Monday, November 28, 2016

Everyone Loves Trees, Especially in the Desert!

     It was not long ago when I made a desert mat for my 28 mm games. I had noticed that quite a few desert boards always had buildings and an oasis. I went out to prove you can do this with out those qualities. However, with my wife's Bolt Action Tournament coming up, I figure we could represent the desert this time. And because I am trying to display my stuff as well as bring about a great tournament, it only seems natural to pimp out as many boards as possible. In this case, there will be an oasis.
     The only problem was that I lacked some good trees. I have some palm trees for Pegasus Hobbies, but I really had to tone them down. Also, they seemed to remind me more of the palm tree that you saw in the little pet turtle bowls of yesteryear. This lead me to look online. Part of this inspiration was based on a post in a Facebook group page. Someone bought a bunch of trees for dirt cheap in China. I normally do not order things from China, but then, I found a bunch of promising looking trees. I had some money leftover in Pay Pal and decided to test out the Chinese affair of trees. Below is what I saw online.

     The white background seems to make them a little brighter. I figured I would have to tone them down some. There were a total of 12 trees in various sizes per order. I ordered three sets. Worse case scenario, I would not like them and sell them on eBay based at a higher cost. When I did get them after the long wait of a month, they looked pretty awesome. I was surprised. So I based them and toned down just the trunks. The smaller ones, I have not used yet, but they show promise for 15 mm terrain. Here were the other days efforts.

As you can see, they look pretty awesome.

The bases were just round craft wood pieces with stones, kitty litter, and sand painted over.

To give a more natural look, I have multiple trees to a base.

The Romanians Are Coming!

         Since my wife is going to run her second Bolt Action Tournament at the Siege of Augusta 2017, I felt the need to run a new type of army. This is really in case I have to play as an alternate player based on odd number of players. The first tournament did not have as many players, but several people said they got burned by the games they play the same tournament before my wife's. The census was that there was a lack of terrain, so the infantry would get destroyed by armored vehicles and such. That was not the case for our tables. And quite a few people had wished they brought their armies. However, I tend to bring more than one army just in case.
       As for the Romanians, I felt the need to play a minor nation. There are a quite a few minor nations for WW2 that I rarely see people pick. Sure, the Flames of War games, I saw a lot more, but Bolt Action seems to be lacking the minor nations. I decided to go for Romanians, since I have already seen Hungarians. And really, it would be cool to play as Croatians or Greeks. Romanians just looked interesting, since it seems that history documentaries seems to ignore them. Even finding information about them is limited based on the Eastern Front's interest on the Germans. Besides, for the not-so educated Bolt Action Player I may face, they might react about who they are. Romanians?
        So on my quest, I found that Gothic Line Miniatures made some Romania figures. And so, I bought some. I decided to paint them up as a Thanksgiving project. The only thing I do not have are artillery for them, since no one is making them and I am missing a Panzer IV, which I ordered from Blitzkrieg Miniatures. I love Warlord stuff normally, but the whole turning over to plastic is rather annoying. I am a metal and resin snob, after all!
        As a review, the Gothic Line Miniatures are vary sturdy figures. I wouldn't throw them against a wall, even if they my survive. They come with separate heads for each one. You can also order the head type you are designing for. I will be honest that I am not really a fan of the separate head system, but this is mainly because I tend to glue myself more than the head to the figure. They also do not come with bases like other manufactures, but I started using washers a long time ago. The seem to be more stable that way. Over all, I like how they came out. They painted fairly well. Now, I just have to base them and do some touch ups. So behold! I give you Romanians!

1st Squad.

2nd Squad.

3rd Squad.

Medium Mortar. I need another guy for this.


Medium Machine.

Command and misc.

Testing out the Pickett's Charge Rules in 15mm.

      Despite being a holiday weekend of Thanksgiving, we still had friends come over. I figure this was a nice way to escape the in-laws and such. Kalissa and I still had a busy time, but it was nice to have friends over to play games. In this case, our friends Hugh and Bill wanted to test out the recent release of "Pickett's Charge." Between the both of them, I usually describe them as "Rule Hoarders." It sounds insulting, but they both know that this is true. They are always collecting rules sets. I even imagine that if either of them did not have significant others in their lives, there would be libraries of rules in their houses. One can say, "Thank the Lord, for PDF's!" But their rule hoarding ways are great for Kalissa and I, because we get to look at and get the rundown of various rules sets without buying them in hopes they will be good. In a way, it is like we use them. However, Bill countered that by saying they use us for terrain and a place to play. Touche!
     Since I knew they wanted to test these rules in advance, I actually made a quick board on Friday for it. It was something to keep me busy, since there was no way in this world that we were going shopping on Black Friday! Though, it was not a complete board,  I figured it would do the trick! Hugh set up the rest of the table when came over with his buildings. He also brought over his 15 mm Civil War troops for both sides. Hugh was the Confederates. Bill was the Union.
     For the game, "Pickett's Charge" seems pretty simple. The game works with initiative to decide who goes first. Then, it is rolling for brigade orders that may or may not go through. Then, there were charge declarations, movement, shooting, and morale tests during the shooting. What I thought was interesting was the trouble Hugh had getting the Confederates to move and do things. He also never once won the initiative. However, this did not seem to matter towards the end with the various charges. The Union lines faltered under the pressure and casualties that the Confederates inflicted. The Confederates got reinforcements, where as, the Union reserves failed to show up.
    Overall, I think what made these rules interesting to me was there was no grantee that your brigade commanders would follow through on orders. This was especially important towards closer engagements, since both sides would have had some serious casualties against them. I also liked the blind set up. You mark where you troops are in advance and place them down at their positions at the start of the game. Then, you have to deal with the decisions made in deployment. It is not as tactical as "Sharp's Practice," but being in a larger scale of troop formations, it works for a smooth interesting game.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

AAR: Bolt Action: Kicking the Sand!

       It had been a minute or two, since my friend, Danny has played a game against me in Bolt Action. Most of this has to do life projects keeping the both of us busy. And it was probably a good thing, since I had been licking my wargaming wounds from the last engagement on his snow table. I believe I gave myself a paper cut looking through the rules!
       In this game, it was going to be a desert fight with the British taking on the Germans. I did not realize until we started playing, that Danny had never played a desert game in the six years of knowing him. So this was going to be an interesting game. I ended up running the British. Danny got the DAK, which sounds like catching a random disease!
      The mission we played was "Man Hunt", which was a newer Version 2 mission. The whole premise is to capture the defending player's command. One interesting aspect is that you can only win by assaulting the command team. This was going to be an up close a personal game. As the high roller, I chose to attack the Germans. I had gave my British lads the rule of "Up and At' them!" so I would not have to pass rolling for assaults. Also, there was to be a Preliminary Bombardment at the beginning. The plan simple advance, shoot, and assault as quick as possible.
     Danny's Germans seemed to have taken the short end of the stick. Since he was defending, he was hit with the bombardment. One man died out of a Medium Machine gun team. The first two units pulled were British ones, The MG was taken out by Universal Carriers. The rest of this game seem to go about in this pace. All British units would shoot, kill, and such before any German one per turn. This was a luck of the draw, but it really felt "You go, I go" system. Bolt Action does not play well in these standards. By turn four, the game was done. I killed four German infantry units with the loss of none of mine. It was pretty brutal, but it was the first game all year that I beat Danny in. He will rematch for sure!
After bombardment!

The British attack!

The German machine gun is taken out!

Mortar and machine guns on the high ground.

Germans are pinned down.

More Germans arrive.

The British swarm in.

A British squad takes fire after assaulting a German unit in the center.

More death for the British.

Another assault on the right upper corner sends the British up hill. The same unit turns an assaults the German command next turn.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

AAR: Bolt Action: Open Ground in Holland

The raging battle around the windmill.

    After making a new mat, I make it a point to play on it before it goes out to the owner. I had wanted to play a Civil War game on this, since it was based on a scenario for Pickett's Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg. It just goes to show that a scenario layout can be useful for other themes and theaters of war. In our case, I made this into a Market Garden affair between U.S. Airborne with British armor support versus the Germans. This is pretty typical, since both my wife's late war WW2 and mine are based on Operation Market Garden.
   In this case, Kalissa and I were trying out the new scenarios in Bolt Action Version 2 book. The mission at hand was "Key Points". This was an interesting mission, because you have to place down different capture points before the table sides are picked. This had a big impact for this game. It really game down to a narrow win by assaults. It probably would have been even more bloody if we did not have such a large table. But it looks like it will be a good challenge for the tournament players at Siege of Augusta this year.

The battlefield.

The other side of the battlefield.

The 82nd Airborne advances!

The Germans set up a Pak40 AT gun in the wheat field.

A Marder III M tank destroyer rumbles down a road.

Yes, even the German naval was involved!

The Americans decide to take cover in the woods.


A Panther tank on the prowl!

The first captured point for the Germans.

An armor slap fight!

The AT crew has been drinking. If it wasn't for gravity they wouldn't hit the ground!

This Panther was not fairing any better.

The German 222 amored car gets it in the face!

The Americans take a house securing a key point.

Over the hill and through the woods.

These cows were very calm during the whole affair.

A mortar hits and kills three Germans.

German advance.

The slap fight finally ends.

A Panther round took out this Cromwell tank.

Add caption

A Cromwell tank burns from a Panzerfaust hit while an armored car and a Challenger Tank engage in the fight.

A Panther comes out to support the German infantry.

Another Panther tank arrives.

Move in for the kill.

Another Challenger tank comes into view to take out some Panthers.

The halftrack burns after an assault.

Trouble at a key point.

The Germans pull it off.

The Airborne rushes in!