Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Slaughter in Hibernia

Jamie and I played a game of Saga on Tuesday evening.  In honour of our forthcoming visit to the Emerald Isle, Jamie played Norse-Gaels and I played Vikings.  It was the first time we'd used these forces so we had to get to grips with two new battle-boards.

The scenario, if such we can call it, was a simple go-out-there-and-kill-the-enemy job.  The setting was farmland on the edge of a Norse-Gael village.

I had two units of Warriors and two of Hearthguard in addition to my leader.

Jamie's Warlord had brought one unit of Warriors and two of Hearthguard, one of which was a double sized unit (eight men).  Jamie's Warriors had javelins and his big unit of Hearthguard had Dane-axes.

I decided to try and steer clear of the big unit and charge forward to bring the rest of Jamie's warband to battle as soon as possible.

My two units of Hearthguard led the way while the warlord led forward one of the groups of bondi (Warriors)...

Meanwhile the other group of Bondi tried a right hook around one of the huts...

Jamie's Warlord advanced in the centre with the smaller unit of Hearthguard and the javelin-armed Warriors.

A rain of javelins fell on my foremost unit of Hearthguard but no-one was killed.  There then followed a battle between two units of Hearthguard.  Jamie started it off by challenging one of my men to a duel (duels are big for the Norse Gaels) but he managed to lose.  We then fought the melee between the survivors and thanks to kind Saga dice I was able to wipe Jamie's guys out for but a single loss.

At this point my Warlord arrived on the scene.  I'd lined up the Saga dice to allow a charge by the Warlord and the unit of three Hearthguard at Jamie's Warlord.  I would use a couple of Saga abilities to add a shedload of combat dice and to reduce his armour but Jamie was alert to the danger.

He used a Saga ability of his own to challenge my "champions" to a series of duels.  Rolling five dice to my two, he won all three duels to leave the Warlords fighting one-on-one...

Fortunately, I still had one usable Saga ability lined up and my Warlord scored three unsaved hits  to win the single combat.

That left just the large, Dane-axe-armed unit of Hearthguards left to fight.   By this time Jamie was down to one Saga dice so I was able to power up my as-yet unused Warriors with every relevant ability going.  I think we may have rolled a couple more dice than I strictly should have but with the option to trade friendly casualties for additional combat dice and with a reroll on each miss I was able to build up a frightening quantity of hits.  Jamie's last unit was wiped out.  Truly a slaughter in Hibernia!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Pickett's Charge

This is a bit of a late report on last Sunday at Gauntlet.

Steve from the Deeside club brought along a large collection of, now out of production, Gordon and Hague 10mm plastic ACW figures and we played under the benevolent eye of Will McNally.

Now I've no interest at all in the American Civil War.  Pretty much by accident I've amassed a significant collection of 20mm plastic ACW figures but every time I look at them entirely zero enthusiasm for the period ignites in my brain.  However, even I have heard of the Battle of Gettysburg.  I know that Pickett's charge was part of the action and that it represented "the high watermark of the Confederacy".  And there my knowledge ends.

I was struggling to get to grips with how things were supposed to work, particularly as Will was using the recently published ACW supplement to the Black Powder  rules.  However, as a Union commander (no way was I, as a definite leftie, going to play a representative of the slave-holding South) all a had to do was stand there and wait.

And wait I did, on the extreme right of the Union line, with Jamie on my left and Gary to the left of him. We had lots of soldiers, but then so did the enemy.

Apparently "the angle" was an important landmark on the battlefield.  The two walls, below, are it.

Large numbers of Rebels approached...

And eventually crashed into our line...

At first we held them off...

But eventually they pushed us back.  I think the High water mark of the Confederacy might have been a bit higher in our case but because the Confederate attack off on my left had been so definitively defeated, the general view was that the Gauntlet version of history wasn't going to be so different from the real thing.

Overall I enjoyed the game - it was great to get to know some more of the Deeside lads.  I'd like to have a better idea of what was going on, though.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Korsun Pocket

On Saturday morning Jamie and I drove over to North Wales to attend Deeside Defenders' Gauntlet gaming event.  Based at the British Aerospace social club in Broughton, the Deeside Defenders club always put on a very friendly and relaxed weekend with the emphasis on playing games rather than concentrated shopping.

On the Saturday I ran the Korsun Pocket game; a large Chain of Command action, notes about which have appeared here over recent weeks.  The best thing about this game by far was Will McNally's excellent terrain.

In the game, three German squads, commanded by Andy, Will and Simon (l to r above) were fighting their way along the table to try and escape from the collapsing pocket.  Their jump off points were in a line of dug-in positions at the far end of the table.

Gary and John commanded opposing Russian platoons.  We rolled for the positions of the Russian jump off points and both rolled a six putting their start line back at the opposite end from the Germans.
Gary's Russians advance on the left

Some of John's Soviet infantry move to occupy farm buildings...

... as three German platoons head towards them.
Each major terrain item had the possibility of containing a random item.  Early in the game the Germans were lucky enough to find a boat - ideal for crossing the Gniloi Tikitsch River to safety.  However, how would they move it?  Well, as luck would have it, the next thing they found was a pane wagon.  The boat was loaded onto the wagon and off they went.  

Fire was opened at long range.  Both sides took early casualties but it was the Soviet forces that first started to lose Force Morale.  In particular they seemed to have a talent for having leaders wounded.

One of Gary's Soviet squads passes a German supply glider

John's Soviet platoon passes through the farm and continues
towards the Germans
When I judged that the Germans needed a little more stiff opposition, I gave Richard Phillips a sniper and a ski-mounted scout squad.  These came on at a new Soviet jump off point, in a farmhouse behind the advancing Germans.

The scouts deploy
The game continued with both of the original Soviet commanders advancing towards the enemy.  They might have been better stopping in cover and awaiting the Germans who would have to come through anyway.

Gary's platoon collapsed first and I, in the role of Soviet battalion commander was forces to release to him a second platoon and support in the form of a T-26 tank.  This didn't last long - the thin armour had little to stop a Panzerschreck rocket.

On the Soviet right, John's platoon fight on but they were eventually routed following a short, sharp close assault launched by Simon.

By about four thirty on Saturday it was obvious that the Germans would fight their way off the table, even against the fresh Soviet platoon.  We had the option to pay the German assault on Hill 309 the following day but as several of our players couldn't be there we decided to switch to another game for Sunday (of which more anon).  

The game ran a little slowly at times as we all wrestled with unfamiliar rules. Most of the players seemed to enjoy it though and several of them agreed that they'd like to play Chain of Command again.

Thanks are due to all of the players and in particular to Will for the terrific terrain.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Battle(s) of Stannington

A marathon weekend of gaming kicked off on Friday evening when Jamie and I, with the able assistance of Kevin Tingle, put on a couple of games of To The Strongest! using my Wars of the Roses collection.  This was the latest of a series of games I've organised for the kids of the local primary school.

As usual with these events I was too busy keeping the game running to take many photos but Kevin stepped up as official chronicler so Baron Counterpane of Storrs makes a rare appearance in the visual record this time.

I simplified the rules slightly for this game, leaving out Generals, march moves, command demoralisation, and ammunition resupply.

The scenario was a simple line-up-and-beat-the-crap-out-of-the-enemy affair. We managed to play it through twice.  Jelly beans worked well (I couldn't get chocolate coins) as victory medals.  Both games went to the wire with the winning side having just one remaining victory medal at the end.

If I recall correctly there was one win each for the houses of York and Lancaster.

Thanks Kevin and Jamie for your help.  I literally couldn't have done it without you!

Monday, June 27, 2016

To The Strongest! Wars of the Roses

Jamie's back from uni (I can't believe he's finished his second year already) and on Sunday afternoon we had a quick practice game of To The Strongest!

The was the first game of TTS! I've played in 28mm and the first I've played using medieval armies.  This was all because I'm using both rules and figures for a game at the local primary school's Summer Barbecue on Friday.

We just lined up Lancastrian and Yorkist armies and went at it as quickly as we could to see if we could get through a game in an hour.  We didn't quite make it but with three players a side it'll be much quicker.

You'll note that I've added labels to the back of the units.  I don't generally like doing this but I think the kids will need help telling longbows from billmen.

The result?  Well Jamie won.  Less said the better.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Blaustein vier zwo

The latest addition to the list of available Chain of Command reinforcements for my late war Germans is this mine clearing team.

They are from the Revell German Engineers box.  One of them has acquired a Bergmutze courtesy of a spare Ravensthorpe head.

They'll be available as a one point reinforcement pick for the Korsun Pocket game but German troops retreating through what has long been German territory might decide this isn't the best choice.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Russians for the Tcherkassy-Schevchenkovskii Operation

In between other projects I've managed to finish a Soviet rifle platoon for the Korsun Pocket game at Gauntlet.

The platoon is led by a Leytenant and consists of three sections each led by a serzhant. Each section has a two-man LMG team with the DP disc-magazine-fed weapon and seven riflemen.  At this stage of the war, some of the latter have PPSh SMGs.

The Leytenant

First Section

Second Section

Third Section

In each case the leaders are on larger bases (2p pieces) to help distinguish them in the heat of battle.  The kneeling-pointing-guy acts as the LMG loader in each case.

Finally, I've done a sniper element as a possible reinforcement:

The figures are all Italeri and Revell plastics.  Clearly I've gone for speed rather than painting quality.