08 July 2020

Rommel:Kasserine Pass

We played a Kasserine Pass game last night using the ruleset Rommel. You can find a link to the modified scenario here. The original scenario was written by an Australian guy and was on the old Honour forum but you can now find all his scenarios here on the Sam Mustafa Facebook.

Here are the initial dispositions, I essentially created a map, chose my initial dispositions, I send it on to Pierre-Yves and he adds his dispositions and sends it back to me. I place everything on the table so we are all set to play immediately once we sign in.
This is how it looked on the table.
Essentially the Germans were the attackers and had to capture 3 of the 4 Allied objectives to win. They started with 6 ops while the Allies had 3 ops, the Allies had 6 dug in markers to start the game. The game was 16 turns.

My plan, as I was playing the Americans, was just to dig in and try to repel the Germans. P-Y played a real blinder by playing the Intercepted Signals Event in the 1st turn, moving my only Sherman to grid D4, and then attacking it, as it was unsupported. He had 9 units to attack with so after a few goes it was gone! He then advanced his whole line to Row D, and the battle started. I was a little surprised he had focused on his right flank but it worked well for him and by turn 7 it was impossible for me to win the game as I was down to my infantry only and had lost 3 objectives. Here are a couple of other photos.

Well it was going to be a tough game for etc US as they were really overpowered. At the same time I noticed that every time I attacked I lost so I think the trick here is just to defend for the US. 

I had made some changes to the scenarios and as you will notice I changed the size of the table from 12 x 8 grids to 9x6 grids. I did this for Virtual Gaming purposes but really I think that it is too small an area to properly manoeuvre for a grand tactical game. I think further Rommel games will be full scale. 

I should also say that I changed the tracks on the German tanks from 432 to 543 as outlined in the rulebook for midway, all the US tracks were 321, so this was a major advantage. I will have to check why the original designer did this.

In respect to Virtual Wargaming I have come to a decision nexus now: Do you change the games to accommodate playing over the internet or do you work on improving the Virtual Wargaming setup to play the games as they were written? I am I think in the latter camp, for sure maybe the more difficult path. I do appreciate that there are games that just might not work over the internet, ie. Napoleonic games with 2000 figures on the table. 

Virtual Lard is coming up in a couple of weeks, so that will be a good place to see what others are doing. I am really coming to the conclusion that it is necessary for the games master just to set up the game and cameras and to allow the players to chose which view (camera), from what I understand things can work so the players can also zoom in from there end. It really sounds exciting.

06 July 2020

Rommel: Almost Re-basing!

With my interest in Rommel rekindled, I decided a couple of weeks ago that I needed to make some changes in the way I was labelling my bases. Initially, I was using paper labels that I would print in different colours and glue on the bases. I initially used superglue but found that white glue was easier to remove. All along, I knew that I had to have a system that I could change out the designation on the bases as there was no way I could buy, paint, base and store the multiple different types of units I needed for different games. I had used metal bases as they are much easier to transport in drawers with magnetic bottoms, I had thought about using magnetic labels but could not find the right product. Here are some examples of what I did. I used small magnets to mark off the attrition.
It was really a lot of work to print and remove labels though for each scenario, removing labels always damaged them so they would have to be re-printed. I also felt the labels were a little dark to read as they were especially when gaming over the internet. I decided to revisit using magnetic labels and discovered that Avery does produce some. Give it a try, I thought.
Bases done to date.
Germans and Italians, using 15 and 21Panzer as well as the DAK symbol, the Italians have various labels identifying them as belonging to Infantry or Armour Divisions.
Small US contingent.
The Brits, a real challenge with labelling as they had so many different organisations.
I added the armoured label to those such infantry units and also designated some infantry as having the Massed Antitank Optional Rule as shown as these infantry with 88's.
Lots of bright colours
British units not yet placed in the Order of Battle, I need to order another packet of magnetic sheets.
I am quite happy how things came out, a bit of scraping was required to get the old glue off but the new labels do adhere to the bases quite well. I have a game of Rommel planned for tomorrow night so we will see if the labelling makes gaming over the internet a little easier. They are certainly much brighter.

04 July 2020

SAGA AoM: The Lords of the Wild

I finally finished my second Warband for SAGA Age of Magic, my first was Masters of the Underearth and was based on the Goblins from the Games Workshop collections for LotR and the Hobbit.

The Lords of the Wild faction is also based on Games Workshop figures but this time on the Elves, aside from a few additions. I really had a lot of fun putting together this Warband, many had been painted by my son many years ago which I touched up but there are some additions by myself.

The warband is as follows:

Base Force
Lieutenant (figure cost)
Sorcerer (1)
Titan (1)
Creatures (flying) x2 (1/figure cost)
Hearthguard (1)
Heavy Weapon Armed Hearthguard (1)
Bow-Armed Hearthguard x2 (2)
Warriors (1)
Bow-Armed Warriors (1)

Specials/Legendary Units
Bow-Armed Ranger (Lieutenant)
The Hunter and the Great Hunt Warlord (1)

As you can see, the maximum points fielded here can be up to 10. I would like to add some Levy eventually as well as some Shapeshifters. I already have on hand a Mounted Warlord and Mounted Hearthguard. They are a little back in the painting queue.
The Hunter with his 2 companions
Flying Creature One....
....and Two
These are great figures.
Anyway, I hope gaming resumes soon but I suspected I will be trapped in the USoT for many months yet, so I will have to be patient. Next up will be some more figures for another Studio Tomahawk game.

01 July 2020

Adventures with Virtual Wargaming

I just noticed I only posted once in June, certainly have slowed down but not with wargaming. The last month has been a real plunge into setups for virtual wargaming and after several weeks, I still do not think I have hit the ideal solution. I have however finally hosted 2 games on my own both with the Rommel ruleset. I felt this would work well as it is a grid based game so there is no measuring. The playing pieces are pretty straight forward, as you will see further down from the photos. Played my first game with Adam last week, who has played the the game before, and then I played this Monday with Pierre-Yves, who had not played before. Both games went relatively well but I suspect it was a little difficult for the 2 remote players to see the actual pieces. They can see the overall view but it is very difficult to distinguish what each base actually is and to which side they actually belong.

For the 2nd game, I got an Amcrest IP camera. It was a bit of a challenge to get it connected to Manycam but I did get it done. I also had 2 iPhones connected, one as a mobile camera and one on the dice tray. I wish the resolution was a little better especially on the overview camera. I do have the ability to zoom in using Manycam but the resolution is pretty poor, so I really have to rely on the mobile camera which is OK but certainly as you will see below, it is nowhere as good as direct photography.

Anyway let us have a look at the photos.

Screenshots from the MacAir.
Overview from iPhone
Mobile Camera
IP at night
IP in Day
IP zoom
iPhone zoom
As you can see the resolution is not good, but you can see the marker strip on the bases to assist with combat.

Direct Amcrest Images
This is the image through the web portal without using Manycam
The above zoomed using Amcrest, I am not sure if the resolution is much better than when it has been fed through Manycam.

Direct Photos with iPhone

Deir el Tarfa

Played this game with Adam last week. All my Rommel pieces are for the North African theatre.

Operation Brevity

Played this game with Pierre-Yves this week.
I cut down the grid to 9x6 from 12x8

I did have fun and I am really appreciative of Adam and Pierre-Yves for being guinea pigs for my first 2 hosted games. There is a lot of work to do but I found it well worth it. I just still have to keep researching cameras, I believe.

I would also like to note that there is a Facebook group devoted to Virtual Tabletop Gaming, the people there are really quite helpful and if interested in this side of the hobby I can strongly recommend them.

10 June 2020

General Quarters

My friend Pierre-Yves recently convinced me to have a game of General Quarters, a WWII Naval Combat game. I was quite reluctant as my only experience with WWII naval combat was Naval Thunder. I had a few games of this with my friend Adam a couple of years ago and although I bought a British armada; I found the rules, especially the movement and firing, somewhat clunky. If I have to do a lot of thinking especially in respect to movement and at whom I can to shoot, the game will just lose me. There are a lot of great things about Naval Thunder, their spreadsheet to generate ships is great, although maybe a little over complicated.

I had watched a very laudable review of General Quarters on Little Wars TV, and although it was one of their top recommended games, the rulebook with over 180 pages of closely written print was putting me off. I was also not a big fan of naval combat in general, but after playing Black Seas which is a lot of fun, I was open to trying General Quarters.

We have played 2 games over the last 2 weeks and I have to say that I have thoroughly enjoyed the ruleset, the movement and firing mechanisms are very simple but have at the same time a lot of depth. I especially appreciated this last night when we increased the complexity markedly in just our 2nd game. 

Our game last week was a replay of the Battle of the Denmark Strait, we played this with 2 ships aside and played with just the Flank Speed (a simplified version) single sheet of the rules. We decided not to play with torpedoes. It was a lot of fun, here are a few photos.

Last night we played an encounter between the USN and the IJN with 6 ships aside. We also added in the torpedo rules.

Again a lot of fun, it was a specially interesting in that I decided to keep all 6 of my ships (USN) in a single formation while P-Y had 3 separate formations. The rules handled this remarkably well and in the last turn of the game we had to check for multiple collisions which was also quite fun. I think it will take a bit of practice to get torpedo aiming right but I suspect we will get there.

I should note that all the ships you see were printed by P-Y on his Prusa Resin Printer, I believe they are all at around 1/3000 scale.