Sunday, 13 August 2017

Switching Gears Again

Today I met up with the lads, got out my flying goggles and played some flying games. We had four players up at the local community room for a game of Wings of War (WoW) and XWing. I discovered I had been playing WoW incorrectly and was much happier with the game this time around. I ran a Spad XIII and ended up getting shot down in a nail-biter, head on showdown with Martin's triplane. Great fun and added to my to play list. Maybe add it to my next year 6x6.

Evasive maneuvers!

We also played a game of X Wing. Jonathan and Martin provided the miniatures and I brought my game mat. I played with Jonathan Scum fleet. I had two X Wings that were tasked with getting in the enemy's way and drawing fire from the expensive ships behind me. Martin ran 2 buffed up Tie Defenders. I love the look of these ships. They are too expensive for me to collect seriously but I did enjoy the game. Martin was once again the last ship standing.
Close Quarter Blasting

I lined up the perfect shot but couldn't close the deal :-(

I was going to play my Talavera game this weekend but there are a few people wanting to play so I am postponing until next Saturday night.

I have been watching terrain tutorials on Youtube, especially The Terrain Tutor. I really enjoyed making my game mat last weekend and am inspired to keep adding terrain. I plan to develop a wish list of terrain items to make/purchase and also design a table for a specific battle such as a WWII Italian in 28mm defensive line or 15mm Stalingrad. More on this later...


Thursday, 10 August 2017

Battle of Talavera 1809

I spent the weekend building a new game mat and hills for my hex based games and now it's time to try it out! I looked through my scenarios for Commit the Garde. I went with Talavera. This battle saw Wellington and his Spanish allies facing off against Marshall Jourdan and Napoleon's brother, Joseph, who was recently made king of Spain. As was typical of many Peninsular battles, there was very little artillery, the British have powerful infantry, tempered by their weak allies, the Spanish. The Allied army had taken up strong defensive positions on the outskirts of Talavera and the French are going to try and dislodge them.


Deployment - French on the left
French Centre looking at British held hill


 The bulk of the French are deployed against the British



The CtG scenario allowed a free set up of troops. I used the Napoleon's Battles Scenario to find a more historical set up and went with that. The French are deployed mostly facing the British. They have a significant reserve and could send troops against the Spanish defenses.

I am planning to play this game solo. I recently read "The Solo Wargaming Guide" by William Silvester. He suggested contemplating options for each side and assigning them a probability, then rolling to see which plan they go with.

 The French options are as I see them:
1) Attack the Spanish defenses and pin the British - This is assigned low probability because of the high cost of attacking defenses and the Spanish are worth only half victory points.
2) Attack to the left of the Spanish defenses and attack the Spanish while pinning the British - This is a weak point in the line but would be easily reinforced from each side. It would allow the French to bypass the Spanish defenses and defeat them in detail. This I assign a moderate probability.
3) Attack to the left of the Spanish defenses and attack the British while pinning the Spanish - Again, this is a good place to breach the line. The British are the primary target of the campaign and this would force them to redeploy a little. I assign this a moderate to high probability
4) Attack the British centre and demonstrate against the Spanish - This is playing into the defenders hand as the British are powerful and set up in defense. I rate this a low/moderate probability.
5) Attack the British right and roll up the flank - This bypasses the bulk of the British defenses and would allow the French to cross the stream before attacking the British held hill. The Spanish could easily abandon their defenses and reinforce the British. I assign this a moderate/high probability.
6) All out assault along the line and exploit where the cracks appear - A general purpose strategy but not good for concentrating forces in the attack and plays into the hands of the defender. I assign this a low probability.

The Allies choices are more limited. They have to set up first and start the game holding all the victory objectives. As a result they are waiting for the French to make a move and will react accordingly. There may be times in mid game where I will roll a dice to randomize a command decision.


Sunday, 6 August 2017

Terrain Upgrade

This week I have been focusing on upgrading my terrain. I have been admiring my friends Hexon Terrain and decided to improve the look of my hills and mat to give my hex based games a better visual appeal. My current hex mat is simply a green felt mat with hexes drawn on and some spray paint high lights. After using it at Huzzah, I decided I wanted a better looking product. My hills are made from low quality foamcore, painted and flocked. They were too thin and flimsy and they looked cartoony.                                                                     


Sample of old hills and old hex mat



To replace these hill I bought some 6mm thick board and drew on a bunch of 4" hexes. Before I cut out the hexes, I clamped another board to the first and drilled out all the corners of the hexes. This second board provided a template to use to mark the hexes on my new mat. I then cut out the hexes on the first board and sanded the edges a bit to bevel them. I put these aside for now until the game mat was ready to be built...


Canvas bolted down and MDF hills cut

Before I started blogging I had made a home mead flocked gaming mat. I was not happy with the results and ended up throwing it out. I had followed the advice of some Youtube Gurus and made the following mistakes:
- My home made flock was too course and did not have enough paint in it
- The sand I used was to course and I used too much
- The caulk mixture did not have enough paint and was applied to thickly
- I did not apply a fixative to the finished product


The result was a mat that was bland looking, with cracks in the caulk and weighed way too much. After a year of sitting under my regular game mat, I turfed it out.


With further Youtube research and lessons in hand I am trying the home made mat project again. To start, I prepared the flock. I wanted 3 colors. I still had my bucket of sawdust donated by a neighbor who runs a wood mill. I sifted about 3 litres of sawdust and then ran it through my food processor. My goal was to make it as fine as possible. I wanted to get wood flour but it was hard to get and expensive so DIY.


Supplies needed. Cute dog nose is optional


I divided the product into three piles and added lots of poster paint, a little soup and some water and mixed vigorously. I spread the flock out on newspaper over night and got a nice, rich color of flock that I hope will show up better on my final product.


Flock ready to go


Next was to find a better sand to add to the mix. I looked at my local DIY shop and Garden Shop but found the play sand too fine to meet my needs. I thought about using cat litter as it is light and near the fineness I wanted but had visions of it clumping into unusable blobs and abandoned the idea. In the end, I splurged and got some Woodland Scenics Ballast. When winter comes, I will see if grit will be suitable for future products as it is way cheaper.


I bought a good quality sheet of canvas from my local fabric store and more poster paint. I bolted the canvas to my table so it would not shrink as the caulk dried. I mixed the ballast, caulk, paint and some water together in a sturdy bucket. I spread the mess thinly on my canvas with newspaper underneath to absorb excess. I also added it to my new hill tops. I sprinkled the three colors of flock onto the mat and gently pressed it into place. After an hour, I spread the flock around some to give it a more blended, natural look. After letting the mess dry for a day or so. I fixed the flock in place by spraying the mat down with a mix of PVA and water, I let this dry another day. I then got my predrilled hex template board and used it to mark the hexes on the mat. These I marked in with brown felt. 

Flock added to the base of caulk and sand



I cut the mat to 6'x4'. This will be usable for the Command and Color ranges of games as well as Commit the Garde. If I ignore the discreet hexes, I can use it for other games as well. I will still need my old hex mat for Epic sized games of Command and Colors. Stay tuned for pictures of the new mat and hills in action in future posts!

Completed hills and mat

Big screen finished product

Finished hills

Monday, 31 July 2017

Chain of Command Scenario Three

It is my last day of holidays and I spent it playing a solo game of Chain of Command (CoC). I kept a journal of events for the write up and review. This scenario was called attack and defend. The defender deployed his deployment markers in his deployment area. The attacker started on the baseline but gets to have D6 free moves before the game continues back and forth. The Germans rolled well for force morale (11) and the Soviets rolled poorly (8). The Germans rolled 4 free moves and tried to set up his deployment so they could deploy in the rock walled field. This they succeeded in doing...


poker chips used for deployment markers


 


Jump Off Points

Turn 1

The Germans had the highest force morale and took the first turn. They deployed 1st Section in the center behind the rock wall and went into overwatch. They also deployed 2 scouts on the right next to the field.

The Soviets responded by having three turns in a row. They deployed A Section on their right in the woods, outside of the overwatching German's arc of fire. They planned to outflank the Germans. The extra turns allowed A Section to advance through the woods but their fire was ineffective. The Soviets tried to deploy scouts and B Section but they failed 4 attempts to deploy their troops due to the German preliminary bombardment.

The Germans responded by turning to face their flank and made room to deploy a second section if needed.

 German troops take casualties as they redeploy but their superior firepower soon begins to tell


The Soviets failed to bring in any reinforcements and had to use a Chain of Command dice to end the turn. This also ended the effects of the preliminary bombardment.

Turn 2

The Germans deployed 2 Section along the rock wall and went into overwatch. 1 Section suppressed the Soviets in the woods and fired for effect causing 2 shock. 

The Soviets finally started bringing in reinforcements. They deployed B Section in the church and fired on the overwatching 2 Section causing 1 kill. The Germans returned fire in overwatch but could not penetrate the thick walls of the cathedral. The Soviets also deployed their B64 armored car which advanced at the double.

The Germans fired for effect with 1 Section and caused 2 kills and 2 shock on A Section in the woods. 2 Section fired to suppress the cathedral with one Team and advanced to the door of the house in their front. The German reconnaissance 1/2 track arrived and advance up the road.

The Germans abandon cover and try to capture a key piece of terrain



The Soviets saw their chance to catch the Germans in the open. They deployed a Section of Scouts in the house that 1 Section was sitting in front of. They blazed away with their SMGs but only inflicted 1 shock! They had better luck on the other flank where their second Scout team surprised the scouting German team and neutralized them. A Section rallied off some shock in the woods.

Soviet Scouts surprise a German Scout team and take them out



The German phase saw the arrival of the Senior Leader. He ordered the exposed Team from 1 Section lob  3 grenades through the windows of the house with the Soviet scouts reducing the 4 man team to 1 man. They thought about assaulting but an elite scout with an SMG would have taken a few Germans with him. Instead, the Section put the barrel of the LMG and SMG in the windows and shot down the last Scout. In hindsight, the rules say the Germans should have had to assault as they were within 4" inches of each other.1 Section fired for effect into the woods again, causing 1 kill, 2 shock and lightly wounding the Soviet squad leader.

With the loss of their Scout team, the Soviets committed their last reserve. C Section arrived with the Senior Leader in the same house the Scouts had deployed in. They dropped grenades at the exposed Germans outside the house and then assaulted. The Germans rolled well and took out 2 Soviet riflemen and injured the Senior leader before they were wiped out. Now the Soviets were the exposed ones out n the open in front of the remnants of 2 Section. B Section did what they could to help by providing covering fire from the cathedral. A Section withdrew into the safety of the woods as they were too battered to contribute to the defense until rallied.

Victorious C Section is badly exposed in front of the house


The Germans deployed 3 Section in the cow field and opened up on the beleaguered C Section inflicting 3 kills and 1 shock. 2 Section managed to inflict 2 shock and lightly wounding the Soviet Junior Leader from throwing grenades and firing while suppressed. The German half track added its fire and caused another kill and shock.

3 Section arrives and pours fire into the Soviets



The Soviet force morale had been reduced to three and all they could respond with was some accurate rifle fire from the Scout Section which caused 2 kills on the newly arrived 3 Section.

The final German phase saw fire from 1 and 3 Section finish off C Section. To end the game, the German Senior Leaded lead the remnants of 2 section to throw grenades and assault the wounded Soviet Senior Leader and wounded Junior Leader from C Section resulting in their demise and the collapse of Soviet morale.

This was a landslide win for the Germans. The panzer grenadiers are powerful with their 2 LMG's per section. I am continuing to learn these rules and spent a lot of time with my nose in the rule book. It is a game that offers some interesting command decisions. Should I deploy all my units early and increase my firepower? Should I hold units in reserve and take advantage of my opponents mistakes? Should I use lots of scouts to try and force my opponent to deploy troops to defend their jump off points? Having the last reserve was decisive for the Germans when they deployed them to finish of C Section. I like being able to use the leaders to have units throw grenades. These are very effective weapons, causing 3 auto hits against troops in confined spaces. Too effective? I don't think so.it was not clear in the rules if a unit outside a house is assaulted by a unit in the house, do they get hard cover? I ruled that they did. I will post to the FB group and see what they say.

Next? My friend Jonathan is in town. I will see if I can get the usual suspects together and put on a game for him. Also, my boy has rekindled his interest in Song of Blades and Heroes. Stay tuned for more games and pictures.







Sunday, 30 July 2017

Prelude to Battle

I have been searching for some motivation to get my WWII stuff out. I was planning a 28mm Chain of Command game but changed to 15mm. The reason? A shiny new piece of kit. I bought a 15mm Cathedral pre-painted and good to go. Made by Battlefront. I have not played Chain of Command in a while so I have been reviewing the rules all week in preparation.



The Russians will be defending the town from a German counter attack. Here is the scene before deployment. Russia on the right and Germans on the left.


The Russians have 3 squads of 10 men each with an LMG. In support they have a B64 armored car, some barbed wire and a Scout squad.


The Germans are Panzer Grenadiers. They have 3 squads with an SMG and 2 LMG's, and a panzerschreck team. In support they have a pre game barrage and a sdfz 250 with a reconnaissance squad.


This is Charlie finding a warm spot in the sun

I visited the fortress of Louisbourg this week during a week long trip with the Venturer Scouts to Cape Breton Island. A feature of architecture during the French and Indian Wars. It has been somewhat restored after being thoroughly dismantled by the British. It is Canada's 150 Anniversary so all the National Parks are free.
Gate guard in period dress (French)

Governor's residence in the distance

A model of the changing of the guard

I purchase a 10x6' bolt of watery looking cloth in anticipation of getting my Langton ships in them mail and playing naval games. The ships shown are made of card from an old CCG game.






Saturday, 22 July 2017

Classic Rome Vs Carthage Matchup

Today I got to play a rousing game of Sword and Spear with two of my mates. We were celebrating the completion of Zack painting his Romans and Carthaginians. The figures are mostly Newline 20mm with a few standard plastic figs as well. We have played many straight up fights and decided to try an attack on a prepared defense scenario. The Romans attacked with 500 pts and Carthage defended with 400 pts.

Romans:


3 Captain
2 Veteran Hastati
6 Hastati
3 Cavalry
3 Velites
1 Cretan Archer


Roman Deployment


Carthaginians:

1 General
1 Captain
3 Veteran African Spearmen
2 Warband HI
2 Spanish Scutarii MI
2 Spanish Cavalry
2 Javelinmen
1 Balearic Slinger
1 Elephant

Carthaginians on the hill

Both armies took the Resupply Strategem.

The Carthaginians had the advantage in terrain and deployed a river on their right flank and a long ridge to deploy their infantry on. They had to set up first and set all their foot in a line on the ridge and 3 units of skirmishers forward. Their elephant was on the right and the cavalry was on the left.

Close up of nice painting


The Romans set their heavy infantry in a line 2 deep facing the ridge. 2 Velites deployed on the left to oppose the Elephant and 3 Cavalry and 2 skirmishers deployed against the Carthaginian cavalry on the right.

Carthaginian left


Both sides advanced their flanks. The Roman Velites tied up and routed the Elephant that advanced unsupported. The 2 Carthaginian Cavalry were overwhelmed by the greater Roman numbers opposing them after several rounds of combat. The Carthaginian Skirmishers in the center were destroyed but not before damaging a unit of Hastati in hand to hand.

The Cavalry thunder forward


We agreed to call the game after 4 turns. Carthage was one unit away from retiring from the field and the Romans had only lost a Velite unit.

The Elephant in the room


We discussed the game afterwards and concluded that Carthage should have held it's flanking forces in reserve and used its terrain advantage to fight the front lines. Throwing in reserves when the heavy foot were embroiled. It takes a patient wargamer to resist attacking and let the enemy come to you.

The Romans fell the mighty beast


 I have played S&S 6 times or more and have not seen the successful use of skirmishers deployed in front of the heavy infantry. They perform much better on the flanks.

Two lines of Cavalry battle to the death

Thanks for an excellent outing boys. Looking forward to the next gathering.


Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Back to the Brush

I am slowly returning to the painting table after a fairly long break. Last weekend I painted up a ship but that was so I could experiment with rigging it. Since then I have pulled out some fantasy figures and started painting them. It is more challenging to paint individual models rather then massed units. I have to think about each color rather than painting uniforms. I find that I limited myself to a small palette of colors to work with so that each batch of models is somewhat themed. Some of these are treasures found at Huzzah from the Bring and Buy. The big spider and the gnolls are from the AD&D line that recently came out. These are fun models but the casting lacks detail.

Not sure what this one is. He will make a fine musician for a unit of sado-masochist warriors

Phase Spider
 Dark Elf Princess
 Lanky Troll
Gnoll Brothers

 Beholder


I also purchased a digital copy of Fighting Sail from Osprey Games. I had a quick read through it last night. There are some interesting mechanics but I was disappointed that it was an IGOUGO game for movement and fire. I will give it a test drive before passing any judgment. I joined an active Facebook group for the rules and saw some interesting house rules. I pulled out my collection of card ships from the old Pirates game by Wizards of the Coast. I have plenty to use for a tester game.