haven't finished them off because I haven't been happy with them.  As perfect is the enemy of good, it just means that I haven't finished any blog posts at all.  I'm back in work full time and working shifts again, so between work and family there hasn't been a huge amount of time for wargaming. 

So in brief, I've been mucking about with Game Workshops latest offering "Kill Team" which is rather good.  Kill Team is a small scale game and reminds me very much of  first edition Rogue Trader in that it is a semi-rpg with figures.   I've only played a couple of games, but I've really enjoyed them.  

I've also been playing With the Colours, a solo computer moderated game.  It's free and quite satisfying when played as part of a campaign.  I've been leading Lt. (now Captain) McKinch of the 18th Royal Irish with some success against the Russians, though the Victoria Cross is proving elusive.  You can find a bit more about that in the latest issue of Miniature Wargames. 

I've never  experimented with computer moderated rules before, but these have really kept my attention. They provide a simple objective based game, but one that has plenty of incident and variety to keep it interesting and that still allows you to do your own dice rolling.  

Given that it's free, it is definitely worth a shot. 

The face of disappointment

Life with the Kinchlets is exhausting but rewarding.  The LadyBaby has some full sentences now and the Bear is climbing everything in sight.  

We went down to the park recently.  The LadyBaby was asleep, but the Bear was not.  Unfortunately we arrived just as some construction was under way.  The poor little chap became very upset and spent about ten minutes trying to break in.  He was not successful, but not for want of trying. 

In the meantime, I've been watching this.  This chap is quite entertaining. He reviews films and television programmes that have been adapted from books and critiques how well the adaptation succeeds. It's the sort of thing we all do when we see a film version of a book we love - but Dominic manages to raise a laugh while doing it.