31 January 2021

Rumble in the Jungle

Over the last 2 weeks, we have played a couple of games set in WWII Burma. Virtual Lard IV took place yesterday and my friend Pierre-Yves was presenting a Chain of Command game with his recently painted Chindit and Japanese platoons. P-Y created an amazing jungle terrain over 2-3 weeks and we needed to play test his scenario and the terrain. We played 2 games, alternating sides. I will not go into the details of either game but suffice to say the Japanese won both times. In the first game the win was hard fought, in the 2nd game maybe less so. We used the regular Chindit and Japanese Platoons with minimal support. The Chindits had a 2"mortar and a Boy AT Rifle, while the Japanese had a Type 94 TeKe tank, a lorry as well as a Flame-thrower Team. 

We also played our first game using Jitsi, another addition to the growing list of video-conferencing programmes. Also we also tested P-Y's new CoC Patrol playing ap, he certainly is a mother of invention.

Jitsi Close up
Jitsi Overview
Standard Zoom from 2nd game
All our gaming is with old iPhones that have been cannibalised for gaming, I believe the oldest we use is an iPhone 4 but P-Y has one iPhone 11 in use. I am using several iPhone 5's as well as an iPhone 8. The Jitsi delivers a superb image but we did find quite a bit of lag, we also found more difficulty managing the settings on the older iPhones. From looking at the above photos, I believe the benefit is marginal and I think I will stick to Zoom for now. 

The most interesting new development was P-Y Patrol Phase ap for CoC. When we first started playing CoC on line at the beginning of the lockdown, we found it important to have a direct overhead camera as moving the Patrol Markers really requires an aerial view. I felt P-Y's overhead camera always delivered a good picture, maybe mine a little less so. It was interesting to note that we would almost play the whole game just looking at the Overhead view rather then the 2 tangential flank cameras we had both set-up. As you can see above in the last photo a high oblique camera delivers a similarly useful view of the terrain but I think I find it a much better view. It is also much easier to manage! But back to the PP ap, which makes it unnecessary to have a ceiling mounted camera.
Now how is that for cool. From what I understand P-Y takes a photo of the terrain and the ap converts the photo to an orthographically correct view. You then move the Patrol Markers (large circles), the ap automatically restricts movement to 12" maintaining the daisy chain of 12". Automatic locking occurs, and as you can see it automatically generates the arcs to place the JOP's. It is adjustable to allow for varying movement, the Japanese can move 14" while the Finns can move 12" but are not limited by the daisy chain of 12". I felt it worked quite well.

Anyway that is enough for now, what follows is some photos in no particular order of P-Y terrific terrain and figures.

Game 1

Game 2

28 January 2021

UBOOT-Patrol #10 (October 1940)

We played our next patrol yesterday morning in our Virtual Wargaming rendition of the the boardgames UBOOT. I am feeling quite a bit more comfortable with my duties as the Navigator. Still working on getting my plots right but am getting there.

We started off the game with more detailed information about what our mission actually is and some detailed maps of our mission. Our main mission is to find the best approach for an attack on the naval station at Scapa Flow. As you can see below, both our reconnaissance mission and the subsequent attack might be a challenge as the naval station is very well protected. 
We were also given more detailed maps of each of the 3 approaches including a rough estimation of the depth of each channel. The southerly approach is clearly the deepest but at the same time the one that is best protected as it is the obvious approach. I believe our captain Eero is still considering which channel to take, but it has been clearly decided that our approach will be from the north with our U-boat taking the passage between Iceland and the Faroe Islands and then going south probably with the Shetlands to our east.

This was a fairly eventful patrol of about 27 hours through 4 watch changes. Heikki has activated the "Event Story Board" causing regular events on the ship. We had quite a few Engineering events, it seems the ship is falling apart but it was discovered early in this patrol that there was probably a saboteur aboard!  Perhaps, this might explain the difficulty the engineers are having. We also had an important Radio event informing us that we could pick up supplies from another U-boat that was returning to port. I had a bit of difficulty plotting our course so we were 3 hours late but I suspect I will get better. We picked up some supplies and also were able to exchange a wounded crewman with a broken leg and replace one of my observers who had fallen overboard. We also had a number of Navigator events where enemy ships were spotted but our captain decided to stay well away and focus on our mission. Our sessions usually last a little under 3 hours at ended at 0300h, half way through our 5th watch of the session.
Dark blue open circle is target, yellow blocks are known minefields. Dark blue dotted line is our known course, light blue is our plotted course. The light blue circle is where I thought I was when we changed course for the rendezvous. Damned northerly winds!

I am having a lot of fun with this. 

17 January 2021

Drive on Minsk

My gaming friend in Finland, Eero, has restarted up his Drive on Minsk campaign. I understand that this campaign is based on one of the Skirmish Campaign series of pamphlets. I believe that Eero started this campaign in 2018, you can find a report on the 1st AR and the 2nd AR on the Wargamers Forum. These reports are well worth a look for their terrific photography and Eero's engaging narrative.

The games are played using a combo ruleset called Battleground Command, of Eero's design where he has taken Big Chain of Command and an older game Battleground WWII and welded them together into quite an extraordinary playing experience. It is a pretty complex ruleset but with Gamemaster Eero the game flows smoothly.

This campaign is based on the summer 1941 initial German attacks in and around the city of Minsk at the start of Operation Barbarossa . We started the playing the 3rd game in the series last week. I have been assigned a Tank Command (not yet time to reveal my actual units). The first battle was won by the Germans, but the Soviets won the 2nd battle and were given the option of defending table 2 or attacking table 1. We opted to attack table 1. There are 4-5 players on each side with an overall ranking SL directing operations.
As you can see we are attacking from the right. The game involves hidden movement and spotting tests, so we had no idea at the start of the game where the German units were, all our units started off table. We played for 2-3 hours and although a little slow at first, one I got some of my units on the table the experience became quite immersive. I think I might of been a little hasty in deploying, as 2 of my T-26's have already been spotted. Anyway, it is what it is.

This is the first time, I have engaged in such a wargaming endeavour, and I have to say it was a lot of fun. We are playing on Discord so by using separate voice channels it is easy enough to communicate with the other commanders on your side. It was quite cool. I am really looking forward to our next playing session (it would appear that each game may take several sessions). 

Some excellent photos and a detailed report can be found here.

16 January 2021


Last week, I played my first board game.....virtually. Through my recent association with the GeMiGaBoK wargaming club in Helsinki, Finland, I have started to meet multiple new war-gamers from all over Finland. One of them, Heikki, asked me if I would be interested in joining them in the above cooperative board game. 

UBOOT, I believe, has been around for 2-3 years now and Heikki has taken the game online so it can be played virtually. This was quite a task as there are many different elements to the game. 

It is very convenient for me to play in this club as my gaming time is limited to the day aside from one evening a week, which has been taken by my ongoing gaming collaboration with Pierre-Yves in Montreal. I usually am off 3 days each weekday so this has really worked out for me.

Anyway, you can look at the UBOOT website, there is a lot of information about the game so no need to repeat it here. I joined as the navigator, I have 4 crew under my command and I have to say it was quite an immersive experience that I really enjoyed. We are on a mission to explore the Scapa Flow Naval Base, north of Scotland, under orders of the Abwehr as documented below.

I have joined the crew on their Patrol #9, they received the above orders on Patrol #7, so I have not missed too much. My job is to plot our course to the Naval Base, and it has been quite a lot of fun.

We have reached the above position marked by the Blue Dot, I believe the captain is going to order us to sail between Iceland and the Faroe Islands and then approach our target (Blue Circle) from the Northwest. 

14 January 2021

First Snow Redux

Played a very exciting game of Muskets and Tomahawks yesterday, we decided to replay our recent game as I really did not have time to set up a new table. We had planned to play some Chain of Command, but P-Y has bitten off a very big project that has yet to be ready to play.

This time, I took the Brits and P-Y took the French-Canadiens. We again diced for choice and I decided to be the attacker as before, unfortunately we forgot to set up the intrigues before the game. Our OB's ar as below. 

1 Sachem
6 man unit of Veteran, Blood Thirsty Warriors
6 man unit of Veteran, Blood Thirsty Warriors
10 man unit of Close Order Compagnie Franches de la Marine
8 man unit of Coureurs de Bois

1 Ranger Officer
6 man unit of Rangers
6 man unit of Rangers
6 man unit of Highland Lights
6 man unit Veteran, Blood Thirsty Warrior Braves
6 man unit Veteran, Blood Thirsty Warrior Braves

So this was a close game, unlike the last time I focused on burning the cabin where the civilians were hiding (P-Y again put all the civilians in the log cabin to the south). I also decided to attack from the west this time as well as the south and the north, I had planned to abandon the easterly approach because it was difficult to get across the river but somehow or another I got one unit of Rangers stuck there for the while game with their leader.

I felt the best unit to burn the cabin were the highland lights as they were the weakest unit I had. The game see-sawed back and forth and really it was a game where the Indians on both sides were the most effective. Bloodthirsty Veteran Warriors are quite tough in Hand to Hand, and there was a lot of Hand to Hand. It ended up being quite a close game, but I was able to eke out a victory with 16 of my 31 men on the table, when the cabin caught fire and the civilians all died in the subsequent fire. 

Still having to look up a few things but these 350 point games are easy to complete in 2 hours and are a lot of fun.

11 January 2021

And you thought I stopped painting!

I need to apologise that my blog has been so gaming focused rather than hobby focused. I still do a lot of painting as well as terrain work but I have never been good at taking photographs. Find it a little boring I suppose. I have actually taken these photos twice, I first did them with a white background but did not like the look so have gone with them in situ.

When Muskets and Tomahawks II came out, I really only had a British force, I was able to play one or 2 games last summer with them using my militia as Milice Canadien and my Indians as French allies. With Virtual gaming you really need to get both side so time to build up the French. I bought a bunch of Conquest figures from Warlord Games and then the next day I found out that Brigade Games had a FIW Kickstarter, I had a good look at their figures. They looked at an excellent match for the Conquest figures so I thought I would put my hand in.

I really favour the Conquest Miniatures, they are beautifully sculpted and are much more anatomic than most of the other manufacturers, which I find too large and orc like. Well, I have to say that I was really pleased with the Brigade Games miniatures, they are indeed an excellent match. They are also really nice figures, I was especially impressed with the Indians. They were quite interesting.

These were all painted over the last few weeks, a lot of Contrast Paints with Citadel washes and then highlighted. The brown spectrum contrast paints are quite useful and I really like the Apothecary White over a flat white Tamiya airbrushed primer with VMC Silver Grey and Off-White highlights.

Milice Canadien Leader, British Officer, Indian Sachem, French Officer

Conquest on each end with 2 Brigade Games in the centre

Civilians from Brigade Games

Brigade Games Indians

Brigade Games Highland Lights

Conquest Miniatures Milice Canadien

Conquest Miniatures Compagnies Franches de la Marine

Quebec Unit

Montreal Unit

I still have about 20-30 figures left, although I doubt whether I will paint them all. Maybe a few more Indians, another unit of Highland Lights as well as the Trois Rivières unit of les Compaignies Franches. I also think I may try to find some figures that I can paint as British/American Provincial units. 

I really enjoyed painting these figures and am very pleased how they came out.