Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Modder Fokkers

3 Fokkers (Mike, Chris & Renfrey):

2 Camels (Mitch, Mark) & 1 Bristol Fighter (Jim):

It soon got up close & personal with damage rising slowly but most planes avoiding critical damage. 

The first to go down was Chris's  yellow Fokker having attracted fire from Mike's Fokker (if firing too close to one of your own planes 1's hit it) as well all the Brits, before being finished off by the Bristol's tail gunner.  But the remaining Fokkers fought back & both Camels followed the Fokker to earth.  Now carrying a lot of holes, but no serious damage the Bristol put her nose down & ran for home.  The equally damaged Fokkers were happy to let it and its nasty twin tail guns go.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Sharps Practice 2 at Barries's

I had a go at at Too Fat Lardie's Sharps Practice 2 at Barrie's Sunday School.
As always at Barrie's the figures & scenery were beautiful, the company good & yet another new-fangled set of rules.  SP2 can be used for small actions in any Horse & Musket era.  In this case it was  French & Indian Wars - the same figures & scale of action as Muskets & Tomahawks which I have also played at Barrie's. 
SP2 uses special cards drawn from a deck (like M&T) or equivalent numbered disks drawn from a bag (like BA) to determine the order in which units are moved in a turn.  In BA the command dice allow you to choose which unit to apply it to.  In M&T a card tells you which type of unit you can action & you can action all the units of that type if their card comes out.  In SP2, the card/chit tells you specifically which unit you can activate.  In SP2 the turn ends when a certain card/chit is drawn (so not all units get to move in a turn) & there are some special chits that can be saved & used for specific purposes like interrupting an enemy action, enhancing a unit's fire or moving a unit at the end if it did get an action due to its own card/chit.  All three systems break the traditional system of the players taking turns to action all their units.  In both M&T & SP2 it's pure luck whether you activate the unit you really should activate tactically.  In SP2, a lot of the skill in the game is in using the special cards/chits well, so success largely depends on knowing how to use the system rather than simply applying good military principles.  In BA, choosing which unit to activate adds a skill element to the game with choices that can be made purely on military principles rather than knowing how to use the system.  In this regard I think BA has the best system.

Movement distance is randomised by move distances being the number of inches in the sum of 2 dice.  In difficult terrain you use the best or worst of the 2 dice depending on how difficult. You can use 3 dice at the risk of disruption.  As a Hail Caesarian, randomised movement is a feature I'm familiar with & this isn't a bad way of doing it.

Shooting is by throwing a handful of D6 with a score to hit & then another D6 roll to kill or add disruption markers (like BA pins).  So very similar to the BA system, but seems more complex - it  may just need a good QRS to demystify it which we didn't have. 

Like M&T, there are random events provoked by certain draws of cards/chits which some people might like, but I think these are a Mickey Mouse distraction from the main game.

It's not fair or wise to rate a game on the basis of one game played without oversight by someone who knows the rules well & without a good QRS (& without a copy to study).  All games are so much better when you know the rules.  Inevitably it was slow to play & my side suffered some unfortunate surprises.  A devastating first volley on the British lead unit pretty much decided the game - the chit draw gave the French first fire, the British players' lack of knowledge precluded them using a saved chit to mollify it, & a whole bunch of sixes really topped it off.  But the French players sure enjoyed that.  With a bit of practice SP2 would certainly speed up & become much less of a lottery.  I need to get to know it better to make a definite judgement, but I suspect it might be better than M&T - so it's worth playing some more. 

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Near the Danube in the 17th century

Poles v Turks
The Turks (Mark, Chris & Jim) are deployed on the hill with their levy in the centre behind their guns, Janisaries in reserve behind & cavalry on the wings.
The Poles (Mike & Mitch) deployed all their cavalry on their right.
The Poles got good command dice with their cavalry & their 2 cavalry divisions were onto the sinhle Turkish division on that flank on turn 2. The Turks attempted to move their right behind the foot to support their left but they refused to move.

 The pic above are from behind the Poles.  The rest of the pics are from behind the Turkish left.
The Turkish cavalry are outnumbered as well as outclassed, but still put up a stiff defence.
The Polish infantry have now advanced & are attacking the levy on the hill. The Turkish cavalry from the right flank have finally come across the Turkish rear, but the left flank is about to break.

The counterattack by the Turkish right flank cavalry has failed & when that division breaks the Turks fail their army break test.

The battle was won when the Poles rorted the blind deployment to put all their cavalry on the one flank.  They had a division of 4 Heavy Cavalry & a division of 4 Winged hussars, each with 2 dragoons.  6 Gonallu & 3 small horse archers were no match for that.  The Turk's attempt to reinforce their left before it was beaten was compromised by bad command dice & the Poles destroyed the Turkish cavalry divisions one after the other.  Perhaps the Turks shoull have attacked on the other flank, but they thought their cavalry had little hope against pike & shotte hedgehogs & the prospect of attacking with the levy didn't appeal either.  A feeling vindicated by the fact that when the Polish foot attacked the levy was being pushed back even with the advantage of artillery & the hill.

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Bolt Action in the Desert

John Mumford's British Commandoes v. Jim's Italians.  1,000 pts Demolition Scenario.
The Brits are on the near side, the Italians on the far side.  The tent os the Italian objective.  The Brit's objective is hidden behind the village. The Italians deployed all their force at the start, the Brits left a Buffalo loaded with more infantry & a PIAT on flank march.

The battle was a bit of a fizzer in that the Italians simply rushed their armour down the road, successfully risking the a/car's fire, pushed through the infantry on the road, & took the objective on turn 2.

So to make John's trip over the river worthwhile we backtracked & the Italians made a more measured attack, trying to knock out the a/car before charging.   Despite having an a/car, a tank & an ATR v. 1 a/car the Italians lost the duel & their infantry attack couldn't reach the objective before time ran out.   The British flank attack of a Buffalo full of troops was late coming on & it too couldn't reach the objective in time.  So the re-run was a draw.

It's probably not a good idea to put the objectives next to a road across the table in this scenario. This can mean the game can finish too soon if a risky attack succeeds, or else peter out to a draw if it doesn't.  

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Napoleonic Naval

Tonight we got out the old Victory models for a change from CW & BA.  The Brits had 2 squadrons of 4 ships, the French 3 squadrons of 3 ships - mainly 3rd rates with some bigger squadron leaders. The Brits had elite crews, the French, regular crews.
 Both fleets are reaching (wind abeam) on opposite tacks.  The French have an slight advantage with the weather guage.
 Both sides send a squadron upwind while the others go for each other.
Father & son command 2 of the French squadrons.
Chris' squadron takes on the Oakford's two as Mike's heads for Steve's Frogs.
Mike & Steve pass each other at a sensible distance while the other squadrons get in close & personal.
Several ships close in for boarding & 2 French ships are captured in the melee.  Mike has turned about is coming to help Chris, but Steve has got there first & Chris is under pressure. 
French counterattacks result in 2 of Chris's ships being boarded & 1of their lost ships retaken.  Another of Chris' ships is surrounded & strikes it's colours.  His remaining ship is escaping with its prize (on the LHS of pic).  One of Mike's ships has sunk & the lead ship hasbeen pounded from both sides & has struck it's colours .  The French are content to sail off downwind with their 4 prizes having lost just 1 ship captured.  The Brits have just 3 ships left plus a prize & can only let them go.

A rare French victory at sea! 

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Sunday Afternoon at Good Games

There were 3 games going in the back bunker.  One sci-fi, one Chain of Command  & one Bolt Action.

Bolt Action:  Chris' Japanese v. Jim's Australians
1000 pts, Point Defence Scenario in the jungle, Japanese defending (on the the far side in the pics).   The ground is jungle with visibility 12" except for the green fields & yellow crop fields.  The scenario was modified  a bit to put objectives in logical places - the village & in the clearings behind.   The defenders were allowed to deploy past the objectives.
The Australians sent an infantry unit down each flank & attacked the village with another supported by their 25 pdr & MMG,
The Australians had an infantry unit making flank march on each flank.  On the right a converging attack soon took out the Japanese defence.  On the left the frontal attack was stopped by the Japanese tank, but the Banzai charge on the flanking force was mown down leaving the objective there exposed.  The defenders in the village were weakened by support fire & over-run by an assault. 
In the end the Japanese managed to maintain dispute of the left hand objective, but lost the other two so it was an Australian win.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Bolt Action Tank War 2200 pts

Both sides had about 2,200 pts in forces not quite compliant with the rule book.
Chris' Soviets had 4 reg T34/85s, 4 reg Shermans, 1 inexp ISU-122, 1 inexp inf, 1 guard inf & 2 trucks.  (On the left in the pics).
Mark & Jim's Germans had 3 reg Panthers, 3 reg Hetzers, 2 vet Panzergrenadier squads, 1 vet panzerschreck team & 2 trucks.
There are 6 objectives on the 10'x6' table. Deployment was by drawing command dice & placing units within 18" of own baseline without firing in a turn #0.
The Germans rushed Panzergrens forward to grab the central crossroads while pinning the Guards down in their truck.  The Soviets rushed the bridge with their other infantry unit.  Meanwhile the tanks exchanged ineffective long range fire.
While tank casualties steadily mounted on both sides the infantry worked for objectives.  The 2nd Panzergren squad walked & ran over to the creek, then towards the bridge.  The other Panzergrens hunkered down on the road junction under tank hull mg fire as the Soviet Guards moved up to attack them.
The game remained in the balance for most for the game with 3 objectives secured for each & casualties close to even.   But finally on turn 7 the Panzergrens took the bridge & the attack of the Guards near the road junction was repulsed - putting the Germans in front in both objectives & casualties.  The dice gave us a turn 8 which only increased the German margin.

Tank Wars can be subject to wild swings of luck because every shot at a tank can make a big difference.  But this also makes for an exciting game.  For Tank War we like larger battles like this one to provide more scope for luck to even out, & the larger table provides more scope to gain tactical advantage.  This German list had 11 dice & the Soviets 13, so very manageable & the game took less than 2 1/2 hours. 

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

ACW: Attack on Fort Cromwell

This is a modification of the Fort Henry scenario in Glory Hallelujah.  First I had a great time modifying a cheap river boat model kit into the USS Venus & buiding Fort Cromwell.
Mike & Mark commanded the Union (I had tactical command of the Union left flank, but as scenario umpire took no part in strategic decisions).
Steve & Chris commanded the CSA.
The CSA had 12 regiments of infantry & 2 field batteries to defend the fort (which also had some guns) and the fort's supply line through Oliver's landing.  A line of abatis provided a defence line from the fort to Oliver's Creek.
The Union had 20 regiments, 5 batteries & a gun boat.
To win the Union had to take the fort by 10 o'clock.  If by 10 the Union had taken Oliver's Landing bit not the fort, it would be a draw.
The Union sent a division through the woods on a flanking manoeuvre while advancing batteries & skirmishers to soften up the defence.

It took a while but eventually the flanking force got into position & the Union began a general advance (as fast as the command dice would let them). 
The CSA didn't wait for the converging attack on the end of their line  to press home & began to pull back to a shorter line nearer Oliver's Landing.
The CSA are hanging onto the village but have pulled their centre back into the fort.  The Union right still hasn't got a serious attack on the fort going, though the skirmishers, artillery & gun boat have seriously weakened the defence.
On the far flank the CSA is being driven out of the village.  In the centre a desperate CSA counterattack (by a regiment that rallied behind the village) has disrupted the attack on the east side of the fort.  But on the near flank Mark finally got his infantry to make a serious attack & has broken into the fort.  The Union's strategy of patiently softening the CSA up with artillery & skirmishers while waiting for the flank attack to get into position gave them victory with 20 minutes to spare.