Category Archives: Firestorm Armada

Spaceships!


downloadThe past few weeks have seen the denizens of the floating citadel and friends playing some stellar themed games.

First up were some games of Star Trek: Attack Wing. Gribblin actually has some trophies for this game so it was under his expert guidance that we set off. I’m not much of a trekkie but even i could see that there are plenty of ship variations available. Each ship is customisable with crew, weapons and captains. The actual game mechanics are loosely similar to the veritable ‘Wings of War’ biplane combat game, crossed with the combo-building elements of games like Warmachine. Overall a good looking game which is fun to play provided you know what you are doing in the fleet building part – knowing which crew combo works best with each ship is half the battle and for some people undoubtedly half the fun. I have played this game previously without guidance during the building part of the game and just found the whole experience frustrating. So if you’re going to play, play with experienced gamers who are willing to show you the ropes.

Next up saw me digging out my ancient Full Thrust rules and miniatures. Full Thrust is a pretty unique game in the field of spaceship games in that movement rules do not assume that space is full of custard. This game is really old, timeworn, and still popular. Probably because it’s simple and fun. Full Thrust seems to shine at the fleet battle scale, with more players and more spaceships making the game better without adding complexity. Whilst not the best looking game out there, it will keep gamers looking for more realism happy and the rules scale well if you fancy using your own miniatures.

Which then brings us on to the floating citadel’s previous favourite – Firestorm Armada. We talked about it, and how it was to a large extent a rip-off of Full Thrust, before discovering that version 2.0 is now available for free online! Hopefully our dusty fleets will be making a reprisal in the next few weeks as we try out this new and interesting version. Those miniatures still look fantastic!

Rules online here:
http://www.spartangames.co.uk/resources/downloads
http://members.ozemail.com.au/~laranzu/fullthrust/rules/

The Internet – Good or Bad for Gaming?


In the constant drive to deliver to you, dear Internet reader, quality, thought-provoking content that touches you on a deep spiritual level we bring you today’s topic. A drive that you may, or may not, agree on us reaching. I just like to try to write down my thoughts using an expansive vocabulary in order to portray myself as an intellectual, we all know I’m not kidding anybody…

The Internet is right up there as one of the potential greatest inventions of the 20th century, I remember first hearing about it on the now defunct Tomorrows World program where it was referred to as the Information Super Highway and would transform the way in which we lived. They talked about virtual communities living out there in cyberspace and traditional boundaries dropping off as we increased the reach of our social interactions.

I don’t think back then that anyone really grasped the true extent that the Internet would seep into the lives of our fellow Earthicans, rending asunder boundaries drawn on maps and opening us up to people and places we’d never been before. It also eventually provided us with categorical and unequivocable evidence that Trolls do not just live under bridges.

When I first started gaming in the Nineties the extent of the community and the discussions I had were restricted to either friends or the local gaming store when I popped in and talked to staff. Now, I didn’t grow up with a huge number of friends interested in the same hobby as me so I also took a rather unique avenue of just drifting through on my own. I didn’t go into the local GW to play, just to pick up the latest releases. By the mid Nineties dial-up was becoming more prevalent and eventually my father’s PC was hooked up and I got my first taste of Internetdom. This was all related much more to PC gaming than wargaming though.

One Christmas I then got a home DSL kit allowing me to no longer have to hog the phone for 2 hours at a time before BT disconnected the modem and I’d have to redial. This then brought about speedy access to all kinds of wonders and the Internet, for me at least, truly came alive and not just because you had free access to women of loose morals flashing their jubblies around.

These days the Internet is bursting with communities and forums for pretty much anything and everything you can think of but what has this done to our particular hobby? And is that a good or a bad thing?

Firstly, let’s start off with the glass half full and talk about the positive. The resources available to players is massive, there are forums for games and armies, a wealth of information on how to go about painting our toy soldiers or even converting them into something completely different. The inspiration available to be able to view the skills of so many different people really helps you find your place, either as a master artist or realising that even if you thought you were bad, that kid selling “pro-painted” on eBay is way worse than you.

The Internet also allows the gamer to become aware of stuff that he or she may not otherwise come to recognise. I found Warmachine through the Internet as before that I’d been a GW purist as that was all I really knew about due to their high street presence. What the Internet has helped to do is to open up competition as it is now a lot easier to research a game rather than the opinion of a store owner or splashing out on the rulebook and some models in the hope you’ll enjoy it.

If you need tips on an army then you can find other players who will help you out, either through unit selection or ways in which to improve yourself as a player. You can read battle reports, check out paint jobs, or even avail yourself of some pretty good deals on second-hand models or discounted brand new stuff. The Internet has broadened gaming, you are aware of new releases well in advance and can preview stuff you might like to grab in the future without having to wait for a magazine or even for it to arrive in stores. I don’t think there is anything that has been as transformative to many people’s hobbies, even outside of gaming, as the Internet has been. It is in virtually every home, at least in the western world and that kind of prevalence has been a boon for the diversity of information and avenues of discovery that we as consumers have access too.

Unfortunately, the Internet is not always a shining beacon of enlightenment. While we’d like to think that people united by a hobby could get on with one another there are the odd few people who will criticise and denounce people. If you take a sub-par choice for an army then you must be a n00b who clearly has no idea to play. Then there are also the vociferous remarks negatively viewing some companies (most notably the Sherriff et al). People can be overly critical to the point of being rude.

We can also look at the massive discounting of products online stealing market share from bricks and mortar stores that simply cannot compete against their virtual counterparts, this inevitably leads to the decline of local communities as the traditional congregating ground of the gamer disintegrates either through no-one visiting the store to get their goodies or through the store having to shut up shop. Does the fact that we are only a forum thread away from finding out the most powerful army lists actually prove detrimental to the game? There are many that will just take the latest web list and run that rather than try things out for themselves, after all the only point of gaming is to win right?

A lot of the forums have a tournament minded mentality too, therefore a lot of what you find is super-competitive style armies that are annoying to those of us wanting a chilled out game with friends. Buying your first army for a game can be a process of finding that uber-list point and click army and buying it rather than what I did when I started of buying what I liked and trying things out and in many cases, trying to make stuff work because I didn’t have anything else.

I cannot think of anything else in recent history that has proven as transformative to the hobby as the Internet, but then the world wide web has changed the face of how the world communicates and interacts anyway, we’ve definitely been left behind the curve here, in fact I’d probably say we are right up there riding the wave as it were. I have enjoyed being exposed to new things rather than being a GW purist and believe the market is blossoming, although perhaps a little too much.

I’m not going to declare an undying love for the transformation that the Internet has made to our hobby, but then I am not going to decry it either, I can see both good and bad here. Although there is certainly one thing that I think we can all take from this;

Zappy Pew Pew From The Church Of Gaming – Firestorm Armada


Hey googlebots! We managed to get our grubby 6InchMove mitts on a tremendous gaming venue this weekend – inside a converted church! I’ll spare you all the obvious corny puns on prayers to the dice gods etcetera.

Dealing with Aquans? You need a fishing trawler, you do.

A good night was had by all, and consisted of myself and Carabus eating chips, drinking DPZ and generally heckling Admiral ZombiePirateXXX and Big Chief Gribblin as they played one of the closest Firestorm Armada battles in a while. It was probably close because for once I wasn’t playing and wiping the vast floor that is space with the tears and wreckage of my destroyed opponents. Oh yeah, I play Terrans.

“So Mr Evil Space Goat, you think you’ve scored a critical hit hmm? Let me roll for shields. And now let me reroll my sixes. Hmm, no damage to me this time!”

The game came down to the two remaining Battleships. The Aquan battleship has massive armour and can shrug off damage that would wreck others. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite have the staying power of the Dindrenzi. The big double hulled superglue nightmare of construction just kept soaking the hits until the last Aquan had pulled the flush chain on his escape pod. Down to the last hull point!

We also played a new Space Hulk card game called Death Angel. Poker with genestealers? Would they get dealt extra hands? Stick around to find out…

Spontaneous Gaming Is Spontaneous


Not everyone we hang around with is a stereotypical neckbearded dungeons and dragons player. Occasionally our friends go out of the house and have exciting adventures in what they call ‘The Real World ™’. Generally we just sit around, rolling dice awaiting their return, hoping they bring us more DPZ. Well anyway, one of our friends stayed out long enough to get married, so we descended from the floating citadel to attend the wedding. Congratulations to the happy couple! I could go on to write about the dress, the decorations, the vows, the ceremony, the cake, but seeing as there were no Space Marines, Skaven or Warcasters in attendance it is unlikely to be of interest to our regular reading googlebots. But wouldn’t it be awesome if there were?

‘Brother Dante, do you take Brother Mephiston to be your lawfully wedded civil partner?’
‘Only if he doesn’t make me take off my gimp mask.’
‘Where is the best man, Brother Calgar?’
‘He said he found some tyranids that needed power fisting.’
‘Nevermind, we’re so gorgeous, we should form a boyband.’
‘TakeBloodThatBoyAngelZone.’
‘Dreamy!’
‘Excuse me Sirs, there’s a rat in the kitchen who says he wants some head.’
‘Aha, that’ll be chief bridesmaid Warlord Queek Headtaker, do send him in.’

At the real wedding we were hanging around in 6InchMove stylee, when we had the great idea to do some gaming. Obviously not at the wedding, because that would be just plain rude. Things were arranged and two hours later wives were suitably distracted and everyone was ready. In our haste however, we hadn’t decided what to play. People had a few figures here and there, except ZombiePirate, built to party he had brought everything. It took ages to decide what to play, eventually we settled on nBreaker and myself playing Firestorm Armada while ZombiePirate and Carabus went to the fish and chip shop in memory of the Aquans.

In summary, if you are going to do spontaneous gaming, be firm and decide what you are going to play beforehand. The outcome by the way – The Terrans beat the Sorylians, we refired our desire to get serious about War Of The Ring and I sat in my dinner. Awesome.

What Makes Games Fun?


There is no mistaking that the tabletop gaming arena is getting crowded with competitors. While there have always been a number of companies who have made models it seems increasingly that these companies are now striking out into the gaming market by producing rule sets, Freebooter and Wyrd are just a few that spring to mind.

While this may mean that as gamers we have plenty of choice it also means that we have a lot of games clamouring for our attention. We don’t all have the limitless wealth that the our friendly Sherrif may think we do, so buying into every single game that comes our way isn’t feasible, although for some of us, we do try. Long-suffering wives see their beloved homes turned into galleries of metal and plastic in various stages of construction and painting, while us menfolk surreptitiously try to hide our latest purchase in among the forest of toy soldiers that is almost impossible to catalogue without an expert’s eye.

Some of the decision-making for what we play is based around aesthetics but nowadays we are also seeing innovation in the mechanics of the games, moving away from dice to cards or using cards to represent models and their stats rather than lots of chod crammed into a bulging rulebook. While choosing games to play is a deeply personal choice surely there are going to be some offerings and one game has the potential to not be as good as another. Some rules are clunky and difficult, some leave room for ambiguity due to poor language, others are the efforts of extensive writing and play testing and are a joy to behold. How do we know which games are which when we are making our decisions and how do we know what we will enjoy and be able to coerce invite our friends to play with us.

If we were to do a comparison between the offerings out there today we’d end up with a rather large post, there are certainly a large number of games I can think of available to joe public. A direct comparison between them isn’t always going to be possible either, while you could probably get away with comparing War of the Ring, 40k and Warhammer Fantasy as they are all games based upon army scale conflicts. Adding in Warmachine, Malifaux, Hell Dorado etc… would be unfair as they are skirmish games and therefore play differently. However, whether skirmish or army the one thing that I think unites games is that they should be fun. If you spend the majority of your gaming time poring over the rules then you probably aren’t having much fun, but if the core mechanics are easy to learn then you can get on with playing and things are much more enjoyable. Again this is a deeply personal view on things, I love games like Malifaux and Warmachine where you have a few models to play with and unit cards on the table in front of you give you everything you need to play and provide a quick reference to speed things up. Malifaux’s rules are wonderfully short, once you have the turn sequence and the concept of duels sorted then you can play, the trick to the game is combining the models in your crew, all the abilities and special rules are on the model’s cards and you spend more time with those than having your nose stuck in the rulebook.

Warhammer relies on you remembering a lot more, the rules are longer and more prescriptive, you can make yourself little notes so that you remember all the magic items bulging the pockets of your heroes and the numerous special rules that your army has. War of the Ring handily condenses a lot of the rules that we see in Warhammer and looks completely different. Warmachine has a whole host of options for you to use within the rules and you need to remember those, but the core mechanics are simple but rely on you unlocking the combinations in your army to maximum effect, I suppose it is a little like Magic: The Gathering in tabletop form.

But what makes a game fun? As this is a hobby we aren’t doing this for the work and effort required to assemble and paint an army, we are doing it to relax, to get away for a while in another world that allows us to (temporarily) forget our jobs and other responsibilities. While it is possible to take each element of our lives to extremes I’d like to think that some alone time is something we all do while not neglecting our family, employment or other areas of our lives. Anyway, enough of the heavy stuff.

What makes a game fun is surely an opinion rather than anything we can probably define. While I find both Uncharted Seas and Firestorm Armada to be fun, I prefer the spaceships, they are more “fun” as a game. I know others prefer US or even the 6 Inch Move blog nemesis Full Thrust, which is why this is interesting to me as gamers have vastly different tastes.

I think that on the whole Warmachine is more fun that Warhammer, however I enjoy both games sufficiently that I invest in both (although I haven’t played Warmachine in a while). I like Warhammer because of the sweeping battles and it plumbs different areas of my brain to the skirmish games I play. I love Malifaux because the mechanics are so different from a dice game and things can be far more brutal if Fate is with you, it’s a very different play experience to any of the other skirmish games I like as well as being totally different from army sized games. Warmachine is fun because you can use magic robots to headbutt each other into the ground and chuck stuff across the table. Each of the games that I choose to play are fun for different reasons and that is why gaming is such an interesting hobby. To my wife they are just toy soldiers or whatever, but to me, they provide different experiences that I can enjoy with my friends and I think this final point is the key.

Gaming is at its heart a social hobby, while you can play with yourself (pun intended) the hobby takes on a whole new and more satisfying dimension when these experiences are shared with friends. While sometimes we will whine about the dice deserting us, or a sub-par unit choice, or that cheesy magic item combo etc… each time I spend time with my good buddies thrashing out some fantasy conflict between zombie hookers and metaphorical personifications of axioms or whatever I have memories of fun times spent quaffing liberal quantities of Dr Pepper and sharing the highs and lows with a bunch of people who add something to my mortal experiences.

So, what makes games fun for me? I’d have to say it’s the people I play with, for me there couldn’t be a better bunch of nerds to share my time with!

6 Inch Move – Top Posts So Far


So we are one year into our blogging adventure, and here’s a run down of our top five most popular posts:

Rolling in at positions 5 and 4 are parts of ZombiePirate’s excellent assessment of the effects that Warhammer 8th Edition is having on the army lists. Well researched and well thought out, the spambots have been paying close attention to these posts!

5) Warhammer 8th Edition – Army Power Levels Explored Part 3

4) Warhammer 8th Edition – Army Power Levels Explored Part 1

At number 3 we have a popular post by Gribblin giving his initial experienced eye-view of the release of Warhammer 8th Edition:

3) Warhammer 8th Edition – My Thoughts

Coming in at number 2 is ZombiePirate on the always complicated and convoluted subject of which army to choose for Warhammer:

2) Warhammer 8th Edition – Choosing an Army

…And the most popular post on 6InchMove so far is:

1) Firestorm Armada vs Full Thrust

Both are great games, but the fact that we prefer Firestorm Armada generated a lot of controversy at the time which places this post firmly at the top spot!

Aquan Fleet – refit finished


Hi folks,  I finished painting my Aquan fleet earlier today so here are some pictures.  Again apologies for the picture quality, I’ve had to use my phone’s camara as my proper one has gone to silicon heaven to join all the calculators.

I know the picture quality isn’t great, but oh well.  What I’ve done with these ships is painted them a mid-silver colour, then covered them in a blue wash, then dry brushed the same silver over them.  This has given the ships a slight bluish hue to the hulls.  I them used a light metallic blue to draw a watery pattern on the upper hull.  I finished them off with metallic purple weapon ports and glowing green engine exhausts.

As for the firestorm game itself I really enjoy it.  I’ve only played a handful of games so far, but I like the simple game mechanics, the models look pretty good (despite the molding problems they had with earlier ones) and it’s generally just fun to play.

Oh and as for my Tyranids painting, expect an update really soon.

Made Of Win!


Hello folks! Well this is a wargaming blog and I was worried about the whole “He rolled a four and I rolled a two” stereotype imposed upon our noble hobby. Well, today my friends, I will indulge that stereotype!

Firestorm Armada…

Fire six Terran Torpedoes! Pew pew pew!

Take that, Sorylian scum! Time for the rerolls!

Eat crits galore! What’s this? Double six on the crit table? Sorylian battleship vanishes in a puff of jammy dice rolls…

Fire All Dorsal Fins!


As ZombiePirate has already hinted at, last night witnessed my first game of Firestorm Armada.  As the other three players in our group had chosen many months ago which fleets they were having I was left with the Aquans.  Last night saw them deal Servitob his second ever defeat at Firestorm.  I would like to claim credit for such a glorious victory, but as you will see it was mostly luck.

Having played Uncharted Seas before I was familiar with the game dynamics.  I have also witnesses Servitob’s Terrans deal out a lot of damage with their long range torpedoes and due to their reliance on shields, take almost nothing in return.  With this in mind I completely lost the plot and deployed my fleet spread out in a vain attempt to use the asteroids to block line of sight. Servitob had wisely placed his fleet close together.  My cruisers used a turbo-boasting card to get an impressive 16 inch movement to get in between two of the large asteroids.  Once there they did no damage to the Terrans and faced the full force of their firepower.  By the end of turn 1 only one was left and it was badly damaged.  The rest of my fleet had neither fished out (I mean dished out) or taken any damage.  In turn two my last cruiser managed to drop a mine before being blown to plaices and a frigate got hurt.  Still no damage to the Terran fleet.

Turn three was probably the deciding moment.  I won the initiative roll and brought my battleship to within range band two of the Terran battleship.  Rolling a blistering amount of dice (courtesy of a card) I managed to score a critical hit on the enemy.  A double 6 was rolled and the previously undamaged battleship disappeared with an explosion that ripped a hole in the fabric of space.  Things were suddenly looking good for me.  My battleship also managed to down a Terran frigate at long range and damage a cruiser with it’s torpedoes.  The Terran cruisers took some damage from both squadrons of frigates as well as the mine that my dying cruiser had dropped before going bye-bye.  The Terrans managed to down a frigate in response.

The rest of the game saw the Aquans cleaning up what was left of the Terran fleet.  The best moment being when the Aquan Battleship dropped a mine in front of a Terran frigate squadron, only to get caught in the blast when it went off.  Again I managed to roll some ridiculous dice, sending all 3 Terran frigates to the afterlife and causing a critical hit on my own battleship.  This resulted in a decompression that lasted for two turns and did more damage to my battleship than the Terran fleet.

So what did I learn from this game?  The Aquans really do excel at broadsides.  Even the small frigates can dish out a lot of firepower.  The aft weapons didn’t come into play all that much as I was either facing the enemy, or using the broadsides.  The mines are really, really effective.  The Aquan battleship uses 5 dice which is enough to damage cruisers and prove lethal to frigates, whilst the cruisers 4 dice isn’t too shabby either.  They can be very useful at blocking the enemy movement, just try not to drop them too close to your own ships.  When faced with a lot of torpedoes (i.e. Terrans) deploy and move your fleet in close proximity until ready to broadside to take full advantage of the point defence.

Oh and a lot of luck doesn’t hurt.

Conventions in Gaming – Luck


Last night availed the inhabitants of the 6 Inch Move floating citadel to yet another unplanned gaming rendezvous. Due to permission/absence/voodoo sacrifices of wives and girlfriends Castle Servitob was once more transformed into the vacuum of deep space. Both Space Hulk and Firestorm Armada got some table time.

This would the first outing for Gribblin’s new Aquan fleet, the first time any of us had seen the fleet played. Like a burk I forgot the flight stands for my fleet so the salty fleet went up against the torpedo happy Terrans. This post is not going to be a battle report, I will leave that to either of the participants to regale you all with tales of bold tactical manoeuvre and world-destroying firepower. What I do want to talk about though was aptly highlighted during one turn of this game. Look away now if you don’t want to read some spoilers. Feel free to read again once the italics end.

At the start of the game Gribblin deployed his fleet quite spread out, hoping to use the cover of a reasonable asteroid belt that spread across the middle of the table. Misjudging his distances and the alternating activation turn method that Firestorm uses saw his Cruisers zoom ahead unsupported by the rest of his fleet. This gave Servitob an opporunity for some early smackdown which he delivered forthrightly. By turn 2 the Aquans had no Cruisers left and with the fleet heading towards the Battleship things were already looking bleak for Capt. Birdseye and crew. However, we are all aware of how fickle the tides of fate are. Shortly after losing all of his Cruisers gribblin engineered a range band 2 broadside against the Terran Battleship, dice were rolled, hits were counted. Enough were rolled to cause a critical hit on the Terran capital ship, Servitob rolled the dice for his shields and, for once, they did not negate enough of the shots to prevent the critical hit. Gribblin eagerly grabbed his 2D6 for rolling on the critical table and was rewarded with a double 6! For those of you unaware of the Firestorm game either a double one or a double six cause the ship to explode, in this case as its main reactor is hit and causes the Firestorm version of a warp core breach. An undamaged battleship reduced to smouldering space flotsam in a single salvo. This changed the course of the game and Gribblin ended up wiping the Terrans from the table after a few more turns.

What this demonstration goes to show is that in many cases luck can be a major deciding factor in the winners and losers of our hobby. I am sure we can all recount sordid tales of the desertion of Lady Luck, when the cruel dice gods decide that we will roll ones and twos when we need high numbers and fives and sixes when we need low. Servitob did manage to cause a decompression on Gribblin’s Battleship in retaliation, venting liquid like an octagenarian granny, and on the following turn rolled the only number that kept the decompression going. However, when those dice are rolled, we are purely in the hands of the law of averages, hoping that we can do enough. As any gamer will tell you though, the law of averages mean squat. I can think of many instances where rolling a bunch of dice has either resulted in a massive haul of 1’s and 2’s or 5’s and 6’s, those middle numbers can be mightily elusive.

Although luck cannot be counted upon it’s actually just as much a part of our games as the terrain and models we use or the tactics or strategy we try to employ. Also, we cannot rely upon it deserting our foes either, although the phrase “Fortune Favors the Bold” does play out on occasion and some games even encourage an aggressive stance during play. Sometimes the right luck at the right time can really swing the fortunes of an entire conflict, just as in the example given above. I’ve seen units perform heroic last stands against superior enemies just because of the dice they managed to roll. After all, the games we play are not just pushing some toy soldiers around a table, at least I hope they aren’t. I would hope that each game is a story written in our memories. Thus it is that we can picture in our minds eye Sgt. Thumpy of the Blood Angels beating down countless hordes of Genestealers (well, 13) protecting a narrow corridor with nothing but a Storm Shield and Thunder Hammer for company. The Tau Fire Warriors standing atop their wrecked Devilfish fighting hand to hand with vile Necron Flayed Ones and surviving turn after turn without taking casualties. The Ork Boyz mob cruising around in their Trukk killing a Carnifex with a drive-by pistol storm. The poor Wood Elf alter kindred Noble who heroically charged into a Great Unclean One only to have his magical talisman fail on the first turn from the one attack the Daemon was allowed to make.

All these moments are the ones that get discussed for years afterwards, an event that should not have happened but, due to the luck of the dice, did. While Malifaux moves away from the dice mechanic, getting a hand full of the right cards to Cheat Fate is also full of chance, we cannot escape the luck that sometimes graces our battlefields. In some cases we may be the one of the receiving end of the misfortune, but even though I might moan and whine like a bitch when the dice desert me, beyond that I am happy that we have these systems where but one roll of the dice can dramatically change how things are going and give us excited memories that we carry with us of great times spent amongst friends.

Lcuk can be the best of friends, or a cold-hearted traitor and this gaming ZombiePirate wouldn’t change that for the world!