Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Desert Dust Storm

After a foul weather and health induced long layoff, we finally got the crew together for a Flames of War game last Sunday.  We've been doing some quickie games from the Firestorm Stalingrad system but for a change of pace shifted to North Africa, giving me a chance to use my new-used cloth mat.  With four players we each prepared a 109 point list for the 5x7' table.  Unfortunately a mistaken box grab meant we had to cobble a German force together and only came up with 103 points to complement my Italians.  Both the Germans and I had infantry companies (mine was a Bersaglieri weapons company) with anti-tank guns and some armor in support.  The Germans had stukas for air support, the Brits had none.

The British both went armor heavy.  One with Shermans and guns, the other with Crusaders and Grants and guns.  I'm a big fan of combined arms so these games are always a test of the system to me.  Fortunately for us, the mission rolled was Encounter with Meeting Engagement rules and Delayed Random Reserves.  The British "won" the toss to be the attackers, or we would have had to wait a long time before we could attempt to attack.  As it was we could let them come to our big guns.  Each side had 40% in delayed reserve.

Looking down the table after Turn 1 is complete.
The British came out swinging right from the start, moving aggressively forward even though their guns couldn't bombard.  The Italian contingent had recon and had advanced the AB41s towards the village with a bersaglieri weapons platoon trailing, ready to jump into the center buildings.  Little did I know that it would become a focal point for the British.

We attempt to react.
Outside of occupying two of three buildings there was little we could do besides hold and punch back.  Stukas appeared but outside of occasionally pinning guns they did little against great saving throws.

Shermans advance with only a single 88mm that can hurt them.
I had Lancia gun trucks, Semoventes and engineers off table, so for the most part had to just hunker down, wait for flank shots and bombard with my 100mm guns.  The Germans weren't any better off in terms of mobility.

From the other end.  

Crusaders pose little problem but the Grants are a different story.

Earlier: My M14s do a dance of death, failing multiple crossing checks.
As an experiment I bought three command cards.  Pietro Brunno, Pazzaglia bombs and a reroll one dice card.  This time all three ended up being used.  Once to unpin my village Bersaglieri, once to help them assault Crusaders that wandered into town, and to get shots against flank armor values. 

The Pak43 are proxies for the standard "barn door" German 88s.
Since I had to put together the German list from my holdings I bought all the extras for the DAK infantry platoons.  Some were useful, like the ATR, others like the mortar never had a viable target.

The big red dice tracks the turn number.  We need some reserves!

The British on this flank had two formations, one of Crusaders
and one of Grants.

Shermans are pretty terrifying for Italians.  They kill M14s easily.

Stand fast my heroes!  The attached 47mm gun lurks in the palms.
The British poured a ton of fire into the village, trying to dislodge the Bersaglieri but although pinned almost every turn they kept hanging in and firing galling shots.  Even popped out to assault Crusaders that got too close.
A great roll brings in most of the British reserves.

The 88 survives multiple last stand checks and the 10.5cm guns
are firing over open sights.  Marders to the rescue!
The horde of British tanks on our right are getting thinner but the situation is still desperate.  On my flank I got my Lancia guns who quickly neutralized one platoon of Shermans.  But they will have to dash somewhere else to contribute more.

My Semoventes arrive and go hide, but still get one bailed anyway.

Hot dice vs. cold dice ends the crisis on our right.

Semoventes kill a Sherman and Bruno bails another.

Both tank formations on our right broke or in the case of the Crusaders, were wiped out.  Although we still hadn't advanced beyond the center line the British conceded the game.  With our lists if we had needed to attack it would have been a disaster.  On the defense we had a tight game with chances for all.  A frigid turn where the British couldn't seem to hit anything didn't help.  My rolls for elites were below average but the Bersaglieri in the village earned their status.

Next up a day of demo games at a local public library.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Sands in the Windtalker's Letters of our Fathers

Flames of War in the Pacific.  The source books are 3rd edition so a bit of tweaking and finagling was required.  I used a blank template and made up cards for the troops I own and were using.

The Marines had two rifle platoons, upgraded to Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) teams.  An assault section with flamethrowers and bazookas was split between the two.  A 1917 HMG platoon added to the suppression base, as were four 81mm mortars and a pair of 37mm ATGs.  The BAR platoons had a section of Amtracs attached.  In support were a trio of M5 Stuarts and three LVT(4)1 Amtracs with a 75mm gun.  Finally, a pair of Corsairs flew air support.

The Japanese were a fortified company so trenches, MG nests, wire and minefields abounded.  Two platoons were purchased with upgrades to both.  A pillbox for each in place of the MG nest and a 47mm ATG in one.  A pair of 81mm mortars, four 75mm howitzers, two 20mm AAA and three Shinoto "tanks" rounded out their support.  Just under 2100 LW points.  "No Retreat" was appropriately rolled as the mission.  This had the unfortunate effect though of requiring a substantial deep reserve force.  Since the fortifications had to start on table, it meant the 75s, AAA and tanks were in reserve.  The USMC got to start with everything.

Jumping off positions from the USMC point of view.

Part of the Japanese deployment.  A minefield covers one objective.

Platoons on the left and center, Stuarts on the right.

My 3D printed Corsairs.  The showed up EVERY turn, though
mostly just kept key Japanese units pinned.

The center seemed the most vulnerable, so after prep the Marines
assaulted successfully.

Japanese reserves roll on, though a Corsair took out a tank.

The look of a failed assault.
With a good skill test value and not wanting the other Marines to get all the glory I assaulted through the wire and minefield.  On the second try we got in but the Japanese counter attack threw the remnants out, seen here on the hill. 

Stuarts on the objective so the Japanese assault.  Banzai!

But 15 MGs and some supporting fire turn them away.

And it was over on Turn Six.  We have played only a few games set in the PTO but all the games have been nail-biters that went down to the wire.  If the Japanese artillery could have started on table I believe it would have played a lot differently, but the mission requirements said otherwise.  Since it is unlikely I'll see Battlefront return to the Pacific in my lifetime I've continued to make up cards to make it as simple as possible for us.  I categorically refuse to switch back and forth between 3rd and 4th edition.  Too confusing for the old.... veteran player.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

TundraCon V

On January 5th, 2019 we observed the fifth round of our game-day at the American Legion Post in Appleton, WI: TundraCon.  We try to keep it inexpensive and casual (more or less keep to the schedule) while offering a wide variety of games.  Always the first Saturday of January, we'll be back next year.  A number of pictures below with minimal comments.  Enjoy!

A "what if" from March, 1941 using Naval Thunder.

X-Wing tournament.

Chuck Seegert was there from DVG Games doing demos all day.

A poor picture but shows Swordfish attacking the Scharnhorst.

Memoir '44.

Lots of Cruel Seas action.

Battle Fleet Gothic space battle.

Gaslands appears for the first time at TundraCon.

Adeptus Titanicus with Epic Armageddon. 

Pikeman's Lament, 17th century action.

Another view of the Adeptus Titanicus game.

Clash of Empires, the March to the Front.

Persians vs. Greeks square off.

Astounding Tales, the Mummy's Crypt Crawl.

Multi-thousand point Flames of War game in 1945.


Among the games not pictured unfortunately is a Crete Landing using Flames of War, Wings of Glory and Wings of War, my own Steam and Black Powder ironclads game, The Sword and the Flame with Zulus and British, and board games you could check out.

The Legion post had convenient and affordable food and drink, with a number of fast-food or sit-down establishments very close.  Mark your calendars and stop by next year, the weather's great!

Friday, November 30, 2018

Flames of War

A Flames of War late-war game between my Americans (finally used!) and Germans at 1500 points.  Kind of thrown together on a whim, using the new cards and points in 4th edition.  My formation had paratroopers supported by a LMG platoon, pack 75 platoon, 105mm gun platoon, tripod mounted .50 cal. AAMGs, a platoon of Shermans, a platoon of M10s with a security team and P-47s.

The Germans had a platoon of Tiger I, platoon of Panthers, two grenadier platoons, 8cm mortars, a pair of 15cm infantry guns, and Stukas.  Mission was annihilation and the Germans got the first move.

Starting position.  Craters are a crossing check but cover only
for infantry.

Pack 75s smoke the Panthers so the M10s can get into position.
One had been bailed by a Stuka.

My P-47s, while appearing frequently at first, were totally

As the paratroopers boldly (and foolishly) advanced the M10s
played hide and seek with the Panthers.
The German mortars ravaged my pack 75s but fortunately there were just two 15cm guns so they had to reroll hits.  Aircraft are usually impervious but over the course of the game I got lucky and shot down both Stukas.

The Tigers engaged the Shermans while the 105s were fairly
ineffective too.

I managed to get the security section and all but one stand of
paratroopers eliminated, though the LMGs had a strangle hold
on town.

Creeping and maneuvering, the HQ and attached bazookas finally
got in on pair of bailed Panthers and eliminated them.

The Tigers have killed all the Shermans in a duel of not hitting
each other but now feel very alone.

The Tigers began to back out, harrassed by the P-47s as the Americans consolidated on their right.  A good game to remind us of the differences between mid-war, which we'd been exclusively playing of late, and the power of late-war troops.

Battle of Oak Grove - 1862

Johnny Reb III has long been a mainstay of our gaming group but for some reason hadn't played all year as I recall.  That doesn't mean we stopped painting so to give table time for some new minis we pulled out "Forward the Colors" by George Anderson and Ryan Toews to find a scenario.  With the personel and time available I settled on Oak Grove, historically fought on June 25, 1862.  Our game represented the effort by "Fightin' Joe" Hooker against Benjamin Huger.  Three brigades per side over a heavily wooded area.  The woods, any shade of green cloth besides the base cover were treated as broken ground for movement.  The fields were cosmetic because I like them 😊and the fences offered no cover but slowed movement.  Both sides had a smattering of green troops.

The multiple road intersection is the objective.  Brigade deployment
areas were predetermined by the scenario.

The Yankee right, Rebel left.

They come to grips quickly in the center but are slowed by woods

Lines are finally shaken out but both sides in the near view are
reluctant to advance.

On the Rebel right the fighting is brutal.

Two Reb units were lost setting up this charge.

But at the end, both brigades were mauled.
In Johnny Reb you can no longer advance once you hit 40% losses and must retire at 60%.  Since we were basically fighting three actions we applied it to the brigades.  In this case once the routers were tallied both sides were unable to prosecute offensive action on this end of the table.

The Yankees flank the Reb on their right but with a green unit
do not do as much damage and are out of command so can't charge.

Some daring charges and good musketry slowly pushed the
Yankees back in the center.

The Rebs have stabilized their left and are now ready to advance.

The Rebs keep advancing in the center and also engage the
depleted Yankee brigade.

Looking favorable for the Confederacy.

The left-hand Yankees must fall back and so do the Yankees on
the right.  The center can still fight but will be flanked soon.

Yankees retiring on their works and, uh... supplies.
Historically the Yankees made progress before running out of steam and resolve.  That is pretty much what happened in our game.  While rusty with the rules it came back to us quickly and we were able to play at a brisk pace.  Thanks for playing guys.