Posts Tagged ‘wargaming’


Alien and Predator are two universes that have been aching for a decent tabletop game for so long. The Leading Edge Aliens game from the eighties is easily one of my favourite games ever, and I absolutely love the Legendary Encounters versions for both monsters.  Prodos’ AVP: The Hunt Begins (in its first edition, at least) is a game I had a love hate relationship with from the start.  

Okay, so for this review, I’m not going to talk about Prodos Games, how they completely messed up their Kickstarter for the game leaving several backers without their base sets nearly two years after the game first hit shop shelves (some backers still don’t have them), the debacle with the supposedly faithful first version of the dropship, the complaints people had with the poorly mixed resin in the first batch of figures, or any of the other myriad problems people have with them, and instead look at the game itself.


So, let’s assume Prodos are a bunch of okay dudes, and that you’ve just seen this game on the shelf, you’re a fan of Alien, Predator and or AVP, and you want to know whether or not the game is worth buying.  The answer is, a little annoyingly, yes, it absolutely is.  

All the complaints I had about the first edition of this game have been completely resolved by this second version.  The holes in the combat system that previously you could drive a Colonial Marines APC through have been completely patched, leaving a combat system that is – while perhaps a little over complex by modern standards – perfectly good at reflecting corridor fighting between the three factions.  It’s also completely rectified the stupid errors that snuck in (like the Aliens being susceptible to their own acid blood splatter; seriously, what was that about?). 

The points build system now actually makes sense, as a quick glance at the first edition rule book would show you that the forces contained in the starter set were, in fact, completely unbalanced.  Lastly, the Predator Smart-Disc has been given a proper Nerfing, which is great, because that thing was ridiculously overpowered.  


So, the game is set about the USS Theseus, a ship that is being used by the Predators as a spawning ground for Aliens for them to hunt, and then some Colonial Marines show up, and the shit hits the fan.  It’s a contrived set-up, but no-one really cares about the story for a frag-fest, and you can always come up with your own background if you want.  It doesn’t change anything on the tabletop.  

In terms of components, the rule book – while still far from perfect – is light years ahead of the first edition, so I can’t not be satisfied with it.  Errors are corrected, stats are fixed, and you can (usually) find what you’re looking for while you’re playing.  Some goofs and ambiguities exist, but nothing that you can’t house rule, or find an answer to on the superb online fandom the game has, especially on Facebook.  


The board sections I’m not so sold on. The original were grim and dark, much lie the colony in Aliens. These are a lot brighter, which is partly a good thing, as the originals were sometimes a little too dark, but the upshot is that they look a little more comic book like by comparison.  
The minis are bloody superb. All single cast, so there’s no assembly required, and super easy to paint. As a bonus, the scenic bases they’re mounted on are simply excellent.


Players use the starting forces, or points build a force of either Aliens, Predators or Marines, set the map up, find out what their missions are, and then set to it.  The game, once you get it underway, is very fast paced, with players taking it turns to activate one model and acting with them, before passing onto the the next player.  In terms of action and pacing, it’s much like something like Heroclix, and fans of that game would be likely to enjoy this one, too.  

AVP: The Hunt Begins is a weird one, because in terms of complexity, it’s easily up there with a proper wargame, such as Warhammer 40,000.  The options available to you are just as varied, for sure, and it’s a game you can really sink your teeth into it.  Want to build a campaign?  You can.  Want a one off rumble with some Predators against an AI Alien force.  You can do that.  You can make this an RPG or a frag-fest.  The extra minis available are superb, too, and who isn’t going to want to bolster their force with an Alien Queen or a Power Loader?

Ultimately, if you been holding off until now, or want to upgrade your first edition set to its full potential, this is the game you want.

The first expansion set for All Out War feels like a bit of a backward step. It is a little unusual in that you don’t need a copy of the main box in order to play it, but the rulebook included is almost a carbon copy of the “Read this first” quick start rules that come with the core set. Looks like a cash-in at first, as this is the only way to get a “Governer” character for the game, but in the context of the comics theme that Mantic have implemented so well it makes perfect sense! What I hadn’t realised until recently was that the release schedule for AOW is based around graphic novel order, which makes this set a prequel of sorts, being as it is based around the two prequel novels, “The Road to Woodbury” and “Rise of the Governer”.


The solo rule set takes the form of a step-by-step introduction to playing AOW. Over the course of three scenarios, rules are gradually added in to ease a beginner into the game, starting with no guns and limited actions and leading up to nearly the full rule system. The box includes full sets of event, equipment and supply cards (themed for a solo game), dice, templates, scenery and range ruler, counters, 5 walkers and reference card, and a Brian Blake model and survivor card.


“Hang on,” I hear you cry, “But surely the Governer’s name is Philip Blake…?” 

This is true. And also not true. If you haven’t read the novels, I suggest you start there, as the scenarios are based on the pre-Governer days of Brian Blake contained within these very accessible tomes. (The stories are actually quite good, even if the concept of the walkers in the books leaves a little to be desired) The game doesn’t give away any spoilers, and doesn’t require you to read the books, but it adds to the flavour if you have. 


The first scenario starts with a very basic setup, a defined 10″ square (I used some of my Battle Systems clip-together card terrain for this), three walkers, three supply counters and Brian. The event deck is slightly limited, as is the supply deck (guns are removed) by the presence of a walker symbol in the top right corner, exactly like the quick start rules in the core box. In fact this is the same scenario as the first one in that book, but with one character instead of two. The rules introduce us to the basic turn sequence and key concepts (NOISE, threat, and walker movement), as well as the melee combat system, and basic actions.It’s a pretty straight forward gear-grab, with pretty limited options, and barring some horrendous dice rolls you should breeze through this one. You start with no equipment, so your first face-off with a walker is pretty daunting, but once you pick up a weapon from the supply deck you begin to feel a little safer. My first pick up was a tire iron (one extra white dice in combat – nice!) and it was pretty easy going from there. If you’re careful you can reach a supply counter without getting grabbed by one of the dead, but some of the event cards force them towards you so it’s unlikely. With a low threat level and small playing area, this scenario is over pretty quickly. So it’s on to part two.


Scenario 2 widens the play area to 15″ square (time to re-clip that terrain…), and adds scenery, the rest of the supply cards (the gun and ammo), and rules for shooting, MAYHEM and the “Hold Nerve” action. Once again, it’s a grab the supplies and run game, but this time you start with a weapon and there are five supply counters to collect. I was expecting to breeze through this one too, but a couple of dodgy dice rolls (where the hell are the head shots when you need them!?) left me constantly trying to get away from walkers, which dragged the game out over a few extra turns until the threat maxed out. You lose!!!! Tougher than it looked, the relentless rise of the threat level is a killer mechanic. It goes up when MAYHEM is caused, usually through gunfire, when there are models engaged in melee at the start of the melee phase, and via the event cards. The only way to bring it down is to Hold Nerve, which takes an action and reduces threat by one on a 50-50 dice roll! Certainly puts the player up against it! So let’s see how part three goes.


Scenario Three uses the same play area size and game components, and adds rules for equipment slots, the make NOISE action, and being bitten! But at least this time you get to go tooled up with a full set of equipment: Gun, knife, leather jacket and bandages. During this game Brian has to capture four walkers and bundle them onto his truck, rules for which are supplied as scenario-specific. After set-up and a couple of turns, during which I had captured two walkers and unceremoniously dumped them into the waiting vehicle, I began to think this one would be a push-over. 

Oh no. 

Another few turns in, with walkers piling into the game via the event cards, the threat level rocketing, and dragging a struggling walker halfway round the playing area to avoid the shambling onslaught, I was bitten! I got a third walker in the truck, but time, walkers and infection overcame me, and the threat maxed out again. Game over.


Overall it was a reasonable experience. The third scenario was interesting with it’s capture not kill idea, and it’s good to get “The Governor” as a character, even if he is a shadow of the madman to come. And the five walkers included are all original, so no doubles yet! But there are plenty of niggles. While the rules build up over time, they never get to the complete rule set found in the core set, and even at the end still feel like a beginner set. I had to refer to the main rules for a clarification at one point, something I wouldn’t expect to do with a stand alone box. Where there is a standard set of dice added you are supplied with a panic dice which there are no rules for here. The “Solo” event deck is mainly a re-worded pack with one different card. The supply deck is a half size pack with one different weapon, and has “keywords” included, which again have no rules in this box. For me, it really needed to include a few more differences.

 So would I recommend it? For an absolute beginner the gradual building of the rules works well. As in the main rule book it is well laid out, with plenty of tutorial side bars to explain what’s going on. But once you work through it you will want to get the main box anyway to play with the complete rules. If you already own the core set it will feel like a step back, rather than a separate entity, as you will have a near carbon copy of the rules. It might be best to look at it as a large booster pack with the extra accessories to keep as spares as well as the miniatures. But it’s going to feel a little pricey on that front.

As an aside, I’d like to say R.I.P. George A. Romero, without whom (despite his opinion of The Walking Dead!) none of this would have existed.

Officially in mourning. 

David Mustill


Wings of Glory has long been one of those games that I’ve seen people play at conventions or on social media, but due their – rather unfortunate – inability to keep starter kits in print consistently, it’s taken until now for me to actually play a game.  For this review, I teamed up with Brick Fury‘s Ian Harmer, who as well as being a Heroclix nut is rather fanatical about military planes, too.  As he also had a few games of Star Wars: X-Wing under his belt, I figured that he’d be a good person to try this game out with.

The game comes packaged very nicely, in a sturdy box that not only displays the figures nicely, but the vacuum-formed insert inside actually also works very well in terms of storing your components after you’ve punched a prepped them all!  If only all game boxes could be this accommodating.


The planes themselves are absolutely superb.  The detail is great, and the paintjobs are excellent.  They feel suitably sturdy, and should endure many years of play with ease.  They have a decent weight to them, and are a joy to “fly” around the tabletop.  My only criticism would be that there’s no way to tell planes of the same type apart – some sort of marker or distinguishing feature would help a lot.

The rules are super easy to get to grips with.  We were playing with the basic game after a few minutes, and after just one game of that, we feel ready to tackle the full blown ruleset – hopefully with some extra planes added in, as well.  You also get a huge scenario book, loaded with ideas and missions that’ll keep you occupied for quite a long time.


The game itself is incredibly easy to get your head around.  Players plot their moves secretly, and once everyone has placed their selected move face down, they then have to simulanaeously move their planes around the playing area, trying to out guess their opponent and get into a good firing position.

Comparisons with its much more successful cousin, X-Wing, are inevitable and – for what it’s worth – I think I prefer Wings of Glory. I enjoy both, but Wings of Glory feels much more streamlined, and simultaneous movement and shooting goes a long way towards making the game much smoother.

I’m looking forward to what else the system can offer, but so far, this Starter Set is superb! Ian shared my views, and was browsing extra planes on eBay within minutes!

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Brad Harmer-Barnes is a games journalist and comedy writer from Kent, England, and has written for (among others) Miniature Wargames magazine, Fortress: Ameritrash, Emotionally14.com and Suppressing-Fire.Com, which he also edits. You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter @realbradhb.


Runewars: The Miniatures Game is Final Fantasy Games’ newest big game system, and it is looking to be huge. Set in the Runebound universe, players fight for dominance on the battlefield, using sword and spear, magic and huge beasts to vanquish each other, and rule the fantasy realm of Terrinoth.

First things first, I know absolutely nothing about the Runebound Universe, and so this review is likely to miss a few marks and infuriate some die-hard fans. Sorry! Feel free to track me down and message me incorrect facts about things I like!

Runewars is an interesting hybrid of a game. Mixing troop-based ground combat with the Flight Path System used in games such as X-Wing, it presents itself as something familiar to fans of existing games, yet different enough to not feel like a simple re-skin. Much like games such as X-Wing and both variants of Attack Wing, this starter set contains enough for two starter forces, one of the noble Daqan Lords (read: generic high-fantasy humans) and the other re-animated forces of Waiqar the Undying (read: skeletons, monster worms and other gooey nasties), and all the miniatures, dice, tokens and assorted gubbins needed to addict you and and a friend to your newest set of plastic crack.


Opening up the hefty box, we are presented with three booklets and some cardboard sprues full of token style things. We immediately fling those to one side, because Holy Tolkien, this thing has some beautiful miniatures! On a quick look, there’s forty-six assorted soldiers and cavalry and things, and two huge monsters. All of them have some exquisite detail, and I am immediately drawn to something called a Rune Golem. It’s a big rock-like man-thing with tasty looking swords and the box art tells me that it has an internal blue glow, and it is very tempting to just stop this review right now and go paint it. No. I won’t. I’ll finish this first. I hope you understand how tough this is for me.

Unlike some other FFG titles, the models in this set come unpainted and need some assembly. 

The tokens are nicely designed, all in cardboard, as are the movement templates and range ruler. The dice are 8-sided, and contain some nice custom symbols.

Back to the three booklets, we have Learn to Play, Rules Reference and Lore Guide. I’m a big fan of this format, as it’s a really good way to get into the game. Learn to Play gives you the basics of the system, how to build a force, how to move, how to fight, and a simple one-on-one skirmish scenario. It introduces some more complex elements, but focuses on getting you to grips with how to play the game. The Rules Reference is a wonderful idea. I’ve seen it in other FFG releases, and it’s the closest thing to an “argument settler” that you’re going to get. What happens is my Rune Golem flanks your Archers? It’s in the book. What if I can’t work out how many dice to roll? That’s in the book too.The Lore Guide is pure chrome, and if the other books introduce you to the game, this introduces you to the world that that game exists in, and the factions at war within it.


I’m not going to dive too in-depth into the rules, that’s what the rulebook is for, but I’ll try to convey the general ideas. 

Each unit in your army has a double dial thingy that sets what that unit will be doing that round. It doesn’t define what direction the unit will be moving in, like X-Wing, but defines what type of action that unit will perform, such as moving, attacking and shooting. The second dial can modify the first, adding attack dice, bolstering defence and the like.

Movement uses movement templates almost exactly like every other game that uses the Flight Path system, to guide the position of your troops. The difference comes when one unit meets another. All the other versions are based in space or aerial combat, and the aim is not to bump into your opponent, but to line up clever shots and angles on them. This is not so in Runewars. You actually want to crash into your opponent, charging into their forces and attacking them head on, or even forcing a flanking attack, catching a unit unawares. This is the largest difference, to me, from Runewars‘ contemporaries, and it adds a small amount of complexity. Troops perform a function called “squaring up” where they literally form lines against each other, and this doesn’t use any kind of movement template, therefor allowing for exact positioning, and a freer range of movement on the battlefield.


As is standard, troops are bought with points, and given upgrades such as special weapons and character traits. This set contains plenty of such upgrades, and it doesn’t take long to spot some great and effective combos.

Again, I’m really breezing over the rules here as I don’t have a tonne of games under my belt, but it also includes effects such as Boons and Banes, which can help or hinder your troops, panic reactions, and varying levels of magic, that can ruin the best laid plans, or pull victory from a seemingly definite defeat.

In summary, Runewars seems to be a very in-depth, rewarding experience. In terms of complexity, it definitely ranks above X-Wing, in a similar area to D&D: Attack Wing or Star Wars: Armada. It’s not, by any means, a difficult game to learn, but keeping track of the various multipliers and game effects at once will take some diligence, and I doubt the rule book will be far from hand for quite a while. If this sounds like a negative, it really isn’t, it’s actually to the strength of the game; you won’t feel like there’s nothing left to master any time soon, and it will keep you coming back to try new tactics time and time again.

Realistically, the price tag may seem a little scary to fans of X-Wing and Star Trek: Attack Wing, but the contents are not comparable. Both space games contain three miniatures. Runewars contains many multi-part, multi-size characters screaming for customisation. Which is what I’m off to do right now.

Can I Fit LEDs in a Rune Golem?/10
Ömer Ibrahim is a regular contributor to Suppressing Fire and you can check out his modelling work on Facebook and Instagram.

Brad and Ian are joined by special guest Rob Wade (of Emotionally14.Com) to unbox, discuss and review the DC Joker’s Wild set for Heroclix!


When FFG release a new wave of ships for the X-Wing Miniatures Game, they often get known for what new things they bring to the game as a whole. I’m pretty sure that Wave 9 will be known as “The Era of the Firing Arc”, with two ships being the first small ships to have a rear firing arc, one aiming to actually be in your opponent’s firing arc, and one that features an all-new “mobile firing arc”.

The first ship I’ll be focusing on is the ARC-170 Starfighter, for the Rebel Alliance faction.

The ARC-170 is a movie-canon ship, it can be seen accompanying Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi in The Battle of Coruscant at the beginning of Revenge of the Sith. As such, this marks the first real Clone Wars-Era ship to be released for X-Wing. (Yes, I know you can see the Falcon for a few seconds in Attack of the Clones, and that versions of Z-95 Headhunters and Y-Wings turn up in The Clone Wars series, but the versions of those in X-Wing are of the later, Galactic Civil War Versions. Stop nit-picking, I can’t hear you, this is a written article, I’m technically in the past, so now you’re just talking to your screen for no reason, you weirdo.) Originally used by the Clone Troopers that would transform into the Galactic Empire’s Stormtroopers, these ships have been “adapted” and pressed into service by the Rebellion. Whether or not this opens up the door for future Clone Wars releases like the Jedi Interceptors or even whole new factions like the Trade Federation is up for debate, but for now, it’s nice to look backwards at some older technology, instead of focusing on all he souped-up ships of The Force Awakens.


Physically, the model is beautiful; possibly even my favourite release to date. It’s pretty big, for a small-based ship, just narrower than the K-Wing, and about the same length. True to its age, the paintwork makes it look completely battered, with mismatched panels on the wings, scratch marks on the entire body and the Rebel Firebird hastily slapped on one side. The S-Foils are very reminiscent of the classic X-Wing, modelled fully open so that you can actually see straight through the ship. The general level of detail is wonderful, making it perfect for custom paint jobs and modifications.

So, that’s how it looks, but how does a ship older than the already outdated Y-Wing fly?

Really, really well.


The basic ship has a fair dial, a little more manoeuvrable than a Y-Wing, but not as fast or flashy as an X-Wing. Its basic stat line of 2 Attack and 1 Defence aren’t spectacular, but they get the job done, and are built to be modified, and it’s 6 Hull and 3 Shields should help it soak up the damage that it can’t evade. It also features a rear firing arc, meaning it can shoot anything that decides to chase it, albeit only with it’s primary weapon. 

Interestingly, it has no generic pilots, meaning that whatever size of game you are playing, you can never run more than four of the ship. Whilst some may not like the idea of not having a cheap, generic version to use, I think that it keeps with the theme of the ship. There aren’t many of these relics left flying, and only a few people know how to use them. The Squad Point cost of these pilots are 25, 26, 28 and 29, putting it in at the mid-to-top level of fighter costs. In terms of upgrades, these are the first ship to be able to take both an Astromech Droid and a Crew Member, opening up some wicked combos, and allowing C-3PO and R2-D2 to fly together for only the second time in the game. Which is nice.

The four named pilots vary in quality, but there are two that are making the most noise in the community.


Shara Bey is Poe Dameron’s mother. Poe Dameron flies possibly the most advanced Starfighter in the galaxy, the T-70 X-Wing, but his mum pilots a chugging old mini-van of an ARC-170. If there were a Poe crew card in the game, the teen comedy would write itself. Miss Bey’s pilot ability basically lets friendly ships use her target lock as their own, freeing up the actions of other pilots and making her a tasty support piece. Dameron’s mum has got it going on.

The other well-received pilot is Norra Wexley (Snap Wexley’s mum, from Aftermath – Ed). If she has a target lock on an enemy ship, she can spend it to add one focus result to her roll. Whilst this may not sound too fantastic, it pairs up quite nicely with some of the upgrades available through this pack.


The main upgrade that will probably be given to every ARC-170 is “Alliance Overhaul”, a title card fit for only the ARC-170. Costing zero points, it allows any attacks from the front firing arc to roll an additional dice, and any attacks from the rear may change one focus result to a critical hit. Miss Wexley’s ability to generate focuses is suddenly more useful.

Other upgrades of note are “Tail Gunner”, which reduces the agility of the target when firing from the rear arc, “Vectored Thrusters”, which allows any small ship to take a barrel roll action, and the “R3 Astromech”, which enables you to cancel one focus result whilst attacking to give your ship an evade token. Again, very useful with Norra.


Another fun upgrade is the “Seismic Torpedo” which allows you do destroy and remove obstacles from the game, whilst possibly hurting anyone close to it. Changing the layout of the table is a big step for the game, and is sure to change the way people play.

All in all, the ARC-170 is a very strong release, and a wonderful addition to the sometimes under-appreciated Rebel faction. It adds lots of new aspects to the game, without overpowering anything that had come before, and that can only be a good thing.

Score: I’m Going To Buy Too Many Of These/10

Ömer Ibrahim is a regular contributor to Suppressing Fire and you can check out his modelling work at Can’t Sleep, Must Paint

Joe Crouch, Ian Harmer and Brad Harmer-Barnes get their hands on the latest Fast Forces set for Heroclix, and test out all the figures:

Joe Crouch, Ian Harmer and Brad Harmer-Barnes present an unboxing for the latest Heroclix series “DC: World’s Finest”, with Superman, Batman, The Metal Men and some cats popping up along the way.