Sunday, February 18, 2018

"What news from court?"

A small diversion:

SOMEWHERE ON THE BATTLEMENTS OF FORTRESS VILNIUS, MID-MORNING


"Sasha Davidov, this was an excellent idea.  The morning could not be better."

"Da Professor Markovitz, is good.  I myself prefer to be, um, active in the morning."

"So Sasha, what is the latest news from court?  I have been away far too long."
"The biggest news professor is that we are receiving a delegation from Venaria at court!"
"Venaria!? (as a dramatic murmur/gasp runs through those present.)  "We are to take up diplomatic relations with Turks?!"
"Is true" said Vladimir Odoevsky, shifting uncomfortably because of his gout.  "Messengers have indicated they will arrive shortly."

Odoevsky added, "They intend to make it a permanent mission.  Quarters for their special needs are being prepared near to court."
"I suppose it is a necessary evil, given that Latveria and Odessinau seems to be getting very close.  But the Turks have been the peril of Europe for centuries" said the professor with a sigh.

Adopting a soothing tone Davidov said, "All very true, but these are Ottomans and have even gained a sense of understanding with Mother Russia.  It is said true Russians even serve alongside them."
"Oh what is the world coming to" sighed Kara Milovy as she brought a kerchief to her delicate features.  "And can't we do something about the noise and smell those soldiers are creating?"

"I fear not my dear.  They must repair any damages that occurred during the winter.  For your protection."  Leaning in such a way that he almost displaced the servant perched on his leg Davidov leered, "If you prefer we could retire to other, quarters?"
"Shame on you Sasha Davidov, you know I am with General Koskov" she responded, feigning insult by vigorously fanning herself.
"Ah well, they are in addition laying in fresh supplies.  All in anticipation of more mischief from Latveria.  Sales to the military have been good."

"Well, we shall have to be prepared to make sacrifices and persevere in spite of whatever hardship may develop" avowed Odoevsky.

"Oh look, it is Lenkin, Count Lippe's diplomatic aide, and it appears he brings news."

Vignettes are by Eureka with Old Glory and Blue Moon making up the rest of the civilians.  Pioneers are primarily RSM figures.  The fortress was 3D printed and painted by me.  Certain liberties have obviously been taken with the map and history of Europe.  The map is provided to you some sense of what we are up to these days.



Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Germany 1989

The next game in the loosely strung-together NATO vs. Warsaw Pact WWIII series was played last  Sunday.  Despite a bloody reverse at a river crossing early on, the Soviets have made good progress although they have burned out a large part of their front-line troops.  Sensing the opportunity and need, the Americans have mustered two battalions of M1 Abram tanks with artillery and air support to fall upon a Soviet mechanized regiment of three battalions and a T-64 battalion.  Limited artillery and air support was also available.  Except for the prepared positions everyone on both sides had to be spotted so the Soviets prepared a deployment map.

The game system is based upon Epic Armageddon and we are using micro armor.  I make no claim to be an authority on modern warfare so if my description doesn't do it for the veterans or tread heads out there I'm sorry.

Looking over Dan's beautiful new table cloth mat.  Hills beneath it.

Soviet deployment, two battalions with vehicles could be dug
into prepped positions.

After some recon Humvees were scattered the big boys came on.
The game is d6 based.  Hits aren't hard to get but Abrams save on a 2+ so we need a lot of hits to have a realistic chance to taking one out.  T-72s by comparison save on a 3+.

A look going the other way, hits are already piling up.
After a few turns each side got air support.  The Mig and Eagle flights took each other out.  The Soviets called for ground support which winged its way on table.

And was promptly shot down.
I should have taken more pictures.  The Soviets had a breath of hope when they eliminated a company of Abrams but that left five more to go.  Todd "Crap a 1" Chirhart was spectacular saving his BMPs on a six only against incoming fire, which was only granted because of the tank pits.

More Soviet air as Apaches also appear, along with a Warthog.

An attempt to outflank the ridge meant another Abrams company
lost to ambushing T-64s.

The hits and firepower markers are piling up on both Soviet battalions.
In the game you get markers for hits received and units firing at you.  In the case of Soviets when the markers outnumber the surviving stands they rout.  For small American units you need twice as many markers.

Suddenly the right flank breaks and runs.

Followed quickly by the left flank.

With a requirement that the Soviets preserve their force everyone breaks off.  The third battalion and tanks and artillery are intact so we figure the pursuit will be limited.  For the cost of seven Abram platoons (stands) the objectives were met.  The evolution of the rules is a work in progress but progress is made in each of our rare games.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Napoleonic Sail Action

The Gentlemen of Leisure gathers for a small naval engagement using my 1/1200 Napoleonic era sailing ships using the venerable but still enjoyable Wooden Ships and Iron Men.  We were supposed to be six so the scenario I prepared had six British ships of the line and three frigates (one Razee) against a mixed force of French, Spanish and (Yes!) American ships.  The latter headed by the historically not-finished-in-time ship of the line USS Franklin.  I know, but I painted them and wanted to see them in use.  Unfortunately in the random draw of commands I didn't get them.

With only four players at game time we randomly left off the French and one group of British.  The allied fleet had the larger ships but the British had the quality edge, though all were determined by using a chart for each nationality so there were surprises.  Each fleet started with favorable wind.  Our regular haunt at Adventure Games played host.  Hex cloth was created ages ago with iron-on transfers.

British line with HMS Shannon 38, Powerful 84, Vanguard 74,
Royal Sovereign 98, Swiftsure 74 and off line HMS Pallas 32.

Front: USS Franklin 74, Santisima Trinidad 136,San Telmo 74.
Back row: USS President 44, USS United States 44, Artimise 40.

A signals snafu throws the British line into confusion.

The poor Shannon fouls the Franklin, breaks free and is pounded
by the allied fleet.

The fouling puts the allied fleet in some disarray, giving the
British a chance to reorder.
 An optional critical hit table was used that led to the early demise of several ship's officers.  Suffice to say the "Preble's Boys" would not be doing further service.

The Royal Sovereign deals some serious hurt to the Franklin.

A trio of French ships makes a belated appearance including
l'Orient 120.  The wind  keeps them from closing too fast.

The Shannon finally strikes, alone and battered.

The Americans and Spanish pull back a bit to join forces with
the French who ignore them a sail on.

The French ship Achilles is chastened for her boldness as the
British commander makes signals.

So in the face of the superior numbers (9 to 5) even the vaunted Royal Navy had to abandon the Shannon and retire.  Getting the jump on the allies by raising full sails there was no way they could be caught except by the American frigates who aren't that good.  If the third British group had been used it would have been a closer fight.  As it was only the generally poor crew quality of the Spanish kept the British in the fight.  Even so it was a fun engagement and a bit of a departure from our usual close and batter each other.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Battle of Middle Potsdorf

A Tundra Con tradition has become an invitational BAR game (Batailles de l'Ancien Regimes) on the Sunday after.  This year we played on an 18x5' main table with two back tables in play, each 18x2.5' in length.

Primarily featuring our Imagi-nation forces with a stiffening of French line, guards and heavy cavalry.  Around 1900 28mm infantry and 300 cavalry figures total with appropriate artillery.

All troops deployed on the back table, which was fully in play.
Representing Litharus and Rondovia.

The Franco-Latverian-Prockland-Odessenau side of things.

Thundering first move on one end...

And first move on the other.
The ridge dividing the table was considered impassable terrain except for the gap and road.  It also blocked line of sight to prevent any firing from one zone to another issues.

No one wasted any time coming to grips.  Match-ups are all
important, here we see Cossacks fighting dragoons.

At the other end the infantry tried to be prepared for any reverses.

Back and forth with superior numbers beginning to tell.

Twelve Litharusian squadrons against six, later eight squadrons.

The cavalry recover on the other end and withdraw to catch their
breathe and let the infantry duke it out.

la Gardes Francaise.

Prince Soubise (seated) has reason to look relaxed and confident.

Fresh troops are fed in.  Nothing like the look of a "big battalion."

Gaining a real advantage here, but French cavalry is on the move.

Some units are getting rather small.

Re-ordering behind the ridge, ready to renew the fight.  Things
are looking good here.

The Grassins move up to support the Guards.

Litharus marches to the aid of the Rondovian command.

High water point on the Rondovian side of the table.

Time and again the Rondovian cavalry are tested by the French heavies.

The victorious cavalry rally back to re-order and continue.
 Alas, once again Prince Soubise is victorious as the larger French units are able to roll over the Rondovians and Litharus brigade despite them getting a lot of first firing cards.  I'm beginning to believe I'm cursed by cards.  In my previous game all nine firing cards had gone against me.  In this game ten of eleven were for the other side.

The French Maison du Roi pursue the fleeing Rondovians.

A delegation from Middle Potsdorf awaits the victors with
open... "arms."

BAR is card-driven so one side moves or fires on black cards,
the other on red.  We used two decks, one for each side of the ridge.

The participants.  Left to right seated: Andrew, Khymanta, Bob,
Brent, Todd C., Bill (Marechal Soubise).  Standing: me (General
Ouromov), Todd P., Paul, Chuck, John and Dan.

So for the second year in a row Soubise has bested Ouromov.  But no matter for a good time was had and a close-fought engagement.  We started flipping cards at 10:30AM and had a clear result by 4:30PM with a lunch break added in.  I was on my way home shortly after 5:00.  Next year Soubise!  I'll have something tricky up my sleeve.