Friday, August 28, 2015

Nick in Launceston

A quick 1500 point flames of war game at the Launceston Gaming Club.  Nick was Russian tankovy (with infantry support).  Matt was German infantry (with Tiger support).  The mission was surrounded.

Unfortunately, with surrounded, whatever Matt did his armor was vulnerable.  Eventually the combination of heavy artillery, JS-1's, and T-34/85s managed to kill his Tigers.  And in the mean time the Russian SMG infantry managed to advance through wheat fields and assaulted (and destroyed) both a machine gun platoon and a PaK 40 platoon.  With only infantry and mortars left, Matt conceded, as the tanks would have overrun the mortars and caused a company morale test.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Napoleonic 28mm

Having been contacted by a visiting wargamer I initiated him into the joys of Hail Whoever  this afternoon.  I recycled a scenario from a couple of years back.  The Austrians hold a village with an infantry division.  The French have 3 small infantry divs and 2 cav divs lined up to attack when another Austrian infantry div and 2 cavalry divs arrive off the French left flank.

The French had an early setback when the Austrian gun in the village broke their artillery battery moving up the road with their first shot.   But this seemed to be balanced by the Legere blundering into a charge at the village and breaking part of the Austrian front line straight up.
The Austrian cavalry has forced the French left into square while a counterattack has driven the Legere back out of the cornfield.
The Austrian infantry are deploying at their usual slow pace, but their cavalry are keeping the French left pinned down.  The Legere in the centre are under pressure from infantry and cavalry.  The French attack on the far side of the village is going well & they have taken the front hedgegrow.  
On the far flank the French attack has been halted by fire from the second line behind the rear hedge & in the house.  In the centre the Austrian Cuirassiers have broken the Legere square, then ridden down the column behind.  Left of centre French infantry have gone into line and have broken an Austrian battalion.
The French commander saw his army melting away and launched a desperate cavalry attack on the near flank.  It was was a double or nothing move & was swatted back with ease by the better Austrian horse.  In the centre the Cuirassiers have fallen back to rally.
The French army has not yet broken, but its demise is now inevitable and the battle is conceded to the Austrians.  

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Sword and Spears in Launceston

Nick was introduced to Sword and Spears by Rob -- a long time Launceston gamer.

Sword and Spears is almost like Bolt Action for ancients.  Each side has different coloured dice, and gets a dice per unit.  The dice are placed in a bag, and 7 dice are drawn from a bag.  The player with the most dice rolls his dice, and allocates dice to a unit.  Typically you need 4 or better to move, 5 or better to charge, and if you have a 6 you get a bonus (better melee or movement).  There are special rules for formation movement and leaders reduce the score you need to move and veteran troops are easier to move.  The player with the least dice then rolls their dice and allocates their dice to units.  Then units are moved in dice roll order and combat is decided.  Repeat until all dice are drawn from the bag.

While it may not seem like it, it suddenly becomes very hard to coordinate troops.  We played Gauls vs Romans, and the Gauls went off in a very uncoordinated flank attack that was promptly destroyed.  The Romans maintained discipline while the Gallic infantry closed, but again the Gauls couldn't coordinate an attack.  And while their hairy barbarians are scary, uncoordinated attacks lead to disaster.  End result was a comprehensive thrashing, with the Gauls only managing to kill one unit of archers on the Roman side.

But the end result was that this was a very, very fun game.  Highly recommended!

Picture is an uncoordinated attack by the Gauls.  The shield indicates they have taken one hit -- 2,3, or 4 hits depending on the unit and a unit is destroyed.  The dice indicates this unit has moved, and cant be moved again this turn.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Colonial Wars: Arabs at the pass

The idea for this scenario was Maiwand in Afganistan but we used British redcoats and Arabs.  The Arabs had their advance guard of 4 divisions, 2 inf and 2 cav on the field at the start.   More Arabs were going to arrive through a pass from the west from turn 9.  The Arabs needed to keep the pass open for their main army to come on the table and deploy.   The Brits had to beat the Arabs and/or bottle up the pass before their army got too big for them to handle.
Most of the British army is marching down the road from the far edge.  Some infantry has been sent onto the ridge on their left suspected correctly that there were Arab cavalry behind it.
The Arab infantry is deployed blocking the road just in front of the pass (which is just off the bottom of the pic).
The Arab cavalry that attacked the British rear was soon dispatched by Martini Henry fire. Their only achievement being in disrupting the British advance.  The second Arab cavalry division has appeared on the Arab left.
One hussar unit was shot up by the Arab skirmishers on the ridge but the other charged 4 Arab cavalry units alone.  They broke one and pushed their supports back while British rifle fire made the other 2 units fall back though the infantry.  
The British infantry has finally got up close with the Arab line.  Their successful cavalry has swept around into the Arab rear.   It broke the Arab horse sent to meet it, but was shaken and unable to continue forward. The hea dof the main Arab army has come ontot he table in the pass on the right.
A British bayonet charge has shattered the Arab left.   Their right is hanging on, but there is limited room to deploy the main army army.
The Arabs are struggling to deploy their reinforcements effectively as the British squeeze the pocket.
The 3rd Arab cavalry div has made some progress against the Brit right, but the last of the advance guard has now broken.
The Brits have stiffened their right to hold the Arab cavalry & broken another infantry div.  The Arabs have now lost 5 divs out of 8 which have reached the table so fail their Army Break Test.

After 3 battles the Brits finally won a colonial battle.  Once again our house ruled version of Hail Caesar has given us a rattling good battle with a very convincing feel for the period.  It's a period where scenario design is particularly important, but the history of it also provides a lot of interesting situations to work with. 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Wings of Glory WWI dogfights at Barries

Game 1:
Jim & JohnW: 1 Bristol & 1 Camel each.
Barrie: 2 Fokker DVII, Nichole: 1 Roland.  Jake: 1 Halberstadt.
Initially the fight split in two with a two seater & a fighter in each side in each part, but the fight later joined up into a single dogfight as hits mounted on both sides and one by one planes went down.  In the end it was Jim's Bristol v. Nichol's Roland as the last survivors.  They circled in on each other & it was the Hun that went down giving the allies a costly victory.   

Game 2:
John & Jim with 1 Brstol each.
Barrie: Fokker VII, Jake: Fokker Dr1:  NickB (taking over from Nichole): Fokker DVII
The pair of Bristols gave an exhibition of formation flying while the Huns made an art form out of drawing bad cards from the firing deck and one by one they went down giving the Allies a crushing victory.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Bolt Action at Good Games

Jim's Brits v. Mark's Germans
1000 pts Demolition Scenario
Each side has one objective & wins by getting figure next to the objective at the end of  a turn.  The Germans are from the left with their objective in the wood at the far right.  The rits form the right have their objective to the left of the central corn fields.
The Brits set up such a strong defense with 2 inf, an MMG & a 25pdr in the 2 patches of trees near the German objective that the Germans never really tried to attack it.
The Brits tried to attack through the village.  A trucked vet inf platoon tried to rush down the road through the village but got pinned down by the StuH 42 & MMG and hit so hard they failed morale.  A second vet inf platoon advanced through the fields & while it almost destroyed the 2 small inf platoons defending the LH field they were then pinned down and could not advance.  A 3rd smaller inf platoon tried to run down the far side of the woods and field but having failed command to come on from reserve ran out of time and couldn't reach the objective.
So the battle was draw with neither getting even close to taking their objective.  It's a mission where you really need to be aggressive to have a chance of winning in the time available.  The Brit plan came unravelled when they failed to get their 1st platoon out of the truck before it was seriously pinned down by the Stuh 42 & became a sitting duck.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Nick in Launceston

Nick and Lowell (1000 points each) vs Matt (with 2 x 1000 point companies)

Nick and Lowell picked almost identical armies -- T-34's with some t-34/57 upgrades and with Maria as the driver of a tank.  Nick had some T-70's as well.  Matt had infantry (pioneers), with a tiger and a few Pak 40's.  The trouble was that Matt had terrible luck.  His pioneers came out of their foxholes to assault some T-34's that had been incautious, and the pioneers failed tank terror.  This left the pioneers out in the open, where they were machine gunned to nothingness.  And Matt's tiger was just swamped by the Russian tank horde.  It could only kill two tanks a turn, and eventually a T-34/57 would get through the armour.  But the Russians got through on the second shot!  Matt conceded once his tiger was killed.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Zulu Dawn !

Following the success of last week's colonial fight against the Mad Mahdi, I finished painting my Zulu Army pack for this week.
The British column has been ordered to capture the Zulu kraal at the far end of the table.  Thye must do this without losing their own baggage train.The Zulus are in hidden deployment.  There are numbered counters placed on the table in places out of sight of the Brits.  The Zulu impis are on the storage boards at the far end of the the table.  The Zulu players record their location by placing a corresponding counter next to each impi on the boards.
The Brits send their cavalry to scout to the right and advance each side of the train.  Zulu skirmishers appear on the ridges on each side.
Suddenly Zulus appear on  both sides of the head of the column. Defensive fire stops one charge but one British unit & the gatling gun are over-run. 
Desperate counterattcks have driven off some Zulus, but more swarm over the ridges towards the head of the British column.  The hussars are slow to return to defend the wagons from the skirmishers keeping valuable infantry doing the job instead. 
The head of the column has been destroyed & the Brits are in survival mode trying to cover the retreat of the wagons.  (We applied a small army break test rule = Brits divs don't take break tests, but the army has to retire on losing more than half units).
Martini Henry fire by the rearguard has blunted the Zulu attack breaking two impis & the hussars are finally in position to make the Zulus think twice about charging on.  They let the Brits withdraw with their wagons plus 1 infantry unit & their hussars unbroken.

The scenario included lots of terrain to help the Zulus, maybe too much.  But then the British plan was not good and gave the Zulus a big opportunity that they took full advantage of.  It looked awfully like Iswandala.  In any case it was fun game enjoyed by all.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Wings of Glory at Barries

JohnW flew a Bristol Fighter & a Spad XIII v. Barrie's Albatros & Jim's Albatros + Siemens Schuckbert.
At first Barrie's Albatros took on the Spad while Jim's Albatros & Siemens took on the Bristol.  But the German plan went suddenly pear-shaped when the first burst of fire from the Bristol's rear gunner shot the Albatros out of the sky.  But after that dramatic first contact the game settled down to long but interesting dance as we tried to out-guess each others orders.  Barrie's Albatros was the next to go down leaving the Siemens/S with two enemies.  A feature of the game is that you don't know how much damage the enemy plane has.  It may have 10 damage cards, but they could all be 1's & 0's or they could add up to 13 when 14 will put it down.  The Siemen's pilot knew he could take a few more hits & both enemy planes had a lot of cards so he fought on.  He managed to drive the Spad off the table & then tried to get under the Bristol's tail.  But the Siemens didn't get into the dead spot & while the Bristol went down the Bristoil's rear gunner also got off two shots.  The German player drew a 3 & a 4 card & his plane also crashed leaving no planes on the table.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Afternoon Bolt Action at Good Games

This week it was Jim's turn to be the Bad Guys & John gave his Soviets a run.  Again we did Tank War with 1500 pts. 
There are 4 objectives: One 6" in from the end of each road branch & one in the village.  The Sovies won the toss and selected the RH side to come on.  They had two scout platoons which coudl eb deployed on table at the start.  These allowed the Soviets to have 3 of the 4 objectives on turn 1 forcing the Germans on the offensive.  The German infantry was soon pinned down on the edge of the village & it was up to the Panzers to win through on the left to try & save the day.  Their only success was to immobilise the T34 in the village before they discovered that even if the big Soviet tank guns didn't kill them, they pinned them down so much as to be useless sitting ducks.  The Germans ran out of tanks about turn 5 & conceded.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Sudan 1884

In the past week I painted up 80 soldiers of the queen and 20 Zulus.  There being insufficient Zulus ready for a decent battle we conscripted ancient Numidians & Crusader era Arabs and invaded the Sudan to blood the redcoats in battle.  The Brits were supported by hussars & artillery that looked a tad French.  The scenario is based on the El-Teb scenario in the Black Powder book, tweaked a bit to suit the troops we have. 
The Mahdis have one division deployed in view of the enemy in the ruined fort near table centre.  The other 4 divisions are in hidden deployment behind the ridges.  The Brits start deployed around their camp at the far end of the table.  The Brits have to reach the oasis at this end or break the Mahdi army before 10 o'clock to win.  Otherwise the Mahdis win.  
The Brits sent hussars to each flank to scout behind the ridges as the infantry & artillery advanced in two columns.  They discovered infantry on the far flank and cavalry on the near flank. 
On the far flank the hussars retreated fast.  On this flank the hussars were charged by the Mahdi cavalry and routed.   Both infantry columns deployed facing the flanks to meet the threats.
On the near flank the Mahdi cavalry quickly retreated from the thin red line's hail of bullets.  On the far flank the Mahdi infantry charged over the ridge and got in close before the Martini Henri's could really hurt them.  One of the British units was broken, but the line held.
On the far flank the Mahdi infantry has been beaten off and is retreating.  Emboldened by some success Madani inb Ali has ordered the rest of his army to advance over the ridge against the British front.
The mad Mahdi charge at the British centre was stopped in its tracks by Martini Henri fire.  The Mahdi infantry on the far flank was broken by long range fire as they tried to retreat. 
In the centre the Mahdis are now withdrawing but they have renewed their attack down the left flank.
The second hussars were broken by the Mahdi cavalry, but they bought time for infantry to be rushed troops back to defend the camp and the Mahdi horse was forced to withdraw again.  In the centre the Mahdis have withdrawn except for a skirmisher screen.
A suitably hatted British commander looks happy enough at this stage.
The Mahdis renew their advances on both flanks.  The Brits deploy infantry to face them.  
British fire has stopped both flank advances and the advanced Mahdis are being withdrawn on both flanks.
With night about to fall the Brits rushed forward in pursuit.  They paid the price when Mahdi infantry suddenly counterattacked at pounced on two over-enthusiastic gun crews on the slope in front of the ruined fort.
10 o'clock had been nominated as nightfall.  The British have not reached the oasis and while the Mahdi army has lost 2 of 5 divisions and the other 3 have heavy losses it has not broken.  So the Mahdis have won.

We used Hail Queen Victoria, a quickly composed supplement to our Hail However house variants of Hail Caesar.  They worked a treat & it was a ripping good game.  The Mahdis didn't stand a much of chance face to face, but the scenario gave them a way to win by delaying with hit and run tactics.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Wings of Glory at Barrie's: WWI Air

Germans: JohnW & Jim flying 2 Albatros V's each
Allies: JohnM flying 2 Spad XIV & Barrie flying 2 Camels

This was my first go at the Wings of Glory WWI air war system.  It's a packaged game system where they sell the rules, planes, stands & accessories in modules.
The hex cloth is incidental - hexes are not required.  The pre-painted 144 scale planes look great.  The dials are optional extras used only in advanced rules for altitude.  The stands are in sections to allow limited altitude variation in the basic game, but for beginners flying on one level is probably enough to worry about.
Movement is controlled by cards.  Each plane has a deck of maneouvre cards.  In each turn you select 3 cards and place them face down in the "consol".  The mix of available manouvres varies to suit the characteristics of the plane type.  The game then proceeds in 3 phases.  In phase 1 everyone's 1st card is revealed, the planes moved accordingly & any fire resolved.  Firing is done by the targeted player drawing 1 or 2 cards from the damage deck (2 at close range).  The damage cards are placed face down on the "consol".  They might be 0 to lots of damage points, say the firer's guns are jammed, or be special damage.  Planes crash on accumulating their damage limit.
To move you put the card down in front of the plane, then move it so the arrow on the back of the stand is on the arrow on the card - then slip the card out from under.
Partway into our game, it has split into two.  On this side one Spad has got behind Jim's Albatri.  On the other side JohnW's Albatri have sent one of the Camels off on fire, but the 2nd Spad has gone over help Barrie out.
Jim's Albatri & the 1st Spad flew over into the general melee as Barrie got the fire out and rejoined the fight.  Both sides suffered from temporarily jammed guns and accumulated damage, but it was JohnW's Albatri that went over the damage limit first.  They went down leaving Jim's Albatri outnumbered 2 to 4.
Not knowing the exact extent of damage to the enemy, but knowing both his own planes were close to disaster, Jim flew his planes past the Camel on the far edge and off the table to personal safety, but conceding the battle to the Allies.

It was a very enjoyable game.  The game system includes a lot of cunning and efficient mechanisms and is quick and easy to play at beginner level, yet I expect that with the advanced rules and the scenarios available on line there is enough depth to keep up long term interest.