Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Tanksgiving 2016

Once a year we set aside our normal Flames of War games and indulge in a big table "heavy metal" game of nothing but tank lists.  Hosted by Adventure Games in Oshkosh we had thirteen players this year, some new, some veteran and some returning to the colors, with them bringing 28 lists totaling a whopping 39,500 points!  In the initial deployment we had three Soviet and three US lists going against six German.  One player had to leave early but that worked well with a late arrival, so everyone got to play.

Before the first move on a 12x6' table.  Each side had a 12" deployment

Prepared Positions, Mobile Battle and Ambush mission rules
were used.
 We modified the usual Tanksgiving rules somewhat, limiting air to a maximum of three missions, objectives deployed on the center-line and reserves coming in by company instead of by platoon.

On our end of the table the Germans held back and tried to
whittle down the Soviets.

The Soviets began to get victory points for center-line objectives.

Both sides were aggressive on the US end of the table.
Center section with Pershings vs. Jagdpanthers and a JagdTiger.

Even the Super Pershing succumbed to German fire.

Not without loss though.

The Soviets were doing well till a lucky round of rolling took
the bite from their JS-IIs.

Eleven of the thirteen players.  All smiles before the game.
After all the smoke cleared and the victory points totaled, it was a draw, dead even.  More importantly we had a good time, met some new players, made some good sales for the game shop, and set the stage for the next one.  Thanks to all who participated.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Flames of War - Eastern Front

We called for a get-together at Adventure Games in Oshkosh a week ago.  The idea was 1500 L-W points.  Some RSVPed and I brought a couple of extra forces just in case.  As it turned out we had two Soviet and two German players plus myself who had brought German and British.  The simplest solution to the odd number was to change from two one-on-one games where we switched opponents to one big game on an 8x6' table.  So each Soviet bumped themselves up to 2000 points and I cut some out of my Germans.  We had a Panzer IV company, Falschirmjager company, and my Aufklarungs against two Soviet tank companies with supports.

The mission rolled was a Meeting Engagement.  Since it featured Delayed Reserves I had two people roll dice roll for reserves starting turn 3 instead of one.  I wanted to make sure everything got into action.  It also had Scattered Reserves which strangely enough had things show up in their owners sector almost all the time.

The table tops didn't match and the connector was unpainted,
but it still works.  
 Our Mk. IV group started on the left, my recon in the middle, and the paras on the right.  The Soviets went (from our perspective) center and right.

Each side aggressively advanced their left against the opposing right.

Our left advances, initially unopposed.

And stops and shoots till we neutralize the Soviet AT guns.
The Soviet infantry in the center didn't have any intrinsic AT capability, so direct fire and bombardment from 15cm guns made short work of the excellent Soviet 57mm ATGs leaving them vulnerable to the approaching panzers.

On our right the Soviets learn assaulting Fearless-Veterans with
Panzerfausts is a thankless task.
When the T-34s assaulted the defensive fire from the integral Panzerfausts stopped the assault and bailed several tanks.  With a firepower of 5+ they aren't going to kill many, but left the company ripe for a killer Falschirmjager assault in our half of the turn.

When my reserves arrived I raced up the middle, assaulting Soviet
infantry.  I didn't even need the Pumas and 250/9s.  The Luchs did
the job.

Another group of (proxy) T-34/85 roll on but are slowed, then stopped.

With the field littered with burning T-34s and us within striking distance of an objective it seemed time to quit.  Both sides had airpower but accomplished little with it except sometimes intercepting opposing air.

All in all a pleasant, low-key game with one new player (thanks Alex), one out of practice player (cheers Kyle) and our usual more or less proficient regulars (Bob, Todd and myself).  Coming up in a week, the annual "Tanksgiving" game that will please any heavy metal enthusiast.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

New SYW Additions

For a long while I fought the urge to add nationalities to my "big battalions" collection.  I would ask myself, "What do I need with another nationality?"  Well sometimes my bargain hound nature gets the better of me.  Hence the units below.

First came four squadrons of painted Austrian cavalry.  Two each of hussars and cuirassiers.  I believe I've shown them before.  So a solid 48 mounted figures.  Next up the infantry and artillery.

This is Loudon's GrĂ¼n Frei Korps.  Early on it was observed that the Grenzers in the Austrian army did better when they had formed troops in support.  So he was given permission to raise the corps, styling them "grenadiers" even though they didn't have that status.  Perhaps someday I'll add a stand in bearskins.  Evidence is contradictory whether they wore them.  I enjoyed painting these in something other than Austrian white.

I gave the unit a flag even though there is no evidence they carried one.  I had a nice one on hand and flags are, well, cool.

I cruise eBay almost daily seeking bargains.  This gun crew and cannon was an experimental auction listing that had no interest save from me.  So even with shipping from China it was a steal.

Along with the cavalry I had gotten a Grenzer unit that just needed basing and a few needing painting.  So here is the Karlstadter Oguliner Grenz.  Eventually they will be raised to a full 60 figure unit.  

So we need some extra hard fighting troops and a mess of painted grenadiers came with my bargain lot.  They came individually mounted so I made movement trays with double-sided tape.  For now it will do.  Yes, I know they shouldn't have flags but they came with them and like I said, flags are cool.

Finally, a Bartertown trade gave me another 65 Grenzers for just 20 painted sailors, so my brigade will be complete in time.  Not to hold the center of the line, but to annoy the enemy on a flank or operate as an advanced guard.

So in the full goodness of time I'll have brigades of Austrians, French and British, with multiple brigade "armies" of Prussians and Russians.  Between our Imagi-Nation campaigns and the regular BAR (Batailles de Ancien Regime) games in Brown Deer I'm sure they will all eventually get good use.  Or, I'm open to reasonable offers.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

What-Khan 2016

Last weekend I went to What-Khan (formerly Rock Con) in Rockford, IL with Bob Rondou.  Held in a giant sports center it was nice to return to the con after missing the last couple of years.  It was combined with NavCon which was a welcome addition for us.  I think attendance and participation would have been down without the addition.  Next year they are moving to a new facility and returning to the name Rock Con.  Right now I certainly plan to be there.

Now to pictures and some game talk.

Islandawhana 1879

Set up Friday, but not played till Saturday afternoon.

Team Yankee before the Friday session starts.

I was happy to get in a Naval Thunder WWII game set in the Mediterranean.  A historic scenario I've played before, this time from the British side.
Battle of Spartivente using 1/2400 miniatures.

The blue pipe cleaners cleverly indicate evasive maneuvers. 
We (I) lost the Renown, but we sank three Italian heavy cruisers.

Lots of very attractive games going on.  Friday night was busy on the game floor, though the vendors said it was pretty quiet for them.
Clear for Action

Star Wars I'd guess by the ships.

Saturday AM Bob and I signed up for the Team Yankee game.  We do a lot of Flames of War and the "once a year" mini-campaign around Fulda Gap.  I ended up on the Soviet side and as a "newbie" they gave me twenty T-72s to run.  Bob had a mech company with some tank support.
Team Yankee game after the Friday session.  Yarn indicates
starting positions.

Some other Saturday morning games.  Tables were full of players and no shortage of choices.
All Quiet on the Martian Front. 
Pegasus Bridge.

Things went pretty much as usual in Team Yankee.  Americans kill anything they hit and survive most attacks.  Facing seven Abrams, four light vehicles, two Cobras and two Warthogs I was lucky to "only" lose eleven of my T-72s.  In return we collectively killed three Abrams, a Cobra, a Warthog and two light vehicles.  At the end the ref realized he had given the wrong value for an Abrams armor.  In his words I would have killed two more Abrams and lost four few T-72s.
Making progress.  The Soviets were awarded a tactical victory.

Saturday afternoon I played in Mike Husky's "To the Strongest" game.  Not sure why I didn't get any pictures.  I was a Roman facing barbarian hordes.  After a poor set up and a hard fight, we collapsed in a heap.  Saturday night wasn't a thrilling set of game choices, so I ended up in a Wings of Glory game.  Traditionally it isn't a good game for me.  I'm an ace pilot in "Red Baron," but something about this game eludes me.  Happily it was a fun-loving group of players and the ref kept things running fast, so when I was inevitably shot down I still had fun.
Wings of Glory.  I was shot down as usual.

Sunday morning Bob and I played in another "To the Strongest" game.  This time in God's True Scale, 28mm.  Just gorgeous figures by Paul Scrivens-Smith.  Lots of flying games and RPGs, but very few others.
To the Strongest!  Spanish (think El Cid) vs. Berbers.

Just amazing figures.

The Magnificent Seven using A Fistful of Miniatures.

Locked in deadly combat.  A simple system, but with a lot of
dramatic tension.

As was the theme for the weekend, my side lost.

Overall, my side didn't fare well over the weekend.  Clear losers in three games, a tie in another and a tactical victory for the Soviets.  But the con team and their minions were great, gamers and refs were positive and many bargains were had.  Out by 1:00 we were home again by five.  I did well with the vendors and silent auction, filling some needs and also scoring this curiosity:
Are these Spencers?

There are around 200 of htem.  About the same height as a Foundry figure, but much slimmer.  Hard plastics and truly painted as Imagi-Nation armies.  Besides the pictured there are pioneers, gunners, sailors and lots of musket armed soldiers.  For the price, well worth it.  Rock on!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Forcing the River

Along the wide, lazy Pilica River the sleepy town of Warta was awoken to the sound of creaking wagon wheels and the hammering of construction.  Turning out the town militia they first looked to see if pioneers were attempting to span the broken bridge, a memento of the last time Latveria invaded.  Nothing there, so where were they?

A farm. sheltering a militia battalion during the night.

The town of Warta and the broken bridge.
Looking down river, they could see the Latverian barges already in the water awaiting troops and wagons full of pontoons being unloaded.  A line of skirmishers were along the river and two medium cannons were being manhandled into position to support the drive.

Dawn shows the barges already in the water.

The 200' general view as the sun rises.
In game terms the barges loaded, moved to midstream and on the third turn landed their men, who could do nothing else that turn.  The pontoons were allowed to deploy faster than is probably realistic.  Each pontoon went out, then anchored while the next one rowed by.  So basically by turn nine it would be ready to be marched over.

The Latverian Border Foxes lead the way.

By the time the militia moves from the village and town to engage,
their numbers have been reduced by artillery and musketry.

Turn six the Litharusian Dainava Forest Jagers who have been
"scouting" Rondovian territory, arrive.  A militia battalion routs by.
The beleaguered Rondovian forces received reinforcements of a squadron of hussars that rode to the sound of the guns and a Litharusian jager battalion that had been hiding out nearby.

Now regulars begin to cross as the pontoon bridge nears completion.

The Border Foxes fall back on the regulars to organize the advance.

Rondovian hussars charge, but cannot catch the Foxes.

The jagers, keeping an element in close order, don't like what
they see.

More regulars are marching unopposed across the bridge.  Still
others await, out of frame.

Nearly surrounded and cut off, the hussars endure the indignity
of a "sauve qui peut."

Time to go.

So the invasion is in full swing after the second action of our mini-campaign based on Charles S. Grant's book "The Annexation of Chiraz."  The Litharus Army is marching to the relief of their beleaguered neighbor.  While we aren't using map moves, each commander has had to split their army to accomplish the assorted campaign objectives, so who knows what we will find in the next few actions?