Monday, May 28, 2018

Ghost Archipelago - #3 Crustacean Graveyard.

Back in the 80's when I was at school, Giant Rats, Slugs and Crabs were all the rage, all craving human flesh..... A bunch of us used to seek out these cheap paper backs and swap them every Friday in the play ground... A firm favourite of mine was Guy N Smiths Crab series hugh armoured crabs marching in land to destroy humanity but mostly sneaking up on midnight bathers... :-)

I had long fancied putting these nasty nippers into a scenario and Ghost Archipelago seemed like the perfect vehicle.

Another outing in the occasional Ghost Archipelago Campaign which see's Pirates, Marines and Atlantians in a three way battle in the islands and swamp lands.

After the last brusing encounter all three crews retreat into the hinterland frustrated at not being able to rescure their crewman, they stumble into the ruins of an ancient temple. Scattered amongst the ruins are the claws of several giant crabs, these razor sharp pincers fetch a pretty price on the open market. A quick sprint into the temple grab the prize and head home - Simple.

You need to be careful in the temple one wrong step and you risk falling on the sharp and jagged pincers, so tread carefully.

Guarding the temple and the treasures within are several crustaceans who will attack any potential trespassers in the area.

Everyone has the same idea rush in grab the valuable treasure and get out. Once again the Marines pick a fight with anyone within range and make short work of my Atlantians, killing one in the opening salvo and taking down Atmir the Warden. Fortunately he survies after rolling for wounds at the end of the battle but has lost a toe..... much to the amusement of my fellow gamers.

He really needs to swap his flip flops for boots.

With the Marines exchanging shots with the Atlantians, the Pirates make a run for it, grabbing the treasure and heading for the exit, but their path is blocked by a Crustacean.
Having seen the Marines take one down with musket fire Captain O'Keith seeks to go one better and launches an attack with his cutlass only to see it glance off the hardened shell.

The crew of the Sun Chaser join the melee but try as they might the nasty nipper would not go down, he continued to snap at his attackers, wounding a number of crewmen in the battle.

Meanwhile the Marines were advancing steadily through the temple and where forcing the Pirate rear guard out of the temple and stopping them from securing the central treasure.
As smoke of the sound of battle filled the temple hardly anyone heard the click click click getting ever closer.

It was now a straight fight between the Marines and Pirates each hell bent on securing the central treasure. Whilst the Atlantians hung around the side lines like annoying wasps at a picnic. Sniping at anyone within range.
As the battle raged on the Crabs moved towards the human combatants.

The Pirates had their fill and took off with their loot. The Marines were unable to take advantage of their victory as the temple was rapidly filling up with Crustaceans who were snapping the bones of the Captain Masters who had slipped and fell on the jagged floor.

With their leader KO's the Marines pulled back, leaving the temple to the crabs.

A great game with everyone securing two treasures each and casualties on all sides.
Next up an adventure in the Swamp lands and an excuse to paint up that sail boat that's tucked away somewhere in the depths of the garage.

Ghost Archipelago is turning into a midweek favourite.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Cornered Wolf - Rule review and 1st outing.

Sunday night and with the smell of varnish hanging heavy in the air saw the first outing for the Cornered Wolf Rules. It's fair to say they are somewhat bloody. 
The table represents the outskirts of a Chechen town where farm land starts to give way to the industrial centre, plenty of cover and boy do you need it.

They have some quite neat rule ideas, you never quite know what you will have to play with or the scenario you are playing.
You will need a deck of cards as this decides the forces on offer and turn sequence.

Dane pulled a lot of Face cards - Kings, Queens and Jacks which gave him plenty of Russian Armour, whilst I pulled low number cards which gave me infantry with the occasional RPG apart from an Ace which gave me some armour support...
On face value the Chechen's looked hard pressed.

Deployment is an unstructured affair, you deploy your first unit near one table edge and then place units anywhere on the table but you have to be in minimum of 12" away from any other unit, which means you could quickly end up with isolated units as your opponent places units in the same fashion, which gives quite a unique challenge bearing in mind at this point you don't know what the scenario is.

Once deployed you pick an objective each, The Russian's picked clear each sector of the board, whilst I picked raid a Russian held building, any easy choice given they only had one infantry section in this game and they were some way away from the supporting armour.

With the forces and scenario picked the deck of cards becomes your activations, a face card gives you the option of armour and a number card mostly infantry, Black for one side, Red for another.
We soon realised that the chances of Russian armour rushing round the table blasting anything in sight was somewhat limited especially as the Chechen's can't be shot at if they get close enough to a tank.
The Russians with limited infantry cover were exposed to sneaky infantry running from building to building.

Pretty much everything hits on a 4+ on a D6 and RPG's get three shots so we soon had smoking wreaks all over the place.

The single Russian section could not stand up to the numerous infantry against them, which mean't the Chechen's could nip in and steal the supplies.

The tank hunting certainly gave the feel of the armour being vunerable to sneaky infantry which is what the rule read up suggested but it feels like a few tweaks are need to separate AFV's to Tanks and perhaps limit the number of rounds or AT hits (As I type I have received an update which looks like it does exactly this.)

I fun evenings gaming but I suspect people will add house rules to reflect their own view of the conflict.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

15mm Russian Buildings - The Weekend Challenge.

Having set myself the challenge over the weekend of finishing the Ironclad buildings that have been languishing in the cupboard of shame for a number of years, I am please to confirm mission accomplished....
The pic's are a little iffy as I am trying out a new camera.

A couple of early starts and some warm dry weather have helped to get these complete before the 4.00pm deadline today.
Two rural houses, a storage shed and railway station, together with two oil storage tanks, they will expand the layout quite significantly.  

The railway station fits in nicely with the track which I own from Battlefield in a Box and can also be used for my Boxer Rebellion collection. I opted for an off white which makes it quite generic with any period or setting.

The storage shed and field still need a little work, I need to add the pump arm and am thinking about a couple of dead cows which I have from peter pig somewhere.
I added in a number of lighter tufts on this one compared to the other pieces in particular around the well to give that wet feel.

The farm house is a great casting with a detactable roof to allow you to place that well timed ambush. I decided to add the fencing to create the backyard rather than keep the pieces stand alone, besides I have the MDF bases sitting unused in the draw.
The figures are from Eureka's 15mm modern Russian range.

The second building comes with a decked roof rather than thatch, I add in the brick wall and water through to give it that rural feel, it also gives the defenders something to hide behind. Although not much help from a 125mm gun.

I am really pleased how they have turned out. I plan on adding a garage and forecourt to give me that link between the rural and the urban setting, its a shame fieldworks are no more (Does anyone know if the molds have been picked up by anyone?) as I quite fancied adding a few more bombed out shells to go with the other buildings already painted up.

Right time to go and put these to the test.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Battlefield in a Box Oil Tanks - The weekend challenge.

Having set myself the challenge last weekend to finish the Russian buildings in time for Sunday's game, I managed to get off to a pretty good start, much of the prep has been done over the evenings this week, with filler and sand covering done, which should give me most of today to get the main block painting done on the buildings, leaving tomorrow free for the detail, washes and flocking.

There were a couple of quick wins to be had very early this morning which is The Battlefield in a Box accessories for Team Yankee in the shape of the Oil Storage Tanks.
They are pretty good straight out of the box, but I wanted mine to blend in with the existing terrain so set about basing them up.

On face value there is very little detail on the them when you unbox them, but by adding them to the base a quick wash here and there and a low wall to highlight the true scale they make for quite an imposing piece on the table top.

They need a little extra flocking and the odd bit of battlefield clutter but should be battlefield ready by sunday night.
Great start to a busy day.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Back to the Chechen Wars...

I have not had a chance to give them a run out yet but the read up seems to hit the right note for what I had in mind.

About the game:
Cornered Wolf is a skirmish game aimed at 15mm, 20mm or 28mm miniatures, and aimed at representing the chaos of urban combat with the simplest possible rules.
Uncertain activation, randomly generated forces, deployment that will throw you immediately into chaos, and quick and deadly rules will have you wargaming Chechnya in no time at all. Perfect for playing with younger family members, or for those of you who would prefer to make tactical decisions rather than look up a rule, Cornered Wolf provides everything you need for infantry, weapon teams, vehicles, multi-level buildings and suppression.
These rules cover the basic infantryman armed with AK-47 or AK-74, RPG, SVD sniper rifle or PKM. Weapon Teams like the AGS-17 automatic grenade launcher, NSV heavy machine gun, ‘fagot’ anti-tank missile and mortars are also covered.
Rules for vehicles cover the BTR-80, BMP-1 / BMP-2, ZSU-23-4 Shilka, 2K22 Tunguska, T-72 / T-80 and MT-LB.
While the basis of this game is kept simple (No markers or tokens needed!), extended rules are provided for players to introduce more detail. Extended rules allow troops to ride along inside (and on top of) vehicles, while extended wounding rules allow carrying wounded and loading them into vehicles. Evacuating wounded could potentially save you some points with regards to completing your mission objective.
A points system is also provided for those who aren’t too keen on randomly generated forces, although we strongly recommend at least trying the random generation as it makes for very interesting and still quite balanced games.

With a game planned for next Sunday, I have set myself the goal of getting this little lot finished in a week.

The Russian rural buildings are from Ironclad and have been languishing in a box for a couple of years, a couple of farm houses and a railway station which I can use for several projects.
The oil tanks are ready made from the Team Yankee modern range but look pretty naff without some basing and some additional dry brushing.

Whilst much of the fighting was centered on Grozny there are plenty of encounters in the mountains and countryside. The pics below are the sort of feel I am after.

Image result for chechen village

Image result for chechen war village

Let's see how the next week goes..... No pressure.
Gluing them on the MDF bases is the easy part.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Battlegroup Play Test.

Sunday night saw the Wyverns give Battlegroup a run through.
Flicking through the vehicle stats for frontal and side armour took me back to my early days and WRG's 1925 - 1950 rules.

Over the years I have tried most of the rules on the market, Battlegroup- Pz Grenadier, Rapid Fire, Bolt Action, Flames of War and Chain of Command to name but a few none of them have really stuck and all find themselves filed away just in case...

I don't have a large WW2 collection and like to add armour odities here and there. I never liked the mass ranks encouraged by Flames of War so the the attractiveness of Battlegroup is that the game is scalable, enabling you to field a squad, platoon, company or even battalion.

We threw down some terrain and picked 500 points per side.
The rule suppliments are full of variants and upgrades to various formations, from Volkssturm to JSII's.
The order phase allows you to give basic movement and fire orders to resupply or calling in artillery or unpinning units. The better your quality the more additions to 2D6 you get to order each specific unit.
With two actions per turn “Ambush Fire” is particularly useful for slowing the enemies advance.

One of the nice features is the Battlegroup system is the use of “Battle Rating Counters.” At the begining of the game, each side has a “battle rating,” a number which defines your force’s morale. Each time a vehicle is destroyed or infantry squad wiped out you pull a battle rating counter from a bag. You keep this a secret, your opponent can see how many counters you have but has no idea what they are worth.
To rally up to 1D6 units you have to take another chit.
With chits worth between 1 - 5 you never quite know how well each of you are doing. It certainly makes you take a little more care of your armour.

When you army reaches its battle rating, you have lost. 

Some counters instead of a number allow you to call in an airstrike or result in low ammo or a vehicle breakdown which gives you an excuse to bring on supply units that never normally grace the wargames table.

An enjoyable game for a first out with not that much reference to the rule book.
It's driven me to dig out those 15mm Buildings that have sat in the cupboard of shame for a few years so they can't be to bad.

No plans to add to the Late War Collection but I have priced up each of the elements so I can pull together a scratch force with little or no planning.

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Ghost Archipelago - Heritor and Storm Warden..

A few hours to quickly push a few figures off the production line.

 These have been knocking around since the Nickstarter several months back. The Heritor will blend in well with the eastern crewmen, whilst I figured the Storm Warden would compliment the Pirate or Royal Navy faction.

Quite the warband now, with the weather finally turned I should be able to get the varnishing done and the final flocking, but these will come in very handy for competing factions.

The Storm Warden is a little on the small side compared to the Black Scorpion Miniature, I considered raising the base a touch but it should not be that much of a problem during game play.

With these complete I now have the perfect excuse to get the next game rolled out.