27 July 2017

BA "Sectors" Scenario

Not one but two games of BA2 this week – what a treat after a few weeks’ dry spell!  First up was a 1000 point game in Canberra with my tabletop buddy of 20+ years, Comrade James.  We played the Scenario 12 'Sectors' which was new to me and very interesting with lots of tactical decision making.
The imposing “Düsseldorf Triangle” - Hvy Mortar off to the right
I was up against James's infamous “Düsseldorf Triangle” list (aka “das Großen Käse”!), in which he fields a Heavy Mortar, a Nebelwerfer and the dreaded 88 (in 2 platoons).  He sets them up on his backline in a triangle with a LT in the centre of them – then he “snaps to action” the officer and fires all three heavy weapons as his first action of the turn.  Brutal!  He can also recrew between them as required to account for casualties.  Very interesting and rather daunting to face up to (I decided to leave my tanks in the box as a result!)
German Spotter (for the 88), and Veteran SS squad.

Noting the scenario scoring I reorganised my paras from their traditional 10 man sections to smaller, 5 man teams each with a Bren gun and 1 SMG, hoping this would give me more unit scoring options.  This worked well and the 5 man teams were relatively resilient (being vets) but 2 of them struggled on with only a single man left so perhaps 5 was too small.  I also tried a 5 man all SMG squad but sadly they got caught and wiped out before I could try them out in practice.
SS Veterans assault the British positions in the closing moments of the game

A very interesting see-saw game evolved.  With my own Light HOW and Mdm Mortar focusing on enemy infantry, I tried some unconventional counter battery fire against James’s big guns.  My sniper took out the 88 observer on turn 1 (doubling his career kill tally – well done that man!) and I rushed up and destroyed the Nebelwerfer in close combat.
Unconventional Counter Battery fire!

The final turn 6 saw me in a relatively good position after some lucky die rolls (like a squad brassing up a loaded halftrack at long range, destroying it , and killing 5 of the 6 occupants and routing the last chap) and ahead on VPs, but a Turn 7 then ensued.  James took me apart and it was only a lucky last activation of the game in which my sniper took out a German officer that made the game a draw. 
A pivotal end to the battle: Airborne General Urquhart pours hot tea on the cheeky SS blighters disturbing his elevenses, 
scalding one rather badly before the rest broke in and broke all the good china.
Lots of fun in a very dynamic scenario which I enjoyed and look forward to trying out again.  Thanks for the game Comrade! Bad luck on the draw; you definitely deserved a win after outplaying me throughout the evening.

23 July 2017

I did it again...

Yes I've done it again (see here).  I honestly went in just for a paint pot (the one perched precariously on the bog pile of awesome). But a 50% off sale? A man can only do so much...
Happily, mistakes were made...

06 July 2017

A quick game of BA

2 v 2 game down the pub - good fun!
Back from holidays just in time to catch up with the lads for a 4 player late war BA game.
This saw a German Heer and FSJ counterattack on a Brit Airborne and US Army position in a small village.
Having taken the town, the lads wait for the inevitable Jerry counterattack!
A fun, quick game introducing a new young player to the game (who did remarkably well too - good job!), it saw two notable events; the first time EVER that my sniper has taken out a target and the first time EVER that my medic has saved anyone.  And they have played in every game since I built the Army, so thats a lot of attempts! 'Bout time they started to pull their weight too I must say!
Cor blimey - they've got a Panzer! 
FSJ advance on the right flank in strength
Right lads, skip round behind the cottage sharpish!
Dont worry our tank'll take care of that mess, unless he misses (which he did twice!)
The game ended up in some nasty hand to hand in the big building, which saw the FSJ firmly in control by game end.  Lots of fun!

24 June 2017

Battlegroup goodness to look forward to

Its no secret that I am a bit of a BG fanboy, so you probably wont be surprised that these two upcoming releases have me rather excited!
Just announced - Cold War BG!
This will be in the smaller campaign style like BG Wacht am Rhein
In the meantime, I'm going to try out BG in 28mm - all my games have been 15mm thus far.  Going to try some BG Fall of the Reich using my Paras.  Right after I get back from a midyear break away, that is. Ciao!

13 June 2017

The Battle of Knackerville

Boys, Beers and Battle = Good times!
To celebrate the Queen's Birthday long weekend, Slowpainter John hosted a bunch of the club lads for a massed "toys on the table" game of Bolt Action.  The 4 x 8 foot table depicted the Alsatian town of Knackerville (famous for its horse retirement farm and unrelated but located next door sausage factory...), and its bridges over the Knacker River.  3 wiley German defenders would try to hold out a mixed Allied force of British Regulars, Brit Paras, and French. Reilly took command of my beloved Red Devils and all the recent additions from AHPC saw table action for the first time.
Western approach to Knackerville, through the horse stud and sausage factory. The River beyond is the Allied objective.
The Allies had some 40 order dice (!) to the Germans' 24, with the latter setting up hidden with a range of dummy markers.  To make matter worse, when Allied units first encountered one another, a d6 roll of 1 would see a case of mistaken identity and taking each other under fire.  To keep the action moving (and player involved), the game progressed by drawing lots of 4 dice and resolving the actions simultaneously.  Worked very well.

The Germans had clearly developed their defensive fire plan in detaill, accounting for the their uncanny ability to zero in their artillery and remove entire infantry sections in a salvo...Ouch!
Initial German artillery salvo - on target! a full section of British infantry was wiped out
"Ya! Ya! Gut job Hans - do it again!"
As you might expect it was a hard slog up the middle of the narrow table end.  And it make matters worse, with all those Allied units we had a real traffic jam on our hands too.  I put my new Sherman Firefly Assegai on a flank march up the left, while Reilly (remembering our game from CanCon, clever lad!) stuck two squads of Paras plus a FT and PIAT team flanking up the right.  Took a bit of patience but we held out and they proved rather key in the end.
A Panzerschreck team hidden in the ruins saw an end to the Churchill Minotaur, blocking the intersection
Para recon jeep locates a hidden PaK at the end of the road the hard way...
...enabling its neutralisation by off board artillery bombardment
A Para squad is destroyed by another deadly accurate salvo from the German gunners
Best on Ground for the day: Heer Artillery
The German rein of 6s and our continued spate of 1s was rather amazing.  In 6 turns our snipers never hit a thing, my medic failed every roll, and only a single artillery salvo hits its mark. C'est la guerre aplenty over 4 hours.  Then the game started to turn when the Luftwaffe appeared and mistook the rather unusual Panzerwerfer 42 Rocket launcher vehicle for an Allied threat.  The Me 262 rolled in and promptly removed it from the equation before it had fired.
BOOM! The Luftwaffe pilot earns himself a DSO!
4 turns in and our FT team dropped in, taking the Germans completely by surprise as they ran up to incinerate the squad in the building. Unfortunately, they rolled a 1 and missed.  They got the first activation in the next turn but mangled to fail their activation roll after getting a single pina nd were predictably eliminated.  The Germas thought that the flanking threat was over but then came a nasty surprise on the right as these chaps arrived - 5 feet up the 8 foot table!
Surprise Fritz!
Memorable moments - the time that PIAT actually brewed something up!
Meanwhile, over on the left flank the appearance of the German heavy armour made the Firefly's debut timely - Assegai rolled in and dispatched the first one with a nice rear armour shot!
"Scratch one Panzer Jim!"

The next turn the Pz IV spun round and the two tanks engaged one another but missed.  However, the French Char B1 saw his chance and rolled in for a stern shot on the Pz IV - Kill!

At the same time the second Churchill, Medusa, tried to overrun the Panzerschreck team that had dispatched Minotaur, resulting in mutual destruction.  It was a bad day to be a tanker on any side really!

At this point, the German position was untenable though they had extracted a heavy price for the Allied advance - a draw was naturally called!  It was a cracking day made possible by the hospitality of John and his lovely wife with great lunch, dinner, snacks, beers, endless coffees and wonderful camaraderie.  Thanks very much!
Kampfgruppe Kommandants (and Umpire with dice bag!)

31 May 2017

Some FIW Gaming

Colonial Rangers scout ahead of the British Main Body
Over the last few months Alan and I have been progressing a FIW campaign and continuing to add to our forces.  So much so that we are now at the upper edge of what we can reasonably setup and complete in a club night.  Here is some eye candy of our forces in  recent actions:

Infantry column with a skirmish screen deploys on the left flank in front of a strong French position
My right flank infantry advance along a forrest trail

Alan's waiting French line
Vive la Roi!

My left flank advances, reinforced by Grenadiers

And deploys with rippling musketry!
I'm very happy how the Warbases came out - I think they look really good painted and flocked, and they save a stack of time during movement.
While my right column forms into line and does likewise

Take that Frenchies! Now back to Canada with you!
Its been very satisfying to see this force really develop during AHOC and beyond - just one artillery battery to go until I am done (for now anyway!)

25 May 2017

Hobby Highs and Horrors

How cool is this guy? Love the camo pants!

This week my Man Cave saw the best and worst of our hobby.

Firstly, a wonderful parcel arrived from Canada, courtesy of Snow Lord Curt himself - my reverse Curtgeld thank you for my assistance as a Minion during AHPC VII.

Opening the box...
 Thanks indeed Curt - I love this guy (and his strange similarity to the main character from Fallout New Vegas) but the message under the base is the best bit

This great treat more than made up for a far more frustrating incident from Sunday afternoon.  Odin the playful Beagle pup decided that my completed, based and varnished new Scrapper force needed to be removed from the drying area and reduced to its component parts again. Scrapped indeed.  Not quite the way I wanted to post these guys
On the bright side, some bits are still attached... Little bugger!

19 May 2017

Burn and Loot

One day you are happily hobbying along with the next 3 months planned out in detail and far more projects and models than you know what to do with. Then for no good reason, something twists your head and you are off down a whole other path of awesomeness its new plans and purchase in mind.

Pretty sure I'm not alone in this regard, right?...

Anyway, Deus Vult - bought it when it came out. Looked great but needed big armies, so I shelved it for another day.  Then some guys at the club buy its little brother Burn and Loot.  Smaller, SAGA sized games - fun games in a few hrs.  More detail than Lion Rampant but less than Deus Vult.  Then Alan does a Medieval Russian force, while other chaps do Hospitallers and Moors.  Hmmm, the Baltic and the Northern crusades might be fun for something different.  The next thing I know my desk looks like this:

...and so I am once again distracted and seduced by the shiny side of this hobby...

Alan and Aled - this is for you:

13 May 2017

FIW Fences

I wanted to add some linear type obstacles to our FIW games, so this week I made some fences.  Two packs of Renedra Cross Rail fencing to be precise.  The kits are really great kit, but its like constructing a mechano set with lots of bits to put together, which was a fiddly process.  On the other hand, it is ultimately flexible.  This is what I ended up with:

I've been deliberately trying to put more colour on my table this year, thus the brown wood colours of a new construction rather than weathered greys.

I was trying to emulate this type of fencing which was prolific in the New England region in the colonial era (I took these pics when I lived there)

30 April 2017

The Siege of Port Arthur, 2016

This week's post is a shout out to fellow blogger Colonel Scipio, who runs the blog Palladian Guard (here).  Of particular note are the "Supercampaigns" he runs which integrate RPG like elements into a war-game campaign structure.  Very cool and naturally I was intrigued so we ended up chatting via email.

Last year I was invited to participate in the latest Supercampaign "Doomed but Defiant" set in the the siege of Port Arthur during the Russo-Japanese War of 1905-06.  As the Colonel his merry men are in UK, I as the overall Japanese Commander submitted my orders weekly, and subordinates would execute them as they interpreted them, and I was subsequently advised of the outcomes.  As you can imagine, this generated all sorts of realistic friction as orders were misinterpreted and subordinates took 'unauthorised initiative'.
The culminating engagement of the campaign, as depicted in the very cool narrative book
It was a great deal of fun and I must admit that I quite looked forward to my Monday lunchtimes with my office door shut - reading the weekly dispatches and crafting my orders.  I also recorded weekly war diary entries.  The lads at the other end did likewise.  The Colonel has now crafted them into this great book in an Osprey narrative style with great maps and graphics, inserting excerpts from the war diaries as appropriate.  I am thrilled with it as a wonderful relic of the game which lasted from May until September 2016. But the Colonel didn't stop there.
Just arrived with my book is this great little momento - a Imperial Japanese Army Command Stand featuring General Nogi, Commander of the Third Army and my alter ego during the campaign.

Thanks indeed for including me in the campaign Colonel - it was a great experience.  Thanks indeed for the great momentos too: they will have place of honour in the Man Cave!

You can read about our RJW Supercampaign at the Colonel's Blog here: