Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Bolt Action: 2000 pts Tank War

Steve's US v. Jim's Panzers
We added an extra 750 pts to 1250 Tank War lists lists we were considering for the upcoming comp to fight a battle on a 10'x6' table with rolling farmland terrain.   We used the standard Tank War Scenario with 5 objectives on a 5-die pattern.
The action was all about the central objective with no effort by either side to contest any of the other 4 objectives.  The US had airpower - a rarity for us.  It may be an experiment unlikely to be repeated as the first airstrike attacked their own side & was sent packing by friendly fire, & the second airstrike never came at all.  The US had early success, popping the Panther with their first shot at it & their jumbo Shermans' armour keeping off the Panzer's fire.   But the farm yards & orchards gave the panzergrenadiers cover to get up close & one jumbo was brewed by a faust & another by a schreck and quite suddenly the tide turned.  By the end of turn 6 the US were out of armour & when another big pussy arrived on the battlefield the US conceded.
Large BA games can have problems.  Too many units can make the game drag a bit & a larger table can upset the balance in some scenarios or make it difficult to get a result.  It is not so much of a problem with Tank Wars.  Our 2000 pts armies only had no more than 15 dice & some of those were transports of little consequence plus tank combats are usually more quickly resolved so the game zipped along.  The large table certainly enhances the Tank War version of the game.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Sunday Bolt Action at the End Game Cafe

Steve's US v. Jim's Panzers
Steve tried out his US option for Tank Wars.  There were 3 objectives - one at the road junction & one 6" from the table edges on the diagonal road.  The Germans grabbed the centre objective with infantry & some survived to the end to keep it.  On the left a US M10 & armoured car took out the MkII & Panzerwerfer to take that objective off the Germans.  On the right 3 Hetzers destroyed 3 Shermans & an anti-tank gun & had one Hetzer left to take that objective to win 2 objectives to 1.
John's Germans v. Rusty's US
 On another table John & Rusty played Chain of Command.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Battle of Dogger Bank 1916

Continuing our holiday from Hail Whoever by digging out another game we haven't played for some years: Dreadnoughts- our house rules for sea battles ca 1905-1942.  Tonight we fought Dogger Bank 1916.
The German fleet in the foreground has 3 Battlecruisers & the Armoured Cruiser Blucher with a screen of DDs & Light Cruisers in front.  The first British squadron of 3 Battlecruisers, DDs & CLs is coming on the LHS.  The lead cruisers have just seen each other.  Another Britsih squadron of 2 Batlecruisers, DDs & CLs is expected soon.
The second British squadron has come on in the far corner.  The German squadron has turned back to take the Brits on.  The light ships are skirmishing between the big boys.
The 4 German capital ships try to take on 3 British ships while the other Brits are still coming up. 
The German DD's sip around the British screen & fire torpedoes (the blue counters are a mix of torpedoes & decoys).  The British Battlecruisers turn away & the only loss to the torps is a light cruiser.   The neat German line is firing to good effect on the now disorganaised British.  The Tiger is  reduced to half speed & the Princess Royal has to turn away badly damaged in the main caused by the old Blucher, left unmolested at the back of the fleet as the Brits concentrate on the 3 more dangerous ships  
But the Germans success was short lived.  The 2nd British squadron arrived in time to save the 1st squadron & in one turn of bad German shooting v. good British shooting turned the battle around.  The New Zealand caused critical damage on the Moltke & the Lion did likewise to the Derflinger.   The Germans were fortunate to have no speed damage, turned away laying smoke & were able to escape with no capital ships lost.

The Brits also lost no capital ships, but also had 2 severely damaged. Both sides lost a lot of DDs & CLs.  Victory will depend on whether you read the German or the British newspapers.  

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Bolt Action at The End Game Cafe

Steve's Panzers v. Jim's Tankovy
I tried out a Tankovy list I might use in the upcoming Tank Wars comp if there are too many Germans against Steve's Panzers.
The dice decreed only 1 objective in this Tank War scenario so we put it right in the centre.  The Soviets rushed their infantry forward & grabbed the objective on turn 1.  They placed their armour on the right intending to overwhelm the German left, then move up in support of the infantry on the objective.  The plan unravelled when Steve snuck a Panzershreck through the woods on the Soviet right flank.  The Scheker proceeded to dodge the mg fire of the inexperienced soviet tankies as he moved through their formation leaving a trail of burning tanks.
The schreker lost his loader, but carried on to single handed pop 3T34's & an ISU-122.   With the pressure taken off them by the heroic schrecker, the MkIII's had a free hand to mow down the Soviet infantry around the objective & take it to win the game in turn 6.  So the Soviet tanks were hopeless without infantry support while the Soviet infantry were hopeless without tank support ???  Have I discovered the Achilles heel of inexperienced troops, or was Steve just lucky?

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Napoleonic Naval

After over a year's break we dusted off the men o' war for some Napoleonic Naval action using our house rules.
Three French squadrons of 3 ships each v. 2 British squadrons of 4 ships each.  The wind is blowing down the table away from the camera so both fleets are close hauled on opposite tacks.

The two lead squadrons maintain their courses & slowly close.  Steve has sailed the rear French squadron across the tail of the British fleet.  Nick has turned the rear British squadron to engage them. 
The battle has split into two separate actions.  In the foreground Mike's neat line of 4 ships is engaging a rabble of 6 French ships.  In the background Nick is going straight for Steve's squadron.
The battle of the rearguards was a brutal affair with 2 French & 3 British ships breaking off with critical damage before Nick's last ship grappled & boarded the last French ship and took it. 
The battle at the front of the fleets became a confused affair with both sides having a ship forced to strike its colours, but the better seamanship of the British allowed them to hold their own despite the odds of 6 to 4 against them.  The French managed to regain their struck ship & the fleets broke off with most ships badly damaged & both sides with a prize.  A count of VPs gave the British a marginal victory.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Weekend Bolt Action

On Saturday night Dave came round & took on my Panzergrenadiers with his British Commandos in a Meeting Engagement.
The battle stared badly for the Bits when my Panzerwerfer & Puma took out all the British anti-tank assets (Sherman, 6pdr, anti-tank rifle) & his HQ in the first two turns.  Already four units up it was easy for the Germans to counter the British counterattacks. 

On Sunday afternoon we had two games going at the End Game Cafe. Steve's beautiful Panzers did for Matt's Brits in a Tank War while Matt's US had a big win over Josh's Japanese in a Sectors scenario.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017


Our Modder Fokker WWI air wargame is best played with 6 players.  Tonight we had six coming, so we dusted off the old planes.  Jim, Mark & Steve flew for the Kaiser, Mike, Mitch & Nick flew for the King.

Game 1: Early War
The Germans flew 2 Fokker III's & an Albatros II. The Brits had 3 DH2's.
A dogfight with 3 a side is a scary place.  The players below are concentrating hard, plotting their move for the next turn on their magnetic consoles before we do simultaneous movement & shooting.
It's been a long time since we did early war & were soon reminded why.  The planes are not very manouvreable & apart from the Albatros II only have 1 machine gun.  So the game is slower & less decisive than later periods.  Jim's Albatros copped engine damage with Mike's first shot at it which limited his speed & climb so much he never got to fire another shot.  The Germans never recovered from this.  Eventually with the damage level getting dangerous, the Albatros fled the field & his comrades had little option but to follow.  So no kills, but a British victory.

Game 2: Late War
This time 3 Fokker DVII fought 3 Camels
The difference made by the better speed, manoeuvreability & firepower of the late war planes was very obvious.  The game went much quicker & the damage quickly accumulated in the whirling dogfight. 
Mitch's Camel was badly damaged by Mark & Steve & it tried to head for home with Fokkers on its tail.  It dived away from Mark & Steve, but Jim cut in & finished it off.  Then Jim & Steve combined to shoot down Mike's Camel.  Nick's undamaged Camel had to fight his way past the 3 Fokkers to get away.  He shot down Jim's already damaged Fokker then dived for the British lines with 2 Fokkers on his tail.  Damage mounted, but no critical hits & he got away. 

It was a fun night ending in a win for each side.

Monday, July 24, 2017

More Bolt Action at the Cafe

After Friday's battle where a rules error is probably all that saved me from defeat against a Soviet horde, & having Chris's troops on hand, I thought I should try commanding one myself.

Jim's Soviets v. Steve's Panzers
This was a 5 objective battle so it all revolved around the central objective at T junction.  The Germans sent their panzer grenadiers to take it while supporting them with long range tank fire.  The Inexperienced Soviet armour needs luck to hit, but some early luck gave them a numerical advantage that German quality couldn't overcome.

Jim's Soviets v. Frankie's Germans
The ISU122 taking out the Panther in a lucky shot on turn 1 gave the Soviets an advantage that soon escalated to a such destruction of the whole German force that we decided to have another game.

Jim's Soviets v. Frankie's Germans #2
Yet again some hot shooting got the Soviets on top early, but there were only 3 objectives this time & the Germans had a Panther on one of them (behind the house on the right) & a Puma on the other (on the bridge).  
The Soviet infantry drove the Puma off the bridge & a T34 finished it off.  The Soviets then sat on 2 of 3 objectives but Frankie saw that he still had chance of victory by charging up the road with his Panther.    The Soviets had set up T34 ambushes to meet this threat, but one T34 fell back after being hit by panzerfausts (the grenadiers then fell back to their Hanomag) & the Panther ran the gauntlet, survived the ambush, killed a T34 & took the objective on turn 7.   But the dice decreed there would be a turn 8 & the Soviets got first command dice & with it the valiant Panther was set on fire & abandoned, so the Soviets scrambled to a lucky win.

The Soviet's won all 3 games today, but it has to be admitted that they had plenty of luck on their side.  A lucky shot or two early in the game can make a big difference in tank war against a smaller better quality force & the Soviets got that every time.  But the last game showed that in BA it's never over until it's over. 

Friday, July 21, 2017

Friday afternoon at the End Game cafe

On one table John & Grigsy played Chain of Command.
My notice on the BA Tas Facebook page brought young Jim from the Back Shed mob with a horde of Soviet armour.   The 6 T34's, 2 Katyushas an a/tank gun & a bunch of infantry was rather intimidating opposite my 3 MkIVs, a Marder, Stummel, Pak 38 & panzergrenadiers.  But the Soviets  were inexperienced & the Germans a mix of vets & regs  so actually not a bad match & it made for an interesting struggle.
The Germans are on the left.  There are only two objectives one in the wood on the left .  The Germasn grabbed the village objective by rushing PG's from the Stummel into the nearest house.  The Stummel dies on turn 1 as I met Katyushas for the first time in BA.  Very scary but ultimately controlled pretty well by mg & rifle fire.
While the German armour faced off with half the Soviet armour on the right, the Pak 38 faced iup to 3 T34's & an infantry squad on its own.
The gunners somehow saw off the infantry charge then survived a tank assault, & while losing the gun the surviving gunners went down in the woods still holding the objective.  The Panzergrenadiers in the house missed every shot with their fausts, but shot up a Kat before being destroyed by a tank smashing their building. (We thought the rules for tanks smashing buildings seemed a bit draconian, but after the battle I noticed that we erred in letting a medium tank do it - only heavy & super heavy tanks can demolish buildings, so maybe the rules are reasonable).  The armour slugged it out on the right with Germans gradually getting the worst of it.  The -1 for inexperienced seemed very significant, but if you get enough dice the hits come eventually.
The game went to an 8th turn & the Germans got down to just 2 gunners, a truck & one tank, but they held onto 1 objective so with objectives at 1 each, the game was decided by kills.  The Germans had lost 5 units, but had taken out 4 Soviets so held on for a lucky draw as the kill difference has to be 2+ to break the tie.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Beside the Nile at End Game Cafe

This week we had our weekly Camp Cromwell game at the End Game Cafe for a change.  We changed our night to Wednesday for the occasion as the cafe gets full with another group on Tuesdays.  There were several other games of a sci fi or fantasy nature going on, but room for us to reprise our British column being attacked by the Mahdi scenario.
An Egyptian division is in the village, a British column is marching beside the Nile to join them.  The Mahdi's forces start off table on the right& can come on anywhere subject to the usual command test.
The battle started with the Mahdi's cavalry attacking the Anglo-Egyptian cavalry at the head of the column.  Dice trumped logic when the hussars were pushed back while the Egyptian horse initially did well.  One hussar unit broke, but the other was saved when the 1st Mahdi cavalry division was broken by the Egyptian horse & fire support from the infantry & artillery. 

Seeing the cavalry having some success, the first 2 Mahdi infantry divisions came on to attack the rear of the British column.  The British division lost half their units before the Mahdi's divisions ran out of steam. 
The Mahdi's 3rd & 4th infantry divisions came on between the other infantry & the cavalry & attacked the 2nd British infantry division.
On their right the surviving British infantry were shaken, but so were the survivors of the 1st & 2nd Dervish divisions.  Unable to charge, the Dervishers were gradually being whittled away by rifle fire (which was still deadly enough even with -1 for shaken).
On their left the surviving British & Egyptian cavalry was hanging on against 2nd Mahdi cavalry division.
Now all the Mahdi's force was seen to be attacking the British column, the Egyptians are forming up outside th village to come to help out, but the are too far away to be likely to be of any help.

The forces had different Army Break tests.  The Mahdi's criteria was to break on losing more than half his 6 divisions (2 cav & 4 inf).  The British column's critera was to break on losing more than half their total number of units.  The Egyptians in the village had a separate test.  The Mahdi lost his 1st cavalry division, then the 1st & 2nd infantry while the British lost half the units in every division.  With both sides teetering on the edge of failure, it was the Brits who lost out. On seeing the Brit's break, the Egyptians returned to the village.

As good as home base is, it's nice to play away & to promote historical gaming.  We intend to make this a regular thing with our more portable games.  Naval & air games would be good options.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Bolt Action Tank Wars at End Game Cafe

We had a good turn-out at the End Game Cafe (the new annex to Good Games) today.
We had 3 tank war battles going with 1250 pts lists, plus a few interested spectators.
Sean's Brits v. Steve's Germans.
Ian's Brits v. Frankie's Germans.
Jim's Brits v. Matthew's Germans.
My battle with Matthew was a typical tank wars battle with wild swings of fortune both ways, but in the end I hadn't enough left on my right to withstand Matt's flank attack, so he won with 2 of the 3 objectives.  This was the only German victory on the day.

We hope to make this a regular fortnightly event at the End Game Cafe from 12.30 Sundays with 1000 pts infantry or 1250 pts tank lists.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Medieval Battle

 Mike's force is on the left, Mitch's on the right.
Mitch's plan is compromised on turn 1 when his left battle blunders forward giving up the advantage of the hill.
The battle became a revolving door as Mitch's left was pushed back up the hill while his right wrapped around Mike's left.
The door continues to revolve.
Both side's left flank battles have broken & the players agree to a draw.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Friday afternoon Bolt Action at Good Games

John Mumford gave his Soviets a run against my Operation Sudlicht Panzergrenadiers in a Hold Until Relieved Scenario.
In this Scenario the defender places 2 units near the objective in the centre of the table, the attackers put as many units as they want on the table over 18" from the deployed defenders.  The defenders have up to half in their first wave.  The remaining units on each side are in reserve.

The Germans defended & Hitler's buzzsaws initially decimated the Soviet hordes, but the arrival of soviet light armour festooned with MGs from reserve somewhat turned the tide & a last desperate charge by NKVD fanatics came within a dice roll of taking the objective as they charged through the village taking it house by house.  But they ran out of men fighting for the last house & with no infantry left the Soviets conceded.

The success of Operation Sudlicht has kick-started preparations for Operation Cromwell 2017 = Bolt Action Tournament at Good Games.  I'll be sending out a flyer as soon as we have confirmed the date in September/October.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

English Civil War

Mike's Royalist force had 3 infantry brigades of 2 pike & 4 shot plus 2 cavalry brigades of 4.
Jim & Mitch's Parliamentarians had a infantry brigade of 2 large pike & 2 large shot, 2 more the same plus 1 standard shot plus 2 cavalry brigades of 4.
 The parliamentarians are on the left.
Both sides try to advance with varying degrees of success.  The parliamentary musketeers moving into the field subsequently throw such poor command dice that they get charged in flank by Cavaliers & ridden down.  
The Cavalier attack over the river has been counterattacked by pikes & is being driven back.  On the far flank, the Royalists have been driven back over the creek by musket fire.
The Cavaliers tried to force the river, but were driven back by the Roundhead horse & the battle has turned into a firefight with musket & pistol across the creek all along the line. 

On the near flank another Cavalier attack over the creek has been repulsed., but one of the pike blocks has been broken by musket & pistol fire.   The Parliamentary CIC is leading a cavalry unit from the centre to plug the gap.  In the centre the Royalists have crossed the creek.  The Roundhead horse charged them, but they formed hedgehog.  The Roundheads have fallen back behind their foot.
On the near flank the Roundhead horse have counterattacked over the creek & broken one Cavalier brigade.  In the centre the Royalists broke out of hedgehog, the Roundheads charged again, but with poor command dice didn't charge home.  On the far flank the Parliamentarians are on top, but the Royalist brigade just keep passing their Break Tests. 
The Parliamentary infantry around the farm has been broken by musket & pistol fire.  On the far flank the Royalist brigade surviving numerous Break Tests any one of which would have broken it until the Parliamentarians ran out of puff then broke on their first opportunity to do so.  The remaining Parliamentary infantry in the centre followed suit at their first opportunity.  That was 3 divisions out of 5 broken & game over for Parliament.

It was frustrating game for the Parliamentarians - one of those where they could only throw high for command & low for break tests while the Royalists did the opposite.