Saturday, April 29, 2023

LOTR Campaign - Back from the annuals of time.

Two years have passed since the last game but Lord of the Rings Campaign is back.....

My secret Wargaming Friend has been amassing more troops for both sides and is keen to throw them into the battle for Middle Earth.

Using the map from the LOTR Risk game and a mechanism lifted directly from the Classic Diplomacy orders are given for each of the forces in play. Each counter represents a maximum of up to 200 points within the Infamy Infamy rules.

Reinforcements are mustered every three months, with each territory worth 10 points and a bonus 50 points if you hold all of a region.

At the moment the good guys (Red) are under pressure on all fronts. In the south the Rohan have been pushed back into Helm's Deep as Orc armies mass to their front. Remnants of Human and Elven forces dodge larger Orc forces in Rhun and Rhovanion looking to clear them from the region and gain bonus points.

We have three battles to fight this round.

  • Orc's pour out of Moria attacking Eregion where the defenders take to the field to hold their advance. (Red 195 v Blue 200)
  • The Orc's in the Borderlands follow up attacking the remnants of the previous round regrouping at Weathertop. (Red 88 v Blue 177)
  • Further Orcs advance into the Borderlands to be met by reinforcements coming out of Eriador (Red 195 v Blue 200)
Let's hope that 2 years coming out of Covid has helped the good guys win a game....

First up the clash in the Borderlands.

Friday, April 21, 2023

El Agheila - First Africa Korps Engagement.

The first outing for elements of the German forces, combining forces with the Italians as they launch an assault on the British lines around El Agheila. A small town with a fort on the coast.

March 1941 and the German's with their Italian allies attack the Western Desert Force. In February 1941 El Agheila was taken by the WDF following the destruction of the tenth army during Operation Compass. The British halted and moved to deal with the Axis invasion of Greece. This gave the German Afrika Korps under Rommel a chance to arrive and launch an offensive which retook El Agheila.

Let's see if history runs true?

The German and Italians advance up the road supported by a Pz II

The defenders of the old fort.

The HMG opens up on the attackers.

The Axis forces press on, the Vickers HMG and a couple of Boyes Anti-Tank rifles do what they can to slow the advance. The Italians and Germans duck and dive avoiding the sporadic fire.

The defenders of the Fort were under pressure as the Italians mass. Several attackers are killed but the German mortars zero in on the out post and the defenders are whittled down.

The Axis press there advantage and push into El Agheila - the road to Troburk was open....

A fun encounter and for once freshly painted troops win the day.

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Vichy Support Units....

Back on the brushes and much needed reinforcements for the Vichy Forces for Operation Exporter or at a push Free French should they bump into any German forces in the Western Desert.

First up a 75mm Infantry Gun from the Perry Twins.

Heavy Machine Gun team providing some much needed fire support.

The French were lacking platoon level support options, so a few adaptions from the Africa Korps set, the Vichy cork hat was very similar in design to that of their German counter part so, a few head swaps and you have a light mortar and AT Rifle team.

And finally an extra sniper team to keep the heads down of any enemy officers.

That's all for now....

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Dispatches from the front XXVIII - In house rules & desert purchases.

It's been over a month since the last dispatch and still everything is still middle east focused.... I was hunting around for some extra terrain items for the desert and spotted some nice pieces on Two Shed Fred's eBay page.

As usual great service from Fred.... a set of walls which will add to the village and be useful for multiple periods.

Add to that three Mine Fields, these are great pieces very simple in design with a barb wire fence around each of them, with 6 movable signs, 2 generic, 2 British & 2 German. 

Having had Fred make me some bespoke roads a few years ago, I was wondering what to do with my Battlefield in a Box Roads, the answer was found in a couple of cans of Desert Yellow and Bone Yard and there they are..... Desert Roads..... and an excuse to add a couple of house rules for the desert games around bogging and mid day heat.

To compliment these pieces a small order from Ironclad Miniatures with a selection of fox holes, nothing says desert warfare than a bunch of infantry hiding in fox holes, whilst these are rather high I like the fact that I can drop them over the top of infantry or support teams rather than half figures.

On the subject of House Rules, I played a couple of Pint Size Campaign games with Chain of Command over at the Wyre Forest Club, a good encounter between the French Defenders and the attacking Germans... It's been a few years since I last played CoC, they have some nice mechanisms and feel a little more realistic than Bolt Action however my gaming tastes have changed slightly and I am leaning more towards the 'fun' game but still keeping a degree of realism. 

It got me thinking about adding in certain key elements of Chain of Command into Bolt Action.

I like the Force Morale elements in the Too Fat Lardies game mechanism, this makes you think about when you commit your troops but also not leaving sections too exposed. So adding a Bad Things Happen Table for the loss of a unit in addition to a loss of a dice makes for some jeopardy. 

This is the draft.

Snipers in BA can be pretty lethal and players always go for the LMG in a squad, Force Morale makes Officers more important and their loss could reduce the Force Morale which feels better rather than just taking dice from the bag.

Movement within BA can feel a little rigid with 6" for Advance and 12" for a Run so I have tweaked this with 1D6 for Advance and 3D6 for a Run HOWEVER if you get a double a unit gains a pin. This makes a Run a useful move but you may need to spend a turn reordering the ranks in a future turn.

If a unit fails a pin test and breaks under the house rules now units fall back 6" plus 2D6 and then go Down, but also take a Bad Things Happen Test.

One of my gripes with some rules is how whole units are taken off the table after a few casualties, it takes so long to paint units do I really want them back in the box after a few rounds of fire. So when it comes to Hand to Hand now when units lose they not taken off the table but rout backwards and gain pins equivalent to the difference in casualties.

The initial run through in a small game as French take on the Italians for a desert watering hole played really well.

How to test it with a few more players who are used to BA proper let's see if the tweaks hold up.

Happy gaming...

Thursday, April 06, 2023

Rising Sun, Tumbling Bear #4 - Turn 3 The attack on Pyongyang - Part 2

A few weeks late, nice to get out of the desert for a while and the road to Pyongyang where a Russian force was attempting to hold back the Japanese attackers.

We tweaked Sharp Practice using John Savage's rule amendments for the later war period for the 1870's and the introduction of mass ranks of breach loaders.

The Russian force, I quite fancy some extra Russians to bolster this force.

The Japanese selected a number of spots on the table for an artillery barrage before the Russians deployed, the shells landed in the and around the village which was lightly held by the Russians which limited the casualties, although the HQ was hit by a shell which knocked the CinC unconscious.

The bulk of the Russian forces were on the far side of the village, the Russian commander having massed all their infantry in a solid block.

The Japanese entered the table at random, most on the far side of the table behind the wooded hill they moved swiftly to line the rise having first to contend with a Russian Cossack attack. The Russians were routed but the Japanese were savaged.

A protracted fire fight with smoke filling the battlefield, the Russian mass despite mounting shock were able to hold the line.

Back to the drawing board for the Japanese.

A fun encounter John's tweaks worked well, the ability to fire twice with the risk of rising smoke and low ammo made you really have to think about the choice between multiple rounds of fire or a more measured pace of aiming and firing.

The improved field craft for the Japanese gave them some advantages, but I need to increase the unit sizes slightly to give them a little more firepower on the table top.
Roll on Wargames Atlantic and their plastics in the coming months.