Saturday, August 19, 2017

Rogue Stars Review The Sequel

As I promised you a sequel to my earlier Rogie Star review, now with a few games under my belt. 

Although the font type is still a bit harsh on my 50+ eyes, after a few games this ruleset definitely grows on me. I heard one of my opponents remark that it was like Necromunda, but much, much better. No smal praise, I think and one I agree completely with. One could easily play Necromunda with this game, except a lot less clunky and a lot faster. 

The lack of background fluff can be seen as a downside by anyone who requires pre-generated back grounds to start playing or as an upside (by me for example) for anyone who likes to graft it to any background he likes. And since there are no games dedicated to Firefly, Farscape, Blakes 7, Killjoy or The Expanse this set is a welcome addition. I find myself contemplating character profiles for certain SciFi show backgrounds in increasing frequency. And certainly it enables you to field any line or scale of figures that you want.  

For some reason not everybody likes the squad and character generation system. If you are among them, you should try to create some specific characters of your preference. It actually is insanely flexible but indeed more labour intensive than that of the usual ruleset. But then again that is no strange thing when you consider you play the game with 4-8 characters that are meant to last long enough to play campaigns with. Most games won’t enable you to play an old warrior monk, his pupil, a smuggler, his huge alien sidekick and two robots with the exact likeness to a certain movie franchise that this game does. 

While the game seems very complex at first glance it actually plays very swiftly. There is only one stat (the Target Number) which is rather simplified compared to the usual 6-12 stats that similar systems use. The modifiers take some getting used to (like most sets) but the number of modifiers you use is actually quite limited because they are connected to the weapons and equipment you use for your characters. So while the game knows dozens, you only use a few. 

The ruleset also holds dozens of scenarios and environments to play them in. As a matter of fact I was amazed how much Osprey had managed to cram inside those 64 pages. Hence, most likely, the microscopic font…..

If you want to try a SciFi skirmish game then RS, despite its vaunted complexity, is actually very accessible. And very nicely priced too!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Hadrians Wall vacation 2017

This year's Summer vacation brought us to Hadrian's Wall country. The trip across the North Sea proved quite eventful. Sometimes the sea lulls you to sleep in your bunk. This time it tossed us about! 

But it was all worth it. Our first stay in Oakwood Park Hotel in Brampton was filled with superlatives. The house looked like a Victorian Manor that had housed a hospital in WW1 and turned out to have been both! Hospitality, comfort and menu were all off the charts. When staying in Brampton: stay there!

Walks along the Gelt river were still as beautiful as we remembered. The abandoned Roman quarry looked as untouched as 5 or 500 years ago. One was tempted to look for the tools that the workmen might have abandoned there when they left, 16 centuries ago.

Brampton also houses a brilliant hobby shop: Hadrian's Hobbies, where we spent time chatting, drinking his excellent coffee and adding some much needed stuff to the wargaming collection. Don't forget to stop by if you ever get there!

We visited Carlisle and spent more time in the cathedral this time, talked to a bishop and with a guide that shared many a yarn with us, learned in the 20 years he had spent there.

There's always work to be done in a Medieval piece of property.

In the Tully House Museum we encountered this impressive diorama of an entire Roman Ala (cavalry unit) in 15 mm scale ( I suspect). Beautiful cavalry helmets stared at us from their glass cases. It was a taste of the evening program to come!

In the evening we attended a re enactment event of Hadrian's Cavalry. The Ermine Street Guard and 30 (!) cavalry troopers performed Roman drills. A spectacular sight!

Meet Cookie :)

A Roman camp surrounded the parade grounds. All kind of shoppings could be done. Of course girls need to add to their wardrobe....

Here I am chatting with a jovial Batavian auxiliary who was glad he met someone from the home country amongst all those Romans and Britons.

There were hardcore historically approved chariot races :)

And many demonstrations and shows.


And this of course was a sight never to be forgotten.


Next day we returned to the Wall near Gilsland. Here resting in Birdoswald.

Some knee problems had us fall back to the car and lunch-with-headgear in Lanercost Priory.
The helmets were not for sale, unfortunately. Visitors were encouraged to handle and wear the helmets. You don't need to tell me that twice!

We then visited this most singular little church in Wreay. Designed and built in Victorian times by a very rare and highly educated character, a Miss Losh, it contained the most surprising interior, decorations and stories. Easily passed by on the road this really is a must-see if you are ever near. Almost pagan in its decorations with echoes of Roman temples.

St. Mary's church in Wreay.

Miss Losh had a sense of humour as well. This dragon used to function as a chimney as well, belching out smoke all the time!

The Church's architect, miss Losh.

Classical British weather on our walk to Vindolanda. It was virtually pissing with rain and still there is this British guy walking around in shorts, a fleece sweater and sandals.....

We did attempt to appease the Weather God Jupiter Dolichenus, but apparently he wasn't taking calls anymore. The rain continued unabated....

And in a climate like that, being humorous about the weather is perhaps your only, but still a good alternative...

And already it was over and we left again from Newcastle.

The morning we arrived back in the Netherlands, we saw this big yellow thing hanging above the North Sea. A quick Google search showed it to be the Sun! Who would have thought that one was still around...?

Can't wait to be back....