Friday, December 23, 2016

Soviet debut (or debacle?)

The Trenton Gaming Emporium today saw the debut of Michael's WWII Soviets. Weatherman Phil is in town for the holidays so we are attempting three games today. First up, in an apparent fit of masochism, Michael designed a Chain of Command scenario that pitted green Soviets vs elite German panzer-grenadiers. The result was inevitable and the Soviets, although trying valiantly, were destroyed in massive fashion (they got blowed up real good!).

General views of the table with some burning German vehicles from a previous action.

The Soviet force, freshly based and flocked.

And the Germans... clearly with much more firepower.

The Puma races on the table to fulfill its primary function, to find the sub-human Soviets. A German section in its halftrack moves up in support.

The T34/85 deployed on the table edge in the town, and was promptly knocked out...

... by this bad boy! 
Looking at the picture, however, I'm acutely aware that that wooden bridge would probably not have been able to support the weight of a Panther. Ah well, the Soviet player didn't seem to notice.

On the opposite flank, the Soviet commander brings on the SU-76 and an infantry section. The SU-76 and the Puma exchanged a number of shots (without any significant result) until the German panzerschreck team, lurking in the rough ground nearby, brewed up the SU-76: 13 AP dice v 4 armour dice! Not an unexpected result.

Soviet maxim MMG and infantry section deploy and move to counter...

Again, the inevitable result? Much Soviet death and destruction!

The Panther continues onto the table after its spectacular first shot to take out the T34/85 but the Soviet force had already folded like a cheap suit by this point in the game.

So, a not unexpected result for the green Soviets. Methinks we may need another platoon painted up.

Meanwhile, table cleaned up and lunch served, this is happening on the table now...

Not sure what this is... can't comprehend... can't compute... 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

A Gaming Disaster!

Last weekend, during our gaming in the Trenton Gaming Emporium, a disaster of epic proportions occurred. No, my WWII Americans did not get trashed again. Chewbacca, resident four-legged beast (of massive size and stupidity.... but cute), was able to knock over an entire shelving unit of micro-armour and spaceships. A conservative estimate of $5,000 of product was strewn about indiscriminately! Tiny bits and pieces were spread across the floor and the hearts of the four gamers present jumped in their respective chests. This was followed by a profound attempt by all but Michael to utter platitudes and consolations (his reaction was somewhat more explosive... followed by shock). The death of a family member may not have elicited the same level of grief.

Epilogue: Although seemingly a disaster, and the damage was extensive, it could have been much worse. But there is a lot to repair and replace. Ugh!

Xmas in Trenton: Soviets!

A pleasant Xmas get-together in Trenton this weekend and Michael received his obligatory gaming gift. This year, Captain Dan and I combined our resources and gifted an entire Soviet WWII force to Michael. The core force is a platoon of Crusader Miniatures and Artizan Designs figures. For these, I ordered the figures and had them shipped directly to Captain Dan's Gaming Lair in the wilds of New Brunswick, whereupon he applied brush and artistry to paint them. I contributed a Warlord Games SU-76 and T70, and a Rubicon T34/85. Because Michael's birthday is December 29, I decided to add to the force as a birthday gift. I had rummaged around in the unpainted pile and found a Warlord Games Soviet Naval Infantry set (from where and when?) and ordered another Warlord Games vehicle, a Gaz jeep and crew.

The entire force:

Platoon commander (+ 2 extra riflemen)
3 x 10 man infantry sections
Maxim MMG team
1 x 10 man naval infantry section
Naval Infantry AT rifle team
Gaz Jeep

Monday, December 12, 2016

CoC: How to Defend a Jump Off Point

A second game this past weekend at the Trenton Gaming Emporium (actually, the third game...sandwiched in-between was a WWI naval game but photos of naval games are usually unsatisfying) saw the debut of my new late war German winter platoon. A modicum of alertness will show that the terrain used was not of the winter variety. That's an entirely different mountain to climb!

Since it was the third game of the weekend, I was quite tired and lost interest in getting up to take photos after the first few... so, just  a few pics below.

The view from the German-held town. The Americans (Michael) attacked from the far side of the table and the left as a Flank Attack scenario.

For some reason, we played the game on a 6' x 8' table instead of the usual 4' x 6' version (probably just cuz we like seeing lots of cool terrain).

The first sighting of the new Stug III, properly whitewashed (unlike the surrounding town).

One interesting action in the game: In order to protect a vulnerable Jump Off Point, I deployed a German section within 4" of the threatening American squad. Close Combat immediately ensued and saw the German section wiped out (completely) but the American squad leader hit as well. Force Morale for Germans drops by two; American FM drops by two. The JoP was still in peril and on the next German phase, I deployed another section at the same point. A second Close Combat kicks off. The Germans lose (but aren't wiped out and fall back). The American section leader is hit again (and dies) and the American platoon commander present receives a minor wound. More FM drops and suddenly we were at FM 3 for the Germans and FM1 for the Americans. Crazy!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

"I lost the game slightly less than you..."

A cold evening in the Trenton Gaming Emporium for a Cold War micro-armour game using Battle Captains... this time pitting 1984 Soviets and East Germans v US Cav and Kansas National Guard. As with most of my experiences with Battle Captains, the fun was primarily in the battle of wits and decision-making, rather than in execution of the combat mechanics. The nitty-gritty of the BC mechanics is, to my mind, rather secondary (that's not to say they are unimportant or poorly constructed... quite the opposite actually). But the meat and bones of the rules are the emphasis on the command decisions made by a company commander. At this scale of decision-making, I'm little interested in which vehicle is firing at which enemy infantry section etc. Now, that part of the game is fun too... the shooting and scooting! But as with a real-life company/kampfgruppe commander, the player's mind should be on the bigger picture.

I took the helm of the Soviets and Michael steered the Americans. The game ended with a US victory but as Michael cogently pointed out:

"I lost the game slightly less than you."

And so, onto some pics of the game. Photos of micro-armour games are notoriously difficult to get right so I thought 'd concentrate on the magnificent terrain Michael has put together. In this case, a 12' x 6' table bisected by a broad river, nestled in a wide river valley (although the valley contours are difficult to see in the pics).



Monday, November 28, 2016

some planning... of sorts

Perusing a number of blogs on my regular daily feed, I've noticed some stock-taking and planning for the new year (for example, here and here). And because the year is rapidly drawing to a close, I thought I'd lay out some of my plans for the foreseeable future, with the usual caveat that whenever my gaming muse appears in her normal guise of enticing siren, I will, of course, listen intently and all my well-laid plans will most likely be forgotten.

Chain of Command 1944 (winter)

Earlier in the year, I banged up a platoon of US armoured infantry (see here). Immediately after, I started their opponents, a German infantry platoon (see here), but was soon distracted by other hobby madness. In the last couple of months, after a four-week painting funk, I was able to whip up the rest of the platoon and supports.

Thus far, four sections of regular German infantry (i.e. only one LMG team per section), two panzerschreck teams, MMG, FOO, vehicles, and various commanders (mostly Artizan Designs figures with some Warlord sprinkled in for variety). This force is complete but for a 75mm infantry gun and crew (four figures) and a flamethrower team (figures for which I have yet to source). So, first on the planning list, these last few bits to complete the force.

I also have a dozen or so US infantry from Artizan to bulk out my existing US armoured platoon into a bog-standard GI platoon. So, these are added to the first batch with the German stragglers.

Conveniently, if I can complete these by the end of the year, my 2016 painting point total will just top my goal of 2500 points.

Oh, and some winter terrain would need to be worked on too... sigh. Maybe in 2017.

Sharp Practice 2 - British

Also this year, I put together a US War of 1812 force for use in Sharp Practice 2 games. They've faced off against Vidal's British force a few times and come away without a loss as yet (just saying!). But my normal predilection for building both sides in any project had me start looking around for some suitable Brits to face the Yanks.

First up, I ordered some of the lovely new reinforcement packs from Front Rank, enough to field three infantry groups and some Big Men to accompany them. These are just beautiful figures and a fair step away from the old, rather chunky, FR sculpted poses. So, perhaps to be painted as Upper Canada Incorporated Militia? Green coats and blue trousers? Ummmm, yeah! Fortuitously, while pondering more purchases, Ohio Bob offered up a pile of unpainted natives from, I think, North Star. There are enough for three six-figure skirmish groups and a couple of Big Men (thanks again Bob!). OK, the plan was coming together but more was needed. Taking advantage of recent Warlord Games sales, I picked up a box of British infantry (enough for three more groups) and one of 95th Rifles. This last would serve to represent the 95th Rifles (as it says on the tin) or the Glengarry Light Infantry in the War of 1812 (purists step away please... they're close enough for me). I also pondered some British Light Dragoons as an addition but realized two things. First, in the War of 1812, cavalry played little or no battlefield role (although it could be argued that SP2 is the perfect vehicle to play out those petite geurre moments where cavalry could be represented). Second, if I were to expand this force to work for the Spanish Peninsula, I already have painted, from a previous collection, some cavalry support in the form of two eight-figure Spanish cavalry groups (Front Rank figs, in the photo above). And yes, I did say Spanish Peninsula.

Sharp Practice 2 - French

As most gamers do, I was thinking well beyond the War of 1812 project. I could easily use the Brits for games against the French. Now, while Vidal does have a Napoleonic French force for SP2, again my need (obsession?) to do both sides kicked in. So, back to Warlord Games (I'm such a sucker for sales) and soon arriving at my door was enough metal and plastic to field four eight-figure infantry groups, two six-figure skirmish groups, and some engineers. Again, I pondered cavalry and artillery supports but decided to wait on adding these and instead decided I could use some already painted Front Rank stuff as a stop-gap. Granted, the cavalry is all Imperial Guard but the Empress Dragoons will do as regular dragoons in a pinch. The Front Rank horse artillery is in line to be expanded by two figures (a five-figure crew and one Big Man is required), but ordering only two figures from FR seems silly. I'll just need to put together a bigger order....hmmmm :)

Sharp Practice 2 - Prussian

And since I had already moved my planning to Europe, why not give the French someone else to pick on, other than the Brits? So into the shopping cart went some Prussians. I've stayed conservative to this point and ordered only Landwher, Jagers, and mounted officers. Enough for a basic force...supports, I'll worry about later.

My planning for the next while then looks something like this:

WWII  >> Napoleonic Brits >> Napoleonic French >> Napoleonic Prussians

But where do the Carlist Wars additions fit in? And the Boxer Rebellion? And English Civil War? And ImagiNations... perhaps another nation to add?

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Niagara battlefields tour

A couple of weeks ago on a glorious autumn day, my good friend Bob drove up from the wilds of Ohio to partake of southern Ontario civilization and the glories of our military past. In one day of touring about the Niagara Peninsula, we visited Ridgeway battlefield (of Fenian Raids fame), Fort Niagara, Battle of Chippawa field, Queenston Heights, and Fort George. The next day was a rather lax touring day when we trekked into Toronto and visited  only one site, Fort York. I didn't take a lot of photos but I've added a few interesting ones here.

A lovely Napoleonic field forge in the Fort Erie Visitors' centre. 
I'd never seen one of these "in the flesh", so to speak.

Western approaches to Fort Erie. 

The view south from Fort Erie towards Snake Hill.

Interior Fort Erie blockhouses.

Brock Memorial on Queenston Heights.

Fort George interior blockhouses. 

A lovely shot of the officer's quarters in Fort George.

Master & Commander Bob expostulating on how he would have defended Fort George... or maybe just striking a heroic pose for the assembled media.

War of 1812: American artillery

A couple of weeks ago, various bits of paraphernalia were added to my US War of 1812 artillery. I've always liked the look of artillery limbers and caissons on the table (witness my ImagiNation collection) and in what better type of game to field them than a skirmish. Thus, as part of my American War of 1812 force for Sharp Practice 2, I decided to go ahead and add some horses for my one lone gun.

Old Glory artillerists and Front Rank French limber and caisson. 
Strictly speaking, both should have 6-horse teams but I do have my limits. There will eventually be limber riders added once I source some appropriate figures and discover some uniform information (neither a small task).