Monday, May 15, 2017

WW2 Small-Unit Skirmish: Capture the Bridge

With all of this thinking about a possible Colonial game, I was itching to get something on the table in the mean time. So, Saturday night, after I put my son to bed, I set up the following.

Scenario: Two British "fire teams" of para-troopers are to capture a lightly held bridge  from the Germans. The Germans at the guard house will call back to the farm house in the even of attack, at which point, German troops from within the house will come to the defense of the bridge. The MG-42 team is stationed in the yard behind a rock wall at the start, with a  clear view across the river, and a line of sight to the bridge. After 10 turns of defense, Germans can blow the bridge by reaching the base of the bridge on the farmhouse side.


Team BBC: Hardcastle (3 HP), Deacon (2 HP), Peacock (2 HP)
Team Backups: 2 British and 1 Polish paratrooper, all 1 HP.

Guard house rifle team: 1 HP each
MG-42 team: 1 HP each
German rifle team: 1d6 rifles (1 HP each) + 1 squad leader with SMG (2 HP)


Improvised / home-brew


The Allies got off to a slow start - held up by the two riflemen in the guard house. Once they were dispatched, Hardcastle stormed the bridge and the rest of Team BBC followed, while Team Backups fired from cover at the Germans across river in the woods.

For a minute, it looks like things might work out just fine for Team BBC.

The MG42 would prove to be devastating for Team BBC, despite the cover the bridge afforded them. Deacon engaging the German left in hand-to-hand at least temporarily silenced the gun.

Not going great, but still, victory is possible.
Team Backup charged across the bridge too late and the whole of the Allied force was mowed down eventually.
So much for that idea. The bodies of Team BBC and their reinforcements pile up at the bridge.

In retrospect, some grenades might have been useful.

Figures are Conte (Brits), King & Country (Brits, Polish), Airfix (Germans) and Matchbox (Germans). 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

News of My Return to Gaming May Have Been Premature

OK, so my other project (I'm a musician) has taken over the lion's share of my free time, and until just recently, I was OK with that. But one can only stay away for so long before the pining for toy soldiers reaches a fevered pitch.

Unfortunately, it returns at a time when money is tight - I unexpectedly had to acquire a new vehicle  just the other day (which I rather like driving, so it's not all bad) - and yet I want to start a new project.

Or rather, revive an old project, but in 54mm: Victorian Science Fiction (VSF)

VSF with its lost worlds, alien invasions, and wild contraptions all in support of adventure and exploration, was my first real wargame's project. It began with French Foreign Legion and lost world lizard men and dinosaurs, and later became the basis for my longest running campaign, the Battle of Helvetica (follow the link and scroll down), between Sauvingnon-Blanc and Riesling, with their lizard men conscripts filling out the respective sides.

That project is a 15mm project and I do not wish to duplicate the set up in a larger scale. Instead I want to take a more British bent to the whole thing, being the Victorian-age after all.

One option is a "lost battalion" type game - where highlanders, hussars (or lancers maybe?) and a gun crew, wander through a lost world as they look for their way home and come face to face with Romans, Greeks, ancient Egyptians, monsters of all kinds, and yes, perhaps one of Riesling's armies

Another option is that the Brits find a "Star Gate" which leads to battles against the same enemies, but on distant planets. It seems almost certain then that they would face off in battle against the green Martians on the red plains of that planet
(AIP Boxers painted green might work for that). Trekking through the thick vegetation of a Venusian jungle, dodging dinosaur-like fauna would surely follow.

Because I prefer to game than paint, ideally, the highlanders would be W. Britain's set 5188 (2 sets even,), and the lancers set 8806 (again 2 perhaps), but reality is that they will be AIP highlanders and hussars. Ditto the gun and crew.

The opponents will mostly be pre-painted plastics, available cheaply on Amazon and elsewhere. This helps minimize my painting efforts.

Rules will be G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. or Portable Wargame, Space: 1889 Soldier's Companion, or quite likely home-brew that blends many of those together, depending on what type of game I decide to play.

With father's day coming up next month, I already know what I'm asking for!

And since walls of text are sort of boring, here's a picture from a very impromptu and improvised skirmish game I played last night.

Team BBC storms the French farmhouse
The scenario was based on the example given in older versions of Nuts! by THW: An MG42 crew is in a farmhouse with a clear shot at the road, making transport hazardous for our troops.Three British paras (Team BBC: Cpl. Hardcastle, Lance Cpl. Deacon, and a young, Pvt. Peacock) are to assault the house and take out the gun and crew.

Figures are Conte (Brits) and Airfix (Germans, which I placed behind the house, though they were, for the game, inside), the wall is from W. Britain I believe (It came with a Waffen SS MG42 team), the house is scratch built (clearly). Rules, as I said, were improvised. They involved card activation, d6s to attack (1 for bolt action rifles and pistols, 2 for SMGs, and 4 for the HMG), saving rolls a la Featherstone, and hit points for Hardcastle (3), Deacon (2), Peacock (2), German Officer (2).

Hardcastle and Deacon both ended the game with 1 HP each, Peacock, who fired from cover most of the game remained unscathed, while the Germans were thrashed soundly and the next transport would make it through unimpeded.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

OHW Pitched Battle : Medieval

Here's the first outing of my new medieval troops in scenario 2 from One Hour Wargames. Figures are mostly Deetail.

Euro-knights (Army Red, they go first): 4 units of knights, 1 unit of men-at-arms and 1 unit of archers.
Saracens (Army Blue): 3 units of knights, 2 units of men-at-arms and 1 unit of levies.

The battle lines are drawn and ready!
Horses stamp their hooves and snort, shields clang and battle cries of the Blue army!
The Red army commander sounds the advance! Thundering hoofbeats! The men roar!
Turn 1: The lines advance. Army Red takes the hill, Army Blue, the crossroads.
Turn 2: Clash at the crossroads! Men and beast collide! The thunderous clatter of colliding steell!
Turn 2: Near the hill the battle is well and truly joined!
Turn 3: A blow for Army Red, a unit of knights is removed from the field. But the battle rages!
Turn 4: The archers take out a unit of Blue knights, but the scrum of men and horses continues!
The archers look on for a new target. Army Red's control of the hill is uncontested.
Turn 5: The clash at the crossroads!
Turn 5: Army Blue destroy a unit of Red knights!
Turn 6: The battle for the cross roads ends with the destruction of Red's units.
 Meanwhile, at the hill, Blue and Red suffer losses.
Turn 7: Blue sends a second wave to take the hill.
Turn 8: Again the sides crash into each other! Blue holds back

Turn 9: Things don't go according to plan for Blue. Red's archers and men-at-arms refuse to concede!
Turn 10: Blue is driven from the hill. It belongs solely to Red.
Red's men-at-arms prepare to race for the crossroads.
Turn 14: Red's men-at-arms are badly wounded, but their armor gives them a measure of defense vs the unarmored levies.
Even so, no one is the winner after 15 turns. I let it play out.
Turn 18: The men-at-arms underestimated Blue's levies and paid the price. The sides withdraw, nothing gained, much lost.

This was my first time playing the medieval rules from Neil Thomas's One Hour Wargames. In fact, it was the first time playing any rules other than the WWII rules.

Color me surprised.

Despite being essentially the same rules, the differences were enough that the game felt nothing like the WWII game. To my mind, they gave a good accounting of themselves of a distinctly medieval game. This may be due to the fact that I've never played any other medieval rules - in which case, that demonstrates OHW's effectiveness. If you figure that a new wargamer might pick up the book as a starting point, they would be well served by the rules for exploring different periods.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Forsooth! Ye Olde Knights and Saracens!

A special thanks to Ross Mac of Battle Game of the Month fame for making my medieval collection nearly complete!

Combined with some eBay purchases, here are the sides as they stand now (click pics to enlarge):

There is some clean up to be done - some touch ups, conversions, and repairs - but they are already a game-able group.

In fact, I couldn't wait to play:

I chose scenario 2 from One Hour Wargames, because it's straightforward. Rules were Neil Thomas's medieval rules from the same book.

The grid is not in play, but I did use the 6 inch squares to aid measuring. The astute among you will notice I've set up the Saracen line too wide. I corrected that error after the picture was taken.


  • Euro-knights: 4 units of knights, 1 unit of men-at-arms and 1 unit of archers. 
  • Saracens: 3 units of knights, 2 units of men-at-arms and 1 unit of levies.

I chose 4" square sabots and jammed them as full as possible. The visual effect was satisfying and lived up to the idea of the "shock" period (to borrow from Morschauser).

Stay tuned for the first clash of my new armies and some thoughts about the rules.

Friday, September 9, 2016

A Whim and a New Era

I'd been following a bunch of searches on Ebay for awhile now, more from habit than anything, when, the other day, I saw a few lots of Deetail knights and Saracens that was too good to let go by.

And so a new project was born.

In order to keep my purchasing focused and my collection from sprawling (too late), I will build up two armies (to start),  using  Neil Thomas's One Hour Wargames medieval rules as a guide, although Morschauser will most likely get the nod when it comes time for actual play.

That said, I'll make some concessions. In particular when it comes time to fielding archers, which Thomas suggests should be crossbows, based on what I can find and how much I'm willing to spend. Crossbowmen are hard enough to find for the European-ish army, let alone the Saracen / Turkish-ish army.

Now, you undoubtedly  noticed the parenthetical "to start" in an earlier paragraph.

Well, as these things are wont to do, an idea has exploded in my head. My "end-goal" (do wargamers really have stopping points?) is to build armies for my own Hyborian campaign of sorts, where ahistorical match-ups of the ancient and medieval worlds will be a possibility.

I'm already eyeing up 1/32 Roman figures from HaT, TSSD and Expeditionary Force as a possible future army.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Catch a Tiger by the Tail

My newest acquisition for my German WWII force is the Solido 221 Tiger tank.

Collectors may choke a bit when they realize I'm going to play games with it.

It's a thing of beauty!

Size comparison with 54mm Matchbox figure

Another perspective.

I admit that my 1/43 - 1/50 armor acquisitions for the Germans are a bit of a hodge podge: a PZ IV, a Jagdpanther and a Tiger. Then again, the rules I use don't put a premium on real-world orbats either.

I think, at this point, my plan is to acquire another PZ IV, so I can field a tank company of PZ IVs, lead by a Tiger. Not sure how historical it is, but Featherstone had two Panthers lead by a tiger in his sample campaign game in Advanced War Gaming and that's good enough for me.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Static Defense

At least, I think that's what it's called.

For this game, again I loosely based it on something I saw on Band of Brothers.

The Germans are on a hill opposite the US, who are dug in. The Germans have decided it's time to drive out those pesky Americans.

For rules, I'm using Morschauser Modern with roster, infantry can move or shoot, not both, vehicles can do both, each base is 3x3 and represents a squad. Each vehicle is 1 vehicle in this one. I expanded some of the weapon ranges since this is at a lower scale than usual.

I set an arbitrary 10-turn limit.

Germans: 2 platoons (6 squads), 2 HMG teams, 1 half-track, 2 tanks (Well, technically 1 tank and 1 tank destroyer), plus an artillery barrage (4 attacks on randomly determined US units)

US: 3 platoons (9 squads), 1 HMG team, 3 tanks arrive on turn 4

Gratuitous close-up.
The figures closest to camera are Airfix.
1st platoon takes some damage from the artillery barrage.
Another gratuitous close-up as the German half-track prepares to attack.

Things don't look like they're going to go well for 2nd platoon.
The German advance - the infantry on both sides take heavy fire.
This is just silly.
Turn 4: The cavalry arrive!
Close combat destroys the German infantry.
Chaos ensues as the armor clash!
The German half-track flees the field but not before spraying a few rounds of  MG fire.
Stand off!

Down to two, and suffering damage, the Shermans fire one last time.
Boom! the PZ IV is eliminated and the Jagdpanther flees the field.
End of game.
30 minutes to setup.
30 minutes to play.

It was a fun little game. The static US force position made it a bit ho-hum - but fortunately I play solo, so I still had plenty to do running the Germans. The melee did the German infantry in, and in ways I did not anticipate. In the end, I should have given them 3 or 4 platoons instead of 2, since they could only move or shoot, not both. Or allowed them to move and shoot.

Blitzkrieg Commander or maybe FiveCore Company Command (which I've read and will be trying shortly) might have been a better choice for rules, but Morschauser didn't disappoint.