15 March 2019

Meeting Encounter: A Book of Battles SAGA Skirmish

Myself and Adam finally got together last evening to try the new Book of Battles Scenario generator for SAGA2. It was our first this year due to a lot of unforseen roadblocks so we were both looking forward to it. Most of our games last fall were between my Vikings and Adam's Irish. But for this game we were both keen to try something different. Adam has just finished painting up a Norman warband and I wanted to try my Skraelings, as with SAGA2 a completely new BB has been released which looked like a lot of fun. So onto our somewhat ahistoric game!

Normans
Warlord
3 units of Mounted Hearthguard
1 unit of Crossbow Armed Warriors
1 unit of Bow Armed Levy
1 unit of Flemish Mercenaries

Skraelings
Warlord
5 units of Javelin/Tomahawk Armed Warriors
1 unit of Bow Armed Levy
Unfortunately the Skraeling can not take any legendary units as I wanted to take a Shaman

The Book of Battles has a great skirmish game generator which we used. We opted to go Chaos, which means on all 5 atributes we threw a d6 to randomly generate the condition. We ended up with the following.
Scenery: Marshy Country
Deployment: Meeting Encounter
Game Length: Cautious
Special Rule: Forced March-which we seemed to forget to do
Victory Conditions: Sacrifice

As usual, I forgot to take photos, I think Adam took a couple which I may add but the below photo gives one an idea of the layout and battle.
The little squares next to some units are their Totems.
It took us a little over 90 minutes to play the game, despite not having played for a while the SAGA2 rules appear to be well embedded now. We had a good game which appeared pretty equal until near the end. We were both cautious as we were learning our new BB's. I also believe Lady Luck favoured me as my dice were quite good. 

On turn 4, Adam sent in his Warlord to take out my Warriors (those between the marsh and the forest). I was able to survive and the Norman Warlord was exhausted (the Skraeling ability of Agility is really useful in battles were armour is unequal). 

In turn 5, I launched a bunch of arrows from my Levy across the marsh and as well as some javelins from my surviving Warriors which took down all the Norman Hearthguard. I brought in my Warlord and all there was left was the crying. The final score was 16 Massacre points for the Skraelings to 10 for the Normans. A clear Skraeling victory.

I should note that the Skraelings have a really neat and unique SAGA mechanism of Totems which can be assigned permanently to a unit for the full game after paying the requisite cost in SAGA dice. You can also temporarily assign a Totem to a unit for 1 turn at the cost of 3 unique SAGA dice (Pocession). Adam made me some very nice Totem markers which were much appreciated.

We both really enjoyed the new scenario book and are hoping to get in another game next week.

11 March 2019

Kampfgruppe Von Luck-A Third CoC Campaign

Yesterday saw the start of my 3rd simultaneous CoC campaign. Back to Normandy and D-Day in this one, with action between British Paratroopers and the German Panzergrenadiers east of the Orne River.

In our campaign we see an attempt by the Germans to counterattack and capture 2 bridges across the Orne that the Allies are holding after their initial June 6th attack. The German troops are 3 Panzergrenadier Platoons from 125 Panzer Regiment an element of 21 Panzer Division. The British have 2 platoons from 12 Para and 1 Platoon from 13 Para. Unfortunately for the Brits, the men in 12 Para were dispersed after their intial drop so their platoon is incomplete for each of the early scenarios.

Anyway on to our game. The table follows and is quite simple with very little cover and played according to scenario 1 from the main rulebook.
Patrol Phase
Final JOP positions
Forces

Germans Regular Panzergrenadiers FM 10
Panzergrenadier Platoon #1
Supports (5)
Werfer Pre-Game Barrage
Adjutant

British Elite Paratroopers FM 11
SL
2" Mortar Team
#1 Section w/JL
#2 Section Bren Team, no JL
#3 Section Absent
Supports(0)

Scenario 1 Patrol on the Ring Contour

It was a pretty quick game, Mike used the Werfer Barrage to great effect and is was 4 phases before I got on the table. By then I think Mike had 3 squads in place all on Overwatch making it very tricky to deploy. The fact that he was able to get his north-most JOP so far east also somewhat stymied me. I was able to lay some smoke down from the 2"mortar as well as throwing a smoke grenade causing him to hit on -1. It quickly became obvious that I was not going to cause too much damage and I felt lucky to get my 1st section off with 7 causualties and a dead JL after taking a pounding fro 3 squads on a double phase. The Germans suffered a single casualty.

The Summing Up

Germans
Zero losses
CO Opinion +1
Men's Opinion +3 (+1 FM)
Platoon Leaders Outlook-Content
Started with 33 men ended with 33 men

Brits
3 men dead, 2 MIA, JL Section #1-1CI
CO Opinion +1
Men's Opinion -1
Platoon Leaders Outlook-Short Tempered
Started with 19 men ended with 14 men


Scenario 2 Probe among the Hedgerows
Well knowing that the 1st scenario was going to be short, I actually had clevely set up the 2nd table so we would be already to go. A rapid removal of the terrain mat and with a 15 minute rapid set up of table 2, it seemed we would be good.

Lack of sleep (I worked until 2am that morning and was up at 6am) and rushing however is sometimes very counter-productive. We played the whole game, I think we made a few minor mistakes in the game play and a fairly rapid withdrawal by the Brits (there is not much you can do with 19 men as I only added a 3 man Bren Team, a Sniper and the JL for section 3).

Unfortunately, I recognised after we finished up that we had played the Patrol Phase along the long axis of the table rather than the short axis as laid out in the scenario. This really changes the whole complexion of the game so we decided that we would replay the scenario. We will redice for supports but I will not redice to see which units I have available.

Hmm...there is something just not right here!
Forces for Game 2

Germans Regular Panzergrenadiers
Panzergrenadier Platoon #2
13 Support Points


British Elite Paratroopers
SL
2" Mortar Team
#1 Section Bren Team w/JL (1 CI)
#2 Section Bren Team, no JL
#3 Section Bren Team, JL and Sniper
4 Support Points

The good news is that Mike is going on Sabbitical for 6 months starting in a month so as I am off 2-3 days of the week, I am hoping we can get our next game in soon.

02 March 2019

Carnevale

 
Two or three years ago, I backed a Kickstarter from TTCombat for the miniatures game Carnevale. They delivered a couple of months ago and I felt that they would be a good choice as a focus for this year's challenge. To be honest, it was more the terrain aspect of the kickstarter that got my attention rather than the figures, although they looked pretty cool. The backstory for the game can be seen in the following video.


I have been to Venice many times but I will always remember my first visit about 20 years ago in February during the Festival of Carnevale. It was a particularly cool and foggy year and at night the image of the festival goers flitting about in the dark is still with me. It has never been the same since.

They are resin figures, the first I have dealt with and I find the detail is not as to my liking. They were a nightmare to assemble, very fragile and I broke a couple of them....just not a lot of fun. I think I have around 25-35 figures, it was difficult to know where to start. I have 4 factions, 2 Antagonists, 1 Protagonist and 1 Mecenary.

STRIGOI

I decided to go with the Strigoi first as they looked the easiest to paint. Character information for the following figures can be found here as well as the faction cost.
A Strigoi Priest and 2 Nosferatu

Varcolae

Two Romani and a Blood Crone

Well, I am somewhat pleased with the painting, they did not come out exactly as planned and as usual I am having all kinds of trouble with the photography.

RASHAAR

These are the Rashaar, a ancient and subterranean race that inhabit the canals of Venice. These, like the Strigoi, are the antagonists in the game. I actually enjoyed painting them as I was able to try some new techniques. The Stats for these characters can be found here.
The Magi-Rashaar
One of the leaders of the Cult
Human Slaves of the Cult
I snapped the feet off the woman slave, so I changed the base slightly to make it look as is she was rising from the canals of Venice. Not sure how successful, I have been.
The Raadru with 2 lesser Ugdru
I tried the Zenithal Priming technique. I used an airbrush to prime black, overspraying with gray and then white. This was followed by Citadel Glazes and Washes. I liked how it worked. 

THE GUILD

These are The Guild, the citizens of Venice, who are I would suppose the protagonists in the game. Character descriptions and stats can be found here.
Capodecina-A Leader
Fishermen-The Heros
The Gondilier- A Henchmen
Citizens-Henchwomen
Citizens-Henchmen
Pucinella
I found 4 more figures which belong to the above factions and 6 more from The Gifted faction, so 10 to go!

17 February 2019

There are Many Rivers to Cross: The Start of Yet Another CoC Campaign

I started my second simultaneous campaign yesterday with Greg. Greg is an Early War fan so we were both keen to start a campaign using the 1940 Blitzkrieg CoC rules and army lists. This mini-campaign appeared in the recent Lard Magazine and it looks like a lot of fun.

The campaign is generic in that it can be played with any force from the Blitzkrieg book as well as anywhere in France, Holland or Belgium. Since I have Belgic forces, we set it in Belgium in May of 1940. Interestingly the campaign starts on Table 2, as the Germans (attackers) have already crossed the first river and are approaching a town. They have yet to build bridges so they are limited to infantry forces only and can not use ATG's, IG's or any vehicles in the first 2 campaign turns.  If the German fail to take the 2nd table, the Allied forces can attack back on to table 1 and if victorious in turn 2 and seize Table 1, they would have a complete victory in a very short campaign!

The German force do have a significant advantage in support in the first turn with 2d6+6 while the defender has 1d6+2. In the background of the campaign, German pioneers are building a bridge and the Allies are sending engineers to destroy it.

We got together yesterday and drew sides by chance. I ended up playing the Germans.  I am by nature a player who prefers defending rather than attacking but this sort of worked out as I have noted after 3 games with Greg that is a fairly aggressive attacker. We were both going to be challenged!
The table as set up, you can see the patrol markers. I only blew one building with the Stuka Bombardment. It was a UXB, but fortunately was in house in the mid foreground which was not going to be invloved in my plan of attack.
The light brown circles are the German JOP's and as you can see I was able to get a JOP in an advanced position. I had to be cautious though as Greg is very adroit at capturing them as I have found out in the past.
Forces

Chasseurs Ardennais
CD5, Regular, FM9
Core Platoon
Franc Tireurs
Bunker for 1 Tm
Maxim 08 MG Tm

Schutzen
CD5, Regular, FM8
Core Platoon
Jean Claude
Off-Table MG
MG34 MG Tm
Flamethrower Tm
Stuka Bombardment
Off Table Bunker Buster 
So on to the photos of which I took very few. They really are not going to tell the story but it was as follows:

To win, I had to clear 2 of the 3 far sections of the table while getting a unit off the far side or of course force the Belgians off the table by withdrawal or morale failure. Greg had almost immediately placed a MMG team in the bunker defending the T-junction on my right flank. Fortunately I had chosen a Bunker Buster 8.8 cm gun as an off-table support. We did allow the bunker to be graded as a fortification which made it quite difficult to crack even with the 88. The Stuka bombardment was relatively effective in keeping the Belgians from deploying and when they did, they did suffer not insignificant shock. Greg did throw a 3d6 on his CD early on so it really only affected 2 of his 4 units.

I was quite concerned about Greg capturing my forward JOP so after I placed a squad behind the hedge to cover my left flank, I dropped a squad in the fenced garden of the house in the photo below and quickly added a Flame Thrower Tm as well as a SL. By then Greg had a Group de Combat in the orchard in his centre. I followed with my 3rd squad on my right flank while Greg placed his DBT section behind a house on his left flank and placed his 2nd Group de Combat in the large barn on his left flank. 

Fire ensued between the 2 sections confronting each other on the German right flank, the Belgians are numerically superior and were in hard cover but I was able to keep things going by placing a SL with the Schutzen squad to remove shock. A battle between pretty equal forces, one being in hard cover and the other being in light cover was not going to go well for the Germans in the long run so it was time to make my move. I was worried though that Greg by now had 2 CoC dice and I had none. It is hard to advance aggressively even on a double phase if your opponent can interupt.

I moved my forward squad with the SL and the FT Tm into the house below on the left with a plan to exit onto the road. Greg moved his GdC behind the house on his side of the road. At the same time, I advanced my squad on the left to take his un-protected JOP on his far right flank. This was a mistake as his GdC in the centre could fire at them. By then both our FM's were down to 5, but I had  slight advantage although I now had 2 squads pinned, I had killed one of his JL's and his single SL was down for the turn. My 2 SL's were still good and industriously removing shock.

I moved my forward squad out of the house, crossed the street and was rapidly able to get them in the house overlooking the orchard. I felt I was finally in a good position to force Greg to withdraw but he fought on hurling grenades in through the windows, he caused shock but no kills and the Germans were then able to rain fire (literally and figuratively) on the Belgian troops. Greg dropped to a FM of 3 but used his CoC dice to prevent taking a FM test when his SL went down. He dicided to play one more turn but really his ability to counterattack was done and on my next turn I forced his FM to zero. Game over and a German victory.

The all important forward German JOP
Not good to get caught out in the open
A very busy SL, you can see Jean-Claude hiding just at the left edge of the barn
Bad to be caught with a flame thrower.....
.....but also tricky to be in an enclosed space with greandes going off!
The Summing Up

Well the  FM difference of 5 resulted in the following:
Germans 2 dead, 1 man missing the next turn. 1JL down 1CI
Belgians 4 dead, 2 men missing the next turn. SL down 1CI, JL down 1CI

Campaign Tracker
Germans
Commander's Opinion+1
Men's Opinion +2
Platoon Leaders's Outlook Relaxed
Belgians
Commander's Opinion-1
Men's Opinion -3 (-1FM)
Platoon Leaders's Outlook Short-tempered

Well it is shaping up to be an interesting campaign, I was happy to win as an attacker. We will have to see how it goes. I can recommend buying the Lard Magazine for this campaign alone.



26 January 2019

Bloody Bucket: The Start of a New CoC Campaign

We finally got to start a new CoC campaign today, this one tracing the exploits of the American 28th Division in their defence against a late war German Blitzkrieg into Belgium in December of 1944.

This campaign will see me play the Americans against Tom's Volksgrenadiers. It is quite a complex campaign with both sides having to make a choice between several options in respect to both line of attack as well as support placement. We both have suitable forces but Tom still wants to paint up some more StG44 armed Sturmtroopers so we decided to play at my place in 20mm. This is the first time my Winter-uniformed Germans and American will see the table so it was quite exciting for me to get things going.

Essentially we find the Germans on the offensive in an attempt to capture Bastogne in the early part of the Ardennes offensive. They field a Volksgrenadier force which can be either a Sturm or Rifle Platoon while the American defend with a standard Rifle Platoon. The German force is green but are led by experienced officers and NCO's and the Americans field a regular force.

I had to make a lot of choices prior to the start of the game which I can not really elaborate on as I do not want to give away my campaign plans to Tom but I did have to pick out 48 points of support before the campaign even started and place them at 6 possible points on the battlefield. 
The Germans are attacking from the east and essentially have to capture all 6 tables within a limited number of turns to achieve victory. They can attack up to 2 tables in 1 campaign turn if they have the appropriate forces in place..........
...............as you can see however they can choose to attack each table sequentially or choose to bypass a table and attack any table in a flanking manoeuvre. The Americans have a fresh defending rifle platoon on each table while the Germans get either a new Sturm Platoon or a Rifle Platoon (decided by the roll of a die) in each campaign turn. 

As you can see it is pretty important which supports I select and where I place them, all of which I had to decide before the campaign starts. I do get additional supports each campaign turn but they are coming from the west so start on table 6. I can move forces each campaign turn from one adjacent table to the next but it is possible that they can be interdicted by the Germans with the possibility of it being destroyed. The Germans get 12 points of support each time they attack and 15 points if it is their 2nd go at the same table. The Germans can also choose if they have a strong enough force after a Victory to immediately Blitzkrieg the next table before any campaign calculations are made.
As you can see I took 12 points on my 1st table. I decided to go with an entrenched defensive position with heavy firepower by adding a BAR to each of my 3 squads and placing 2 tripod mounted MG's in hard cover.
Tom chose to move his Sturm Platoon to point B resulting in no battle in campaign turn 1. We moved to campaign turn  2, Tom threw a die and ended up getting a Rifle Platoon placed in point A. I added 10 points of supports to table 6 and also started to move some of my previously placed supports around.
So the campaign turn 2 started with the Germans attacking table 1 as laid out below, this is the standard Attack and Defend scenario from the main rulebook.
Forces

Volksgrenadiers 
CD 5 Green FM 9
1 SL w/3 man rifle grenade team
3 VG Rifle Squads w/JL
Pregame Barrage
Assault Squad w/JL
LMG Squad w/JL
Medical Orderly

Americans
CD 5 Regular FM11
2 SL's w/ Bazooka Team
3 Rifle Squads w/JL and extra BAR
Entrenched 0.5 HMG Team
Entrenched 0.3 MMG team

So on to the photos of which I took very few. They really are not going to tell the story but it was as follows:

Tom's plan was to assault me from my right flank starting off from the forest. He rapidly placed 2 rifle squads in the forest as well as his LMG squad. They all went down in overwatch. I was cautious and did not plan to place any soldiers on the table until Tom started his advance. Tom brought on his Sturm squad and started to advance tactically on my right. Here I got lucky as although I was under a pregame barrage, I was able to rapidly get down my 30 cal MMG and then my 50 cal HMG, with which I was able to deal with the Sturm squad pretty quickly. I was pretty lucky with my hit dice while Tom was equally unlucky with his save dice. With my 50 cal HMG, I was able to pound away at the troops in the forest as it reduces cover. It got a little tricky as Tom was able to pin my 30 cal MMG but by then I had a Rifle squad in the building and they were able to unload quite a few hits on the VG's in the forest. We banged pack and forth, I was able to destroy the LMG squad and by now Tom's FM was plummeting. I could see he was planning to withdraw so I dropped a second rifle squad in the open and was able to drive the VG force off the table. Final FM for the Americans was 11 while the Germans dropped to 3. A clear American victory!

Not really much you can do with the patrol phase her as really no cover, Tom did get 6 free moves, we both locked down mid-terrain. We were both careful with our angle.
3 JOP's each, the forest in the right farground was light cover and the 1 building was hard cover.
VG's trying to holdout in the forest
The well entrenched machine gunners.
Time to go, maybe
The Heroes of the day

The Summing Up

Well the large  FM difference resulted in the following:
Americans losing no troops (table 1, all supports intact)
Germans lost 2 dead and 1 wounded ( VG platoon 1-point A)

Campaign Tracker
Germans
Commander's Opinion (not tracked in this campaign)
Men's Opinion 4 (+1FM)
Platoon Leaders's Outlook Affable (+2FM)
Americans
Commander's Opinion +2
Men's Opinion 0
Platoon Leaders's Outlook Relaxed

So that was the first battle in which I suspect will be a terrific campaign. Tom has elected to make a second attack in this campaign turn. He can attack either Table 2 or 3 from point B. Let's hope I have moved my supports well.

I am actually trying to involve myself in 2 other simultaneous CoC campaigns. Hoping to get the Von Luck campaign started with Mike and the 1940 Blitzkrieg campaign started with Greg. It is really too bad that I work every second weekend!