Sunday, September 21, 2014

Chain of Command Campaign: Normandy Game 1

Martin and I played the first game of our projected 4-game campaign this afternoon.

I set the campaign against Operation Bluecoat, but we did not use historical units or maps for our narrative. The opening game is set a few days before the launch of the operation, when the British are probing for weakness in the German defences.

The first game of the campaign was a Probe scenario, where the British need to get at least one team to the German baseline. Martin rolled a 6 on his Force Support, which gave me 3 points to spend. I decided to spend them all on obstacles: a minefield to cover the road junction to deny his quick access to my baseline, and two barbed wire entanglements to further restrict his movements.

The battlefield viewed from the eastern end. The Germans (entering left) have mined the road junction and set up barbed wire obstacles.
I did poorly in the Patrol Phase, leaving me with one Jump-Off point on the western side of the table and on the edge at that. Martin rolled a '6' on his deployment roll, quickly advancing to behind the barn and the hill on dominating the open area between my table edge and the barn.

Martin sends all three squads onto the table while I could only deploy one.

One British squad advances to the bocage.
I attempted to push the British squad on the hill off with an MG team, but this was shot up by the accurate fire from them. It took a few lucky rolls by the squad in the broken area before Martin was persuaded to withdraw. This gave me an opportunity to dash the squad across the open ground to seek shelter behind the barn.

The depleted German squad, now without its LMG, runs towards cover, but also closer to the enemy!
Meanwhile I pushed one squad on my left to the edge of the bocage, where they traded grenades with the British - my guys came off the worse. With the situation seemingly deadlocked, Martin revealed his Force Support choice: a Sherman!

I rushed my Platoon Commander forward with the Panzerschreck team, and he managed to land a shot on the tank - two Shocks and Commander wounded, but the tank is still operational!

Decisive moment of the game - if the Germans fail to take the tank out, they will have to fall back.
Martin returned fire with the Sherman, but the shot only managed to cause a Shock. He then ordered the mortar to screen the tank with smoke rounds... 

Smoke screen!
but I spent a Chain of Command die to remove it, and ordered my Panzerschreck team to fire a second shot. Martin rolled poorly on his armour save, and the tank was blown up!

With his trump card taken out, Martin decided to cut his losses and withdraw his platoon. Having lost 4 men against my 6, he managed a Losing Draw, which earned him the displeasure of his CO, but the men were less critical of his performance. Conversely, my CO was happy with my performance, but the same could not be said of my men.

At the end of Game 1, the score was:

COs Opinion -1, Men's Opinion +1
Casualty: 2 Lost, 1 Miss Next Battle

CO's Opinion +2. Men's Opinion -2
Casualty: 3 Lost, 2 Miss Next Battle

The next game in the campaign should be in 4 weeks, and may see a higher number of Force Support. I certainly hope to be able to field a gun or maybe even some armour of my own... Let's hope Martin rolls high again.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Rampant Self-Promotion

My complimentary copy of Lion Rampant arrived in the mail today.

Picture from Osprey
This is the second time I have had the privilege to be a play-tester for Dan (and the third time for the Osprey Wargames series), and one of the suggestions I made *almost* made it to the main rules; it did make it as an optional rule which I think fits the gestalt of the rules. Here it is:

It's been quite some time since final playtest, and I am not sure how much the published rules resembles the playtest versions, but on flipping through the pages I am impressed by the eye candy of both paintings and photographs of figures in play. I have to get a game in soon. Perfect for those Red Box dwarf footmen I bought and have been meaning to paint up...

Sunday, September 14, 2014


It took me 38 days - about one figure a day - but here the are:

As I mentioned in an earlier post, these were painted to help Thomas (and fg) kickstart their skaven armies - my brother suggested that the best way to make sure I have an opponent for my armies is to actually paint for my opponents. Between fg, Thomas and myself, we should have around 120 clanrat figures, and Thomas also has a bunch of those weird and wondrous toys that skavens are known for.

The colour scheme for this unit - red and bronze with green accent - was decided by Thomas. He also wanted a "muddy" base, so I googled around and found a tutorial by someone who was doing a WW1 themed Imperial Guard army, and adapted using what I had on hand. I also made a movement tray for the unit using plastic sprues glued onto a 1mm PVC foam board, my go-to material for movement tray bases now.

Close-up showing the basing.
The models are from the Island of Blood boxed set and they are a delight to paint, so much so that now I am contemplating another unit dressed in green; however, I do have another 20 figures with hand weapons to paint, and I did just order 20 figures from Forlorn Hope to supplement my (The) Empire army...

Close-up of the standard - the little guy seems awfully happy on his perch...

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Boardgames Sunday

With the arrival of the one-week school holiday Adrian and Thomas were able to come over for a game. With four players,we decided to play a few board- and card games, which are more enjoyable with more players.

The first game we played was Battue: Storm of the Horse Lords.

This is a rather easy game which plays a little like Risk: You have up to 15 soldiers which you can field in "hordes" of up to 8 soldiers, and you move them onto randomly placed tiles of the city, fighting any defenders and looting whatever you find there. In the later stage of the game you may be fighting other players for control of tiles. The aim of the game to is gain the most victory points (which come from loot and tiles controlled). The game ends when three major tiles are occupied (or when only one player is left), so it's pretty much a matter of keeping an eye on the tally and ending the game when you are ahead. A frequent criticism of the game is that there is too much luck involved: walking into a bad tiles can ruin your day, for example. I think to an extent this can be mitigated by the players being aware of who is leading in the victory points and co-operating to bring him down a peg or two.

The second game we played was Dead of Winter, which to me is a mash-up of The Colony and Zombicide... in winter. We were initially a little apprehensive about the scale of the game, which involves a main mission, a mission for the turn, and a secret mission for each of the players. There are several things to keep track of, such as food for the turn, the resource required for the turn's mission, the resource required for the main mission, the amount of trash piling up in the colony (odd, but really quite realistic if you think about it), noise level and the number of zombies that will attract, wounds and frost bites on the characters... However, once we got the momentum going, everything became easier - the fact that we all watched the youtube video on how to play the game probably also helped.

We failed our mission due to a severe shortage of food - we kept finding new colonists instead of food when we searched - but it was fun enough that we want to try this again. In fact, it was so engaging I forgot to take any photos of the game.

The last game we played was something I have wanted to play for a while now: Cockroach Poker.

I won't give the game away, as it really is a very simple bluffing game which you can easily play using a couple deck of cards, but it's a lot of fun, especially after a couple of beers and with friends you have known for a while and can tell when they are bluffing. We played 3 games in a row, with much hilarity. If you are ordering something from an online retailer and they have this and you can save on postage, or if you see it in a store, you should get a pack.