Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Terrain: Modelling the North African Dessert.

This was a recent board I made.

      There was a recent post on one of the many Facebook Groups I part take to that questioned how much terrain does one have in a 28mm infantry game. It was a good question of balance when it comes to infantry and terrain in a skirmish level. Most people seem to be about average when I look at the various boards. Average is not bad. It tends to be true for most theaters of warfare. I can revert back to Kalissa's first tournament of Bolt Action she ran at Siege of Augusta, where quite a few people were slightly upset. They were not upset with her. They were upset about the terrain we brought. To them, they were under the impression we would be like all of the previous tournaments: a steamroll over infantry with tanks. Kalissa had never ran a tournament before, and I have no clue what they were talking about! According to the various people who did not bring a force, because they go burned the last tournament, our tables were awesome due to all of the light cover. We have light cover every where on our tables! I had never seen a upset group of gamers based on regret before this point. I won't lie: I felt complimented by it. However, we did not have as many players as we hoped for. It did work out, for we had fun and eight players involved. I think this year's tournament for Siege of Augusta will be better.
   But future tournaments are not really the topic at hand! Like I was saying, there were a lot of people who mentioned average cover. So what is average cover? In most cases, it is a mix between open, light cover, and hard cover. In the most part, most game systems in our hobby cover this. Open is usually what it is: a road/street, open short-grassed field, or an open ground devoid of vegetation. Light cover usually is an obstruction you can shoot through, high grass, and/or bushes. Hard cover tends to deal with rubble, buildings, stone walls, trenches, rocks, and other hard objects. These are all pretty strait forward when it comes to rule games and miniatures. And in my mind, there really is not too many places on Earth that do not cover under the criteria of cover for miniature wargaming. There are only three places in the world that cover no cover in the most perfect of forms: as in, no weather, wind, and movement. These areas are  the ocean, the desert, and the North Pole.
    You may commence to disagree all you like. According to the various wargamers our there, these seem to have the least amount of terrain. Of course, any wargamer with intelligence is going to question: " Hey, Bob! What about this?" So let us cover these things. What would Bob point out? For the snow table sense, even for the North Pole, Bob would mention that there no real flat areas there. The same would follow with oceanic terrain. Sure, it would be nice to have perfect weather for attacking your opponent on the ocean, but most scenarios covers reality for this. Then, there is the desert. Despite the fact we all no the better in the sense of wargaming, the desert has lots of terrain. It has just as much as most tables would have. Do they have them? Most likely, no!

    Over the years, I have become wiser of the various options of terrain on the battlefield in most wargames. When my wife and I started with Flames of War, I was accepting to most terrain. But then, there were hills. In the first year, I saw several Flames of War tournaments,where there were hills, but a lack there of . Anyone, living in a hill country knows that the whole table is going to be hills. Knowing this, I tried this concept out on a free-formed Flames of War table. In Georgia, we got to the point of setting up terrain for up to four table for everyone who showed up. This usually covered everyone. However, the hill table that was set up twice was well-hated! For the rules system and cover, it was exiled!
     About the desert, I think it is the most misrepresented in our games. Sure, there are games plenty of people play that represent desert warfare, but I think it must fall short. I say this base on the fact that this one Facebook message I mentioned earlier talked about too much cover. Someone mentioned the fact the that the desert did not. When, I mentioned that the desert for WW2 did, in fact, have lots of cover in a large portion of areas, that said person mentioned that most people do not model that. I had sent several pictures references. Of course, the imagines below show no cover whatever!

       So why not? Why do wargamers fail at the most part over modelling terrain for the desert. Don't get me wrong! There are quite a few in our hobby that model the desert well. The Perry Brothers come to mind. Also, there are plenty of options that wargames deal with when it comes to as oasis or a village. These themes happen often, despite various good battles in the middle of nowhere in front of these important places. Especially in World War 2,most combat was outside of these areas we constantly wargame over. This did not happen very often, but every wargaming desert seems to have an oasis or a small village. Sometimes, it is both! I  guess my complaint is that no one really tries at the subject. There are many games that a good modeled board could be good at if one tried. So, a challenge was brought up to me: a desert table! Challenge, accepted!
       My plan is to do this with teddy bear fur. The concept is going to be somewhat wasteful for the material used. The honest truth is that the project will be worth it. The plan is to show that a desert terrain mat does not have to be a plan tan sheet. It can be dynamic with infantry cover, as well as, look awesome! At least, that is the plan!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

AAR: Bolt Action: Farm Villiage Fight.

Flanking carnage!

      Well, it was another Tuesday for another round of Bolt Action against my friend, Danny. This was going to be his third game of Bolt Action after a year without playing. Until work interrupts our gaming time, Tuesdays have worked out for the both of us. Danny was already on a win streak before we fought, which is funny, since he originally wanted to play Germans when he first started collecting his forces. Now, that he has experienced a lot more success with the Americans, it seems he is warming up to them. I was hoping that maybe this game would change that. I have noticed that armies that are well liked, tend to do better. Of course, this has no grounds for that theory what-so-ever. The same goes for the "painted figures fight better" theory.
     Danny has been running the same units for the three games: one 1st Lt. with two riflemen, four 10-man squads of Airborne, and six Sherman tanks. Everything has been rated as "Veteran". The next game, we might change the force make up. I ran a 1st Lt. with two riflemen, four squads of 10-man Fallschirmjaeger squads with four Panzerfausts each, a Panzershrek team, one Jagdpanther, one Jagdpanzer IV L70 (v), and a Stug III. Again, we rated it all "Veteran". This was all played out in a "Maximum Attrition" mission on a new, mostly finished mat I was making for my friend, Andre. It probably would have been finished, but I got distracted watching "We Were Soldiers."
      The game started out in my favor with the first turn hitting a Sherman tank to pin it and burning another. Danny mentioned that this game would not be going well for him. And at first glance, it might have been so. He did roll a lot of "ones" and "two"s. He also was having a hard time rolling for morale to preform certain actions. A couple of units spent most of the game down. Most of these American problems seem to be a early game thing.
     It was not long after turn three when the flanks came out. I had the Jagdpanther and the Jagdpanzer IV in "Ambush" to answer these threats, since three Shermans were to be flanking in this game. The Jagdpanzer IV hit the Sherman tank only to catch it on fire! The American crew had no problem putting it out. Since the Jagdpanzer IV answered a flank attack, the crew exposed itself to a rear shot. Another Sherman tank came out of reserve to shoot a close ranged shot in the ass! The Jagdpanzer IV exploded. The Panzershrek team fired at point blank into a Sherman tank, killing it. After that, the an Airborne squad decided to kill the Panzershrek team with success. Then, a Sherman arrived to hit a Fallschrimjaeger squad in a building next to the said Airborne squad. The building explosion took out five Germans with ease.
    By the next turn, the Jagdpanther tried to kill one of the Sherman that exposed it's side armor, but failed. The reason for the side armor shot was based on my flank attack against an Airborne squad at point blank. Two men died in that Airborne squad, but the Germans lost everyone in one attack from the Sherman tank. The remaining Germans in the building tried to assault the Americans, but died on the way. The last blow came to the Germans when a side shot to the Jagdpanther destroyed it. At this point the game ended, even though, there was a roll that continued the game for a seventh turn. It was decided by both sides that this was the end, since no one could reach each other to kill with the exception of two long ranged Sherman HE shots.
     So the day ended with another German defeat. I am thinking that Danny is going to want to play the Americans even more. I am just wondering how the game will change with version to of the Bolt Action rules!
Sleeping Village.

Fallschirmjaeger and my unfinished road.

A bold Stug III drives out in the open and fires at a distant Sherman tank.

The Germans advance into town.
The Airborne are on the way!

This Sherman tank kept taking hits, but survived the game.

The Sherman has been spotted!

The first death of the game. A Jagdpanzer IV fires down a road way knocking out this Sherman tank.

The Airborne command team hiding in cover.
Germans on ambush!

This Sherman tank backs up to get more range from the AT fire.

One Airborne unit is pinned by small arms fire. Another runs out of a building after too many hits.

Flanking Chaos on the outskirts of town!

Burning armor.

This Sherman is back in action and on the prowl!

A side shot destroys the mighty Jagdpanther!


Danny just wanted to let everyone know what units killed me!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Home and Wargaming: Thoughts About Our First House and Such.

Who wouldn't want a dragon in their army!

     For my wife and I, it has been a fairly long month of double bills and getting use to the idea of larger surroundings and home ownership. And even after a month, it still seems surreal that we went from a one-bedroom apartment to a three-bedroom house with a fairly nice sized yard. What makes such a dramatic upgrade is that we have room for the stuff we did not think we had so much of. It never occurred to Kalissa and I that our wargaming hobby was that big until we really moved all of it out of the apartment. Before, we were storing a bunch of terrain in our Jeep Liberty as we traveled about. Every-so-often, we would surprise friends of ours when we had actually emptied out our vehicle for people to actually sit in, as if the back seats were some myth or legend. They were there the whole time. Trust me!
    We also had two closets, a shelf or two, one table I worked on, and a partial invasion of the kitchen while living in one small apartment. Now, that we have space, and we only take up a closet, a small section of the shed, and have a dedicated wargaming room where we store other terrain. It is a dramatic set up compared to the apartment. And there is the bonus of playing at home at anytime. We also have more space to just leave tables set up, so we do not have to live around everything. This is turning out really nice.
    But as I reflect over this month, we have had way more visitors than we had ever before. Apart from various members of the Cape Fear Miniature Wargamers, I had one of my fraternity brothers from Pi Kappa Phi down stopping by on his way with his family to Myrtle Beach.  My Mother-In-Law had been up for a week. We have had our friends, William, Lori, Shannon, Ryan, and Caroline over. And as for wargaming friends of Caper Fear Miniature Wargamers, we have had a couple of Saturdays wargaming. We have had our friends, Joe, Danny, Tim, Nicole, Bill, Hugh, and Andre, so far rolling the dice in games. So, in a way, we could actually use the word "Entertain" for what we do for visitors. This was something I used to here for those house hunting shows. "Here is a room that is great for entertaining!" I never thought it would apply, but it does!
      As it stands for Fayetteville, NC, until the local hobby stores get their gaming rooms together and under control, it seems our wargaming room is the place to be. I, sincerely, hope that places like The Hobbit will get their gaming rooms back. In all honesty, it has nothing to do with being invaded on a Saturday for gaming. We do enjoy that! It would just be nice to meet more gamers, because it was in the game halls we have been lucky to meet our friends we dice against that come over.
    Another nice thing about our new home and wargaming is that, since we do not have to take things down, we also do not have to play. Yesterday's game was a rather larger Kings of War game between Tim and Bill. I don't remember the exact points, but it was at least an ungodly 3,000 on both sides between an army of the Undead versus a Goblin Horde. Pretty much, I decided not to play anything, because I had played two Iron Cross games earlier this week based on the post before this one. But I did want to see the dragon Tim had in action. I thought that this game was it's first time one the table, but there was a game it was used in before. I might not be that much into fantasy games, but I do like dragons. This might be a branch off of a love for Godzilla! So below and everywhere in this post in pictures was that game. The Undead soundly beat the Goblins. The dragon did have some BBQ. I just could not tell you the whole order of things.
   In conclusion, we will have way more memories to come. I am sure this will just be one of those never-ending blogs of wargaming goodness. At least, that is the plan. Now, we will just have to see what other game systems we can get ourselves into!

Friday, August 26, 2016

AAR: Iron Cross: Tank Atack, Round Two!

Panzer IV tanks taking positions.

     After playing a rather fun game of Iron Cross for the first game, Kalissa and I decided to play another game. But this time, I was going to use a different make up of a German force. Instead of a bunch of Panther tanks, I had two Tiger I E's with some various random armor. Also, our friend, Bill was in the area, so he wanted to come over and watch us play. After all, if it is see played, it might be something he would be interested in. I, personally, feel the best way to learn a new game is to get your hands dirty and play it. Everyone has their own ways to go about it!
    In any case, I would like to say that we actually finished this game, but the truth is that we got through about four turns. Mainly, because it is a school night, and Kalissa teaches. There was that and every conceivable person wanted to call that evening! What did matter is that we learned some more about the game. I still find no reason to bring Tigers in a fight, since they still suck under my command. This is a curse I am bound to break, though, they did not die in this game. Also, it seems that there were a lot if vehicles not mentioned in this book. Some, were a little more common than others, such as, there was no information for Marder III's.  They had Marder II's and rated them as having light AT. They were a little more powerful than that! Is this a deal breaker for the rules? No! They are still loads of fun. Here are what little shots of the game we had.
The battlefield.

The two Tiger I E's and the Marder III hull down on a ridge overlooking a large wheat field.

British Armor advances.

More Panzer IV's take action!

A group of British Cromwell's and a Firefly take to the flanks on a road.

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Stug III's and a Puma try to cover the main road.

The 251C half-track happens to be my commander, which cannot be shot at, if I am smart about it.

The Marder III is torn apart from a Firefly shell!

That said Firefly with pins after a hit.

The Germans lose a Stug III and a Puma.

Panzer IV's moving into a better position. 
A Firefly is on fire while an M-10 tries to move up!

A Panzer IV takes credit for this kill on it's first shot!