Sunday, January 26, 2014

Snow, snow, thick thick snow...


It's snowing, and cold, too cold in my man cave to do much right now. I had been working on some SF gaming pieces cast from Hirst Arts molds, but plaster is temperature and humidity-sensitive - and so am I. 

Due to an upswing in commissions my WW2 15mm project is on the back burner for a few weeks. I'll get the Chain of Command rules sometime soon so I can peruse them at leisure and see what's required. My lovely wife bought me a Kindle for Christmas, and I can read them on there. Until then I have book edits to do and preparations for the upcoming Kawa Kon - Into Darkness convention in St. Louis. 

Now, if this bloody snow would just go away...


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Western Desert CofC.

Okay, so it wasn't all Too Fat Lardies' "fault" for reigniting my interest in WW2 gaming. My recent reading of Basil Liddell-Hart's History of the Second World War had much to do with it. His descriptions of General O'Connor's efforts to push the Italian army out of Cyrenaica are vivid. It begs the question - Would O'Connor have succeeded in his aim if Churchill hadn't deprived him of units and further reinforcements by sending them on a forlorn hope to bolster Greece? Could Rommel have got enough supplies past Malta to enable him to push on to Egypt?

So, I'm opting for the Western Desert, 1940-43.

This is something I gamed way back in the 70's using Airfix and Matchbox models on a crude sand table, but I haven't played much of this theater since. It's interesting to see Rich Clark using a sand table for his own demonstrations of Chain of Command rules, but I think I'll stick with the sand colored cloth for now.

There are some nice figures and models out there. Old Glory's Command Decison range Italians come recommended, and can't really be beaten for price - $15 for a pack of 50. Old Glory does have a reputation of variable quality, though. Peter Pig is another option, having very nice sculpts, although this higher quality means they're roughly twice the price of Old Glory. I read the two ranges are generally miscible. I think pick n' mix will be the way to go.

As for vehicles, Zvezda produces a wide range of tanks etc. suitable for early war. Scalehobbyist carries the range in the US. The models are very cheap compared with metal or resin versions, snap together, and photos I've seen show the results are pretty good.

A recent upswing in work means I'll be a bit too busy to deal with CofC for a while, but my first step will be to buy the rules and look them over. More details to come...


Thursday, January 9, 2014

WW2 Thoughts


Oh, I blame the Too Fat Lardies for this. Discussion of their Chain of Command rules for WW2 skirmish games has filled the hobby pages these last few months since their release. I watched the rules demonstrations on Youtube, and was impressed by the clean flow of the games. Now I find myself looking at Peter Pig's 15mm WW2 range.

I admit, the only choice I really have now is which theater to opt for, Western Desert, Italy, or NW Europe? Decisions, decisions...      
* * *
EDIT: Can anyone tell me how compatible Peter Pig figures are to Old Glory 15mm's? 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Post Trek thoughts


So, to the game play. I'd rolled to see how many warbands would contest the day with the White Queen's soldiers. I got one large Formation of two warband Groups, plus one Group. No specials in the shape of musketmen or archers showed up, which might have made matters rather stickier for the British.

Pretty much as usual the turn of cards decided the issue, with the victory going this time to the British. They derived great benefit from the Breechloader card, which enables any one unit so equipped to fire. I restrict its use to the unit most threatened by the enemy, which in this case was the entire company in position atop the hill. When the British opened fire an exceptional number of hits translated into rather few outright kills but an awful lot of Shock. Of the kills the crucial one proved the death of the G'Wunda warband's #1 Big Man. He'd persuaded his comrades to charge, but his demise and the high shock factor combined to make the G'Wunda warriors' impact very feeble. The Barsetshires saw them off at the cost of one man killed and three points of Shock.

The second charge by the other warband threatened to upset the applecart, as the Barsetshires had no chance to turn to face, let alone greet the charging natives with volley fire. Even so, again the dice favored the British and the warriors were hurled back, to suffer almost complete destruction by volley fire. On this occasion, two Breechloader cards came up one after the other followed by CSM Harrington's card - and yes, I did shuffle the pack thoroughly!

The combination of Big Men in one Formation made it easy for the British to remove the few Shock points they'd suffered. The company got on the road again immediately. 

The issue wasn't quite over though, for in the first warband another native Big Man had stepped forward (as per the rule which gives a chance to replace a Big Man casualty). He and the existing sub-leader succeeded in reducing the crippling shock factor to the point where the warriors were content to wait in the scrub and watch for another chance to attack.

But - before the game I'd included the Blank Card in the deck, which card allows for any random factor the umpire decides upon to happen once drawn. In this instance I'd decided the third drawing of the card would signal the arrival of the steamboat off Fahtah, announced by the vessel's shrill whistle. Accounts of the time record natives being petrified by the sound of steam whistles and foghorns, thinking them to be hostile spirits. In this instance the whistle sounded just as the native Big Men had their warriors under control and ready to attack as the Barsetshires passed by their hiding place. I'd decided the whistle would inflict 1dAverage points of Shock on all native warbands. I rolled a 5. Screaming with fear the natives disappeared into the bush for good. Game over.
* * *
The last stage of the Trek to Fahtah proved unexpectedly bloody for the Barsetshires, especially given their already reduced strength. Each of the three men struck down in the two melées was killed outright, much to the shock of their comrades, who thought it against the odds. Even so, the company succeeded in winning through to the town and now has the chance to rest, recover and be brought up to strength.

Barsetshire Company Muster at Fahtah.
Captain “Fearless” Fred Pike, CO
Bugler Bates, Ronald "Blaster"

1st Section: 
CSM Harrington, Albert
Marksman Lewis, Jack
Pvt. Hayes, Christopher 
Pvt. Wilson, Harold
Pvt. Lipton, Thomas

2nd Section:
Cpl. White, George
Pvt. Barker, John
Pvt. Moss, Frederick
Pvt. Murray, Andrew

3rd Section:
Cpl. Powell, Frank "Nosher"
Pvt. Watson, Geoff
Pvt. Brooks, Malcolm
Pvt. Wilkinson, Alfred
Pvt. Finnegan, Liam   

4th Section:
L. Cpl. Hudson, Perceval
Pvt. Arkwright, James
Pvt. Webster, Dick

The quality of the company remains at Good. Had they suffered any further high loss of manpower let alone an outright defeat, they would be relegated to Regular status. As it is, this victory coupled with their leaders' battlefield competence and care for the men has allowed their status to remain unchanged.

Colonel Trollope will arrive with reinforcements at Fahtah shortly, there to discuss the situation with the officers and ranking civilians. More to follow...
   

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A Happy New Year!


A Happy and Peaceful New Year to one and all!
 

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