I have evenually got around to creating a blog!

The main topic will be Wargaming.
That includes all kinds of conflict based games such as miniatures based and boardgames. Historical, fantasy and
science fiction may all make an appearance.
Sometimes the "real world" may interfere with this blog and cause non-gaming related posts. Apologies in advance.

DISCLAIMER:- This blog is a work of fiction. The people, places and products depicted are imaginary and bear no resemblance to real people, places or products either living or dead.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

New Wargame Room

  I have been busy with kids on summer break from school so any opportunity for a game has been snatched up. When the weather finally started to behave like summer there was only one thing to do!

 The "Hail Caesar" rulebook had eventually arrived in the post so we played a scenario from the book. "With your shield, or on it" a small hoplite battle from the Peloponnesian War. Athenians and Thebans try to block the passage of a Spartan and Corinthian force.
 By the usual scale of "Hail Caesar" this is a small game with only a few units. Great for learning the system and we managed to fit three plays into the afternoon. These photos are from the first of those clashes.
I commanded the Spartan led forces against the Athenian/Theban allies commanded by Glynn.
Foreground shows Spartans and Corinthians (Spartans on right). The allies in position along the road.
There is another allied unit "hidden" in the sunken road through the forest, undeployed at start.

   Confident (perhaps arrogant) in their ability to defeat any enemy, the Spartans advance. The hidden Athenian unit breaks cover to join their allies left flank.

  The scenario did feature a few skirmishing units but as the phalanxes marched straight towards each other, these lighter units quickly decided to get out of harms way, unvalorous but probably wise!
         Unsuprisingly the Spartans and Athenians are first to test their mettle in the othismos.
Over the next few minutes the rest of the phalanxes engaged, lots of pushing and shoving with no real advantage to either side. Eventually the quality of the Spartan units showed and a gap appeared in the allied line.

                                              Bloody slaughter ensued !!!

   The Athenians mostly fled leaving the brave Thebans to be surrounded and cut to pieces although they took a heavy toll on the Corinthians. A mighty victory for the Lacedaemonians.

   In both refights the Spartans also won but the results always hung in the balance until one or two allied units broke and their line collapsed.
 The rules gave a fun and fast game although the table was a bit too big for a small battle with 20mm figures. I had scaled all the rules distances to two thirds of those given.
I had just finished the Spartan Hoplites by Zvelda and this was their battle debut. Very nice figs and I think a Spartan army could be in the works.
 More "Hail Caesar" battles will be played and will probably be bigger than this one.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Blast from the past.

Friday night and time for an old favourite to hit the table.

Glynn played USA, Ross the UK, Gareth made a convincing Stalin and I played as the Axis.
4 hours of dice rolling, trash talking and general fun followed.
Germany managed to grab Moscow for the win but it was very close. The Russian counterattack left only 1 axis unit alive!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Lost Battles Gaugamela Arbela 331BC

Having finished painting and dipping a huge number of 20mm plastic figures I was keen to play a battle with larger forces.
 Gaugamela or Arbela seemed to fit the bill so I grabbed a few books and settled down to some light research. As usual for for the time period, details vary from source to source and numbers range from educated estimates to wild and fantastic guesswork. One thing that quickly became apparent was that the Persian infantry (which may have been present in impressive numbers) played an insignificant role in the actual battle. A lack of quality and poor positioning seems to have been involved.
In fact the "Lost Battles" book has limited the Persians to 4 infantry units in its Gaugamela scenario.
Not a problem, the core rules in Lost Battles are robust enough to allow and encourage the "What if" experiments.  Adding 48,000 persian "Levy" to the battle without significantly changing the course of history turned out to be rather simple.
                               The plains of Gaugamela with Alexander on the left.

 If you are easily offended by amateur butchery on your favourite rules, Look away now!
 As the number of Persian units had increased by 50% and gone far above the normal limit (roughly 20 units for an army) I increased the -1 morale modifier for 4 units shattered to -1 for 6 units.
Attack limit increased from 5 to 6.
With the extra troops being classed as "Levy" the increase to the Persian Fighting value (and therefore their command ability) was insignificant and certainly was not going to make this mass of infantry an easy part of the army to utilise. In the end I left the FV of both armies as per the book.This actually produced just the effect I wanted.
  Last of all I needed an opponent to command the Macedonians, yet again the eldest sprog strapped on the "Sandals of Command" (magic item +50% luck, +300% wisdom, gains "Big head" and "Consume Cider").
We used turn 1 for deployment and with both of us checking the historical setup we ended up as in the above photo. Alexander initially showed more caution than usual but it was part of a cunning plan.
Darius advanced cavalry on both flanks and his right centre. Then the Macedonians advanced all along the line and used Alexanders "Turn reversal" to attack.
        The initial clash. Alexander can be seen urging his "companions" to the attack.

 On the Persian right, Macedonian cavalry and infantry pressed forward. The Persian cavalry absorbed the charge with only 2 units damaged but their return attacks had no effect.

            Persian Right. Green counters mark "levy", red counters mark "spent"

                                           View of Macedonian centre and left.

  Alexander led the charge on Darius left rear and smashed into the Persian line. In the next turn the Persian cavalry scored only 1 hit but Alexander decided to "Rally" it. Of course the dice came up double ones !!!  Alexander was speared through the thigh and unhorsed, dragged from the field by his companions, he would play no further part in this battle.
                                                       Alexander the" not so" Great

 For a few moments it looked like the Persians had gained the upper hand. None of the Macedonian attacks had been particularly devastating and on Darius left flank the Perian cavalry was opposed by a single light infantry unit.
                                       Macedon right just after Alexander falls.

As news of  Alexanders fall spread along the line the Macedonians surged forward thirsting for revenge. The Persian army was savaged everywhere it stood to fight.
                                                    Persian right about to collapse.

                                                   Persian centre under pressure.

         Persian left, not even the threat of cavalry on the flank can slow the Macedon advance.

 The Persians held on for another turn but their attacks failed to shatter any Macedonian units.
In the Macedonian turn the army of Darius started to fall apart.
                                                                        Persian rout.

 Darius had no intention of hanging around to face the Macedonian fury. Leaving orders for his remaining cavalry to fight to the end, the Persian King whipped several teams of chariot horses to death in a cowardly flight. Even though some Persian noble cavalry remained on the left flank we called the battle and ended here.

                                     Persian infantry follow their Kings example.

The pursuit and slaughter lasted well into the night as surgeons and magi worked to save Alexander.

Result by Handicap points. With a massive points boost for Alexander the persians had just enough points for a very minor victory. However even with Alexander being laid low, this did not feel like a Persian victory. Only 2 Macedonian units shattered a light cavalry and a light infantry. I think the Persian army running so quickly helped deny the Macedonians points.

Result by Battle, total victory for Alexander ! He may even recover use of his leg.
With the morale modifiers for levy troops and a timid commander it was a race to see which would break first.  Darius never seemed to have enough "commands" while the Macedonians could spare plenty for combat bonuses. The Persian infantry did not take an offensive role and although they did absorb some damage and deal out a couple of hits, their presence was never a real threat to Alexander.
  Overall the battle was just what I wanted it to be, most importantly Fun but also Fast to play and had a Historical feel. 

There has been a long running discussion on the Lost Battles Yahoo site about the levels of leader mortality. I have never been concerned with the rule "as written" and am more than happy to see commanders bite the dust.  I am playing primarily for fun with the history being a great bonus.
However there is another question, is it wise to risk your leader on a rally test. In this case absolutely not! It was the first hit on a unit in the area and had no chance of causing a morale test.
  BUT !  What would Alexander have done?
My personal opinion is that Alexander would have been right in the middle of this. I don't think he was the type to see his men in trouble and not ride in.
 In Glynns shoes I would do exactly the same thing,
 "Death or Glory"
perhaps even both.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Girls, girls, girls!

With Glynn parading his new "Orlock" gang I was getting jealous. So I made a major effort to dig out my own "Escher" figures and finish painting them.
Most of these figures have been on the "Leadpile" for 5+ years. Shamefull.

Anyway, here they are...

      "The Ladies" have already made a gaming debut with two hard fought battles against the Orlocks.
    Honours are shared at one win each but both games were practise "knock-arounds". New gang rosters will be needed for the future.
  Eagle-eyed Necromunda fans may notice that the Escher ladies have not just some weapon conversions but have been altered with the addition of large amounts of "green stuff".
Sad old man wargamer ! Nuff said !

Busy busy busy

Ok,  I have eventually recovered from the shock of "blogger.com" changing their software to this updated version. just as soon as I get used to a system they change it. 4 months later and I am only now ready to post!
Not all the websites fault. I just needed something worth posting.

Over the last four months there have been several games mostly boardgames. Unfortunately boardgames do not always come across well in photos which has left this blog a bit empty.

Recently my eldest, Glynn, has managed to fit in a game of Necromunda at the club.
Somehow I was conscripted to paint his gang!

                                  The "Heavy Brigade". The "scummer" is "Fat Bob"
                                                            A choice of leader models.
                                                      All the young dudes!

             With a few spare figures that had been kicking around for years and a new boxed set from GW, Glynn has more than enough figures for a gang. Looking forward to a few games. Ross at the club is hoping to kick off a campaign very soon.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Mission 3 "Rescue"

Mission 3 or "Rescue" has always been one of my favourite.
Its a very difficult scenario for the Terminators. Squad "Lorenzo" are deep in the hulk after recovering a damaged recon droid (The C.A.T.). Squad "Gideon" must fight their way towards them, effect a union and escort the C.A.T. back to safety. Between the two squads lies a chokepoint, a large junction and perfect place for the enemy to lay an ambush.

In the last reprint of the game, 3rd Edition, the game designers had "neutered" the enemy forces to a measley 2 reinforcement blips per turn. I will play with the original scenario strength of 3 blips per turn.
(Several rules have been changed or added to the 3rd Edition that make life easier for the marines. I play with my homebrewed 4th Edition, which limits some of the marine advantages)

Again the Terminators squads should advance swiftly, control of the center junction is vital.
For the chaos forces, 3 blips per turn sounds like a lot, however they must cover several areas.
Grabbing the center junction is the best way to slow the marine advance but it is necessary to harass the escaping marines  on flank and rear. Near the marines exit point is another "spawning" area. It can give the genestealer (or in this case Demon) player, another chance to cut the escape route.

                                                               Operation "Rescue"
                                                      aka "another bloody suicide mission"
                                                    Target, Recon unit C.A.T.  Retrieve.
                                                              Estimate success   0%
                                                             Estimate casulties 100%
                                           "For Honour, Glory and a swift but brutal death."
                                            Squad Gideon rushes to seize the main junction.  
                                 Squad Lorenzo reach the main room, at the start of the junction.
                                   Two marines try to establish a rearguard while the flamer and                    
                                            "Bob" who  carries the C.A.T. lead the way.

          Meanwhile, Sgt Gideon and the Assault cannon marine are pushing forward from the other side.
Leon with the assault cannon, (he has not earned nor deserved the prefix of Bob) quickly burns his way through his action points, the command points and most of his ammo without any noticable effect. It is amost a relief when a Pink Horror drags him to eternal agonies in the warp.
  Sgt Gideon steps up and smashes his way through two Bloodletters and reaches the junction.
 Just as the possibility of success appears to the terminators, the chaos gods laugh and roll the dice!
 Squad Lorenzo on reargaurd is overwhelmed. A bloodletter cuts down the defenders and catches  the marine with the C.A.T.
 At the marines entry/exit point the demons start to pressure the defenses. A marine falls, leaving only a single terminator to hold the area.
           Defeat is hanging over the Blood Angels (again).
    In the Turn "Endphase" the marines catch a lucky break. The C.A.T. is now moving randomly but it scoots straight to Sgt Gideon, he quickly attaches it to his "Magnabelt TM".
                                               Gideon has a long, long way to come back.
                                           As Sgt Gideon sprints towards the exit, the Chaos forces throw everything they can into the attack. Bob "Scipio" empties magazine after magazine into the hordes. (In one turn of Overwatch fire he kills six bloodlettersand a pink horror!)
              Eventually the sheer force of numbers overrun Scipio, but even then he draws a round of hand to hand combat before falling. This single round of combat delays the demons by exactly enough to stop them catching and attacking Gideon.

                                                       "Run, run,  as fast as you can,
                                                            You can't catch me,
                                                           I'm outta here man!!!"

With demons breathing down his neck, Sgt Bob Gideon throws himself through the rapidly closing bulkhead door. Victory and Glory for the Blood Angels!!!

      This game ended up on a single action point! If Scipio had lost his hand to hand combat the demons could have reached Gideon with enough for one attack. From behind, with no bonuses, Gideon, doubtless, would have fallen.
 Even though I was playing to test out the demon rules, I was delighted with the result. This victory cost the marines 90% casulties and was only possible due to several heroic sacrifices and a lot of luck.
 Just one of the resons why I think Space Hulk is one of the greatest games ever!

  Still, I have several other projects on the go, so time for something completely different, although I will most definately be back!

Friday, 10 February 2012

Operation "Cleanse"

 For this second test I picked the "Cleanse" mission. Not one of my favourites but at twice the size of mission #1 and with ten marines, it should work ok.
 The terminators have two target rooms to destroy and the baddies get two blips per turn. Its important for the marines to push forward before the chaos forces can gather numbers.
                                                      Mission #2 Operation "Cleanse"
                                                       aka "Another suicide mission"
                                           Target rooms Alpha and Bravo. Blow crap outta!
                                            Estimate success 0%  Estimate casulties 100%
                                             "The Emperor is watching!"

                       As the Blood Angels advance the chaos forces keep pace on the flanks.
               A few Demonettes are spotted at the rear of the formation but are despatched before
            they can "dance" and use the Hypnotic Glamour ability.

  As the terminators approach the first junction they decide to "overwatch" the right flank. With interlocking fields of fire backed by an assault cannon. The main attack will push through on the left.
As per standard operating procedure, the flamer armed marine will lead the way.
                                                           "Anyone for toasties?"

 The main force push through and past the room on the left. Sgt Bob Gideon takes up a blocking position to stop the demons reinforcing this flank. The flamer marine and support are closing in on the first objective room.
 All this time, the demons have been growing in number. Most rush forward on the right flank to get ahead of the termies but back at the first junction a few Pink Horrors surge to the attack.
One of the monsters dodges through a hail of bullets and reaches the assault cannon marine. The crossfire finally kills the beast but as it is blown apart, "Blue Horrors" (Demon ability) spill from the ruined corpse and grab the heavy weapon specialist. Kicking and screaming, "Bob Leon" is dragged into the warp.
                                                                  "Aww crap!"

  Almost instantly, the terminators defensive perimeter collapses. Back at the entrance area, the rearguard are overwhelmed by the seductive demonettes. Without the benefits of a crossfire, the first junction is rapidly lost to the chaos forces.
 The lead marines are not far from the target, if Sgt Bob Gideon can only hold his position for a few moments! With his Thunderhammer and Forceshield he prepares to fight.
 The first opponent is a Pink Horror. The Sgt smashes it into pieces but again the warp rips open and a mass of blue horrors swarm over the marine. Still swinging the hammer, Bob is dragged into an eternity of living hell. (Nice :-)

Now only the foremost three marines survive, Bob the Flamer, Bob and Sgt Bob Lorenzo. With demons on all sides the situation is dire. But marines never give in! So with a lucky draw of six command points, they immoliate the left target room and, back to back, await the finale.
                                                        "For the Emperor !"
                                               ("Who is actually a jolly good chap,
                                                     once you get past the whole
                                                  "Thousand souls a day" thing!")
                                                              Splat, splat and splat!
                                                     "Game over man..... game over!"

 Even though the Blood Angels lost this game they had come very close to that second target and the game was exciting right up to the end. This game was the Pink Horrors chance to shine. The "Blue Horrors" ability made two vital kills at exactly the right times.
  I think that my demon rules are pretty spot on but just in case, the Blood Angels are going to attempt another mission.

PS. Many years ago I met a Warhammer 40K player with a huge army of Ultramarines, he had given each and every one of them a name. Not to be outdone, I immediately named all of my marines.
Bob.  All of them! In the background "Fluff" of the 40K universe, Space marines are all clones, so this works for me ;-)

PPS.  Sgt Bob Gideon and Bob the Assault Cannon marine have never lived up to expectations. Gideon usually gets killed in his first or second fight (even on "Guard"), and Leon's cannon seems to malfunction (usually exploding and killing half his buddies) more often than not.
 Its only a run of bad luck but starting to be an ongoing joke around these parts.
Oh well !  On with the next mission.