Thursday, March 29, 2018

Stompa Bay Bukaneers

Orcs from the new Blood Bowl set along with the new troll.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Cold Wars 2018

Attended the Historical Miniatures Gaming Society's Winter convention "Cold Wars" this past weekend.  Got up at 4:45am Friday morning in order to make it to Lancaster PA in time to play the first game I was signed up for at 9:00am.

Arrived at the Lancaster Host at 815am, plenty of time to get my badge and settle in for 1859, run by the designer Bruce Weigle.  Mr. Weigle, other than designing several sets of rules covering European conflicts in the mid-19th century, is known for his outstanding terrain.

Coupled with his use of 6mm miniatures, the visual effect is outstanding.  Above you can see a corps of Italians marching onto the battlefield, San Martino, on the northern flank of Solferino.

The two things that stand out in Weigle's rules are the use of order chits and the variety of formations in which your brigades can be.  

Here you can see that the artillery has been given a rally order and the cavalry have been ordered to advance on the disordered Italians in the center (I was Austrian).

One big handicap for the Italians was that their reinforcements didn't arrive until turn five.

Therefor while the Italians that started the game on the board were able to capture the town that was their objective, I was able to concentrate an entire brigade for the counterattack and push them out.  By the time their reinforcements did arrive it was too late for them to take it back.

All in all a very fun game.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Blood Bowl Orcs

Working on a new Blood Bowl team, Orcs.  Modeling them after the old Tampa Bay Buccaneers "creamsicle" uniforms.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Fall of the Reich AAR

Ran my late WW2 skirmish game for some friends a couple of weeks ago.  A force of Soviets are attempting to cross a canal bridge in some unnamed city in eastern Germany and push on towards the lair of the fascist beast, while its doomed defenders sell their lives dearly.  Overall my impression of the session is mixed.  Though if judged strictly as a playtest it was a success.  I definitely got some good feedback and I have a few ideas on how to improve the scenario.

The rules I used are called FUBAR, a set of free, one-page rules for fighting small-scale battles available here.  While I have played and enjoy Force on Force by Osprey, the activation system for that game can be complex and not necessarily suited for big multiplayer convention-style games.  FUBAR's activation system is much simpler while still being more interactive than typical I go/you go systems.  Basically you roll to activate a unit, the ease of which is dependent upon your troops' training level.  If you succeed you perform an action with that unit and then you can try to activate another, continuing until you fail an activation roll, at which time initiative passes to your opponent.  This continues back and forth until all units have activated, at which point the turn ends.  It uses six-sided dice, 1's always failing and 6's always succeeding.  The way casualties are taken is interesting, with each unit having a suppression number, that being the total number of figures in that unit that can absorb hits as suppression, with anything over that being kills.  

The authors state that the rules should be modified as needed ("These are one page rules after all!"), and while I did make a few changes they're pretty good as written.  The biggest thing I changed was the effectiveness of a sub-machine gun by considerable reducing its range.  Another change my friend Kelly suggested involves tanks.  Since it seems difficult to kill an AFV, he said to add a "stun" penalty to activation if a tank has been hit, which sounds like a good addition to me and I'll use this next time I run the game.

Beyond the rules, the scenario had a couple of problems.  I wanted to create a situation where the sides weren't binary, so for the Germans they were split between troops that were defending and an additional group that was just retreating through the battle area.  While I still love this idea, in practice it didn't go quite like I wanted.  The retreating force was able to easily get off the board and really wouldn't have had to have fought at all if I hadn't thrown some Russians onto the table to cut them off.  Which, while cheesey, did inspire me to change the scenario a bit.  As I had it, the defending Germans start the game hidden in various ruins, while the retreating Germans come on the side of the table and have to retreat across the canal bridge that the other Germans are defending.  The attacking Russians come on the edge of the table directly opposite the bridge and have to fight their way through both the defending and retreating Germans, which consisted of Volkssturm and Hitler Youth along with some straggling veterans.  The retreating force very cheekily stayed out of sight of the Russians and got to the bridge completely unmolested.  So in the future I think I'm going to have a small force of Russians who have infiltrated and captured the bridge and are holding it until the main body of infantry and tanks arrive.  This will obviously prevent the retreating Germans from easily exiting the board and will give the hidden defenders something to think about since they'll have the enemy in their rear.

Additionally, there was a "problem" with the combat inside the ruins.  The table set-up consisted of a number of ruins "tiles," inside each of which could have been hidden defending Germans.  The problem for the Russians was they had to move their tanks though the city, wary of being ambushed by Germans with Panzerfausts.  I abstracted the ruin tiles by having the players either be looking out of them, in which case they could be seen, or hiding inside.  Also, once two opposing units were on a tile, I said they could either use fire combat against one another, with each side being in moderate cover, or they could close assault.  The problem arose when the defending German player wanted to try and shoot his Panzerfausts at a passing T-34 while there were Russian infantry inside his tile.  In my mind the Germans would have been too involved with fighting off the infantry to try and take a pot shot at the tank.  The problem was I hadn't read the rules close enough (even though they're only one page!).  While during the game I basically made a GM call that the German player couldn't do this, in fact, the rules clearly state a "Unit can only target enemy figures that share the same area of cover if they are within 6”. The target will get a cover save."  So basically exactly as I intended and certainly the most sensible way of doing it.  Great minds think alike!

The other problems with the game were definitely just an issue with me not communicating well enough with the players while explaining the scenario and rules.  Such as I didn't make it clear enough that all of the German units were armed with Panzerfausts.  Next time this should go much smoother.  Hopefully with more experience on my part with the game and a few tweaks the next time will be better.

Hidden Volkssturm taking a shot at T-34

Veteran German defenders bracing for attack as Volkssturm member runs

Soviets trying to cut off retreating Germans

Soviet commanders.

Germans taking a selfie.

Game in progress.

Monday, January 1, 2018

FUBAR Game part 1

Two weeks or so to go until I run my FUBAR late WW2 game for the first time.  Took some time off of work over Christmas, and the main thing I accomplished as far as this game is concerned was I moved my terrain tiles and scenery from the old, small, kitchen table in my basement to my main miniature gaming table.

Still finalizing the final layout, along with "squading up" my figures.  Also painting up ten more Soviets, though I'm not sure they're really necessary.

Some pictures for your bemusement.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Soviets vs Nazis

Still working away on my late war Germans vs Russians game using the one page rule set FUBAR.  I think I'm set as far as miniatures are concerned, but I did just start assembling Warlord's plastic Soviet Infantry (Winter) set.  Mainly though that's looking ahead to possibly running the game at a convention.  What I plan for Heagercon (my personal gaming convention) will be relatively small.

The main thing I'm working on now for this game are various playing aids, mainly tokens and roster sheets.  I'm producing these using Google Docs.  At first I was getting frustrated by the perceived lack of functionality in Google Draw, though I started to think outside the box and am now somewhat pleased by the results so far.

To make the tokens I'm using this stuff that's for jewelry making (I think).  There are several videos on Youtube showing how to make tokens for wargames.  This is the one I followed:  Tokens.  I'm not too happy with the image quality of the ones I made, but I don't want to get too bogged down with just this one aspect.  Once I have them complete I'll post some pictures.

One small setback I suffered was due to my middle child's best friend.  I have the game set up on my small table in my basement.  The terrain tiles are 2'X2' drywall pieces that I applied textured paint to before painting black and drybrushing gray.  On top of that I have a bunch of ruins that I made out of foam and cork, and a building from Crescent Root.  Anyway, the drywall tiles hang over my table, and the kids were playing with their plastic bowling set, which of course they set up right by my table.  My kid's friend, even after being admonished to be careful, stooped down to pick up the bowling pins that were kinda under the table, and when he stood up he hit the corner of one of the tiles and knocked everything every which way.  I still don't have it set back up, still seething.

But, I will soldier on.

Saturday, September 30, 2017


My Warlord T-34s and the terrain I've been working on.