Sunday, 29 January 2012

Outpost: Slaughter

EDIT: Mistakes fixed in the Outpost: Slaughter scenario file.

More of a modelling than a gaming week this - nearly 80 Mujahideen are an inch from finished, and a platoon of modern British are primed. Three more 15mm buildings are nearly done, and some scifi lamposts and Hotspots are practically done too.

We had a game of Volley and Bayonet last Sunday, an ersatz version of Dennewitz at 4,000 points a side. It was essentially a giant bloody shoving match in the middle of the board. The French lost about 2,500 men, and the Allies (British and German) lost about 8,000. The French were on the back hoof until Turn Five, when they triumphed massively across the whole line, routing whole brigades at every turn. Brigade of the Match goes to the Highland Brigade, who were flank charged by French Cuirassiers and sent them packing.

While no photos were taken of the match itself, Archangel's girlfriend took some amazing photos of the set-up (which she helped with!).
British Advance

Aerial view of the Allies

French Advance

Aerial view of the French

Iskander and I also played a game of Force on Force tonight, using this homebrewed scenario, Outpost: Slaughter. The Canadians of Operation Enduring Freedom took arms against an assault on their platoon house by Jebel Hadr's Milice Internale.

For the first time ever, I won against Iskander (though I can't say I beat him), as he drew a staggering ten Fog of War cards against my one, in just four turns! It was a ludicrous display of luck that saw Delta Force snipers and a medic join the Canadian defence, a sandstorm, two sets of blitzed orders from OEF HQ, two house fires (including the Platoon House, which can no longer happen) and the sudden discovery of architectural flaws in the platoon house's defences. It was neck and neck until the QRF arrived and took a HotSpot-ed Dushka's fire in the flank, whereupon Iskander conceded in exchange for cassoulet and cake. All in all a smashing game that highlighted a lot of what I love about Force on Force. Man of the Match goes to the second Dushka team who scored 4 hits against the Hummer's side armour, causing a Catastrophic kill and taking the score from 13-13 to 37-13 to the Milice Internale insurgents.

Initial board set up.

From the other end.

The village of Kowete (left) and the Platoon House (right)

Everything that was on fire at the end of Turn Four.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

New Year Favourites

Never one to avoid a good bandwagon, here I go with my favourites of various things:
My current favourites are Ambush Alley's Force on Force/Tomorrow's War for skirmish gaming, and Volley and Bayonet for Horse & Musket. I thought Black Powder would own my heart forever, but alas! VnB is a better fit for how I like my horse & musket battles - big and at an army level, rather than brigade.

For years, I was a dedicated 20mm man (outside the obligatory flirtations with GW's stuff), but I've recently turned to 15mm for skirmish level games and 2mm for large-scale warfare. The scenery is easier to store (you can fit giant towns onto CDs and keep them in a doublesized CD case in 2mm), and the figures take up appreciably less room - particularly the vehicles.

I have to plump for Zvezda for long-term favourites, although Irregular's 2mm range is quickly catching up!

I don't really watch films for wargaming inspiration, but if I did, Lord of the Rings and Black Hawk Down would have to be my favourites. If TV counted, Band of Brothers would win hands down.
Now books, there's something different! I vote Doug Beattie's Task Force Helmand or C S Grant's classic Wargame Campaigns, they have inspired me massively ten years apart from each other.

There can only be one here. Not Wargames Illustrated, not White Dwarf (although I did like it under Paul Sawyer).
Miniature Wargames is the winner hands down - since I was ten it has been a source of amazement and pleasure!

I encourage others to try this list - although I was lazy and entered multiple contestants to most categories, thinking about the different categories made me really consider what is important to me in my wargaming.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Poundland Swag

Inspired by TMP, I went on a Poundland hunt this lunchtime and found a few pound-a-pop vehicles that I thought might fit with modern 15mm. Of course, they're all box scale, so they may end up as sci-fi vehicles instead, but I'm not sure what they are. I believe that they're a gigantic Humvee (which I'm tempted to use as a MRAP if I can add some grid armour), a squashed Chinese Type 98, and some kind of air defence Piranha, but I'm honestly not sure. Here for your delectation next to a QRF cameraman.

So there they are. Anyone else's opinion on what they represent is greatly appreciated =]

Saturday, 14 January 2012

If You Go Down To The Woods Today

Tonight's game was a matchup between the 6th (King's Own) Rangers of Albion, played by MJ Figures' 1980s British, and the invading Vrancu, played by PSC's Soviets. The scenario PDF can be found here. While most of the scenery was scratch-built, this game was a baptism for the first of my Pireme Publishing card buildings, bought on sale the other day.

The board, as set up.

With Albiard (blue) and Vrancu (red) objectives.
Because my Soviets are based for Flames of War, I used different coloured d6 for casualty status. Black was “wiped out/current dead”, red was “survivors pinned” and white was “survivors fine”.

The KOR entered spread out, except for 2 Manoeuvre, who went up the road in file...

Turn One
Vrancu Phase
The Vrancu entered unopposed across most of the board, but were interrupted in two cases by the KOR. The ambushing unit threw a whopping eight dice at one unfortunate Vrancu team, scoring two tens. The Vrancu used their cover as well as their training allowed them, and three of the fireteam went down, while the last member kept his head and fired back, causing no casualties.

The Rangers walking down the road reacted as aggressively as they'd been taught when they saw Vrancu ahead, diving for the hedges and opening fire simulataneously. Their reactions did as well as the heavy fire from across the stream, causing another three casualties. This Vranc bottled it, and cowered alongside his mutilated companions among the sycamores.

Albiard Phase
Three casualties was becoming a pattern as 2 Fire Support moved up the right flank and plastered a Vrancu team with fire as it tried to catch them in the open. But 1 Manoeuvre broke it by knocking down an entire fireteam with nothing but rifle fire as they moved towards the stream.

VPs: 0/0

The table as Turn One ended.

Turn Two
Vrancu Phase
Keeping the initiative despite the dreadful beating they took in the previous turn, the Vrancu tested for casualties. Out of their 13 casualties, 5 threw sixes and got up. A few were shot dead, and more fell prey to No Use For The Weak, but overall they only lost five men. Their advance was stalled by the weight of Albiard fire however, and only a couple of fireteams were available for movement.

One brave team dashed for the larger of Herefell's buildings but were caught by 2 Manoeuvre, still prone in the road and lost two men to their superior shooting. Only just passing a TQ check and failing their Morale, they dragged the bodies with them into the longhouse. Upset at their ceorls' awful progress, the Serjeants and their Huscarls moved forwards to support the advance.

Albiard Phase
On the left flank, 1 Fire Support laid down fire to support 1 Manoeuvre's crossing of the stream. Blitzing one Vrancu team, 1 Manoeuvre crossed and took captive the shellshocked ceorls opposite them, taking up a commanding position on the Vrancu's right flank.

Taking advantage of the Vrancu checking their own, 2 Fire Support moved into the other of Herefell's mill and opened fire on the longhouse's shattered inhabitants. Even with a Rapid Move and rolling three 1s, they knocked another casualty off the unfortunate ceorls – but they girded their loins and dug in.

VPs: 2/0 to Albion

Turn Three
Vrancu Phase
Legitimately winning the initiative, the Vrancu got only one fireteam of ceorls to reinforce them, and opened fire with three fireteams at the Rangers in the mill. But their keen eyes gave them the advantage, and their Hoods and Herewards croaked their awful song with terrible efficiency. The ceorls in the woods screamed and died like pigs as the GPMGs sang.

With a bellow and by fine example, a Serjeant led his men in firing at 2 Manoeuvre, still relying on the roadside for protection. Overwhelmed by the past few pounding minutes, still not in cover due to covering their fellows, they suffered three casualties before they knew what had hit them. Their pointman's return fire did nothing to avenge them.
2 Manoeuvre bleeding out...
Albiard Phase
Shocked by the sound of 2 Manoeuvre's screams on the radios, the Albiards were torn by indecision. 1 Manoeuvre descended on more shocked ceorls, and this time did not take them captive.
1 Fire Support finally left their grove of trees, and then realised that the only available cover had a shellshocked ceorl and the bodies of his fireteam. Still enraged over 2M's fate, they charged in (TQ rolled 8!), easily avoiding his defensive fire and taking out his whole team. Their medic, instead of joining them in turning the longhouse to a charnelhouse, went to help 1 Manoeuvre.

VPs: 6/0 to Albion

The table at the end of Turn Three
Turn Four
Vrancu Phase
Somehow maintaining the upper hand, the Vrancu were heartened to hear the sound of a GPMG coughing its way through the woods from Oxene Beach. With their support, the Serjeants led a burst of fire at the longhouse, determined to dislodge the Rangers. Still busy securing the building, they were caught off-guard by the first unco-ordinated hail of fire. Throwing themselves to the floor, they received no casualties – and their return fire was murderous ( including two 9s and a 10!). Before the newly arrived Vrancu could join in, they too were targeted. Despite their stalwart attempts at woodcraft, the whole team were rendered casualties (too many 9s and 10s again!)
2 Fire in the mill were shot at again, and took two casualties from fire before knocking down three of the enemy in response.
Albiard Phase
1 Manoeuvre moved to seize the Herefell LOC, taking control of the road to Oxene Beach. As they did so, they heard the good news – Medic Laverham had saved two of 2 Manoeuvre, though Ranger Callis lay dead, joining the Island's ghosts for ever more.

VPs: 14/1 to Albion

Medic Laverham, flanked by the two men he saved with his Advanced First Aid.

The table at the end of Turn Four.
Turn Five
Albiard Phase
Finally seizing the initiative, the Rangers made some tough decisions. Rushed off his feet, Laverham helped 2 Fire with their casualties, while 2 Manoeuvre did a quick tab to the other side of the field of... whatever it is the locals grow.
Following a successful pattern, 1 Fire laid some pain on the Vrancu Serjeants opposite, while 1 Manoeuvre left their scoring position to remove another Vrancu team from consideration.
Vrancu Phase
The Vrancu have no use for the weak, and it seems that the weak stayed at home, because seven of the ten casualties on their left flank got up scowling. As they did, more reinforcements arrived from Oxene, two teams – one with a GPMG. Using their numerical superiority, they charged 1 Manoeuvre, but glory was not theirs to take. With snarls and long knives, the Rangers caught them in the sycamores and butchered them (with some superlative die rolls, I should add!)

VPs: 8/1 to Albion

Turn Six
Albiard Phase
Wiping the blood from their faces, 1 Manoeuvre continued their rampage through the enemy ranks, slaughtering the casualties in the centre woods. 2 Manoeuvre tried to sneak up the Vrancu flank and do some more damage. Sharp eyed ceorls opened fire while they were out of cover, but their marksmanship was poor, and their only reward was a hail of bullets. 1 Fire used the distraction to sneak from the longhouse to the surrounding hedges.
Vrancu Phase
Reinforcements arrived, and engaged 1 Manoeuvre in a fire fight. It seemed like the big boys had finally arrived, because the lead elements cut right through 1 Manoeuvre's overconfidence with a storm of GPMG fire, knocking out the whole team for one casualty in return. Shocked by this sudden violence against their own men, 1 Fire's covering shots were poorly aimed, and the second Vrancu team survived to add to 1 Manoeuvre's misery, potting their sergeant with a well-aimed bullet.
Covered by woods and hedges, a third team moved in to take them prisoner. Toys, for the pleasure of the Vrancu interrogators at Oxene Beach.

VPs: 8/21 to Albion (Vrancu winning!)

The sergeant stands alone.
Turn Seven
Albiard Phase
Retaining the initiative, and unwilling to risk the survivors (if any) of 1 Manoeuvre with fire, 1 Fire gallantly charged over the hedge to free them, cutting down their two guards with ease and freeing the wounded members of 1 Manoeuvre. Two of them needed serious first aid, and 1 Fire hunkered down to give it.
2 Manoeuvre came forward at the same time to wipe the last Vrancu fireteam off the field and managed to surprise them this time, causing one casualty before the survivor hid among the sycamore trees. Laverham and 2 Fire moved to the longhouse hedges, to support seizure of the LOC.
Vrancu Phase
Reinforcements arrived, and while one 2 Manoeuvre, the other skirted around Herefell to get behind the Rangers – and get a chance at the objective.

VPs: 24/1 to Albion

There being no chance of a Vrancu victory, the game was called at 24-1 in the Rangers' favour.

A fun game, and tighter than the scores would suggest – just look at the turnaround that was Turn Six! The Vrancu need to pool their fire in this game, and the Rangers need to not be reckless!
Overall, luck was the winner in this game. The sheer number of unmatchable 9s and 10s thrown by the Rangers was quite frankly unbelievable, and contributed to the demise of just so many Vrancu teams.
All in all, this was a fun game, and I think the Vrancu hordes will find themselves pitted against the Albiards again in future. Also, points to those who can guess what Vrancu and Ghost Island are derived from!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Ambush the Convoy!

This is a Force on Force scenario that I cooked up for a game with some friends a while ago. It's always the NATO guys getting ambushed, so I decided to turn the tables on those wicked Milice Internale!

The PDF can be found here, but for now, some pictures of the set up (the game went too fast for photos!) It was a close-run thing: It looked like Jebel Hadr won 31-10, but when we rolled for the casualties who hadn't been checked by the end of the final turn, it was 31-29. Massive slaughter on both sides as the Milice Internale consistently outmanoeuvred the Americans and the Americans used their superior firepower to good effect.

15mm Ahoy!

I've finally started some 15mm. Bad pictures I know, but here are my first Flames of War Soviets and 1980s British Paras for Force on Force.

The Paras will be part of my Hell's Man project, a senseless exercise in playing a British intervention in Afghanistan in the 1980s. I may relate it to a friend's altverse, where the great Holy Roman, Russian and British empires never fell, because otherwise the timings between Soviet and Taliban control become messy. Unless I make the Kremlin sane and just get them out faster. Time will tell =]

Incidentally, the whole project was inspired by MJ Figures' Falklands range. While more like 18mm tall, they're very nice models that my photos don't do justice to (for now). The only annoyance about that is that the QRF postwar Brits I bought to round them out look like spindly dwarves next to them.

 These Soviets are for my FLGS' Flames of War night on Mondays. Only another twelve stands to go before I hit 1,000 points.

I'm definitely going back to skirmish and DBA once I finish these guys. At least for larger figures.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

The Battle of Holfschader 1806

As French move to attack the German states once more, the Ruritanians and their Brunswicker allies decide to try and defeat them in detail. Having gained intelligence that a French corps is reuniting at the town of Holfschader, they force march to assault the forward elements before the rest arrive.

The plan half worked - the French army was divided when the Germans struck, but only just. As the battle continued, they would receive many more reinforcements.

This was a 1,500 point game of Volley and Bayonet, pitting 4 German divisions against 5 French ones.
The German army was comprised of Ruritanians using the Early Austrian list (linear infantry, massed cavalry) with 2 infantry divisions and one cavalry, and a division of Brunswickers using the Late British Allies list (everything but the Guard skirmishers).
The French (Middle list) had an Elite Infantry Division (Polish Legion), a Guard Division (Grenadiers and chasseurs), a large Dragoon division and two divisions of two infantry regiments.

This was a game with maximum 8 turns, burden of assault on the Germans. Victory conditions were: Exhaust all French Divisions for the Germans, survive with an unexhausted division until turn 8 for the French.

Holfschader, before the armies arrive. Note the castle on the hill where the Poles started, the central town (Holfschader) where the Marechal and his Guards were quartered, and the road behind the orchards at the top from whence the infantry reinforcements came.

Early moves. The Ruritanian cavalry blitzes ahead to flank the town while the infantry are more cautious. The Black Duke hangs back at the riverbank, unwilling to disorder his troops in front of the deadly Polish Legion.
The French infantry march up to support the Marechal, who leaves Holfschader for a commanding position on the heights...

Which is no help as the gallant Ruritanians charge into his Guard, shockingly annihilating the Grenadiers and sending the Chasseurs packing, albeit with gross casualties and SO MANY SIXES.

The French Dragoons arrive, ready to help their countrymen!

The Ruritanian hussars sell their lives dearly, and the Cuirassiers, flush from routing the Guard, destroy the Dragoons who were rash enough to attack them over the hill. One lonely brigade remains...

As the Ruritanian king and his division move to take Holfschader, the Poles and the French surround him. Luckily the old town's buildings are stout and only a few men fall to their withering fire.

Emboldened by the Polish abandonment of Holfsberg, the Brunswickers advance, pounding the Polish right with deadly fire.

The Ruritanian infantry shakes itself into line, free to organise itself now that the French are concentrated on one flank.

The French retreat across the River Weisen, taking firm positions against the advancing (and very lucky) Germans.

The view from the French left.

The view from the French right.

Tired of stalemates and exchanges of fire, the Brunswick Hussars assault the French wing and rout the 32nd regiment of infantry.

The 19th regiment's attempt to avenge their brethren fails, and they retire across the rear of the French lines.

With a daring river crossing in the face of the enemy by the Ruritanian 13th Regiment, massed fire annihilates the French 26th regiment.

The Hussars rout the 39th against the river, and with the Polish hiding the orchard bedeviled by painful Brunswick fire, the game ends - the French sorely defeated.

Butcher's Bill:
German losses 3,000
French losses: 17,500

This game was massively influenced by luck - the early breaking of the Guard, and the performance of the German cavalry in general was in all ways the deciding factor in this game, along with some very shaky die rolling for French morale. But La Republique Ne Mort Jamais! I'm sure we'll see another game soon.

This was a 2mm production for Volley and Bayonet by A-historical gaming =]