31 March 2019

The Bood Angels are Ready for Battle

Two years ago as a part of the AHPC VII, I presented the start of a Blood Angels Horus Heresy Epic Army with the hope that some day a Pan-Canadian Epic Challenge could take place. We have made a couple of attempts but as one knows Canada is a big country and to get three gamers (Curt, Greg and Byron) from Western Canada to meet up with 2 gamers (Iannick and myself) from Eastern Canada presents a challenge. An attempt was made last summer but quickly floundered due to scheduling difficulties.

Well at least I can say now that I am ready as my 4000+ point Epic army is completed. My painting of small figures has evolved and I have to say that painting the final 40 tiny Space Marines was not as bad as I thought it was going to be. As usual once photographed I can see some errors but overall I believe they will look good on the table.
Jet Bikes
Assault Squad
with a Chaplain
Glaive

Using a calculator, here is the make up of my Blood Angels force. I have designed the army to have 3 wings with infantry assault force, an armoured force and an airborne force. I have no idea how the rules work but I am hopeful that the force is balanced.

As you can see, I have one too many supports for my Terminator Squadron. Just could not decide between the Thunderhawk Gunship and the Storm Eagle. I think I also have one too many Lords of War units but maybe not as I believe the cut off is 33% of the total core force with supports.


Here we have the whole force, it is funny how little space they take. The beauty of 6mm, I suppose. 

26 March 2019

The Revenant Warband is Done!



In October 2016, I started to paint up a 4 point Revenant Warband for SAGA. This was a special release from Gripping Beast in coordination with Studio Tomahawk. I followed with a completely different style in the AHPC VII and then again in AHPC VIII another style emerged. Painting the exact same 12 figures does get a little boring so I have gone with yet another style this year. 






I like painting in shades of grey so I thought I would give it a try with this final unit of Levy. I also liked how my Carnevale Raadru came out so I decided to combine the two. Maybe a bit strange but I like them. I could of done a little better job of removing flash from the figures but they have just all crawled out from the dirt so I think it is probably OK. Anyway another SAGA warband done......watch out for these guys Adam.

25 March 2019

SAGA: Refused Flank

Another Norman vs Skraeling Battle at the Hobby Bunker last Thursday. Adam changed up things a bit and went with a unit of mounted warriors armed with javelins rather than the Flemish mercenaries. I went with the same configuration.

Normans
Warlord
3 units of Mounted Hearthguard
1 unit of Javelin Armed  Mounted Warriors
1 unit of Crossbow Armed Warriors
1 unit of Bow Armed Levy


Skraelings
Warlord
5 units of Javelin/Tomahawk Armed Warriors
1 unit of Bow Armed Levy

We opted to go Chaos again, which means on all 5 attributes we threw a d6 to randomly generate the conditions of the scenario. We ended up with the following.
Scenery: Bleak Moor
Deployment: Refused Flank
Game Length: Until Dusk
Victory Conditions: Subjugation
Special Rule: Night Fight



The basic 4x3 terrain, we were fighting along the long axis of the terrain rather than the usual short axis. The Srkraelings started to the right and the Normans to the left.
The inital Skraeling dispositions.
The initial Norman dsiposition.
Turn 4: I had taken down Adam's mounted warriors but had lost 2 units of warriors and had positioned my levy poorly so they never got off a shot in the whole game. As you can see both my warrior units are threatening but the large unit of Norman mounted Hearthguard is quite close. I really messed up the next 2 turns and by the end of the game I think I had lost almost 30 of my 48 warriors. 
Adam's very nice crossbowmen.
Again a pretty quick game maybe a little over 2 hours. The dice favoured Adam in this game but I have to say he played a tactically better game than I. So the reverse of last week with a decisive Norman victory with a final score of 18 to 7 for the the Normans. 

I realised that there is no way that I can take on the mounted Norman Hearthguard in melee, they are just too powerful. A unit of 12 mounted Hearthguard  with a banner generates 22 melee dice before any BB abilities are used. There is just no way to confront this with 12 die no matter what BB abiltiies are available. Couple this with their ability to move L, and they are a bit of challenge. Definitely have to come up with a different plan next time.

24 March 2019

WWII Terrain and Playing Aids

There is no question if I have a chance to play a war game, I will almost certainly play Chain of Command if that is one of the choices. I am currently involved in 2 campaigns (Bloody Bucket set in the 1944 Ardennes and There are Too Many Rivers set in 1940 Belgium) and just started a 3rd campaign the Von Luck set in 1944 Normandy.

For CoC, one needs a number of playing aids, so I have spent a bit of time on these. A couple of Australian CoC gamers have great blogs which are really first rate if you are a CoC player. Check out the great tutorials on The Tactical Painter and John Bond's Wargaming Stuff.

I play the British quite a bit and anyone who plays them knows that the 2" mortar throwing smoke is a tactical necessity. I had made some smoker markers but they were falling apart so I went to work re-constructing a dozen this week.
The game defines them as 3" in diameter. I used a 3" acyrlic base and then used a glue gun to affix the polyester fill to the base. This is much more of a challenge than one would think. The bases were then given a light dusting of panzer grey primer, very thinned, using an airbrush. They were then sprayed with unscented hairspray! I think though I will try one of these fixative spray one hears about as they are still not that solid.
Thes block LOS completely
Next up are some covering fire markers as well as some smoke grenades markers. I really had not used these rules in my games until recently but am starting to find them quite useful. 
Same process as above but on a 5" stirring stick
Using a CI a Leader can get a team to lay down covering fire on a piece of terrain. Troops fireing back through covering fire suffer a -1 modifier to hit that lasts until the next phase.
So these are smoke grenades, look carefully and you can see a small cannister  on the base  which is the grenade with smioke pouring out. I like how this came out.
These also cause a -1 to hit penalty but last until the end of the turn.
I have also painted a couple of bombed out houses as required when a Stuka Attack (from the 1940 Blitzkreig CoC source book). has taken place.
These are Airfix resin models that I bought 3-4 years ago, they are a little small but will work for this purpose.

Finally I also needed some Early War German guns.
Both from Zvezda 1/72 range. Two guns and 6 figures.
3.7cm Pak36 ATG
7.5cm le.IG18
You will note that I have based the figures separately from the guns. I am not sure how happy I am with this but it does decrease the number of gunners required overall (I must be approaching 10 different gun with crews types on both winter and summer terrain bases) and ease play as I do not have to use some type of marker to indicate that a gunner has died. It does not look as nice however and I am still thinking about it.

Winter Terrain

Sarissa Precision Russian Houses, I used Citadel washes to colour them

Winter Hedges
I need a few more of these
My terrain collection is getting pretty extensive now, I believe I probably need to put together some minefields for CoC and Sarissa has really extended their selection of 1/72 buildings which I find are the best sized for WWII gaming.

15 March 2019

Meeting Encounter: A Book of Battles SAGA Skirmish

Myself and Adam finally got together last evening to try the new Book of Battles Scenario generator for SAGA2. It was our first this year due to a lot of unforseen roadblocks so we were both looking forward to it. Most of our games last fall were between my Vikings and Adam's Irish. But for this game we were both keen to try something different. Adam has just finished painting up a Norman warband and I wanted to try my Skraelings, as with SAGA2 a completely new BB has been released which looked like a lot of fun. So onto our somewhat ahistoric game!

Normans
Warlord
3 units of Mounted Hearthguard
1 unit of Crossbow Armed Warriors
1 unit of Bow Armed Levy
1 unit of Flemish Mercenaries

Skraelings
Warlord
5 units of Javelin/Tomahawk Armed Warriors
1 unit of Bow Armed Levy
Unfortunately the Skraeling can not take any legendary units as I wanted to take a Shaman

The Book of Battles has a great skirmish game generator which we used. We opted to go Chaos, which means on all 5 atributes we threw a d6 to randomly generate the condition. We ended up with the following.
Scenery: Marshy Country
Deployment: Meeting Encounter
Game Length: Cautious
Special Rule: Forced March-which we seemed to forget to do
Victory Conditions: Sacrifice

As usual, I forgot to take photos, I think Adam took a couple which I may add but the below photo gives one an idea of the layout and battle.
The little squares next to some units are their Totems.
It took us a little over 90 minutes to play the game, despite not having played for a while the SAGA2 rules appear to be well embedded now. We had a good game which appeared pretty equal until near the end. We were both cautious as we were learning our new BB's. I also believe Lady Luck favoured me as my dice were quite good. 

On turn 4, Adam sent in his Warlord to take out my Warriors (those between the marsh and the forest). I was able to survive and the Norman Warlord was exhausted (the Skraeling ability of Agility is really useful in battles were armour is unequal). 

In turn 5, I launched a bunch of arrows from my Levy across the marsh and as well as some javelins from my surviving Warriors which took down all the Norman Hearthguard. I brought in my Warlord and all there was left was the crying. The final score was 16 Massacre points for the Skraelings to 10 for the Normans. A clear Skraeling victory.

I should note that the Skraelings have a really neat and unique SAGA mechanism of Totems which can be assigned permanently to a unit for the full game after paying the requisite cost in SAGA dice. You can also temporarily assign a Totem to a unit for 1 turn at the cost of 3 unique SAGA dice (Pocession). Adam made me some very nice Totem markers which were much appreciated.

We both really enjoyed the new scenario book and are hoping to get in another game next week.

11 March 2019

Kampfgruppe Von Luck-A Third CoC Campaign

Yesterday saw the start of my 3rd simultaneous CoC campaign. Back to Normandy and D-Day in this one, with action between British Paratroopers and the German Panzergrenadiers east of the Orne River.

In our campaign we see an attempt by the Germans to counterattack and capture 2 bridges across the Orne that the Allies are holding after their initial June 6th attack. The German troops are 3 Panzergrenadier Platoons from 125 Panzer Regiment an element of 21 Panzer Division. The British have 2 platoons from 12 Para and 1 Platoon from 13 Para. Unfortunately for the Brits, the men in 12 Para were dispersed after their intial drop so their platoon is incomplete for each of the early scenarios.

Anyway on to our game. The table follows and is quite simple with very little cover and played according to scenario 1 from the main rulebook.
Patrol Phase
Final JOP positions
Forces

Germans Regular Panzergrenadiers FM 10
Panzergrenadier Platoon #1
Supports (5)
Werfer Pre-Game Barrage
Adjutant

British Elite Paratroopers FM 11
SL
2" Mortar Team
#1 Section w/JL
#2 Section Bren Team, no JL
#3 Section Absent
Supports(0)

Scenario 1 Patrol on the Ring Contour

It was a pretty quick game, Mike used the Werfer Barrage to great effect and is was 4 phases before I got on the table. By then I think Mike had 3 squads in place all on Overwatch making it very tricky to deploy. The fact that he was able to get his north-most JOP so far east also somewhat stymied me. I was able to lay some smoke down from the 2"mortar as well as throwing a smoke grenade causing him to hit on -1. It quickly became obvious that I was not going to cause too much damage and I felt lucky to get my 1st section off with 7 causualties and a dead JL after taking a pounding fro 3 squads on a double phase. The Germans suffered a single casualty.

The Summing Up

Germans
Zero losses
CO Opinion +1
Men's Opinion +3 (+1 FM)
Platoon Leaders Outlook-Content
Started with 33 men ended with 33 men

Brits
3 men dead, 2 MIA, JL Section #1-1CI
CO Opinion +1
Men's Opinion -1
Platoon Leaders Outlook-Short Tempered
Started with 19 men ended with 14 men


Scenario 2 Probe among the Hedgerows
Well knowing that the 1st scenario was going to be short, I actually had clevely set up the 2nd table so we would be already to go. A rapid removal of the terrain mat and with a 15 minute rapid set up of table 2, it seemed we would be good.

Lack of sleep (I worked until 2am that morning and was up at 6am) and rushing however is sometimes very counter-productive. We played the whole game, I think we made a few minor mistakes in the game play and a fairly rapid withdrawal by the Brits (there is not much you can do with 19 men as I only added a 3 man Bren Team, a Sniper and the JL for section 3).

Unfortunately, I recognised after we finished up that we had played the Patrol Phase along the long axis of the table rather than the short axis as laid out in the scenario. This really changes the whole complexion of the game so we decided that we would replay the scenario. We will redice for supports but I will not redice to see which units I have available.

Hmm...there is something just not right here!
Forces for Game 2

Germans Regular Panzergrenadiers
Panzergrenadier Platoon #2
13 Support Points


British Elite Paratroopers
SL
2" Mortar Team
#1 Section Bren Team w/JL (1 CI)
#2 Section Bren Team, no JL
#3 Section Bren Team, JL and Sniper
4 Support Points

The good news is that Mike is going on Sabbitical for 6 months starting in a month so as I am off 2-3 days of the week, I am hoping we can get our next game in soon.

02 March 2019

Carnevale

 
Two or three years ago, I backed a Kickstarter from TTCombat for the miniatures game Carnevale. They delivered a couple of months ago and I felt that they would be a good choice as a focus for this year's challenge. To be honest, it was more the terrain aspect of the kickstarter that got my attention rather than the figures, although they looked pretty cool. The backstory for the game can be seen in the following video.


I have been to Venice many times but I will always remember my first visit about 20 years ago in February during the Festival of Carnevale. It was a particularly cool and foggy year and at night the image of the festival goers flitting about in the dark is still with me. It has never been the same since.

They are resin figures, the first I have dealt with and I find the detail is not as to my liking. They were a nightmare to assemble, very fragile and I broke a couple of them....just not a lot of fun. I think I have around 25-35 figures, it was difficult to know where to start. I have 4 factions, 2 Antagonists, 1 Protagonist and 1 Mecenary.

STRIGOI

I decided to go with the Strigoi first as they looked the easiest to paint. Character information for the following figures can be found here as well as the faction cost.
A Strigoi Priest and 2 Nosferatu

Varcolae

Two Romani and a Blood Crone

Well, I am somewhat pleased with the painting, they did not come out exactly as planned and as usual I am having all kinds of trouble with the photography.

RASHAAR

These are the Rashaar, a ancient and subterranean race that inhabit the canals of Venice. These, like the Strigoi, are the antagonists in the game. I actually enjoyed painting them as I was able to try some new techniques. The Stats for these characters can be found here.
The Magi-Rashaar
One of the leaders of the Cult
Human Slaves of the Cult
I snapped the feet off the woman slave, so I changed the base slightly to make it look as is she was rising from the canals of Venice. Not sure how successful, I have been.
The Raadru with 2 lesser Ugdru
I tried the Zenithal Priming technique. I used an airbrush to prime black, overspraying with gray and then white. This was followed by Citadel Glazes and Washes. I liked how it worked. 

THE GUILD

These are The Guild, the citizens of Venice, who are I would suppose the protagonists in the game. Character descriptions and stats can be found here.
Capodecina-A Leader
Fishermen-The Heros
The Gondilier- A Henchmen
Citizens-Henchwomen
Citizens-Henchmen
Pucinella
I found 4 more figures which belong to the above factions and 6 more from The Gifted faction, so 10 to go!