15 August 2022

Horus Heresy-Epic


Last Thursday, I got in my last game of what was a full week of gaming in Montréal at my friend Iannick's.  We decided to play Epic 30k, which was the game we played in our last encounter. We went with 2100 points each and I brought the same force as I had the last time. I believe Iannick might of changed things up with his force.

We scattered some terrain about the table, that actually seemed to work better than any specific layout. There were several hills blocking LOS and also several buildings which both blocked LOS but also offered cover if the formation was within them. It worked well.

As we both had Space Marine forces our initiative was the same but Iannick won the draw and went first. I believe we probably played less than 10 turns and generally did not have much problem remembering the rules, although I think combat may of got screwed up a little. I think that we missed that units are engaged if within 15cm after a single move and either engage in a Firefight or Close Combat depending on whether they are touching or not. It was quite a close game, I thought I had the upper hand for the latter third of the game but Iannick was able to pull off a clear victory in the last turn. I was really unsure about the ruleset but I actually have started to appreciate it's nuances quite a bit more and have decided to paint up a couple of more formations which include another formation of 5 Terminators as well as a formations of 4 Deredeo Dreadnaughts. I suspect our next game will be a little bigger. Here are a couple of photos.
I thought this was the combat that would lead me to victory, my Terminators had Freefallen via their Deathclaw to with  combat range of the a formation of the Sicilian tanks, they were successful but not enough to win the game for me.
In our next game, I will focus more on known the abilities of my units.

13 August 2022

Warfare in the Age of Reason

On Wednesday of this week, I got together with some seasoned war-gamers in the Montreal area. Unusually they were all retired, like myself, so we were able to play in the afternoon à L'abyss. I had met Graham the week before when I had hosted an introductory game of CoC for him and Luis. He reciprocated by seeing up a game with two other gamers, Don and Doug. I believe they have all been gaming together for sometime.

Graham had decided on a game of Warfare in the Age of Reason, a ruleset that I had not heard of before. This ruleset covers a period from the Great Northern War to the American War of Independence, a period I believe referred to as the Kabinettskriege. I have minimal familiarity with this period and really only with the FIW in respect to Skirmish wargaming. My earliest tactical wargaming has been Napoleonics, of which I have played a number of rulesets. The game we played was set in the AWI, I believe he said it was historically based. 

Although unfamiliar to the period and to the ruleset, I was looking forward to the game as I had not played any tactical wargaming for quite sometime as any chance to play Général d"Armée or Pickett's Charge have dried up for me in Salem.

Doug and Don took the British/Loyalist force while myself and Graham played the Rebels. I found the ruleset fairly easy to follow, aside from the movement which I find difficult to follow in all games where the battalion/regiment is the main tactical unit. Not much else is new! 

I have to say I had quite a lot of fun, good dicing (difficult to say good tactics) won the game for the Rebels. I felt the rules were quite smooth and they did not get in the way of what we were all trying to accomplish. I have to thank Graham for hosting the game, it is always a lot of work to ferry about a lot of figures (which were superbly painted by the way), as well as terrain and a mat. It was quite a beautiful game as you can see from the few photos I took. Alos thanks to Don and Doug for being such great players.

11 August 2022

Algy Pulls a Fast One

On Tuesday evening, I went to P-Y's for a game of Algy. We decided to go with the fast play rules that were in one of the TFL specials from some years ago. This was our 2nd game and we decided to go with the Fast Play version as they seemed quite streamlined and I found the charts much easier to interpret. The only thing, I found odd was the 12 altitude bands. This is not a big deal in itself but it was a little harder to keep track of as P-Y's stands have only 6 gradations, and to be honest I think it would be impossible to put 12 marks on each dial. We also used ground fire but that does nor come into play until you are at altitude 6.  I suspect 12 altitude bands is accurate but I believe it would not change the playability if there was 6, and changed the ground fire to 3.

I had 3 Sopwith Camels and P-Y had 3 Albatross's. We had a lot of fun with the game and I thoroughly enjoyed it, as it was the Germans were quite successful in the air battle driving off my Squad Leader quite early in the game, forcing him to head across the channel. He was soon followed by his 2 fellow pilots. If I remember 2 of my planes took some damage but by dropping altitude rapidly they were all able to safely land in Blighty. I do not remember the Germans suffering any damage. 

Of note this is the first time we played BtH or Algy in person and it was much easier than playing it virtually.

The battle ensues
Everyone is on everyone's tail!
The Sopwiths limping across the channel

I will look forward to our next game. I think this would be a great ruleset with which to start a campaign.

10 August 2022

BattleGroup: Eastern Front

This week has been quite busy with a game each evening. 

On Monday evening, Luis gave me an introduction to Battlegroup, the ruleset from the Plastic Soldier Company. I had not played the ruleset before but certainly my CoC forces would work without problem for squad level games (1-2 platoons + supports). Over the years I have bought 3-4 of their books for reference without really looking at the rules. The BattleGroup Kursk book actually contains the ruleset so I had a chance to have a look through before the game.

As should be clear from reading this blog, I am a CoC player. I actually sat down the other night and did some counting and calculated that I play 10 TFL games on a fairly active basis. But I also play 3 Studio Tomahawk games, so there is no reason not to try out new games, and I have to say that I have been curious about this game. I suspected that it is pretty popular and when I checked on their FB page ( I hate FB but as a gamer you really have no choice now), I found that they have 5.7k members, while CoC FB has 5.4k members. Pretty similar.

Luis had set up a 4x4' ruined urban table, so slightly off Kursk but quite good for an introduction. I have been trying to figure out how to play urban combat with CoC, and have yet to sort it. Luis's table was very nice and I really could not wait to get my figures on the table. It was decided that I would play the Soviets while Luis would play the Germans.

OB (not entirely accurate)

2 rifle platoons
Recon infantry squad
Recon BA-10
T-34 Company

1 grenadier platoon
MMG team
Recon infantry squad
Recon Sd.Kfz 222

It is an interesting game with a good Activation system. Generated differently than "O" Group but somewhat similar in that you really have to make some difficult choices each turn;  as what you can do is limited. There were all the usual activations that one sees in WWII rulesets, I did find it a little unusual that a unit can shoot twice when activated but you have to do an observation test each time you fire so getting shots off is not guaranteed. I am not going to go into the ruleset further aside from saying that it does have a morale function and like CoC once your morale runs out the game is over.

I should say that I had beginner's luck and was able to win the game within 2-3 hours. Luis's dicing though was quite abysmal and as we know it is always good to let a new player win the game! I did take a couple of photos 
I really enjoyed the game, and certainly would play it again. It does not have the same challenges as CoC but for a fun historical, relatively easy to pick up WWII ruleset, I can highly recommend it.

07 August 2022

Pennsylvania Regiment

After many months, I finally got this unit painted. I must of started just before last Xmas but they were in Montreal while I have spent most of the time in Salem. They are lovely figures from one of the Brigade Games kickstarter but I do not feel I did them justice. I found the details a little difficult to pick out. These were painted in the traditional fashion, it might be that I am getting used to using speed/contrast paints and I am losing my touch although I am not really sure if I ever had it!

This Provincial Regiment are to join my British forces for Muskets and Tomahawks. I decided to go with the Pennsylvania Regiment, as they had somewhat of an unusual colour scheme. I think I might be done now for the French Indian War. I really have more then enough forces, although I may be temped to paint a few more Native Americans. I have no regular French forces but have no plans to add them yet.

I am a completist, and I was missing a French Militia man so I added him into the pile.

Well, where to next aside from adding the occasional unit to my present forces. I really do not have a laid pile just some bits and pieces lying around. 

I do have a box of Rubicon Marines for Vietnam as well as some Perry Samurai, I am tempted to move them on to the table next.

06 August 2022

Fall of France: Expanding the Meuse Bridgehead

This past Thursday we had another game in our Fall of France campaign for "O" Group. P-Y brought a bottle of Pomeral as well as some Comte, so it was an overall good night.

This time the Germans were the attackers. 
Not too bad a representation, I like my new fields but I need more and maybe also need to brighten up the dark green ones. I am missing the orchard, as the trees for it had not arrived in the post before I left Salem. I also have some acrylic blast markers on the way, they are actually in Canada after arriving from the UK on Monday but they are still being carefully examined by the Canadian custom agents and have not been released!

The Forces

I had 3 companies of infantry with 2 artillery missions and one smoke mission, a MMG platoon, one IG18, one Pak36 ATG, a recon platoon of Sdfzk22x's, a Pz38 platoon and a PzII platoon. P-Y had 3 companies of infantry, a single artillery mission, a MMG platoon, a recon platoon of Panhards, a platoon of FT17's, as well a platoon of 25mm Laffly portees.

The Game

It again took us a bit of time to get up to speed, these rules have a lot of moving pieces and we still have played less than 6 times over a couple of years. As usual I took no photos during the game, was too busy stuck in the rulebook but this time we did finish the game. I think maybe we were gaming for about 3 hours and we did come to a clear conclusion. Here are some photos.
From the German edge; somehow or another our 2 recon platoons ended up in a face off  in the middle of the game and that was it for them. We did figure out how they worked though, and they did take out a few CP but mine had no luck discovering ambushes.
Again from the German edge; I was able to suppress the French 2nd company, with them losing 4 sections. Almost half way to victory1
Bringing more troops to support the right flanks with another infantry section as well as a MMG platoon. Have to be careful of those French tanks. 
The French are holding out in the village.
The Pz38 and PzII platoons, they came in early but they suffered bombardment after bombardment from the French artillery and Mortars. Spent the 2nd half of the game trying to keep them from being suppressed. They also had very poor aims!
I find it interesting that in all our games, we have never deployed all our assets as you can see below. The losses are to the right of the photo with the French underplayed forces in the foreground and the German undeployed forces in the fairground. P-Y still has his whole reserve infantry company undeployed as well as his Laffly Platoon and 2 platoons from his 2nd company. I had not deployed my reserve infantry company as well as 1 platoon from my 2nd company.
As you can see the French got 3 Fubars while I got 1 so this game to the Germans.  It is still quite close with 4 Victory points for the Germans and 3 for the French. On the last phase I really had to pull out the stops using half my HQ orders. Otherwise I would have been pummelled in the French Defensive phase.

I have to thank P-Y for playing another battalion level game, I know he is a skirmish gamer at heart. He is getting interested though in the next scenario the French are the attackers and I just noticed that he gets to play the British in the last 3 scenarios. I have to dig up some Matilda's! 

04 August 2022

Spreading the Lard in Montreal


I have recently retired, so now have much more time to game and am also now able, after almost 23 years, to spend much more time in my native land. It has been a long sojourn in the US but even after all that time, I remain culturally Canadian. I would move back permanently, but I am still putting in 3 shifts a month in the ED, my wife is an American and she is not yet retired. She also really likes our condo in Massachusetts; she likes Montreal, but I suspect it will never be home for her. Anyway enough of all that, I am now spending half my time in Quebec so I am excited to meet some new gamers.

I started gaming here about 10 years ago, I had my first Wargame with my friend Iannick and over the next few years we played a fair amount of Napoleonics as well as skirmish French Indian War games. It was a lot of back and forth with me staying with my daughter, Jane. During this time we also played with Nico, a French expatriate as well as Rusty from Vermont. They both had young children, so were soon lost. Over the last 3 years, I connected with Pierre-Yves, another expatriate Frenchman as well as Luis, a Quebec native. I met P-Y, through the TFL forums and Luis through the now defunct Montreal SAGA FB page. Myself and Luis got in quite a few in-person games, but myself and P-Y carried ourselves through the pandemic by figuring out how to play war-games virtually. I suspect we have played close to weekly for the last couple of years, now in person more often but still playing virtually on Discord when I am in the US.

Since retiring a month ago, my focus has been on meeting more Montreal war-gamers. Luis has been embedded in the Montreal gaming community for years so through him I recently connected with Graham, a British expatriate, who like Luis is a life long war-gamer. Neither had played Chain of Command so they were both interested in seeing how it worked. We got together last night at my apartment and had a game!

I decided to go with "The Probe", scenario 2 in the rulebook with a British regular rifle platoon attacking a German grenadier platoon. I set up a basic table with quite a bit of terrain, but decided not to have any vehicles in the game. Luis took the defending German platoon while Graham played the attacking British.
The German edge
The British LOS
We played the Patrol phase twice, I really did not want to leave it out and I felt after the second go, both players had reasonable JOP positions. 
It looks like the attack will be on the British left flank

No real need for a battle report, the Brits diced for 3 supports and took a flamethrower team. Their starting FM was 9. The Germans started with a FM of 8 and took an adjutant as their sole support. Both players caught on quite quickly and after 5-6 phases I was able to prepare a light lunch. Here are so photos taken at the end of the game.
Luis's main defence line, his yellow squad is intact but as you can see from the many dead soldiers, the adjacent squad was obliterated by the Flamethrower Team. The remnants routed back off the table unfortunately taking the Germam SL with them.
Over view of final positions
British green squad going for the opposite baseline for Victory!
Yellow British squad, the dead men on their right flank the remnants of the broken blue squad.
High cost when an SL routs
Breaking British blue squad
The German green squad JL surrounded by his dead men, hoping to get a shot off at the Brits.

So we put in about 3 hours, which I believe is excellent for a teaching game, and we ended up with a clear winner. 

I will look forward to our next engagement and thanks to Luis and Graham for coming over. Tonight is a game of "O" Group with P-Y so retirement is going well!