31 May 2020

Naps - Finally A Game!

Way back on November 9, 2016 I stumbled upon some very inexpensive 20mm Napoleonic French infantry miniatures. Over the intervening three and a half years I added artillery and cavalry, as well as an opfor in the form of Prussians. I've finally got enough painted for what I consider a proper game. Mr. Mark joined me yesterday afternoon  for a first outing with the one of the all-time pillars of tabletop wargaming - rank and file Napoleonics.

The engagement was nothing specific - just two evenly matched forces to help us wrap our heads around the rules (Rank and File from Crusader). The battlefield was set up with a wide open area in the center and some bits of terrain on the edges.

I deployed my infantry and cavalry in columns to get into the center of the battlefield quickly. I've played enough "troops block" games in my life to know that you want some space between your fleeing troops and the evil "edge of the table."

Pretty horses all in a row.

A long line of Prussians.

Mark commences the slow roll forward of the Prussians. I had my cannons positioned to provide wide open lanes of fire in the early going.

My cuirassiers were on top of the Prussian infantry on my right flank in no time!

Meanwhile, my musketeers had reached the center(ish) and redeployed in line formation.

The French cavalry crash into their enemy!

Gratuitous low-angle shot

And another.

A good view of the battlefield. My horses are in deep kimchi having pushed back the infantry. They're now lined up perfectly for that cannon! Merde!

Before they disappear, the cuirassiers at least manage to run off the infantry they'd been battling. Le Huzzah!

I continue to press the issue and now our infantry is within musket range. Casualties start mounting for both sides. The Prussian lancers on my left are still threatening.

My cavalry retires.

Just as the timid/cautious Prussian commander commits his horsemen to the fight!

They take a severe mauling from cannon fire (left edge) and muskets but still hit hard enough to push my troops back.

Yeah baby! REVENGE.

We're done. Bon chance! 

One of my wrecked infantry battalions charges a lone Prussian gun. Desperate times, right?

Prussian horse ride off.

At the end of that turn, the game was called. We removed all casualties and this shot shows what was really left. The two units circled in yellow had broken morale and are essentially wiped out. The Prussians had a single half-strength infantry block on shaky morale. My French were spent.

What a blast! We both had a terrific time. We did a few things wrong, but nothing that affected the game significantly. It always happens. I'll probably tweak a few things with R&F for the next game - particularly morale - once a unit is on the slippery slope, it's too hard to recover. Perhaps commanders will rectify that but we'll find out next game - those models are in the painting queue right now. I have enough lead for one, maybe two more French infantry units. I'm excited to keep this going.

24 May 2020

Off to the Desert: Cold War Commander in the Sand

Cold War Commander made its was back onto the table yesterday, in the form of a Yom-Kippur War clash in the Sinai. Since we've both had precious little time playing CWC, I kept it simple and set up a simple Encounter scenario, with both forces entering onto the table. Both sides did have FACs and air support because who doesn't like ground attack aircraft in a game of toy soldiers?

Models are all 3mm Pico Armor / Oddzial Osmy.

Our battlefield was composed of mostly hilly terrain with a couple small villages and a pond to mix things up. The dark brown areas are rocky bad terrain - bad for vehicles, fine for infantry. I started with two units entering the table from the western edge - T-62s and Infantry. I held the other T-62 unit in reserve, to enter from a flank later on. 

My initial moves. The tankers we're terribly well motivated and petered out quickly, whereas the infantry stormed forward and took the big hill in record time!

A turn later and my lads were in better positions.

On turn three, I decided to bring in the flankers. The Israelis had a unit of M48s behind the hill right next to the central town. I needed to pressure them so they wouldn't just roll up the roll up and start blasting my tanks in the town.

They arrived and had a decent volley of shooting, taking out some M48s and suppressing others. I then got really cautious and re-deployed the T-62s, fearing that they'd be flanked in turn. They ended up in the position shown above, just next to the rocky ground.

Of course I'd made a major mistake and had forgotten a big part of the flanker rule... once you arrive on a flank, the enemy can only enter on that flank from their home edge corner. There was no way Ziggy would have been able to flank them back.

Some A-4s make their first of many unwelcome appearances. My flanking tank unit gets hammered. Critically, their command group, the overall commander, was suppressed. That unit was going to be pinned in place next turn!

Fortunately they took very few casualties from the Pattons firing at them moments later.

The Israeli flankers arrived on cue. I was fortunate that they ground to a halt right after their arrival. They were right in front of my FAC who called in a pair of Su-7s. They only succeeded in suppressing a single stand.

The combat cameraman was stunned by a nearby explosion and footage from the next 30 minutes was lost. What happened though was that the T-62s in the center turned to meet the flankers and then failed a command roll. The infantry immediately failed their command roll. Turn over. The Israeli M48 flankers begin a massive volley firing at the T-62s. Five of my seven stands were destroyed.

Then there was this mess on my left flank... the FAC got the entire IAF to respond and my flankers were hit by two airstrikes going from this (shown above) to this...


While that was going on, My infantry on the hill had managed to eke out a command roll of "2" giving them two actions. They sprung into action, moving towards the flanking M48s. The new Russian 9M14 missiles streaked out smashed into some of the American tanks. Impressive! Mortar fire was accurate, resulting a handful of suppressed Israeli units.

That gets us to here. My flankers have evaporated. The central tank unit is smoke and rubble. My infantry is still in excellent shape, but the noose tightens for them.

The Sagger team in a great spot. Wish I had about six more of these!

With little else he could spot, the Zionist FAC called in an airstrike on the hill opposite. It deviates a bit, practically right on top of my AAA. The AA fire makes it exciting for the Israeli pilot but my infantry still take a pounding from the bombs.

With next to nothing left in the tank, my remaining Egyptians concede.

Although it was a blow-out, I enjoyed the game thoroughly. There's only so much you can do against the dice and you just have to put on a brave face and have a good time. I could really kick myself for screwing up the flank situation and not pressing harder. Oh well, it made things play out a bit more historically for my guys - capable troops, poor command and control. If I had to do it differently, I'd shit-can the T-62s and replace them with three units of cheaper T-55s giving the Israelis more targets and the Egyptians more maneuver groups. Next time!

CWC turned in a solid battle and perhaps it'll make its way on the table again soon with my 1980's European Theater toys. They've been in lock up long enough.

10 May 2020

Saturday Afternoon StarDust: Ground Playtesting

I  put the recently painted SDG cultist army on the table yesterday afternoon for some playtesting. I think it went well and I'm happy with how they played. At their heart, their schtick is "start outnumbered and gain more troops as the game goes." The troops types are solid and don't need much in the way of adjustment. They only ones that do are the large demons who need to be tough enough to engage a full unit of infantry on their own and put up a reasonable fight. I also made it harder for them to be shot to death easily by an idiot with a rifle. Their new special rule:

Lord of Battle – This single-stand Unit gains an additional +3 bonus in Close Combat. Opponents must re-roll successful “Kill” shooting results against this Unit. This Unit completely ignore pin markers, there is no need to place them on this Unit.

Their opponent was the bug army - close combat specialists all about speed and claws. They worked well as usual, but suffered from poor dice rolls (easy to ignore in a playtest situation) and a lack of "things to do" when they'd roll an "8" on their Action Dice. They received a new unique Special Action and a new Special Rule that suits their "neverending hordes" motif.

The new Army Special Rule:
Every time an 8 is rolled on Action Dice, a reinforcement point is earned. Reinforcement points are spent to bring full Units back into the battle at the rate of 1 reinforcement point per infantry stand. Those new Units may enter from the player’s deployment edge just prior to the player rolling Action Dice (so they will generate Action Dice).

And their new Special Action:

Rush (Bugs Only) – A Bug Unit may be given this Action which works like a Full Move granting an extra 2 inches of movement and an additional +1 CC bonus during the turn.

Special Actions typically allow armies to instant-rally units, let squads take a mix of actions or call artillery. For an army that ignore morale, has no need for a mix of actions and currently has no means of calling in artillery (sounds like I need an artillery observer bug), they needed some way to capitalize on Action Dice rolls of an "8." Plus, slowly regenerating units that have been wiped out gives them a little more oomph. On a personal collection note, I also need to pick up something suitable to use as a brain-bug leader type. The bugs desperately need something to keep them pushing forward. A bad Action roll is always painful, but for a one-trick pony like the Bugs, it's a bit moreso.
No fancy terrain for this playtest! Just bare essentials. The cultists hang out and await the swarm.

Worms to the left, fast assault bugs to the right!

These demonic cavalry were on fire against assault after assault! They taught the bugs a thing or two for sure.

07 May 2020

More Painting: The Pandemic of 2020

For so many of us, this pandemic has been a productive couple months for getting stuff painted. I got the last mini from my Batman Miniatures Teen Titans box set finished last evening. Hawk has been sitting, partially done, for about 8 months. It's nice to see him rejoin his crew.

I'm not sure why I got stuck on the model for so long. The sharp red and white was part of it. I'm happy with how the mortar between the bricks came out. Now, for an outing!

03 May 2020

Infinity AAR: Aaaargh!

Like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football, I've been on quite a streak lately. I hoped to right the ship Saturday with a game of Infinity with Zig. I put together a list of Combined forces and Z used his Pan Oceania knights as usual. Umpteen weeks of "shelter in place" and he still doesn't have his Japanese assembled and primed and the PanO are also still mercilessly barely painted.

I didn't photograph much, so this isn't a very thorough batrep.

The scenery was pretty. I thought it was a nice urban park area rather than a woods meet town situation.

The boss lady and some assistants.

Critters and bots holding  up the left flank.

My Gwalios nails a sneaky snake with a rocket. Burn!

The last of my leader's fireteam is beset by the semi-painted masses.

Dr. Worm and a well-hidden hacker (that purple and white marker) hold out until the bitter end. I should have called the game 20 minute earlier but I wasn't going to give Ziggy the satisfaction.

It was en entertaining game, frustrated by crap dice and an early mistake by both of us. That mistake cost me what would have been a telling kill at the time. Oh well, spilled milk... we'll get 'em next time.

We played two games of Command and Colors Ancients after tidying up the mess. Our series ended up on the Battle of the Ticinus River - Hannibal v. Scipio. I used Carthage in the first engagement and it was a dicey affair with a good bit back and forth. In the end, I managed to keep the momentum up and got the win! Rather than switching scenarios, we simply swapped sides. This time, as the Romans, I really hit like a ton of bricks. I think the final score was something like 6-2. Ziggy's dice the second time around were abysmal and mine were at least average. If you've played C&C, average dice plus a good card draw = hard to beat and I got excellent cards at the right times. I even managed to pull off a strong Rally, patching up two medium cavalry units and a light infantry on just four dice!

So, the massive losing streak has ended. Looking forward to the next game of whatever. Be well!