19 November 2020

A New Campaign (Old West)

Myself and Pierre-Yves started a new campaign last night, using a yet un- released Western Skirmish ruleset. It was a lot of fun and it flows quite well. As the rules are still in playtest, I am limited in what I can say but I think it is OK to describe the premise of the game, some of the characters as well as the action with some photos.

Premise and Characters

A group of Mexican Banditos lead by the western legend "Tuco", have captured the Sheriff's daughter and are holding her hostage. The Sheriff, Clyde "Big Gun" Barlow, is of course quite alarmed by this and sets out to rescue his daughter "Esmeralda". He is accompanied by 3 of his men; Jacob "The Noose" Cannon, Grey Beaver and Jasper "Shootout" Callahan. He hears that Tuco and his men are camped outside town in the desert. 
Big Gun and his men approach the outlaw camp from the Northeast, it is early morning so they dismount and approach on foot. Tuco and his men are scattered and seem to be asleep, Tucu has left Rueben "el musico" in charge, with "three fingered" Julio and "le francés" covering both the north and south approaches with their rifles. Unfortunately it is midday, it is hot.....they are all asleep! 

Some Action Shots from P-Y
The Sheriff's Posse
Laying in wait....sort of
Did I just hear gunshots
Big Gun moves behind the cactus and takes aim, while he sends Grey Beaver and the Noose to advance to the camp, he will provide long range fire.
Esmerelda rebuffs the Frenchman's advances.
"Shootout Callahan" approaches the camp from the east.
The Frenchman while distracted by Esmerelda takes some fire, El Musico advances rapidly and his able to kill Grey Beaver with a single well placed shot. Tuco suddenly becomes crazed and advances forward, he is so crazed that he does not see a wild dog attack and before he knows it, he has emptied 4 shots into the crazed animal (unsure who is more crazed). His gun then jams but he has another Colt in his belt and fires wildly and drives "Shootout Calhoun" off the table.
"The Noose" gets close but he gets caught in the crossfire, "Big Gun" sees that is rescue attempt is futile, time to form up a bigger posse.
The game was a lot of fun, although I have to say that Pierre-Yves's unlucky dice throws did somewhat distract from the victory. I was happy that my Banditos all survived, money was earned and new skills were learned. I will look forward to our next game.

13 November 2020

A Cowboy Game

 

I had my first Old West skirmish game this week. P-Y has been sent a playtest version of a new skirmish game, and asked if I would be interested in having a go. I will not go into the rules as they are still under wraps but I had a lot more fun than I thought I would have had. So much fun that we decided to play the campaign that is a major part of the rules. We both felt a little burned out from Chain of Command. I do not have a Western themed setup and aside from some Indians have no figures for gaming in this genre....and I am trying not to go down yet another gaming rabbit hole! We are planning to alternate games of Muskets and Tomahawks in the French Indian War setting (this will be my responsibility).

In our game, there was a Sheriff's posse of 4 men, trying to track down a group of 4 Mexican desperados. We played several turns over about 2 to 2 and 1/2 hours and the rules flowed nicely. The game generated several questions but most of these are " did we do this right" rather than "what does this mean"? I played the desperados and was able to escape the clutches Louis "Big Gun" Ramsey and his men (indeed killing "Big Gun" and causing one of his men to flee in terror), so Rubén "the Mute" Tenorio and his men were able to flee south of the border.

As you can guess, the game is quite cinematic and as I am big fan of Spaghetti Westerns we may see Tuco, Angel Eyes and Blondie on the table! Here are a couple of photos taken through zoom of P-Y's beautiful setup.
.......and of course some close-ups from P-Y.


12 November 2020

April 9th-Game 5

Last week, we had our 5th game in our Virtual 1940 campaign detailing the German invasion of Denmark. Both sides were now whittled down with the Danes being able to field just 2 squads. This was the 3rd German attack on Table 3. The German SL Petri was able to dice for quite high support and I was suspicious that he would finally take some armour so I felt it best to take a Madsen 20mm Autocannon.

My JOP's were a little wider spread this time and were a bit more advanced in order to deploy more closely to the Germans in a hope to get some close range fire. As it was the Germans did not take any armour and instead took an extra squad and attacked in strength on the Danish right flank. We were able to hold off our deployment until the Germans were in close range but unfortunately for the first time in the campaign our firing was quite inaccurate and we were unable to to cause any Force Morale loss. I had planned to withdraw early in this game as I felt 2 successful defences on this table was reasonable but unfortunately I was less then nimble and we took quite a few casualties before I issued the command. 

So we are on the last table which is as you can see below. This is being played as an Attack on an Objective scenario with the objective being the star marked gazebo at the bottom centre. The grey houses can be occupied by troops. I suspect we will be facing 4 German squads again, some with 2 LMGs. The Danes have lost 19 men so only have 15 men left (5 leaders) to defend the village, this is going to be tough. In respect to the campaign, if we lose on turn 6, it will be a draw, one more success would be a victory for the Danes.
Have a look at  Eero's excellent and quite amusing Action Report, well narrated with terrific photos.

07 November 2020

Bastogne Falls!: Bloody Bucket (7c/12)

Bit of a delay in posting this AR, I have had a very busy week. We played our 12th game in the Bloody Bucket campaign this past Monday evening. This was a Blitzkrieg from table 5 to 6 with Sturm Platoon #5. By now, they were getting pretty worn down as their Company Commander "The Butcher" has pushed them into a 2nd Blitzkrieg. They were down a full Sturm squad and the Rifle Grenadier team. Fortunately for the Americans, they were able to retreat troops from Table 3 and 5 to table 6 so they had a full platoon. 

Sturm Platoon #5
CD 5 Green FM 8
1 SL (CR reduced to 6")
1 Sturm Squad w/JL
1 LMG Squad w/JL 

Supports
Pregame Barrage
Panther w/SL
le. iG.18 (-1 crewmen)
MMG Team


American Rifle Platoon
CD 5 Regular FM 10
2 SL's w/ Bazooka Team
3 Rifle Squads w/JL

Supports (?)
2 Minefields
Entrenchment
0.5cal HMG team
Sniper
Bazooka Team

The Game



This was the 2nd time I attacked this table but this time I was coming from the east rather than from the southwest. The table orientation above is with the east being at the bottom of the photos. We diced for terrain and this time the temperature had gone up, so the ground was soft. The vehicles would have to stick to the roads to prevent the risk of bogging down and there was going to be no rapid movement except on the roads for the troops. 

The Patrol Phase with the PM's and JOP's are above. The Americans had a pretty broad defensive line covering both roads and could deploy behind the tree line in the centre unseen. There was no way I could force a Withdrawal with the limited troops I had, so I really had to rely on dropping the enemy's FM. 

I did have some advantages, P-Y had deployed his 2 minefields in the last turn on this table and where they were in the extreme Northeast corner of the table they were going to have no affect on the game. He had a well placed entrenchment on the 90 degree turn on the dirt road which I was quite confident he would place his HMG team. I was worried about his Bazooka Team and I was suspicious that he would have a 2nd Bazooka as a support and all though my Panther had been lucky to date, I felt it could not last forever. I also noticed that the 2 JOP's on my right flank were less then 12" apart, my Panther is a big tank (>4") and with careful positioning I could deny both JOPs to the Americans.

The game started with P-Y getting several double phases, and he started to deploy several units quickly denying me the opportunity to get on the table with some units on overwatch first. He then threw a quadruple 6, ending the turn; gaining a CoC dice and generating a Random Event. This time it was barrage but fortunately for all it fell on an un-occupied area of the table. So now the advantage of the Pregame Barrage was lost to me but luckily I was able to get on the table in the next phase while the Americans had no units on overwatch. I placed the Panther on the metalled road and the IG on the dirt road, this was a little tricky as they were in LOS for most of the American troops and were only in light cover until I could move them (a 4" deployment range is a great disadvantage). 
The Americans had a sniper in their HQ as well as a couple of squads behind the tree line out of LOS. 
It was not long before they came under fire from both a HMG entrenched on the road as well as the troops in the centre who now had advanced to the tree line. I was in trouble here and was forced to place my LMG squad in the open to share hits. Suddenly however, I got lucky as P-Y started to throw poorly on his "to hit" dice and I throw terrific "to save" dice. 

I took a lot of damage but was able to move everyone behind a house where they still had a good LOS to my right flank but were out of LOS for the HMG and and one infantry squad, I was now able  to advance my Panther with support from the IG. I was also able to advance a 2 man team with a JL into the large barn on my right flank half way up the table. P-Y deployed a rifle squad within combat range but before they could engage they had to undergo overwatch fire from my well positioned IG. The small team was outnumbered but were able to generate almost the same combat dice as they had STG-44's. They were all killed including the JL but the Americans lost more men in the combat as well as a JL and they came out worse on the FM tests.
P-Y continued to have very poor dice, and I was able to advance the Panther up the road. He was able to deploy 2 Bazooka's teams, they must of taken 5-6 shots in the next couple of phases but had difficulty with their "to hit" dice even though they were at close range and when they did hit, were unable to cause damage because of the Panther's superior armour.
The Panther advanced shutting down 2 JOP's for a couple of phases and then advanced into position to have LOS to the troops embedded in the tree line. It was not long before I was able to drop the American FM to zero, game over.

Bastogne fell that afternoon, a significant victory for the Germans in the campaign.

Game and Campaign Summary

I do not believe either of us found this final game a lot of fun, P-Y had extremely poor dice which really distracts from the game itself and I really did not play the best tactics in this game. I had to bludgeon my way to victory which does not always give that much satisfaction. I was happy to win as it has been a while since I won a campaign, I actually still have 2 unfinished campaigns on the books (Von Luck and Many Rivers to Cross). I suspect that these will never get done.

In respect to the campaign, this is by far the best one I have played as the players have to make an enormous number of strategic and tactical decisions. At the same time, I have never had to ask some many questions as there is a real lack of clarity in respect to the writing. Some questions have still gone unanswered. I find this a little unfortunate as it is difficult to resolve some questions in the middle of a campaign between the 2 players as the answer may favour one side over the other. An Errata/FAQ is required here.

I am not sure where we are going to do next, a little burned out with CoC, although I still am in the midst of the April 9th campaign. We are planning to play some other games in the short term but I suspect it will not be long before both myself and P-Y are battling it out in the Jungle.

29 October 2020

Consthum Village Blitzkrieg: Bloody Bucket (7b/11)

 

Yesterday morning we played the next game in our Bloody Bucket campaign. After taking Holzthum Village with their force intact, the Germans decided to Blitzkrieg Consthum Village, the next objective on their way to Bastogne. Both sides had full platoons.

Sturm Platoon #5
CD 5 Green FM 8
1 SL (CR reduced to 6")
3 man rifle grenadier team
2 Sturm Squads w/JL
1 LMG Squad w/JL 

Supports (22)
Pregame Barrage (2)
Panther w/SL (12)
le. iG.18 (4)
MMG Team (4)


American Rifle Platoon
CD 5 Regular FM 11
2 SL's w/ Bazooka Team
3 Rifle Squads w/JL

Supports (?)
2 Minefields
Entrenchment
0.3cal MMG team
Sniper

The Game

Since the German FM has been forced down to 8 because Unterfeldweld Johann is now known as "The Butcher", the Americans got to move first. They diced up 2 free moves, so they got 3 moves with their PM's before I even had a look in. You can see the result below with both the position of the PMs as well as the JOP's.
I would have liked to get a little further north and east (you are looking west in the above photo), I was also a little alarmed that the American had got a JOP so far forward but I did notice the P-Y had placed the 2 JOP's in the foreground very close together. Of course, I was attacking from the south and as there were no roads to the south I could enter anywhere on the that edge with my Panther. We had diced up the terrain conditions at the start of the game and fortunately the ground was frozen so no limitation on movement which of course favours the attacking player.

The game did not start off that well for me, as P-Y got multiple double phases and then threw a quadruple 6, getting a free CoC dice. Fortunately, the random event this time was a barrage in the northeast quadrant which affected no one this early in the game. He did place 1 platoon in the house in his forward position. I waited until I finally got a double phase when he was not on overwatch and placed my Panther to the southeast and a le.IG18 in the west with a Sturm squad. I hate placing units in the open but I really had no cover anywhere and P-Y was already well ahead of me in CoC dice. He held off using his squad in the building so I could not fire at them as I was too far away to see them. I felt it was now time to move the game along so I deployed my Rifle Grenadier team in an attempt to force the Americans to reveal themselves which they had to do as they would get overrun. I was now able to bombarding the house with 3 units; the Panther, the IG Team as well as the Sturm squad. 

P-Y was now up to 2 CoC dice while I did not have one, but I was lucky with my firing and wounded a SL he had to deploy in the house. to remove shock. He deployed a 2nd squad behind the house and started to inc them around to get in a position to fire at my units in the open. They only reason I was holding on was that I was firing three units at his one despite me being in the open and the Americans being in hard cover. By now my Rifle Grenadiers had been killed so my FM was down to 7 while P-Y's was down to 9 from 11. His SL in the house got wounded.  I felt the only way to combat this was to increase my firing pressure so I added my LMG squad plus my 2nd Sturm squad to the mix. This worked as I now had 5 units firing and I was starting to cause significant damage, P-Y moved his 2nd squad around the house and fired back at my guys in the open hitting on 4's as my troops are green and the Germans firing back hitting on 5's. I got lucky and 2 more of his his leaders were hit and his FM was down to 5. By now I had moved my Panther next to the house where he had a JOP shutting it down. He had to use a CoC dice to interrupt and move one JOP or I could have shut down both JOP's. 

Things were now looking good, the Americans were forced into a position were they really had just one useful JOP preventing them from firing from the southeast at my flank. I was able to manoeuvre the Panther into a position where it could fire at the American platoon in the open. I was able to fire all 5 units over the next couple of phases at the troops in the open, they broke, the American FM went down to 4 and the American platoon made a break move hauling a wounded SL and JL with them. But I had a CoC dice and ended the turn. Two routed leaders and a team are a lot of FM tests, the American retreated. One table to go! You will note that "The Butcher" stayed back and never deployed so he has not been shot in the back yet.

The Germans lost their 3 Rifle Grenadiers, 1 IG artilleryman, as well as 6 infantrymen. The Americans lost their sniper, their Bazooka team as well as 12 infantrymen.

In respect to the campaign I am at turn 7 still, and just realised from FB that there are no limits on the number of tables you can Blitzkrieg in one turn with one platoon. I did take some loses here, but really if I can take the last battlefield in this turn, the Germans will have a major victory in the campaign. Time to Blitzkrieg yet again. This is going to be a challenge as although the Americans lost many men on Battleground 6 in the original assault, they have been able to retreat enough men from Batllefields 5 and 3 to make a full platoon.

23 October 2020

Burn Suomussalmi!

 

Last week, I had a much anticipated game via Virtual Wargaming. I have decided to really push ahead with my Winter War campaign project and wanted to test some new ideas. What really was anticipated though was the chance to put on a Winter War game for some Finnish Wargamers. Who better to comment and constructively critique my plans!

You can find the actual scenario at the end of the post.

Forces

Finland Regular Platoon 5CD +1 (FM 10)
SLx2
LMG Squad x2
Rifle Squad x2
Demolition Squad

Supports
  • Demolition Squad
  • Bofors PstK 36 ATG

Soviet Union Green Platoon 4CD (FM8)
SL x2
Rifle Squads x3
NKVD Squad

 Supports

  • Wrath of the Gods
  • 50mm Mortar Team
  • MMG Team
  • T-26
Summary:

We had 3 players with myself as the games master. Sabbath took the Finns and Eero and Janne took the Soviets. I thought the Finns got quite good JOP's and the Soviets despite the Finns having their special patrol phase rule (not limited by a 12" daisy chain) were well positioned as well. You can see this below.

I am a hopeless photo taker, but at least they are in order. We used dice to assign the Finns the buildings that they had to burn. What they were not sure of is whether they would have to burn more buildings after they burned the first two. 

As you can see below, the buildings with the smoke on top of them were the Finnish targets. The House Burning rules that I had written up to replace the 1940 demolition rules were a bit of a failure, so I will not describe what they were. They were essentially too complicated but at the same time a little too easy to be successful, they will certainly need revision.

The Soviets launched their attack very quickly with the help of The Wrath of the Gods (a modified pre-game barrage) and once Janne arrived made some very aggressive moves.  They got quite close to the small house in the left hand of the screen but then seemed to stop. Sabbath was able to get 3 squads of Finns behind a hedge to defend against the Soviet advance through the woods. The Soviets had 2 squads in the woods and a squad just north and south of the road.
There was a lot of close range fire which the Finns came out on top and one of the squads eventually launched an attack on a Soviet squad driving them back into the Soviet NKVD squad. The NKVD chaps were quite upset about this and suffered significant excess shock.

While all this was going on the Finnish team armed with gasoline bottles were able to catch the first house on fire. They also now had a 2nd Team on board who were working on a much larger house in the centre of the village.

The Soviets had now taken quite a few hits on their Force Morale and although they were able to cause some damage to the Finnish FM by placing their MMG team in the forest which started to chip away at the Finns, their FM dropped quickly to a point where they only had a couple of Command Dice. 

The Finns had thought their job was done but Sabbath got another command from the battalion that their reward for their success was to have to burn two more houses before they could yield to the Soviets. Fortunately for them the Soviets FM dropped quickly to zero so they had to abandon their assault.

Unfortunately, as Eero had not had a chance to deploy the Platoon Commander, so we did not get a chance to see if he would get a visit from the Commissar, end up getting shot and being replaced by a Ranking Senior Leader (CR 12", 4CI).  It would have also be nice to see the T26 in action.

Soviet Squad #4
Attacking Finns
Soviet Squad #3
Finnish Demo Team exiting the house.
Finnish Demo Team #2 in action
Retreating and Broken NKVD
Two Finnish Squads
Broken Soviet Squad #1
Position at the end of the game
Terrain Closeups
Well I am hoping my Finnish friends had a good time. The scenario itself appeared to be OK. The 4CD Soviets seem to be fine. Pity the Ranking Senior Leader did not show up. I certainly need to work on the mechanism to burn houses, as it was not very smooth. The Finnish player certainly played the House Burning rules in a completely unexpected way. But of course that is what play testing is for!