14 November 2014

Chronica Iohannes: Capture of Cadfael

We played our 4th game last night in our Dux campaign, the border raid scenario. The game started off very badly for me with my entry point within 12" of the Saxon entry point. The cards and the dice were initially on my side and I was able to move my fleeing noble Cadfael while destroying a unit of Saxon warriors dropping their morale to 3 in the first turn. Unfortunately then the dice failed me in movement while they favoured the Saxon's pursuit of Cadfael. About midway up the board the Saxon Lord Cuthbert with his champion was able to overwhelm the fleeing Cadfael and capture him. We unfortunately made a major error here as we misinterpreted the rules and in truth Cadfael was not overwhelmed, but so it goes. By then I had elected to withdraw and I withdrew in good order with more retreat cards then Adam had pursuit cards. Unfortunately my losses were moderate (13 men) to Adam's light losses (8 men). This of course allows him to attack in one month when I am still trying to raise troops, so I have had to not contest his next raid. He now is in a position to shower his men with loot and become a Warlord! Let the Battle for Catreath begin.

12 November 2014

Chronica Iohannes: Raid on the Village of Malton

Bit late with this post, but I needed to get it out before the 4th game of our campaign which we are having tomorrow evening. You can see an AAR of this battle on the Fencing Frog blog.

This was our best game to date, although we misinterpreted the scenario in such away that it may of cost Adam the game. The ending however was climatic and the Britons won a hard fought victory at the last moment. With the money gained in this raid, I have purchased a Watchtower which will lessen an advantage that the Saxons have had, as my troops will now arrive one turn earlier then set out in the rules.

09 November 2014

SAGA at the Hobby Bunker

Boston Trained Bands had a SAGA day at the Hobby Bunker yesterday November 9th, it was very busy as there was some sort of Cancer Charity event with Warmachine Hoards (I have no idea what this is, but it seemed very popular with at least 8 tables going). There was also 3 tables of X-Wing and a SYW game in 15 mm which looked very attractive.

We were able to squeeze out 3 SAGA players and we did have a lot interest as we were playing. The Hobby Bunker had lots of The Crescent & Cross stuff there, but no basic SAGA rulebooks which was unfortunate. I did see some purchases though of the Gripping Beast boxes of their plastic Dark Ages figures. Hopefully some interest was generated.

I had not really played SAGA for a couple of years (my gaming partner Nico disappeared about 18 months ago after the birth of his beau fils, but the good news is that he has just arisen again!). I had forgotten what a fun game it is and of course a lot has happened in two years with the publication of the Crescent and the Cross.

We played two games of the Warlord scenario, using Vikings and Anglo-Saxons warbands and had a lot of fun. The rules are easily remembered and we did not mash them too much. I took a few photos so I thought I would present them.
Saxon Levy

The Clash of Warlords scenario has one group of attacking Hearthguard being placed behind the lines of the defending warband. This caused a lot of consternation to me as I had not read through the scenario before I set up.

Anglo Saxon warriors (I know they look like Romano-Brits!)

The Viking Warlord heading off with a large unit of Hearthguard.

Where are the Hearthguard gone? The Viking Warlord is screaming to the Saxon warriors and Levy to come and get him!

Brave fellow, he has no fear.

This is the second game, this time the Viking bowman are trying to sneak up to take the Saxons from behind.

The Anglo-Saxons have a great advantage when they can form up into 10 figure units.

We made a mistake with shooting, the levy really can not be clumped up to fire.

The Anglo-saxon warlord with a unit of warriors.

The Viking Hearthguard demolish the saxon levy.............

...................but fair less well with the Saxon warriors.

Hmm what have we got here, looks like a possible mano a mano.

Indeed it is. The Viking Warlord reaches the Anglo-Saxon warlord in 3 bounds, on contact he invokes Ullr and get to re-throw all his misses to hit. The Anglo-Saxon warlord learns the danger of being unsupported and suffers two confirmed kills and dies. 

02 November 2014

29, Let's Go! Probe at La Cambe

We finally got to start our first Chain of Command campaign using the CoC At the Sharp Edge campaign system and the first pint sized package campaign 29, Let's Go! Scenario One, the Probe at La Cambe was played yesterday at the Hobby Bunker in Malden, MA. This is an historically based campaign following the action of the 176th American Infantry Battalion as it has been ordered forward to secure the Bridge at Isigny, as a part of the day after D-Day actions, June 1944.

The real good news was that Mike, with whom I have been playing CoC, has started to paint up some Americans, they are still in the painting process, but he was able to field a full platoon with some supports and a couple of tanks for our game. I understand his Soviets are well underway as well. So any way on to the action. As usual, I forgot to take a lot of photos, but there is enough to tell the story.

We had a platoon each of infantry. The Germans had 12 support points with which I took a Pak 38, a Roadblock, one entrenchment and an 8cm mortar. Mike had 19 support points with which he had two Shermans and 2 snipers. I diced up a morale of 8 and Mike had a starting morale of 11.

Here is the view looking west, the American starting point is in the foreground and the German are in the far ground, to win the scenario the Americans have to fight there way down this road or worse the Germans to withdrawn voluntarily or by a failure of morale. The ground is all hard and the hedges are hedges not bocage (using my bocage though). The houses are all stone, and they and the stone wall are hard cover. With the hedges being light cover.
The German right flank, the fields slow movement but provide no cover. I got my roads finished, they came brown from the Wargamer's Terrain but I wanted tarmac, so I airbrushed them dark grey then added successive coats of lighter grey with the airbrush. the edges were then painted with the same shades of green as my terrain mat and bocage bases. I think everything is starting to come together. I put in a central grass verge, but I think I will it in a bit more though.
The German JOP's. I screwed this but as I did not put one in  the house. I think I got a little too offensive when I should have been thinking defense.  I did want to get forward on my left flank, but there was little cover there.
The Americans JOP's, there is one also in the stone house to the right where I was hoping to place one/
This is abut half way through the game, I had a tough time with my dice throwing several 4 and 5's early on, which is not really a lot of help. I have already lost half of the squad on the right and they have had to get back to cover. On the left is a LMG team with my FO. There really was a dearth of 1's early on in the game.
Here an American squad, that have advanced from their right flank in an attempt to take cover, I was able to destroy this unit without too much problem, but I was suffering quite a bit of attrition. 
I had 10 points of support available to me, I knew that the Americans had at least two Shermans in their force so I thought an entrenched Pak 38 would be useful, but it was of little help as once Mike saw the road block I placed half way up the road he went to his left flank with his first Sherman. I did have an off table 88 on his right flank but really there was poor LOS to his left and I did not get to fire it. Mike also had two snipers that slowly eroded the AT Gun team and by the time the game was over the gun had been abandoned.

Mike's 2nd squad advancing on his left flank. He was very successful with this, I had expected him to advance his tanks first, but he advanced his infantry for which I was a little unprepared.

Using casualty markers from Warbases UK, very handy. I use a red square for shock and the dial, change over to yellow when they are pinned. I also use a black rectangle to measure casualties on a multi figure support base. It worked well.
An American squad just before their demise. I used a Chain of Command dice, to bring on my 3rd squad to ambush them. 
I only got to fire my medium mortar once in the game, and by the time I got it done there was only a single American sniper in the 18" square barrage area before the turn ended. In the second turn when I called up the barrage it failed and was out for the rest of the game! Those 4 support points went down the train quickly.
I did get to take out one of the Shermans with a Panzerschreck which appeared on the road in ambush with another Chain of Command dice. These can be quite useful.
My troops scrambling backward as the German morale was failing.
Although I lost by a morale failure it was a great game. I lost 10 men and a JL, while Mike lost 16 men. Unfortunately for me, the Americans have plenty of reinforcements so start each scenario with a fresh platoon. By applying post battle attrition rules from At a Sharp End, I have lost 5 men from my platoon permanently and 3 for the next battle. Leutnant Fuch's men faith in him has dropped and his platoon is going to suffer a -1 on their next Force Morale throw. It is going to be a tough campaign!

Here is my campaign tracker, I am hoping it is pretty straight forward.

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.

Update 4,11,2014

I have added this chart from a UK player with the nom de guerre"Old Guy". I find it very helpful not just because he is using the same interpretation of the rules in respect to units engaged with an oblique attack, but also because it is an excellent aide memoire re interpenetration and allocation of hits. Many thanks to him. A discussion of this issue can be found on the TFL Forum

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!