Sunday, April 29, 2012

Black Powder - Battle Report - SYW 'refresher'

Good pal Roly and I managed a refresher game of Black Powder tonight.

We are both big fans of the game though don't get to play too many games, (mostly because I don't have any complete armies for it as yet) and we have a 4 player multi-header planned for next weekend so thought we'd better get in a quick refresher game to re-acquaint ourselves with the rules.

We played a SYW period game utilising some of the concepts from Last Argument of Kings -  a BP Age of Reason supplement.

We kept it fairly simple, each with identical forces:
  • A brigade of two regiments of cavalry - one light and one heavy.
  • A brigade of 3 battalions of standard infantry
  • A brigade of 3 battalions of standard infantry plus a battalion gun.
  • An artillery piece.
We played over a modest set up comprising a small village and fields, with a couple of woods and hills and a small marshy area.

Here's pics from the game:

Initial deployments, I'm holding the side with the village, with Roly advancing toward me.

Rolys opening moves, cavalry advance and flank infantry brigade advances, but centre stalls.

I advanced to meet him, but my artillery blundered and headed off past the village...

I fill the gap between woods and village protecting my flanks

Roly is in range but only with his battalion gun.

Rolys centre finally advances, whilst the opposing cavalry eyeball each other.

I adjust my infantry and refuse a flank. Cavalry fight behind woods.

Roly pauses his advance, we are both waiting to see what will happen on the cavalry flank...

Cavalry mix it up.

I lose a unit that withdraws, but Roly is also shaken and stuck in front on my cavalry that are shaken from prior action!

I manage to recover from shaken and charge back in.

 Scattering Rolys cavalry in turn...

While the cavalry kill each other inconclusively the infantry recommence their closure

 Having shaken two of my leading infantry battalions Rolys risks a charge order but only makes it part way with central unit.

I swing refused flank battalion round into enfilade fire position.

 Roly has taken the fire but 'dodges a bullet' from the enfilade fire... with some good saves.

 But the advance unit is shot to pieces and flees the field.

But Roly's return fire now scatters my two shaken units, breaking my brigade...

Who are forced to retire towards the village.

I finally break the end of Rolys line routing his unit to sustained fire.

Roly's cavalry finally break my last cavalry unit. This breaks a second brigade of mine, and effective breaks my army ending the game.

The final positions. Roly holds the field as my forces are forced to withdraw and abandon the village and crossroads.

My mascot "Tidy" failed to help my dice luck!

A great game as always with Roly, and I love this set of rules.

I claim no honour in presenting these figures to you, they are all Roly's splendid work. They are a mixture of Front Rank and Minden figures.

Oh another little note, we decided to sue pebbles from the garden to record casualties, as we didn't have dead figures, and dice often get knocked away or picked up by mistake.

Looking forward to next weeks game.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Hobby Haul

Well today saw the last day of Wellington's main wargames store; Wargames Supply... A shame really as I think that only leaves Games Workshop as a hobby store in the city, and they only stock their own stuff...

I had got a couple of bits and bobs earlier in the week, when it was about 20-30% off everything. Today it was 50%, but it had been yesterday too... so by all accounts there had been a fair scramble yesterday. But I still managed to grab a few items today as pictured above.

The main ones I am pleased about are the Firestorm Campaign sets for FoW. I am intrigued to see how these work and play out... They are both for Late War so suit both my British and German forces well.

Several blister packs were impulse buys, thinking they were not really what I was after but no doubt will come in useful none the less. Some paint to add to supplies too.

An Axis and Allies boardgame to try out with No.1 son, and another free rules-set and a free WI magazine.

Not too bad a haul I think at half price :-)

Friday, April 27, 2012

We wuz robbed!

Well a quick report to say the KWC's interest in FoW continues.

When I turned up last night at the club to do the participation game, one of the guys; David, had been and bought two starter sets, and another; Jaydn had bought the rules. They were both keen to join Paul and I for our participation game.

The setting was southern Italy, with a 1500 point Midwar tank match up.

I took a German PanzerKompanie (Panzer III L-Ms proxied by Panzer III H’s), back up by 2 x 8Rad armoured cars, 2 x Pak 40s, and a battery of  four 10.5cm artillery.

Paul took a Canadian Sherman Armoured Company of Sherman III’s support by 3 armoured cars, and a battery of four 25pdr artillery.

We played the Free for All mission.

I won the roll off for attacker, picked our table edge and started deploying, alternating platoon for platoon with Paul. I then also won the roll off for first turn.

I apologise that there are no pictures – I forgot to grab my camera in rush to get everything packed (troops and terrain) and down to club in time for the start…

To start with it was a bit of a shock, fielding a German Panzer force, to find I actually had an inferior tank than my opponent, poorer range, and penetration and firepower! At least we had the same front armour… The thing was I was Veteran against his Trained so he as easier to hit… but he had more tanks then me… Plus the Canadians have a special rule that allows them to reroll motivation to remount bailed tanks, much like Panzers ‘Protected ammo’… It was going to be an interesting game…

The opening moves saw the armoured cars engage each other across a field on our left flank. The bulk of our panzers headed up the centre and up our left flank to get towards the easier looking objective. Paul spread his Shermans from the centre to his left.

Early exchanges of fire went in favour of the Shermans and we lost two Panzers up the middle. However within a turn or two, our Panzer force had got past the armoured cars, and onto the objective. This forced Paul to turn his recce armoured cars back round to contest the objective, and to swing his army around to bring all to bear as quickly as possible on the captured objective. A small stream slightly hampered his movements.

The following turns saw a growing number of wrecked and burning tanks and armoured cars at, and approaching, the objective. Luck swung both ways, with a series of great saves by the Panzers and some well aimed artillery.

It actually looked as though the Panzers were going to hold on and win the game. At this point I kind of slipped in to my “we’ve won it” mindset and then failed to concentrate on the little details…

Paul, ever a shrewd and canny opponent, spotted the last chance he had to win the game, and dropped an artillery barrage on the Pak40s that had been slowly advancing to keep weight of fire covering the objective. One gun had previously been lost, and at the last moment I forgot to try and stormtrooper them forward from under the prior ranged in artillery. A couple of dice rolls later, the last gun was destroyed, forcing a platoon morale check which the platoon commander promptly failed… this with the prior loss of one panzer platoon, and the 8rads forced a company morale check… and both the CiC and 2iC had just been bailed out of their tanks and couldn’t roll for the check… ergo, the company withdraws, and a win to the Canadians, despite us holding the objective with one remaining tank, uncontested!

Waaarrghhh, it’s just not fair! So close and yet so far…lesson learned again… concentrate to the end, especially if you’re playing Paul ;-)

I think I must put the blame squarely on a lack of proper paintjob for my poor performing Panzers… the quartermaster general will get a severe reprimand! ;-)

A great game and my first real ‘tanks only’ battle.

The guys at the club thoroughly enjoyed it too , both David and Jaydn , and other frequent spectators from the club.

Looking forward to more…

Now having watched "A Bridge Too Far" again, I’m all fired up to get my Shermans done and I cracked open the first box of two PSC Shermans last night and got the first one assembled before bedtime… 9 more to make over the weekend and I can do some tank on tank home battles.

More FoW goodies are due to fall through my letterbox over the next few days from Maelstrom, plus I’m hopefully off to Wargames Supply’s last day closing down sale tomorrow, in Wellington, to see if I can grab any last minute bargains… I’ll keep you posted with paintwork as I get it done, as usual.

Happy gaming!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

ANZAC Day, WIP and Games Club

Well ANZAC day has been and gone again. A day of to enjoy with family, and yet a time also to reflect on times past, the gallantry and valor of our service personnel in conflicts around the globe. I am not a Kiwi, being a British migrant, but I have a great respect for what these colonial troops did in their times for King and Country, frequently traveling to the other side of the world to risk, and often lose, their lives.

The day off gave me a chance to frantically assemble a whole bunch of Plastic Soldier Company Panzer III's (Ausf H). Why you might ask?

Well, a couple of weeks back I had an invitation to check out a local war-games club (Kapiti Wargames Club) that has been getting off the ground recently. The club is set up as a safe friendly environment for youngsters and mature gamers to get together and enjoy the hobby of war-gaming.

Being aimed in great part at the younger gamer, GW gaming features predominantly with both 40K and WFB being mainstays in gamers of all ages. However they have an interest in widening their gaming audience and games played.

With this in mind I offered to put on a demonstration game of Flames of War, with pal Paul, which we did last Thursday evening. The game was a simple yet colorful affair, pitching 1000 points each of British Para's dug in around a small hamlet, whilst elements of 12. SS Hitlerjugend Panzergrenadiers, tried to dislodge them.

The Para's clung on tenaciously as they always do, and a final 'do or die' charge, reminiscent of Viktor Gräbner's charge across Arnhem bridge, by the Germans, was stymied in the end.

The game generated a lot of interest from the spectators who asked heaps of questions about the game. I'd put on a mini display of the new rules books too including, the V3 set,  Earth & Steel , and Turning Tide books plus some flyers I'd put together myself, and these all met with great appreciation, in terms of appearance and quality of product.

So, we are off to do it again, and Paul, being the more experience player than I suggested that we put on a tank battle, that people can learn the rules with. Paul suggested a MidWar 1500 point game. OK thought I, I've had some boxes of PSC Panzers kicking about unopened for a while now, so I set to putting them together from Tuesday evening, and on through ANZAC day of Wednesday.

With The Longest Day, and A Bridge Too Far, playing on my portable DVD player beside me, I happily snipped trimmed and glued away, to the sound of machine-gun fire and exploding shells in my headphones.

A few breaks were taken to continue a FoW game Chris and I have been playing over the last few days, trying out the fortification rules.

Each tank took about an hour to put together, so its was a pretty full modelling day!

But now they are ready to game with, albeit without paint, but I don't think that will be too much of a problem at the club, as the typical child like standard of most of the kids models being unpainted or beginning paint-jobs for the most part. Kids typically wanting to get their figures on the table to game with, and painting them coming secondary...But thats fine as it gets them interested in the game, and gets them off their computers, Nintendos Xboxs PS3s and what have you!

So, game on for tonight, my Panzer III's against Pauls Shermans in an Italian setting. Looking forward to it.

No doubt the Panzer III's will get a lick of paint shortly too.

I'll report back with progress, and how the game goes...

From the local paper:

  As good mate Roly has commented on his blog too, good to see a 'bricks and mortar' club here on the Coast.

I'll be formally joining club tonight. Unfortunately I am not a 'facebooker' so though I can view the clubs facebook page, I can't comment or add pics or anything. I'll have to see if they set up an interactive club website or whatever. In the meantime I'll keep posts coming here as "AAR" s or "Bat reps" - choose your abbreviation!

Monday, April 23, 2012

More Normandy buildings - Total Battle

I just managed to finish a couple more buildings for my 15mm Normandy WWII set up.

Again they are both from Total Battle Miniatures.

First up the Cafe:

As with previous buildings from this range they do do need a bit of prep work, removing flash and trimming out excess resin, particularly inside window recesses, with a dremel etching tool. And also filling many bubble holes with greenstuff. But I hope you'll agree the effort is worth worthwhile.

The Cafe also comes with two extra pieces - a seating area and a cobbled street side area.

The other side.

Some commandos stop by for a latte!

The chimney tops have come out quite bright, I think this is a lighting effect as they are painted matt black.

Secondly, a Normandy Church

And like the cafe above, a lot of prep work was needed.

The church is actually in two parts, with the steeple coming off from the tower end of the building.

The commandos, having enjoyed their lattes, head off from the Church after a last blessing before action!

I'd like to add some more of their range to my collection, to increase my building options for my Flames of War games.

How to Train your Dragon - Arena Spectacular!

While the rest of the world's war-gaming blogging community seems to have had a great time at Salute in the UK over the Easter break, we on the other side of the world had a chance to enjoy an alternative experience.

New Zealand has been the first country to enjoy the DreamWorks How to Train your Dragon - Arena Spectacular.

From the people who brought you Walking with Dinosaurs, you now get thrilled with all manner of Dragons, walking and flying around the arena belching smoke and fire and fighting acrobatic viking warriors, under a wondrous blaze of lights, lazers and pyrotechnics. 

My family and I went up to the show at Auckland's Vecta Arena, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. And of course the kids came away with armfuls of merchandise from the show.

My son chose a plastic 'Toothless' dinosaur and I immediately thought it was perfectly scaled for 28mm gaming!

Though I haven't experienced it yet - SAGA , the skirmish viking era game has had good reviews, and I pondered whether it could handle the addition of such beasts from Norse mythology?

I'll be giving it a whirl shortly with a mate.

Oddly enough, my last show experience of 'HttyD' at the cinema, had me breaking out the LOTR dragon kit to make and paint... it could be this time I'll be painting up a bunch of Saxons I have for the SAGA game...

Plus I still have the LOTR Cave Drake model to assemble and paint, hmmm.....

If you get the chance to see the show, go see it, its well worth it!

Here's a shot from the end of the show, while everyone is 'taking a bow'.

Friday, April 20, 2012

FoW - Easter update

I have been lucky enough to have a weeks holiday over the Easter school holidays, and have managed to catch up on a few painting projects and start and finish new ones.

First up:

10.5cm leFH18 Howitzer battery

This is a boxed set from battlefront, comprising 4 guns, and the crews,  with scenic bases, a staff team on scenic base, 2 observer teams, 2 kübelwagens, and a platoon command team.

10.5cm leFH18 Howitzer

Platoon command team

Observer team


Staff team
Next up;

Static Rocket Launchers

I grabbed a pack of these on impulse when browsing my FLGS.

They fire a 28cm diameter rocket and use the 'Stuka zu Fuss' or 'Stukas on foot' rules from main rule book, though they only fire four rockets not six as those mounted on the half track launchers.

These were positioned ready to fire on Omaha beach, so will be a valuable asset to my Normandy beach defenders.

Another impulse buy:

Borgward BIV

 Once the Allies get past the beach defenders and push inland, they will come across the counter attacking German forces including Panzer Lehr Division. Panzer Lehr included a Funklenkkompanie, or Radio controlled tank company. In the game this is represented by up 4 StuG G assualt guns each with their attendant Borgward demolition carrier. These things carried 500kg of explosive and were driven up to target by remote control and detonated. Typically used to knock out bunkers, minefields and other strong points.
In the game they can also be used to take out gun teams and bogged or bailed out tanks... which I look forward to trying out against the Allied forces.

Next, a little Recce...

Sd Kfz 231 (8-rad) Armoured car patrol

These 8 wheeled armoured cars were classed as a heavy Panzerspäh Platoon and were used by SS companies as reconnaissance troops, scouting ahead of the main force, upon the enemy, spotting for ambushes and revealing hiding gone to ground enemy troops.

One of the 'more bang for your buck' things I like about the German forces I have collected is that with a few minor tweaks, they can represent a whole array of differing formations, from tough Grenadier beach defenders, Mechanised Infantry, and Panzer Companies including SS options. These 8-rads give me a SS look as used by 12. Hitlerjugend divisions, from Earth & Steel supplement. They were also used by Heer Panzer formations also.

And here, a little real estate:

Total Battle Miniatures - Outbuilding

This is a cast resin 15mm building which fits nicely with my Flames of War forces.

I really like this range of buildings. Being resin casts they do require a bit of work before painting; with trimming the excess resin 'flash', and also hole filling as there can be many small holes in the cast. They could be left in some cases as 'bullet holes', but most need filling, with greenstuff.

8-rad parked up on recce duties

Artillery observer spots from cover of building

 Finally, a little more beach work:

Beach WIP

I got the beach painted up, with a 50/50 mix of PVA glue and yellow oxide craft paint. This was then heavily over brushed with a 50/50 mix of Yellow oxide and white.
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