28 October 2018

Striking Back-Third Go

I got together with Tom yesterday to get in another test of Striking Back, an Armoured versus Infantry encounter set during the Battle of the Raate Road in January of 1940. This is the third test now with 3 different experienced CoC players; and the scenario seems to work well. For this third version, I made some minor modifications to the terrain set up, mostly to make it a little simpler. You can find the latest version with the rest of my Winter War campaign material here in my Google Drive.

I played the Soviets this time, which was good, I had previously played the Finns twice and in this game I really wanted to focus on the CoC Roadblock rules to see how they would work in the scenario. We have had a lot of discussion on the TFL forum about Finnish Roadblocks and I had decided to go with the rules as written.
Clearing Roadblocks
A Roadblock may be cleared by an Engineer or Pioneer demolition Team. They are equipped with sufficient charges to destroy a single roadblock in a game. To do this they must spend two Phases in which they are activated adjacent to the roadblock during which time they must not lose any members killed or have any Shock inflicted. They must retire at least 9” in order to detonate the charge safely, which requires one further Phase activated. On a roll of 4 to 6 on a D6 they can declare the roadblock destroyed, after which vehicles may pass without hindrance. On a roll of 2 or 3 the road block is partially destroyed and vehicles may pass it but at slow speed only.
As you can see this is a pretty tough requirement and although I like winning, I was more focussed on destroying the Roadblock if indeed Tom selected one as a support. I was curious how the process worked.

Finns (Starting FM of 10)
2  SL's
4 Rifle Sections (2 LMG, 2 SMG) with JL's
MMG Team
Off Table Mortar
Rifle Section
AT Defense Team
Molotovs for each core Section
Smoke Pots for each core section
2 Heavy Satchel Charges

Soviets (Starting FM of 8)
As laid out in the scenario, no additional supports

The game commenced with the Soviets going first. The Finns were not able to advance their JOP's that far up the table.
From the Soviet end
The T28 and BT7 lead the Soviet advance
It looks like there is a Roadblock. The cautious Finns start their advance in the forest.
The BT7 rapidly advances to the Roadblock....big mistake. The KhT26 enters.
A Finnish Antitank team takes out the BT7, but the Flamethrower tank advances up the verge and they disappear in a puff of smoke. The battle has commenced.

Finnish Tank Hunters
The Soviet commander sends up a Gaz with a SL and a Rifle squad, they disembark and advance to outflank the Finns, they have a tough slog through the deep snow with their average advance being 3"!
The T28 advances up to the road block on the verge but gets bogged down! The Finns have launched a mortar barrage.
The Soviet slow advance on their left flank. By now the Soviets had pulled back their Flamethrower tank but started to advance their T26 platoon. They also send out a 2nd Gaz truck with a second Rifle squad which disembarks and trudges through the snow on their right flank.

The KOed BT7 was a real pain as it blocked LOS from the road so the T26 platoon had to advance up the verge. I only could get LOS from 2 of them on the Finns on the right flank (unfortuantely I forgot that the T26 had a top mounted MMG so their fire power utilised was a measly 4HE)
Time to send out the engineers, you can see them advancing along the road accompanied by a truck mounted Quad Maxim team. We played that the Soviets could ditch their trucks after their troops disembarked.
A real traffic snarl which was my main tactical error. The Quad Maxim had no LOS.

Some infantry action 

Two Soviet Demo Teams
The Soviets despite sending 2 Demolition teams in with the T28 giving covering fire, they get rapidly chopped up by the Finns in the forest.

Tom pops another Finnish  squad on the table by now the Soviet moarle is 1, time to pull out.
Well it was a good game, with the Finns winning with a FM of 5 to the Soviet's FM of 1. All three games have worked well with none of the experienced CoC players offering any major criticisms. All games were close with the Soviets winning the first time around, the second game was very close with a intial Soviet win but a major error was made at the end with the Finnish SL taking a FM test which he should not have taken at a time when both sides FM was 4. Our game above was a good victory for the Soviets.

I certainly made a few errors and Tom played an excellent game, holding back his Finns until he had a good advantage and then disappearing back into the forest. The Soviet player does have a pretty tough time advancing his AFV's up the road. Having a KOed tank blocking the road right at the road block was a major error as it blocked the LOS for the rest of my armour. It also stopped me from giving good covering fire to the demolition squad when it attempted to blow the Roadblock. I have to say though I think it is almost a futile task for the Soviets to take out this road block.

I think I may modify the scenario to give the Soviets an option to take another Rifle squad rather than the Engineering squad but I will give it a bit more thought. I really do not want to enlarge the game as it is already quite big.

23 October 2018

Into the Slaughter

Myself and Adam had another game of SAGA last Thursday. The game went much smoother than our last and I believe we are finally getting a good grasp of the subtle rules changes from version 1 to version 2.

We took another scenario from More Saga Battles, this time we played Into the Slaughter. You can download the scenario here. Essentially it is a scenario that you can win only by killing the enemy Warlord or forcing him off the centre part of the terrain. Adam decided to go with a 6 point Norse-Gael Warband while I stayed with my trusty Vikings. I did however go with a very novel composition for me.

Ragnar Lothbrok
2 units of Hearthguard
Steppe Nomad Mercenaries
2 units of Javelin armed Levy

3 units of Warriors (mixture of javelins and dane-axes)
3 units of Hearthguard (some with dane-axes)

Basic layout with Vikings in foreground. The 3 patches of bushes running vertically in the centre are the markers with which the Warlords need to stay within M. My plan is to assault with my javelin armed levies being supported by my warlord in the centre with a unit of hearthguard as bodyguards. I kept my mercenaries to my right as a harrying force, they can move 3M in a single move which makes them useful in this support role.
Crazed Norse-Gaels
More crazed Norse-Gaels. They have a very interesting Battleboard which I felt was going to be quite a challenge.
The Viking Line
The Steppe Nomads with composite bows. Only with 4 Attack dice but reroll 1's. Unfortunatelmy they were quite ineffective as they scored few hits and I believe Adam saved almost all of them
Good old Ragnar, gives Determination to all troops with S, Resilence of 2 and generates 2 SAGA die.
My initial plan went well and I was able to take out a Hearthguard unit with my suicidal levy with a good utilazation of 3 Viking BB abilities. It could have gone a little better as I lost 8 levy thus losing a SAGA dice. In a second follow up assault with my Hearthguard I further weakened the Norse-Gaels but lost 2 Hearthguard, as you can see both the left flank units withdraw letting the right flank followup.
Adam advances his javelin armed warriors as I send in my mercenaries to keep the Norse-Gaels on the hill out of the battle.
I take out the Warriors but the battle is costly and I lose my Hearthguard unit. I still have a good advantage in SAGA dice though, I believe Adam is now down to 3, while I still have 5.
Adam sends in a hearthguard unit to support his Warlord. I still have a 2 man hearthguard unit which I now send in to attack his Warlord. This works out well as I again use stacked SAGA BB abilities I am able to score many hits and take out all but one of his Hearthguard (they drop like flies as bodyguards) and exhaust his Warlord.
I send in Ragnar to finish off the Norse-Gael warlord but I have exhausted all my BB abilities and go in with just 8 Attack dice, it should be enough but Adam has reserved several BB abilities which make me nervous. I decide to start to take down his fatigue to increase the probability of my hits suceeding. I shuld never have done this as I need just one hit to get through and by taking down his fatigue I not only give him back his Resilience but also allow him to rapidly increase his Attack dice through the Norse-Gael combat pool. He is now throwing I think 14 die, melee takes place and we both die. A draw!
It was a good game, unfortunately I blew the last battle, should never have removed the Norse-Gael Warlord's fatigue, by doing so I gave him innumerable Attack die as well as restoring his Resilience. I will know better the next time.

In respect to the scenario, it was not as good as the last one from MSB, we could have easily went on for hours as there was no turn limits or slaughtering points. The only way one could win is my killing the Warlord and it would have been very easy to play defensively.  Clearly we decided not to!

09 October 2018

O'er the Hills Early Peninsula War Scenarios Kickstarter

There is a little more then a week to go for the O'er the Hills Early Peninsula War Scenarios Kickstarter.  Eleven days and a little less than $300 in pledges is needed to make this a reality.

I suspect most of my readers are familar with JJ's Wargames blog by Mr Jonathan Jones, this is really a superb site with beautiful photographs of many excellent Action Reports of Napoleonic miniature wargames. The blog is also an excellent resource for all things Napoloeonic, but especially for the Spanish Armies of the era.

Jonathan has put this book together with the people who wrote the O'er the Hills Napoleonic ruleset and I suspect it will be an excellent reference for putting together games for the Peninsular Wars. I actually do not even use this ruleset but feel confident that these scenarios will be easily ported to Général d'Armée, my chosen ruleset. As an encouragement to pledge, JJ has just announced that all backers with get a free pdf of  2 extra battles with an additional early Portuguese list. 


06 October 2018

Painting in Four Scales

The fall is here so time to get the brushes out again. Over the last 6 weeks I have been working on several projects, finally got a chance to do some photography today. I had not really realised it but what I have done is in 4 different scales.

6mm Epic Horus Heresy Flying Ships
Blood Angels Thunderhawk Gunship
Has significant transport capacity for both Space Marines and Vehicles and can operate as a ground assault craft
Finally got my other flyers mounted on bases
15mm ACW Union Generals
Blue Moon ACW Union Generals for Pickets Charge
20mm WWII Finland Infantry
AntiTank Rifle Team
Additional Infantry Squad w/ captured DP-28 LMG
Slide Mine!
AntiTank Teams. Most of the figures are from Eureka
28mm SAGA Shield-Maidens
Cost 1 point, Leader has Aggression of 4, unit has determination and Banner rules
It was good to starting painting again, as I have to warm up for the IX AHPC! A new force has been ordered.

05 October 2018

The Sacred Forest

Myself and Adam finally got a game of SAGA in last week. It is the first we had played for a while. We are now playing SAGA2, which we both believe is an improvement over the original set. Unfortunately it was a bit of a difficult game as our knowledge of the rules were quite rusty and many mistakes were made.

It has been a bit of a challenge to find scenarios that are designed for SAGA2 as we are still waiting for the Book of Battles to be released. There is only one official scenario released so far and that is in the main rulebook. I think we have already played in twice, so something new was needed. Fortunately a SAGA player has released a series of unofficial scenarios which can be found in a link on the Studio Tomahawk English Forum.

After a look through, I decided that the Sacred Forest scenario looked interesting, you can download this specific scenario here. It was quite a good scenario and I can recommend it. We went with 6 point  warbands. 

Ragnar Lothbrook (1)
Hearthguard (1)
Berserkers (1)
Warriors (1)
Shield-maidens (1)
Sling-armed Levy (1)

Brian Boru (0)
2 Curaidh (1)
Hearthguard (1)
3 Warriors (2.5)
Wolfhounds (0.5)
Gall-Gaedhill (1)

Adam arranged his warband so that he had 6 SAGA dice to start and mine were arranged to generate 7 dice. Victory Points were given and the start of each players turn if he had more units in the forest than his opponent. A Victory point was also awarded at the end of the game for each unit that was destroyed and 3 Victory points were awarded if you killed your opponent's Warlord. The game was 6 turns but could be extended on a dice throw after the sixth turn.

I took a few photos at the beginning of the game which went 7 turns and lasted about 3 hours. This is a little long for us but the game was marked by much debate about the rules. The scenario is actually quite good and I commend the author. We originally gave the victory to the Irish by 9 to 7, but in retrospect it was cleared that the Brian Boru would have been killed in the 6th turn if the rules had been properly applied, giving a victory to the Vikings by at least 10 to 9.
3x4' terrain with large forest in the middle
Advancing Irish
My slingers got to throw one shot and then had to withdraw after being chopped.
Advancing Berserkers, they also died quickly.
You can find an AR with more photos on Adams blog. I spend a lot of time going over the rules after the game as I felt that several of them had been mis-interpreted. I find it best to read through the whole book, which is easy enough as it is quite short. Relying on reading one sentence in the book is rarely helpful as a sentence has to be interpreted in the context of where it is found. Here is a list of the misinterpretations and clarifications of the ruleset that I discovered. I confirmed them by asking question of the SAGA Forum.

SAGA Mistakes

First Activation after Rest does not generate fatigue.

No limitation on movement in respect to other figures friendly or enemy
You can not slow movement to VS by taking a fatique in difficult terrain.

The attacker can not use the enemy’s fatique to reduce armour, the defender can use his enemy's fatigue to increase armour.

An exhausted unit can only rest, this includes using any SAGA activation abilities.
If a unit that starts a melee exhausted it remains exhausted (-1 on attack dice) even if opponent uses it's fatigue during the melee process.

You can not use resilience when the Warlord is exhausted.

The process is this, if a WL has a resilience of 1, this means that instead of taking a casualty you can take a fatigue. A warlord can take up to 3 fatigues but then becomes exhausted. If the Warlord has a resilience of 2, this means that he takes only 1 fatigue for 3 uncanceled hits, while a warlord with a resilience of 1 would take 2 fatigues for 3 uncanceled hits. Once he exceeds 3 fatigues he dies!