Thursday, April 16, 2015

Gallipoli Diorarma- first peeks

First peek at the Gallipoli diaorama being put together by Peter Jacksosn which myslf and a larg number of other NZ wargamers had a hand in painting figures for: Gallipoli display

Can't wait to see the final product revealed.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

BA German Reinforcements

I've done a bit of reflection on my German army and its woeful undeperformance and have decided a few reinforcements were needed. They turned up from Warlord games today.

 First up a 120mm mortar. Doing 2d6 damage it should keep those US paras moving. I must say I am really, really impressed by the figures and model. Great sculpts

I've also decided that the 37mm AA just wasn't cutting it in a psudo anti-tank role so am adding a pak 38 to the force instead. It's role? Keep the Sherman or other medium tanks honest. Again I am really impressed by these models from Warlord Games, minimal flash and great details. Again I highly recommend them.

Adding the Stuh into the mix as well and I am hoping that they extra firepower of the 120mm mortar and the Stuh will give the Americans some troubles and things to worry about. We will see how that pans out nxt week. Tomorrow night and I've a Soviet 120mm mortar and crew to paint up.


Monday, April 13, 2015

BA- Artizan & Crusader Russians

Last night and tonight I have been busy painting up my latest Russian reinforcements, a mixture of Artizan Designs and Crusader miniatures. The two manufacturers figures mix well and make for a good variety for the force- I much prefer metals to plastics, though the oneWarlord plastic has been mixed in with the SMG squad.

1x LMG Squad (11 men, incl SMG and LMG)
1x Siberian Squad (10 mn incl SMG and LMG)
1x SMG/ tank rider Squad (10 men)

The LMG Squad

SMG/ tank rider squad

The Siberians

Th force assembled.

For recognition purposes the LMG teams are on square bass and each squad has a couple of bases of the new Warlord 40mm round bases (as always simply to move less figures).

I really like the figures, they paint up easily, have great detail and are really well proportioned. I was going to mix the helmeted and fur hat figures up for a more rag tag/ veteran appearance to the squads but decided that the fur hatted figures would be more easily identified as Siberians if in individual units.

I need to add an inexperienced squad and will get another LMG and Siberian squad as well.


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Bolt Action Tank Riders

Last weekend's game has inspired me to get working on my Soviets again. In fact I'm going to do another 3-4 squads using Crusader and Artizan Design metals- I still aren't really a fan of plastics, the Warlord ones are quite nice but I still prefer to use metals whenever I can.

My aim is to theme my force on a  LW Motostrelkoy. The thought being it will represent an exploitation force from one of the Mechanised Corps during 1944 (I always try to build my forces round a theme or campaign). So with that in mind am aiming for:

2 LMG squads of 10-12 troops
1 SMG tank rider squad
1 Med Mortar
1 MMG (though most likely to be dropped to add poitns elsewhere)
1 Zis 3
1 JS 2 or SU 122
1 M3 Scout car (Recce)
1 M3 Half track

Later on I'll add a truck or two too (for big games). I can do it all except for the M3A1 Scout Car, half track and SU 122. I really love the look of the new Warlord Games M3 Scout car, it is a fantastic looking model so any excuse to get one and convert up some Russian crew. I have ordered the M3 half track, SU 122 and M3 Scout car.

Yesterday, I decided to make a few tank riders for on the back of "Papa Joe" (as I've nicknamed my JS 2 which is named after the most benevolent ruler of Mother Russia- and don't let the commissars hear you say otherwise!). I think they turned out pretty good.

Hmm, the photos really picks up the lines on the helmets, not anywhere near as evident on the figures themselves but they may get a slight improvement.

Just a quick block paint and wash- which did the trick.

They also work on the T34- but need to do another set of riders for this one.



Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Bolt Action AAR: Breakout

Tonight Kent popped round for a game  of Bolt Action. We decided to try one of the new missions on WWPD website, Breakout. I ran my Germans, Kent his usual US Paras.

Craig's German Panzer Grenadiers:

  • Reg 1st Lt
  • 2x 7 man Vet squads (SMG, LMG)
  • 1x 9 man pioneer squad (with flamethrower, 3x SMGs)
  • 1x 7 man Vt squad (SMG, 2x LMGs) 
  • 1x Med mortar with spotter
  • 1x reg panzershrek
  • 1x 251/9 stummelwerfer
  • 1x 233 armoured car
  • 1x 251/9
  • 1x 251/1
  • 1x Nebelwerfer observer (free) 

Kent 's US Paras (approximately):

  • Vet 1st Lt
  • 3x Vet tough fighter para units (11-12 men)
  • 1x Vet med mortar + spotter
  • 1x Vet sniper
  • 1x Vet bazooka
  • 1x Vet 57mm 
  • 1x Sherman
  • 1x M8 Greyhound armoured car

So going into this game I was quietly confident I had a lot more units that Kent so hopefully I could coordinate them to overwhelm his paras. With Breakout the aim is to both get units into the opponents deployment zone (1 pt each) and also 1 pt per unit destroyed, Both players can start with 3 non vehicle units on table.  I deployed my 2 LMG squad, mortar and 37mm AA. Kent deployed an infantry platoon, mortar and sniper team.

Turn 1, my squad with 2x LMGs is about to enter the building.

Paras advance through the woods.

Two panzer grenadier squads advance to support the 37mm AA and secure my right flank.

 Panzer grenadiers occupy the treeline and go onto ambush.

The Sherman and greyhound advance up the road towards the all important crossroads.

On my right flank the 251/10 (with commander) advances onto the hill.

On the left the 251/1 (with pioneers and panzersrek on board) noses round the buildings.

Turn 2- the 57mm AT fires at the 251/1 but luckily for me misses.

 The 233 advances into wall enclosure round the house, while my infantry occupy the upstairs.

The Sherman puts a pin on the 251/10 while the 251/9 remains out of sight.

Paras advance through the woods towards the destroyed farmhouse.

The Sherman fires on the 251/10 and knocks it out- destroying it and my commander!

I advance my infantry across the open ground towards the crossroads but the Greyhound catches them and kills two men.

And here is my critical mistake! Rather than putting my infantry in the building on ambush I advanced my pioneers (I thought I had already put the guys in the building on ambush, doh!). Kent's response? He charges the paras out of the woods and destroys my pioneers!

The paras then melt back into the woods.

 The Greyhound now commands the ridgeline overlooking the crossroads, continuing to hammer my infantry (who refuse to move).

The 251/1 is also pinned by the paras. Next turn the bazooka destroys it and its nebelwerfer observer! Scratch two more points

With the 251/10 destroyed the Sherman advances.

The Greyhound commands the crossroads.

The paras's return to the wall and massacre my regular panzershrek team! Another point lost.

Turn 5, the tide has well and truly turned. I have now lost 7 units but manage to stay on the board (we've introduced a FoW style break test if 1/2 or more units are lost- a morale test at the commanders rating, at a -1 per two units lost). Smelling blood the paras have finally emerged out of the woods, my ambushing units did minimal damage (the Aa gun missed!) and then both my 37mm and infantry squad were about to becomes seriously pinned....

thanks in no small part to the Sherman.

Oh oh.

Finally a break, my infantry that had been pinned by the greyhound, manage to immobilise the Greyhound with a very lucky roll of 6s.

The Sherman knocks out the 251/9

On the left flank the 233 advances to try to get into the US deployment zone but is just short.

And so the game ended. So how did I fare? Badly. My mortar knocked out the 57mm AT gun and that was it, for the loss of 8 units! Another down trou! 8-1 to Kent! Yikes!

Kent played well, pouncing on my mistakes. He timed, and supported, his attacks well and really did all he needed to do for victory. We both enjoyed the mission and I made two critical errors- one lost me the pioneers, the other was neither of use realised that it was only a half move in reverse so my 251/10 didn't manage to, as I'd intended, reverse out of line of sight of the Sherman. The units on board the half tracks were also killed for 2 easy points when their rides were destroyed. Splitting up my mechaised units to put pressure on both flanks proved a bad mistake too, I should have concentrated most of my vehicles on one flank and refused the flank on the other.

So, not quite the result I had imagined. I was happy enough with the force, might drop the 251/9 to bring back the stuh (also losing the regular panzershrek to do so) next time to add some proper armour but the core will remain the same and am sure that the next game with bring my Italian Front Germans their first victory!


Monday, April 6, 2015

Rules? Who needs rules?

I grew up in the 1970s devouring the wargaming books by Donald Featherstone and Charles Grant , My first wargaming rules homemade, based on the Lionel Tarr rules published in Featherstone's Wargames. As 10 or 11 year olds my friend Ian and I hand typed them out and changed them to meet our needs (the book was a library book and we didn't have any access to photocopiers) on his mum's old typewriter. We spent days, and lots of correction tape, single finger typing. When we got to high school the school had a copy of Gavin Lyall's Operation Warboard and so we got out the old type writer and hand typed those additions to "our rules". I guess back then players were encouraged to make rules their own, tweak and adapt as they liked. How different it was from the modern approach where rules are yet another consumer package with everything you need provided for you.

Fast forward 30 odd years and my son has just hit high school. Wargaming hasn't been a bug for him the way it was for me, but he does occasionally show flashes of interest. At school a couple of weekends ago they had an open day and he was asked by one of his history teachers to bring some wargaming stuff along and set up a demo game. I had work to do down at the bach so set him up with some of my 28mm WWII collection- some Perry 8th Army and Germans.

He had arranged to do the demo game with another boy who plays 40k. I gave him the Bolt Action rules in case they wanted to do something structured but what happened next was something that gave me hope for the future of gaming. He and his mates got together and ironed out some rules for the day, divvied up the forces then 6 of them spent about 3 hours gaming their rules and having a blast, so much so that they are now thinking of forming a club at their school!

So what where the rules they used? These:

To me that is the future of the hobby, not the modern rule sets with their attitude of "thou must not tinker with our masterpieces." These kids didn't need any rulebooks, they simply used their imaginations and came up with something that worked for them.

 Finn came home absolutely fizzing about the day, and afterwards sat down and typed out his rules, not as Ian and I did on a trusty old typewriter but a slightly more modern way- on my laptop!


Saturday, April 4, 2015

BA- Somewhere in Russia...

Kent was keen for a game of Bolt Action over the long weekend and we organised a game for today. The guys were having a Dystopian Wars comp down at the club so we decided to game down there. One of the young guys at the club, Jacob, has a Soviet army so I took Finn and his Soviets along. I and took on role of mentor/umpire/advisor for the Russians.

Each army was 800 pts, so 1600 pts per side.

Jacob ran: HQ, Reg LMG quad, large vet engineer squad, large SMG squad, T34, free green squad, and maybe a sniper.

Finn had: Reg 2nd Lt, reg LMG squad, reg SMG squad, reg Siberan squad, 81mm mortar, MMG, SU 76

Kent ran FJ: Vet HQ, 2x large squads, 75mm recoiless gun, stug, free observer, medic, 222 armoured car

Stephen ran my panzer grenadiers: Vet 2nd Lt, 2x Vet squads (2x LMGs), 1x Vet pioneer squad (with flamethrower), 1x 25/9, 1x 251/9 stummel, 1x 233 armoured car

We used an 8 x 6 table and to keep things moving allowed each side to deploy 1' onto the table. I forgot some objective markers so it was basically just a max attrition.

Finn's troops deployed in the foreground, Jacob's in the top of the picutre. Jacob deployed his T34 with the SU 76. Finn has his SMG squad flanking.

A view for the German lines, Kent's troops cowering behind the rolling steppe.

A view of Jacob's masses of infantry.

turn 1 the stummel advances and was the only unit to score a hit, killing 3 of Finns regualr LMG squad.

Finn's maxim team advances towards a ruined church. In the background Kent has called in his artillery strike and palced it near the T34 and Suka.

Jacob ponders his next move.

A view form the German lines. the 233 armorued car had tried to rcce away from the Soviet AT gun but was hit and its crew momentarily stunned.

Turn 2 the Soviet mortar ranges in on one of Kent's squads, killing a coupleof pinning them.

The inexperienced Soviet squad advances towards the 251/1

Meanwhile Finn's SU76 has been hit by the Stug and its crew stunned.

On the Soviets far right Jacob's infantry advance is protected by one of the rolling hills.

 The inexperienced close assault the 251/1 and destroy it.

But a second hit from the stug destroys the SU 76.

Stephen's troops have occupied the wood facing the road while in the lower corner Finn's troops advance through the cornfields.

Crossing the ridgeline proves deadly as Stephen's mortar ranges in on the Soviets, the LMG squad is badly mauled and eventually breaks.

The Soviets and Germans square off near the road with Stephen's two panzer grenadier squads using the woods as cover to hopefully halt the Soviet attack.

Jacob has redeployed the T34 to support his troops.

Finally the SMG squad comes on and destroys the 222 armoured car.

Th 233 armoured car bounces a shot of the front armour of the T34.

The SMG squad advance behind the T34.

On Finn's flank the maxim covers his infantry, suppressing the German units.

The SMG squad about to launch an assault on the Germans, 16 dice and only two Germans killed! The German survivors kill 5 or so Soviets and the squad surrenders. Unlucky dice rolling by Finn.

 The assault goes in.

 The 233 tried for a flank shot on the T34 but misses, return fire from the T34 destroys the pesky armoured car though.

 End of turn 6. Both the stug and 251/9 stummel have been immobilised by the Zis 3 but neither is knocked out.

And there we ended with a 3-3 draw.

A close game and everyone had fun, the big table worked well, there was plenty of room to manouvre but still enough terrain and cover to make things interesting. As tends to happen the game slowed down the longer we played as we had to sort out one person's action before the next. To keep things moving though, we had enough dice for the maximum units in one force for each side and when a die was drawn both players got to use one of their units. this worked well.

Overall though, I am starting to want something with a bit more depth to it, not sure what though. The games are enjoyable but lately have gone a bit flat towards the end, I'm not sure how to speed them up but I'm also starting to want a bit more flavour or detail to the games and aren't sure of what rules to try for this, or maybe I just need to tweak BA to speed it up a bit more.

Things I'm considering are:

1. Transports must be attached to an infantry or artillery unit and are activated as part of that unit- thus reducing a few dice.
2. SMGs don't have a long range penalty, simply 12" range and point blank range- figuring out if SMGs are in point blank or long range really slows things down and don't see it as being a really big difference (not giving them the move without penalty would help too- I need to think on this a bit more )