29 June 2014

Check Your 6 Jet Age - Learning Part 2

Ziggy and I put CY6JA back on the tabletop Saturday. We were delighted to not have to contend with mother nature this time. Since in our last session we'd only played with gun-equipped planes, this time we played with missiles only to get a feel for their rules. I took 2 MiG-21s with a paltry 2 AA-2s each, while Zig had two early-model F-4s loaded to the gills with Sidewinders and Sparrows. We each also had one green pilot and one skilled pilot.

Since my 6 x 4 hex mat is still either in the mail or production, we again played on a surface of Heroscape tiles. The hexes are a bit large and thus the play area a little small. Certainly playable though.

Major Nguyen (yellow base) and Captain Nguyen (red base) The color-coordinated dice indicate altitude and speed - d12 for altitude and d8 for speed.

Ziggy getting it figured out.

So at least we had a good bit of space between us to start.

We jockeyed for position for a few turns and eventually I got my veteran pilot into a firing situation. For whatever reason I didn't photograph the misery of rolling snake-eyes for my to-hit roll.

But the frustration was short-lived, as a couple turns later I was again able to take a shot at the junior American pilot with Major Nguyen.

Missile away! And a good roll of the dice confirm a hit!

Heh heh...

But this being humid Vietnam and the early days of missile warfare, those rockets aren't terribly reliable. A "one" on the malfunction die indicates an issue and the detonator doesn't live up to its name. 

Now my better pilot has no more missiles.

A turn or two later Zig manages to get his lead Phantom in behind my junior pilot and looses a Sidewinder.

This happens. Crap.

The Major decides that since his plane isn't paid for yet either, he should take it back to base. Thus begins a chase.

It took three or four turn for me to get that MiG to my home edge of the map. The Americans got two shots off just as I was exiting but both failed to connect. Ah. Small victories.

We're having a good time with CY6JA. Once the mat arrives things should change up considerably since we'll have a lot more room to maneuver, not to mention that radar-guided missile will come into their own with a larger area to fight over.

23 June 2014

Black Powder - American Civil War

Mike B has been furiously painting 20mm ACW soldiers recently since picking up Black Powder a few months ago. He's been eager to put BP on the table top so Sunday afternoon we gave it a good play-through. We had four players which made it easy to divide up the troops. Mark J and I took the (damn) Yankees while Johnny and Mike took command of the CSA boys.

The basic setup was that the Yankees were attacking a small southern town and its important bridge and crossroads. The Georgia boys were defending the town and pretty well in control of the battlefield to begin with.

The battlefield. No, we weren't trying to recreate a historical battle. it was more of a set-up and fight. The five white objective markers are pretty well visible. I'm not certain why the ruined building is an objective. Perhaps there were some gold bars hidden under the floor boards.

Mark and I looked at the situation and quickly concocted a battle plan:
1) With four of the five objectives on the right side of the river, we decided that the bulk of the effort should spent on the right side of the river. I was going to send one battalion forward on the left side as a distraction. The goal was to get as many of the Confederate reinforcements to enter on the wrong side of the river as possible.

2) My larger component was to march down the road , take and hold the bridge and just push the center objectives.

3) Mark's troops were to advance and remove enemy opposition on the right side of the battlefield. The objectives on that side were going to be difficult to get to, but we'd at least have a numbers advantage on that side.
The map of the plan. My planned advance is in dark blue - Mark's is in light blue.

The Confederate setup. Mike's got a battalion forward on my side (perfect!) and John's got a battalion further back in a good defensive position.

I got my first battalion to arrive right where I needed it. I very purposefully left my other two battalions in reserve. Mark only managed to get one battalion to arrive. My troops opened fire at the nearest company of enemy.
And it was a very effective volley... the company took three hits, became disordered and failed their break test, quitting the field! Oh boy, this should be easy!

Mike pulled in a handful of reinforcements - some of which ended up on the left side of the river. Not entirely what I was hoping for, but not bad. The lead CSA battalion fouled up a leadership roll and one company dropped back two full moves. Heheh.  The Confederate return fire resulted in one of my companies becoming disordered. Nothing too terrible.

On the second turn, Mark's sharpshooters arrived on the road. My command rolls were miserable and although I managed to succeed with one, the blasted sharpshooters were creating a traffic jam on the road and my reinforcements stayed off the table. His battalion on the far right advanced and both sides exchanged more gunfire with little in the way of results. The CSA's command rolls were absolute garbage and left us in a fine situation.

On the third turn, Mark's sharpshooters cleared the road and my second unit entered, albeit very slowly.

 We fired more muskets into the Southern positions.

And caused a second company to rout, resulting in the remainder of the battalion routing! A loud cheer erupted from the Union lines.

To start turn 4, I had some fabulous command rolls and not only was able to get the balance of the Union army to arrive, but managed to get them into very good positions. Because the road was such a log-jam, I only had one battalion march up it, whilst my new unit marched alongside them on the other side of the river. Mark maneuvered his troops around a bit, trying to get a shot off with his artillery. I didn't think all the wiggling around was necessary, but what's a sub-commander to do?

I believe it was about this time that one of Mark's companies finally took enough gunfire to rout. Sorry, poor documentation.

So, onto turn 5. Mike's command rolls were complete crap so I just waltzed up to the bridge and captured it giving us two objectives now. The battalion that had come down the road started to form up into battle lines in preparation for the final assault in the center.

Here's a shot of Mark's situation. He had some seriously shitty terrain to deal with. Those grey lumps were "impassible rocky ground."

So, with turn 6 upon us, I advanced further into the center, trading shots with the unit on the road and the unit in the building. Mark inched up towards the wall.

Mark managed to put an obscene amount of firepower into the unit manning the wall, finally breaking it. It had been a long time coming!

Mike's command rolls finally started to take shape and he advanced his now dismounted cavalry and an infantry unit towards my lines on the left. Maybe a bit foolhardy, but at least he was getting positive results. Mike's other units filtered forward into the ruins and beside them.

 I was honor-bound to charge the haughty Confederates. having them outnumbered three to one helped. The Southerners in the ruins took some pot-shots as I closed but it wasn't enough to break the charge. The unit of rebel soldiers was wiped out handily.

An American tragedy.

Back on the other side of the field, the Union sharpshooters had managed to flank the hell out of the cannon position but left themselves terribly exposed to a Confederate charge. The brave Georgians rushed forward!

But the skirmishing sharpshooters were able to turn and fire, and the artillery which had piddled about all game unleashed a gout of flame and iron! The charge was broken and they quickly turned tail and retreated.

The battlefield after seven turns. We'd managed two objectives and destroyed five or six Confederate companies and only lost one. Although the objective in the center was officially ruled "contested" I personally think we'd have lost a lot of troops trying to capture it. 

We declared the battle a Union victory as the sun was setting. We all had a brilliant time. This was my first time playing a Civil War game and I rather enjoyed it. The Black Powder rules are OK, certainly not great. You can tell it's a Rick Priestly opus with playability and the almighty d6 being king and queen and a useable QRS being no-where in sight. I swear, that man ain't givin' away ANY rules for free. The game is very GW with a full IGO-UGO in effect. I think the game could do for a bit of re-arranging myself; I'd have each side alternate moves, then shoot (simultaneously), then resolve charges. I'd also like to see a d8 or d10 instead of that damned d6.

I've had Fields of Honor on my game shelf for nearly 20 years and never played a game of it. After this, my interest is piqued to be sure, but that's a lot of miniatures that I don't have. One of these days...

15 June 2014

CY6JA - The Hot Seat

Zig's back in country from England and France so Saturday evening we put the little planes on the tabletop for a Check Your 6 Jet Age learn and blunder session. I finally got some good use out of my Heroscape tiles since I don't own a hex mat. For our first game, I figured we'd try to keep things simple, so it was F-100s and MiG-19s, guns only. The planes are rather well matched.

The first game was a simple one-on-one. After a few turns of maneuvering, my MiG ended up in front of Z's plane and took a full burst of 20mm, fireballing quickly and smashing into the jungle canopy below. Pictures are not available.

Having figured out the basics, we each took a second plane and did a 2-v-2. On turn 1, a long ranged lucky shot from one of the F-100s exploded my wingman's plane, turning the match into a 1-v-2 instantly.

To spice things up, Georgia Power decided to turn off the electricity. There had been a terrific storm an hour or so previously, and I suppose they had to cut the power to make a repair. A repair that wasn't complete until 12:30am!

Ziggy and I got to play CY6JA like the Amish.

It was around 8:00 so there wasn't much more daylight left.

 My phone's camera takes very good low-light pictures!

 My plane ends up in a terrible spot after quite a lot of twisting and turning.

And pays the price. Bah!

The game is a hoot and it stinks that the power went out because we were ready to have a go at it with missile-armed planes. Oh well, next time.

I've painted up a fleet of planes recently, all are either Pico Armor or Tumbling Dice. They're dirt cheap and fun to paint. I've still got some MiG-23s and 25s on the table as well as some Su-22s.

 The lot

MiG-17s and 29s, Su-27s and a pair of 19s.

 A flock of MiG-21s

 Navy Phantoms and Crusaders, F-100s and two Mirage F.1s

 Air Force Phantoms and Navy Tomcats
F-18s and F-16s. There's an F-15 in the lower left and another angle of those MiG-17s

Many of these were re-purposed and re-painted models I'd originally painted up for Shipwreck.With the magnetic bases, they can go back to Shipwreck very easily.

11 June 2014

Recently Finished - Orion Pirates

I picked up two handsful of Star Fleet Battles Orion ships a couple weeks ago at a hefty discount. I painted them up over the weekend and have just gotten around to taking finished pictures of them. The paint job is a bit strange - I must explain it. When my wife saw the primed minis on my painting table she remarked that they looked frog-like and that I should paint them as such. I ran with it since at that point I didn't have a good idea of my own. A quick Google search for arrow-poison frogs later and I had plenty of source material to go with.

I did drill out the bottoms of the ship and installed small magnets in the ships and I put magnets atop the bases. At least I won't have any "peg snappage issues."

I actually took pictures of the entire process which is a rarity for me.

Drilled out with magnets installed

Bases with magnets

Working on the red bellies

 The primed squadron

Basic colors - getting froggy with it!
Some drybrushing to highlight the edges... and voila - the finished group! I picked out some of the details to break up the froggy colors. I like glossy finishes - I know it results in bad pictures but there's not accounting for taste!

I may number the bases to make it easy to differentiate between models during a game. In SFB, I can't see using the whole group at a time but I could easily field the whole mess in StarDust - they'll get their first trip to the tabletop soon enough.

I've also been working on a pile of 1/600 aircraft for Check Your Six Jet Age - Zig and I are going to try that out this weekend. I'll certainly post some pics.