Sunday, April 05, 2020

Idle hands...... The Woods get a make over.....

I should have got round to posting this several weeks ago, all of a sudden I seem to have plenty of time on my hands....

Over the past 20 years the woods below have seen plenty of action, but have become a little battered and battle scarred and contain a mixture of types, manufacturers and basing techniques together with a few single trees.

Basetex now there's a thing gamers don't seem to use any more but was a real thing in the 80's.

I picked up a number of 'pond' bases from the chaps at Warbases the extended base sizes will allow the troops to fit a little easier for vehicles and infantry but also increase the woodland area covered.

I added filler and sharp sand before a dry brush and static grass and here are the results.
Not bad at all and with the extras found in a box managed to bolster the woodland with 4 more bases and cleared a few more items from the left over pile, clearing another drawn and shoe box.

The bases match those of the modern Korean's for the Red Phoenix project and those of my 15mm WW2 collection.

Meanwhile as the flock dries I gave some old hedges a make over, the original colours were rather to 'green' these feel so much better. Cast in plaster from the guys at Time Cast they are suitable for both 6mm and 15mm.

Plenty more in the painting queue to keep me going in the coming weeks.

Next up 'Fillers' for the Red Phoenix project.

Friday, April 03, 2020

Dispatches from the front VI

Lock down continues however reading through the various blogs it feels like gamers are finding some great ways of entertaining themselves as days turns to weeks. 

We have a houseful here it's great to have everyone home back from university and schools but I am grateful for the refuge of the garage/office/man cave as three teenage daughters does not make for a peaceful house.
With limited external distractions no one seems to mind the added paint time I have been motoring through the various projects, selling off spares and bringing to the paint table half finished projects. 

Not sure why I have the sudden urge to re-read and game Robinson Crusoe... :-)

The down side of being in doors is the urge to purchase new it's. I have a major project looming in the summer but right now a couple of small purchases to bolster or complete the ranks, with reinforcements rushed in from Warlord, PeterPig, Midlam & Foundry.
A good job as it sounds like a number of businesses are being forced to mothball, I do hope these minor purchases help with cashflow and allow us to see them all come back in the future.

It been great to reacquaint myself with Platoon Forward! and get the WW2 stuff on the table, I was surprised at how well it played. There were enough mechanisms to create uncertainty and stop you cheating yourself and that prized unit or character you spend ages rolling up.

Osprey have been doing some great offers of late and the free PDF's are a great way of keeping people interested, the latest offer of Frostgrave and the solo campaign of Dark Alchemy might mean an outing for Ghost Archipelago in the weeks ahead.

Several of us at the club have kicked off a Diplomacy campaign using pbem.

This was on my wargames bucket list for years, it will be interesting so see how it plays out with a full compliment of 7 players... Having drawn Turkey you can expect to face the some skulduggery from the main Western Powers....
The first move has already thrown up some interesting conversations over e-mail.

After a number of extra's painted up for Fantasy March - What of April?

Keeping with my theme of a painting a different project each month, this month I am shrinking in scale and will be looking to make progress on the Red Dragon Project and some extra's for the WW2 Germans and Russians as the recent solo campaign highlighted some gaps in my forces and another batch of unpainted stuff like these below.

Welcome to small scale April....

Stay in doors all.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The peasants are revolting - Fire Forge Games

The paint is barely dry on the last batch of zombies and the villagers are ready to hit the table, the Spanish and English players are in for a tough time when we do get back into regular gaming.

This is the last batch from Fire Forge Games, Forgotten Worlds Kickstarter, they turned up in an unmarked box about 6 weeks after the original order, one can only presume an issue in production.
That aside they are very nice with loads of personality and weapon options.

I made up a number of them armed with bows as this will give the forces of Darkness a couple of extra options in the Elizabethan Zombie Wars campaign.

I marked them up as Surly within the Warlord of Erehwon rules which will make controlling them tougher, but on the other hand they will have a higher resistance which should make them stick around a little longer.

That's the last of the Kickstarter finished, it's nice to be able to say I have painted the lot.
I seem to have plenty of spare arms left, I might make some casualty markers at a later date, but as we a nearing April, time to switch to a new focus for the month.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Fear the walking dead...

The sun is shining, perfect weather for varnishing and in between work e-mails the odd colour or two on some mini's. This lockedin/working from thing is not to bad at all.

The last batch of Zombie villagers from Fire Forge Games, there should be enough here to generate a couple of extra units but given how the humans carve through them, they are most definitely needed.

I mixed in a couple of village arms to give them a less well armed feel, but imagine the shame of being defeated by a dead peasant hold a bucket or basket.

Next up their live equivalent the 'Beguiled' something else to confront the English and Spanish as they make their way through a plague infested England, sounds a little to real to me.....

Now go wash your hands......

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Stickler's Attack - A Bolt Action Solo Encounter.

Stickler peered through the early morning mist, the Reds had broken through and were threatening to encircle the entire company. Stickler's platoon had been ordered to counter attack and drive the communists back.

(Using the Platoon Forward rules, the Russians had a number of 'Blinds' these were broken down into three classes - Red (largely Infantry), Blue (Support Weapons), Green (Armour/larger supports). Each scenario has a different ratio of blinds. I deployed them across the centre of the table in a defensive formation, Reds to the front and Green in support. Giving each one of them a dice, they would fire and move reacting to the German advance as the opportunity presented itself.)

Stickler had been able to muster a few 'extras' to help in the counter attack (rolling well on the support chart) and was bolstered by a Panther, MMG and Flamethrower team. The higher ups had arranged for a short artillery barrage to cover his assault.

(I used the preliminary rules within Bolt Action which resulted in the various blinds receiving pins or kills depending on the number rolled.)

Stickler advanced cautiously towards the original defensive line and was greeted by a battered squad of Volkstrum who were falling back having been savaged by Russians over the past 24 hours. The shell shocked troops were able to confirm that the Reds had taken up positions in the vacated German trenches and were there in some numbers.

The Russians open up from a row of terrace houses at the advancing Germans.
(Two blue dice were pulled from the bag which generated a roll on the blind table and rolling high generated a MMG and 50mm were revealed,) 

On the right flank an LMG team popped up and opened up on Breslau's section, killing one of the unit who was to slow to react.
(Again a roll on the blind table generating an LMG team however two further blinds proved to be blank.)

Meanwhile Stickler was able to concentrate his forces pouring fire into the Russian defenders.

Larrs Kapp section rushed forwards to flank the buildings, 
(Two blue dice followed which triggered a B and C blind which revealed an AT gun). The AT fired and missed Kapp's speeding Hanomag however the T34 came into view and fired it's main gun destroying the 251, killing three of Kapp's section, the rest dived for cover.
(The Green, C Blind provides a number of support options ranging from an Infantry Squad to MBT)

Kapp's revenge. The next dice out is a German once and two panzer fraust rounds roar off towards the Russian monster boom...… Good job I paid for the extra rounds :-)

Meanwhile the Russians are on the move, reinforcements rush forwards from the start line. Others seeing the burning halftrack skirt the farm house on the left.
(I rolled for two A blinds and rolled up two sections of infantry, which I figured would exploit the Germans digging in behind the hedge. Meanwhile three blinds came on as reinforcements they could have appeared on 1D6 turns but I rolled a two so they soon into action, one was blank the second and third an infantry section and forward observer.)

Having killed the defenders the Germans advanced on the now empty row of houses looking to exploit the gap in the Russian line.

Mean while things were a hotting up on left as the Russians flanked the advancing Germans. I rushed the battered Volkstrum back into the line.

In the centre the supporting armour reach the T junction and swept the road with MG fire killing the MG team.
(I decided that opposing sides would retire when they lost 50% or more of their dice. The Russians started out with a potential 16 but the blanks were removed from the pool, once all blinds were revealed the Russians had a break level of 7 dice to the German 8).

Whilst I was able to bring additional supporting units to bear, the Russians advanced on the Volkstrum defenders killing a number of them as they took shelter behind the low stone wall.
Their commander urged them to return fire to no avail.
(Having a lower morale they failed their command roll.)

The home guard had had enough and ran for their lives fleeing back past Sticklers command.
(Having rolled 12 this resulted in the unit panicking and fleeing 12 inches away from the advancing Russians.)

The left flank was wide open to the Russian infantry.

Meanwhile in the centre the German Flamethrower clears out the Russians who were looking to infiltrate the house, killing another element. More Russians move into the woodland behind the buildings.

Lt Stickler grabs his MP40 and rushes forward he and his two riflemen are all that stood in the way of the Soviets.
(At this stage the Russians had lost 6 dice and needed one more to break the Russian morale.)

Stickler charges into the battered Russians and before they can react he kills the three remaining troopers wiping them out.

Meanwhile with Amour support Kapp and his men see off the remaining Russian's on the road and the attack is broken.
(End of turn 4 and the Russian's are broken having lost over 50% of their forces.)

The Russians fall back and Lt Stickler consolidates his position to await the next Russian attack.

Stickler had lost 13 men and a halftrack but had pushed back the Russian assault and stopped the battlegroup from being surrounded.

(Rolling on the fixed event chart, Stickler was recognised by the higher ups - One presumes because of his heroic charge. In terms of future games I decided on making him a Veteran for future games.
A second roll on the chart provided Stickler with reinforcements at a level of 2 men below full strength. I figured this will be off Kapp's section.
The SDKFZ 251/1 was also replaced.)

A fun encounter the blinds add a good level of unknowns for the 'home team'. Having three levels gives a good mix at the lesser level MG and Mortar teams to ease you into the encounter but rising to Armour and AT guns as you get to the 'C' blinds depending on the roll could the battle, what if the roll generated another tank or only AT guns?

There were a number of occasions where the random make up changed the various turns, the AT and Armour on the Halftrack for example or the lack of defenders in the houses in the centre.

Using the Bolt Action element of selecting dice gives you the solo general a choice of when to trigger elements in hope that troops may or may not appear. In the final round the large majority of the German dice came out first, which defeated the Russians but it could have been very different.

In summary despite playing both sides there are enough unknowns to keep it interesting and the added character elements after the battle give you a nice narrative to flow through into future games.

Next up a random roll on the battle selector of 'Defence against counter attack'.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Platoon Forward! - Stickler's Platoon - A Solo Campaign.

In the absence of creating a Dowding table with plotters all over 6 foot away from one another it looks like it will be solo gaming for quite a while.

Following on from my earlier post, I pulled together a sample formation from within the Bolt Action rule book and blended it with elements of Platoon Forward. The Platoon Forward rules contain a number of character traits which can influence your commanders in the field.

The formation represents a rag tag force of regulars looking to stem the Soviet advance on Berlin.

Stickler's Platoon 
18th Panzer Grenadier Division - 952 Pts.

Platoon Headquarters
First Lieutenant - Felix Stickler
From a long line of Bavarian Officer stock, Stickler is naturally optimistic (+1) and even now believes the Reich will prevail, Stickler has a liking for the bottle which can make him somewhat of a loose cannon.
Armed with an SMG he is accompanied by 2 Rifle armed men.
95 pts.

1st Squad
Sergeant Albert Breshan  (SMG)
A cocky fella with a strong belief in god he leads the first squad/
11 men including an MG34 Team - 4 PZ Frsts.
1 SDKFZ 251/1
247 Pts

2nd Squad
Sergeant Larrs Kapp  (SMG)
Course always willing to share a rude story or to, popular with his men he lives for the moment.
11 men including an MG34 Team - 4 Pz Frsts.
1 SDKFZ 251
247 Pts

Support Elements
1 Lorry as transport - 39 Pts

1 Sniper Team - Veteran
2 men
65 Pts

1 MMG Team

1 Medium Mortar + Spotter
3 Crew
60 Pts

1 Pak 40 AT Gun
4 Crew
Lorry Tow
149 Pts

Orders have come through from the higher ups.
The Soviets are breaking through and Stickler is ordered to counter attack and drive the invaders back. He summons his squad leaders and sets out his plan.....

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Bolt Action Solo Play - Platoon Forward!

Well you have to get your gaming fix somehow....

I picked up a copy of Joe Legan's Platoon Forward! campaign rules several years ago and with the recent game Bolt Action outing and no physical players available, I thought I would combine the two rules together and give Joe's solo rules a run out.

I guess we have all tried various solo rules at one time or another, but I have found these to be the most comprehensive and the most balanced to stop you cheating yourself :-)
After all you know all your own moves and your tactics in game, aggressive, defensive or just darn sneaky. 

The Platoon Forward system was designed for the Too Fat Lardies rule set, but they fit nicely with any WW2 rule set.
The book contains 22 scenario's split between offensive and defensive actions and depending on the stage of the war denotes if you are attacking or defending.

Each mission has the option to generate the terrain depending on the theatre of operations.

Each scenario details the potential for supporting forces and then match up forces with the use of blinds. These could be nothing or a section of Infantry, an MG team or a Tank. Blinds are split into A, B & C's depending on objectives and missions.

A's are largely Infantry.
B's Support Weapons.
C's Armour and vehicles.

The different missions give you number of choices Flank attacks, Scouting missions or all out assault, random events can occur both good and bad, and reinforcements are available to bolster your command.

Now to organise my forces for a first run out......

Meanwhile perfect timing the postman dropped off the following.

Whilst having only played one game of Bolt Action I needed this campaign supplement.
Road to Berlin focuses on the Soviet forces and their advances against the last defenders of the Reich, it contains unit details for a bunch of late war German vehicles and the Polish Home Army and those units involved in the Prague Uprising.

Will I finally get to bring this monster on to the table?

ARR to follow in the coming days.