29 September 2018

A Winter Mat

A month or two ago, I decided that I wanted to make my own Winter Mat for gaming. I was not that happy with either of the Cigarbox Winter mats I had obtained and searching the internet did not reveal any other mat I thought would meet my needs.

At the same time I was doing the searching, I was like many other gamers following Wargaming with Silver Whistle's amazing terrain making. I had obtained his 1st book Setting the Scene and was keen to give it a go.

What follows is my first attempt, I am quite pleased with the result; in retrospect I might have done a few things differently. I will let some photos tell the story.

I started with a painter's canvas that I obtained at Home Depot. It was branded  Everbilt Heavy Duty Canvas Dropcloth, coming in a 9 by 12' piece. As instructed I started applying patches  of a brown acrylic chalking. These patches were then painted raw umber. I used less then 1 tube.
Once this was done and the paint was dry, I started to apply white chalking. This was done in about 1x1' sections and then I would sprinkle some Woodland Scenics snow. I found this a little tricky as it was subsequently a little difficult to make smooth transitions between new and dried sections. I probably could have done the whole thing in one go, but I was afraid the chalk would start to dry before I got the whole mat done. Once the snow was applied I followed the procedure in the book to roll in the snow and make it crinkly. I used a little less then 6 tubes of white chalk and two large containers of the Woodland Scenics snow.
Next up was to shake the mat out 24 hours later. I went in and touched up the raw patches with some more raw umber.
Here is the mat at this point.
I then started to work on the patches and the transitions. I used 2 colour mix of Woodland Scenics Flock . I then built up some of the edges with 4-Ground snow, this has a different consistency than the Woodland Scenics snow and it much whiter. I was trying to make it look like drifting snow. Somewhat successful! 
I also added a few winter or autumn tufts and then finally did a like sprinkle of the 4 -Ground snow.
Here is the final result, overall I am quite satisfied. You can see the terrain in action in this AR.  Pat is now working on a Southern Europe terrain book....something to look forward to and I still have lots of canvas!

17 September 2018

For Sale: Folklore-The Affliction Tabletop Game

I am never going to play this game but I did enjoy painting the figures of which I painted all but 5 from the Core Box. Included in the sale is the Core Box, The Dark Tales Expansion, The Ghost Miniature Pack and the recent Farmer Upgrade for edition 2 of the game. You can see the details here as well as the pricing. By my calculation these 4 boxes would cost around $250 without shipping. Please note that the Farmer Bundle has just shipped so is not yet available for retail. The game has been played twice, some of the counters from the core box have been punched but nothing is missing and everything is in excellent shape.

I would be happy to sell this for $220 including shipping so around a 20% reduction from retail and you get the painting for free. Close ups of the painted figures can be found here.

16 September 2018

Death in the Hürtgenwald: A CoC Mini Campaign

Yesterday Tom and myself got together to finally play the Achtung mini-campaign from the Summer 2017 TFL special. I had got to play part of the campaign that Tom presented last spring at Huzzah but it was not until now that we got a chance to play out the whole campaign. It was also the first time in several years that I got to play an actual CoC game with Tom. Tom introduced me to CoC when it first came out.

As usual we played at the Hobby Bunker, and got set up and started by about 1030h and finished at around 1730h with a brief break for lunch, making this the longest gaming session I have ever played.  We got in 2 campaign turns and although we did not finish the campaign completely we came to what I believe was a fair conclusion.

The scenario pits an American infantry platoon against a German platoon that has occupied two WWI era bunkers in the Hürtgenwald. The scenario is played as a mini-campaign as it would be quite difficult for the Americans to take both bunkers in one go. Each time the American re-set the game they suffer a -1 to their Force Morale. You can purchase the scenario here for the price of a pint! I have taken the liberty of taking the terrain image from the booklet as follows.
Tom did a great job with the terrain as you can see.
The German Edge

The American Approach
First Game

German Forces (Starting FM 10)
SL w/ MP40
Two 8 man infantry squads w/ 3 man LMG team, 4 riflemen and JL w/StG44
MMG Team
PzSck Team
5 Minefields
4 Barbed Wire Fences
Infantry Squad

American Forces (Starting FM 8)
SL x2 w/ Carbine & SMG
Bazooka Team
3 Infantry squads w/SMG armed JL, BAR Team w/ 2 M1 riflemen and a 8 man M1 Rifle Team
Pregame Barrage
1 Wire Cutting Team
2 Mine Clearing Teams
I felt I was pretty successful in the Patrol Phase as I got 2 JOP's far up my left flank were I felt would be my best approach of attack. I used the JOP in the farground to deploy the diversionary force coming up the centre.
The Diversionary Attack up the centre w/ the FO and a SL. The FO throws a HE barrage in the centre of the German lines allowing the left flanking American unit to have some cover as they approach the first minefield.
The Main Attack up the American left flank under cover of a HE barrage over the centre blocking the LOS of the German troops in the Bunker on their left flank.
Second Infantry Team added as well as a Mine Clearing Team and a SL to direct operations.
The American unit in the centre who is not shielded by the barrage starts to take casualties. and decided to withdraw, I am not really sure why I did not order a general withdrawal at this time as I was about to take out or had taken out the first minefield as planned. I could have easily teleported from the JOP rather than making a run for the perimeter.
Mission accomplished: First minefield removed, the American unit retreats.
Summary of First Game
Once the first minefield was removed, I felt it best to withdraw in order to re-assemble my forces. I had started to suffer significant casualties (13 men and a JL) and my FM had dropped to 3 and I had only 3 Command Dice. My plan for the 2nd attack was to quickly take out the second minefield and than outflank the Germans on their right, thus gaining access to the smaller bunker and so on.

I had taken a pregame barrage as one of my supports in the first game but unfortunately threw a treble6 very early on thus making this of no use. I also had not got to deploy my wire cutting team. The Americans have only 12 supports to the Germans 20, I felt I had not enough heavy firepower down the centre, so as you can see I had to reconsider my support options as reflected below for the 2nd game. I had also permanently lost 7 men and had 4 not to return for the 2nd game. The Germans has essentially lost no men.

Second Game

German Forces (Starting FM 8)
SL w/ MP40
Two 8 man infantry squads w/ 3 man LMG team, 4 riflemen and JL w/StG44
Supports (unchanged)
MMG Team
PzSck Team
4 Minefields
4 Barbed Wire Fences
? 5 points

American Forces (Starting FM 8)
SL x2 w/ Carbine & SMG
Bazooka Team
Infantry squad 1 w/SMG armed JL, BAR Team w/ 2 M1 riflemen and a 8 man M1 Rifle Team
Infantry squad 2 w/SMG armed JL, BAR Team w/ 2 M1 riflemen and a 4 man M1 Rifle Team
BAR Team 3 w/SMG armed JL (CI 1), BAR Team w/ 3 M1 riflemen
Pregame Barrage
Sherman 75
1 Mine Clearing Team
3 Satchel Charges

Of course now the battle became quite heated, so I forgot to take many photos and I missed taking any at the end of the game.  We had now been playing for 5 hours so I hope to be forgiven! I should also note that according to the scenario rules the same JOP's were used, so there was no Patrol Phase.
In this campaign turn the pregame barrage was much more successful and as you can see I was able to advance my intact Rifle squad with a mine clearing team quite rapidly to the 2nd minefield. The mine clearing team did take significant casualties once the Germans were able to deploy. They had put their MMG team in the trench system which did chop up both the Engineers and the Rifle Squad but close range return fire forced them into the bunker with only 2 men remaining. The German SL had deployed to remove shock but had to skedaddle out of their once the MMG team had bolted to the bunker. The SL started to run unsupported toward the far bunker trough the trench system. The Sherman has deployed in the American centre, the tank JL first lays down some smoke to block the LOS from the German left flank bunker but then advances to rain HE and MG fire on the bunker and then spots the fleeing German SL............
.........The 2nd minefield has been cleared by the last remaining engineer! The Americans advance to take out the bunker.  No further photos, I am afraid but I will describe what happened. The American squad advances and enters the trench system at its far right as above. The American SL who is accompanying the squads orders one rifleman to advance with a Satchel charge to the back door and place it. He is successful but gets blown up in his retreat, a 2nd infantryman has also been ordered to place a 2nd Satchel charge on the main forward looking port, he is also successful but escapes unscathed. The JL then commands the BAR team to occupy the bunker while sending the Rifle team along the trench system to take the 2nd JOP in the German centre. They end up just short but close enough to deny the Germans the ability to deploy to it. I use a CoC Dice to end the turn. The German morale is now plummeting. They have only 2 Command Dice, their is little they can do and their SL gets caught by the Sherman's MMG and dies, FM 1.......time to end the game.

Summary of Second Game
The Americans end up with a partial victory having taken 1 bunker, but by now almost 6 hours had passed and I think we were pretty done. The American plan had gone pretty well and I think if we had played a 3rd turn, I might have been able to take the second bunker. 

If I had my time back I would have taken different supports in the 1st game. I should have take an engineering squad rather than 3 Engineering teams. The sniper although deployed really did not help and by serendipity the choice of a pregame barrage was of no value.

I believe I made the good choices in the 2nd game but again an Engineering squad with mine clearing and demolition teams would have been more valuable as the demolition team comes supplied with Satchel charges. The Sherman was quite useful as was the pregame barrage.

All in all, though it was enormous fun. Tom is a lot of fun to play with it and he supplied a great terrain and game.

01 September 2018

Maida: An Introductory GdA Scenario

I finally got together with my good friend Mike last evening at the Hobby Bunker to engage in a bit of Wargaming. After some discussion we decided to have a game of Général d'Armée. Mike had yet to play and as a connoisseur of fine rulesets this needed to change. He is putting together a Prussian force and I felt that could also do with some encouragement.

I have placed the OB we used above. As you can see it is a 3 brigade on 4 brigade battle but I gave each force an extra ADC. The minimum recommended in the rulebook is five but I have found that for a teaching game this works. I also placed the 4th British brigade as an on-table reserve representing Ross's regiment's late arrival on scene. 

We essentially set up a very simple table with a few trees, wrote our initial brigade dispositions on  a sheet of paper, then laid out our troops and started the game. We actually got in 8 turns in 3 hours which I felt was quite good. I have found that careful referral to the excellent QRS that comes with the game is all that is needed. I have probably played 5-6 games now so the game flowed well. We tried out several different rule mechanisms in the game and got in everything but Melee but this is not unusual in this game as it seldom happens. The Charge process was a little labourious the first time but after that  it seemed to go well. Still am a little shaky on skirmishers but otherwise the game went without a lot of referral to the rulebook.

We did not come to nay real resolution as I have to say both our dicing for Brigade Initiation was poor and in each turn we each had multiple Hesitant brigades. Mike did take out my RHA battery and we both we able to force a couple of battalions into Retreat, so we had quite a nice introductory game. I believe Mike quite enjoyed it. We both took a few photos which I will display, but I will not bother with a formal AR.
Both sides advancing
The British left falnk
The centre
In Square
French Infantry Assault
The Infantry Assault from the British view
Overall a fun night and a terrific ruleset.