31 December 2021

Exporting Devil in the Wilderness

Ten days ago, I had my last game of 2021. It has been a great year for wargaming with a record number of 67 games played. Most of these were of course virtual but I have grown to enjoy these games almost as much as those played in person. I have cemented my relationship with my friends in Finland, started the year playing virtually but ended up getting four in person games with Pierre-Yves, Iannick and Luis in Montreal last week, as well as got a few in person games with my friend Adam here. I seemed to have lost touch with three CoC players locally which is a pity and I have really not been able to get much going at the local game store.

I recently played a very interesting short campaign based around the first day of the Soviet invasion of Finland on November 30, 1939. I am waiting for Eero to post his excellent battle reports which I will pass on from here when ready. 

Anyway enough of that. I was quite keen to bring what I think is a great game that was developed locally to Montreal, so 10 days ago I set up a Devil in the Wilderness game for my friend P-Y at my new apartment there. This was an inaugural game for my place in the Mile End neighbourhood and the first of what I hope will be many games. I have transported quite a few figures as well as terrain there in preparation for my semi-permanent move there in just 6 months. I am looking forward to getting back to my native land after what will be almost a 25 year absence. 

So on to the game, as I have previously noted I had a recent learning game with Dave Valentine, the creator of Devil in the Wilderness, so I was pretty confident in hosting the game. I perceive that the Witch-Hunters lead by Cotton Mather have a bit more oomph than the Witches so I gave this faction to P-Y. I had transported all the specific terrain for the game much more easily than I thought so you can see the layout below.

Well it was a bit of a strange game as the Witches got to deploy first, unfortunately they did not get down with a many initiatives or good cards so when the Witch-Hunters deployed in an adjacent location with great cards and a large number of initiatives, two of my supporting character got killed in the first 2 turns of the game. This really put the the Witches on the back foot and despite another 60 minutes of play where unable to recover enough to prevent Good from prevailing on the game counter. 

Despite this it was a fun game and I will be surely replaying it again the next time I am in Montreal. we were left with very few questions about the ruleset but I understand that Dave will be soon publishing an errata for the ruleset.

 Anyway on to Covid Year 3!

20 December 2021

A Much Delayed Game: Epic Horus Heresy

Almost 4 years ago I decided to paint up a 6mm army for Epic Horus Heresy. My friend Iannick in Montreal had been working on a Epic army for some time and I remember looking at his army one day and thinking it would be sort of fun to paint up an army. I knew nothing about 40K wargaming and I have to say I had not a whole lot of interest in non-historical wargaming, but I decided to plunge in A Flight into Fantasy.

We both finally had build up armies: Iannick with the Emperors Children, a traitor faction in the Horus Heresy and myself with the Blood Angels, a loyalist faction about 2 years ago and planned to have our first game using the Epic NetAE rules on 2020-22-3. Of course as we all know that was about a week before the border between the US and Canada closed in Covid Year 1. Six months ago, the border reopened to casual travel so was finally able to re-establish myself in my native country.

Yesterday we finally got our first game in, I should note that neither of us had played the ruleset before (there numerous different variations) but the game actually played well. We both went with 2000 point armies and decided not to play with any aerial units. I do not have a copy of Iannick's OB but mine was exactly the same as I planned to use almost 2 years ago. 
I have to admit, no tactical considerations were made in putting together this army, I was just interested in putting some models on the table. I had made some terrain and had an old dessert mat so I transported this to Ahuntsic in a single shopping bag and we had a game.
We played for about 3 hours and the Blood Angels were soundly defeated by the Emperor's Children, but I have to say I think I only rolled 1's every time I tried to rally a unit. It was a lot of fun, and I will look forward to my next game.
A wintery view from my apartment in Mile End last night.

17 December 2021

Saipan-Sugar Rush (7)


Last night myself and Pierre-Yves got together in person to play the next turn in the Saipan campaign. This will be the third attempt of the marines to take this table and now they have 15 supports while the Japanese will continue to have only 7. 
Pretty similar to the last game, the marines had fewer free moves so they were a little further back on the table. I would of liked to get my southern JOP a little more south but it was OK.

USMC (FM 9) (+3 on FM roll)
6th Marine Regiment

Type F USMC Platoon #1 (7 men missing)

3 Infantry Squads with Sup JL and 12 men

Supports (15)

M4A2 Sherman (7)
M3A1 Satan (8)

Japanese (FM 11) (+3 on FM roll)
136th Infantry Regiment

Type B Infantry Platoon #1 (15 men missing)

2 SL
3 Infantry Sections with Jl and 12 men
Grenadier Section with JL and 12 men and 3 50mm Mortars

Minefield added as per consolidation

Supports (7)

Tank Hunter Team (2)
Flamethrower Team (5)

So on to the game:

I felt that I had little chance of winning this table one more time as the Marines had more supports and had already burst one hole through the hedge. I took an extra minefield but decided to not block the hole as I felt the Marines would just go to the south with a tank anyway but maybe tempted to get their infantry through the breech and I wanted to channel them. What became immediately obvious was this was not going to be the case as P-Y had used all supports on 2 tanks, with one being a Satan Flame Tank!

I suspected I could take out one tank with my tank hunters but really had no way to stop the second tank...........or as I thought. This resulted in me immediately changing my plan (if I actually had one). I knew I had little chance of winning now, so I decided to try to rush one of the marine JOP's. This was going to be close to impossible but I said why not. I deployed my Flame thrower team west of the hedge with the plan to go down the northern edge to try to distract the marine tank advance. P-Y rapidly advanced his 2 tanks to the hedge and then pointed out to me that he could not understand why I had deployed my Flamethrowers as they could be effective against tanks........well I completely had missed that!

Now I was in real trouble, I deployed all my squads now in a futile attempt to drive back the Satan with LMG fire, after all they only had 4 armour. The Sherman had burst through the hedge by now and as expected (I was lucky to accumulate CoC die quickly), I ambushed it with my tank hunters, 4 net hits, P-Y rolled a 6, the marines were down 2 FM. But what to do with the Satan, my Flamethrowers were a long way off, it was my phase and I decided to withdraw. P-Y decided to interrupt with the Satan to crush 2 of my infantry squads that were in range. Nine hits but only 2 kill, unfortunately one was on a JL, so I dropped 1 FM but then withdrew safely. I had no loses as the FM difference took out the one killed man.

Well we are now on to table 5, and our next turn is number 7, so I am in pretty good shape. I have a completely intact squad. If I have it right, I just have to win one more turn to win the campaign.

Butcher's Bill

The post game calculations were quite easy as no men in the core platoons were lost on either side.


Final FM 7

5 down for next game (platoon 1)

CO +2
MO +7 (+2 on FM roll, Platoon Leader 12" CR)
Platoon Leaders Outlook Thoughtful


Final FM 10

0 dead for next game (platoon 2)
14 dead for next game (platoon 1)

CO +1
MO +3
Platoon Leaders Outlook Assured (+1 FM)

On to some terrific photos from the camera of P-Y....
Tanks deploy
Worst deployment in history
That looks nasty
Thes guys are even more nasty
But up comes the Satan
Cowering in fear

16 December 2021

Muskets and Tomahawks: Bataille Sainte-Foy

Last night, I finally got a game in with my friend Luis in Montreal. It was almost 2 years since I had seen Luis, and that meeting had the distinction of being the last in-person game I had before the start of the pandemic. We had planned to play at L'abyss but we found out at the last minute they close early some nights, so we played at Luis's apartment. I can easily say we were surrounded by a lot of wargaming paraphernalia. On the table next to us was a beautiful table for a battle set in central America with some Aztec warriors. As you can see below, the table set up for the Battle of Sainte-Foy was no slouch. Since we were playing a skirmish game, Luis had selected a small part of the battle along the chemin Sainte-Foy. 
Battle fought within the blue rectangle
French Forces

Infantry Officer
2 units of French Infantry
Grandier Infantry
Milice Officer
2 units of Milice Canadien

British Forces

Infantry Officer
British Infantry
Highland Infantry
Ranger Officer
2 units of Rangers

The initial British advance

The French were allowed to occupy the stone windmill and the British were allowed to occupy the house just east of the windmill. Luis (who of course played the French) did choose to put a unit of infantry in the stone mill, I elected to remain outside the house just to the east in cover. We then alternately deployed each of our units within 12 paces of our table edge. You might not notice it as the figures are so well painted that these are actually 15mm Blue Moon figures, really very nice. Because these were not 28mm figures, Luis has invented this notional unit of paces (around 19mm) and rather then use inches we substituted paces. Luis has made some great measuring sticks which made this all very easy!

Victory Conditions

To occupy both buildings

I was able to advance my main force up my left flank, and drove back the Milice Canadien , eventually routing both units off the table.

Luis was quite tricky though and while I was battering his troops in the centre and the left flank, he had advanced an unit of infantry towards the western house on my right unprotected flank.

Time to run a unit into the building before the French got in!

By now the battle was quite heated, I had brought the French force down to within a whisker of morale failure (26 men on, 25 men off). My dice were generally better than Luis's. But he decided to make a typical French sang froid charge into the building, he was repulsed twice, I believe, but on his third charge with 5 men against my 7 men, he forced me out.....Une victoire française!

So I believe we both had a great deal of fun and it was great to see Luis again. I am sure we will meet up again soon.

11 December 2021

Saipan- Sugar Rush (6)

Thursday night, we had our 6th turn on the campaign clock in the Saipan campaign turn. This was again "The Probe" scenario from the main rulebook and the Marines second attempt to take the table.

I felt that P-Y got the better of me in the Patrol Phase, he got far up the terrain with his JOP's, but I have to say again he got 4 free moves before the Patrol Phase actually started. I was able, however, to get a good spread on my JOP's and but them all up against the hedge a major obstacle. 

USMC (FM 10) (+4 on FM roll)
6th Marine Regiment

Type F USMC Platoon #1 (2 men missing)

3 Infantry Squads with Sup JL and 12 men

Supports (13)

M4A2 Sherman (7)
Pregame Barrage (5)
? (1)

Japanese (FM 11) (+3 on FM roll)
136th Infantry Regiment

Type B Infantry Platoon #1 (12 men missing)

2 SL
3 Infantry Sections with Jl and 12 men
Grenadier Section with JL and 12 men and 3 50mm Mortars

extra fortification due to consolidation.

Supports (7)

Type 97 Khi Shinhoto Chi-Ha Tank (6)
Fortification 1)

So on to the game:

Again, I was confident that P-Y would take a tank, but was not sure how many. I decided to change things up to see how one of my supports that I had yet to take in the campaign would function so I went with my most expensive support a Kai Shinhoto Chi- Ha tank.
I thought I would post this photo that Eero took that is actually a screenshot from Discord.  The quality is really quite good on Discord with the Boost, over 6000km distance!

So the game started. I was fortunate as I got an 11 on my FM roll, while P-Y ended up with 10, rolling a 1! The Marines got a double phase on their first roll and soon after got another double phase, so before I had placed any troops they had the Sherman down and advanced towards the hedge as well as a squad behind the rock as well as one in the field on their right flank. I wanted to hold off my deployment until I could see the Marine path of advance. Soon it was obvious that on their left flank they were going to advance the tank supported by a squad of marines while on their right flank they placed another squad to cover the advance in the field in light cover. I decided it was time to play my cards so I brought on 2 squads both entrenched, one off my northern JOP and one off the southern one. I had a double phase so they both came down on overwatch. P-Y plopped down a FO with the covering squad, which I had not really expected. Before I knew it Mortars were falling down on my positions with extreme accuracy. I should note that we use the TT modifications for mortars and this was really the first time they got a good test. They work quite well, but they caused a fairly spirited discussion on the CoC FB site!

Now it was getting tricky, I was getting a fair number of shots off at the Marines but was not that successful with shocking and killing them, the Mortars were also giving me a lot of trouble. The game really turned into a cat and mouse affaire at this point with me moving my troops back and forth off the hedge to keep them out of LOS while I was trying to jockey the Kai ShinHoTo in a good position to take on the approaching Sherman. The Marines continued their advance with the Sherman and P-Y was able to get a shot off first at the Japanese tank, 1 net hit but I threw a 6 so 2 shock and I ended up reversing almost off the table. At this point I could not get a 3 to save my life but I was getting a lot of 5's so had almost 3 CoC dice in hand.

Finally I was able to advance my tank and remove a shock, the Sherman had now burst through the hedge. The Sherman fired but my armour held up. I was then able to fire back, the Sherman's armour failed, 3 net hits, the tank was knocked out. The Marines withdrew to try another day.

It was a long game, maybe around 3 hours. I felt that P-Y should of won, he was quite unlucky with his dice throws especially the last one.

Butcher's Bill


Final FM 7
6 figures killed
3 dead+ 2 missing (2 previously dead)

7 down for next game (platoon 1)

CO +1
MO +5 (+1 on FM roll)
Platoon Leaders Outlook Thoughtful


Final FM 9
4 figures killed + JL 
2 dead+1 missing (12 previously dead)

0 dead for next game (platoon 2)
15 dead for next game (platoon 1) + 1CI JL

CO +2
MO +2
Platoon Leaders Outlook Gregarious (+1 FM)

On to some terrific photos from the camera of P-Y....
Marines covering the left flank advance

The Sherman advances

Infantry supporting the Sherman

The Sherman moves out

The IJA defensive line

The Mortars rain down

Staying out of LOS

The Kai Shinhoto moves into position

Tank Battle
Kaboom!, the Marines withdraw

05 December 2021

Devil in the Wilderness

I finally got in a real game of DiW yesterday with an actual opponent. Also got introduced to a new gaming store which was about an hour away in New Hampshire. Midgard Hobbies and Games is quite a nice place, with an excellent and large gaming area and a good stock of gaming accessories, such as mats paints, terrain etc. Maybe a little less in respect to rulesets than the Hobby Bunker in Wakefield, MA. 

Myself and Adam met up there with Dave Valentine the rules writer to have an instructional game. I was pretty familiar with the rules but Adam had not played with the final version before. Notwithstanding, Adam picks up ruleset extremely quickly and this did not slow the game. I had several questions about the game, mostly in respect to the card play as the mechanics are quite straight forward.

I played the Witches with Adam playing the Witch Hunters. The game has an excellent narrative and each player gets 3 main characters with the ability to add several extra characters to your posse or to add unnatural characters to the game which essentially act as automatons, they are best avoided. Dave has a beautiful set up as you will see below. 

We got in several turns in 3 hours, and although there was no clear winner, I did get what would reasonably called a marginal victory and I had pushed the game clock towards Evil rather than Good! There are several different objectives that can be set up in any one game, Dave had set up a trap/treasure scenario for this scenario. At the beginning of the game we were more focused on building up our rosters as well as engaging in several melees. We also were able to place several unnatural creatures on the table which we both spent quite a bit of time dodging. As the game progressed, we started to focus on finding the treasure. I was able to find 2 of the 3 treasures, while we both killed one of the other's main characters. Finding treasures and killing main characters are the path to victory.

Here are some photos from the game, I had a great time and many thanks to Dave for putting on the game. I will really look forward to playing more games as it clearly has a lot of replay-ability. I also understand that there is a Victorian Horror variation coming out in the new year. I may finally get to field my Empire of the Dead figures.

Dave explain the rules, you can see the excellent character cards in the left foreground. 

The game set up, there 7 named locations on the table.

A gallows which I suspect Dave constructed from scratch

Treasure or Trap, six of these well crafted markers were placed on the table.

My early set up with my 3 characters, as well as an Indian Zombie and 3 French Milice, unfortunately the malice immediatedly betrayed me by going over to the Witch Hunters.

Some of the Witch Hunters posse, town folk and a militia sergeant.

I was able to trigger 2 treasure traps in my last turn.