Η λίστα ιστολογίων μου

Δευτέρα, 2 Ιουνίου 2014

For a Few Chickens More

Beware the postman bearing news! In my case it was my placement as a member of the elections committee in the recent municipal, regional and European parliament elections. Oh. The. Joy. Still, being a civic-minded individual, I showed up and had my weekend scedule screwed up for the last weekend. And if you add my weekend with the young Master, that should explain my "disappearance" for the last 3 weeks.

I called my partner-in-crime Thanos from Miniatures and Terrain and scheduled another game of Napoleonic skirmishing using Song of Drums and Shakos. We had another game, over a year ago. Once a year is hardly enough for the cool games that Andrea writes up over in Ganesha Games. Do visit and support him, as he is one of the few people I know who prices his games reasonable and makes a living out of them.

Song of Drums and Shakos is cool as it allows you to run off-the-wall scenarios. In this case, the situation was rough in the Iberian Penninsula. Both the French and British were running low on provisions, so foraging parties were sent out to seek out victuals. Thanos had painted farm animals from the Pegasus set, and had a beautiful pig sty (there's a contradiction in terms if ever there was one). He brought them over at the Führerbunker for another afternoon of iced coffee and dice-rolling.


Here was the set up. A road divides the board and 6 bases of cows, fowl and pigs were placed so that each player had easy access to half of them. We added some special rules to make the game more fun:


  1. Each base of farm animals was worth one point. Whoever had collected more points at the end of the game would be the winner.
  2. Collecting a base of livestock meant either killing it (we set the Combat value of all animals at 0) and carrying it out of your table edge, or coming in contact with it and herding it (after a successful Quality roll) towards your table edge.
  3. If one failed at his Quality roll to herd the animals, these would wander off in a random direction (1 Short for fowl, 1 Medium for pigs and cows). If you ceased to be in contact with the animals you'd have to roll to succeed in "herding" them again.
  4. Carrying a base of dead animals dropped your movement by one category.
  5. If a base of animals randomly moved off the board, it was lost to both parties.
  6. If a figure carried a base of killed animals off the board, it could not reenter.
These might seem complicated, but they are not. Plus the added possibility of Riflemen and dragoons chasing pigs or failing to kill chickens added to enjoyment factor. What follows is the AAR, mostly from the British side. I am sure Thanos will be posting about the French within the next couple of days.


The British force: Rifles Officer, 2 Chosen Men, 2 riflemen, 1 center company NCO, 2 center company fusiliers.


The forces of the Corsican Ogre: Officer on foot, 4 fusiliers, 2 Dragoons and 1 Old Guard Grenadier.


The French decide to move in and try and get some chickens for the pot. The fusilier succeeds in his Quality check and guides his feathered friends towards the French table edge. Two of the fusiliers and the grenadier advance through the field using the wall as cover. The dragoons move down the road, ready to cut down any British foragers. The remaining fusilier and the officer try to bag some more chickens and some beer for the pot-au-feu.


The British using some desultory rifle fire to keep French heads down. And then, turnover.


The fusilier fails to herd the remaining chicken base, guiding perilously close to the table edge. The forces in the tilled field move on before (you guessed it), turnover.


Two of the riflemen advance in the woods, securing the right British flank. The fusiliers move down the road, finding strength and confidence in their numbers. One of the Chosen Men reloads and before yet another turn over (there were several of those in this game).


Thanos is tired of getting plinked by the riflemen, so he decides to send one of his Dragoons to clear the road. Tactically, it was not a bad decision. 


However, there were another 4 figures ready to assist the poor Rifleman. Maybe he would have been better off trying to fight the fusiliers and NCO. Two furious rounds of fighting take place with the Dragoon getting mobbed by 5 figures. He survives for one round, even dropping temporarily one of his opponents.


However, the result was never in doubt. After getting bayoneted repeatedly, the poor Dragoon is hors de combat. To add insult to injury, one of the Frenchmen manages to drive one of the cow bases out of the game. Now Thanos has to secure the remaining cow or pigs in order to win.



And after all this crappy rolling, the dreaded snakeyes come up, forcing Thanos to end his turn at this critical point.


The British dress their ranks and one of the Chosen Men walks up to the cows and calmly shoots them. Meat is meat.


One of the riflemen enters the pigsty where he (unsuccessfully) tries to kill some pigs. 


At this point, the British are firmly in control of the center. They have a base of animals out, like the French. The fusiliers fire to keep the Grenadier's head down and succeed. So far so good.


After two rounds of fighting with the dreaded pig, one of the riflemen kills it and starts dragging the carcass towards the British table edge. Mad with hunger, the Dragoon charges. The British line holds it's ground and after some fighting manages to repel the horseman. In the next round volley fire wounds the last Dragoon and secures the center for the British for good. 


At this point we decided to call it a night. The French were close to having another base of livestock out of their table edge, but lacked sufficient force to take the last one before I killed it and left with it.

All in all, this was a fun and different game. The location of the animal bases gave you the choice of going for a quick draw (nothing wrong with that) or trying for victory. Also the choice of killing (and then losing a figure who would carry the carcass off the table) or trying to herd one of the animals was a good one. Once again, it came down to the luck of the dice and the dice liked me tonight. Thanos managed to wing a couple of my men, but failed to incapacitate any. Poor rolling will get you any time. Song of Drums and Shakos is easily adaptable as everything can be boiled down to a combat or quality roll. Thus some more interesting scenarios can be played without much trouble. After all, how many times can you storm the farmhouse before it become old?

Κυριακή, 11 Μαΐου 2014

Flying Lead. Tons of it.

Fellow modeler and wargamer Thanos, of the Miniatures and Terrain blog made it to the Fuhrerbunker tonight for yet another game. World War II skirmishing, using Flying Lead from Ganesha Games. If you don't know them, visit their site. Andrea is an awesome guy to deal with and his rules are ALWAYS great fun. Flying Lead is a generic skirmish game that can be used for WWII, pulp adventures, cops and robbers, science fiction and probably more types of wargaming. Not having used it for WWII (I used to play Hit the Dirt from Free Wargames Rules) I decided to try it out. Heck, I had a squad or three of US infantry and Germans painted for while now and the rules just sitting on my shelves.

So, the rules came out, two forces of 600 points each were assembled, the battlefield was laid out, and battle was joined.

The battlefield. I would have liked some more terrain. Next time.

Rules, army list, QR sheet, dice, measuring sticks. Ready to rock and roll.

The Yanks. Heroic sarge, corporal, BAR gunner, 4 privates, 1 veteran in CQB, 1 veteran with hand grenades.

The Krauts. Heroic unteroffizier, gefreiter, MG-34 gunner and loader, 4 grenadiers, 1 veteran grenadier with rifle grenades.

Thanos' task was simple. Patrol the area, entering from one table edge, exiting from the opposite. All I had to do was stop him. Since he will be posting about the game in his blog, here is my part. I split my force in two. The bulk was placed in the courtyard of the intact house where they would have cover, a safe line of retreat to the house and be able to command the road with the MG34. Two were placed in one of the ruins across the street to act as a mobile reserve and dislodge any Yanks that tried to use the ruins to form a base of fire. One more grenadier joined them later in the game.

Group one of the Amis.

Group 2 of the Americans.

Hiding behind a stone wall is always a good idea.

Thanos checking line of sight.

Before I go any further, let me tell you, Thanos had terrible luck with his dice. And I do mean terrible. Twice he had the chance of ending the game then and there. Twice he rolled a succession of "1"s and "2"s that allowed me to rally.

One of his teams tried to occupy the top ruin (the old Airfix command post) but continuous fire from the MG34 and rifle grenades killed the sergeant early in the game. The BAR gunner followed suit after a few rounds of combat leaving 3 riflemen to hold the area against 3 grenadiers and the weight of fire from the machine gun.

The other team delayed in reaching the cover of the stone fence near the oak tree. From there, they became a serious hazard to my command and fire support group. The unteroffizier was twice forced to seek cover and the grenades from the veteran rifleman came close to wiping out all of the troops (by that time, the MG34 had already crossed the street to try and find a better vantage point). Thanos' dice however were anything but hot, so the veteran grenadier and the gefreiter wounded the veteran and the corporal.

Sarge is down. I repeat Sarge is down.


There goes the BAR.

One man is a waste of ammo. Six men is a good target

Before long the MG34 was close to reaching a position to enfilade the group taking cover behind the stone fence. Some of the Americans climbed the fence and tried to enter the house from the back door. The Germans retreated and used the windows to pour out defensive fire, forcing the Americans to stop their advance.

While all this was happening, the grenadiers across the street had gotten into melee with 2 of the Americans. The third was shot and gruesomely killed when his M-1 jammed. This lead to morale rolls for the remaining Yanks who failed them and were cut down as they were fleeing. This left Thanos with one dead, four wounded and three uninjured men. 

Hand to hand combat in the ruins.

Going through the back door.

The house, endgame.

The ruins, endgame.

We called it a night there. Thanos had suffered severe losses and although my troops were divided, he lacked the power to either enter the house or clear the ruins and evade. He had had the chance to end the game twice, but the dice cheated him of a well-deserved victory (or at the very least a tie).

If you are looking for a fun, fast and cheap set of rules, Flying Lead delivers. We are looking forward to our next game, where Thanos will bring his British and I plan to include a StuG ΙΙΙ so that I can test the vehicle rules.

That is all for now from Athens. Stay tuned for our next battle report.



Σάββατο, 10 Μαΐου 2014

Fitter to be tied

Just a quick post this time. I finally finished my Su-22 from Academy. It is a 1/144 model and the best thing I can say about it is that there are not a lot of parts. The fit is meh, the decals are meh, the weapons load is meh. Still, for 4 euros it cannot be beat. I plan to some more Dragon Fitters, giving me a complete flight. Although it is not an exceptional plane, the Fitter looks very Russian to me and would be very common among Frontal Aviation units used for ground support.



That's all for now from Athens, where most people are watching the Eurovision song contest. Model on!

Δευτέρα, 5 Μαΐου 2014

GSG 9

OK, maybe not GSG9. These are the Revell figures for the German Commando Special Forces, but I will be using them as GSG9 as well in my Cold War Gone Hot games. Just the thing to deal with Spetsnaz and Russian sleeper agents about to cause havoc before WWIII kicks off. They are also great for some "SWAT vs. terrorists" action. Mind you, the weapons are definitely not right for the late 80s, but these look much more varied than the Caesar SAS (that languish somewhere in The Stash).


Here is the complete team. I painted one of each pose. Although these are going to be used in an urban environment, I used my typical "countryside" basing. Black on grey is sooo boring, plus central European cities have substantial park areas (often courtesy of Bomber Command's Urban Planning Division).



Sniper and Spotter. Stay back figures providing intel and long-range hitting power. I would have preferred the spotter having a sniper rifle of his own for those tricky "two-gun jobs", but they look pretty good.





The rest of the team. These were easy to paint, with everything being mostly black. I did paint the helmets, shield and "door knocker" dark blue in order to make them stand out. Probably not entirely correct, but if you belong in the color fanatic crowd, you are probably reading the wrong blog.

That's all from sunny Athens. Now, if I can only entice Thanos of Miniatures and Terrain for a special op against those pesky Soviet agents..

Κυριακή, 27 Απριλίου 2014

Cold War Gone Hot APCs

My forays into the Cold War continue with 2 more models. The first is the old and venerable M-163 from Esci, this time reissued by Italeri. Italeri is slowly reissuing all the M-113 variants that Esci produced, and a jolly good thing it is too. This is an old kit, one that I built as a teenager. Hated the lenght and link tracks then, still hate them now. I don't have a problem with Revell's L&L tracks, because they actually FIT. These took some cursing and chopping, but they finally conformed somewhat. I added a commander from the other M-113 kit I am building, and called it a day. Yes, it is not my best job by far, but I just wanted to build something after my divorce and this was a pleasant distraction.



The other is the (essentially quick-build) M-113 from JB, reissued by Airfix. Although this is supposedly 1/76 scale, it is very very similar to the Esci offering which is 1/72. Oh well, makes my life simpler. Great little model, easy to build, very durable, perfect for wargaming. Once again, quick build, quick paint. Nothing to really write home about, but it gets the job done. If you buy one (or three) make sure you wash the parts extra well. Some sort of weird releasing agent was used and I had trouble getting paint to stick, despite washing things with water and detergent.




That's all for now. Off to the bunker where more Cold War goodness (plus WWII, Napoleonics and even some stuff for Mogadishu) awaits.

Παρασκευή, 18 Απριλίου 2014

Which way to Paris comrades?

A few months back I completed this squad of Vozdysho Desantnye Voyska (or Spetsnaz if you are feeling more adventurous) for my Cold War Gone Hot project. Needless to say, I had spent another two days of my life re-reading Red Storm Rising, and I was in the mood for some Warsaw Pact vs. NATO action. This was the result. Naturally, I used the old Esci Spetsnaz issued when I was in my (very early teens) and recently re-issued by Italeri. Excellent sculpts, if a little boring in terms of poses. Although they are kitted out for Afghanistan, they will see action in Central Europe, maybe even south Europe just fine. 

Fist completed squad.

NCO/Junior CO

Squad Machine Gun

Squad Sniper

Squad RPG

Grunts

I have a few more metal VDV from Elhiem and with these I will be able to boost my forces to a full platoon, if not more. The lack of any vehicles in styrene is an issue, but I think I will make do with Hinds. I already have my eyes set on an old Airfix Hind-D and I aquired some 1/144 air support today. Given my current gaming table, I find it doubtfull that I will be able to field more than a platoon anytime soon.