11 June 2019

Rethinking Multiple Figure Bases for CoC

I have long been bothered by the way I have based my multi-figure bases for WWII skirmish wargaming. I initially started by basing the 5 man crew on a large base with the gun. I would base the Junior Leader if there was one on a different base and keep it close to the larger base. Using this method I could create little dioramas that look nice on the table.

This was ok but it was always a challenge in respect to casualties as I could not remove the dead men. I have been using little beads but that is a bit of a hassle as I have to re-glue the beads on after each game if there were indeed casualties. I also had to repaint and build multiple stands with essentially the same figures over and over again for different anti-tank and anti-infantry guns although I knew at the most I would be fielding 2 guns for any one game, a waste of both money and time. There was also the problem with storage.

Recently, I decided to base the guns and the figures individually but to be honest this looks shite and after doing it once I was all done! For ideas I always look to two Australian gamer's blogs. Both the Tactical Painter and John Bond's Wargaming Stuff are just chock full of ideas. I am not sure on which of the 2 websites, it might have been both, that I saw the idea of using rare earth magnets and metal bases to overcome these problems.

 Recently, I have been replacing my British and German forces with metal AB miniatures. When I started playing CoC I painted up some PSC figures to test the waters as would would say. These figures are great and have seen many battles but are looking a little ragged and some teams were multi-based and the whole crowd used coins as bases. One thing 15 years of gaming has taught me, is that it is best to use metal bases. I am continously transporting my troops and metal bases with magnetised transport cases are by far the safest.

I thought I would start with some figures from my Belgian force. I like playing this force but I had a lot of problems with it. First the Early War Miniature figures themselves were quite poor; very few variations and very poorly cast. I then added insult to injury by doing a poor job of basing them on washers that I thought were fero-magnetic which proved not to be! I knew I would end up re-basing the whole lot so why not start with them.
I used a 60x80mm metal base, first step was to glue the figures onto their new bases, 20mm for figures and 30mm for guns. I then lined them up on the bases, marked them out and glued on the magnets.
I am notorious for measuring once and then cutting, but I did check things out!
The bases were then terrained. I used a combination of Wood Putty and fine sand. Once try I scrapped off the area over the magnets and then painted the base and drybrushed it.
Once this was done, I put the figures in place and then added some flock. Doing it this way served to unify the base. As you can see I added a small clump of red flowers to the JL stand. So I can now easily remove a figure (this will be demonstrated below with the MMG stand) and the base still looks OK. Here we a 47mm FRC M1931 gun, but if I want to field my 60mm FRC L/50 it will be quite easy to do. I have a cunning plan on how to mark CI on the JL but that will be a different post.
I believe this is going to work out well as I really only have to do 4-5 bases with the rare earth magnets in total for all my non-winter forces. I have to rebase the individual figures and guns but so it goes. But I really never need more than this many bases for any one game. I will move on with this for my Belgian, British and German armies. I am not sure if I will ever get to rebasing my Jungle themed Japanese and USMC (after all they have yet to see the battlefield) but I hope to follow up with my Winter themed Germans, Soviets, Finns and Americans (I suspect I am kidding myself here).

So I was quite pleased with the result so I moved on to some British troops. Here we have a slightly smaller base (70x45mm) as the MMG is permanently glued to the base with one figure and there is no JL.
Here I have permamently fixed the gun and 1 figure to the base with 4 figures that can be removed.
MMG with 1 casualty.
I have also been working on some markers to denote SL/JL leader status in CoC but I will save it for my next post.

08 June 2019

SAGA Age of Magic-Confusion

Myself and Adam got in our first game of the new SAGA universe Age of Magic last Thursday, and although we made a few errors the game was a lot of fun. This is a superbly constructed new source book which has clearly taken a lot of time to put together. There are 6 new warbands all from the Fantasy World with multiple new abilities including the use of Magic!

I suppose what was really cool for me was that I finally got to field some of a large collection of LoTR figures that have never seen the table or were last used by my son Simon 15 years ago when there were still Games Workshop Stores in this area. The figures he painted years ago are of special significance as they got me into painting miniatures and subsequently into wargaming which has become a very important hobby for me.

I had some time to put together a warband and after some thought decided to go with the Masters of the Under Earth army. Adam decided  to go with a Great Kingdoms warband. We decided not to use magic in this game as there were a lot of new rules to learn and this proved to be a good decision as we never finished the game despite being at it for 4+ hours. We usually finish in 2 hours, but there are a lot of moving pieces and we were using the recommended 8 point warbands.

Game Set-up (BoB Chaos)

Scenery-Bleak Moor-(standard set up)
Deployment-Confusion (split the table diagonally with both warbands set up on their edge no closer than M)
Special Rule-Hostile Land (Uneven terrain becomes dangerous)
Victory Conditions-Show of Force (Survival points + bonuses)
Game Length-Unknown Length (5+ turns, no SAGA abilities in the first phase of the Attacking Player's first turn)

The Great Kingdoms (7 SAGA Dice)

Captain (cost 6 Levies)
2 Paladins (cost 8 Warriors)
3 Hearthguard (half mounted)
3 spear-armed Warriors (-8)
2 bow-armed Levy (-6)
Sacred Ground-Memorial

Masters of the Under Earth (8 SAGA Dice)

Goblin King
Lieutenant (cost 2 Hearthguard)
Spawn of Cthulhu-Flying Scourge
3 heavy-weaponed Hearthguard-Grim Hammers (-2)
1 cross-bow armed Warriors-Uruk-hai
1 cross-bow armed Warriors-Moria Goblins (-2)
1 Destruction Team-Moria Goblins (cost 2 Warriors)
2 units of  Goblintown Levy
Sacred Ground-Underground Network

Adam has already written up an Action Report as you can see on his blog, but I thought I would post a few photos.
The Masters of the Under Earth battle line with the Grim Hammers to the left, with the Goblin Levy skulking behind them, Moria Crossbowman, more Goblin Levy with Uruk-hai Crossbowman with the Goblin King holding the right flank. You can see his Lieutenant, the tiny filthy goblin between the 2 units of Grim Hammers. The Destruction Team is in the forest.
Spawn of Cthulhu waiting to take flight
The Great Kingdoms battle line
Sacred Ground-Memorial
Goblin Levy advance
Star Spawn hoping to get an opportunity to smoke some warriors.
We totalled up the points and it appeared that the score was 30 to 29 points favouring me, however we made quite a few mistakes and I believe that most of them benefited the Masters of the Under Earth so I think that the victory in this truncated game should go to Adam. 

I have to say that I really enjoyed this iteration of SAGA. We both learned a lot and I suspect our next game will go much smoother.

26 May 2019

There are Many Rivers to Cross-Turn 2

Yesterday, myself and Greg got together at my place to play the next turn in our Belgian Invasion campaign from the TFL 2018 Annual. It had been 3 months since we played the last turn so it was time to get moving!

The next scenario was table 3 which is based on the Swift to Support scenario from the 1940 source book.  

We both decided not to rotate out our platoons so went with the surviving elements from our first game. We went through the pregame process and came up with the below starting forces.

Chasseur Ardennais Platoon (FM 10)
GdC 1: Missing 3 riflemen
GdC 2: Missing 3 riflemen
DBT Lance Grenade Section
CoC Dice
Supports (9)
Maxim MMG Team

Schützen Platoon (FM 11)
5cm Mortar Team
Squad 1
Squad 2
Squad 3: Missing 3 riflemen
Supports (15)
Fifth Columnist
Red Dice
MMG Team
Flamethrower Team
Schützen Squad

So off we went.......
The German approach
Patrol Markers with subsequent JOP's
I initially started my attack from my left flank. I placed a squad, MMG team and a SL here. This was not prudent as almost immediately my MMG got pinned and there only target was a CdG in hard cover. This was a losing battle.
The Belgian DBT gave me a lot of trouble, they were well back so were protected from anything I could launch at them. Most of their fireing was without LOS but their reducing cover to open resulted in a lot of casualties.

The main Belgian CdG unit in hard cover, I controlled them relatively well with almost continous covering fire but it was hard to cause loss with long range fire.
On my right flank I placed another SL, with a squad and a 5cm Mortar team.  Their target was the CdG in the light cover in the orchard.  A bit more success here.
The aforementioned CdG unit.
I decided that I needed a forward base so used a CoC dice to advance my rear most JOP forward, I had not done this before. It was effective but not withstanding the squad I placed here broke and I had to also withdraw the FT team as they were under heavy fire. I was waiting for a double phase so they could take out the troops behind the hard cover.
I sent in another squad to replace the breaking group with the left flank SL to help reduce shock.
They were able to pin the CdG in the light cover and with more fire they broke.
We were then at a bit of a stalemate but Greg, being the gentleman and tactician that he is, suggested that I advance a squad to take a JOP. By now the only Belgian squad that could see my right flank was the centre CdG in hard cover. They had taken lot of fire and were being worn down. I used my centre rifle team to lay down covering fire and in two bounds my right flank rifle team ran up and got within 4" of the Belgian JOP. At the same time 3 LMG teams and the MMG team where piling fire into the centre CdG unit, they were close to breaking. Greg withdrew. A German victory

The Summing Up

The ending force morale was 8 for the Germans and 6 for the Belgians. The Germans lost a JL and 5 riflemen while the Belgians lost 19 riflemen. So once we apply the post campaign process and the losses from turn 1 we have the following:

After 2 turns
Platoon 1: Germans 3 dead, 2 man missing the next turn. 1JL down 1CI (3" command range)
Platoon 1: Belgians 15 dead, 5 men missing the next turn.

Campaign Tracker
Commander's Opinion+2
Men's Opinion +1
Platoon Leaders's Outlook: Droll
Commander's Opinion-1
Men's Opinion -6 (-2FM, Sl 6" command range)
Platoon Leaders's Outlook: Sad
This was an interesting game. I definitely was very lucky in respect to command rolls with 7 double phases while Greg I believe only had 2. In dice rolling, we were about equal, earlier in the game Greg certainly had lady luck on his side but as the game went on I caught up. As I noted in my initial post, it was going to be a challenge for me as I am naturally a defender. Greg was a real gentleman yesterday in pointing out the maneuver that won me the game. I certainly have learned a lot about tactics from playing with Greg. It is interesting to me that it is really quite valuable to play with multiple different players as there are so many approaches to playing CoC.

24 May 2019

SAGA-Pitched Battle

Myself and Adam got together for our regular SAGA game last night at the Hobby Bunker. We both had obtained our Age of Magic SAGA source books last weekend at Huzzah but we really have not had a good look yet so we went with the Viking Age warbands. I again fielded my Skraelings and Adam this time decided to bring his Irish. I really dislike fighting the Irish as their BB is quite a challenge.

We again played the Chaos setup from the Book of Battles and ended up with the following:

Scenery-Bleak Moor-(standard set up)
Deployment-Pitched Battle (18" deployment area on player's table edge with a split army)
Special Rule-Fog (no shooting or charge beyond M in first 3 turns)
Victory Conditions-Carnage (Survival points rather than Massacre points)
Game Length-Cautious (5 turns only)

2 Curaidh
Javelin-armed Hearthguard-1
Javelin-armed Warriors-3

Javelin-armed Warriors-5
Bow-armed Levy-1

Here is the set up of the terrain, so 3 out of 4 pieces with uneven terrain which clearly favour the Irish.  Three pieces blocking LOS. Adam was the active player but I got 4 SAGA dice on the BB before his 1st move.
My right flank: I had a unit of Levy and a large 12 man unit of warriors on this side. Adam had a unit of Warriors and 2 Curaidh. I was not really well prepared here as I had used my 4 SAGA dice to generate 2 totems. I was eventually able to take down a Curaidh but as you can see both my units were cut down.
My left flank: Here I had 3 units of warriors and my Warlord. Adam had placed a unit of Hearthguard, his Warlord and a unit of warriors in the scrubland with another unit of warriors and his wolfhounds in the open ground.
I was able to knock down his wolfhounds quickly to 4 figures with the Skraeling  ability of Tribal Tactics. Adam decided to send in his unit of warriors to counter. A fairly even battle but javelin armed  have a slight advantage when attacking. 
On to penultimate turn, I advance 2 units of Warriors and my Warlord to the scrubland, this is quite sucessful with both shooting and melee going to my advantage...... 
........last turn, this is really where I screw up what could have been an easy victory. I set up my BB properly but I need to get my warriors to advance to attack the Irish in the open first by we obey and then initiate Tribal Tactics for a 2nd attack getting 3 javelin throws in the last turn. Instead, my Warlord attacks the 3 warriors in the scrubland forgetting to do this first. My Warlord goes in and kills all the warriors but at some risk as his bodyguards are more than S away, but he survives but I can not use Tribal Tactics on my warrior unit as there is nothing within M to shoot. The game ends in a tie!
It was a fun game. I really felt I was done for most of the game as my initial set up was poor and my right flank collapsed almost immediately. I did push back on my left flank and was relatively successful and could have won the game if I had not royally screwed up my last move.

So an 18-18 point tie. It was a fun game, the Book of Battles really has changed the game of SAGA, as every game is quite different and we have not even got past the first chapter.

We might see some Age of Magic in our next game but it will take some planning, we will have to see.

19 May 2019

Huzzah 2019

This past weekend Huzzah, the once a year con put on by MHWGA took place. It is usually held in Portland, ME and appears to be generally well attended. It is the only con, I have ever gone to and have gone 4 out of the past 5 years. I was a little disapointed this year as there was only 4 TFL games and I was only able to sign up for two as they are quite popular. I decided to just drive up each day rather than stay the night, it is only 90 minutes and a pleasant drive. There were several nice looking games but of course, I only photographed a few.

Day 1
This was a lovely looking Victoria Pulp Horror game set in the jungle. Very nice looking figures as well, apparently some dinosuars were attacking a German explorers camp but they are not there yet.
Dracula in America, again quite nice.
I forgot what this one was.
My friend Mike's SP2 game which I believe was filled within a couple of hours.
Looks like some Spaniards
Quite a firing line.
Flint and Feather

This is the game I played on Friday afternoon, I have been curious about these rules for sometime. A skirmish set set in the period before European exploration of North America. The game is put out by Crucible Crush, a British Columbian gaming company. They have some absolutely stunning figures as you will see below. Exactly in scale with Conquest Miniatures from where I obtained my FIW figures. They are quite an eclectic company with 28mm figures foe WW2, Cthulhu (very nice deep ones) as well as the Flint and Feather line which includes various mythical creatures including the Windego.

I had quite a lot of fun with the game, myself and my friend Adam teamed up against 2 other guys. Beautiful terrain as you can see as well as great looking figures. I would play again and will probably buy the rulebook. The guy who ran the game said they are quite well supported by the rules writer.....and we won!



Day 2

I got there a little late on Saturday so did not get a lot of photos taken as I had some purchases to make and some people to chat with. The game below did catch my eye though. It is the main square of Florence during the time of the Medici and the game was set around the Pazzi Conspiracy. How cool is that! The game was put on by Rich Clayton, the president of the Boston Trained Bands gaming club. Really a great looking terrain and the buildings are all from TTCombat, which was great for me as they are the buildings I plan to use if I ever get my Carnevale Venice table off the gound. I took a lot of photos.
Chain of Command

Of course the main event for me was  the CoC game I was signed up for. The game was put on by Dick Bryant, one of the fathers of miniature wargaming in the northeast. We played an Attack and Defend scenario with an American Armoured Rifle platoon attacking a village held by a unit of Panzergrenadiers. Three aside, I played with 2 of my regular gaming friends, Tom was the American platoon leader (I was one of the squad leaders) taking on Mike who was the German PzG platoon leader. I had not played the Americans much and these guys had no BAR's! We did make good use of the 50cal HMG though and with this we were able to defeat the PzG's, I think by 6FM. It was a fun game and Dick did a great job. I believe we were all quite familar with the rules and that must me a challenge for the gamesmaster.
Dick telling Mike on how he wanted the JOP's placed!
My squad of Americans
Well placed PzG's.
Lots of fireing across the field
Well I had a good time and I think next year we will try to emulate other North American lardies and  and put on several TFL games.