30 April 2020

More Bag the Hun

This past Monday myself and Pierre-Yves got  in another game of Bag the Hun using the Finest Hour campaign generator. We played for almost 3 hours, we got in 6 turns. The game of course is a little slower as P-Y has to move all the figures. We seem to be doing generally well with tele-wargaming, we have now used Zoom twice which definitely gives better stability and image quality over google hangouts. Still struggling with using OBS on both sides though. Zoom supposedly has the capacity multiple participants to share multiple screens on each side but we are finding we can not get it to work properly. P-Y has the game set up on his side, I have just been wanting to add a dice tray on my side but still no success.
The OB is as above, this time I payed the Germans, I had 6 Do-17 bombers and 4 Me 109's. Trying to stop me was a flight of 6 spitfires in 2 sections. Here are a few photos of P-Y's beautifully rendered planes.
the light green markers are bogies.
a real mishmash of planes
Both sides lost planes, I believe I lost 2 bombers and 1 Me 109, while I took down 2 spitfires, I had to work the next day and it was 2330h so I had to call the game, I believe I would not have made it off the table with my bombers.

I like Bag the Hun, it is a lot of fun but I am starting to find the Finest Hour campaign is somewhat un-exciting. There is no real specific goals in each of the scenarios, you are told what you have to fight with but it then seems that the only game is to destroy the others planes. I think it would work better is something like "the Germans have to get 4 of 6 of their bombers to the coast and they win" or some method of calculating victory points. I appreciate that the goal for the British is to preserve pilots and planes and through out the 4-5 months of the campaign for the pilots to rise up through the ranks and gain experience. It is a pretty slow process and there is not really any tracking from the German side. You can of course set up the campaign from the German side but than of course it is the British that are passive. I voiced this to P-Y and I believe he feels the same, but the good news is that there are multiple single scenarios and some short campaigns within the TFL specials. So lots to enjoy yet with this fun ruleset.

On a personal side, I am still waiting for my planes to arrive from Tumbling Dice, it should be any day now. I have the paints in place and was just notified that my flight stands from Litko are on the way. My hexed mat is all ready so we should see some EW North African airwar soon.

29 April 2020

Muskets and Tomahawks v2

Next up in my solo wargaming adventures is a test of Muskets and Tomahawks version 2. I received this ruleset with it's companion source book for the North American wars (FIW, AWI, 1812) about 6 weeks ago. I have been looking forward to it for some time, I like M&T v1, it is my choice over the other 2 rulesets I have played: This Very Ground (nice but maybe a little too simplistic for me in respect to C and C) and Sharp Practice 2 (I am a big TFL fan but I just find this ruleset a little too clunky for me and boring to play). 
One can find numerous reviews online as well as on YouTube and the rules have been generally well received, some complaints about the editing but that is about it. You can find the Facebook group here. As previously noted I think of the FIW in terms of small skirmishes set in a winter wilderness.
I was a little challenged to put together two opposing forces as I have a British force only, but with a bit of work I was able to assemble two 250 point forces as follows:

The Dastardly Brits
Major Joseph Gorham
Gorham's Rangers (6)
Dank's Rangers (6)
Roger's Rangers (6)
British Infantry (8) 

Les Canadiens
Wawanaloath-Abenaki Sachem
Abenaki Braves (4) x 3
Milice canadien (4) x 2
Père Latrout
Civilians (4) x 2

So I thought a nice little scenario would be an attack on a small religious community somewhere on the Quebec border with New Hampshire. The community is small and led by Père Latrout, they have a small sheep farm, there are 2 lay brothers and 6 civilians. They have no weapons aside from their agricultural tools and their belief in God. There is news of an attack by a Ranger force accompanied by some regular British infantry. Word of the attack has reached a local Abenaki sachem who hurries to the community with 12 of his elite warriors and 8 local militia.

The table was set up using the scenario set up rules in the Redcoats and Tomahawks source book (Capture/Evacuation). The set up is below.
The rangers enter at by the river (the west), les canadiens have 2 deployment points, one in the centre and to the east.
The Rangers advance......
.......soon joined by the regulars
Roger's rangers retreat from the Abenaki muskets
Missed taking photos as usual, the civilians have retreated behind the building, they have an exit to the south and to the west, the west looks to be a better option. The Abenaki have retreated north while one unit of milice has been wiped out.
The Abenaki have now fled to the north in an attempt to protect the civilians retreat. The remaining unit of milice is approaching from the south east to attack the Brits from the rear.
Another unit of Rangers is taken out but the infantry are advancing, three of the civilians have been killed in the crossfire. Père Latrout is stuck behind the cabin with the 4 remaining civilians.
The infantry unleash a volley on a unit of Abenaki....all dead. A canadien morale card come up, the civilians are all slaughtered.....a Ranger victory!
Les morts
Well, I have to say that this is a great set of rules. I had 2 goes at this scenario, I realised I was missing a couple of things and asked some questions on the FB group, I then replayed it and easily completed the game in 2 hours with these small forces. Once you get the hang of how the mechanics work things go quickly. 

Another winner from Studio Tomahawk!

25 April 2020

FIW Buildings

Next up in solo testing of new rulesets is Muskets and Tomahawks v2. Myself and my friend Iannick have played a number of games with our FIW figures, but always in summer or fall kit. My image of this war is small units trudging through the snow. I have quite a bit of winter terrain and a mat for my WWII gaming, the buildings I have are a 20th century and 1/72 scale. My figures for FIW are 28 mm so I felt I needed a couple of buildings.

These 2 buildings are actually from Najewitz Modellbau's ACW collection but they looked OK for FIW. I had to scale them up, and I used Wood PLA to print them. I find the Wood PLA gives a nice effect. Once printed these buildings were washed with GW contrast paints and then drybrushed with acrylics. It seems to work, they were then winterized. I am happy with the result. I would like to find a log building as well as some fencing to add to the collection.

Next on to a playtest of the rules.

22 April 2020

Congo: The Jewel of Africa

I played another solo game of Congo today, I held off for a couple of days as I had a couple of questions about the rules and it took a day or two to get answers. There does not seem there are a lot of Congo players out there (I subsequently found the FB page), the Studio Tomahawk forum is dying a slow death like all other gaming forums, mostly because of Facebook. I am now a member of 10-12 groups and although they are very useful with nice people I am still just not impressed with FB, the forums are a much better vehicle to discuss rules and games and to be able find previously answered questions. I really have to wonder what is wrong with people, everyone has the attention span of demented rabbits, the language is slowly being destroyed, it is all abbreviations and grammatically incorrect phrasing. But anyway no one is going to listen to me, so I shall just shut up.

Eight scenarios come with the ruleset, so I picked the Jewel of Africa scenario this time. Essentially a African Princess has been captured by an enemy tribe and is being carted off by them with 4 of her slaves. A rescue party has been sent out, they have to stop the kidnappers by rescuing the princess and her slaves. One is also rewarding of course for killing the kidnappers. I will illustrate the action with some photos.

Basic 4x3' terrain. Path down the centre with tall grass on each side with areas of dense jungle. Neither side starts on the table and the kidnappers enter the table at the start of the path at the top of the photo. They have to escape off the bottom edge of the table. The rescuers come in from one of the 6 areas on the sides of the table. The kidnappers just have to be activated to enter while the rescuers have to be both activated and then pass a dice roll to come on. The further down the path the kidnappers have got, the more difficult for the rescuers to enter the table.
I played the White Explorers group as the rescuers, a total of 70 points in 5 groups.
The African Kingdoms group were the kidnappers, they are accompanied by the 4 slaves distributed among each of the groups, there is also a Zanzibare Trader with one of the groups. The Jewel of Africa  is with a group of Warriors, as designated by the red arrow.
The table after turn 2, the rescuers have managed to get 5 of their groups on the table while the kidnappers  have all 4 groups on. The rescuers have yet to be spotted as they are crawling around in the deep grass, they do suffer Terror though!
End of turn 3, the rescuers are now revealed. The Explorer with his Trained Askaris is in the clump of forest in the lower right. The Warriors with the Princess are trying to get down the left side of the table.
After turn 4, the Fanatical Warriors have been all killed and the African is by himself facing off with a group of Ruga-Ruga. A large kidnapper group of Married Warriors is at the edge of the table but decide not to escape in order to cover the retreat of the group with the Princess. They have been whittled down to a single warrior.
After turn 5, on the far left you can see the Princess with a single warrior, they are getting close but the excellent gunfire from a 3 man group of Explorers is causing havoc.
Sixth turn, last 2 action cards, the kidnappers (left have 2 movement activations plus a bonus activation, they move closer to the edge. The rescuers are foiled by having their last card being 4 movement activations but with red feet, meaning they can not move into melee. Remember that I am using Confusion in my solo games, meaning that the order and type of action card that gets played is completely random.
So it was a close game but the Kidnappers won by one VP.
So a marginal victory for the kidnappers! Another fun game and a great ruleset.

So I think I will pack these guys away for a while and have a look at another Studio Tomahawk game.....Muskets and Tomahawks version 2.

By the way.....How to play Congo, excellent you tube video.
And I just found the Facebook page and there are a lot of members!

16 April 2020

Finest Hour-Round 2

We played our second sortie from the Finest Hour over 2 nights, finishing up this past Tuesday. Pierre-Yves put together a great video  detailing the action.
I think it was a lot of work to do this as the game was over 3 hours but it really is well done. I also took some screen shots while we were playing so you get a closer look at some of the planes.
The pale green hex indicates that the Spitfire is on the tail of the BF110
Classic Vic formation for Spitfires (green), Classic Schwarm formation for the BF110's (blue) and the the other schwarm  is in a 2 Pair formation (red)
This ruleset is really lending itself to video wargaming and we are progressing through the campaign, we played the next sortie this past Tuesday and our next game is scheduled for Sunday night.

15 April 2020


I recently finished painting my second force for the Studio Tomahawk game Congo. I had yet to play but over the last couple of days I have had a chance to look through the book. After a good look, it was apparent that this might be a good game for solo wargaming. The game is card driven, but using the option confusion you can blind your choice of activation card.

I picked two 70 point forces, one from the White Man Expeditions and the other from the African Kingdoms. The scenario had a group from each side holding a hostage and negotiating at a sacred area in the middle of the table. Simply put the story narrated that the negotiations would break down and each group would try to escape with their hostage off their respective table edges on the long axis of the table.

Original positions; essentially the Explorers group on the right has to exit the table towards the left and and the African Kingdoms to the right. Each side's groups were positioned about the table not closer than M to the sacred rock and M to each other. It worked well.
Opposing groups with their hostages.
The Expeditions group sent in their Trained Askaris to negotiate, they are holding the African King's daughter. The African King is hoping to exchange Father Marcellin for her.
Expedition's Ruga-Ruga
African King's Askaris, the only musket armed group he has.
Young Warriors lead by the King
Fanatical Warriors
Explorer's Askaris
The Explorer with his Young Warriors
Late action with the Explorer's racing to get off the table, with both Father Marcellin and the Princess
Well, I really enjoyed the game, it is quite simple and for solo wargaming it really worked well. I played a full 6 turns in a couple of hours, the card system went well. I am sure I made lots of mistakes but the mechanics are fairly simple with good explanations in the book. I think I might play another adventure today!

08 April 2020

First Round of the Finest Hour: A Bag the Hun Campaign

We had our first round of play of the Finest Hour Bag the Hun campaign on Monday night. Still ironing out the kinks of our Tele-gaming setup but we got in 6 sorties (one was autoplayed)  and we had a lot of fun. Planning our next round this Friday. We both focused on maneuver in these sorties, so there was very little combat. I suspect this will be quite hard to read.
Pierre-Yves has really done quite a brilliant job with automating a lot of the book-keeping for the campaign. A blank campaign editor can be found here and a squadron editor here. As you can see these are very useful, and here you can find an auto-play version of the campaign where several week have gone by, it is very useful as you get a sense of what maybe coming up and of course what models you may need.
Of note is the fact that we are alternating sides for each sortie, this has worked well. I have ordered all the planes, mat and flight stands that I need for the Falcon and the Gladiator North African EW project, only Commonwealth and Regia Aeronautica planes as the Luftwaffe has yet to arrive, there will be lots of cool biplanes so I am pretty excited.