30 May 2016

Memorial Day Weekend Game Bash Sunday

The 2016 iteration of the MDB was a damn fine time. I had a handful of guys over for a full day of gaming. I've been working on a couple of scenarios to run at this event - and chose a couple of games / themes that are a bit out of their ordinary.

First up was Sabre Squadron. It was the same scenario that Z and I tested a month or so ago with the African Imagi-Nations forces. Mike, Lee and Landon split the MCC attacking force, while David and his son Anson split the WPA defenders. I was purely a GM for this game.

Deployment happening

Early in the proceedings, one of David's PT-76es exploded the attacker's recoilless rifle jeep, leaving the infantry advancing through the woods without any heavy weapons.

The defender's helicopter unloads two pods of rockets into attacking infantry, while the MCC's air support put a couple of bombs into the workshop. The platoon in the workshop were severely rattled and ended up having to vacate the building, leaving it vulnerable to capture.

Shortly, David lands the helicopter to re-arm it. Mike says "can I shoot it through the open hangar?" I say "sure, you need to roll a ten though." He rolls a ten and the helicopter is wrecked.

Adding to their misery, the Jaguar plasters a tank with a bomb.

There was quite a bit of time elapsed between the previous picture and this one. Landon's infantry had been reduced to a single stand. That stand played cat and mouse with two government platoons until it was finally cornered in the workshop.

The destruction at the front of the base was unreal. Six wrecked tanks and a hulled-out helo! The attackers worked out how they'd attack the old Texaco station (lower right corner). The defending troops across the runway in the workshop wouldn't easily be able to assist.

But as they're forming up, preparing their assault, a few quick shots from the building and a blast from the field gun...

And the jeep infantry quit the battlefield! The attackers have lost more than 50% of their platoons and are done. David and Anson commenced with the hooting and hollering.

That was a very enjoyable game to spectate and a real nail-biter at the end. I think everyone thought the defenders were on a really short clock, but a couple of fortunate shots followed by some miserable morale test rolls (Lee literally rolled 1,2,3 in a row to send his jeep infantry death-spiralling from being in good order to "withdraw" in the blink of an eye.

After tidying up the table, we set up With Sword and Shield - some 6mm Fantasy rank-n-file for a real change of pace.

Our very open battlefield. Mike and Lee commanded the Dwarf contingent, defending the hill. Landon commanded the Dark Elves (the majority of the troops across from the hill) and I would lead the demon horde which would be joining the battle via the scary summoning circle. Us bad guys are trying to break into the cave entrance at the base of the hill.

My summoning circle and the Gatekeeper. My sorcerer hovers behind on his floating chair.

We wasted no time rushing our troops forward, towards the artillery battery. A massive circle of darkness shields the center of our formation. Later, we'd figure out a better way to use it.

Darkness be damned, the Dwarves go bonkers and my demons get wrecked. Compare the two pictures above. Two stands of green plague demons are whacked as are two stands of red blood demons. Saddest of all, my fire demons (the ones where the pink circle was) were wiped out, leaving my sorcerer exposed. A well-aimed cannon shot ended his night early. I'm here to tell you, that really sucks.

The Gatekeeper and the Wiz get some quality time together in the Pit.

My next two summons were my two massive beasties. Interestingly, the stupid Dark Elf sorcerer flubbed her casting and we got no darkness bubble. The big guys were my way of drawing fire off our troops. They'd be sacrificial monsters. You can see that far to the left my flaying demons have engaged the Dwarf infantry and the plague nasties are duking it out with more stunties just ahead of the two big monsters. Elf horsemen continue their flanking maneuver far to the right.

Poor Wumpus. We hardly knew thee. The artillery battery sends him back to Heck.

The noose tightens. I'm just not sure we've got enough gas in the tank to see this through.

From left to right... My flying demons have stalled against some chump Dwarf warriors. Big Orange and some other fliers carve up more Dwarf Warriors. The plague demons continue to be held up. Some Dark Elf warriors make a great showing against Dwarf Berzerkers.  On the other side of the road we have more Dark Elf warriors getting the best of Dwarf Veterans and furthest to the right, the Dark Elf lizard-rider cavlary finally gets in a charge, chushing a regiment of Dwarf veterans. The cavalry was, in turn, smacked into by a Dwarven Walking Fortress, while on the far side of the scrum, Elf horsemen joined in.

It was rather late in the evening - about 11:30. We'd been playing for 10+ hours. After discussing things, the writing was on the wall for the forces of evil. We were too spread out, the Dwarf guns wouldn't stop any time soon and there was no way we were going to get past the Dwarf Hero and one of those damned Walking Fortresses into the tunnel. Although we'd fought a good fight, it was just not going our way. We shook hands and gave the Dwarves the victory.

With Sword and Shield impressed everyone, including a dyed-in-the-wool GW Fantasy player. The system is solid and mechanically it's great. My troop stats took some heat, but to me the question seemed to be about how "out of balance" the two sides should be. The Dwarves are extremely strong in ranged combat while the Demons are extremely strong in melee. The Dark elves are "OK" shooters and good in melee. It was floated that both sides should be move averaged out. My feelings are that, at least with this scenario, it should have been very much like a "Starship Troopers" last stand situation in which the shooters are fine until they get pounced, at which point they're screwed. Food for thought anyway...

We all had a great time and although I'd have liked to have gotten a third game in, by midnight we were beat. Thanks to everyone for coming by, throwing dice and pushing toy soldiers around for a day. Good Gaming!

23 May 2016

Two-fer Sunday

So, Sunday's trip to the Brunswick Pizza hut was well worth it. Mike, Daivd D, James and I got in two games! The first was a quick Star Fleet Battles exercise. It was written with novice players in mind, so it was a bit simpler than we've been doing recently. Regardless, it was fun. David and I were using Orions (pirates), in the process of picking clean a disabled ore freighter. James and Mike were playing the role of the local Federation constabulary.

One, non-action shot... but, as they say, pics or it didn't happen.

The Orions got the loot and got away. The Feds did an admirable job, but not quite enough to prevent the bad guys from getting away with one. The scenario could stand a very slight balancing, simply moving the disabled ship about 3-4 hexes closer to the Feds would have made things a lot more competitive.

Since we finished that game so quickly, Mike pulled out Star Fleet Marines, a tactical ground combat game along the lines of Squad Leader, but with much fewer complications. He quickly cobbled together a scenario - two symmetrical forces fighting over five objectives. Whichever side held three objectives after eight turns would be the winner.

Dave and I were handed the black team, Klingons. Mike and James were a combined Fed/Kzinti force. Again, both sides were identically kitted out.

The Klingons surround the BUA, while the allies swarm the objectives. Dave and I are playing the long game.

We picked our path, and methodically ground down the defenders. Things worked out very well for Team Klingon.

Time expired at 6:00pm (seven full turns). The Klingons were in possession of three objective locations. It was a tightly contested affair, but a few lucky shots here and there really made a difference. 

Star Fleet Marines is a damn fine tactical wargame. I'll be picking it up. We didn't touch on any of the whiz-bang sci-fi stuff, just basic infantry ground combat, but that's always been my favorite flavor of game.

All in all, a great afternoon of hex and counters. I've got a big Sunday coming up for Memorial Day - Sabre Squadron, With Sword and Shield, X-Wing and maybe others. I just finished up the Dwarf artillery battery - two more cannons and another gatling gun. I think I've got it all ready to rock!

16 May 2016

Goings On

Hi all. Things have been quiet here lately. I have actually been keeping up with my hobby stuff though. I finished off some more 6mm Dwarves for our Memorial Day game and was inspired to put together some "Cars Wars" type Matchbox / Hot Wheels cars. I threw together some simple enough rules that need a testing.
Not the best picture ever taken, to be sure. More pics as progress is made. The best thing about these cars is the fact that they're a buck apiece.

I also got in at least one game with my youngest son, Cameron. We're using Dystopian Legions minis and some simplified home-brew rules. His robots easily handled my Frenchies.

We use a popsicle stick to measure movement distances. He's got a retired 'Mech as an enforcer in his force.

Our commanders meet in close combat. Mine fared better, but I was still routed.

My wife and I played a playtest game of With Sword and Shield on Saturday night. I didn't take pictures. I needed to see a) how effective the Demon army is and b) how well the Dwarf defense will hold up for the big Memorial Day game. The Dwarves won and I got good playtest info. First time I've beaten my wife in a game of anything in I don't know how long. It figures there's no actual pictures or documentation.

Next weekend is Brunswick and Star Fleet Battles! Woo hoo!

10 May 2016

Recent Projects

It hasn't been completely quiet here lately. I finished up a couple of minis that've been in the queue a while last night and threw together a hill for my dwarves to defend over the weekend.

 Two Hell Dorado minis for Frostgrave or whatever other game I want to throw them in. The large woman with the club was a "must buy" when I saw it. Yes, she's got a duck hanging from her belt. The other guys was just wonderfully creepy.

And there they are on my two-tiered hill. The hill is nice and big, should hold plenty of those 6mm dwarves.

Not terribly exciting, but at least I'm getting some hobby stuff in. Be well!

04 May 2016

On the Fence

After the game the other night, I decided that I needed better fences, so Sunday I whipped up some. Twenty-nine Popsicle sticks and some windows screen, a bit of hot glue and paint - boom, done.

They're 4.5 inches long and about an inch high. They're a bit warped since they haven't got poles to keep them vertical. They look much better than the naked sticks we used the other day. Ten feet, eleven inches of tabletop goodness.

02 May 2016

Sabre Squadron AAR - Airfield Raid (scenario playtest)

Zig and I played a rather entertaining game of Sabre Squadron on Saturday evening. It was a playtest for a game I hope to run on Memorial Day weekend. Our game featured my two African Imagin-Nations armies of Litumsia - the WPA and the MCC.

The scenario features a WPA (Worker's Party Army - loyalists) airstrip under attack by MCC (Militia Campaign for the New Congress - rebels) forces. I wanted to try out some bells and whistles, so each side gets a plane and the WPA have a helicopter.

Zig opted for the commie rebels, so I deployed my starter platoons. The popsicle sticks are chain-link fences which slow down infantry. 

Straw poll - should RPGs be allowed to fire through chain-link fences or would the rocket's fuse likely trigger when it hits the fence?

The MCC were required to capture three buildings, not including the tower.

The MiG and helo began the game grounded. They both had to take off during turn 1.

The MCC noise-makers. Four M46es, two AMX13 and a load of jeeps with infantry.

By turn two, the rebels had cut the fence and started filtering through.

My whirlybird unloads a rocket pod at the insurgents, taking out a few stands.

Insurgent fire at my nearest squad is very effective.

To make things worse, the dadgummed MCC "airforce" shows up and strafes my helo with cannon fire. My helo was forced to retreat, playing no further part in the battle. Curse those mercenary pilots!

Aha! My heavy armor arrives. Things are looking up.

The MCC tanks detour off the road, not wanting to find out how effective my Chinese surplus tanks are.

Meanwhile, the AMX13s zip across the road, into the woods. Their armor would never hold up against the big tanks' guns.

 A new entry into the book of grudges. This godforsaken recoilless rifle jeep absolutely wrecked my right flank. It had just finished off my platoon in the woods in this picture.

The Jaguar returns and puts three bombs on a pair of my PT-76es. One of my tanks explodes sadly.

Sensing doom, my platoon in the hangar reveal themselves, killing a jeep, suppressing another and killing an AMX13 with a rocket! Not terrible.

 The remaining AMX13 and jeep group go hog-wild and thrash them in return.

But things turn again as the WPA heavy tanks destroy two of the big Pattons.

An RPG takes out my last light tank. My right flank has officially disintegrated. This was the somewhat controversial "shot through the fence" mentioned earlier. Please comment if you have any real-world experience with how that shot might play out.

The WPA forces are routed and I throw in the towel. I was on the back foot much of the fight, but it was very enjoyable! I may add a couple of guns to the defenders next time to give them a bit more starch. My reinforcements arrived slowly and didn't do much, although the big tanks were quite useful. My lazy MiG driver only made one ineffective pass before heading for safer territory. I think my helo could have been a lot nastier - I think I missed an opportunity with it.

Sabre Squadron is a damn fine game and this scenario proved to be a good one. Looking forward to the re-play in a few weeks!