Sunday, November 29, 2009

Slitherine Computer Games Review

Field of Glory Digital

The Field of Glory computer game is turn based with a hex grid so it feels like an old fashioned board game.  You can play v. the computer or v. people on the net.  Many historical ancient battles are provided as scenarios & there's an editor so you can set up our own.  I believe more scenarios will become availbale by download from the website.

I'm no fan of Field or Glory as a tabletop game, but the computer version I quite like.  The computer does all the calcs & remembers all the arcane rules for you, which helps, but also the game has been changed to a degree to suit the computer environment.   The changes seem to be for the better - for example there are much greater differences in move rates between infantry & cavalry than in the table top game.  I found I am able to use maneouvre to gain advantage to a much greater degree than with the tabletop version.  You can zap thru a game in about half an hour, so it's a nice little time filler.

Commander - War in Europe

This is a much larger scale game covering the Atlantic to the Urals from 1939 to 1945.  Again it's a turn & hex based computerised boardgame.   You have some control over production so you can built up your forces with a different mix to the historical.  It covers land, sea & air.  The game can be started in any year so you can start off in Poland, France, Russia or D-day.  You can fight the computer AI as either side, or play on the net v. people. 

The full game from 1939 on would take dedication and a far bit of time, but I think the game's exciting enough to maintain the interest (at least as long as you were winning, or are a maschocist) & you can save & take a rest anytime.  

The game seems to hit the spot between enough & too much detail & rocks along pretty well.  It's hard for Bad Guys to win (as it should be).  The Germans just can't afford to make mistakes - it can all go very wrong very quickly.   It also makes one realise how small the western front was compared with the Russian front.

The game is easy to pick up and play - the printed manual is only about 20 pages, but there are a lot of subtleties you need to master to do beat the AI.  I recommend playing some short scenarios to learn the game well before launching into the whole event.  The game doesn't have separate scenarios but you make a shorter game in a number of ways, eg:
- Start with D-day & see if you can get to Berlin faster than par (or hang on for longer).
- Start with Barabrossa & see if you can get to Moskow before winter stops you (or stop them sooner).
- Start in 1940 & see if you can get to Paris faster than par (or hang on for longer).

Slitherine Games

You can download the games from  They cost about 20 pounds (A$37) for the download.  On my not so fast broadband it takes about 15 minutes to download.  They run fine on my 2.2gH/4gB system with Win 7.   They also have Commander - Napoleon, a Napoleonic version of War in Europe.  I haven't got that one - I have enough to learn with the others right now.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Nick's Garage 25/11/09

Carl's Lancastrians v. Jim & Joe's Yorkists

FoG Wars of the Roses using Carl's 28mm figs.
Leigh officiating, Nick hanging about.
The York line had cavalry, bows & men at arms on the left, billmen in the centre centre & bowmen right.the
The Lanc line had cavaly & bows on the right, bows in the centre & bills & artillery on the left.
The Lancs advanced their whole line, their left dropping back because of their guns.
Pic 1 is taken behind the York left soon after the start.
Pic 2 near the end.

The Yorks advanced in echelon, left forward.  The plan being that the cavalry would ride down the bows in front then pursue into the cavalry behind while the supprting bows & MAAs would overlap the the enemy bows to support the bills in the centre.  The plan fell apart when cavalry failed every morale test caused by bowfire.  One unit routed quickly without even charging home & then distrupted the line behind.  The other cavalry unit did break through but the victorious bowmen wheeled about & disposed of them too.
In the centre, the Lancs bows beat the Yorks bills, while on the right the Lancs bills beat the York bows.
It just wasn't a good night for the house of York.
The game was a typical FOG line them up and throw dice contest.  Having Leigh assisting with the rules helped the game flow, but still slowly.  They really are a pretty ordinary set of rules, but worth putting up with to play with Carl's figures.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Maharajah 2009 3rd Quarter Final

James' Grenadiers v. Byron's US Infantry

Cauldron, US attacking.
James deployed 2 infantry around the objectives with his Pak 40s in immediate ambush.  He had another infantry, 2 Tigers, 105s & 4 Werfers in delayed reserve.
Byron put down mortars, heavy mortars, infantry & Shermans on his right, engineers, cannon & the 2IC platoon on the left.
James' put down the Pak 40 ambush on his right.  It mauled the engineers, killed 2 cannon HTs & a Sherman but the 2IC platoon (2ic & 2 bazookas) & engineers attacked it in flank & front & wiped it out.
James got his Tigers on turn 3 & attacked the US infantry in rear.
The Shermans attacked the German infantry with fire support from the M10s as recon & infantry came up from reserve.  The Shermans were destroyed but they took a grenadier platoon with them & the other platoon had to leave their trenches to dispute the objective against US inf, engineers & recon.  They destoyed both the engineers and the infantry before they died, but the objective was left undefended. 
The German reserves were slow to come on after the Tigers, but the 3rd grenadiers had finally got withing rifle range of the objective, the 105swere finally able to fire & the Tigers had finished off the US inf & were coming up.
To stay in the game James had to blast the US off the objective.  The 105's missed, the Tigers got 2 jeeps & the grenadiers got the 2IC platoon, but one recon armoured car survived 95mm from the objective to win the game for Byron.
A good game this one.  I think James got distracted & wasted his Tigers mowing down GIs when they should have been moving up to the objective.  He was also desperately unlucky with reserve rolls - his 105s got in just 1 shot before the game was over & the Nebles were still setting up. 

Byron qualifies for the Semi Finals.  This makes 3 out 3 wins for the Allies in the Quarter Finals - the Axis' honour is now in the hands of the Italians!

Matches to come:
4th Quarter Final: Jim's Carri v. Nick's US Armour
1st Semi Final: Leigh's Death or Glory Boys v. Byron's Panzerspahkompanie.
2nd Semi Final: winner of 4th QF v. Mark (US Rifles v. Jim or Fucilieri v. Nick).
Grand Final: Winners of Semis fight it out.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

MTG Event at Area 52 -- By Nick

I rocked up to the area 52 Magic Tournament. Its been a long time since I played Magic -- my official player registration is dated 94!

The tournament was a well run event. There were over 40 players -- a good show from a small city! There were even a couple of players from Melbourne!.
You got 6 boosters (90 cards), with which to make a 40 card deck. There was a whole process where you wrote down the cards you got and then passed them over to another player. I found this difficult -- the list to fill in was in small print that middle aged eyes had a hard time with!!!! Once you have the cards given to you, there is 30 minutes to choose the cards in your deck. Cards not used were a sideboard, i.e. cards that could be swapped in later. In the end, I misscalculated. The rules of the tournment were that the deck you designed was the deck you had to use in the first game against every opponent. So a bad decision in the initial deck construction could not easily be adjusted as the tournament went on. And I made plenty of bad decisions as I was new to the card set used for the tournament.

In the end, I finished with 3 wins and 3 losses. 4 of the games were quick wipeouts (2 wins and 2 losses). But 2 games were long drawn out knuckle biting affairs -- the sort of games that make magic great!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Maharajah 2009 2nd Quarter Final

Steve's Panzers v. Leigh's Death or Glory Boys

 2000 pts Encounter Mission on 8x6 table (Tunisia).
The table featured an unusual number of ridges with large open areas between.  Jim umpiring, Barrie & Joe also present.

Steve chose to deploy on the left side of the table as photographed. He put infantry with attached anti tank guns on the LHS objective.  The other objective was in a large orchard, the front of which is just visible on the left forground of the pic.  Here he deployed his 105s and a Panzer platoon (mixed MkIVs & MkIIIs).

Leigh put his double battery behind the ridges on his right with his HQ Grants & AA.  He put his US Lees behind the ridge on his left.

Leigh began agresively, advancing his Lees & Grants.   The 3 Grants had big bogging problems crossing the ridge & 2 of them spent much of the battle boged down there.  The Lees put their heads over the ridge to try & pick off the small Panzer platoon before the German reserves arrived.  But another Panzer platoon arrived quickly & with the help of the Luftwaffe the Lees were promtly dispatched.  The rest of Steve's reserves also came quickly - MkIIs on his left, & Pak 40s on his right.  The British still had no reserves on at this stage & with Panzers rushing towards an undefended objective, it looked all over for them.

But while Leigh's reserves were late, they did all arrive in the right place - on his left & centre.  The Panzers halted on the ridge among the burning Lees to engage Valentines & Crusaders but the Germans seemed to just run out of luck.  The 105's got pinned by artillery fire & just would not unpin, when the Luftwaffe hit the Brits were saving, and with the help of the 25pdrs, the Brit armour won the tank fight on the ridge.

Now the Brits advanced on the German right which had precious little left to defend it with.  The 25pdrs popped one Pak & the Bugs swarmed the other.  The German artillery beat off the first infantry attack, but with a swarm of armour coming up their position was hopeless & Steve conceeded.

Leigh joins Mark in Semi Final round.
James & Byron are to fight next Tuesday at Camp Cromwell.
Jim & Nick are trying to find a spare spot in Nick's busy life.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Maharajah 2009 1st Quarter Final

Mark's US Rifles v. Barrie's Panzerpioneers (Tunisia).
2000 pts Cauldron on 8x6 table, US defending.
Jim umpiring, also present Byron & Joe.

Mark had a perponderance of numbers, both men and tubes.  Barrie tied to weaken the defence with artillery & Stukas while collecting up his reserves.  But the Luftwaffe was pretty useless and the US were too spread out for the 155's to do too much damage.  Barrie attacked on his left with Stugs & Panzergrenadiers mounted in half tracks.   The Stugs were destroyed mainly by heavy artillery, but the Panzergrenadiers charged in their half tracks and captured the objective.    However, their success was short lived - a storm of artillery & HMG fire folowed up by an infantry counterattack destroyed them to secure the position & win the battle.  The pic is taken from the German left as the Panzergrenadiers start their attack.

Barrie is eliminated, Mark goes on to a Semi Final.
2nd Semi Final: Leigh's DOGBs v. Steve's Panzers in an Encounter - this Thursday at Barrie's.
3rd Semi Final: James' Grenadiers v. Byron's US Rifles in a Cauldron - next Tuesday at Camp Cromwell.
4th Semi Final: Jim's carri v. Nick's US Armour - at Nick's, date TBA.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Launceston Gaming Club

Nick (US) vs Aggro (German) -- Flames of War, 1500pts mid war. A massacre, as the Germans lost one tank and rolled through the Sherman horde!

Nick R (British) vs Unknown (unknown) -- Flames of War. If someone sends a report I will post it. All I can say is there were lots of Churchills, big guns, etc.

Doug (Roman) vs Unknown (Barbarians) -- DBA using beautifull 28mm figs from Warlord. A spectacular game!

And the usual set of fantasy games!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Chris's Place

Nick vs Chris, in a Roadblock. (Flames of War, 1500 pts, mid war. Nick as US, Chris as Germans)

The US were ambushed, and forced to deploy their M10's. But, as luck would have it, managed to deploy them where they couldnt be ambushed. But the escorting M5 stuarts were in the open, and subject to a nasty attack from the German AT guns. The ambush didnt really come off, and the remaining Stuarts and the M10's went on the offensive, seeking to wipe out those nasty AT guns. But the counter attack failed, and whats more it distracted the US away from the objectives. Eventually a unit of German infantry was able to march onto an objective and end the game. Highlights included a tiger running from a tank hunting platoon of bazooka armed infantry, and a US airforce that proved totally ineffective!!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Maharajah 2009 Elimination Match 10/11/09

Joe's Falshirmjager v. Byron's US Rifles

2000 pts Encounter on 8x6 table.

Joe deployed his Neblewerfers on the mountaintop on his right, artillery in the scrub behind the LH objective, FJs on the RH objective & his 3 MkIVs in the centre.  A/cars # more infantry in reserve.

Byron had Rifles on the LH objective supported by SP75's and Pioneers on the RH objective supported by 3 Shermans.  There were Heavy Mortars on his mountain & his Heavy Platoon in the centre.  Lots more infantry, recon, TD's etc. in reserve.

Byron attacked on his right engaging the Panzers with his Shermans as the infantry Truscot trotted forwards and the SPguns moved thru the centre to join in.  The Panzers died taking only 1 Sherman with them as the Pioneers assaulted the artillery to reach the objective.  It looked all over, but the Germans stayed in the game because the artillery command was 95mm from the objective & the surviving gunners passed morale.  The Neblewerfers kept bailing the Shermans & the heavy platoon while the German A/cars & 1 FJ platoon came on near the disputed objective and the FJs on the other objective rushed over to help.

There was a furious fight over the objective for a while, but the Yanks had too much firepower available & the Germans ran out of troops - losing the objective and failing army morale at the same time.

The pic is taken behind the German left as the US begin their advance.  Joe did not have a lot of luck, but Byron did have a better plan.  He had clearly learned a lot from his loss v. Barrie - both in army selection & US tactics.

Joe is eliminated from the Maharajah 2009 tournament.  The Quarter Final draw is:

James' Grenadiers v. Byron's US Rifles.
Steve's Panzers v. Leigh's Death or Glory Boys.
Mark's US Rifles v. Barrie's Panzerpioneers.
Jim's Carri v. Nick's US Armour.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Maharajah Trophy Battle Byron v. Barrie

Byron's US Infantry v. Barrie's Panzerpioneers in Free for All.

On the German right & in the centre there was a good bit of fart arsing about, but the battle was decided elsewhere.   Barrie pushed forward on his left with the Armoured Panzerpioneer platoon while his Stugs stood in the centre to hold off the US armour.  Byron's defence left a lot to be desired - his infantry were deployed in cover but not actually on the objective.  He tried to defend it with the firepower of Bazookas & his heavy platoon, but it just wasn't enough to stop the armoured half tracks.  Barrie qualifies for the Quarter Final round.

The pic is taken behind the German left.  Note the column of half tracks heading for the objective.

Next Tuesday:
Joe's Falshirmjagers will fight Byron's US Infantry in an elimination match for the last place in the Quarter Finals.

Draw for Maharajah Quarter Finals:
Jim's Carri v. Nick's US Armour
Steve's Panzers v. Leigh's Death or Glory Boys
Mark's US Infantry v. Barrie's Panzerpioneers
James' Grenadiers v. winner of Joe v. Byron

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Sinking the Bismark 01/11/09

We dusted off the Dreadnought rules for something completely different.
Bismark + Prinz Eugen v. Hood + POW.

Game 1: Nick = British v. Jim = Germans.
Nick concentrated both his ships' guns on the Bismark.  The Bismark enagaged the Hood, Prinz Eugen engaged the POW.  The Bismark copped some engine damage early on slowing her down & forcing a fight to the death.  She hurt the Hood badly, knocking out her fire control, but not quite sinking her.  The Prinze Eugen did nothing to the POW which steadly bashed the Bismark into a hulk.  A British victory this time.

Game 2: Joe = British v. Jim = Germans.
In tjis game the Germans used their greater experience to advantage.  Crossing the british T, the Bismark concentrated on the POW while the Prinz distracted the Hood.  The POW was hit hard and often & sunk while only causing minor damage to Bismark.  The  Prinz was all but sunk by the Hood before the Hood was forced to deal with the Bismark.  But she was totally outclassed and in a close range duel was smashed in quick time.  A German victory with both British ships sunk & the Bismark not significantly damaged.

It's interesting how this scenario can produce overwhelming victories for either side. There's a lot of luck in small scenarios, but there's some skill too.  And they are great fun - we must do more of the ships & planes. 

The rules are on the blog, though I noticed that the ships log there were not the same as the ones we used from the printed copy I had archived.  I then found the same applied to Men o'War.  I have found the latest (2003) computer files & added the 2003 versions of both sets to the files on the sidebar.