Monday, February 8, 2010

Bag the Hun 2 - First Impressions

With release of Bag the Hun 2 from Too Fat Lardies only a few weeks away a lot of gamers are probably wondering about what's changed between editions and is it worth getting?  The Lardie's 2009 Christmas Special gave us a teaser of the new rules in the form of a game report.  This showed us the change from using the Lardie staple, the blind, to using bogeys to represent unspotted aircraft.  Whereas the the blind would represent large groups of aircraft the bogey now represents individual aircraft and dummies.  This looks fantastic on the table, what was previsouly 4-5 large pieces of card is now replaced with 10, 20 or 30 tokens, all depending on the number of aircraft, the pilot skills and the territory you're fighting over.

As the title of the post suggests this is merley going to be some ramblings about my impressions of the rules after a few readthroughs.  I'd like to follow this up with a few more posts that go into a lot more depth, get some feedback from other gamers and where possible show some "on the table" shots.

The Book Itself
So first up the book itself.  And by book I mean PDF, I prefer printing the book myself for a few reasons:
  1. I can put the book into those presentation folders with the plastic sleeves.  This makes a book a lot more resilient to 'chip fingers' and the rough handling it gets on game night.
  2. I usually print two copies, one full book for me and another with just the "how to play" sections for the other side of the table.  This copy usually gets the highlighter treatment to mark specific rules and so on.  This makes it so much easier to introduce new players to the game.
  3. An extension of point 1 really but I like to keep the rules, any updates and scenarios I come across all together in the one folder.  It's so much easier to grab one folder when packing my game bag.

Ok with that aside let's get back to the new rulebook.  It's big.  BTH1 came in at something like 30 pages including the covers, BTH2 is a whopping 82 pages including the covers.  The quality of the layout and artwork is superb, book after book the Lardies have been nailing that fine line between eye candy versus printer ink.  More importantly is that the layout helps the readability of the book.  And this is important as there is a lot in the book.

Tables, Tables Everywhere and Not A...

Ok bad Coleridge reference there but one thing you notic with the new layout is that there are tables every where.  Don't worry though, this is not a bad thing at all.  The new look tables have guiding arrows that make it a lot easier to read tables that would normally be hard to decipher.  This makes looking things up a lot quicker during game play.  Excellent work Lardies.

Almost every area of the game has been expanded, whereas the first BTH was targetted at the Battle of Britain the new edition has been expanded to cover all theaters of WW2 and would also work quite easily with earlier periods such as the Spanish Civil War.    To accomplish this the core of the game has been fleshed out accordingly:
  • New formations
  • New manoeuvers
  • Greatly expanded aircraft data (8 pages of them).
  • Expanded damage tables (dealing with single and multi-engine aircraft)
  • More detailed pilot generation
  • Expanded flak rules
  • Expanded bombing rules

So What's New?
There's new rules cover all those house rules we've keep bolting onto the system:
  • Air to air rockets
  • Ground and naval targets
  • Strafing
  • Torpedo attacks
  • Doodlebugs
Also presented are some optional rules for:
  • Pilot characteristics
  • More granular altitude bands (0-12)
  • Clouds
  • Take off and Landing
  • Jets! (oh yeah)
What's also great to see is a nine page "Intelligence Briefing" about the formations used by the aircraft of both sides.  This really helps the keen WW2 gamers who aren't historians (ie me) to "play the period, not the rules".

My Favourite Bit So Far?
Ammunition, or more precisley they way it's now handled.  Previously you knew how much ammo you had and you could decide how much to use.  There were restrictions of course on how much you could use but now... oh man this is cool, you get a deciding factor in how many dice you roll to attack (usually around 10-15 dice) and you burn 1 second of ammo for every die that comes up a 1.  Other factors like the pilot skill, the number of successful hits vs saves and so on also affect the final value.  Additionally any attack that runs out of ammo is counted an automatic miss, regardless of the number of hits.  I love this rule, it just brings out the tension that a pilot must have felt when they knew they were low, but just how low?

I think BTH2 is a worthy successor to a game that was already fantastic.  The expanded rules still feel like the 'old rules' so there's nothing shocking and new rules just fill out the game nicley.  It has enough detail now that you can play small games of 2-3 aircraft aside yet it handles big games of 30-40 aircraft with ease.

I simply cannot wait to get this onto the table at the club, I've already converted a few guys there to the Lardie school of gaming but this is really going to get people buying miniatures.

I think this is the better of the two versions to start with if you haven't played BTH before, and if you have played BTH before then chances are you're going to buy this version anyway.  But trust me you'll like what you read.

More to Come
I'll try to get some aircraft on the table over the next week or two and put up some posts with a little more detail on specific aspects of the game.

So now that BTH2 is done, roll on Algy 2!
(Just kidding Nick and Rich, you can finish CDS first, I'll need a few months to paint all the new aircraft [and ships] you've made me go and buy... see Vicki it's all their fault)


  1. you swine timbo getting a advance review copy ;)

  2. I'm already desperate to get my hands on these rules, you've just raised the bar mate

  3. Well I'm keen to climb into my Spit and sweep Fritz from the skies! Thanks for the review, I'm looking forward to trying them out. I've linked to your entry at my blog too.

    BTW I'm in Melbourne also.