Sunday, February 18, 2018

Terrain WIP PART 2: Crazy, Unbelievable Progress

For all intents and purposes I practically abandoned my family today but it was for a good cause.  That laundry list of terrain items I was working on yesterday have been completely checked off!  DONE!

TREES:
All new trees based and the bases textured and painted.
The tree bases match my board colors.

Lots of variety, but still some uniformity as well.



Still need to decorate this round wooden piece representing a wooded area or forest.  Going to add twigs, flock, rocks, etc.


The lot of newer trees.  Not bad to supplement my existing flocked trees.


HILLS:
2 x new flocked and textured hills to add to the collection.
This was a Warzone Hill which I painted and dry brushed and flocked to better match the table.


DROP TERRAIN:
Those cornfields look awesome.  They're done!  Also, my 10mm town rectangles, and hedges are done.



I LOVE how this field turned out.

These will be perfect for Waterloo this year in 10mm using C&C Naps...Ooops did I let that slip?

Another coat of glue and flock on these bad boys.
MINIS!  PROGRESS THERE, TOO!

I'm also very pleased to report I completed another AWI Regiment - this time a generic loyalist unit, somewhat after the King's Carolina Rangers, but will see service in the northern department.

Hurried brushwork, but these Loyalist American look close enough for Government Service....British Government Service that is! (By the way, it will most certainly please my British readers to know that a relation of mine bearing the same last name fought for a loyalist New Jersey light infantry regiment during the AWI.)

I made them intentionally different looking and wearing lots of civilian gear since roughly the same colors were used for my Green Mountain Boys.


And progress on the WWII front continues with Germans, Soviet Platoon #4 and the Naval Infantry Receiving their dullcoating today.  That's 4 total Soviet units of 8 stands and 1 command stand FINISHED for Battlegroup/FoW/Up the Blue!/Etc, with 2 more to go.  I also started the Germans today as well.  The German project will not be as big as the Soviet project Im happy to say.
First German units receive their new flock and base texturing.


Soviet Battlegroup Platoon #4 is ready for war!  #3 and the platoon leaders to their left.  I literally only have Soviet Platoon #6 and the small 2 x squad SMG platoon left and the WWII Soviet infantry are DONE!  Armor is next...

The Naval Infantry are digging their new stand look as well.

MAN that's all for now.  Supposed to play a game of Up the Blue with Alex tomorrow.  I will most certainly be taking pictures and blogging the whole thing so stay tuned!  Huzzah!

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Terrain Day: Tree WIP, Cornfields, and More!

There's an old military saying I heard a wise man utter and that's "time spent on wargaming terrain is never wasted."  Okay so that's not the saying but you get the idea.  I had some free time this afternoon and thought I'd knock out, or at least start, some terrain projects that are high on the priority list for 2018. 
My pathetic stable of "finished" trees.  literally 16 of them...
TREES
My trees are in pretty rough shape although I had ordered plenty of new ones at bargain-basement prices from the Chinese, I left most of them still in their packaging.  Well the old ones are inconsistent scales, types, etc.  I decided to finally break out my new trees and base them.  Phase 2 will be texturing and flocking the bases.  I also am in the process of cleaning up some drop terrain "forest bases" that I can just plop the trees down onto.
New pine trees in background drying their base glue
 I'm going to be individually basing all my trees now for use in multiple game systems and also for ease of storage.

Big cedar trees and in the background, my cake topper palm trees finally being based for some afrika korps gaming.

leftover deciduous trees from my original collection.  They'll all get the same textured and painted treatment as the tree in the center of the picture.


Tree WIP.  Once the bases are more uniform, they'll start to take on a better look IMHO.

HEDGES
I've been a cheapskate in gaming as far back as I can remember.  Today I'm no different and am always looking for a bargain or a neat idea to get nice looking terrain on the table at a manageable cost.  I can't remember where I saw it from but I got the idea on the internet to use the heavy duty scour pads as hedges.  You just cut them into strips, and spray paint them.  I went one further and sprayed them with glue and dipped into my flock mixture!  I think they look pretty respectable.  






One package got me 12 hedges.  These will be great for fencing in backyards, cropfields, or whatever else.

The flock and scouring pad underneath really look good I think.
 DROP TERRAIN: CORNFIELDS
I was gaming at Ken's house playing the pre-cursor to BATTLEGROUP: NORTHAG and noticed he had some neat crops as drop terrain.  The shape looked very familiar and upon inspection, the crops were placed upon restuarant gift cards (the same size as a credit/debit card).  And you could arrange them however you liked.  Well I REALLY dug this idea and started to recreate this.  Now I can place these in some backyards as well or assemble them together for a field.

Not done yet.  This is just the vallejo mud drying.  I still need to paint and drybrush the soil and the crops.  These crops will fit in literally any theater I need them in.  Note the different arrangements you can make with them!




Well that's all for now.  I also painted a platoon's worth of Russian bases today, and a company's worth of German bases to finish off this WWII project.  Speaking of WWII, more Soviet Naval Infantry are on the workbench, and in keeping my promises, I've got a Loyalist Infantry Unit from the American War for Independence up next as well!  I'm hoping to get them all painted tomorrow.  I know I know big plans!  I hope everyone is having a good weekend.

Post coming up on using Risk pieces to build another army for 10mm Napoleonics - I need more Prussians for Waterloo!  Speaking of cheap, you can buy Risk replacement pieces for like 10 bucks on ebay and those awesome light cavalry are worth the price alone and you get a shedload of them.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Unit Activation Cards For....

Am I playing with a full deck?  My wife asks me all the time.

So I've always loved the idea of card-driven activation for wargames - especially Company level wargames.  I like the cards telling me which specific unit to activate.  I've always thought that added an element of tension and I dont have to tell you it's literally perfect for solo gaming.

My activation deck with a custom image printed on one side
 So full disclosure here I got this idea from reading the "Small World Productions" blog where the author  had custom activation cards made a la Battlelore for a fantasy mass-battle game.  Why couldn't I make my own custom cards?

He went to www.printerstudio.com to have his cards made so I went over and checked it out.  You can build a custom, small-sized deck for $9.00 US and I paid 4.00 US to ship.  I'm sure there are other custom sites out there to do this as well so go check it out!

Since the price was right I decided to go for it and produce generic cards that would cover Armor platoon, Infantry platoon, Specialist units, Artillery/Mortar support, and tactical air support activations, keeping them broad enough to cover a gamut of rules.


Enough for Germans to activate up to 6 or 7 Infantry and Armor platoons, plus all their specialists.  The allies have even more to draw on for really big games.

 Needless to say I had some fun with the extra blank cards so I decided to improvise with some additional rules.  Read on.
A German gunnery bonus?  Sounds good.  Cards to activate your sniper?  Yep!

What Eastern Front game would be complete without a fanatics card?  I think this could be applied to a unit and make then fanatical, with all kinds of bad (or good) things associated with that...

Obligatory "tea break" end of turn card.
As you can tell I'm thrilled with how these cards turned out.  More disclosure?  I bought these cards to play card-driven Flames of War but think they'll work for other rules as well.  Personally I feel that adding a random unit activation to FoW will give players new things to think about in terms of launching assaults, timing supporting fires and maneuver, and keeping a reserve.  

Having bonus cards that must be used in the current turn also add an element of tension.  I can re-roll a miss or activate a unit again (bonus activation).  Do I waste it on this unit?  Or hold out for better chances?  Personally I think it's a cool way to get some fog of war into an otherwise vanilla turn sequence.  (nothing wrong with vanilla, BTW.  It's one of my favorite flavors of ice cream).

I'm going to eventually make more cards for other theaters but this deck will suffice for NW Europe, North Africa, and the Eastern Front.

Monday, February 12, 2018

BATTLEGROUP RULES FORUM ONLINE!

Quick update for tonight.  Though The Guild was taken down, the BG team has a new forum up:

http://battlegroupwargame.forumotion.com/

Let me know if you can spot my handle in any of the posts :)

That is all!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Oil Cheaper than Water: 1973 October War Delayed Arrivals REDUX

Played Alex's "Oil Cheaper than Water" again this morning with roughly the same forces from yesterday evening's Sinai clash, minus 1 Egyptian infantry platoon.  I wanted to correct some mistakes I made as the Egyptians yesterday, and try out a different course of action.

  The OOB now roughly looked like this:

Egyptians:
3 x T-55 platoons
1 x PT-76 platoon
1 x T-34/85 platoon
1 x Infantry platoon mounted in BTR-50 APCs

Israelis:
2 x Magach-3 platoons in fighting positions on-table
1 x Magach-3 platoon in reserve arrive on turn 5
2 x Infantry platoons mounted in M113 APCs in reserve, 1 arrives on turn 5, 1 arrives on turn 10
1 x M3 HT mounted heavy mortar platoon in reserve arrives on turn 10
Israeli Armor starting positions further back, out of shooting range

As the Egyptians I tried a different approach today and instead of a flanking move around the impassible hill, I sent all of them down the middle, straight at the Israelis, as aggressively and quickly as I could with the results paying off (sort of).

The Egyptian cant shoot the first turn but the Israelis inflict a permanent hit on an advancing tank platoon.  The next turn they fail their "activation check" to attempt to do something, but their rally roll is successful.  The Egyptians are able to close the distance and get a volley off at the IDF tanks.

The Egyptian platoons keep coming even though one of their sister platoons has a permanent hit.
 Turn 1 the Egyptian armor races down the road, with the T-55s in the lead.  They go as far as they can and shoot, minus 1 die.  The T-55s cannot shoot at long range (I think?) so it's vital for them to close the distance.  The Israelis started out much further back to enable them to fire without the fear of return fire from the Egyptians.  This ends up with 1 Egyptian platoon suffering a permanent hit from massed tank gun fire.

The Magachs are in good shape and treating the Egyptians roughly, until the distance is closed.  The problem with the Israelis starting so far back is that, eventually, the distance will be closed and there's no more room to maneuver.  The Egyptians raced to close the distance, keeping their mech infantry behind the armor so as to protect them in order to assault the town.

The Egyptians are suffering at the hands of the Israelis but are still able to inflict suppressing (4 or more) hits upon the Magach-3s.

Turn 4 sees another lull and fast forwards to turn 5 where more Israeli armor shows up, and infantry, who promptly dig in in the town, but this time within the town itself.


Israeli Reinforcements
 Turn 6 the Egyptians steal the initiative away from the Israelis and surge forward with everything they have.  At this close range, they'll get a fire bonus which they need since they'll lose a d6 for the permanent hit and they'll lose a d6 for the moving and shooting.


Massed fires eliminates 1 IDF tank platoon and places another at 6 hits with a PH.

The Egyptians are playing a numbers game now and not doing too shabby.  Time is their main enemy because they'll need to get a toe hold in the town before Israeli reinforcements get there.  No easy task.  Israeli infantry come out of the march, dismount and enter the town.  They have a turn to dig in and the Egyptians are literally right on their doorstep.

Turn 9 the Egyptian dismounts move towards the town.
 

The Israelis and Egyptians trade fire but neither passes their close assault test and the action breaks down into a firefight.  Just as the Egyptians gain the upper hand, the clock strikes turn 10 and IDF infantry enter the town as well.  Their 120mm mortars pretty much seal the deal.  Egyptian armor races to the village to provide fire support against an Israeli platoon on the outskirts, but by now it's too late.  Down to the wire.  If the Egyptians had their other infantry platoon, and possibly mortars or artillery, they may have grabbed a win here as they reached the village at turn 8.

The IDF has this wrapped up by turn 12.

Remaining Egyptian armor holds the field but not the town.
THOUGHTS AND QUESTIONS

My second game of Oil Cheaper than Water and I was able to integrate the newer features better this time after a more careful re-read of the rules.  For instance, units at 4 hits are "Suppressed" and must pass a quality check to conduct an action.  If they fail, they may take a rally attempt.  Also, units at close range get an extra firing D6 (I really ought to have known that).

The tactic of sending all of the massed armor "up the middle" worked much better than splitting up the forces but without being rash (by rash I mean sending the APCs forward when there are hungry IDF tanks to their front), the Egyptians will have a very difficult time capturing the town with only a single infantry platoon, especially if the Israelis get 2 infantry platoons.   The best bet for the Egyptians is to advance on a broad front with their tank company (3 x platoons) abreast so they can maximize firepower and wipe out the Magach's quickly, possibly even using the infantry ATGMs dismounted.  This will clear the way and allow the Egyptians to get in close to the town and dismount before any IDF infantry shows up.

Stopping as the attacking force is death when you're outgunned so badly.  You have to get into close range as the Arabs/Soviets.

Starting much further back was a great tactic for the Israelis, and they were able to capitalize on their better gunnery from the start.  The arrival of the Magach platoon on the Egyptian flanks didn't seem to have too much of an effect on the Egyptians.  

I did run into some questions going through the game this time that I tried to capture.

  • Can the Soviet styled tanks shoot at long range?  (beyond 15") I think not but doesn't hurt to ask.
  • Is "4" dice the max you can shoot with?  The Israelis are a higher quality in the scenario I played, and when shooting at close range could get up to 5 dice.  (I think this is addressed already in the rules but again, doesn't hurt to ask).
  • When using the "Soviet offense" is my movement set strictly at 1D6 or is my movement limited to 1D6 +4?
  • For an evade move, is this authorized immediately following the launch of an ATGM?  Or is it just a move that enables better protection from ATGMs if you're fired on?  Does it cancel out an ATGM attack?  Clearly, I did not have any ATGMs on the table (although arguably if the Egyptians dismounted and used them against the 2 x Magach platoons this could have been a much quicker game) 
I had a few other questions but cant remember.  I enjoyed this game so much I ended up purchasing some el cheapo 1/300 aircraft off ebay (MiG-17s and A-4 Skyhawks!) so I can get some planes on the table.  They'll come in handy for some Fate of a Nation gaming as well as Sabre Squadron!  Not bad for less than an hour of gaming.

I'd like to get another game in this weekend if possible.  Time will tell!  Hoping to be able to play next weekend for sure.