Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Colonial Barracks 2014

Due to the nature of my job, I was only able to attend a little while on Friday morning, missed the entire afternoon session, and returned to play in Jim Pitt's game, "Marines in the Forest" using The Sword to Adventure.  I actually managed to be on the winning side in a French and Indian War scenario.

For those who don't know, Colonial Battles is in honor of Larry Brom, who published The Sword and The Flame 35 years ago.  It is still going strong, with many different rule sets being published today by Sergeants 3.  All games are run with variants of The Sword and The Flame, encompassing ancients to science fiction, and many in between.  Unfortunately, Larry's health didn't allow him to attend this year, but his daughters, Christie (a.k.a. "Skittles") and Lori ably handled the con.

Saturday started at 3am, when my Mom was taken to the hospital.  It turned out to be missing a particular prescription, and so ended well.

At 9am, I played in Mark Fluitt's game "Roman Legionnaires in Germania" using The Sword In Gaul.  Roman scum had desecrated our holy tree and taken our Druid captive for "questioning".  We Germans were spread out about the table, trying to stop the Romans.  Mark was awarded The Gunny Award for Most Striking  Terrain, and believe me, it was beautiful, as were the figures.  Here are the few pictures I managed to take between rolling dice and moving troops.
My Germans advance against Mark Stevens' Romans.  The red marker in the woods was a hidden unit whom I activated later in the game.
We begin to push the Romans back.  This red marker was a unit I was never able to activate. Ron Gros, whose hands are visible in the back\ground, held the Roman rearguard, making them forget that getting off the table with the Druid was the Roman goal.
Tom Anderson's gorgeous cavalry unfortunately proved to be male models with no desire to fight, and failed to close. His infantry, however, were made of sterned stuff!  We held to Romans to a draw.

Now my afternoon game, "The Post" using With Ol' Gimlet Eye.  First let me affirm what gentlemen were in my game.  I made the mistake of "assuming" that the game was in usual Larry Brom style of d6's and d20's.  It was not: it was all d10's, which wasn't discovered until about 2'1/2 hours into the game.  Not a gamer complained, though I received definitely deserved ribbing.  Bill Hamilton came through as my hero pointing out that everyone was familiar with Larry's games, and no one caught it until well into the game.  I apologized and the game continued with d10's.

Here's a picture of the table before the game started.  The beautifully finished Sarissa buildings belong to Chris Swearingen and were the goal of the game.  The Sandinistas needed to burn the post.
Early on, the US Marines troop up the road, and arrive at the gate to the enclosure.

Things began to warm up as the post owners were forced to try to hold off the Sandinistas moments before the Marines arrived.
The Marines began flooding in!  At the top of the pictures are Jim Pitt's Sandanistas who had no interest in getting into the fight.

The Marines have moved in, and the firing gets hot and heavy!  Some Sandanistas managed to get over the wall, but were eventually repelled.

The original post defenders lived through the game, probably because they were not much of a threat, being only 5, and poorly armed.
Mark Stevens (Gunny for Most Exquisitely Painted Figures, with I most wholeheartedly agree) checking the rules as I listened to Bill Hamilton's hands!
Mark Stevens, Jim Pitts, and Bill Hamilton consider a point in firing.
What?? D10's?? On, nooooo!

In the end, after the Sandanistas were repelled from the village, it was decided that they had no chance to burn the post, and so lost.  I really enjoyed running it, even with my gross mistake.

At the same time, Jay Stribling was running his Frogs In Space! game, "In a Galaxy Far Away..."  You could see that it wasn't going to be Games Workshop from the beginning!

Here's the svelte Jay Stribling with his head down like a good GM.  He was awarded the Gunny for Most Affable Game Master, and Most Enjoyable Scenario!
Unfortunately, I didn't get to see a single thing, since that's the back of my head running my game.
More goodness.  Ron Gross told me he loved the game, but Jay is not ready to release it yet.
Tom Anderson, my cohort in Germania, also ran his game "Sebonek Nek" with The Sword And The Flame.  Once again, I got to see none of it. I did lust after all his Ral Parthas!

Dwight Jones,"The Cattle Raid" using The Sword In Africa, my favorite variant, had a great table! I now have cattle envy! Dwight makes excellent terrain.  I have 30 of his serpentine fences and a great pig pen. (can't resist pig pens somehow)

Terry Sofian (Gunny for Most Hollywood-like Game) ran his variant, The Hive And The Flame, and has a very impressive table.

Here are Christie (Skittles) and Lori Brom, the convention organizers, with Mark Fluitt, searching through the hundreds of Staddens that Terry Sofian brought.  I was not immune myself.
And here is Ron Gros, who ably kept the rear guard of the Romans from adding their weight to the attack to get off the table.
I had a great time, playing and rubbing shoulders with old friends.  Unfortunately, I ran out of steam due to my early morning, and was unable to stay for the evening games, and work called on Sunday, so I was unable to return.  sigh.  The things we do for a buck!

I then found out that I had been awarded the Gunny for Most Congenial Player.  Great honor, and I am very appreciative, since the awards are giving by the voting attendees.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Hell Hath No Fury Patrol #2

I got a couple of Pendraken M4A4's with the 76mm gun. (I have 8 more on order from the War Store).  I decided that I would have them go after a Tiger I.  There would be the regular 3 PEF's on the board so I wouldn't be sure where it was.  My plans change into a regular patrol quickly and you will see why!

Turn 1: In order to get the game going, the Shermans moved 12" on an invisible road, and the PEF's moved towards them, 1 at 8", and the other 2 at 4" each, as decided by the die rolls.
Turn 2:: US 3 Germans 4
All PEF's move 4" towards the Shermans.  The Shermans' attempts at PEF resolution resulted in them being resolved next turn with 3d6. Note that the Shermans have no LOS to each other, and so operate independently.

Turn 3: US 4 Germans 5
The first PEF to be resolved is the Tiger I.  Insights are US 3 & 1, Tiger 3.
 In the rules, in a tie the player decides who goes first.  Being no idiot, my Sherman #1 goes first with a flank shot and destroys the Tiger I.  Not much of a game!  So the second PEF is resolved as 1 Panzer IV-H.  The In Sights are once again ties.  Since Sherman 1 is unable to turn his turret (only once when active OR move), he Ducks Back.

Turn 4  US 3 Germans 6
Both Shermans move to where they can see the Pzkw IV-H, though Sherman #2 can only see his turret over the rocks.  The German passes more dice on the In Sight that either Sherman, and fires first at Sherman #1.  He misses, a double 6! Sherman #1 returns fire and explodes the Pzkw IV-H!
Turn 5 US 6 Germans 4
The US can't move and the PEF passes 0d6.

Turn 6: US 6 Germans 2
The PEF moves 4" in the village towards the Shermans.
Turn 7 US 3 Germans 5
The US advances to within LOS of the PEF and it turns out to be nothing!
Sherman #1 radios headquarters with the new that the village is clear of German vehicles.

This was a rather more satisfactory result than the previous sortie, posibly because I didn't make so many mistakes.

Now a word about the Pendraken tanks.  I have two M4A4 76mm Shermans and 2 M10's, also a Stug III. My total order is for 2 platoons of M4A4's and one of M10's.  I also have on order 4 Stug III's.War Store warns that he has limited quantities, and orders twice a month.  No problem.  

If you look at the picture of the tank on either website, you can see that the there is a mold registration problem on the turret and gun. This means that the turret and gun top and bottom are slightly off from one another. This requires a bit of work with jeweler's files.  The same hold true for the M10's turret, though it doesn't affect the gun..  I don't consider it too much of a problem, but now you know.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Hell Hath No Fury

Hell Hath No Fury (HHNF) is Two Hour Wargames' latest WWII rule set, encompassing tank vs. tank combat, none of those pesky infantry or anti-tank guns!  Lock And Load had done a fun little set called Tank Vs. Tank a while back, and I bought up a bunch of 1/144 tanks when Wal-Mart had them for $1.00 each.

Like all of Two Hour Wargames' rules, this one is based on reaction, so you never know whether your toys are going to do exactly what you paln.  Fog of War!

5 Shermans M4A4 Shermans with the 75mm gun were sent on patrol to see if the area ahead was clear for advance.  It wasn't.  And thereby hangs a tale...

In HHNF, each member of the tank crew has his own Rep which denotes his ability to perform his appointed tasks.  These are rolled for on a table.  So 3 of the Shermans had Rep 5 (very good) tank commanders, and the remaining 2 had Rep 4, not bad.  Gunners varried from Rep 4 to 5.  Loaders were mostly Rep 3 (low average).  This would be a factor in the game.

The game was played on a 3' x 3' table, lain out in a 3 by 3 grid, not visible on the table.  It's just for initially locating the PEF's, Possible Enemy Force, before they are revealed.

Here is the original layout with the Shermans coming in at number 8 on the grid.
I don't really have any 1/144th terrain, so I used a 15mm farm as the only building.  The green 3D clumps are representing trees.  The green felt represents hills and the tan felt a depression.  Two PEF's appeared in 1 & 3, out of the picture on the upper left and right.  The third PEF appeared in 5, where there is no cover.  PEF's normally appear in cover and continue to hide as long as possible, while advancing toward the enemy.
This was an unusual situation caused by my leaving a blank area in the center of the table.  The Shermans are numbered 1-3 in the front row, with 1 being the platoon commander in the center tank.  The second row are imaginatively numbered 4 & 5.  This is Turn 1 and the Shermans advance onto the table.  And immediately reveal the PEF in front of them to be: the worse possible roll, 6 more than your unit. (This is a BIG mistake.  Rolling 6 should only add 3 more than your unit!) The only German tanks that I have in that quantity are Panzer IV-H's with superior guns to the Shermans!
Luckily for the Shermans, they win the In Sight, allowing them to get off the first shots. (Normally, I would roll up the crews for each Pz IV-H, but with 11 of them, I just made their crews all Rep 4.  Fudging, I know!)  The Shermans disable the first 3 tanks in line with 4 shots, blocking Line Of Sight for the Pz IV-H's behind them.

None of the front-line Shermans were able to reload quickly enough to be able to return shots until their next activation (Rep 3 Loaders, remember?), and #3 couldn't even try again until the next activation. Tank #4 had no targets and #5 was able to reload quickly.  The Germans got no activation, due to rolling higher than their Rep.

On turn 2, the Activation dice were Germans 6 (no activation) and US 1.  Since standing in the open was not wise, they split up, the front row going left around the trees to their left, and the back row going to the right, also around the trees. Sherman #3 finally reloads when next Active, so is unable to shoot this turn, and remains in hiding.

Shermans 4 & 5 round the trees and win the In Sight with the few Germans who can see them. #5, with the best gunner in the platoon, hits a tank in the side and destroys it. #4 fires at another Pz IV-H, but his round bounces off, and the German destroys him.  When tanks are destroyed (exploded), any friendly tank within 4" must take a Crises Test, since seeing your buddies turn into pink mist can be unnerving.  1 tank in the second German platoon Ducks Back (hides from the destroyer, a temporary situation).  In the 3rd German platoon, another tank Ducked Back, and in the 4th platoon, 1 tank left the table. 

Turn 3 Germans 2 Americans 4
Tank 1 & 2 tie their In Sight with a couple of tanks on the Germans' right flank and #1 explodes another German tank.  Tank #3 still must reload. #2 has no target.  Here I made a mistake.  In Sights are not tied in HHNF, but are rerolled.  As a result, the destroyed German tank destroys Sherman #2.  Sherman #1 Ducks Back, but #3 is okay, but still unloaded.

On the right flank, Sherman #5 advances to the sand pit and again wins the In Sight. He fires again, and explodes another Panzer IV-H.  As a result of all the damage to the Germans, the remainders of the 3rd platoon Ducks Back, and both the commander and the remaining tank of the 4th platoon leave the battlefield.

Now the Germans activate.  The PEF on the right of Sherman #1 is revealed to be 3 more Panzer IV-H's.  Sherman #1 wins the In Sight and Ducks Back, since he doesn't like 3 to 1 odds.  The PEF on the left moves forward, but remains hidden..  The commander of German platoon 3 moves to the front of Sherman #5, who is not reloaded, so he Ducks Back.

 Turn 4  Germans 4 Americans 2
The commander of the new German platoon advances on Sherman #1, and loses the In Sight to him.  Sherman #1 fires, and his shell bounces off.  The German tank returns fire, and explodes Sherman #1, the platoon commander.  That's enough burning Shermans, so the 2 remaining leave the field on my decision.
Great fun, unless you're in one of the tanks.  The Shermans disabled or destroyed 6 tanks for the loss of  3 of their own.  They also ran off a couple more, and all stood firm when their buddies bought it near them.  It was my usual luck for the first PEF to be the worst possible roll.

Mistakes? I've made a few (hey, isn't that a song?).  I had an In Sight as simultaneous, which is wrong.  It should be a reroll.  I rolled doubles for activation twice, and forgot that could bring reinforcements, I think.  Can't find it at the moment.  My biggest mistake was when I rolled a 6 on enemy forces, I added the 6 instead of the 3, as called for. Oh, yes.  Since the Germans held the field, they could recover their damaged tanks, and two were repairable.  So the Shermans only destroyed 4 tanks for their loss of 3.  But we know that the Americans can replace Shermans much more easily than the Germans can replace anything.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

More Corvus Miniatures

I am beginning to reach the bottom of this bag of 128 Corvus Miniatures, consisting of Varangian Guard and Saxons.
First up are 6 Saxon spearmen.  I really like the helmets on these figures, as they are metal-framed with either horn or leather for the cao.  I chose leather.
Next are 6 Saxon swordsmen.  They will be used as unit leader figures for "Captains and Kings".
And 5 Varangian axemen, though they look like Normans with round shields to me.  The pack was missing an axe, so one fellow got a left-over spear.
And a banner man, who will indicated the leader of the battle.
This leave me with 15 heavily-armored axemen with the axe raised over their heads, and I will be finished with the Corvus Miniatures.

However, I can never seem to find the end of these old peasant figures.  Here are 8 more.  Sure they're primitive by today's standards, but I'm rather fond of old lead. (they tend to be easier to paint).  I know there are some more with glaives somewhere.
And last, and old fantasy figure that I've had around for a loooong time, but just repainted.
You can tell he's a fantasy figure by the use of buttons, which were not used to fasten clothing until the 13th century in the German area.

Being a bit tired of chainmail in 25mm, I'm taking a break and painting a "Rally Round The King" undead army before getting on with the last 15 Corvus Miniatures.