Author Archives: Corelin

Why Napoleonic Wargaming?

Ok, I saw a post on r/wargaming with a prompt that was just too juicy. There’s others in the post I’ll be stealing but this one should really be the lead for the series so here we go!

Can you discuss what makes the strategy, tactics, and feel of the Napoleonic battles different to those of other popular black powder era was such as ACW, AWI, French & Indian etc.

dboeren on Reddit

Great question. The answer to this question is: Yes.

What?

FINE.

Gros Freres

First, the feel of the Napoleonics. The awesome and terrible pageantry of 19th century warfare peaked early, and it peaked here. A well-painted Napoleonic army is an absolute joy on the table, and something that has to be seen to be believed. Regiments wore a bewildering array of brightly colored uniforms that contrasts sharply with later wars as uniforms became more drab.

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16 Different Uniforms for 14 regiments of ONE type of troops!

These armies also featured very professional officers. Despite some of the reputations that came from the war, from Battalion command on up, there were few truly awful officers, and while some armies struggled to comprehend Napoleon’s way of war (Sorry Mack) there weren’t many mistakes due to poor soldiering. At the same time, command and control was basically writing a note and sending it with a rider to whoever was carrying it out. Many games model this quite well, with General d’Armee / GdB doing it particularly well.

Strategically and Tactically the Napoleonic wars come at a very interesting time. Infantry combat featured both fire and shock tactics, requiring different formations, changing formations and maneuvering under fire, intricate marching, timing, communication under the most dire circumstances, and situational awareness in a field covered by noise and black powder smoke.

Cavalry formed the apex of military strength, with the Heavy Cavalry of the Cuirassier, Carabiniers, and Heavy Dragoons being nearly unstoppable, with infantry forced into densely packed squares simply to defend themselves. Artillery could be devastating, being able to roll up and unlimber within canister range and unleash withering fire, especially in the tightly packed columns and squares of the more shock-oriented infantry formations. Infantry remained the bulk of most armies, and could deliver its own devastating attacks in close formation, or spread out in long lines to deliver impressive short-ranged firepower of its own, and with a good ruleset all of this is modeled quite well.

There are varieties among troop types. Line infantry differs from Light or Grenadier infantry, Guard troops often have their own rules, setting them apart. Conscripts often represent the most and least enthusiastic troops. Some are willing to die en masse leading the charge and some aren’t willing to even smell powder lest it affect their delicate constitution. Light cavalry darts around the edges, often struggling to make much impact, but presenting a real threat to exposed units, and forcing their enemies to account for them, battle cavalry presents more of a threat but lacks the fleetness of foot of their light brethren, or the strength to face heavy cavalry, which are the true monsters of the field. Artillery forms the last of the major components, dealing long range fire, in attack and defense, to support the line or create breakthroughs against vulnerable elements of the enemy army. Additionally, it comes in several varieties, foot artillery comes in regular and heavy batteries, you also have horse or light artillery which moves faster without sacrificing much in striking power, and Austrians get the Wurst artillery.

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Not a comfy chair

Which neatly brings me to national character. The armies of this era each has their own national flair, which I’ll go deeper into later but to give you an idea, in 1805 alone you have: A French army that consists of a mix of new, but well-trained and drilled soldiers, veterans from Italy, the elite Imperial Guard, and massive artillery. The Austrians have a much more ponderous army, with far less in the way of light troops and skirmishers to screen their movements and keep the enemy at arm’s length, but their units are large and their morale tends to be quite good. The Russians have equally large battalions, but their training is awful. This is mitigated somewhat by excellent morale and massive artillery batteries. Finally you have the Prussians who are slow, poorly led, and not that well supplied in support troops, but they do have high morale… until Jena…

So, I hope I’ve adequately answered the question presented by dboeren. I know I didn’t really compare the Napoleonic wars directly to the others, and perhaps that would be a good article for later on, but for now I think I’ve adequately covered what I wanted to.

Why do you?

A good friend asked me why I study the Civil War. I’m going to expand on her question a little, because I don’t just study the Civil War, I study almost every major 19th Century War. I’ve read about the American War of Independence (which is really REALLY an 18th Century War) the Napoleonic Wars, the Mexican American War, the Civil War, of course, the Franco Prussian War, all the wonderful Wars of _________ Unification, Crimea, Spanish American, and even WWI, which is the true End of the Long 19th Century. A lot of my focus is on the Civil War, the Napoleonic Wars, and WWI.

Part of the reason I study the Civil War so much is that I always have had a fascination for it. Ever since first learning about it I studied it. Of course, growing up in Florida you learn to worship at the Church of Bobby Lee, something I’ve managed to break from rather conclusively. I’ve been to Gettysburg twice, and believe me I can help you plan a trip! I’ve visited Stone’s River and have plans to visit the Peninsula next year to retrace the 7 days. I consider myself very well studied in the militaries of the American Civil War. This doesn’t make me a master of the Civil War, there is a lot that goes into it. I’m familiar with a lot of the industrial changes that enabled the war, the system of private contractors and government foundries that armed the armies, the railroads and the sordid deals that kept tracks being laid during the war, the changes to the agricultural system that fed the North (and provided food to export to Europe during crop failures there) and the centralized decision making of Jefferson Davis that hurt the Southern economy so much.

Our Boys in Blue

I study it because I love learning more and there’s so much more to learn. Let me give you an example. Name 5 US Army generals from the Civil War. Most of my readers (those that are left anyway) can probably manage that. How about 5 more? Get as many as you can. Now start naming rebel leaders. I bet most of you can name more rebel leaders than US Generals. And the US Generals won!

I study it because it lies at a completely fascinating intersection of technology and strategy. Railroads and Telegraphs changed strategic planning, troop movements, and supply. Industrialization made arming and equipping troops possible on a grand scale. Improvements in metallurgy and innovations in weapons design changed battlefield tactics, but command and control in the field hadn’t caught up, leading to some of the worst trench warfare the world would see for another 50 years.

It’s a war that was written about. A lot. Some of these guys wrote letters like they didn’t have jobs. Henry Jackson Hunt, chief of artillery for the Army of the Potomac filled a Banker’s Box with letters just in 1863 (and UGH why didn’t they invent the damn typewriter a few years earlier…) His file at the Library of Congress is 4,500 items, in 14 boxes filling 5.6 Linear Feet. Just imagine that! And he’s only one player, and probably not one you’ve heard a lot about unless you follow me on twitter.

I study it because, for all that, it’s poorly understood. The Lost Cause movement has sadly done immeasurable damage to our understanding of the war, it’s causes, and turned it into a rallying point against the very people freed by the sacrifice of so many in the war.

I’m going to go off topic a bit and state some simple truths about the war. The southern states seceded over the issue of slavery. Their articles of secession, their constitution, their speeches, their letters, and their behavior on campaign all clearly state this. They tried to change the history books after the war and were very successful, but the only rebels fighting for States Rights were under the command of States Rights Gist. One of the armies in the war was the United States Army, and army that still exists, and in which I served SOMEWHAT more recently. The other killed the men serving in the United States Army.

While not every US soldier enlisted and fought to free the slaves, in fact the majority did not, from 1863 on Emancipation was a stated War Goal for the United States. Even before then the United States Army engaged in local liberation of slaves under the Contraband policy. The rebel leaders screamed bloody murder over this attack on their property.

I study the Civil War to learn more to more convincingly amplify these truths, and to better arm mysefl to fight back against people defending the indefensible.

At the same time, I study to learn more about the United States, and how the leaders worked, though, and fought during the war. Even as we find today, the military is a conservative (though far less politically connected) instrument, and its leaders didn’t want change, or wanted to minimize it. Look at the difference between McLellan’s stance on slavery, and even the contraband policy vs. that of the Shaws or even actual Conservative politicians-cum-generals like Ben Butler or Dan Sickles. Interestingly Butler was most definitely NOT an Abolitionist until he recognized that the slaves were incredibly useful to the rebels in a military sense, at which point he very quickly changed his stance on the basis of expediency. Something many more professional officers missed. Butler was WILD.

I study to learn about people like MG Gordon Granger of Juneteenth fame who… wasn’t actually that great on the issue of slavery, and wasn’t great on the issue of emancipation as it turned out, and it’s important to learn about this and talk about this because even though emancipation became the law of the land, it was hastily done, poorly handled, and did a LOT of damage to the black communities even as they were supposed to be lifted to the status of equals, as in “All men are created equal”.

And finally, I learn about these wars as a whole because they are fun to read about. Because the big red and blue lines and arrows on the map make sense in a way, I doubt the movements on the ground ever made sense (or even aligned that well with the actual movements of the troops but that’s a story for another day).

Warhammer 40k: Indomitus

Ok, I know I’m a bit late to the party but now that the Dark Angels book has come out I want to talk a little bit about a couple things. First, the game is different. The rules changes from 7th to 8th edition were huge, but somehow I feel the game has changed more, and more for the better from 8th to 9th, even though the actual changes weren’t that big. I still don’t like some things (proliferation of invuln saves and mortal wounds being 1 and 1a) but the game focuses a LOT more on objective play and scenarios. You have to build an army that can do a LOT more than just kill things (while, you know, still killing things). Marines going to 2W is, well, about 7 editions overdue in my not so humble/biased opinion. Terminators hit 3W which is very spicy, even with significant 2D weapons out there, firstborn marines are back with a vengeance.

Xenos haven’t had much to get excited about. Necrons got a pile of new stuff and they climbed the tier list, kept their flavor, and, I think, brought some new life to the lifeless robotic hordes. Aeldari are hoping for a similar pass, but they got a bit of a pass with Ynnari (which then got nerfed out of existence) and a handful of new models for Howling Banshees and Drazzhar. While Aeldari and Orks both BADLY need new models, I’m not holding my breath.

Ok, now to talk about the DA releases a couple weeks ago.

HOLY.
SHIT.

Dark Angels are R-E-L-E-V-A-N-T now. Like, hellooooooo meta. No more excuses for getting my head handed to me anymore. Automatic free Transhuman Physiology (never wounded on a roll of 1-3 no matter the weapon’s S)

Basically the Deathwing and Ravenwing are both troops if you put them all together in a detachment, and you can take a Vanguard/Outrider detachment as a Battalion (i.e. no CP cost) if it has your warlord in it, which is just… YES! The only problem is doing 1 of each to give you a classic Black & White army leaves you with only 8 elite slots and YOU WANT TO FILL EVERY ONE OMG. I’ve been making lists for a game next week and just… EVERYTHANG is good. Plain old Deathwing? Knights? Bladeguard? Champion? Ancient? Ravenwing Apothecary that works in both detachments and is the BEST APOTHECARY IN THE GAME? Relic Terminators? Deathwing Command Squad? Probably the only stinker is the Deathwing Apothecary because he’s so completely outclassed by the Ravenwing version. The Ravenwing rejoices in speed with so much elan it’s probably going to make any White Scars die-hards just give up. ObSec, great weapon options, and really useful stratagem kit that lets them deliver a ton of firepower as well as their jink invuln save (5++ 4++ if they advanced) is just brutal Oh yeah and a top notch Psychic discipline that gives you buffs, debuffs, tactical fuckery and just seems SO good thematically.

The big downside is that you are going to be a small elite army. There’s some real potential to be outnumbered by everything except Knights. Fortunately you can just pile in obsec units. Deathwing Terminators, Terminator squads, Close Combat Terminator squads, and Relic terminators can all be obsec, as can Bikes and Outrider bikes. Greenwing exists, but why? I mean I literally have an almost completely mechanized battle company and I just can’t see it hitting the table without some serious nerfs to Deathwing and Ravenwing. But, there was a clear swing and a miss in the releases. The Patrol Box.

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WTF is this?

That…. That isn’t a Dark Angels box. That’s a bunch of random crap painted Dark Angels colors and thrown in a box. They didn’t even bother to use the Plasma Inceptors, just the Assault Bolter version, with a combat squad of intercessors, a Dread, and a Chaplain. No thanks. You know what box WAS a Dark Angels box despite GW not marketing it as such?

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You painted your Dark Angels Wrong

In 8th edition I complained (correctly) that Dark Angels were little more than slightly different Ultramarines painted Green. Clearly GW has someone specifically reading my blog who saw that and acted on my criticism to differentiate them better. Good job. Because now we have a whole box of Dark Angels painted Blue.

I’m not even kidding. The Captain, the Lieutenant, the Blade Guard, the Blade Guard Ancient, and the Chaplain all can be Deathwing. The Outriders are Ravenwing, the Judicar can SADLY be in neither, and will be relegated to Greenwing detachments despite being an awesome model with amazing rules. The eradicators are a rare bright spot in the Greenwing, being excellent with the DA special rules, and the assault intercessors are good for learning how to paint, I guess, because assault marines are just awful and assault marines without a jet pack are even worse so why even bother putting them together.

Last Son of Caliban: Changing Times

Master Cain gripped his sword, his relic shield dragging on his arm, blade point down in the ground, bone white armor scarred and dusted with the detritus of the battlefield, he watched his Blade Guard squads stalk back to the Overlord. Beside him, Grand Master Belial watched his Terminators file into their Thunderhawks. “Your warriors did well, Master Cain” Belial voxed over their subnet. The purge had been completed, the foe was not there, the resistance completely overwhelmed by the might of the Dark Angels. Most of the melee weapons his Blade Guard carried hadn’t even been bloodied, the disorganized rebels had been so shattered by the initial assault, and the fire of their guns that none had lived to meet the Deathwing blade to blade.

“Today was not their test, Grand Master. Your training is more demanding than today’s… operation,” Master Cain returned.
“You are right to expect much of them. Much will be demanded of them, and soon. This blow was ill-aimed. The next will not be.” Cain glanced at Belial. One of the few firstborn whose height brought him close to the towering height of the Primaris, Belial in his armor carried a bulk and yet a grace that was manifest, even as he stood watching the battle’s aftermath. The last of the warriors filed past the two, and the engines changed pitch as the pilots warmed up for flight.
“Back to the Warrior, Cain tonight we dissect this mistake and tomorrow we set it right.”

Cain turned to climb into the Overlord, in the distance the jet black craft of the Ravenwing took off from another side of the fortress they’d just demolished.

Painting 15mm

So I’ve been painting 15mm Miniatures, both for Team Yankee (Modernish 1980s Israeli Defense Force) and Napoleonics (French Imperial Army)

15mm is a VERY different scale from the 28/32 mm I’m used to. It’s a bit more involved process, and it forces me to really embrace assembly line painting in a way I haven’t had to do since I gave up on Orks and Goblins.

So let’s do a bit of a hobby post. Step one for infantry (which is all I’m going to talk about today) is to get them mounted for painting. You do NOT want them on their final base as painting everything will be too difficult in close order.

So first I cut out strips of hard cardboard I clip the edges with a heavy clipper, then score along the traced line, fold and tear.

Next I glue the miniatures to the temporary base. I use Elmer’s glue for this to make it easier to remove them later. These Chaussures a Cheval are a little closer than they might be but still looking good. I did glue the riders to the mounts so that’s something I may regret later.

Here’s some pictures of infantry, cavalry and cannons mounted for painting from a previous batch. I changed the orientation of the horses and I’m NOT painting the riders like that ever again. That much I remember.

I paint entire units in a bloc. One color at a time, for the entire brigade / battery. 15mm still has a lot of small details to pick out and I spend more than a little time going back to fix mistakes and do touch up.

Then we mount them on bases, of course I forgot I don’t need 6 men for front rank of light infantry units so I have an extra base to throw around.

Then we do some basing I like the citadel texture paints for gritty mud and soil. I will probably need to find some more before the Corona days end.

Then it’s back to the Elmer’s glue, using a toothpick to spread it wherever you want grass. Then dip the whole base into a bowl of flocking, lift it up and shake/blow on it to get it all off.

I can usually get a fair amount of work done, but with the coronapocolypse going on I’m hoping to alternate a brigade of frogs and a platoon of Israelis for the next couple of weeks. I’d like to get a battalion of Israelis and a corps of French done, we shall see how it goes.

So, I’m back.

I’m back in EvE. I’ve found a home that feels good. I joined up with Pandemic Horde, moved out, spent a bunch of isk on a personal armada of ships in doctrines that are strange and yet familiar.

100% the most annoying thing in the game for me right now is the things I cannot do. Logistics frigates? Had to train that. T2 Siege and Triage? SUNUVABITCH! Heck T2 cap guns. Somehow I had all the fighters, I must have fixed that in one of my brief forays since I last played seriously.

I’ve worked to get better use out of my in game time, partially through monitoring discord to see when is good and when isn’t as far as logging in, partly through just having my life better organized. EvE can dominate your life like no other game and I need better balance than when I last played.

Pandemic Horde is an interesting alliance. Hordlings are mostly incredibly enthusiastic newbeans. They make mistakes, they learn, they get better. Things that would make me red faced and livid as an FC back in my Aridia days are just a sigh and a nod now. It makes the game more fun. Corps like mine (Remember the Fallen) are generally bitter as fuck. Not in a harsh or dark way, but very prone to laughing at people doing stupid stuff, and corp chat tends to be a sidebar filled with snark. But we’re mindful of new people’s need to enjoy the game, and that their enjoyment helps us enjoy it more so we MOSTLY keep the bitterness away from the new players.

I’ve had a lot of really fun experiences, my first supercap kill, more time in my own caps than ever before, figuring out interesting ways to use alts in the new metas. I should have more interesting and specific blog articles, especially with all the changes going on and how it’s affecting people. I do have some other stuff I’m going to work on as well as blogs do not seem to be the done thing anymore. We’ll see, I like blogging.

I’m using it every time I can

Scraping the Bottom

So the new Space Marine Codex for 8th is out. With it came updates to the non-Codex chapters. Blood Angels, Space Wolves, and of course, my beloved Dark Angels. To call this update a sop gives it far too much credence. I’m going to talk about 4 main portions of the update, and examine the effects that DA players have to work under while we wait for a new codex that hopefully will rectify the situation.

But first a bit of context so you can see the power level DA were in before the update. Here’s this morning’s ITC rankings.

One guy over 550, everyone else under 400, even dropping down into the high-mid 200s by #10
Vs. One score under 500. The #10 Vanilla Marine army would be the #2 Dark Angels Army

Ouch. So before the Codex, DA were virtually non-competitive vs regular Space Marines. That’s the environment we existed in Friday. From there we see four main changes to the new Marine Armies.

First off is Doctrines. This is a huge one, handing out -1 AP to either Heavy and Grenade weapons, Rapid Fire and Assault, or Pistol and Melee, depending on which you are on. This basically puts regular marines back where they were in 7th as long as their doctrine is going, and boosts intercessors a LOT, with grenades and grenade launchers getting some real “reach out and touch someone” on turn 1. Dark Angels did not get this in the update, leaving all our troops with inferior AP, and no way to “tip the scale” depending on what phase of the battle is going on.

Second is Litanies of Battle. This is GW’s attempt to make Chaplains much more valuable and I am here for it. Basically each chaplain gets to pick a Litany he can recite every turn. Some of these are very powerful, even if virtually all are situational. Of course DA didn’t get this in the update either.

Third was stat changes. This affects DA in a different way. Lots of Primaris units received +1 wound. Gravis units in particular. This DID get given to DA; however it’s still a nerf. Gravis units are now tougher than Terminators, relegating two of the few special DA units rather less effective. Those being Deathwing terminators and Deathwing knights. While DA has access to the units with more wounds, these units don’t have the same access to power boosts that vanilla space marine units have.

Finally there’s point changes. Many units received new, lower costs, which DA do not have. There were some increases (especially Thunder Hammers) which haven’t hit DA yet, but in general Dark Angels armies built to mirror vanilla marines will have fewer, less potent models on the table, compared to their basic bitch brethren.

I do want to point out that some changes did hit equally, Angels of Death being a big one, but even these hit equally. Every change has had either zero net effect or a negative net effect, leaving an already weaker army further behind the power curve.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel. GW has said there will be something for DA next month, but I am less than sanguine about it. We’re pretty late in the day for us to get what I think would help the most (The Lion) and I strongly doubt we will get more than a near-equalizer. Rules that bring things roughly in-line with Vanilla marines but don’t address the larger power imbalance.

I would LIKE to see a new chapter tactic. Grim Resolve doesn’t mean much of anything in a world of buff auras and MSU. I think something like a +3″ to aura abilities would be suitably strong, and also show the control the inner circle exerts over the Unforgiven. I know that’s very strong but… DA need something very strong at this point. Space Marines got boosted because they honestly needed it to be a top tier army. DA weren’t a top tier army, or even an average tier, now they are getting shoved even lower, and Space Wolves, Blood Angels, Grey Knights, and Death Watch with us.

Last Son of Caliban: I, Bors

Being an account of Lieutenant Bors of the Fifth Company, First Chapter, Legio Astartes, “Dark Angels”

“I have served the First for nearly one hundred years, sidereal. I have battled rebels, xenos, traitors, heretics, daemons, simple fools to the greatest terrors of the galaxy. I fought as a scout, a devastator, an assault squad member, a brother of a tactical squad, a sergeant, a member of the Raven Wing, a Dark Talon pilot, and in the Bone-White battleplate of the Deathwing.

When Master Balthasar fell I was all but assured his position as Master of the Fifth, until the Primarch intervened. He informed Supreme Grand Master Azrael that he had noted, with interest, the lack of advancement of our new Primaris “brothers” and was confused about their poor performance with our great chapter. He noted the performance of Master Cain when he commanded a Company during the Indomitus Crusade. As such he requested and required that then-Lieutenant Cain be appointed command over the first Company available, and thus my path was altered.

His performance has never been wanting, his leadership adequate, and his knowledge of both our weapons and our enemies, serviceable. He uses his subordinates to their strengths, and his employment of the full panoply of war demands even my grudging respect. Beyond that the Chapter demands my eyes on him. The Fifth is frequently supported by Grand Master Ezekiel and much of this is to ensure that the secrets a Master of the Dark Angels must know are kept secure.

In truth I cannot say whether he or I would be a better Master of the Fifth. I would not venture to second guess the Primarch, even though he is not ours, but I must admit I resent not having the chance to test my own mettle.”

I laid down the autoquill. Sealing the tome under gene-lock I stored it beneath the surface of my small desk. Every officer and Sergeant of the Fifth kept his records to be stored and recorded in the annals of the First. Taking a moment to ensure my wargear, my weapons, battleplate and jump-pack had been properly stored I prepared for rest. It was late in the day, truly it was early in the next, but the workload on officers of the First allowed for little sleep.

A vox-chime from my wrist reminded me that I bore not this burden alone. I recognized the comm-code of Grand Master Ezekiel and at once lifted the bracelet.

“Grand Master, how may I serve?”

“We brief tomorrow for the drop on Barnabus. You will attend me before Morning Prayer, that we may discuss certain aspects of the mission. The brief will take place instead of morning drills. Barnabus seems to be a simple rebellion but we have noted concerning patterns. We will discuss more before the brief.”

“Of course Grand Master. Is there aught else?”

The cutting of the carrier wave stood as Ezekiel’s only answer. I slapped the light switch on the wall and lay on my pallet.

Catalyst and Kickstarter

So, we had some very unexpected news on the Book of Faces yesterday.

This is… very complex news. First the good. HOLY SHIT LEVIATHANS IS COMING BACK! For those unfamiliar with it, Leviathans was an amazing game with miniature flying warships taking place just pre-WWI that combined some very fun and innovative systems to make gameplay very deep and strategic even with very few units on the board. The miniatures were gorgeous, the rules quick, fun, and deep, the aesthetic was perfect and everything just seemed to work. However, the game had a very short lifespan due to some things we’ll go into below, and there has been very little news of it for the last 7 years.

The reasons the game failed had practically nothing to do with Leviathans, and practically everything to do with Catalyst Game Labs. The initial release was drawn out and delayed for long periods of time as CGL struggled to get their product. Something they still struggle with today I might add. The buzz and hype about the game could not be maintained over such a long delay, however the initial run did sell out eventually and then… well getting new stock took over a year. While new ships were developed, new miniatures never were and the only real updates were a couple of fleet boxes that were just the same miniatures with variant rules.

Then the flow stopped completely. Catalyst contracted a producer in China that completely screwed them over to the point I don’t believe they even have the CGI renders of the ships. They had irregular and often useless communication with their suppliers, and they eventually just stopped responding to anything, even from the fans.

So now we get to the part that is worrisome. The kickstarter. Now I’ve backed some kickstarters, and I’ve followed plenty more. Some have been very good. The History of EvE, Weird War I and Leon Johnson were all fantastic successes. Some have not. Star Citizen being on ongoing mess that still hasn’t left beta more than 5 years after the delivery date. Robotech tactics got so badly handled that there was a suicide attempt inside the dev team.

Now we come to Catalyst kickstarters. Shadowrun: Sprawl Ops was estimated to go out Oct 2018 and there are people today, August 2019 who have still not received some or all of what they were promised on Kickstarter. The product that has been received is error-filled and in some places simply missing information or pieces. Now they are running a huge Kickstarter for Battletech: Clan Invasion. It LOOKS great, it LOOKS flashy, it LOOKS amazing. But I question the wisdom of investing money on a company that has repeatedly demonstrated it has no ability to control its supply chain, and refuses to make changes that would enable them to do so. They appear as committed as ever to continue to use Chinese suppliers, they lack the resources necessary to keep them in line, and they use 1 supplier for everything leaving them frequently held hostage by 1 company.

And of course the “exciting” news is that Leviathans is coming by kickstarter next year. We are expected to fund the final steps of development, all of production, and then wait and hope that history does not repeat itself. For a company that controls Battletech, Shadowrun, and has produced games for other IPs including D&D and Masters of Orion. I think I’m within reason to say “What the HELL are they doing with their money that this is the answer?” I think a company that cannot fund itself, provide a stream of product that enables them to deal with manufacturers and handle distribution does not deserve the quality of IPs that they have, nor the cheerful support of customers who have repeatedly been burned.

I hope the game designers bring more new features to the game, that we get all-new ships and designs that the already excellent rules are iterated and expanded on. Mostly I hope the game gets ongoing support. That there’s plans to ship new product and keep it in stock. That they have taken the piles of money thrown at them and their IPs for years now and used them to build some relationships or capabilities to ensure that those of us providing the money get our value for it.

The Glorious Tale of Broin the Mighty

Master Cain had mustered the company. The Chapter recruiting base on Molov close by the Cicatrix Maledictum had become a major marshaling point. The 5th stood in ranks in the hard rain, under a dark sky shot through with the otherworldly purple and green light of the tear in space. Chaplain Zadok brought his fiery harangue to a thunderous crescendo, extolling the virtues of the company and demanding more of them in the upcoming battles.

Nearly a quarter of the men in ranks were new to the company. More than a dozen dead, another bunch rotated to serve as vehicle crew or replacements to other companies, or to serve in the Ravenwing. In the ranks the new members stand at the end of their squads, their armor freshly repainted with the markings of the 5th. The rain washing down them, sleeting from the heavens made them appear as weeping statues. The puddles shook. a tremor washed over the company.

Master Cain spun, his senses pointing him directly to the source. Through the weirdly lit gloom a hulking shape approached, the full-throated, brassy notes of warhorns. A Crusader-Class knight, in black and bone. And what appeared to be deep green.

“Oh no” breathed Bors over the company vox.

Cain focused and a burst of lightning highlighted the name “Broin” on the knight as it came close, still half a kilometer away it towered over the vehicle park as it tromped forward between the lines of vehicles as if they stood honor guard for him.

The company stood, still and silent, facing away with perfect discipline. Cain admired them for that. Still he could feel every pair of eyes in every helmet straining to see the sight. Most knights walked with a noble gait, this one tromped with intent, but no grace. “Bors, what do you know”

“If this is the Broin I know this will be a trial, master.”

Cain looked at his Lieutenant, his hammer twitching in his hand.

“Is he that bad Bors?”

“He is a fine warrior, but if he was a tenth the warrior he thinks himself to be we could take up farming, or embroidery.”

As Cain stared at Bors, trying to detect any trace of falsehood in his odd comment, the Knight swung ponderously around behind the Chaplain, taking the place of honor as if to address the company. The horns sounded, deep and thunderous.

“Warriors of the First Legion” bellowed the speakers on the knight. “Congratulations on your fortune this day! Today you join forces with the glorious Broin the Mighty!”

Cain looked on in amazement. He could hear vox-clicks from his sergeants and Chaplain Zadok’s vitals were spiking.

As Broin’s speakers cut in to continue his speech, Master Cain stepped forward “Broin, we of the First Legion greet you. Tonight my Lieutenants, Bors and Nabbuk have prepared a feast, in your honor. We look forward to hearing your tales and to working with you. For now we must prepare for tomorrow’s embarkation!”

Bors looked at him, hate seething off him in waves. Even the unflappable Nabbuk seemed bemused. Cain clicked over to the command vox. “Seat him between Joab and Uriah. Adjust the tables so our head table meets at an angle to theirs at the front of the hall. We must not insult our new ally.”

“-and I look forward to our feasting and fighting as glorious brothers!” Broin was finishing even as Cain re-enabled outside audio.

The knight stomped away, to the head of the vehicle column, where a support crew in black livery waited to aid him down. Bors voiced a thought that clearly troubled him “Why is his livery on his shield so close to ours? Before it was simply halved, now it’s quartered with our green, though not quite the company pattern.”

Zadok sighed “I suspect it is one of Sapphon’s little games. He likely sent him the information on our company and suggested he incorporate pieces of it. He seems to enjoy… pushing decorum at times. See how we react. Testing us.”

“This will test us. Master, with your permission I’d like to head over with Nabbuk and prepare room at the feast.”

“Of course, Bors. I will see you tonight. See if they have banners or such to hang for the feast as well.”

“Of course.” Bors and Nabbuk saluted and stalked away, bristling with rage.

Broin, just about tabletop ready