27 February 2014

Oh Baby Yesss

Had two orders arrive on the same day. How magical is that? Ships for Shipwreck and Marine aviation support for MSH - my favorite stuff to paint.

That's USN Belknap, Coontz, Bainbridge and South Carolina class. Soviet Navy Kirov, Kiev, Slava and 2 X Grishna. USMC A-7 Corsair (for pure sexiness) and two AH-1 SeaCobras. Also picked up 72 more bases because you can never have enough and running out sucks in the middle of a project.

I did base the rest of the painted "palm trees" on pennies yesterday - they turned out very nicely

I'll be busy for a little while with my new toys. Be well!

25 February 2014

Newly Finished Things

I re-painted some FoW armored cars over the last couple of days for use in AK47 Republic. Nothing fancy - just a quick "slop-n-go" job for the Dictator's forces. I also made some "jungley" tree templates out of some dressed-up window screen and aquarium decorations. I'm rather happy with the results. I left the templates rather sparse to allow for troop placement. I find that cluttered tree templates become a giant pain during games. I may hot glue some of the trees to pennies to have some separate trees. For the tidy sum of $3.50 I got 60 of the trees - I've got oodles to work with.

I'm leaning towards running a game or two of AK47 at Gnomecon in April. We'll see how it works out.

23 February 2014

Dystopian Wars - Big Dumb Ships

Or, "Why I hate game designers sometimes."

Ziggy and I met up at Morningstar Games Saturday for a 1000 point game of Dystopian Wars. It was to be a fairly run-of-the-mill naval battle except that Zig decided to take a Dreadnought. In his defense, he's had the model for quite a while and never used it in a game. A 1000-pointer is just the excuse. I also wanted to field some stuff I'd not yet played with, so I of course took my carrier and hover-squid, amongst others. Mike controlled a handful of my units sporadically through the game while waiting for his opponent to show up for a Civil War game. He normally plays with Brits and was quite fascinated by all the neat gizmos the EoBS has.

I did a terrible job of photo-documenting the action, so this is a rather spotty AAR.

Our starting dispositions. As you can see, the Brits are still in their finest Antarctic "penguin" camo. I really should see if he wants me to paint his stuff.

Some early action. Zig's Destroyers get walloped in the center after loosing their torps. One of his Rotors becomes a rocket magnet for all of my cruisers.

Ziggy feigns sentience while Alan looks on. I used to play Blood Bowl with Alan at Comic Box years ago. He played with Lizardmen and was rather good as I recall.

Photo number 4. In this scene we see my carrier has taken a bit of a thumping and that the Japanese fleet is a bit more aggressive than the British.

Although these Frigates of mine had taken hits, I was able to get them into a primo spot for a bi-directional broadside. They didn't last long after that, but I got my money's worth.

Notice now how my Frigates have dropped ninja smoke and disappeared. My carrier is hanging on by a thread. 

And in our final shot, we see that my Gunships have boarded one of the Hawks and left it derelict. Two of the mini-squids tried to "board" the other Hawk but weren't successful.

I think after four turns, Mike and I had stripped Ziggy of everything but his Dreadnought and its Escorts. We'd taken out nearly 700 points of stuff and suffered 350 points of casualties. Zig blew up my Carrier, revenge for the Great Carrier Disaster of 2013.We didn't make a serious attempt at the Dreadnought - with its escorts it was virtually impossible for us to scratch, let alone sink. At least I won't have to see the big dumb thing in a game for a while now.

My carrier is going to take some using before I figure out how to employ it properly. There's no way it can handle being a centerpiece. The Hover Squid on the other hand is a bad mother. I look forward to using that thing again!

17 February 2014

Megablitz - Battle of Hannut

At least I think it was the Battle of Hannut. I forgot to steal James' paperwork. Yes, James and I played our first game of Megablitz yesterday (Sunday) afternoon. It's an unusual game, to say the least, but I liked it a lot. Megablitz is an operational-level wargame that isn't a far cry from hex-and-counter games. Each stand typically represents a battalion and players are controlling entire Corps.

By virtue of randomness, I got the Germans - 3rd and 4th Divisions. The mission was to capture a town at the far end of the battlefield within 2 days (12 turns). Opposing the German advance were a tiny brigade or so of Belgians and at least two divisions of French, including quite a few very good tank battalions.

My opening attack. Stuff 'em good and roll over the first speed bump.

Masses of French humanity. I decided that my forces should do their best to skirt the near (North) edge of the map where the opposition was lean. 4th Division was to blow past the Belgians then tie up and destroy the best the French had. 3rd Division, when they arrived would create the gap at the north and blitz through towards the objective.

Rookie mistake 1. I would not recommend this. Most of my units were set to "M" orders which gives them good Mobility but they can't kill stuff worth a damn. This is exactly what not to do when trying to stampede a trash unit right out of the gates. As it turned out, I wasted a turn trying fighting the Belgians.

Turn 2. The primary attack units go on Attack orders, and things get going properly. Some reinforcements from 3 Panzer Division arrive providing solid assistance in wiping out the six zillion recon stands that the French had. Air support in the form of Stukas was radioed in as well, I couldn't afford to waste another full turn on this rabble.

There we go... 9 stands in the can indicated by the stars. The colored puffballs indicate stands that were successfully reconnoitered and must therefore place their next order marker face-up.

Turn 3 - we tear into eachother. My main force stays on Attack orders while James makes the same mistake I did and uses an "M" order to assault me - he'll need sixes to land hits, while I need fives and sixes. The Armée de l'Air showed up and added a bit of flair to the proceedings but there were in turn jumped by Bf109s. The crème de la crème of the French army had made their first tactical blunder.

Turn 4 - James' French do a fantastic French impersonation and flee. James used the phrase "tactical repositioning." I put most of my stuff on "Static" thinking my troops would be in it for the long haul, and that James' main force would be on Attack orders. Another turn wasted. Feh.

Bigger picture view. He's still got a bucket of infantry to the rear of his tanks and a division south hunkering down behind the river.

Turn 5.  My recon units turned up some useful details for a change - the French armor would be Static! I decided to eliminate stands in detail - since the defender allocates hits in secret, I made James' job easier by attacking only very specific stands, ensuring that they would be eliminated rather than having the damage spread across multiple battalions. The orange marked stands were the ones I focused on (and eliminated, as it turned out).

Turn 6 - I was in very good shape ending the first day of the battle. There were only three units of consequence between my force and the objective - they are highlighted in orange. They are an engineer stand and two infantry battalions. There will still three tank battalions (marked in red) in good condition and since I didn't need them back-pedaling again and perhaps cutting off my advance, I made it a priority to destroy them right away.

As it turned out, the French infantry was something to be reckoned with. I managed to deal with the tank easily enough but one of the infantry battalions remained! 

Night Phase
During the overnight turn, I put my four repair points into a Panzer III battalion, returning it to full strength. I also healed two Panzergrenadier stands back to full strength. I think James resurrected a tank battalion which had been eliminated.

Turn 7 - Dawn broke and the Germans continued their advance and destruction of the French Corps in the area. You can see 3rd Panzer beginning their jailbreak - lots of open ground ahead of them! 4th Division continues the fight against the French forces, if for no other reason than to prevent them from slowing down 3rd Division.

Turn 10 - 3rd Division was within striking distance of the town which was only protected by an engineering battalion. I had one engineering battalion working on the minefield blocking the gap in the defensive line and another on the way. The outcome was pretty well decided and we called the game there - a solid German victory.

Megablitz is a fascinating game. It is quite different from your usual UGOIGO bang-em-up. It is all about movement and concentration of force. In such a short game, we didn't delve deeply into supplies, etc but the mechanics are there. I say short game, but we still spent a good four hours (great four hours) playing. If I didn't have a zillion other gaming projects going on right now, I'd put together something for Megablitz - I've got next to nothing left in the way of suitable WWII toys - just 15mm FoW Rangers. Maybe after the ships and other goodies are done I'll think about it again. 

Thanks James for an entertaining afternoon and maybe next time we'll swap forces and try things the other way.

14 February 2014

Valentine's Day Update

Holy macaroni! I actually finished some of those Anima Tactics minis. Four of the six are "in the can" so to speak. Have some pictures... keep in mind I suck at eyes and my miserable photography skillz.

The undead hound was inspired  my own dog, Flash

I'm supposed to get in a game of either Shipwreck or MegaBlitz on Sunday with James. It it ends up being MegaBlitz, it'll be a first foray into that for both of us. He's put together some "Case Yellow" forces over the last few months that have yet to see the tabletop. I ordered some Soviet and US Navy ships today for Shipwreck. I haven't done any in a while and really do enjoy them. Be well!

10 February 2014

Finished USMC Stuff

The LVTP7s and CH-46s for my MSH Marines are done. The magnetic basing worked out wonderfully. Here are some shots of the results.

A couple of Humvees that also have magnets.

Queue up "Ride of the Valkyries." I need to get some SeaCobras and M60s for these guys. I'm working out a scenario - hopefully they'll get to see the tabletop before Spring!

09 February 2014

More Space Battles

The still untitled space ship fightin' game I've been working on got another strong playtest Saturday afternoon with the help of Mike and Steve - both "lifers" in the gaming community. Their two-cents- worth is worth more like fifty cents.

Game 1 was a basic "introduction to the mechanics." We each took roughly equal forces and put things through their paces. To spice things up a tad, a large gravity well dominated the center of the board.

Two interceptors and my cruiser head over towards Steve's guys while my other two interceptors go left to Mike's force.

It didn't take Steve long to figure out how to shoot. My cruiser gets whacked.

While things go woefully woeful on the other side.

Ah, the fun of not pre-measuring. The gravity well reaches out and grabs a total of five ships!

Only the one poor ship with engine damage ended up "seeing the future."

It was a fun little intro to the game. Onto the next battle. I wanted to test out some special equipment this game, so I put together a scenario with Teleporters, Tractor Beams and Asteroid Breakers.

Mike used the Tan N Teal this game, defending with three cruisers and four interceptors. All three of his cruisers had teleporters which the attacking forces were keen to steal.

Steve drove the Orange fleet while I controlled the two ex-Romulans in the middle of the pack. The mid-sized orange ships had the asteroid breakers and were clearing a safe path for the other ships through the field.

We split into two columns while the filthy TNT sets up a greeting party for us.

Our lead elements make it through the asteroids on to have the summnabitch TNTs teleport one of our asteroid breakers back behind the asteroid field, leaving the rest of its group to take a few hits from the space rocks. We're also minus one destroyer for the near future.

The other destroyer is vaporized quickly. The rest of the fleet moves out and engages. The destroyer that was flung past the asteroids throws caution to the wind and floors it through the asteroid field.

Things continue to go poorly for the attackers. I take out an interceptor but my destroyer is hulled out in return.

One of Mike's cruisers which had taken a solid thumping teleported back away from the danger. I sent the orange frigate squadron after it.

My frigates caused the cruiser to break and run! My big cruiser had slapped a tractor beam on another cruiser and dragged it through the asteroids, but couldn't cause any damage. You can see that damn near everything in my force is pointing at the same empty spot - their target teleported back behind my ships!

That cruiser finished off the Rom cruiser and the orange destroyer. The cruiser I was holding in the tractor beam finally managed to activate his own teleporter and threw my heavy cruiser back to the other side of the asteroids.

The crews of my frigates and scout weren't happy about it, but I conceded there. I was happy to still have a heavy cruiser still in mint condition!

What a good game! I completely winged the scenario the night before and was a bit concerned about it being balanced. As it turned out, it was a hoot. Steve had to leave half-way through, but Mike and I enjoyed it to the bitter end. I'm happy with the tractor beam and teleporter rules, though I need to make the teleporter success roll a bit more difficult.

Mike and Steve pointed out a handful of things that'll make into the rulebook - their experience was quite valuable. Thanks again guys!