Sunday, May 9, 2010

When Patriotic Owls Attack!

There he is, top left of the battlefield; majestic, snowy...deadly!

This week saw a new skirmish game in the pulp genre hit the tabletop, Two Hour Wargames' Larger Than Life. It's a pulp genre skirmish ruleset much in the same vein as many others, but this one emphasizes the cinematic drama even more so. Your characters are the actors, your henchmen are the supporting cast, and so on. Each player has a small amount of figs at their disposal, one of which is their star and main personality in the game.

The baron leads his SS troops around a bend

As with most Two Hour Wargames, there is a good amount of reactionary mechanics at play. Unfortunately, as has been my experience, also like other 2HWGames, looking up specific rules and ease of reference during gameplay is somewhat tedious. Fortunately, these types of 2HWGames mechanics, once you get the hang of them, practically run themselves. They are not user-friendly, nor do they lend themselves to a hassle-free learning curve.

For me, it's mostly about the story and the action however, with the rules coming in a close second. If the rules get me from point A to point B, and allow me to do some solid storytelling in the meantime, even better. If everything clicks, then that's just magical.

German troops, lead by an officer, advance across the open

Officer down! Rooftop Thompson fire takes out the officer with trip ones

Adventurers take cover from the Germans behind the industrial complex

Seamus and his pet, Scottie, take position high in the catwalks

Seamus directs his men to fire at the Germans far below

German troops on the ground open fire on Seamus and his men

Swooping, screeching DOOM!

The baron goes down!

Larger Than Life deals with more than just humans, there are many choices of animals, both mundane and prehistoric you can take. The snowy owl here (represented on paper as a 'large bird') was part of one such adventuring party. With its fast flight and sharp talons, it made surprisingly quick work of its target...which just happened to be the enemy commander! My overall impressions of Larger Than Life didn't blow me away or anything. I'd still like to get some more games of Strange Aeons under my belt, and we haven't even touched the Chaos in Carpathia yet! Of course those two are just the tip of the iceberg!


  1. I really like the reaction-based game mechanics of THW games, but I agree that it takes a while to get the hang of it. If you play enough to get to the point where you don't really need most of the common charts, it goes smoothly. We used to use Chain Reaction for all kinds of skirmish games, from Cowboys to Star Wars.

  2. Just checked, Mega Miniatures does have an owl figure.

  3. @Andy: Woohoo!

    @Brian: We did a Star Wars Chain Reaction too, it was cool, and as long as you don't fall out of regular practice with 2HWGames, you're good to go. Like you said though, if you get rusty you practically have to learn the rules all over again.