Tuesday 31 May 2011

Victory at Sea - a Review

Yesterday I finally got to play some games with my little ships I've been painting for the last few weeks.  We played using the WW2 naval warfare rules 'Victory at Sea' from mongoose publishing and I thought I'd share my thoughts on this game and the book.

I haven't got the expansion book 'order of battle' (yet) so this review is only based on the content of this book and the 5 basic games I played yesterday.

The Book:
The book is a black and white paperback with 96 pages of rules plus a few pages of counters you need to photocopy.  It's well laid out with plenty of diagrams and pretty pictures of big ships, no issuses here.  Colour would obviosuly have been nicer, as would card tokens, but would that have been worth the extra cost? to me, no, I'm looking at this very much as a rulebook and colour wouldn't really add much (most of the photos are in B&W anyway).  The book is divivded into 7 main sections, the basic rules, advanced rules, scenarios, historical scenarios, campaigns, fleet lists and counters.

Basic Rules:
This section contains the basic rules for moving and shooting, plus rules for special actions (like flank speed, evasive or come about) and a few special traits that ships posess.  Basically smaller ships move faster, are more manvoerable and are harder to hit, but when they are hit they take a lot of damage and sink quickly.  Bigger ships manvoure slowly but can put out a tremendous amount of firepower and soak up a lot more hits.  All ships have a max move and to turn (upto an angle in your stats) you have to move at least half speed first.  Its simple and it works suprisingly well.  The ships have a variety of different weapon systems and the main turrets have different firing arcs depending on posistion.  Most of the tactics seemed to revolve around getting into a posistion where you can unleashed all your turrets against one enemy whilst trying to stop them doing the same to you.

Advanced Rules:
This section introduces rules for aircraft and submarines plus torpedoes, night fighting, radar and bad weather.  The meat of the section is in the aircraft and sub rules and I'm afraid I can't really say alot about them as we haven't used them yet.  In fact the only rules we used were the torpedo rules, which also worked well.

The book contains 6 generic scenarios (so you can roll a D6 and generate a random mission) based around different types of naval combat in WW2.  These are a couple of general battle scenarios, a couple of convoy scenarios, a carrier battle and an atempt to run a blockade.  These give a nice selection of varied battles and the rules also involve rolling dice for night/weather and wether land based aircraft can be used (as aposed to aircraft launched from carriers) to add even more variety.

Historical Scenarios:
The book also contains 12 historical scdenrios, 6 Britain vs Germany, 3 Britain vs Italy and 3 USA v Japan.
We found the Britian v Germany scenarios great as starter battles as there were only a few ships involoved on each side.  We played through 4 of them in a couple of hours and it allowed us to get the hang of the rules.  It's also always nice to recreate such famous moments such as the battle of the river plate and the sinking of the Bismarck.  The problem with these scenarios is the lack of balance in the fleets and one side is almost always at a distinct advantage, but still we had fun with them.

The book also contains a complete campaign system including rules for repairing damaged ships, gaining experince and cpaturing strategic points.  It includes sample campaign maps for the meditteranean and the western pacific.  It looks quite interesting, but obviosuly I've not given it a go yet.

Fleet Lists:
The book contains extensive fleet lists for 6 nations, Britain, Germany, USA, Japan, Italy and France.  The amount of ships in each list varies wildly though, the Royal Navy has 19 ship entries whereas the italians only have 6 different ship classes.  Still there is a lot of variety in the lists and most of the major ship types are represented (and most of those that aren't are apparently in the expansion order of battle).  Also is a small section on civillian ships for use in convoy scenarios.  This section is where the games major weakness is though.  Not in the description of the ships or in their stats, but in the points system.  Basically its too broad-stroked and not detailed enough to be balanced.  Each ship is awarded a priority level of patrol, skirmish, raid, battle or war and the size of the game determines how many fleet allocation points it costs to take a ship from each priority level.  What this means is that each entry in a level essentially costs the same number of points, but all the ships at a level are definatly not equal.  It's not a death-knell to the game, you just have to remeber not to take it too seriously, which was quite possibly the designers intention.  

The counters section has photocopy tokens for turn-keys shotting arcs, torpedos and other tokens and also counters representing all the ships in the list.  Which brings me on to a clever mechanic about scale.  The system is designed for 1/6000-1/2000 sclae  but as all distances are measured from the exact middle of the ship/counter it really doesn't matter and you could easily you ships of different scales against each other, it might not look right but opens up opportunities for playing against other people who might have different scale ships to you.

This is a great introduction to naval wargaming, but it is definatly simplistic compared to a lot of naval wargames out there, there is some bookeeping involved, but its not too much, I feel its very much aimed at people like me coming from fantasy/sci-fi wargaming trying out naval for the first time, and it does this job well.  As I mentioned earlier we've not used the subs or aircraft yet and I'm hoping they add depth to the game without being overpowering, I'll write a (shorter) post on these rules after we've tried them out.

So in conclusion if your after an ultra-realistic or perfectly balanced game this won't be for you, if you want to have fun moving little ships across the table then I highly recomend this.

Sunday 29 May 2011

The Fourth Wave

I've just finished the final batch (for now) of my 1/3000 scale WW2 British ships from Navwar.

Here is 4 S-class submarines and 2 J/K/N class destroyers.

Here with have the battlecruiser HMS Renown (at the back) with the cruisers HMS Jamaica (on the left) and HMS Suffolk.

Another 2 battleships on the left is HMS King George V, the lead ship of her class and on the left the Queen Elizabeth class HMS Warspite.

And finally the whole fleet of 6 battleships, 3 battlecruisers, 3 aircraft carriers, 13 cruisers, 10 destroyers and 4 subs, painted, based and ready for action.  I will hopefully be playing using the victory at sea rules for the first time tomorrow.  We plan to start with the battle of the river plate, which will involve me using 3 cruisers in an attempt to sink my friend's pocket battleship. 

Friday 27 May 2011

Airfix kits from the World Wars

Over the last couple of weeks I've also been working on a few airfix kits, HMS Belfast isn't finished yet, but I have finished and painted a couple of WW2 British vechicles.

This is a Scamell Tank Transporter in wide use by the British in northern France.  This was an ejoyable kit to make and I'm not sure why but I really like the style of the cabin.

The second kit I've just finished is this British Churchill tank (I need something for the tank transporter to transport).  Its not my best made kit, I stuffed up the tracks and they're at a bit of a funny angle on the chassis, I'm actually tempted to turn this into a wreck and buy another one and try again.

The tank being transported.

About a year ago I had my last airfix 'phase' but that concentrated on WW1 and I built the following couple of kits.

A British Mark 1 tank, the worlds first combat tank, I still reasonably happy with the build on this, although I think the chassis could use a bit of shading.

And finally a British Sopwith Camel fighter on a large GW flying base.

Wednesday 25 May 2011

The Third Wave

So more pics of little ships again I'm afraid, my fleet's really coming along nicely now and to be honest I've probably bought to many ships, oh well they weren't expensive and I do like them a lot.

HMS Hood the largest battlecruiser built by the Royal Navy, she was the pride of the fleet and the empire for two decades before being sunk by the Bismarck.

The Leander class light cruisers HMS achilles and HMS ajax and the heavy cruiser HMS Exeter (on the left), the british fleet that fought at the battle of the river plate against the Admiral Graf Spee.

 HMS Norfolk and Dorsetshire county class heavy cruisers and HMS Belfast a town class light cruiser (the middle ship).  I'm currently building a 1/600 scale airfix model of the Belfast as well and am planning on visting her in london in the next month or so.

The Battleship HMS Prince of Wales and the heavy cruiser HMS York.

As you many have noticed I've finally decided out how to base them, I've stuck them on thick card (the same as I use for my historical 1/72 scale models) them painted the card the citadel catachan green then drybrushed with humbrol green paint 102 and finally added some white to represent the wake.  I'm pleased with it and its easy and quick, I considered trying to model waves onto the base but to be honest couldn't be bothered.  The other thing I've seen a lot of poeple do is have the names of the ships written on the top of the bases, now I understand why without some form of identification it can be very easy to forget which ship is which (for me with the cruisers especially), but I don't like the look of the name on top of the base so I've written the name, class, year of launch and country on the underside. This way I can still tell them apart but without ruining the look.

Sunday 22 May 2011

Adeptus Mechanicus & Resin

With the news out of GW last week about the switch to resin it made me look again at what resin models I currently have, and well to be honest, there aren't many.  In fact I have 6 (and one of them is a floating skull) all from forgeworld and all from the Adeptus Mechanicus.

So here we have a tech preist and a servitor

These are from the Death Korps of Krieg Quatermaster set but I felt added in well to my adeptus mechanicus squad

and finally a servo-skull and a cherub.

So is resin any good? yes it is all these models have a crispness of deatil far beyond what I see on GW metal models, the lightness of the material is good as well and they take being knocked over (it happens to the best of us) far better than lead.  There are downsides however, parts need supergluing, but I found it didn't take the superglue that well and the dust from it is carcinogenic, so not suitable for kids (although I woundn't be suprised if the new wonder resin doesn't have this property, we'll have to wait and see).  I haven't tried any models made out the resin-plastic used by mantic and privateer press, I'm waiting for the mantic wraiths to be rereleased.  Do I think resin is worth paying more for?  Hmmmm I think if the quailty is improved, like it is on these figures then yes it is worth a bit more, if it turns out to be the same figures in a cheaper material, then no and I'll be annoyed that they tried to con us, I'm still hoping for a positive outcome on this though.
Whilst we're at it I may as well show the rest of my adeptus mechanicus squad:

An Eginseer flanked by two lex-mechainics. 
And finally a collection of servitors, of particular note is the squat servitor on the left.

Friday 20 May 2011

My Thoughts on the News.

Well well its been a week and a half in the wargaming world with 3 bigs pieces of news coming out of Games Workshop.  A lot of people have had a lot to say on these and this is just meant to be my view and is not meant to insult anyone else or anyone elses opinion, I'm going to take each of the 3 items in turn.

1.  Finecast

OK lets start with what may possibly be the only good news, the introduction of the citadel finecast range.  A selection of new and classic pieces from the citadel range recast in a new resin material and not the usual metal.  Inveitably this also comes with a price increase.  I popped into my local GW today and had a chat to the manager about the new material, hes seen and held a model and he couldn't stop praising it for painting (obviously he would do though, but I know the guy as a hobbyist), but what I did find interesting was that he said it wasn't forgeworld resin and it wasn't like the resin used by either mantic or privatier press, apparently it's something new developed by GW alone.  Weather this turns out to be the revolution he was preaching or just another money grabbing gimmick time alone will tell, but whatever I think of some of their pricing and business decisions I do think they do the best range of fantasy and sci-fi models on the market and I'm hoping this introduces some stonking models, if they do manage to reproduce forgeworld quality on them I think the price increase may be stomachable for characters, £61.50 for 5 blood knights however.... no, i wouldn't pay £50 and converted my own and thats just plainly ridiculous.

2. Price Rises

Now for the biggy.  Yet again GW have raised their prices, this time by a lot.  Now clearly nobody is happy about this, why would any hobbyist be happy about having to pay more for the same stuff.  Now price rises are inevitable, its called inflation, however that doesn't mean the scale of the rises are justified, but unfortunately GW are out to make money and they can charge what they like, I don't like that but its the way that it is.  The only thing you can do is not buy from them.  My purchases from GW have already been declining over the last 2 years due to the prices and there is some stuff that I just won't pay for (the new phoniex guard for exmaple, great models but £25 for 10 plastic elves, no way), I see this trend in my pruchases continuing.  I will be looking on ebay and continuting to explore alternative manufactures (mantic, avatars of war etc..) I also think I'll be heading more along the historical gaming line, I won't stop buying from them entirely, but i will buy and cruically spend less.

3. EU only Sales

I live in the UK and the embargo preventing internet retailers in the EU selling outside doesn't really affect me.  Having said that it seems really petty and not indictive of pleasing your customer/fan base in a week already full of bad news.  Surely if an internet retailer sells to the UK or Australia they've still bought the stock off GW in the first place and GW still have made the same profit per item, surely you want the internet sellers to sell more stock as they then buy more stock to sell.  I just don't get it.  I work in retail and sell things on ebay, and in both situations I'm not bothered who or where I'm selling to, its the sale that matters, I just don't understand this decision at all.

Sorry about the ranting rambling post, more pics of painted models soon.

Wednesday 18 May 2011

The Second Wave

I've actually managed to finish painting my fleet way ahead of schedule, they only arrived monday and here on wednesday I now have a painted WW2 British fleet (early war), I have to admit I'm pretty pleased with that, so pleased I've just sent another order off for more ships.

So here's the latest finished ships.

First up we have HMS Berwick (on the left) a county class heavy cruiser and HMS Royal Oak, a revenge class battleship escorted by 4 H class destroyers.

This is HMS Barham, a Queen-Elizabeth class battleship escorted by HMS Coventry and HMS Cardiff, two C-class light cruisers.

Here are the carriers HMS Illustrious (on the left) and HMS Furious escorted by 2 J/K/N class destroyers.  HMS Furious is an odd looking ship and was initially laid down as a battlecruiser in 1915 before being converted to a carrier and fought all the way through the second world war.

And to finish off a pic of the whole fleet in formation, still need to decide on basing them as well.

Tuesday 17 May 2011

The First Wave

I've already managed to paint the first lot of my 1/3000 scale ships from navwar.  I decided to start with the random ones, before moving onto the ships for my WW2 British fleet.  I'm pleased with these and they paint up really well, for most of them it was a simple case of black undercoat, them paint grey all over, black wash, grey drybrush and the paint the decking and details.  I think that I'll easily make my goal of having them all done by the weekend and am already putting my second order together.

The first ships I painted, from left to right, HMS Dreadnought (1906), HMS Daring (2007) and HMS Warrior (1860).  The warrior was definately harder to paint than the others (both the sails and white trim), and I think the Dreadnought is the least detailed of the capital ships I have.

The first batch of the WW2 ships.  From left to right, HMS Sheffield (a town class light cruiser), HMS Ark Royal, and 2 J/K/N class destroyers.  The Ark Royal was the biggest painting challenge as I'm not keen on the block deck colour, I tried painting on the deck markings but it just looked silly so have repainted it uniformly, this might change again yet though.

And finally a couple of the big boys, from left to right, HMS Repulse ( a renown class battlecruiser) and HMS Rodney ( a nelson class battleship).  These are the types of ship that have sent me down this course and I'm impressed with both.

I've not based any of them yet as I can't decide weather to paint the bases green (which would work with my pea-green table) or blue (just seems more sea like).

Monday 16 May 2011

The Naval Adventure Begins

My recent trip to Portsmouth Historic dockyard has given me an urge for some naval wargaming, and I've actually gone and done something about it.  The first question was what period, origanally I was going to go for WW1 but after talking to my mate he's convinced me to go WW2, after all he reasoned we can still line up battleships if we want but WW2 naval has a lot more variety than WW1.

So period decided we now needed a ruleset, after some internet reserch I've gone for:

I've gone for this as i like its reputation for being simple as naval games go and the good reviews I found everywhere.  I've had a quick go with the rules and they seem straightforward, but still with lots of decisions to be made, I'll post my full thoughts when a proper game has been played.
The book is in black & white and contains the rules, historical scenarios, generic scenarios and fleet lists for the British, Germans, Americans, Italians, Japanese and French fleets.  In the back is also a lot of black and white tokens you can cut out or photocopy that represent the ships and tokens for turning etc.  It would have been nice if these were in colour or even actual card peices, but really it's designed to be played how I intend to play it.. with miniatures.

So next question was what minis and what scale, again after trawling the internet I stumbled apon http://www.navwar.co.uk/ a site with a frankly outstanding range of ships from all periods at very reasonable prices.  The website is a bit of a pain to navigate and theres no pics of their models and the contents of the start packs is a bit vague and you actually have to print off your order and mail it to them.  It did feel like a bit of a gamble placing the order, but it has definately paid off.

This morning a whole bunch of 1/3000 ships arrived.
This is the contents of the WW2 early war British starter pack, all for the princley sum of £10.  Across the top you have the 6 capital ships (3 battleships, a battlecruiser and 2 aircraft carriers), the middle row is 4 cruisers and the final row is 8 destroyers.

I also ordered another 4 ships to sample their range, here we have the HMS Ark Royal (WW2), HMS Dreadnought (1906), HMS Warrior (1860) and HMS DAring (2007).  I wanted the ark royal to add to my WW2 fleet, and the other 3 are the ships in my (admittedly not very knowelgeable) opinion that are the most revolutionary designs in royal navy history.

I'm really pleased with these, and whilst I can't comment on how acurate they are to my eye they all certainly have the feel of the ships they represent.  Another nice touch is the way they all come with a little info sheet with all the ships vital statistics.

heres a few pics of some of the ships so you can see for yourselves.

HMS Ark Royal

HMS Warrior.  The sails meant there was some consrtuction involved in this whereas all the others are one piece castings.

Here we have HMS Daring (in the background) and HMS Dreadnought, one thing that supried me was how close they were in size, although according to the info sheets Dreadnought displaced almost twice as much.

I don't think these are going to take that long to paint and I'm hoping to have them all done by the end of the week.

Sunday 15 May 2011

From the Painting Table 4

The usual random collection of random models I've just finished painting, first up we have a regiment of 20 mantic ghouls.  I first painted 4 free ones a few weeks ago and liked them enough to buy a whole regiment, I went for the option with the metal Ghast upgrade torso too.

I'm really pleased with these models and even for a limited sprue (the 20 models are on 10 2 man sprues) the regiment comes across with just enough variation, I think the 3 optional weapons help a lot but a fourth head would have helped even more.

Next we have a dwarf slayer painted for use in warhammer quest

Here we have a random very old Bretonnian knight on foot that I found.

I miss foot knights, I know they don't really fit into the current background but I'm secretly hoping for a return when the army book is redone

And finally something a bit different to my usual projects

A WW2 LTV4 Buffalo.  This is an airfix kit in 1:76 scale of an amphibious vehicle used by both the american and british armies.  Mines painted as British (although I not sure on  the level of accuracy).  I don't build that many airfix kits (7 in the last 3 years) but every so often I get the urge and tend to do 2-3 at once.  I think there will a few more in the near future.

Wednesday 11 May 2011

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

If you read my last post you'll known I've been on holiday recently, one of the things I did on that holiday was take a day trip to Portsmouth historic dockyard.

As you approach the dockyard the first ship you see is HMS Warrior (1860) the worlds second Ironclad ship and the first in the royal navy, she instantly obsoleted every other major warship in the world, but was then herself out of date within a decade.  She's an impressive sight even today, a big and powerful looking ship.

You get to walk around the warrior at leisure and can go pretty much where you like, the most impressive moment for me was walking down into the gun deck and seeing the long row of guns (the pic really doesn't do it justice).

The whole ship has been lovingly restored to its original look and feel.  It's a very weird mix of the old and the new, in some ways it looks like the earlier ships-of-the line (with the big broadsides etc) but then in places has a distinctly modern feel (like with the huge pistons in the engine room).

The other big ship you can go on is the HMS victory, Nelsons flagship at trafalgar and the worlds oldest commissioned warship.
Again you can walk around her, although you have to follow a set path this time, and apparently at busier times you get bustled along by tour guides, luckily though it was quiet enough today and we were allowed to take our time.  The contrast between victory and warrior (almost 100 yrs between launches but 55 yrs between the victory at trafalgar as shown here and the launch of warrior) is fascinating, and you can see the relationship between the two ships.
Also in dry dock at Portsmouth is HMS M33, a WWI monitor warship built in only a couple of months in 1915.  One of only two British warships surviving from WWI, you can't go on it yet, but the info boards by it state that its intended that it will open to the public in time.
M33 saw its first action at Gallipoli, a campaign that holds particular interest for me as my grandfather fought there, and later saw action in Russia in 1919.  She has also been known as HMS Minerva and Hulk C23.  The dazzle camouflage was really interesting as well, I've never seen an example of it 'live' before.

Also included with your ticket is a trip round Portsmouth harbour and you get to have an external look at whichever of the current Navys' warships are in dock.  For me the highlight were the new daring class destroyers, ultra-modern warships and very different to any ship the Royal Navy has ever fielded before.
Here you can see HMS Diamond and behind her HMS Daring.
A sadder moment was seeing the old flagship HMS Ark Royal awaiting its fate after it's been decommissioned early as part of the defense cuts.  Also in dock was HMS St. Albans the newest of the 13 type 23 frigates currently serving in the RN, HMS Edinburgh a type 42 (batch 3) destroyer and also a RFA leaf-class tanker.

Also included in the ticket price is entry to the Mary Rose museum (you can't see the hull at the moment as they're building a new museum around it), the national Royal Naval museum, action stations (a mix of simulators and physical challeneges, aimed at kids really but still quite fun) and access to the trafalgar sail (the actual main sail used by the victory in the battle) all of which is very interesting, we turned up as gates opened and only left as it closed.  The ticket price was £20 for an adult which we thought was very good value for a fun and fascinating day.

So now I've told you about my day out, you may be wondering why I'm telling you all this and how it relates to the hobby, well theres 2 reasons:

1.  Firstly there are lots of models of ships all over the place (mostly warships inevitably) from old ships of the line all the way upto the current fleet and in a variety of scales.  Most of the models are found in the Royal Naval museum, but are scattered throughout the entire site.  I'm not sure why but I seem to have forgotten to take any pics of them.

What I did remember to photograph (badly I admit) was these two excellent dioramas. I think they're in 30mm scale.

Below is a diorama of naval Brigade forces in action during the Indian Mutiny of 1857.

And here we have marines attacking a Mediterranean port during the Napoleonic period.

There was also a diorama of the HMS warrior (1781) (a ship of the line not the ironclad shown earlier) being launched but I seem to have forgotten to photograph that too.  All in all plenty for the model enthusiast to look at.

2.  And secondly I now have a massive urge to play a naval wargame.  I think its gonna have to be 20th century as I don't fancy faffing around with model sails, and I fancy ship on ship action, so I'm worried about wargaming WWII as it might lead to carrier dominance, I'm unsure as yet though, if anyone has any recommendations for rulesets / ship manufacturers I'd be grateful for the info.

Sunday 8 May 2011

Gaming Away

I've been on holiday camping recently, and even whilst on holiday I need to get my gaming fix, so today I'm going to give a brief review and my thoughts on my 6 travel games and rank them in order of my preference.  The other thing we take is a deck of cards but leaving that aside I have:

6. UNO

I picked this up for 50p after the world cup last year, it may have footballers on it, but its still basically just uno.  You get a hand of cards that you try and get rid of by mtaching colours or numbers and there are a number of action cards that make players take more cards or change the direction of play.  Theres little strategy and its not great, we don't really play it much.

5. Battleship Express

Another cheap game I picked up on a whim, you each have a fleet of 5 warships you take it in turns to try and sink an opponents ship, when you've sunk the required number of ships you win.  This means that the player who goes first has a massive advantage, we had several games where the first player sunk a ship every turn and the other players didn't have a chance of winning.  The game has two varieties, a captians game and an admirals game.  The cpatains game is simpler and we actually prefered it as you can only attack the 2 ships at the front of the fleet, in the admirals game some of the ships can attack ships anywhere.  Its a simple game and it doesn't take long to exhaust it tactically, still it was ok for the price.
here is a link to some other rules made to take advantage of this set that I've just found, not had a chance to try them yet, but they look interesting.

4. Top Trumps

Here we have the longest standing game in my travel collection, the simple, humble, but suprisingly fun game of top trumps.  If anybody reading this doesn't know, each top trumps deck has a character from a film or a ship or a car etc with its vital stats on it in 6 categories, you deal out the deck and a player nominates a category, the player whos card has the highest number wins all the cards and nominates the next category, you keep going till someone wins all the cards.  Thats its.  I'm not entirely sure whys its so fun, but it is.  A lot of the 'skill' is in knowing the deck and introducing a new deck every so often livens things up.  I think using a deck on a subject you have an interest in helps.  We've had a lot of fun with these over the years.  Another advantage is that uniquely among these games no table or flat surface is required, you could actually play this in the car as your travelling rather than at the site once your set up.

3. Inn Fighting

Not a travel game as such, but still small enough that we take it with us.  As well as the game you need some tokens to play, we normally use poker chips, but coins or matches (or even as we used once pieces of dried pasta) would work as well.  Its based on the D&D world and simulates a bar fight.  You take a character at random and start rolling dice and hitting poeple, you get victory points by hitting or knocking out opponents, the first player to 20 victory points and then hurt an opponent wins.  What makes it good though is that there are many ways to take victory points off poeple, the game usually starts off with random bashing but gets tactical as people approach 20VP.  The action deck is quite fun as well, I like the bystanders who make your warrior better, another good thing is that if you warrior gets knocked out you just get another, all players remain in the game till the end and the lead will often switch places.  As a light hearted game its a lot of fun with just about the right amount of decisions to be made.

2. Fluxx

Another card based game, fluxx the game of changing rules.  You draw cards and play them, some of these change the rules, the objective is constantly changing, you can win on turn one or it can take an hour.  This all makes it difficult to desricbe.  Theres only a little long term strategy, this increases as you learn the deck, but anyone can jump in and start playing and have a chance of winning, there is a lot of thoughts about playing cards in the right order at certain points though.  A great game escpically if you have any non-gamers or older children around.

1. Risk Express

And finally my favorite travel game in my collection.  Designed by the same person that did the weak battleship express, the great Reiner Knizia, this however is very very good.  I suppose the designer had more to work with with risk than he did with battleships.  Like normal risk the world in divivded into territories that make up continents.  Players take it in turn to try and capture territories either from the middle or from each other(its harder to take from another player), when the last territory leaves the middle the game ends.  If you capture all the territories in a continent that continent becomes sealed and other players can no longer attack it.  It all works really well, most games I've played have been tight with one player desperately trying to finish the game whislt everyone else is attacking them trying to take that winning posistion away from them.  What makes this better than a lot of the other games here is the constant interaction between players, the way you are trying to secure your own victory, but often that invloves trying to scupper the victory of another player.  You even get the tempory alliances like those you would get in full risk.  Highly recomended.

On my holiday we visited porchester castle which was used to house prisoners of war during the napoleonic period.  What really piqued my interest was the gaming peices that the prisoners made from bone to keep themselves occupied.

18. is obviously some homemade dice
17. is for cats cradle
16. is some dominos
15. was just labled 'game fish counters' I've been wondering what that game was ever since

If anyone else has any games that take up minimal space to carry and to play that they can recommend please let me know.
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