30 March 2014

Chain of Command - More Russians and Germans!

Ziggy and I put CoC back on the tabletop last evening. It's been a while since our last battle and CoC makes for a rather entertaining few hours. I took the Soviets as usual and Zig commanded the German platoon. The Soviets were holding a bridge at the east end of the table that the Germans wanted to capture. The Germans were reinforced by a StuG IIIF and a 75mm infantry gun. The Soviets took a T-34/76 and a 50mm mortar as their support.

The grey circles show the evil Nazi jump-off points. The red circles show the evil Commie jump-off points. The one on the bridge at the bottom of the frame is the German objective. Z has already deployed one platoon.

I get a good first roll and deploy a squad in the house up at the cross roads and my T-34 rolls in.

The German assault gun roll in.

The forces are really starting to build up now, I get another squad and my mortar. Zig also has another squad arrive as well as the infantry gun.

The light infantry gun fires and immediately kills two of my troops in the house. This would become a recurring theme.

I get squad 2 moved up to the edge of the woods to provide some return firepower. My mortar managed to kill one of the gun crew, but the gun was still pounding the house like there was no tomorrow.

Finally, the squad in the house has had enough and reaches their breaking point.

But moments later, the lead German squad also is pushed past its breaking point and also runs!

At that, I burned six Chain of Command points and ended the turn, sacrificing my broken squad in order to eliminate the German squad. The broken German squad was very near their Senior Leader and would have been able to rally with little effort. Ending the turn was, I think, prudent.

At the start of the next turn, the damned gun got back to work and started pounding my squad on the rise which broke in no time. A magnificent 18" rout roll qualified them for the next Summer Olympics!

The German Panzerschreck team at long last had managed to make its way forward and loosed a rocket at my T-34. I'm not exaggerating when I say that it was a miracle of miracles that the tank survived with nary a scratch! The T-34 returned fire, killing one of the team and routing the other.

The godforsaken light infantry gun zeroes in on blue squad defending the bridge with predictable results. On the plus side, yellow squad which ran a country mile earlier finally rallied and got their act together.

The leIG18 has done this. German machine guns and the StuG might have accounted for one or two of these kills.

The T-34 and StuG exchange fire. A lot. both vehicles are blessed in the armor department and cursed in the "accurate gunner" department. The German infantry "mans up" and charges across open ground next to my tank.

The T-34 gunned down a couple of the Krauts but the accursed 'Schreck which had rallied and made its way back to the fight finally got a rocket to stick and burned up the tank. The T-34 had already soaked 2 rockets and 4-5 hits from the StuG. It was easily "machine of the match."

With that, the game was over. I had just a mortar team left. (The infantry gun had wiped out the remains of yellow squad and my Senior)

So, yeah. That IG18 which was thrown is as a "oh what the hell, let's see how this works" absolutely crushed my platoon and as it turned out, was pretty well immortal. I hit it at least 12 times with my mortar, occasionally getting a shock or the odd kill, to no avail. I hit it with rifles and machine guns countless times and couldn't get a hit to stick. It was infuriating to say the least. The rest of the Germans were easy enough to kill but that gun was touched by the almighty and because I threw so many bullets at it, the rest of the Germans fared rather well.

The game was a hell of a lot of fun and made for a great evening of toy soldiers. Give it a go if you haven't already!

16 March 2014

Sunday StarDust

Mike and I played my space combat game StarDust up at Morningstar Games this afternoon. It was a replay of a scenario Zig and I played a month or so ago. Mike chose the Red Fleet and was trying to keep my ships from exiting the table.

Our deployment:

I was Orange and trying to exit as many of my ships off the far edge as I could.

Things got bloody right away - we each lost a destroyer in no time and I also accounted for one of the Red frigates.

Mike outsmarted himself, trying to get a load of rear centerline shots on my remaining destroyer and cruiser. As it turns out, his frigate can't perform that trick - it only has forward-firing weapons. Either way, my cruiser got dinged and his destroyer got pummeled. 

I spun the rear frigate squadron around to get a few kills on my pursuers. Mike's heavy cruisers were getting too close for comfort - I really needed to get my ships moving.

My cruiser's escort does a fine job of escorting and soaks a massive volley from one of the Red cruisers. Sadly, one of the crits it takes is a "Massive Explosions" which prevents it from moving in the next turn and pretty well pins my cruiser close to it, since they count as being in a squadron. My frigates that stayed behind get to work on one of the Red cruisers.

In no time, my destroyer has been blown apart and my frigates are disappearing. I did put some serious damage on the one heavy cruiser I was firing at, but alas, there was no kill at the end of the rainbow.

The forward frigate squadron is doing well for itself and the cruiser does its best to make tracks. The sacrificial frigates dive into the protection of the asteroids.

The combined firepower of two Red Fleet cruisers cripple my heavy cruiser and force a morale test. The captain surrenders, not wanting to have his crew killed by another volley.

My forward squadron is going to get away! All that's left to stop them are two puny fast frigates! My two frigates in the asteroid field are dispatched by massed particle cannon fire from the bloodthirsty Red mob.

My frigates get a final volley at the fast frigates and severely damage both of them but didn't kill either.

I managed to get five small ships off the board, a sad defeat for the Orange Fleet. Mike and I discussed a couple of changes for this scenario which we'll test out next time we play it. Either way, it was a good game and we both had a really good time.

10 March 2014

Shipwreck - Making Sushi from Caviar

James and I played a game of Shipwreck Sunday. He put together a scenario involving the Japanese trying to clear the way for an amphibious re-homing of one of the Kuril Islands with the Russians in the way. A toss of the coin meant I would be driving the Japanese force consisting of three destroyers, a sub and an assortment of aircraft. Opposing this were a destroyer, two frigates, two subs and another collection of aircraft.

My victory condition was to make certain that there were no Russian ships or subs within short range (12 inches) of a secretly selected landing beach. I selected this beach:

I selected that beach specifically because I figured there was no way on heaven or earth that James would leave all his toys back at his board edge and make me come to him - ergo, no Ruskies near the beach after 14 turns.

My ships and planes get a move on.

My ships.

During turn 2, our planes on the table involved themselves in quite the duel. My F-2s accounted for three of the MiGs and a Ka-25 off the Russian Udaloy. The MiGs ran off one F-2 and blew up two. One of the pilots was recovered in a later turn. The dadgummed Victor sub got a detection on my Haruna class DD, the one with three helos.

The last MiG and F-2 got into dogfight range and exchanged missiles; my F-2 came out ahead. That's two confirmed kills for Rocky!

Also during turn 4, the Victor squeezed off a torp at the Hiei. The Asagiri sent an ASROC towards the Victor.

During turn 5, the Asagiri sent four Harpoons towards the recently detected Udaloy which in return fired four SSN14s back my direction. One of the SH-60s dropped a torpedo into the sea heading towards the Victor which we'd manage to localize. As it turned out, the missiles were ineffective for both of us, neither side taking any damage. The torps however accounted for the Hiei and the Victor. Good Lord!

Gratuitous burning sub picture.

Turn 6 was sort of a carbon copy of the previous turn, but with more missiles. The Hatakaze lost a Phalanx and the Asagiri lost a Harpoon launcher that thankfully was empty. My Harpoons were all taken care of by the Udaloy's ridiculous defenses. On the bright side, my last F-2 burned up the last Ka-25 with an AAM-3. The plane was then chased off by a near miss from the Udaloy. I did manage to get a detection with the P-3 and sent its four missiles towards the Krivak, one of which found its target and took out the SA-N-4 launcher on that ship.

Our ships were pretty close to each other by turn 7 and both of us had shore-based air support arrive. 4 F-4 Phantoms for the Japanese and 4 MiG-27s for the Russians. My F-4s were carrying both bombs and AIM-7s, so I had them hang back a bit to pop off some shots at the MiGs. Three of the MiGs were destroyed in short order. The Udaloy surprised the Japanese by putting two torpedoes in the water heading south. 

Turn 8 then turned into a gun duel for a few minutes. The Udaloy was sunk by a combination of 76mm gunfire and RIM-7 damage. Before it went under, the Udaloy damaged the flight desk on the Hatakaze with gunfire.  AA fire destroyed the last of the MiGs, while the F-4s dropped guided bombs and cluster bombs on the other two Russian ships causing considerable damage to the Krivak.

The Japanese ships were both fortunate to avoid the inbound torpedoes.

Turns 9-11 saw both my sub and James' Kilo make an appearance. Arashio's torpedoes were pretty well useless, failing to find their targets. My helicopters and P-3 took care of the Kilo, but not before it sunk my sub.

Looking at the situation, we called the game there. There was no way for the Russian ships to contest the beach head by turn 14 (three turns). James then realized he'd written my orders incorrectly, in that I was supposed to have ships at said beach defending it. Hahahaha. Communication! Anyway, I'm counting it as a "W" with a star next to it - but the military result is more of a draw. 

We tested out a handful of rules changes during the game, including different aircraft move rates and weapon ranges in actual inches instead of range bands. Getting used to the changes was a bit tricky but not game-altering. I don't think the changes made a huge difference to the way the game turned out am not certain they were necessary for this scenario. That said, James is working on a 1960's-era scenario with more prop-driven aircraft which should not be able to easily evade jets, so this was a good play-test for those rules. We also had more specific bombs and missiles on the aircraft that I think worked very well. We definitely need to keep those in the mix.

08 March 2014


Well, after a bit of a hassle getting the blasted thing uploaded, it is done. 30 delicious pages of wonderful game available for the low low price of $3.49! You can purchase it here if you're interested.

Y'all have a great weekend!

Finishing Touches

I've posted a handful of times lately about my spaceship combat game and it is perilously close to completion - I'm redoing graphics and presentation on the scenarios right now. When that's done, it just a little bit of re-arranging of pages and it is done! I was able to decide on a name for it

Since it is waaaay beyond my original vision, I'm going to be selling it on Lulu.com. Its going to weigh in around 30 pages or so and contains full rules, ship stats, color counters (you'll need to provide scissors) and some sample scenarios. It is intended to be 100% generic so anyone can use whatever spaceship models they happen to have kickin' around, or hell, make some quickies out of Lego. It should be noted that the only die type used in StarDust is the d8, so if you want to give it a whirl, make sure you've got a few handy - 6-8 should be plenty.

My wife wants to give StarDust a try tonight. Wow. I guess she wants to see what I've been doing for the last couple months.

06 March 2014

More Newly Painted Things

I finished the Cobras and Corsair II for my Marines. The models are Heroics and Ros 1/300. Cobras are REALLY skinny little helicopters and mounting them to the stand was not as straightforward as the usual Dremel drill hole + clear peg. Its very obvious that all the markings on the Corsair are freehanded - they look better from 3 feet away to be sure!

I get to play Shipwreck this Sunday with James - he's put together a scenario that I know nothing of. Should be good, Shipwreck is always great.

04 March 2014

Just Finished - T-34

I finished up an Airfix 1/76 T-34 kit over the weekend. The kit was a winner since it came with both the standard T-34/76 and upgraded T-34/85 turrets. This will be a nice addition to my Chain of Command Soviets. Had to freehand the red stars due to a clerical error with the decals. FWIW, the kit didn't come with any red star decals anyway.

03 March 2014

Russia, Ukraine and Crimea

** off topic **

Is the rest of the world just going to sit back and let Russia annex Ukraine? Anyone else reminded of Germany in the late 1930's?

I wonder what ex-Soviet republic will be next?

02 March 2014

More Space Shoot-Em-Up

Ziggy and Dennis came over for another playtest session for my still-untitled space ship fightin' game. The primary test element was to be small craft - Fighters and Attack Craft.

Without getting bogged down too deeply into the horrifying results of the scenario which saw Ziggy and Dennis run roughshod over my fleet, it was another very good test of my game system. The weapons for the Small Craft need to be toned down - they are frightful in their current state. Aside from their lethality, I was very happy with their life-span on the tabletop - not too easy to kill, not too difficult.We didn't use any purpose-built defensive ships like Escorts which should really manhandle Small Craft.

Some pictures...
My TnT (Tan N Teal) ships head forward to the gap in the Asteroid Field that the Reds and GnG (Gold n Green) are rushing through. The battle was in the same system as the previous battle featured on my blog. The Tans have a base on the moon at the bottom of the frame which has a large asteroid field surrounding it. Prime real-estate, really.
The swine.

My carrier releases its cargo of fighters and attack craft that look suspiciously like 20th century aircraft.

My TnTs make a valiant last-stand to no avail and are soon wiped out.

The scenario balance sucked big time. All of the attackers' forces were channeled through the gap, resulting in one big-ass fleet that the defender couldn't deal with. One obstacle in the center, splitting the fleets, would have resulted in a better-balanced scenario. Ah well, that's what playtesting is for, right? It was a fun time and the rules are perilously close to being 1.0 Finished!