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?

Sunday, October 16, 2016


Flames of War training game with Moroccan Goumiers and American support against an Aufklarungs company of the Herman Goring Luftpanzer division.  The mission was a "fair fight" with each side starting with half their platoons in opposite quarters and delayed reserves coming in.

For my part I chose a Goum platoon with MG attachments, US 105mm artillery, and a platoon of M4 Shermans.  The Germans had a panzer grenadier platoon in halftrack, 105mm artillery, 3 StuG III assault guns and a pair of Hornisse tank destroyers.  Both sides had limited air support.  Click on the pictures to "big up."

First turn move, looking towards my objective in the distance.

View from the German quadrant before movement.
A pattern quickly developed.  I always rolled for air support till I got down to one dice, while the Germans never got air support till they got down to two dice.  Though they did manage to intercept one of my attacks.  Air power killed two StuGs and the third ran away.  The panzer grenadiers and Goums exchanged failed assaults and the former crept towards their objective.  Reserves would be critical (as they should be).

Big firefight on the hill on the left, while burners litter the field.

Shermans demonstrate their burner nickname, though they
passed their motivation test.

My surviving Goums dig in around and between the German

Both sides receive reserves.  In my case Goum infantry and US
tank destroyers.  Only the 105s and a single Hornisse defend the
objective at a distance.

The Luftwaffe finally shows up but can't do enough damage.

The US TDs teleport in and with the surviving mobile Sherman
grab the objective in the top of the turn.

In the bottom of the turn the Germans with fresh Panzergrenadiers
eliminate my defenders and seize their objective.

But fail to contest or evict me, so Allied victory.
At first we weren't sure who won, but after considering that they had their half turn to evict me and I still hadn't, the game was over.  Had the Luftwaffe played a bigger part the game that was already a nail-biter could have been even closer or gone the other way.  Fearless-Trained is a little tricky in late-war games with all the firepower available but the challenge is fun. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Another Tale of Two Battles

On Labor Day we got together for some Flames of War before enjoying a barbeque under the dining fly in the back yard.  Participants were "instructed" to bring a 1900 point force for each side if they had armies and we'd switch tables and opponents.  All lists were to made up using either "Road to Rome" or "Fortress Italy" sourcebooks.  The tables and missions, though not OBs, were taken from "Battles for Italy."

Goums defend at night vs. Panzer-grenadiers.

British attack dug in Falschirmjagers.

Objectives were placed per the scenario.  Bummer for me.

Looks promising for the New Zealanders.

A night game and we rolled very poorly for sighting.  Dan took
advantage of it, as he should.

US tank destroyers killed two Panthers but we failed the "tank
terror" test to assault and so the game ended.

Meanwhile Bob was finding the Panzerfaust armed Germans tough.
After German wins on both tables we switched off.  I shelved the Goums and pulled out a Herman Goring Division Aufklarungs company to face Bob's Commonwealth forces.  Todd took his victorious Germans over to face a new group of Brits.

HG Halftracks roll.

Falschirmjagers attacking into a meat grinder.

Even firing over open sights the artillery couldn't stop us from
seizing both objectives.  Game over.

So as a warm-up for an October tournament, the games were short and brutal.  Following was a BBQ of assorted meats, corn on the cob, cole slaw and medicinal beverages.  A great way to enjoy a national holiday and spend time with friends.