Thursday, September 21, 2017

Game Night - Napoleon's Rules of War

Played a game of Napoleon's Rules of War at game night last Friday.  We were playing a practice game for the upcoming Game Day scenario.  It has been a while since I last played NRW so this was a great chance for me to get reacquainted.  As we played the game I began to recall why I like the system so much!  Simple to play, but gives a very realistic result if you play using authentic Napoleonic tactics.

Here are a few pics of the evening's festivities:

The Prussian commanders begin their deployment. From left to right, Pete, Byron, Bob and Mike.  They did an excellent job throughout the evening.  I think they will be formidable foes come Game Day next month!

The French commanders likewise prepare their troops for the battle.  From Left to Right; Rob, Ralph, Earl and Charlie.  It is always nice to have the author on your team!

Prussian National Cavalry lead the attack on the French left flank.  When I first looked, these looked like Dragoons.  Fortunately for our side, that was not the case.  These light cavalry were all Earl could handle as Pete put in a really effective combined arms attack.  Ed has done a great job painting, basing and marking all of these units. I really like the unit tabs Ed has developed as it makes it very easy to track units and use the game play sheets.

Earl's French infantry defend the left flank under heavy attack from Pete's troops.  I didn't take too many pics as I was very involved getting back into the rules.  This picture also shows the unit ID tags that Ed has developed.  Rings on the units represent hits and as a unit gains these hits it begins to 'waver' which affects its combat effectiveness.  As additional hits are accumulated, the unit routs off the board.  A very effective way to limit book-keeping.

The Prussian players in disbelief as Earl rolls lights out and the French left holds firm.  At the end of Turn 1 the French players had the same look on their faces.

Overall the game went very well.  Ed was trying out some slight rules modifications like an additional bonus when defending in line.  Ended up not being such a slight modification and the game really swung on a couple of battles that would have gone the other way if the modification hadn't been made.  I'm thinking that Ed might put it back to the original version for game day.

During game day I will make sure to take more photos of the troops in addition to the players.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Finally Back On-line - Chosen Men Game Report

Well, it has been a long time away, but I am finally back!  I have had a great summer doing some traveling and having many visitors at the house.  It has been a good time, and now as fall is on the horizon and the trees start to change from green to various tones of yellow and red, I am returning to the hobby table.

Last night I traveled to Manchester and tried out the new (for us) Chosen Men rules from Osprey Publishing with my friend Gordon.  We did a pretty simple scenario using my War of 1812 figures.  Gordon played the British and I handled the Americans.

The British had two infantry squads, a Major Commanding Officer and a single Spy (horse mounted). As the Americans, I had a Major Commander, two infantry squads and a half/squad of Riflemen.

Gordon set up a great looking table.  Because we were both playing our first game of CM we took it very slow and basically read through the rules as we played the game.

Here is a couple of photos of the game as we came together at the end of Turn 1.

Americans on the right and British/Canadians on the left.  The Americans defended the wall very effectively and  we used the 'Feint' strategy to make the British Light Infantry squad to break cover and charge.  They ended up being short of the Americans during the charge and were out in the open to be fired on.  Gordon decided to try and shoot it out with the Americans and even with his great rolling, the wall provided enough cover to leave the Americans in possession of the wall at the end of the game.

I did not take any other photos as we were spending so much time reviewing rules and concentrating on the game itself.

The rules themselves are pretty interesting.  We each had four units and that seemed to be about right for what a new player can handle within an evening game for fun.  We played about three and a half hours of actual game time.  We played through five turns during the game and by the end of the game I think I had a pretty good sense of how to play.

The game mechanics are interesting with an alternating of units moving through its actions then an opponent's unit getting to play and back and forth until all units have moved.  That is one turn.

Infantry fire combat is a bit cumbersome with three die rolls, hits-saves-kills.  It could probably be reduced to two rolls if modifiers were inserted at one or two levels, but if you are doing a beer & pretzels type of fun game have fun rolling your hearts out!

The other thing we learned is that cavalry is particularly effective against exposed infantry.  On two occasions Gordon killed several infantrymen with a single mounted figure (including all of the half squad of riflemen).  Infantry needs to be in the correct formation and needs to be under strong leadership to be effective against cavalry to their front.  We think that the Hold and Fire order is one of the potentially effective ways for infantry to confront cavalry.  Once contact is made by charging cavalry, they will be devastating on an infantry squad.  Of course, Gordon was rolling lights out, so that may have been part of the outcome.  Sometimes you can't fight General Dice!

We also noticed that as casualties increase the morale checks come more and more often. Gordon faced this with his Light Infantry in front of the wall.  He passed several checks but as the unit took additional casualties, he had to take more checks and he finally broke.

I like the rules.  I hope to have a slightly larger game sometime soon.  I hope the second game goes as well as this first attempt.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Big Anzio Bolt Action Game

Yesterday, I had an opportunity to participate in a 10-player Bolt Action Game at Adler Hobby.  We we playing a stylized Anzio scenario with five Allied players defending the beachhead against an attack from five Axis players.  Gordon set the scenario in the historical context of the start of the German offensive of Operation Fischfang. This would mean tired Allied units facing strong German units including armor and heavy artillery.  The saving grace for the Allies would be strong artillery units on the beach and a preparatory bombardment called in by a British Forward Observer.  Many of the Allied units would begin the game dug-in giving them the 'Down' modifier while still allowing them to shoot.  The plethora of flamethrower (both vehicle and man pack) in the Axis army would negate most of the benefits of the foxholes, but it would help against other weapons.  Each army was a 750 point base with available extra points/units from the campaign capped at 1000 points.

Here is the excellent beach side of the board set-up by Gordon at Adler Hobby:

The Allies are on the left and the Germans would advance from the right.  The next photo shows the Axis portion of the board.  Each Allied unit began the game with one pin marker to represent the hard fighting they had already done prior to the start of the German offensive.

The Axis side of the board including their initially deployment units.

The Germans would push very hard on both flanks and straight down the road in the center of the photo above.  My forces (Fench CEF) along with a British force would face the center and the German halftracks on the right of the photo above.

The British/French flank of the battlefield with the initial deployment of Axis players.

Bold first and second turn moves by Axis forces (flame tanks) in the center.  The tanks would include riders who as Veterans wearing body armor, would stand around the brown building for almost the entire game.  They caused some significant damage.

British and French forces on the Allied Right Flank.  The German halftracks on the right of the photo would get nearly to the water's edge, destroying many allied units on the way.  But the British troops would give good amount of themselves as would the French in front of them.

The battle proceeded through the first six turns and the Allies were hard pressed with only a few squads and one Sherman tank left on the beach.  The Axis forces were closing in for the kill!

Then the miraculous happened.  All of the Axis units within range of Allied troops on the beach fired during Turn 7.  It came down to one German command squad firing at the remnants of the last French squad.  Only one rifle was left to shoot and the die was cast.  IT CAME UP A "1"!!!  The French survived!  It was just barely an Allied victory!

The two remaining infantrymen from an Algerian Tirailleurs squad who, along with a lone American Sherman tank would secure the beachhead for the Allies. 
This was one of the best games I have played in for a long time.  My hat is off to my Allied co-players and all of our Axis opponents.

At the end of the game Gordon had some really cool awards and raffle prizes.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Huzzah! Game a Success

My game at Huzzah! on Friday night went pretty well.  I had six players and all seemed really engaged and interested in the scenario.  At the end of the game the Freedom Fighters (FF) had outgunned the French/Moan government troops and secured the crashed aircraft.  The dice gods were definitely against the French and government troops during the game as the Freedom Fighters had activation dice drawn consecutively on several occasions.  The FF players took advantage of the fortunes of war and took pretty aggressive actions which resulted in the destruction of government vehicles and several infantry squads.

Here are some photos of the action:

The Moan armored cars seize the crossroads on Turn 1.  They would not move again in the six move game!  

The Moan troops, from the 22nd Airborne Commando Battalion and the 63rd Mechanized Regiment move up to support the armored cars.  

Kitty Hawk down!  The aircraft crashed right near the crossroads.The armored cars had already been destroyed.  The Freedom Fighters have a squad along the wall of the building at the top right, a motorcycle rider at the bottom right and a squad in the building at the tail of the aircraft.  They also have the government troops in the building a the bottom of the photo under fire from several different units.  The French would try to close in from the top of the photo, but they would not be able to extricate the Moan troops from the kill zones.

The French troops coming to the rescue!  Well, at least they are trying.

The Freedom Fighters mass for the attack!

A close-up of some infantry of the Democratic Republic of Moa.

By the end of the battle, the Freedom Fighters had not only secured Kitty Hawk, they had destroyed eight of the allied units and killed or wounded several French soldiers.  The political fallout for the French government may be so severe as to cause the withdrawal of French regulars from the DRM.  What will happen as the Freedom Fighters continue their push south further into Moa?  Stay tuned to find out!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Getting Ready for Huzzah! Game

Well,  the bags and game supplies are packed and I am ready to head out tomorrow afternoon for Portland and some time at Huzzah!  I am putting on a scenario using my modern 20mm Bolt Action figures at the convention.

My scenario is from the 2016 additional scenario pack and is called "Kitty Hawk Down!"  I have put on the scenario a couple of times, but using Bolt Action version 1.  I have made all of the appropriate changes for version 2 and we will have to see if the Modern rules play as well as they did in the earlier games.  This is the same scenario that I hosted at the club game night back in January.  During that game, the victory conditions were not met until the last couple of dice of the last turn.  To me that is a sign of a pretty balanced scenario!

If everything goes well I am going to use the results of this game as the start of a mini campaign set in the fictional African country - The Democratic Republic of Moa (DRM).

Watch this site for an update by the end of the weekend!  The player slots are full and I hope that all of the players have a really good time.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Vacation Time Work on the German Bolt Action Army

I have been on a week long vacation and I have had an opportunity to work on my German forces for Bolt Action.  I am still working on platoons and supports for a Herman Goering Division unit.  This particular unit requires that each of the infantry units be mechanized or motorized.  Consequently, I have built a couple of Sdkfz 251's to transport my Panzer-grenadiers.  Also, the HG army in Bolt Action can have multiple Anti-aircraft units.  So, I have added a Flak 38 20mm AA gun.

During vacation, I built all three models and got them base coated with Dark Yellow spray paint.  Here are the results of the work so far:

I have base coated the models in Warlord Dark Yellow spray paint.  I really like the color which is not as dark as it appears in this photo.  I think it will be easy to add some details and have the models ready for the table pretty quickly.

I'll post additional photos when i have them done.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

First Italian Campaign BA Game

Had a chance to travel to Aldernest Cafe and play a the first Bolt Action game in the Italian Campaign that store owner Gordon is hosting.  I had a really great time playing with Eric as our Romanian (Eric) and FFL (mine) Armies squared off.  We rolled for the scenario and got "Envelopment".  Eric ended up being the defender and I took on the role of attacker.  Eric's army is really well painted and he has done an amazing job of converting a range of figures into a really excellent army.

Here are some pictures of my forces in the game as it progressed:

A French Foreign Legion Infantry Squad advance on the enemy!

Fire Support being provided by the 62nd African Artillery Regiment.  Note the spotter in the upper floor balcony.  The gun provided very effective fire support for the infantry, taking out a Romanian Light Howitzer.

French Stuart and Medium MG advancing in the center of the French position.

A French Infantry squad passing a burning Romanian R-35 Light Tank,  The Renault survived three turns of shots from Bazookas, Stuart main gun shots and even a close assault by the before mentioned infantry squad armed with anti-tank grenades!

The Stuart prepares to cross the open area of a rail road ben.  Most of the game there was a Romanian AT gun on the rail line at the top of the photo in Ambush.  A very good position, but once it was given up and the gun moved, it opened up the middle of the board.

The game was pretty one-sided.  The dice gods really favored me and I was able to destroy several units including an infantry squad, a tank and two guns.  I was also able to get two of my squads off board or within a foot of his side of the board.

As a part of the campaign I was able to gather another useful terrain piece which will allow me to add 30 more points to my army in each game.  Overall it was a very good result for the Allies.

Eric is new to Bolt Action and I haven't played in a while.  But we muddled through the rules and we both learned things.  For me, I think that I will need to have two different available army lists so I can play one as the attacker and the other as the defender.  This game could have gone very badly if there were enemy units in slightly different positions or if the dice had gone just a little bit his way.