30 June 2019

There are Many Rivers to Cross-Turn 3

After 2 turns
Platoon 1: Germans 3 dead, 2 man missing the next turn, JL#3 at 1 CI.
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


Table 4 from the campaign book, it is based on Going with a Bang scenario for the 1940 Blitzkreig source book. The Germans are entering from the right at either the upper orlower point depending on a dice roll. The Belgians have to blow up 2 of the 4 culverts seen on the map. The 2 culverts in the centre are small and require a task roll of 6 to set the charge while the 2 culverts to the left are large and require a task roll of 12 to set the charges.
Chasseur Ardennais 1 Platoon (FM 10)
Core (-20 men)
GdC 1 (-3 riflemen)
Demolition Team
DBT Lance Grenade Section
CoC Dice
Supports (9)
Demolition Team
Franc Tireurs

Schützen 2 Platoon (FM 11)
5cm Mortar Team
Squad 1
Squad 2
Squad 3
Supports (22)
Shabby Nazi Trick Nuns with Guns, 
Red Dice
Off-Table MMG
MMG Team
le.IG 18 IG

The table, the Germans enter from the left
Greg really got the jump on me with the Patrol Phase as you can see. The JOP's are circled.

So on with some photos.

Greg rapidly deployed all his troops. The Stuka bombardment had no effect on the houses and he decided to very quickly end the turn with his CoC die. At the same time his Franc Tireurs prevented me from quickly getting off my most forward JOP, he advanced his first demo team to take out the minor culvert in the bottom right. Initially Iwas not in the best position to put pressureon them but my Civilians rapidly advanced up the east-west road, revealed themselves as a German LMG team on a double phase took some pot shots at the CdG behind the hedge and then ran back and occupied the house in the centre. Greg put his DBT team to good use by dropping smoke rounds to protect the CdG squad and the demo team and they started to do set their charges.........
The CdG team took a lot of fire, they are one shock from being pinned and their JL is down to 1 CI.

The Belgian DBT team with the SL giving support. They were well hidden but without direct LOS they were unable to lay down really accurate smoke. By the end of the game they had fired 8 of their 9 available smoke rounds.
As usuall my MMG team got beat up and pinned before they could get much fire off. I had to send in a SL to keep them going and to get the shock off......

.......fortunatley he was within range of my le.IG18 so they were able to rain HE on the CdG team with the support of another rifle squad. By now the Germans were fully deployed.

The Belgian demo team took a lot of fire from the LMG team in the house as well as another German squad behind the stone wall. They broke and had to retreat without completing their mission. A 2nd demo team was now attempting to blow the large culvert to the above left but I deployed my Off-Table MMG to put fire on them at long range. I then threw a triple6 on my CI lifting all the smoke. Greg's options were now quite limited so he withdrew. Not many dead as can see from above. The Germans advance to table 5.

The Summing Up

The ending force morale was 11 for the Germans and 8 for the Belgians. The Germans lost 1 support MMG gun crew and 1 rifleman while the Belgians lost 7 support riflemen. So once we apply the post campaign process and the losses from turn 2 we have the following:

After 3 turns
German Platoon 1: 3 dead. 1JL down 1CI (3" command range)
German Platoon 2: Intact
Belgian Platoon 1: 15 dead.

Campaign Tracker
Commander's Opinion+3 (+1FM)
Men's Opinion +2
Platoon Leaders's Outlook: Droll
Commander's Opinion-1
Men's Opinion -4 (-1FM)
Platoon Leaders's Outlook: Sad

It was an interesting game as the scenario is a challenge. I was surprised that Greg did not take a new platoon but when I thought about this, I realised it was a good decision as victory was not dependent on firepower but more on maneuver.

I think the diceing was about equal and we both got the appropriate number of double phases, but I was lucky to get the triple 6 when I did has it lifted all Greg's smoke at a critical time in the game. Without the smoke he was wide open and was forced to withdraw.

The next game is going to be a challenge for the Germans as their advance has been a little too quick and although the Belgians failed to blow the roads, the Germans mobile support still has not caught up to them (this does not happen until after turn 4). The next table is based on the Blitzkreig scenario from the 1940 sourcebook, it is going to be hard to exit troops off the other end of the table without any wheels!

26 June 2019

Marking Leaders in CoC

Chain of Command is a great game but it does require some on-table markers. TFL makes some nice acyrlic markers to denote units on Tactical or Overwatch. They also make some nice red Shock Markers for marking the attrition that different teams have taken during the game. I am good with the tactical and overwatch markers but have found that a large number of shock markers can take away from the look of a game (I do think they are great though for videos or demonstration games as well illustrate attrition), so I use microdice mounted in small holders.

Leaders, however, were a little more tricky. They can have 2 states; the number of Command Initiatives they have as well if they are Wounded or not (no Command ability for the present turn). As the game progresses a leader can also drop in their ability to give commands (ie their comand initiative can drop). In most cases, Senior Leaders start with 3 CI, while Junior Leaders start with 2CI.

Initially, I glued tiny red beads on the bases of the leaders to indicate their level of command and would remove a bead during the game if their CI fell. It really was not the best system though as I would have to go over all my leaders before each game and the terraining on the bases was being damaged. Wounded leaders were just tipped over on the table!

Recently, I attended Huzzah, a gaming convention in Portland, ME and there played in a game of Flint and Feather where the GM had these very attractive markers to desiginate how many wounds each figure had. All the figures were on metal bases (my new method of bases) and the attrition marker was attached via a small magnet to the base. I really liked how it looked and through a series of emails, I was able to track down the guy who made the MDF markers, and he very kindly agreed to make me a bunch to my specification.

I needed 2 sizes, one to accomodate the leaders on 25mm bases and one to accomodate the Gun Team leaders who were on 20mm bases. What follows is some photos.
Three rows of 25mm bases with 1,2,3 stars and 1 row of 20mm for Gun Team leaders.
A SL with 3 CI, followed by a JL with 2 CI and then a JL who has lost a CI.
I mark all my leaders with a clump of red flowers so on the table it is obvious what they are. I am still deciding what to do to differentiate between SL's and JL's. I may add a little bush as I do not want to overwhelm the base with flowers. SL's can command any one on the table, while JL's can only command their own section or team. I actually really do not need to use a marker if the leader is not wounded or at normal CI.
A Gun Team JL on a 20mm base. 25mm bases were a little too large for by ATG bases, I also felt no need to designate their CI unless they had lost one as it was obvious on the table that they were a ATG JL. I only ordered markers to designate that they had dropped to 1 CI.
6 pdr ATG Team w/JL.
So how to mark a wounded leader (one who has no CI until the end of a turn). Well all I do is flip over the base, the obverse has benn painted red, so it is quite obvious that he is out until the next phase. Of course there is one little problem with flipping over the bases and the clue is above. I am sure some clever fellow will point it out!
Anyway, I am quite pleased with these markers, they are quite simple and unobstrusive. I have a game coming up this Saturday so I will soon have some photos of them in action.

I have also almost finished painting up my new AB Brits and Germans to replace my initial PSC troops who have gone to a new home in Nebraska. Spreading the Lard!

20 June 2019

Von Luck-Turn 4-The Corridor of Death

Mike and myself played out turn 4 in our Von Luck campaign yesterday. It was quite a complex terrain layout so we played at my place....just way too much to transport. The next table is much simpler so we will play at the Hobby Bunker, which is a shorter drive for Mike as he comes from RI and of course we like to advertise CoC whenever possible.
Post Turn 3
Brits: CO +1, MO +3, PLO Happy
Germans: CO +2, MO +3, PLO Happy

So on to table 3- Attacking the Corridor of Death.....

Mike had only 1 dead man so he went with the same platoon, I was missing a rifle team, a bren team and a 2" Mortar team from my original platoon but had two opportunities to dice for their return as 2 turns had passed and lo and behold, they all showed up. Since I had only 4 men dead, I decided to go with this platoon. I had a plan and it involved using scout teams, so I decided to remove the 4 SMG armed troops as my dead figures.

British Paratroopers (FM 11)
2 SL
Piat Team
2" Mortar  Team
Section 1 (-1 SMG)
Section 2 (-1 SMG)
Section 3 (-2 SMG), Sniper
MMG Team
2" Mortar Team
Gammon bombs

German Panzer Grenadiers (FM 10)
Panzergrenadier Platoon (-1man)
MMG Team
Werfer Pregame Barrage
Lorraine Schlepper

On to some photos....
The British end
I thought I did a nice job on the table
German Approach
The Patrol Phase....Mike got 6 free moves!
The JOP's
So the game started, my plan was to wait until Mike deployed, I was pretty convinced that he would take a Werfer Barrage, a FO as well as the Lorraine Schlepper, he had 20 Support points. He did deploy and I quickly built up 2 CoC dice but at  same time Mike had also accumulated 2 CoC dice! My plan was to break off a couple of scout teams armed with the gammon bombs in the hope that I could get close to the Lorraine Schlepper and take it out as it only had an armour of 2. The Piat was going to be difficult to get close enough even with an Ambush as I knew Mike would keep the vehicle back. I also had to get him to get his barrage down before I deployed. Well this sort of worked aside from the Scout teams, but what I had not predicted that Mike's plan was to destroy all the houses on my side of the table thus leaving with no Hard Cover in which to deploy, this also cleared his LOS to my right flank from his 2nd story buildings. He did lay down his barrage as you can see from above, fortunately I had no troops under it and it only took out one JOP.
Mike then deployed his 3 squads on the table as well as his MMG team in one of the 2 story buildings.
The Lorraine Schlepper is quite a weapon, Mike did a very nice job on the model. It fires 13 HE. .....
......as you can see he destroyed 4 of my 5 buildings. We played back and forth with his initial barrage, but I got a triple 6 on my CD and ended his first barrage as well as his Wefer barrage. I got set up in the forest and advanced my troops but then disaster struck as you can see above. Mike got a double 6 and his FO called up the barrage a 2nd time, he got a five, so it was available! With some miraculous accurracy of fire he was able to trap 2 full sections as well as a SL under the barrage. We both had 2 CoC dice, so when I ended the turn, he would use a CoC to continue the barrage. My troops held up pretty well for a while but Mike got another double 6 and they started to wilt so I withdrew. We ended both with a FM of 10.

Post Turn 4
Platoon 1: Brits 9 dead, 3 missing for next game
Platoon 1: Germans 1 dead, 1 missing for next game
Brits: CO -1, MO -1, PLO Happy
Germans: CO +5, MO +8 PLO Affable

So another victory to the Germans, it is starting to look a little hopeless although I have to say that the next table looks a little easier for the British to win. But of course, one would have thought that  with all that hard cover the Airborne would have been a little safer.

Mike really played a good game here, I have to admit that I never would of thought that of destroying all the buildings as he did thus removing all my hard cover that combined with a very accurate barrage made it quite difficult for me.

I suspect our next game might not be until late July. I am going away the 1st two weeks of July. Lots of gaming planned though. Moving on to the next turn of Too Many Rivers to Cross campaign Saturday week with Greg. Off to Montreal then, I have 3 games planned: A CoC 1940 game with PY, a GdA game with Iannick and then myself and PY are going to start the All American campaign at his place. I am quite looking forward to this as he has some beautiful figures and terrain. It will be also interesting to see how CoC plays in 28mm. Unfortunately myself and Tom appear to have great difficulties getting to game 2 in our Bloody Bucket campaign, very conflicting schedules!

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.