29 October 2014

Some Clarifications of the Dux Britanniarum Rules

Over the last couple of months, I have asked a lot of questions on the TFL Forum about Dux Britanniarum ruleset, the members of the Forum were very helpful, so I thought I would place what I have found in one place.

  • Card Sequence: Cards are only played on activation of a Noble, not at any other time. If a card is played in response by the non-phasing player, then that activation may take precedence (the example being the Step Forth card being played in response to a possible attack). The phasing player can change his initial plan and does not lose his cards if already played.
  • Fate Cards: When a noble is activated he can use the Fate cards of either suit. The suited cards can not be played otherwise. The bonus of playing a suited cards is that it adds +1D6 to the combat D6 total if the Carpe Diem card is played. The unsuited cards can be played anytime ie. as an offense or defense.
  • Cards used in combat modify only the first round of combat.
  • When using a CI to buy a card you do not have to exchange a card, but at the end of your turn you can only have 5 cards.
  • Only Lords can command other Nobles groups.
  • When attached to a group can only issue commands to groups within 3” and only rally shock off group to whom he is attached.
  • Activation: In respect to movement and going into formation, it can be done with one activation but cost 1D6 in movement.
  • Movement: Unless the group is moving up to a certain point (to include terrain features or joining another group), the full distance has to be taken from the throw of the D6.
  • Nobles Movement: Move for free when attached to group, otherwise costs 1 Activation.
  • Unattached Nobles Movement in Varying Terrain: No clear rule, will go with the same modification as harassing troops.
  • Attaching and Detaching Nobles: Is at no cost and can be carried out twice in a single activation. Does require CI for movement to attach.
  • Movement through Varying Terrain: No hard and fast rule but Rich Clarke suggests the following; Imagine the obstacle is some boggy ground which reduces movement by one pip per dice. That ground is 5" away from your unit. You roll 4, 2 and 6. I'd let you move 4" with the first dice as you can move that full distance without getting into the bog, but then the 2 and the 6 are both reduced. 
  • Movement through Unbarred Doors and Gates: Costs 1d6.
  • Facing: A group can move in any direction without cost. It just moves in that direction, it can turn around etc, with no cost. But at the end of movement it ends up facing in that direction. If the group then wants to change facing or go into an allround stance then 1D6 is subtracted from the movement.
  • Missile Kills on Formations of Units: Per firing player, may select one unit in a formation.
  • ZoC: If an attacking group fails to engage in combat because of failure of movement, the ZoC does not stop the attacking group at 4".
  • Champion: Is attached to the Lord, if the Lord joins a group for combat the Champion does as well. He can not act independently.
  • Groups in Buildings: Do not offer support to other groups outside of buildings.
  • Test for morale when it happens not when group leaving the table.
  • Moves facing away unlike a routed group that moves facing the enemy.
  • If Saxons fail raid then British awarded 2 points.
  • If British fail morale then Saxons get two points.
  • Throwing a 1 on a looting tests means that building is empty in raids with multiple buildings, forcing the Saxon to move on to the next building.
  • If routing and contact enemy group or formation the routing group is destroyed.

  • In combat throw for hits, then assign the hits equally to each group. If there are an odd number of hits the attacker assigns them unless the defender is in shield wall or up hill.

27 October 2014

Chronica Iohannes: Raid on Ravenhill Farm

We had our second game in our Dux Campaign last Thursday. This time the Saxons dealt a significant blow to the Briton as detailed on Adam's action report on his blog the Fencing Frog.

This game went quite smoothly with only a few questions, I plan to update my clarifications of the Dux Brit rules in a separate blogpost with a detailed FAQ.

We are hoping to have our next game set in March 551. I understand everyone has survived the harsh winter.

25 October 2014

German Armour

These AFV's have been on my desk for a couple of months now, waiting to get their decals. I like decals but they are a pain to put on. I have to apply gloss over the area, then apply the decal, then apply gloss and then apply matt. I think you get it! All the decals are from Aleran, first class and excellent service.

Three of the tanks were painted by myself last winter and 4 of them were purchased painted but the rest were painted in the last couple of months. The ones previously painted and purchased underwent extensive modification with stowage, camouflage and rust applied.

I have been building tank units for Bg Chain of Command, which allows the fielding of tank platoons as support to the the infantry platoons. Since tanks usually come in boxes of 3 from PSC, it is pretty easy to paint up several. I think I am pretty stocked up on mid war with some late war, but really no early war. Anyway on to the photos.
A tank column moving through NW Europe

A Brummbär (Sturmpanzer 43), support list 8. This was purchased painted.

Two StuH 42, one purchased and one painted by myself for last years Challenge. A support list 7 or half platoon for Big CoC with a -1 list rating. These are from Armourfast.

StuG III, a support list 6. Here we have a full platoon, with a +4 rating for Big CoC. Three are from PSC, they are modeled as Ausf G, the Armourfast model is a Ausf F.

Panzer IV's from PSC. all but one painted by me. These Ausf G are support list 7, 4 tanks is a slightly under strength platoon, so a +6 in Big CoC.

Panzer III, a support list 5. This is also an undermanned platoon so these Ausf J, would be a zero in Big CoC. These are from PSC.

A Tiger II, unknown manufacturer. I purchased this painted and it appears to be all resin. This is a support list 11, but Big CoC allows an Tank Ace to be used, so this is a support list 13 option!

22 October 2014

CoC: Delaying Action at Arthenay

I recently purchased the 29, Let's Go pint sized campaign from TFL. These are great little booklets that are less then $6 and come as a downloadable full colour PDF. I suspect many more are planned.

The campaign booklets are to be used with the Sharpe's End Campaign supplement for Chain of Command. This was has uni-directional 5 scenario structure which involves the exploits of an infantry platoon from the American 176th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division which landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day. They were ordered to advance west in order to secure the bridge at Isigny. In their way was the 914th Grenadier Regiment of the German 352nd Infantry Division.

After having a look through the booklet, I decided to go with the 2nd scenario which is a type 4 scenario (delaying Action) from the main rulebook. The challenge for me is having the correct terrain pieces to play the game, this scenario was the best choice. A basic regular infantry platoon was used for each side with 5 CD. 

I took the Germans and Mike took the Americans (we substituted Canadians), Mike had 19 supports and I had 10. Mike diced a morale of 11 and I had a morale of 8. I can say I was a little concerned! 

As my orders were basically defensive, I took two entrenchments, a medium mortar and a Pak 35 AT gun. Little did Mike know that I also had a pair of Marder II's hidden on his left flank. I also started the game with two CoC dice (these last two were part of the scenario design). Mike selected a Sherman tank, a 6pd AT gun,  a medium Mortar and I think a MMG gun team.

My camera's battery died while I was adjusting the white balance, so these photo's were taken with my iPhone, which is somewhat dated.

Here is the terrain looking toward the east, that of the American advance. I had some received some new roads that day, they do need some work. The bocage here are hedges rather then true bocage so can be fired from, are a medium obstacle and provide soft cover. I was able to advance my two JOP to my right and left flanks almost half way up the table. Mike got a little stuck and was able to get his JOP to just in front of the hedge on my right flank.  
Most of the action was not photographed but essentially you can see that I laid down a strong defensive perimeter to the right and the left of the road, with entrenchments on both sides. The stone wall abutting the house was also hard cover. Mike slowly and surely advanced his troops but did suffer significant loss from the my entrenched troops. This photo is from pretty late in the game and you can see that many German troops were lost as well, fortunately I was pretty lucky on my morale throws unlike Mike who was whittled down to a 5 pretty quickly.
Mike's 6pder and his FO.
Blurry, blurry, blurry, I have my troops dangerously running across the road to get to hard cover. My FO was planted in the orchard behind the hedge, you can just make out my truck mounted Pak 35 entrenched.
I was really hoping that Mike would advance his Sherman so I could shoot at it with my Marders, they could be only activated with a CoC dice.
Is this game the main tactic appear to be a Mortar barrage and I would say most damage was done by German 8cm mortar. 
I made 4 barrage markers to delineate the area of the barrage, you can see one of them above, they are a lot of work and I definitely need at least 6-8 more.
Mike packed it in when his morale fell to 4, so a German victory, I really thought I was not going to win one, but I think the dice gods favoured me. I believe it is the first time that Mike played the Canadians (substituted for Americans); he, as I, found that Commonwealth troops have to play a slow advance while whittling down the Germans before they attack!

13 October 2014

The Return of Iohannes

Good news, it looks like a second copy of the famous dark age script, Chronica Iohannes has been discovered in the vault of the Church of St James in Rawcliffe, Yorkshire. Rawcliffe, an attractive village dating from about the 12th century, has been called the Queen of Villages. It is near the market town of Goole and lies on the banks of the River Aire. Although the present church dates from the 19th century it is known that there has been a religious structure there since the 14th century.

The priests at St James (a very high Anglican church) have always been known for their learning and many have been collectors of old scripts. It however was quite a shock that a second copy of Chronica Iohannes was discovered in a previously undiscovered crypt under the Creyke Chapel. This version, the Rawcliffe Chronicle, differs somewhat from the Lindisfarne Chronicle in the starting date as well as some of the names of Saxon invaders as well as the chronology of events.

I feel that this version, since it is more complete, will be better on which to base our Dux Britanniarum campaign. We had our first game last Thursday and although there was still some debate the rule mechanics, the game went quite well and I am pleased to say that Britons repelled the Saxons in their first encounter. An excellent pictorial of the battle can be found on Adam's blog, the Fencing Frog. The Saxon Characters are listed below. I have carried over the Britons from my solo campaign, but I did re-dice the attribute of my champion Uther as he was originally a horseman, but alas is without horse.

I had a 4+ victory, so I earned A Thief's Hoard, added 2 warriors and the priest Iohannes to my retinue. I think I will probably upgrade Antoninus from a Tribune to a Praefectus. This will allow me to build some Watchtowers once I gain some more loot. Our next game will be set in Oct 550, hopefully in actuality next Thursday!

Dux Mechanic Clarifications: A few things came up in our game, most of them were resolved with reference to the rule book, but help was also sought from the trusty denizens at the TFL Forum.

  • Raid Points: It seemed somewhat unclear from the book whether the Britons were awarded points when the Saxons were unsuccessful. This was clarified as being the case in most of the raid scenarios (church, village, farm and cattle raids).
  • Amalgamation of Groups: The British start the game with 3 groups of Levy, the question arose during our game as each group suffered attrition would their footprint reduce accordingly (specifically could you use 2 movement trays instead of 3). It was felt that the groups can indeed reduce their foot print but they still remain separate groups and thus have to be identified in some way.
  • Attachment of Leaders: Leaders can attach and detach to groups freely without CI cost, but if they have to move to do this than this requires a CI.

21 September 2014

Chain Of Command: Scenario 4

Myself and Mike had our 3rd game in 4 weeks of CoC. Like our last game, we set up the terrain and then diced for the scenario. Scenario 4 came up this time: A Delaying Action. We then diced for sides, I won and picked a British Infantry Platoon, Mike took the German Grenadiers. Diced again for Attacker/Defender, I won and chose to be the attacker. We then diced for Morale, I ended up with 9 and Mike 10. Finally we diced for supports, I rolled a 7, Mike as the defender got half a 3. Our supports were blinded, but I picked a Paratroop section (6) and 1 entrenchment (1). I know Mike picked a 5cm mortar (2), I am not sure what his choice was from list 1.

So the game started with the patrol phase, I think Mike got the better of me here. I was hoping to advance my markers on my left flank. The scenario runs the long edge of the terrain. My set up was in the far ground of the below photo and Mikes was in the foreground. Mike had 3 patrol markers all placed outside of 6" of his short edge of the table, and placed with 6" of each other as his starting position. I placed 4 patrol markers on one spot on my short edge ( I selected the dead centre). My objective in the game was to capture the German JOP marked with the red x in the photo and hold it until turn end. I will now let the photos do the talking.

German JOP's in yellow and British in blue. The crops to the right are broken ground but do not block LOS, they do not provide cover. The cornfield on the left of the road in the foreground is broken ground, provides light cover and blocks LOS. The road is lined by bocage with some gaps. It is a major obstacle.The stone wall around the house is hard cover but is low and does not block LOS. It is a medium obstacle. The trees are heavy going and block LOS and provide light cover. The house is two story with at least 2 windows on each side. I have ordered some roads which I hope will so arrive, I am hoping they will improve the look of my terrain.

Mike very quickly set a squad in the upper story of the stone house.

I started off well by laying down smoke.

Mike rapidly moves his second squad to the bocage as a defense on his right flank.

I rapidly advance my first section along the bocage to provide cover, the German line up their LMG in the cornfield edge.

Mike throws four D6 and a mortar barrage fall right on the section where my main advance is taking place, few loses are suffered but both the German and British units are pinned.

I aggressively advance my second section up the road along the edge of the bocage and my 3rd infantry section through the crop fields, the advance seems to be going well.

Meanwhile Mike has placed his 3rd squad along the stone wall. It is not obvious in the photo, but I elected to advance my airborne section along my right flank. This ended in disaster. Mike through 2D6 and was able to hammer the unit with his well fortified squad. They broke and the JL was wounded and they were thrown back. I was able to rally them with the SL Master Sergeant but thew very poorly on the morale table and dropped to a morale of 5. I really misplaced my entrenchment at the start of the game, it should have been placed in the tree line so my advance was blocked by the trees.

As usual when the action got heated I forgot to take any photos. Suffice to say despite rallying the paratroopers, they were weakened significantly, they advanced with their sergeant and were able to engage in combat and defeat a German squad but their JL got killed and they lost 2 more morale points ( every time I had to dice the morale table I threw a 6)! I was down to a morale of 4 and now had only 4 Command Dice. I was able to advance my first section across the road and combat the German squad, I again was able to win but at significant cost . Again my dice on the Morale table failed me and I dropped to a Morale of 1.......Game over, a German victory. Mike played well he was careful with his troops, I burned off troops rapidly and it cost me. Really played the British incorrectly. Next time I have to remember lay down smoke, advance carefully, use the Bren team to lay down fire. Only combat when the enemy is weakened.

14 September 2014

Chain of Command Scenario 3

Myself and Mike had a quick game of CoC at the Hobby Bunker today. I got Mike to set up the terrain and we then diced for the scenario. Scenario #3 came up. We then subsequently diced for choice of platoon, Attacker/Defender choice, Morale and finally support. Mike won the first two and selected a Canadian Infantry platoon, I picked the Germans, he also selected to be the defender. We then dice for morale, I ended up with 8 and Mike ended up with 11! Finally since I was the Attacker, I threw 2D6 for support and got a six. So I ended up with 6 supports and Mike 3.

Basically I had to push the Canadians into a retreat, or defeat them by morale. I could not drop below a morale of 4 or I was done. On to the patrol phase.
The Canadian jump off points. As you can see there was a variety some trees, bocage, low crops, a hill and a two story house. The crops and hills were broken ground, while the trees were heavy going.

The German jump off points. The hills and trees blocked LOS, as of course did the bocage. We actually played the crops as blocking LOS, a mistake. The trees offered light cover at 4".

Mike uses his 3 supports on barbed wire to block my left flank approach, my supports were an adjutant and a squad of Panzergrenadiers. I think I did a little better out of my choices.

I played a pretty aggressive game, and brought two squads of grenadiers on immediately as well as my Panzerschreck. Mike brought on a couple of sections of Canadians as well as a 2" Mortar. The barbed wire on my left flank limited my advance to up the centre or to my right.

As usual I forgot to take photos, but here we can see a squad of grenadiers advancing, I really focused on splitting my squads in sections with my LMG teams covering the rifle team advance.

I could not resist using Handgranaten, as I had wanted to for sometime but I usually play the British. Here we see my rifle team with their JL, throwing their grenades (scored two shock) and engaging a full Candian section. I think the Canadians had twice the dice as I, but I did manage to kill the Bren team and their JL, as well as taking down most of the rifle team and causing them to be pinned. I lost my whole team and JL. This almost caused me to almost lose the game as very poor throws on the Morale table caused my Morale to drop to 4 thus losing a Command Dice.

I bounced back though when I brought on my PanzerGrenadiers. Their massive firepower wiped out the other Canadian section. Mike then had a very bad throw of the Command dice and was really unable to mount any effective moves. I then threw three 3's with my 4D6, and finished off the game. It was very quick maybe just around 2 hours and we finished in the first turn. Certainly the game flowed well. Looking forward to my next game already!

10 September 2014

Allied Armour

With the publication of Big Chain of Command, I thought I would get my allied armour in order. This update allows the addition of extra infantry and armoured platoons while using the same basic mechanic as the platoon based game. It is pretty simple and really just delineates some changes in the terrain size, how the patrol phase and order of play is modified. There is also some modification to the morale table. With my 20mm army I, think I will be fine with the addition of an armoured platoon or infantry platoon in respect to my 6x4' playing surface.

For my initial forces, I bought several boxes of PSC AFV's but generally painted just one vehicle or tank from each box. The update for CoC also gives an outline of basic platoon structure for several nations, so I thought I would start going through what I had and get the glue out. The recent addition of an Iwata airbrush that actually works made things easy.

First up I thought I would do the British/Canadian platoons. These were my weakest forces in respect to armour, and were far out done by the Soviets and the Germans. I had a box of 76mm Shermans as well as some Universal Carriers and had just bought a box of Churchills.

Here we have some Canadian troops in a Universal Carrier Section. This is post 1943 organization, with a sergeant in command of 11 troops. They have 3 Carriers, 3 Bren guns, a Piat and are all armed with rifles. There is 2 Mk2 versions and one Mk1 version ( the lighter shade). Main difference is front fender and headlights.
Vehicle marking indicate that they are in the 1st Canadian Division who saw service in the Netherlands late in the war. I am sure my chaps will see service in Normandy as well. Slight colour variation, I had previously used BF Late War British Armour, the newer vehicles have been initially airbrushed with Vallejo Russian Green. They are a List 8 support. 
They of course are from one of the most famous Canadian regiments the Royal 22nd colloquially known as Vandoos and officially now known as Royal 22é Régiment. They are third in order of precedence in the Canadian Army. 
Next up we have a couple of Churchills. I have gone with the MkVII version, as these tanks are for Normandy. They have thicker armour then previous versions but have the the same 75mm gun. 
A close up of my latest method for doing rust, it is a little too thick here. Essentially I paint on some diluted PVA. I then apply a liberal coating of Secret Weapon Dark Earth pigment, followed by a dash of their Terracotta pigment. This is followed by Citadel Necron Metal Dry paint applied carefully on the tracks.
These two monsters belong to the 4th Royal Tank Regiment, in the 34th Independent Tank Brigade. They have a support rating of -1 in the Big CoC lists with just 2 tanks.
Lots of extra stowage from Value Gear. I am hoping all the markings are correct. Generally the British had 3 tanks in each Heavy Tank Platoon, so this is slightly understrength, I suspect I will be adding a tank.
Last up is a platoon of Shermans, again they are understrength, I will be adding a Firefly. They are presently +1 Supports. The markings are for the Trois Rivieres, 12é ATR They landed in Normandy as part of the 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade and fought through out Northwest Europe until the end of the war.
Again some variation in colour. I suspect the individual tank names are wrong for a Quebec regiment!  
Again more stowage added. These are very nice tanks. The decals are from Aleran.
Slightly better effect here
These three units all served in the 1st Canadian Army, with the R22éR and the 12é ATR in the II Canadian Corps with the 4th RTR under the XXX Corps. The 1st Canadian Army was the largest army ever commanded by a Canadian General with around 450,000 soldiers, a little more the half Canadian with the rest being British, Belgic and Polish troops.

So it is going to be very tempting to bring these 2 platoons up to strength. I think PSC sells sprues which would be good as I need only one Churchill and one Firefly. I suspect I will add a platoon of anti-tank vehicles, those Achilles from Armourfast look very nice. But next up I hope to post my Soviet armour, of which I have quite a lot.