Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Only in the UK

There's a fellow on YouTube, Doug C, who is putting up snippets of a British tv show called Battleground from about 30 years ago.  Hosted by Edward Woodward, the show was about miniature wargaming.  They're a lot of fun to watch and I thought some of you might agree.  Here's a link to Doug C's channel.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChjD9Wfm_T3aWET7JIb9UXQ/videos

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Saga Begins

Saga is a ruleset I've owned pretty much since it was released.  I read through it initially and thought it seemed like it'd be a lot of fun.  I watched a bunch of videos of guys building forces and terrain for Saga, along with some gameplay video.  It seemed great and I couldn't wait to jump in.  The only problem was, I never actually played.  I talked about it a few times with a few folks, but it just never materialized.  I've been almost completely missing in action from the gaming scene for the last several months due to work commitments, but I was able to get an afternoon together with Robert, one of the local guys I play(ed) with pretty regularly, and who is also interested in the system.  So, I was finally able to get in a couple games of Saga.

We played two games, using the first scenario, Clash of Warlords, for both games.  Now anyone who has played me knows I don't really study scenarios very much - often to my detriment.  Usually, I just want to get the gist of the rules down, get a force painted up, and have some fun!  So, in the first game I realized very quickly that my Anglo-Danish Huscarls weren't just given some random name.  You need to protect the Warlord!  Game one was over pretty quickly with the death of my leader, John Quade the Anglo-Dane.
Vikings flank and surround the left flank

These guys never made it to the fight!

They're all around us!

The folk gave a good account of themselves, but were overwhelmed by Vikings.

So, after the Norns taught us that cruel lesson, we reset and began again.  Scenario was the same, but 
This time John Quade has lots of retainers in close proximity.
this time the Anglo-Danes had the jump on the Vikings.  My unit of 8 Daneaxe-wielding hearthguard, or as Robert deemed it, the Assassination Squad, attacked a unit of apparently doomed Viking warriors.  Truly, the feast of ravens was great this day as the Vikings were all judged by Brynhild and her lot, but in true Viking fashion, took 5 of the 8 Danes with them.  Across the field, the local fyrd tried to gain position on the marauding Vikings.  The Northmen might have been small in number, but were ferocious in battle.
The Fyrd attempts to gain an advantage in numbers.
The fighting was bloody and quick.  Neither side had time to form a shield wall as berserkers raged through the ranks of the peaceful settlers, and were themselves slaughtered in turn.  Finally, the remnants of the two armies faced off.  The Viking warlord and his remaining retainers refused to call the raid a failure even though they were outnumbered.  The Danish settlers were determined to keep that which they had not already lost.

Remnants of two armies
As the final stuggle commenced, the remaing Danes gained their seats in Valhalla.  John Quade stood alone, yet cut the heartstrings of two remaining VIkings.

John Quade stands alone
 The final act saw the two Warlords eye to eye, bloody and beaten.  Only they remained to determine the result of the day's fighting.  The rest now feasted with Odin.  Determined and resolute, neither would yield.
The final act.
Axe versus sword, the sound of steel on steel rang out once again.

Victory!

It was an awesome game.  It came down to a duel between the two warlords, every other model had been killed.  Granted, the Viking had a large advantage at the end and the game ended in a loss for me, but the SAGA was epic!  Great game which I am sure will get on the table again.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Aaahhhh!

Finally!  After over a month since I last set foot in a game store, and over 3 months since my last game of FoW, I was able to get in a very friendly partial game tonight.  My mechanized Brits took on a German infantry company with armor support in Free For All.  The table was very open with no cover in the middle.  The German infantry company consisted of artillery, an 88, PaK 40s, StuGs, and Pz IVs.  Oh, yeah, and two infantry platoons.  Time ran out after we had completed three turns. British artillery managed to take out the 88, pin one of the infantry platoons and the opposing artillery.  Germans also lost half their artillery, a StuG, a Pz IV, and random infantry units.  The cost was high with 4 of the 8 British tanks knocked out with 2 more bailed.  Good times were had.  I was pretty rusty with the system after such a long break.  It looks like any gaming I'll get to do in the foreseeable future will be weekday evenings.  Hope you enjoy the pics.

Infantry following armoured thrust

Sextons destroy an 88 on the hill

Bracing for assault

Right flank

Armour engages

I've got a couple of other things in the works that I'll put up eventually.  Like always, I'm doing 3 projects at once, so none of them get done very quickly!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Bolt Action Recap

Today was another game of Bolt Action.  This was the first 500 point game I've played in the current escalation league.  I ran three rifle squads, a sniper team, heavy machine gun, and medium mortar. We played the demolition scenario.  I had a day of horrendous dice rolling, managing to fail numerous order tests and score very few hits throughout the game.  Amazingly, I was able to hold on for a draw.

The good news is that I was the highest points scorer in the league for the month of August and won a prize.  Warlord Games has provided some items as prize support for folks who play in the league.  I got this


which will fit in perfectly with the Soviet army I'm planning for this system.  I've got all the figures I need (I think).  Just need to decide on guns, vehicles, etc.  I've painted up just a few figures just to get an idea of how to paint them.  I've also got a 15mm Soviet army to build and I'm not sure which I'll concentrate on first.




Monday, September 1, 2014

Hail Caesar

Today I had a Labor Day treat.  I was invited to play in a 300 point game of Hail Caesar with Tim,
Al, and Joe.  Al and I ran his Dacians against the Romans of Joe and Tim.  This was the first time I'd played and was grateful to be given a division consisting of 3 warbands (2 armed with falx) and 1 small unit of skirmishing cavalry.  My division was on the left flank facing Joe's legionnaires.  Fortunately the Romans were mostly raw with only one trained unit.

Looking down the Dacian line after setup.  This cardboard barrier was used so each team's disposition would be hidden from the other side.

Looking across the field from the Dacian left.

The Roman lines.

Skirmishing cavalry goes into open order to move through woods.  They are able to quickly get into a good position to harass the massed ranks of the Romans.

Looking down the Roman line from their right flank.

Almost in javelin range.

Wild Dacians taunting the disciplined Romans.

Both lines advance.

The Romans advance at a more measured pace than the wild barbarians.

Skirmishers clash on the Roman left.

The Roman center forms testudo as they prepare to charge.

Romans charge the Dalcian center.

Dalcians are pushed back.

The Roman momentum drives the barbarians further back.

The Dalcian center is in complete disarray.

The Dalcian left charges.

The Romans are driven back, suffering heavily.

The barbarian center ceases to exist.

Despite localized success, the remaining warbands are unable to break the Roman right before they are caught by legionnaires reforming from the center.

Complete Roman domination of the field.






It was a stunning Roman victory.  Two of three of the Dacian divisions were broken.  The Romans lost two skirmisher units and one unit of legionnaires.  It was good fun and I hope to get in some more games of Hail Caesar.  All of my ancients miniatures are 15mm, so it'll be a while before I can think about fielding my own force.  Having a whopping one game to base my opinions on, I can say Hail Caesar seems like a fast, friendly ruleset.  I'm not sure I like the orders mechanism.  It adds a high degree of randomization as to whether your troops do what you want - or anything at all.  I certainly get the idea of "Fog of War", but when 2 units of Roman legionnaires do nothing for 4 turns with their commander standing right by them seems a bit much to me.  What happened in my case I can swallow a bit easier.  My cavalry initially advanced way towards the enemy line in an attempt to get behind the line to harass with javelins and/or charge a unit's rear if the opportunity presented itself.  They got to within 1 move of being able to shoot beautifully, but then failed the next 3 command roles and just stayed in place for 3 turns.  I can sort of see that scenario as they were far away from command.  But, Joe's woes seemed unfair.  Well, like I said, I've played one game.  Maybe it was a fluke, maybe there's more to it.  Regardless, it was fun.

Alea jactum est.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Wrapping up August

With only a couple of minor exceptions, this month has been all about Bolt Action.  I'm participating in an escalation league sort of by default.  I didn't really intend on playing in it regularly, but because of various factors, I've got about a half dozen games in during the first month.  There have been seven or eight people playing off and on, with 4 being pretty consistent.  Six people showed up today and we decided to do a single game.  Each person was alotted 300 points.  Americans on one side, Germans/Italians on the other.  The scenario was Hold Until Relieved.  It seemed like the Americans had the game pretty much from turn 2, but the game finished as a draw in turn 7.  It was fun - but with 6 different colored order dice, it was really slow and lasted about 3.5 hours.  Just a few pics of this one.





September is set aside for the Flames of War Market Garden campaign.  I'm pretty much ready to go for this - as far as my miniatures go.  Skill may be a different story.  I plan on using the month of September to work exclusively on my Duchy of Warsaw 28mms.  The 1814 Black Powder game is supposed to go off in October, so I need to finish getting ready for that.  I've still got two stands of infantry to finish along with 5 stands of cavalry and two guns/crews.  So, it'll be quite a bit of work to get those done in a month.  I hope I have left myself enough time.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Kings of War

Last night I met up with some new folks playing Kings of War.  This game was written by Alessio Cavatore and published by Mantic.  I'd been intrigued by it since it came out as it looked like a simpler alternative to Warhammer.  The guys provided me with a mini rulebook and a few other documents to explain gameplay.  I watched the last half of the game they were playing and asked questions as they arose in my little mind.  When they were finished, Daron offered the use of one of his armies (he had brought 3) and I faced off against Ben - you know, just to get a feel for the game.  I was pretty surprised  - after a total of 1 1/2 turns and about 25 or 30 minutes, I had the game down.  Simple.  Fast.  FUN.  I am impressed by this system for several reasons:

1)You can have the rules down in less than one game.  It's easy and fairly intuitive. There are only a few special rules and are pretty easy to remember.

 2)If you've played miniatures games before, you probably already have an army you can use for KoW.  The army composition/alliance rules are pretty relaxed.  It's pretty  much a bring what you've got sort of affair.  If you are short of a particular unit type, you can just spread them out on the movement tray as it's the unit's footprint that counts rather than the number of models.

3)Mantic offers all of the rules and lists you need to play for FREE.  Obviously it helps the company if you buy their models, rules, and supplements, but you can play your first game with zero expense.

So, based on the above, I will definitely be playing more of this game.  I do have a few concerns/don't really like that part:

A.  This game is so fast and simple, I'm not sure how much depth there is.  There are a couple of published missions and a pretty good range of armies/unit types,  but I don't know how many games can be played before it starts to feel repetitive.  I'll probably have a better feel for this after a few more games.

B.  When in close combat, only the attacking side can do damage.  It is quite possible to destroy an enemy unit with only one charge and combat sequence where the charged unit never gets a chance to inflict any damage.  So, the charged unit can be destroyed and the attacker finishes unscathed.  Simple? Yes, but theoretically a single unit could defeat the entire opposing army without ever suffering a scratch.  While it's not probable, it isn't hard to imagine a single unit destroying several enemy units without taking any damage.  Additionally, if the defender survives the charge, the attacker is beaten off and must back off 1".  The attacker still suffers no damage.  The defender can then counter charge in his turn, but he is charging a fresh unit even though it had just been beaten off.  This system does keep the rules to a minimum, but I'm not sure I like this particular aspect.

So, those are my initial thoughts after my first exposure to Kings of War.  Overall, I really liked it and intend on playing more of it.  I will wait to pass judgment on its longevity.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Friendly, Fun Bolt Action

One of the local gamers I've played with a few times kicked off a Bolt Action escalation league today.  This month is 300 points and the league will work up to 1000 points in November.  Win/loss records are being tracked for points which will reset each month.  Points are also awarded for things such as painting and presenting multiple army lists.  I got in two 300 point games today.  I was lazy though and only took two pictures.  Check out the Bolt Action page if you want to see them.

But now for the big news:  I had decided a few weeks ago to start a mid war Soviet army for Flames of War.  I got in on a group order from Old Glory with some local guys and was able to get 40% off of everything.  I ordered guns and infantry.  I wasn't sure if I had ordered quite enough infantry, but the guns were covered and I was beginning to amass tanks from various sources.  Today I closed a deal for a Soviet army with a guy who was getting out of FoW.  Here's the list of what I got:

3x AA halftracks
12x T34/85
5x SU76
T34 objective marker
Komissar Dedov
5x SU85
30 stand sapper Co. w/2 trucks & command
an Udarny Strelkovy Bat.
2x Sturmovik
unopened sapper Co.
Mortar Co.
2x captured Pz Iv
5x PSC T34 with 76 and 85 turrets
Battlefoam case
Red Bear book
assorted templates, bits, and scenic bases

Everything is in various stages of painting from unopened to completely finished.  The stuff that is finished (probably about 15% or so) looks really good.  A lot of it (60%) or so is basecoated and won't take a whole lot to finish off.  All of this I got for . . . $180.  Not free, but dirt cheap.  Maybe I'll put some pics up tomorrow.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Kessel!

Hello again for more front-line reporting from Glendale, AZ where for the last several weeks things have been heating up between the despicable Hunnish forces of Germany and her British and American opponents.  This week found those tough German FJ bottled up and surrounded in the outskirts of a small village.  The German paras had been pushed into a rough spot but were far from finished.  The British mechanized force, headstrong after a series of victories, sought to crush this pocket and put an end once and for all to German resistance.


British infantry, armour, and artillery approached the trapped Germans from two sides.  In typical British fashion, the commander devised a cunning plan composed of several intricate moves that depended on the successful resolution of several unknowable variables.  If it worked - it would be glorious!  The idea, basically, was to conduct a feint around the more heavily fortified northern objective while advancing on the southern objective from two directions.  The German plan was to hold and create an escape route from the pocket.  The FJ force contained PaK40s and StuG IIIs to support their infantry.  British artillery was able to bail one of the assault guns early on.



The British plan hinged upon occupying a wood near the southern objective.  This would serve as a jumping off point for the British infantry as they cleared the dug-in defenders.  German infantry was able to make it into the woods first - they were also supported by a machine gun platoon.



The armoured platoon operating in support of the diversionary force began to take losses.  Their gunners did little in return.


A second Cromwell platoon was slated to attack the southern objective from the opposite direction of the infantry attempting to take the woods.  This platoon moved forward under the covering fire of a pair of Achilles TDs.  The Germans responded by dividing the fire of their PaKs and StuGs to counter both armoured platoons.  


Despite taking heavy losses and being pinned down, the FJ in the wood were able to concentrate fire and offer a ferocious resistance.  The British assault was repulsed.


Jerry tried to follow up his success by launching his own assault against the British infantry, but the British were still strong enough to resist and eventually succeeded in destroying the tough German platoon.


Meanwhile, the northern armoured platoon had continued to take losses and the remaining crews eventually abandoned their remaining tanks.  It is rumoured that vicious lies were spread by enemy agents regarding the interruption of the company's tea ration.  Infantry in this sector began to shift towards the south, hoping to bolster the attack on the main objective while keeping the majority of the German forces in place in the north.


The British attacking force had managed to finally take most of the wood, but a portion was still being held by German machine guns.  Additionally, the British artillery had been largely ineffectual and had abandoned its bombardment role in favor of rolling forward to keep some pressure on the massed infantry around the northern objective.  The FJ holding the target objective moved towards the recently lost wood in order to challenge the British infantry that remained.  


Relieved from the harassing artillery bombardments, the remaining German StuGs and Paks were able to operate almost at will.  This resulted in the destruction of  the armoured platoon attacking the southern objective.


So, with one prong of the attack destroyed and the other very weak and facing overwhelming odds, the British commander prudently decided to withdraw his force, allowing the remaining Germans to break out of the encirclement.  Both sides lived to fight another day.  And the tea, while cold, was very much present.