Saturday, April 30, 2016

Flames of War: Practice for Kingston KUP

Jim's Panzergrenadiers v. Mark's US Rifles
1750 pts Surrounded Mission.  Not quite a standard as we had a 6'x6' table & the Germans defended even though motorised v. infantry.
The Germans deployed first in the centre strip defending objectives on the central hill & beside the railway on the right.  The US are deployed on the left anf right hand sides.
The  Germans couldn't find enough places to hide their Mk IV's and lost lost a tank in the village to the 155's on turn 1.  But it soon got worse for them Their other tank platoon was in the wood on the far flank, but Truscot trotting infantry attacked them in the wood before they could get out of it and the platoon was destroyed at the cost of just inf 3 teams. 

Seeing the main attack coming on the right the Germans redeployed infantry off the hill to help defend the railway objective & sent their remaining Panzers to the right to attack the 105's.  The US infantry attack out of the wood was stopped by the panzergrenadiers.  The US tanks engaged Paks on the left with artillery support and took them out for no loss.
The panzergrens defending the objective have been severely depleted by US firepower, but the US don't have enough GI's left to stagger onto the objective.  So there is a race to the hill top objective with both side's armour.  The Shermans cleared the hmg teams holding the hill and had to survive the Panzer counterattack.  The Panzers only got 1 of the hull down Shermans then failed their stormtrooper roll to move up into contesting range of the objective to give the US a victory.

Early on it looked like an easy win for the US, but the panzergrens are tough buggers, they got back into the game & in the end it was close run thing.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


It was a quiet night at Camp Cromwell tonight with just 3 players.  We did a little Medieval battle. with each side having 3 battles of 6 units. 
Jim's Yorkist army is on the left, Mike & James's Lanc's on the right.
Both sides pussy-footed around advancing in 1 move steps to maintain their line in the face of the vagaries of the HC command system.  Mike's patience broke first.  He charged his centre forward but his flanks refused to follow.  This left his centre in danger of being flanked.  But Jim's command dice were no better and his attempts to attack the exposed flanks didn't happen while his own centre had a hole punched through it.  
It looked bad for York at this stage as the Lanc's were expanding their breakthrough.  The onlty bright spot for York was their cavalry on the far flank getting the upper hand.
The Yorkist cavalry on this flank finally got moving and charged right through the Lanc's centre and helped break the Lanc's right flank just before their own left broke. They then turned around to try come and rescue their infantry on the near flank.  The Yorkist infantry did well against the odds, but the cavalry was stopped by bow fire and the Yorkist army finally broke.

After a cautious start it was fast and furious battle with heavy losses on both sides. 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Bolt Action Doubles at Good Games

JohnM's Soviets & Rusty's Polish Resistance
Jim & Mark's Germans
All 4 players had a 1000pt Coy.  The scenario was our House Rules Surrounded Scenario, Germans defending. 
The Germans deployed first in the strip accross the able 12" each side opf the short centreline.Jim's Coy on the far side facing the Poles, Mark's on this side facing the Soviets.  The Soviets ^ Poles deployed second up to 18" on from their base lines.  The German haters had 2 objectives ont eh table's short centreline - one on the road & one on the hill on the left.  They have to take one before time's up or lose.
The Germans got a nasty shock when an unexpected Russian artillery barrage arrived in the middle of their position.  6 squads were in the zone of death & John threw a heap of 6's to take out both German HQ's & an infantry squad plus pinning the Stug so heavily it was virtually out of the battle. 
The Poles were picked off as they advanced on well placed Germans - including their looted Panther which copped a panzerfaust in the side when panzergrenadiers leapt out of house to get at it. But the Soviets pushed down the left flank as Mark's force melted away, John using flamethrowers to great effect.  The Soviet pioneer squad reached the hill objective, but had to hold it at the end of a turn to win the game.  Jim had sent infantry back to dispute possession of the objective hill & counterattacked.  The Pioneers blew the only squad close enough to dispute the objective away, but the Germans shot everything they could at the Pioneers & the last 2 died when Mark's mortar ranged in first time to keep the objective German.

At the end of turn 4 we had to stop the game as John's leave pass had run out.  At this stage the Germans still held both objectives, but it was doubtful they they could hold the Soviets off for another 2 turns.  A draw seemed a fair way to call it.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Flames of War

With the Kingston KUP coming up in two weeks I umpired a game between Mike & James to bone up on the rules.

James: Panzergrenadiers 1750pts LW
Mike: British Armour 1750 pts LW
Mission Hold the Line, Germans defending.
The Brits are in the foreground.   The Germans have artillery behind the ridge in their rear & 2 infantry deployed in front & behind the forward objective.  The Brits have sent a column of tanks & motorised infantry down the road on the right. M10's & infantry advance frontally.  Another tank platoon advances on the left & Priests blast away from the rear.
The Brits have tried to weaken the Germans with their firepower, but dug in gone to ground panzergrens are hard to kill with lousy dice & a Panzer platoon has already come on.
Maybe a bit late, the Brits are attacking  the German line from the flank, but the 2nd panzer platoon has followed the 1st on the left and the 3rd panzergren is moving up through the wood on the right.

The Brits have almost cleared the objective, but 1 stand disputes it and they lost a platoon in the process
The Brit inf have refused to unpin & the Germans on the right have failed tank terror as the tanks slug it out.
The panzergrens finally passed tank terror & finished off the Shermans the Panzers missed.  The Brits fail army morale to give the Germans victory with 2 platoons lost. It's a moot point if the Brits lost by being too slow to attack, or because they could find any decent dice.  Maybe both.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Saga at Barrie's

With 4 players we set up the Feast of Crows scenario where 4 forces start in 4 corners of the table in a free for all, but it turned into Barie's Vikings v. Jake's Anglo-Danes at one end of the table and Darren's Vikings v. Jim's Welsh at the other end.
Barrie's Vikings are in the far cornerDarren's on the left.  Jake's Anglo-Danes are on the right & my Welsh in the foreground.  While not having played Saga for some time I did enough revision to twig that the rules favoured the Welsh in rough ground, so I used my terrain allotment to put a large wood in front of my force.  As the hairiest player I got to move first & while my cavalry was destroyed in a  delaying action it allowed my foot to take up a position in the woods where the Vikings obligingly charged to their doom.   On the other flank, Barrie's Vikings were also cut down but your correspondent was having too good a time to notice how.

Saga is a bit gamey, but it's easy to get into & good fun.  My Welsh are a selection from my ancient British & Gallic armies - I figure that Celts didn't change much in a thousand years.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Friday afternoon Bolt Action at good Games

Jim's Australians v. Chris' Japanese
1,000 pts Domination scenario.
Chris' newJaps get their first run.
The objective are the 4 hills and the village.  The Japs are on the left. The troops have been deployed in a Deployment Turn where the units are deployed, as drawn from the bag, in their deployment zone 12" back from the centreline but not moved or fired.
Both sides made their main thrust down their left flank but also both had strong centres.   The Oz's called an artillery barrage down on the Japanese left centre.  The barrage dice was a 1 so a miscalculation (this clearly wasn't the front where my Dad was a FOO).  One of the house rules we have adopted is to randomise the miscalculation rather than allow the enemy to move the aiming point up to 24" in any direction (making friendly fire happen an absurd 25% of the time).  In this case the offset was 2x2D6" = 2x11 = 22" and the direction indicated by an arrow dice landed it right on the Oz unit in the central rubber patch.  So the rule didn't save the Oz from friendly fire, but it also didn't seem unfair.  Definitely a better way to it.   
The Japanese attack on the far flank was stopped dead by ambushes as it charged out of the patch of jungle.  The light tanks exchanged ineffective fire in the centre until the Japs decided they had to use their tank to support their right.  The gamble didn't pay off.  The tank severely mauled the infantry on the far side of the house & the Honey missed again, but it copped a PIAT round up its exhaust pipe.  That's 2 weeks in a row my PIAT man popped a tank).
With the Jap tank out of the way the Honey helped clean up the Jap centre & the main Oz attack on the near flank swept forward to take the hill objective as well as the village.  With the Japs reduced to 3 men the mercy rule was pulled at the end of turn 6.

The other house rule that got a run was Defensive Fire always being allowed.  It changed nothing as in every case the attackers had done the right thing and got the defenders so pinned down that their fire was ineffective.  So the house rule doesn't prevent attacking, just makes you do it properly.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Mahdi saves Khartoum !

Anglo-Egyptians (Jim & James):
4 British inf brigades of 4 units each, British cavalry brigade of 2 units, 1 cannon, 1 Maxim gun.
1 Egyptian infantry brigade of 4 units,  1 Egyptian cavalry brigade of 2 units.

Fuzzy Wuzzies (Mike, Mark & Chris):
4 infantry divs of 4 warbands & 2 skirmishers each.
2 cavalry divs of 6 cavalry units each.
The Anglo-Egyptians march over the plain towards the oasis.  The Egyptians are on their right (left in pic). The Mahdi has a division in the village and the rest are behind the ring of hills each side of the village and down the short table edges.
The action started with a swarm of Arab cavalry charging over the far hill at the Egyptians, supported by an infantry division on their left flank.  The Egyptians turned to face the onslaught while the Brits sorted out into a battle line and plodded forward.
The camera has been moved behind the Egyptian line.  It was the Egyptian first battle.  The figs are plastic British colonial infantry or US cavalry with fezes salvaged from Zulu & Arab boxes.  The usual form here at camp Cromwell is that new figures always run away in their first battle, but the Fezes broke the rule.  To everyone's surprise they beat off the first charge of Mahdi's cavalry.  
The Mahdi's cavalry charged again as more Arabs appeared on the far end of the table.  The British cavalry was sent over from the left to support the Egyptians.
Once again the Egyptians held firm, but Shock! Horror! the Brits on their left have broken & the Mahdi's horse has made a hole in the line.
The British cavalry charge in to plug the hole as the Egyptians hold on.  Some poor command dice are mercifully delaying the Mahdi infantry.
The British brigade on the left of the Egyptians have been destroyed.  Two Mahdi infantry divs have now charged home on the British infantry in the centre. Another is advancing out of the village and the last is still blundering around on the far hill.
The Mahdi's charges have now all been repulsed all along the line.  On the near flank the gallant Egyptian cavalry have finally broken, but the Mahdi's victorious horse is too shaken to exploit this & the Egyptian foot is still pouring fire into them.
The near flank has now stabilised, safely held by the Egyptian foot while everyone's cavalry is either broken or too shaken to do anything.  But on the far side the Mahdi's men still want their virgins and are charging again.
On the far flank the Brits are finding out that a bad Break Test for them makes a hole in the line, while the Mahdi's Broken units are just replaced.
 Quite suddenly the British line collapses & the last two units form a forlorn square.
 The square is swamped form three sides.
Only the Egyptian infantry and the British cavalry in te foreground escape the carnage.

It was a very enjoyable battle as these colonial actions always are with Hail Queen Victoria, our colonial version of Hail Caesar.  I was so pleased to have a newly painted division actually do well for once.  But they do look pretty scruffy in their dirty white tunics - maybe the dice gods didn't realise they were new. 

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Men o' War: 4 ships a side

Chris' British fleeet v. Jim's French fleet

The Brits had 1 2nd rate & 3 3rd rates, all elite crews.
The French had 1 1st rate, 1 2nd rate & 2 3rd rates, all regular crews.
The French fleet with its Damage & Command Logs.  The wind indciator   
The two fleets started sailing line ahead, the French close hauled on the starboard tack, the Brits close hauled on the port tack on converging courses.  As they approached broadside range, the Brits (on the far side) turned into line abreast with the wind abeam while the French turned round into a running course.  As a result the French got in the first broadsides.
The first 3 French ships shot past the British bows.  The Brits had chain shot loaded and caused some significant damage to the French rigging, but the French with standard shot got off more shots & did some serious hull damage to the Brits.  Les Misrables bringing up the rear went right through the fleet.  It copped some damage, but gave out plenty with raking shots from both broadsides as it went through.  
When the smoke settled both fleets had a ship critically damaged.  Le Couchon Noir peeled off to leeward on the right & HMS Impossible did likewise in the foreground.
Two of the French ships (now on the far side of the table) had rigging damage preventing them going to windward, but they have wore ship to turn back towards the enemy.  One British ship has also got rigging damage and has wore ship downwind while the other two ships have tacked to turn towards the French with the weather guage.
Despite the rigging damage the French have formed a neat line and caught the Brits spreadeagled.  HMS Catastrope is about to live up to her name as all French ships pound her and she sinks.
A fortuitous wind shift now helped the French to wheel around and pound HMS Repulsive into Critical Damage.  Now with only their flagship fit to fight but their rigging intact, the Brits keep going downwind and concede the battle.

Since the last battle I've gone back to separate damage logs with the ship's bases having their ID prominent on all 4 sides so it's visible in all directions.  It worked well.  A squadron of 3 or 4 ships per player is enough to have a really good game with these rules. 

Friday, April 08, 2016

Bolt Action at Good Games

Jake's Germans v. Jim's Brits
1,000 pts (using mods), Domination scenario.  There  are 5 objective on the table worth 1 VP each.  If tied on objective VPs, enemy units destroyed are counted & if one side scored 2+ more kills than the enemy, they win.
The scenario starts with a Deployment Turn 0 where the units are deployed as Command Dice are drawn in each side's Deployment Zone (within 12" of base line) without firing or moving.  The Brits are on the right.
On the far flank the Hanomag has dodged a fight with the Honey and joined in the heavy firefight in the centre.  Each side has grabbed a house to contest the far objective.  The Stuh 42 is giving fire support to the centre.  The Brits have seized the central objective.  Both sides are hunkered down in ambush each side of the crest disputing the objective on the near hill.
The Stuh 42 has advanced and its tank rider gone ahead to attack the centre.  But the Piat team in the woods popped out the side and did the old 6,5,4 dice trick to blow the Stuh & the German plan with it. 
The Brits behind the central hill popped over to shoot up the tank riders & the honey finished them off firing through the hamlet.  The 25 pdr had already taken out the HMG on the left.  The Germans in the house tried charging the Honey, but failed.  The Germans on the near hill moved up, but were badly hurt by the ambush.  With only 4 shot up units & a Hanomag left the Germasn conceded.

Once again the Armoured Assault rule on our play test list was not used.  Our Defensive Fire was used & looked good.  The Brit were hopping to see the trial Barrage Miscalulation rule happen, but instead their barage was delayed and only arrived after the Germans had moved on.  The proposed rule is that instead of the enemy moving the barrage point on a 1, it is moved 2x2D5 in a random direction).  The RAW has friendly fire happening 25% of the time - yes it happened, but nothing like  that often.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Bolt Action: Testing some house rules

I think Bolt Action is basically a good set of rules, but there are a number of things that are just silly.  The house rules by fix some of them & these are used at Cancon so we have been using them for a while & have no problems with them.  But they missed a few item which we are addressing.  Two of them came into play in today's game:

Defensive Fire:  The defender always gets DF at PB range if assaulted frontally.  With RAW the attacker has the advantage in most combats - which is just silly in WWII.   In this battle our rule didn't stop any assaults, but no one made any assaults against units without a few pins on them - which is how it should be done.

Armoured Assault:  Veteran mechanised infantry like panzergrenadiers & US armoured infantry can assault from  their HT provided it did not move this turn. It's odd that anyone can charge out of a house, but veteran armoured infantry can't attack out of their HTs.  In this battle both Hanomags got destroyed before their passengers could assault & the rule didn't come into play, but that shows that the fix isn't over the top - just another tactical option to use in the right circs.

Jim's Panzergrandiers v. Chris's Soviets
1000 pts each.   We played half of our Doubles Breakout Scenario - so lengthwise on a 6x4 table.  The scenario has a deployment turn 0 where players deploy in their deployment zone (up to 24" in) without any movement or shooting as the command dice are drawn.  Then each gets 1VP per enemy unit destroyed, 1 VP for getting any part of a unit into the enemy's deployment zone & 2 VPs for exiting a unit off the far side of the table.   
After deployment & ready for turn 1. The Germans are on the near side.
The panzergrens attacked on the left.  The T34 popped one of them, the mortar got lucky & popped the other.  All the PG's bailed out with not too bad losses.  The Soviet vets loaded up with smgs charged out of the wood and destroyed one of the PG units, but they got a 1 for their regroup move & didn't back into the woods before the surviving PGs + HQ destroyed them in turn with their assault rifles.
The Russian push down the near flank has been destroyed by the German MMG in the house & the LMG squad behind it.  A great deal of MAD ocurred in the centre.  The Russians got 5 VPs for destroying units.  The Germans got 7 for destruction & 2 for getting the PGs & HQ over the touchline on the left, so 9 total and a decisive win.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Gorodeczna 1812

This was an unusual Napoleonic battle:  Austrians & Saxons v. Russians on the flank of the French advance past Smolensk.  The French Allies have more troops on the battlefield, but the Russians are the rearguard of the main army and their objective is only to hold out until nightfall to cover it's retreat. Rules: Hail Frederick, our Hail Caesar adaption for the era.

French Allies (Schwarzebberg)
Austrian Corps (Frimont): Mark: 3 Infantry divs of 4 inf & a battery.
Saxon Corps (Reynier): Jim: 2 Infantry divs each of 4 inf & a battery + 1 cav div of 4 light cav.

Russians (Torrmassov)
IX Corps (Kamensky): Chris: 1 inf div of 5 inf, 2 batteries & 1 hussar + 1 cav div of 4 light cav.
X Corps Markov): Mike: 2 inf divs of 5 inf, 2 batteries & 1 hussar.

The 2 French Corps commanders have Comand Rating 8.  All the rest have command rating 7 on the grounds that the Russians were incompetent & the Austrians & Saxons didn't want to be there. 
The Russians could have deployed anywhere in the rectangle bordered by the river & the perdendicular line across the table from the nearest swamp.  They chose to deploy back from the river, Kamenski ofn the far flank. The Saxon infantry are on the road in the foreground, their cavlry is off table over the near edge.  The Austrians are on the two roads leading to the bridges from the LHS of the table.  They chose to put 2 divs on the near road, 1 on the far road.  They all colud start using command dice to enter the table deployed in battle formation on turn 1, 2 or 3 as decided by dice.
The Saxon inf have begun to deploy as their cavalry come on on turn 2. One Austian div has turned up on the far flank.
By turn 4 the Saxons have deployed into lines.  Another Austrian div has come on, but the first one hasn't advanced since coming on..
All the Allies are on the table now, but Tratenberg on the far flank & the Saxon cav have refused to move since coming on.  The steady Saxon attack planned by Reynier has been thrown into some chaos by half one div blundering forward into the mouths of the Russian guns.  The joys of Hail Caesar!
Two Saxon columns have charged the Yegers between the batteries on the corner of the Russian line, broken them & swept on into their supports.  But their cormades on the each flank have not advanced in support.
The Saxon infantry have made a hole in the Russian line at the angle but they still lack supports to exploit it & one of the columns has been broken.  The Austrian advance is depressingly historically correct.  The Saxon cavalry seem to having afternoon tea.
Reynier finally gets some support up to the spearpoint and has taken out the Russian artillery . 
The Austrians are finally putting some pressure on the Russian centre, but Kamensky on the far flank still hasn't even crossed the river.  Russian hussars are covering the withdrawal of Markov's infantry as the Saxon cavalry are still sipping tea.
The orderly Russian withdrawal continues, but the Saxon cavalry has finally advanced - only to he held up by one Russian hussar unit.  Reynier has reorganised his infantry and is following u p the Russian retreat. The Austrians are now pushing the Russian centre back.
 Russian counterattacks with foot & horse have stalled the Austrian advance on the far flank as night aproaches.  Reynier just can't catch up with retreat on the near flank.
It's 10 o'clock real time, so nightfall ends the battle.  The Russians have had 3 infantry, 1 cavalry & 4 batteries broken.  The Saxons & Austrians had 1 inf each broken.  There are a lot of shaken & near shaken units on both sides.  So the result was the same as historical.  The Russians lost more men but held on until nightfall and made an orderly withdrawal.

It was the first time we'd fought a battle with such low command ratings.  Even with a lot of Corps & Army commanders to provide re-rolls it made progress painfully slow.  Kamenski still hasn't crossed the river on the far flank & the Saxon cavalry did bugger all.  But that was exactly the sort of thing that happened in the real battle.  It's frustrating, but realistic.  The battle was great fun regardless.