Saturday, October 27, 2012

More Musings on Gridded Games

 Taking advantage of having my table all set up for a somewhat abstract gridded game, gave me an opportunity to try out Ross's "Hats of Tin" rules 
 I reset my "WWII Italy" terrain and set up a two on one battalion attack scenario using Ross' rules. They worked well after I had made a few mistakes initially. I'm still trying all these rules using my weird "made in China" plastic-generic WWII/Modern collection.
The "Hats of Tin" rules worked just fine but I changed the initiative D6 rolls rule to go something like:   Each battalion command unit got a D6 roll and applied it to units under its command...and the overall CinC could additionally order one unit. This is a rule change from "Hats of Tins" that worked better for the scale of units I was using...(three stands =a company...9 stands= a battalion).

The approach of having units take 3 hits before being eliminated worked better than the "old school" "one hit eliminates" Morshauer basic rules approach and I was able to enjoy a longer and more complex battle with the rules.

The really fun part of having to "cobble" together some plastic wargames armies for these experimental games....was that just today I found a place on the web where I could purchase 292 plastic minis from China for $12.95 USD!??...the really odd thing was that a quarter of the figures are pretty cool sci-fi infantry and the other are WWII vintage. I'll post a review if this turns out to be good...

I'm still looking for a way to get cheap plastic armor into these games...though the "Plastic Soldier Company" 15mm stuff might work well for this scale of game.

I'm really enjoying the "quick-tiny game approach" seems to fit my busy life these days....

...and finally, I'm contemplating heading up to "Fall In" this coming weekend. It's been forever since I attended a gaming convention, so I am thinking I'm overdue for the opportunity!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

More Crazy Tiny Wargames

 I'm continuing to tinker around with very tiny wargames using the Portable Wargme Rules. Even my wife was, "wow, that's really tiny!..." so I guess that's something to be said...
I also took a cue from the blogs out there in that I put the "Diceshaker" app on my ipad and used it to generate the die rolls. It actually works really well and is a sort of no nonsense die rolling app that works just fine for this.

I played Quatre Bras out a couple of times with the British winning the first go and the French the fun all around. Such a small game is pretty cool because I just kept it set up on the kitchen counter and played a few turns over my coffee this morning before the kids woke up and I headed off to work...and without the tell-tale clatter of dice, I was able to keep the wife slumbering too!
French columns assault Gemioncourt Farm

French columns take a drubbing from disciplined Brit volleys...

A second game experimenting with a gradual arrival of Brit reinforcements as in the historical battle...

The French get the better of the British left in the initial stages of game 2.

The Black Brunswickers held strong in Gemioncourt Farm in both games despite heavy assaults from French columns.
And finally I had a few minutes this afternoon after work to dig out some old plastic minis from a Parker Brothers Battle Cry game from the 60s...the board is long lost but I still have the minis so I pressed them into service. This is a hypothetical layout of Gettysburg at a very abstract level without ridges (that I am going to make this weekend) to see if I can stretch Bob's portable rules to their limit on a 7" square?!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Battle on a Postage Stamp

 Ok, so it's Sunday night and my daughter and I spent an hour in our garage (oft referred to by my bemused wife as..."daddy's game storage room"...) and turned up some interesting finds. It seems several years ago I had contemplated a "Really Tiny Wargame" using an old portable chessboard....I had painted over the chessboard using "green chalkboard spraypaint" and then for lack of figures and rules...had stashed the board away for a future inspiration. Fast forward to this afternoon and we opened an old box and what was sitting on top but the little green 7" by 7" chessboard! Now immediately my synapses started firing and thoughts of how cool it would be to have a Really Portable Wargame using Bob's rules. So this evening I marked off a 7/8" grid, 8 squares by 8 squares, and dug out some of my 6mm Adlers and picked out 2 armies of 12 elements and set up the ultimate tiny wargame!
 The battle is Quatre Bras, I think referred to in history as the "Battle on a Postage Stamp"...I thought it appropriate that this super small sized game would model one of the great but really small Napoleonic battles of the war.
 The "table is a 7 x 7...inches that is...! The Adler 6mm figures are just the ticket to pull it off, and the "Portable Wargame Rules" will be the rules of choice for this one. It may be a stretch...but it will hopefully be a fun experiment.
View from the French side towards Gemioncourt Farm...Quatre Bras off in the distance.
 I have a few resin cast 6mm houses, but houses from a Monopoly game would work as well. I'm thinking of making wooded square bases to place on the grid instead of bits of clump foliage.
A 7" by 7" wargame
I'm contemplating how to make hills...and streams at such a small scale...
The squares are only 7/8" so not much room for terrain, but still, it looks like a wargame.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Two Gridded Games: Part 2

The Americans approach the outskirts of San Lorenzo
 Knowing that In my second gridded game this week that my table size might stretch "The Portable Wargame" rules a bit far, I decided to play them with doubled range and movement distances. I think this did not affect the game unduly and gave a sense of the game's scale (a battalion level attack on a town) that was similar to my last game using slightly altered Memoir 44 rules.
Under heavy fire the GI's advance. This time US armour tries to outflank the town rather than drive headlong down the main street
 In this game both side put all their initiative "eggs" in one basket and devoted their moves and firing to the struggle around the town...the units on the ridge never moved in the game though some mortar rounds were exchanged to no effect.
Still they lose a tank unit to Panzerfaust  fire from heavily defended buildings
 One change I made to the rules was the addition of infantry AT markers that are added (single figures with an AT weapon) to a square allowing infantry in the same square to destroy tanks at half range (in this game, two squares). Normally infantry and MGs are not allowed to destroy armor at a distance.
Also I used my "heroic leader figure" rule that allowed a single leader figure "stacked" in the same square as an infantry unit to call for a re-roll of the opponent's hit die and regardless of the second outcome the leader must roll a d6 less than 4 to survive the "heroic moment". That rule actually worked to the German's advantage when one of their company commander's got a good re-roll negating a hit on a significant unit...unfortunately the next turn the unit was destroyed and the leader as well so the "Amis" captured the town by result of a series of good rolls in the final turns.

Again, the "Portable Wargame" and M44 prove that complex can be simple if designed correctly!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Two Gridded Games

The Valley of San Lorenzo
 Inspired by the new edition of Bob Cordery's Modern version of the Portable Wargame I dug out my generic WWII plastic figures and a couple of odd scaled plastic tanks all of which came from dollar store sets from China. I set up a scenario set in 1943 Italy where an assaulting force attempts to capture a village surrounded by a rough semicircle of ridges.
Army Tan playing the role of the Americans
 The idea was to play out an experimental game first using Memoir 44 as is on a square grid with a few added rules for MGs and Mortars. ( MGs get a 4-3-2-1 rating and count as 3 hit infantry  and mortars a 3-2-2-1-1 counting as 2 hit artillery) Then to reset the battle and use the Portable Wargame Rules. Not so much to compare their merits, but to just enjoy gaming with both of them.
Army Green playing the role of Germans
 I'm also keen to put my homemade Spanish Village to use and since my SCW collection is still under construction, these odd little plastics will serve in their place. They are just a basic color spray coat with the helmets picked out in a darker color...pretty effective for a "quick and dirty" set up.
First game using Memoir 44

the table is a 4'x4' gridded with 2 1/2 " squares 18 by 18

The Americans approach the town

US armor assaults the outskirts driving back the defenders temporarily

Tough German defenders inflict damage as the tanks outrun their infantry support

On the right flank the GIs fight their way up the steep slopes of San Lorenzo Ridge
I just used d6s to count hits and I counted plowed fields as "rice paddy" terrain as per M44 specs.
The advancing US infantry take casualties from the Germans who have re-occupied the outskirts of the town

The battle swings in the defender's favor as one of the American armor units is destroyed by close assaulting infantry

Though the Americans manage to clear a portion of the ridge, their attack stalls and the Germans hit their 6 victory points and get a win.
So all in all a simple, somewhat crude looking game but fun nonetheless...and in keeping with the abstract level of a gridded game. The M44 rules worked just fine using a square grid (I did not allow diagonal range counting) and playing solo I just dealt each new command card face down and then played the opposite side before turning it up. A fun game for sure!

 So on to the next game using the Portable Wargame rules.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Pencil Trick part 2

 Just a few more images of the pencil trick I mentioned in my last post this time a bit better lit.
This is a "Bolt Action" 28mm German MG42 on a tripod mount. I decided to paint the tripod armour yellow since I saw a few images of the real thing painted that way. It helped add some detail to an otherwise all gunmetal weapon.
The one thing about the pencil trick to remember is that the sharper the point, the more fine detail you can highlight on the mini.
And finally here is an image of the real thing for comparison. I've seen the MG42 with both a black shoulder stock and a dark wood colored stock. I always go with a wood color for a bit of added detail.

A Trick I Learned

Using a pencil to make gunmetal highlights
 Here's a trick I learned from the 1/35th scale modeling folks and it works pretty well on minis. A great way to simulate gunmetal is to use a graphite pencil and hit the high spots on a black undercoated weapon...or in this case some German equipment. The graphite sticks just fine and if the figure is clear-coated it becomes permanent.
 These are the 28mm Bolt Action plastics that were such a headache to assemble, but are really nice to paint up...(except for a broken rifle barrel during drybrushing)
(Note: the grey in the pics shows up lighter than actual)
The last pic is an SMG man still in progress just after a wash of the older GW "flesh shade" which is still better than their newer formula. The new version seems not "strong" enough. Too bad I'm on my last jar ("pot").
On the good side, the GW "Skavenblight Dinge" Layer color (available in my town at the local game shop) is an almost exact match for Vallejo "German Field Grey" #830 (that I have to order online). I try to support the local shop if can...and they are always good for a quick Warhammer fix if need arises.
Pencil trick on an 1/72 "Armorfast" Achilles (MGs and chipped turret edges)

Pencil trick on 15mm FOW US M4s ...esp the treads.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Where's That Beeswax in the Ears When You Need It!

Them si-reeens done loved him up and t-t-turned him into a toad!!!
 So I succumbed to the siren song from "Warlord" minis and started in on a set of 28mm WWII "Bolt Action" figures (sitting around here at Lead Gardens unpainted and more importantly un-assembled since last Christmas) on the strength of the "Bolt Action" rules I recently bought. The rules, on first read, seem like they will be fun and just the ticket for some quick casual solo play since the dice activation/order mechanic will serve nicely in taking some control of the game away from me.
BUT oh, the humanity!... those multipart figures are a pain to assemble! So after several sessions of trimming gluing and general cussing, I managed to finish a three squad platoon of Germans. Next up is the Russians and thank heaven for metal figures!  Now granted I do love the variations you get in the figures from all those loose little legs and arms and tiny weapons and heads when they finally come together. (...though I wish the rifles were a bit more robust even if it meant a bit overscaled) and at least the hard part is over.

The other mere "glint in daddy's eye" here these days is the new SAGA rules for dark age skirmish combined with the beautiful Sash and Saber 40mm dark age minis. Though I'll have to sell something...maybe a afford the special dice. (Yes just kidding, I can make some homemade ones I suppose...)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Armies March

The English defend.
 I set up a new battle on my newly upgraded table (feels like a glorious 8'x5' after a few months relegated to the 6x4 dining table). This is actually the second battle but who's counting...
The defenders hold the bridge perimeter.
 In this scenario, I used a variation of the "Raid on St. Michel" campaign book (teaser 5) assuming a larger force holding a bridgehead and needing to hold the bridge open to get all its baggage (and loot) across the river while being attacked by a strong pursuing force.
Irish Regiment Bulkeley (now with a full compliment of 2 "companies" of 16 men) ...all that is lacking to be cast up is a mounted colonel, a second flag bearer and an NCO.

A church and walled graveyard dominate the center of the field

The French...Infanterie Regiment Lyonnais and a battalion gun on the flank facing a long march across an open field under the guns of the Brits.
I'm hoping to get this battle underway towards the end of the week...until then it remains set up. It makes me happy and reduces the end of the day work stress just looking at it, even if I don't get to roll some dice immediately.