31 August 2014

Natural Enemies of the Cave Bear

My 15mm Robot Army is ready for a fight! This may be some sort of a speed record for me as far as actual time spent painting and basing an entire force. The minis painted up quickly and easily - the basing by far took much longer. The silver guys are Rebel Minis "Scourge" and the golden guys are Super Battle Droids lifted from a copy of Risk: Star Wars Clone Wars Edition.

Zig and I will have to put them on the table in a week or so for another play test of my new sci-fi ground combat game.

26 August 2014

World War 1 Saturday (part 2)

Ziggy, Jon and I set up for Victory at Sea Age of Dreadnoughts after cleaning up the earlier game. We played the same scenario that Z and I played a couple weeks ago, the Battle of Cape Sarych. Jon took the Turks, I took the Russian cruiser contingent and Zig commanded the Russian battleships.

Jon proved to be a lot more aggressive than we expected. I did my best to screen the big ships in the back with smoke but my little cruisers were still in big trouble.

Turn 1 resulted in a lot of damage to to the Pamiat Merkuria - a critical hit from the Midilli took out the A turret and a salvo from the Yavuv Sultan Selim crippled her ruining most of the rest of her weapons.

I change tactics a bit and start screening my own cruisers figuring the battleships could take care of themselves.

The Almaz (my aviation cruiser) and the Turkish Midilli trade shots. The Almaz is hit by a torpedo and sinks quickly although I did get some good hits on the ex-German cruiser, damaging her props.

The Midilli attempts some of that ol' Russian smoke magic but isn't quite up to the task. My cruiser's zig-zag, on the other hand, is perfect as Jon shakes his fist to the sky.

Ziggy gets a solid broadside on the Midilli with the battleship Evstafi and sinks it easily.

Jon grows weary of watching the Pamiat Merkuria struggle and finishes her off with a volley from the port secondaries.

And a few minutes later, after soaking a great many shots from the Russian battleship flotilla, the German crew send a torpedo into the side of the fine battleship Evstafi, splitting her in two and sending her under the waves. 

With that, the Russian navy ran up the white flag and ceded control to the Turks (for now anyway!). We'd done decent damage to the big German cruiser, but it still had over 75% of its starting hull points and would be able to crush another Russian ship every few turns while taking less and less damage in return.

Even though the fight was again rather one-sided, it was still a lot of fun. The Russians were able to do a lot more damage to the Turk this time around, although they lost a battleship in the process - not exactly an improvement.

The World War One games have been very good so far and I may be able to get one more in next weekend if time permits.

It's a World War 1 Saturday! (part 1)

Saturday at Morningstar Games in Savannah we broke out the First World War games again and engaged in further slaughter of toy soldiers! We had a very strong turn out again - more folks who don't normally game with us. I'm not going to work up full AARs but here are some pictures of the action.

First up was Games Workshop's "Great War" which is basically 40K with different models. I was the Allied C-in-C, with Ziggy taking the Brits and Jon taking the Americans. Mike and the two kids took the Germans who were tasked with holding the town in the face of the Allied attack. My brilliant plan was to attack up the edges of the board and pinch in once we'd made some headway. We had to capture eight buildings and the church at the far end.
The Germans were deployed in secret. I guessed that Mike wouldn't deploy their cannon in a table corner, limiting its lines of sight, which would make the side "gutters" relatively safe for advancing infantry. The gun was pure murder the last time we played and I wanted no part of it.

It's a long way to Tipperary! I controlled the tank, two HMGs and two mortars. My sub-commanders controlled the infantry.

The Americans got held up by a well-placed machine gun.

While the Brits get hemmed up on another gun on their side of the field. Ol' Smokey has had some engine trouble and is spewing clouds of soot but otherwise is in good shape.

Here's a shot of the players.

A shot from the American mortar goes awry and causes significant "friendly fire" casualties. Jon wasn't happy but the German players thought it was pretty amusing.

Amusing anyway until I cleared out half the Fritzes in the building on our left with a second mortar bombardment.

The Germans on our right fall back to the ruined building to outdistance the mortar and buy some time behind the deadly fire of the machine gun there.

Some liberties may have been taken by the Germans - you can actually see Mike bending the rules in this shot.

Here's shot of Zig's Brits on the left. One squad has taken the ruined building, the others have taken positions in the woods. The German squads in the middle buildings come out to greet them but this would ultimately prove disastrous.

You can see the squad nearest to us has been decimated. My tank has immobilized itself but it was still in a decent spot to support the left side. 

A nice blur-o-vision shot of the American's working their side of the field - firing rifle grenades into the ruins. It took a while but they eventually got the machine gun to run off.

At that point the Germans only had one intact squad, plus a mortar and cannon. We called it there after six full turns - it had been two and a half hours and we had other games to play! I solid Allied victory for sure, but a hard fought one that had its challenges. The flank machine gun positions were terribly effective and it was quite a chore to deal with both.

I'm not sure how much wargaming Alex and Andrew had prior to this game but they really seemed to enjoy it. Hopefully they'll be interested enough to keep with it.

Later in part 2... Victory at Sea. The Axis gets a bit of revenge.

22 August 2014

Metal Militia!

At the prodding of Ziggy, I've gotten started on a robot army for StarDust: Ground. I ordered a handful of some very nice mechanical men from Rebel Minis and have churned through the first 30 or so very quickly.

Nothing fancy. Silver with orange eyes and black / drybrushed guns. Since these pictures they've been hit with a black magic wash.

Sexier still are these...
They are Star Wars Super Battle Droids taken from a copy of Star Wars Risk that I've had for ages. They are tall for 15mm, which actually suits them very well - they are tall and imposing. They'll make very good elite troops for the robot army. These stands have been completed and I'll do some group shots when I've got the rest of the gang together.

Tomorrow is more Great War and Victory at Sea: Age of Dreadnoughts at Morningstar.

17 August 2014

Home-Brewed Sci Fi

Before I start, we lost our family dog this morning. My wife had Flash for nearly 16 years, and she's been my dog for almost 12. She'd been sick for a few months and very uncomfortable for a week or so - I don't think she slept a wink last night. I took her to the vet this morning so she could go on to the great beyond. It's been a pretty sad day here at the Ski house.This is her at a happier time...

Zig and I got together Saturday evening to give StarDust: Ground a first playtest. I'd put together the 1.0 during the week and there was enough to go on for a game. After a few very rudimentary move and shoot examples, we loaded up the table and tested out everything.

The table and our setups. Since I'd spent the week putting rules to paper (and keyboard) I hadn't spent any time coming up scenarios. We quickly put together a rather Flames of War-style thing with one objective per side and half the units off the table in reserve.

One of my tanks gets a long-ranged shot off at some enemy infantry

Ziggy's sniper gets a hit on one of my squads creeping around the flank. They hit him once in return.

Some Red Guard reinforcements arrive on my right flank - a hover tank and a squad of infantry. My tanks prepare to fend them off.

And to make things even more exciting, the dadgummed transport arrives carrying yet another squad of infantry. They've landed practically on top of my objective.

I send a squad up and over to deal with the sniper. One of my stands is eliminated in the process.

We get him back though.

The hover tank is a tough customer. It isn't causing any damage but it's hard to hit with its smoke launcher screwing things up for me.

Not wanting to be taken lying down, I assault the squad that just dropped in.

But good defensive fire from the Red Guard and a terrible Close Combat roll results in my squad being eliminated. Disaster!

A bit of vengeance as I get some easy shots at unprotected infantry heading over to that objective. I get a kill and two pins on the scum.

Zig's commander is in position to call in some artillery and does so. No kills, but my squad was now pinned down big as shit.

The flier scoots around and takes a pot-shot at one of my tanks. No damage but the crew was rattled to the point where they had to retreat. 

A bit more vengeance - the flier is taken out by an autocannon hit from one of my tanks. Another tank shoots up the squad that captured the objective but results in just pins and not enough to rout them. We called the game shortly thereafter - the results were not in question and we'd seen all we needed from a rules standpoint.

There was a good bit of discussion about vehicles, armor and how that is dealt with. The end result is that vehicles are a lot more reliable now when they get shot at. Infantry rules, gunfire, close combat and artillery seemed pretty good, good enough to not require any adjustments to those rules at this point. We also made airborne vehicles a hell of a lot harder to hit for things that aren't specialist AA vehicles.

Overall, we both liked the game and will continue work on it. I've got a bug swarm chomping at the bit for a chance to play and a robot army that wants to come out and play.

Next Saturday is Victory at Sea at Morningstar and whatever game Mike is bringing.

My youngest playing with Axis and Allies bits...

12 August 2014

Warhammer 1.914K

Mike ran some more Great War games at Morningstar Sunday afternoon and I was lucky enough to take part again. The first scenario we played was very small, the third scenario in the Skirmish Campaigns: Rommel's Route to Verdun series. I'd played the German side last weekend so wanted to finish it up as the Germans. Ian lent me a hand on the German side of the table. Mark and Jim took the French and Mike refereed.

The game went quickly... Ian and I moved our guys up to the stone wall in front of the two closest buildings, hunting for French.

We sent two soldiers over the wall to peek in the windows. A terrible difficult terrain roll left the guy on the left dangling in the wind.

The French pick off Fritz and take a hail of gunfire in return. One French soldier is wounded, precipitating a massive French rout from the building! They are living up to their reputation. Hahaha.

Otto crept forward towards the hedge-line to reconnoiter it and got gunned down for his efforts. Again, German morale was unaffected. We'd gotten to turn 8 and the French only had 10 unbroken troops on the table of the required 12. A cheap German victory! Hurrah!

Game two was a much bigger deal. Instead of a little skirmish screw-around, each side would have 40+ troops, machine guns, mortars, cannons, etc. We left the table as it was. The Germans had to capture two buildings in the village.

Ian and I again used the Germans, joined by Mike this time. Jim and Mark took over a British contingent this time, much better quality than their French in the first game and better than our Germans!

Our initial dispositions and planned attack routes. My troops are in pink (2 squads and a MG). Ian's are in blue (3 squads and a mortar). Mike's single squad is in off-white. The Brits are littered around the village.

The Germans move out. "hut hut hut hut"

The mortar gets a fabulous shot off against one of the British squads on the wall - two kills! Jim gets rattled easily and has his troops fall back straight away into the buildings. We were very surprised that they pulled back so quickly, expecting an absolute meat-grinder for the first third of the table.

We keep pushing forward as quickly as possible.
 Jim and Mark - the British leaders and Mike, playing for the Germans this game.
Ian, my other co-general

The author of this blog.

Our advance continues. The howitzer at the British rear is taking big chunks of troops out of our force advancing up the road.

A turn further in, and the situation just keeps sucking for the guys coming up the road.

But what our opponents did not expect was that I'd halt for a turn and open up on the squad in the house by the road. I fired a bucket o' dice and ran that squad off! The British players were terribly unhappy that they'd taken so many casualties.

Ian did his damnedest to get the remnants of his road squad into the vacated building. The squad was shot up rather badly in the process and only had two guys left, but their morale held. I wanted to storm the other building but couldn't get a weight of numbers that I was comfortable with, so my guys skulked off left.

My forward squad prepared to assault the guys in the hedge, supported by gunfire from the squad behind. The gunfire ran off the Brits whose morale just wasn't up to par! Ian's two remaining squaddies managed to make it into the empty building and hunkered down.

The British took their eighth turn, which resulted in nothing of consequence. With that, the game was over - a minor British victory since managed to only capture one of the two objectives. We did wipe out two squads, but only had two and a half squads left which I don't think would have accomplished much with the artillery from hell still working its dark magic.

The game was a whole lot of fun for everyone, even considering the shady GW rules. I'd really like to try those Rommel scenarios with Chain of Command or Close Quarter Skirmish instead - the 40K rules don't do it justice.