Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Red Alert by Richard Borg

Dramatic stuff in a space opera kind of way rather than 'hard' science fiction but what the hell? It is game after all....

Despite saying last year that I would go to Salute again - absolutely being the answer to the question - this year I am not. I have a couple of domestic issues to attend to and to be honest was not really bothered about making the trip. Don't get me wrong, it is the premier wargames show in the UK but for me it is simply too big to really appreciate. These days I much prefer a gentle wander about and a leisurely browse rather than fighting my way through the throbbing throng (or thundering herd if you prefer) to look at a game or buy something. Besides, as you have probably have guessed, the budget for Salute has been well and truly blown....

The components from the base game

Anyway, casting my mind back to last year I had the pleasure of talking to Dan Mersey (of  the 'Rampant series' fame) who demonstrating the latest Command and Colours board game designed by Richard Borg - Red Alert. This is a game of fleet battles in space - a subject dear to my heart - and whilst I did not join the Kickstarter programme for this I was always going to buy a copy when it was released. Lo and behold a year later and the game is finally out and so, by virtue of some canny eBay disposals,  I purchased a copy of the game and all the expansions from those very nice people at the Plastic Soldier Company. I say very nice as they threw in a couple of pieces that were Kickstarter exclusives which is handy.

That very nice man Daniel Mersey in action with spaceships at Salute 2018

I will post a full review in due course and I will certainly be painting the miniatures that are included - all 92 in the base game alone. The expansions add more of the base game models but there is one that I rather liked that contains a space station as well as 8 transports. I also rather liked the playing mat that is included with the core set.

I have already seen a few comments across social media that suggest these rules could be a good basis for a set of naval rules - not surprising really as many 'space' games are naval battles by any other name. I expect that depending on the popularity of this release that there will be further expansions in due course - the background to the rules mentions a struggle with a race called the 'Krawl' so I would not be in the least bit surprised if they made an appearance at some point. I tend to be a little wary of game specific backgrounds as there always seems to be a feature that does not sit well with me. That is a little odd I know, especially when one is dealing with a fictional setting. The one that always enjoyed was the background to Ground Zero Games Full Thrust space combat rules. Of course Star Wars and Star Trek feature as being at the very least, well supported in terms of stories.

This will provide a very welcome diversion from the unremitting toil of the 18th century and the great thing is that it is pretty much ready to go straight out of the box. Indulgent? Perhaps. Fun? If the recent game at the club was anything to go by then yes indeedy - and I didn't even take part but was merely a curious spectator!

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