Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Roads made from felt

Stephen from the Cavaliers club in Christchurch asked me some time ago if I'd mind making some roads for their club. He supplied the felt, which arrived for Day of Days, and I got some No More Gaps filler and went about making some up last night. A simple process, I cut the felt into 18" and 2 ft lengths then liberally covered the strips with No More Gaps. This was then smoothed with an off cut of wood and ruts scratched into the surface using a nail.

Once dried, I paint it. The advantage of this method is that the road is nice and flexible and will travel over most hills and uneven surfaces. Not sure how much the felt cost but I made 60 ft of roads in a couple of hours.


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Day of Days- done and dusted.

The missions went well, a few grumbles about Soviets getting “Night attack” and on turn 2 of some of the first round games I was thinking oh, oh. This looks like it will be over very quickly but on all those games (including Dale and mine) we held on and all had hard fought and close games that led to defenders victories, even though the defenders were feeding teams to contest for most of the games. The extra objectives made for tactically interesting game as there were options for attackers and hard decisions to be made by defenders so I think overall they worked well.

The only major issue seemed to be Surrounded here I made each attacking player have one deployment zone and so some forces ended up being destroyed piece meal but the “defenders.”  One one attacking team (Dale and me) ended up winning that one. I think we will replace it next year with dust up or something else.  

I a was a bit surprised that the attackers struggled in many missions but I think the lighter tanks & new AT rules made it difficult to crack AT defences.  In fact I've never seen so many Zis 3s fielded in one comp.

Dale and I ended up winning, a bit embarrassing really as  I was organising it but in my defence I only joined with Daleinski when we lost a couple of players. Our lists were:

 6th Panzer,  6. Reconnaissance Battalion,
Aka Dalinski’s Gepanzerte Aufsklarung Platoon
  • HQ (2x Sdkfz 250), 1x P/K                            80
  • 6x MG teams (4x Sdkfz 250), 1x SMG P/K  235
  • 4x MG teams (3x Sdkfz 250), 1x SMG P/K  165
  • 1x 223, 2x 222 Armoured Cars                      110
  • 3x Stug F/8                                                     510
Total:                                                                          1100

 My Mittere Panzer Kompanie,
C Company, 11th Panzer Regiment, 6th Panzer  Division                                              

2x        MK III Late J                                       210
2x        MkIV F2, 2x MkIII Late  J                   500
2x        MkIV F2, 1x MkIV F1                         390
No AT guns, no artillery to speak off (Dale usually takes some mortars but not this time), no AA. It was only game 2 I remembered my single panzer IV F1 could fire bombardments- not that it ever destroyed anything.

 The forces were pretty fragile and we were under a lot of pressure a lot of the time but managed to come away with 3 good wins and also were on the end of a crushing defeat to Poochie and Nick- ambushing T34s soon led to a massacre and we lost EVERY model on the table! Our dice rolling didn’t help our cause, it went from bad to worse to damn right embarrassing but it was a very clinical and well deserved win to Poochie and Nick in that one. In the last round Dale and I were the only Axis team to win and so managed to snatch first place.

The Saturday night BBQ at my place went well, a few extras ending crashing at my place and we rounded things up about 3am so there were a few very tired and hung over gamers in the morning


Jamie MacDonald and Peter Black          36
Nick Garden & Chris  Pooch                     33
Lionel Graves & Bob Pearce                     30
Mark & Simon Taylor                                   27
Kent Galpin & Martin Wilkinson                23
Adam Smith &  Andy Tucker                      19

Dale  Franklin & Craig Courtis                  38
Noel Black & Stephen Falconer               32
Jeff Larilottz & Josh Graves                       30
Dave Dreaver & Cal Manson                     26
Keith Hewitt & Estella Jones                     25
Nathan Maynard & Robert Higgins          9

I am already looking forward to next years comp.

Wins per round
Round 1- No Retreat- Soviet attack in the blizzard, 5 German wins
Round 2- Encounter- 4 German wins (also 1 timed out loss/loss)
Round 3- Pincer- Germans attack- 4 Soviet wins
Round 4- Surrounded (final breakthrough to relieve Stalingrad) 5 Soviet wins

Not sure of it as the new rules for guns etc but the defenders won many of the battles but overall there were 12 German vs 11 Soviets.

A few pictures:

 After setting up the tables and waiting for Bob, Nick and Poochie to turn up I remembered I had a tram from King and Kerr undercoated. A quick (20 minute) drybrush and it was ready for the table- hey it was painted at 11pm :)

The final link up between Dale and my forces.
 The participants


Friday, February 22, 2013

Day of Days Stalingrad- let the madness begin

FoW is first and foremost a game, a World War Two game second. Sometimes some of us want more “World War Two” out of our game than “the game of WWII”. Personally, I don''t really like standard, cookie cutter FoW comps. Give me a themed comp or one with some tweaks to the standard fare and I’m happy, make it axis vs allies and even better- that’s the style of WWII game I grew up with and the kind I want to play. Luckily as the comp organiser, I get to decide the rules- though with input from the players and especially those that have been to most./all my comps.

WWII is a vast, interesting period in history and ye standard X points, anything goes comp gets pretty stale after a while, I’d rather game something a bit more interesting. Bede in Wellington has taken this approach on board and the last two “Bedecons” have been two of the most enjoyable FoW events I’ve participated in. Both were LW events, one themed on D Day and the battle for Normandy, the other on the East front in the winter of 44/45- both were great fun and had lots of tweaks that made them interesting. Those kinds of events are starting to push what you can do with a FoW comp far more than most comps here in NZ seem to do and as a result are the kind that I would prefer to go to.

So roll on Day of Days 2013. This week has been a major headache as I’ve lost two German teams, one though people having more important real life issues and another over a communication mix up and belief that the rules being used are stacked against the Germans  in this comp. A shame really as I was looking forward to seeing these guys in action again. So lots of last minute e-mails and I found a couple of teams willing to change sides to keep the Axis/Soviet split even- thanks for the offers and we are now all sorted and raring to go.

So what are we doing to Day of Days to tweak it and get a Stalingrad theme going?

1. Axis of Attack
All axis teams will attack in some rounds, all Soviets in others to represent specific attacks in the campaign:

Round 1: Operation Uranus: Soviets Attack (No Retreat)
Round 2: Operation Winterstorm (Encounter) to represent the fluid action as the German relief ran headlong into the Soviet vanguard.
Round 3: Winterstorm 2: With toughening Soviet defences the attack towards Stalingrad is starting to falter as the flanks are exposed to counter attacks (Pincer). The Germans have to fight their way through these spoiling attacks and remain focused on the true goal- Stalingrad!
Round 4: depending on the situation either Operation Koltso (the final assault to relive the pocket) or a final push to change history and relieve the city. The mission will be Surrounded- which will represent the Germans breaking through to relieve the city or the final capitulation (depending how well the Germans do)

2. Strategic Battle
As with all these events there is also an overall strategic battle. Each side gets 1-2 or 3 pts per win, depending on which round it is. The final round all victories are worth 3 points for the overall winning side. This means the Germans can lose all battles in round 1 but still have a shot at the title by winning on most tables in round 2, 3 and 4. They need to focus on the bigger prize.

 3. Air support 
Will be allocated according to who is attacking- some games one side gets air support, some both, some none.

4. Winter/Snow tables
The battle took part in the depths of winter so this needs to be represented on the battlefield.
With Stalingrad I am trying to theme the event on the larger battles in a very loose narrative. The initial Soviet attacks are in the snow and a blizzard to represent the poor conditions that Soviets attacked in. Does it make it harder on the Germans? Possibly yes. But hey, the Soviets didn’t ring up tally up points and agree to only attack at 50/50 odds- they picked bad weather and the wings of the front where the Axis allies had few AT defences and went for it. So I’m trying to represent the strategic edge in a couple of ways:

5. Snowstorms! 
The first battle will begin in a snow storm (using Night fighting rules to simualte this) Actually technically a blizzard/snow storm.  Some people felt that this is giving the Soviets an unfair advantage. My response? Well duh! They had one, that’s the whole friggin point and IT SHOULD BE REPRESENTED!

Battles the snow counts as difficult going and all vehicles move at their slow “speed” BUT T34s get to move 12” (unless in blizzards/night) WTF I hear you say. Why? In god’s name why? Simple.  T34s were renowned for their cross country performance in the snow and was far superior off road than the earlier German tanks which, with their narrow tracks, tended to get bogged down. A fact that is not very well reflected in a standard FoW rules or “middle of summer” type game. So although  they cannot double move T34s have the mobility edge over the Germans but of course the Germans do also have storm trooper as well to keep up with those pesky T34/76s.

6. An Extra Objective in all games!
Finally our experiences last year found that more often than not the standard mission rules meant that only one objective tended to become important and fought over and so 90% of troops came involved in this battle and games became “rugby scrums and slug fests”. This year I’ve playtested, and added, an extra objective which forces the defender to spread out more, allows more flexibility to the attacker, but also means that the defender needs to carefully consider where to place units and keep a reasonable reserve to counter attack- common sense military tactics one would have thought and in our playtests it made the games more interesting as there were more tactical choices, we will see how they work out in over the weekend.

7. Limited Support Choices
One of my biggest gripes with FoW has always been the frontloading up on Div support and minimal combat/weapons choices. 3E has changed this somewhat as HMGs mortars etc are now semi-useful. With these doubles events I try to focus on the games a being TWO COMPANIES launching a company/battalion level attack. As such the two players should have to reply on each other for support and not on the divisional support assets. To this end we only allow ONE divisional support choice per player max so they need to focus on their weapons platoon choices and perhaps field a semi-historic company- madness in FoW I know. It does make some army choices more difficult but if the two players work together the weaknesses can be overcome by a proper combined arms force and by coordinating their attacks or defences. Finally, it also makes for more interesting/diverse army selections.

8. Limiting infantry forces
I prefer running infantry forces but in events like this with 2 players we’ve found that the games that tend to run over time are those with 2x infantry forces so are limiting to a max of one per team so we can ensure results- same with armour, max of one per team.

So there we have it some of the ideas behind Stalingrad. Players have started to turn up, tables are set up. Bring it on.

So the clock is now set to the predawn hours of the morning of November 19th, 1942. The German 6th Army is embroiled in a deadly war of attrition in one most cataclysmic battles of World War Two. Stavka have been feeding just enough troops into the maelstrom to prevent the city from falling whilst simultaneously preparing for a major offensive on the flanks. The Romanian, Hungarian and Italian armies holding the flanks of the Stalingrad salient are all short on anti-tank weapons and despite numerous calls to 6th Army HQ requesting more, have also  reported the Soviet build-up of men and materiel, but so far their warnings and requests have fallen on deaf ears. The German 6th Army commanders, fixated on the prize before them, do not realise that terrible fate that waits them in the depths of the Soviet winter in a city called Stalingrad…


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Dux Belorum- Saxon Duguth

Work on the Saxons continues. This time some of the Musketeer Duguth. Lovely figures, their only issues being the open hands which are a pain to glue spears to- I decided to use a 5 minute epoxy rather than superglue and although ti gives a much stronger bond it is also a lot fiddlier to work with.  It was worth it in the end though as the bond is much stronger, so hopefully they last longer.

I need to add to more units of these guys are the ordinary warriors/shieldwall.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

ACW Black Powder

Kent, Stephen and I got together for another game of Black Poder tonight. This time we used points.

Stephens Brigade (5 battalions + artillery) consisted of sharp shooters and Veterans.

I took 2x 4 regiment brigades, one with rebel yell, the other were veterans. Kent using a Keep it Simple policy made everyone veterans.

Deployment- I forgot my new fences, doh!

My Rebels learning their lesson last week surged forward and grabbed the stables.

 Kent sent a regiment to capture the building and in the end they destroyed to of my regiments!.

 Meanwhile Stephen's brigade managed a rather haphazard advance due to some poor command rolls.
 The rebel centre (my veterans) also refuses to advance on command. Not a good start.
 Kent occupies an important field, allowing him to possibly enfilade Stephen's brigade.
 A view from Kent's lines. Things seem to be going well so far.

 Stephens troops continue to advance though my new field from Hotz Terrain.
 A regiment occupies the hedgeline.
 Finally my veterans close the gaping hole in our centre.

 Fierce fight fights develop- each turn Kent manages to disorder at least 6 of my regiments!
 Slowly though the game swings towards the Confederates. Kent has to brigades taking a mauling.
 Spot the disorder markers on my troops- grrr.
 Hey where did Kent's centre go? Finally after three battles we've broken a command!
 The final assault, the Union brigade breaks and Kent's 2nd brigade is destroyed. A comprehensive victory to the South.
One change we made this game was use the Contemptibles turn order:
This meant you could disprder a unit and then assualt it. However, infantry were only allowed to assault disordered or shaken regiments. It worked well.


Monday, February 18, 2013

Day of Days 2013- Final Countdown

 The weekend coming up I will be running my annual FoW event. I organised our first FoW event in February 2003, and we also formed the Timaru Armchair Generals (TAG) about the same time so this is our 10th anniversary even though it is only our 9th annuall gaming "event" as Day of Days 2011 was cancelled at the last minute due to the devastating CHCH earthquake- the second anniversary of which is this Friday.

It is a doubles event agai this year and we have 28 players (29 actually with one team of 3) coming from Invercargill (4) and Wellington (7) as well as those from Christchurch and Dunedin, making it the largest FoW event outside NATCON to be held in the South Island- not bad for a town of less than 30,000. Being half way between the South Island’s two main urban centres does make it a bit easier for players from both to get to and that tends to work in our favour. But I am especially pleased with the recent support from both Invercargill and Wellington as it is a major effort for players from both places to get here but also appreciate the travel involved from all our out of ton players.

I am very, very pleased with support we’ve received over the years. The weekends have been consistently well attended and  I hope that they continue to be so. The players have always bought into the (sometimes) crazy themes and ideas we've tried in our endevours to try and make DoD a unique experience and different from the other comps held here in the South Island, and more often than not the ideas have worked out in the end.  

I prefer to call the weekends "wargaming events" rather than competitions, the name is a small but subtle reminder of why we are gaming, not to win at all costs but to get together with like minded people, roll some dice, have fun and tell a few stories and hence the focus on it being an “event” first and foremost. My aim for the weekend is simple: to try to make it something different and fun and most importantly try to make it the best gaming experience that we can. Do we always succeed? Probably not but the key (IMO) is to listen to the participants, get their feedback as to what worked, what didn’t work, identify any issues that arose and try to fix them and make the following year better.

This year is by far the biggest turn out. A number of players (6 or 7) have been to all the events I’ve run over the years but we also have several for whom this will be their first Day of Days. As per normal it is strictly axis vs allies (Soviets in this case) and themed to a particular battle or campaign. The theme this year being the Battle of Stalingrad. As this month saw the 70th anniversary of the surrender of the Sixth Army it seemed only fitting to commemorate this epic struggle and those that died in a battle that truly was a turning point in World War Two.   

So the countdown is on, I’ve a couple of army lists to receive final confirmation on, lots of organisational stuff to take care of before it all kicks off next Friday evening.   I’m looking forward to catching up with everybody, rolling a few dice and hopefully having more than a few laughs.

Looks like I may even get to play, but alas will not be using my Cossacks, a fillin is needed on the Axis side instead.


Friday, February 15, 2013

Dux Bellorum Saxons Update

4 stands worth done. Unfortunately the last base was 5mm too short (I discovered when I ranked them up) so needs to be rebased.

 I really like the Westwind command stand. There is also a GB Saxon, wiping his blade on the cloak, of a fallen Briton has also been added.


Here is a plastic GB Saxon with a Westwind plastic head ready to undercoated and added to the warband.