31 January 2010

A River Red

I hosted another game of 6mm WWII last night in the RMC mess. This time it was an advertised open participation game for the whole wargaming club. I am starting to host more of these now seeing as I am the president and all. The game was well received by the attending players and spectators. Quite a crowd was in attendance for some time in fact showing the power of Facebook groups. The game involved 2 German players and 3 American players in a meeting engagement in and around a small river. Both forces were deployed along a road and bumped into each other with their advance units and then jockeyed for position. The game lasted a total of 7 turns (7 minutes in game) and saw wanton destruction on both sides. The Germans clearly won the opening moments of the game with some devastating fire from some panthers and later by some marder IIs. However, the Americans denied the Germans total victory when their mass was felt and the Germans were forced to abandon their initial positions and fall back across the river. The end of the game saw mounting losses on the German armor, American infantry across the river and a strike of 105mm American howitzers still landing on the German positions. Notable moments were when 4 panthers and a tiger opened fire on a group of shermans at over 1000 meters and scored 4 kills with 5 shots. Next were the gallant actions of the German recce force which stood up to a horde of American infantry and tank destroyers with very little losses until the artillery strike. Finally was a massed American infantry assault out of a field and across the river into some defending German infantry and assault guns including two Brummbars. This assault was very quickly cut down at less than 150 meters. By the end of the game the Germans had inflicted heavy losses on the Americans but were in no shape themselves to exploit it. Overall a rather enjoyable and sociable game that I would be happy to repeat.

The American Force: Two Infantry Companies, One Tank Company, One Engineer Company, One Platoon of M18s plus Battalion assets.

The German Force: One Company of Infantry, One Understrength Tank Company, One Assault Gun Company plus Battalion Assets.

The Battlefield.

The Germans deploy their forces.

The Americans deploy their forces.

The Germans advance to their initial positions.

The American armor is subject to accurate long range German gunnery.

The Germans race for the bridge.

The American commander soothes his losses with another drink.

The game proves so interesting even the hockey fans were drawn in, though considering their respective teams its not surprising.

By the midpoint of the battle, quite a crowd had developed.

The Germans had the bridge well defended.

The Germans dug in their infantry and assault guns awaiting an attack on their right flank.

American losses near the bridge begin to mount.

The Germans seem quite pleased with their performance.

However, the American mass is finally felt and the Germans are forced from the bridge.

The Americans prepare for an attack on the German right flank.

Near the end of the battle the ground was littered with burning hulks and countless bodies.

The final scene of destruction.

The Victorious Germans.

The Vanquished Americans.

29 January 2010

The Quick and The Lead

I played a rather amusing game of cowboys with my brother last night in the RMC wargaming club room. Daniel had been interested in experimenting with a card based initiative system for his cowboys. It was not that Legends of the Old West were not satisfactory as a rule set, merely that they lacked a certain hollywood flavor. With a little back and forth we combined our intellects and came up with a rather fun way of playing LoOW with cards. While working on this we barbecued some sausages on my brothers barbecue while it was a blustery -20 outside. The game proved to be quite a hoot. My personal favorite moment came at the end of the game when the He's Not Dead card came up. On this card the last knocked out hero stands up with 1 wound remaining and a new turn begins. With this card my deputy, I was lawmen, got back up not 4 inches from a group of Daniel's bandidos. The next turn saw the deputy get one of his cards before the bandidos and unload a sawed off shotgun into the group knocking out 2 of the 3 bandidos. This singular hollywood moment effectively ended the game in a fashion agreeable to both players. All in all I believe that Daniel has struck on something unique and simple that I would easily play again.

An overview of the town.

A view from the river side.

Daniel just finished this bridge and touching up this river with dull coat and flocking.

Daniel also just finished a number of civilians including these two ladies.

Another civilian.

Daniel's favorite lady for hire.

The lawmen race down the town.

The Bandidos take up positions.

28 January 2010

Lead Hordes

In the midst of re-organizing and assessing battle damage to my modern micro collection I decided it would be a good idea to take photos of the horde. The following pictures show my British, American, German and Soviet forces, mostly tailored to the 80's. Barrels are bent, flocking worn away and paint chipped on these figures as the purpose of my assessment was to make note of what needs to be repaired. I have many more painted figures that simply need to be based and even more that need to be assembled/painted. I proscribe to the gaming rule of no lead = death. In simplistic form this rule states that there is an inverse relationship of the amount of unpainted figures a gamer owns (expressed in kg) and the probability that he will die at any moment (expressed as a percentage chance). This is expressed as a ratio of the weight of the figures (kg) to the age of the gamer (years). For a low probability of death a gamer needs to maintain a 1:1 ratio or higher; however, as the ratio dips below 1:1 the likelihood of death skyrockets. This also means that as a gamer ages he must expect to accumulate more unpainted figures to stave off his doom.

With the advent of plastic and resin in the hobby over the last two decades an alternate formula is required. The modern gamer must calculate his unpainted masses as an expression of the Figure Unit, greek letter Kappa (K). The K value of a particular figure is based on its weight, its base material, and the number of years since its retail purchase. To calculate a figures K value the gamer must take the figures weight and multiply it by a factor determined by its base material. For lead the factor is 1, for plastic the factor is 4, and for resin the factor is 5. The gamer multiplies the figures weight by the appropriate factor and then divides this by the number of years since retail purchase with a minimum value of 0.5. This will result in the the K value of the figure or group of figures. To determine the probability of death the gamers age is divided by the K value. The probability of a gamers impending doom is the age over the K value multiplied by 0.0001 and expressed as a percentage. If a gamer maintains a K value equal to this age then the probability of death will be 0.0001% at any given moment. As the gamer ages he will need to maintain a larger and larger K value. Additionally the K value will fall the older the figures are in a gamers unpainted pile. Thus the gamer least likely to die is one who consistently purchases new figures to both increase the size of his collection and to maintain its youth. Now try and use this to convince the women in your life.

On to the photos...

The entire horde

The German force

The American Force

The Russian force

The British force

26 January 2010

The Best of Both Worlds

Well in the aftermath of this past weekends WWII game I have decided to post a preliminary report on another project I am working on. While I enjoy historical and modern periods of gaming, the period of science fiction starship gaming will always hold a place in my wargaming heart. My first wargame was French and Indian War (7 Years War for those with a European perspective) on the dining room table but the first figures I ever owned were starships. I distinctly remember as a wee lad sitting on the couch with my father in a time honored ritual of eating spaghetti and watching Star Trek the Next Generation on numerous occasions, when it first aired too. This love has continued to this day.

When I left for RMC nearly two years ago I gifted most of my extensive (as all my projects end up) starship collection to my friends and fellow gamers. Recently, mostly since the latest star trek movie came out, I have been hit with the bug to play with starships again. I find that the period, miniatures, terrain (haha) all provide a useful and distinct distraction from the painting of hordes of 6mm tanks and infantry. As such, this Christmas I commissioned my friend Stephen Thomson to cast up a series of star trek models that he sells. These starships have been collected, horded, scratch built and nearly stolen over the years to create a near complete line of 1/7000th models of the major powers of star trek. For those unfamiliar with the difficulties of this endeavor I must explain. Most models of star trek ships come from micro machines or other toy manufacturers including a few plastic model kit makers. The plastic kits are for obvious scale reasons not suitable. Other manufacturers like micro machines make their models only to the scale of the packaging. Thus an attempt to keep a consistent scale is a frustrating and nearly futile endeavor. I liken this attempt to many historical gamers attempts at realistic rules and or paint schemes (Que inevitable argument).

Thankfully Steve is as stubborn as any DBx player and has successfully acquired many models in scale. He does sell these models to any who might be interested, and if so I would suggest contacting him via his email (crucible_orc@hotmail.com).

As it stands I have not proceeded to the painting stage of the project but have cleaned and assembled all the models. At the moment I await a shipment of flight stands from Litko. These stands are desirable both for their cost and variability but also for their hexagonal nature. These hex bases lend themselves well to Full Thrust, the rule set my comrades and I intend to use for these miniatures. As soon as I get these stands I suspect the fleets will be finished in due time and a battle report will soon follow. The fleets I have purchased are a composite Federation fleet, a Klingon fleet and the beginnings of a Dominion fleet. The remainder of the Dominion fleet are to come from a gentleman who has custom built the larger capital ships and has them available via Starship Combat News in the orbital shipyards section of the message boards. With the addition of Cardassians from Studio Bergstrom I will have 4 of the 6 major powers that participated in the Dominion War.

1xGalaxy Class, 1xNebula Class (Federation Fleet)

1xAkira Class, 2xNew Orleans Class (Federation Fleet)

1xNorway Class, 1xSteamrunner Class, 1xIntrepid Class, 1xCentaur Class, 1xSaber Class, 1xDefiant Class, 1xConstellation Class (Federation Fleet)

3xExcelsior Class, 1xExcelsior Class Enterprise B Variant (Federation Fleet)

6xMiranda Class, 2xMiranda Class Saratoga Variant (Federation Fleet)

1xNegh'Var Class, 2xB'Rel Class (Klingon Fleet)

4xVorcha Class (Klingon Fleet)

6xK'Tinga Class, 12xD12 Class Bird of Prey (Klingon Fleet)

24 January 2010

The Battle of the Little Farm

Well as promised I ran a game of 6mm WWII last night. The biggest hurdle this week was prepping the American force. Unfortunately I was not granted sufficient time to finish my entire American army but I was able to finish those figures needed for the game. In the end the Americans fielded approximately a battalion sized force of mixed infantry and armor. The game itself proved to be one of the more enjoyable and at times tense games I have played in quite some time.
The basic scenario involved an American battlegroup clearing the left flank of an advancing division. This flank was threatened by a small German kampfgruppe, the remnants of the regiment that originally faced the division. The American objective was to destroy or rout the German force to allow the division to continue its advance through France. The German objective was to simply hold off the American battlegroup and continue to threaten the flank.

The American force consisted of two companies of infantry with limited halftrack support. These companies had bazooka, HMG and MMG teams attached. The battalion also had a company of shermans with a few 76mm armed version mixed in. The battalion also had a platoon of M10 tank destroyers, an FAO and two batteries of 81mm mortars. In addition three batteries of 105mm howitzers were available for a pre-scheduled bombardment of the German positions.

The German force consisted of two platoons of Infantry with limited transport, three MG42 teams, two Pak 40s, two Stug IIIGs, three Panzer IVJs, three Panther Ds, one Tiger, one wirbelwind and one battery of 81mm Mortars. This force took quite a beating in the initial artillery bombardment, though more to morale effects then to physical damage. When the American battlegroup made initial contact with the kampfgruppe only half the infantry remained in their positions.

The ferocity of the initial American push had many of the spectators looking on in horror and shock.
The main thrust of the American battlegroup came at the German left flank.

Two platoons of M4A1 Shermans with 75s and the platoon of M10 tank destroyers advanced on the three panzer IVs supported by a single Stug.

The American tank force, with its infantry support lagging behind in the woods, plowed through the bocage at the fields edge to be met by German steel. Unfortunately for the Germans, the steel felt more like feathers with only one hit on an M10, resulting in a kill. Three panzer IV crews and a Stug crew had a 25% accuracy rate on Shermans barely 450 meters away; Wittmann would be disappointed. The ensuing firefight bore witness to continued poor German marksmanship with only a single kill and only a couple of stunned crews for the loss of all four Panzer IVs and the Stug.

The American tank thrust took advantage of this victory and continued down the field in the hopes of exploiting this now extremely vulnerable flank.

However not all was to continue well for this thrust. The German commander seeing his now very vulnerable left flank made a desperate move in committing his three panthers to the fray. This move was bold because by this point the American tank force had had the time to consolidate its position and was waiting for the pouncing cats. As the Panthers broke through the bocage into the field the opposing tank force opened up at them at less than 250 meters. This is what many wargamers call the tipping point; that event in a game in which victory or defeat swings. If the Panthers succumbed to the fire the game would be sealed; if the panthers survived to fight on the game was still up for grabs. Luckily for the German commander the fates smiled on the brave tank crews and the panthers survived the barrage of no less then 10 enemy tanks with only dents and a few headaches. Now that the fight was still on for his left flank, the German commander decided to commit the Tiger to this flank as well.

The sight of the Tiger bursting through the bocage along with the apparent invulnerability of the Panthers sullied the spirits of the American tank crews as they took steady losses to the Germans over the next 60 seconds (1 turn = 1 minute). The next 2 turns saw the American tank thrust torn to shreds by accurate German gunnery. The moment did seem particularly tense when early in the gunfight a shot from an M10 rang true and the Tiger crew was forced to bail out of its tank. In the end the three Panthers stood their ground and routed or destroyed their opponents.The left flank was now secure but the Americans were not finished as they now threatened the right flank. Advancing here was a platoon of Shermans with 75s and a platoon with 76s along with two platoons of infantry. Earlier the supporting MG teams for this force were annihilated by a hail of lead from the wirbelwind. This force came out of a dense field into the open to face one Stug, one Pak 40, one MG42 team, and a command Panzer IV. These lone elements were joined by the wirbelwind a few seconds later. In the ensuing firefight the Stug was knocked out and the pak 40 and Panzer IV were stunned or suppressed atleast twice each. While this firefight did take longer than the left flank eventually the American force had had enough and backed into the dense field once again, leaving behind 4 burning tank hulls and a platoon of infantry dead or running.

While this flank was not as clear cut as the other it was at this point that the American player decided to throw in the towel.

At the end of the game the Germans had sustained the loss of 2/3rds of their infantry, three Panzer IVs, both Stugs, the Tiger, one Pak 40 and one MG42 team. The remaining force lacked much of its original firepower but remained on the field to threaten the flank of the advancing American division and thus was granted victory. The American force sustained the loss of 4 platoons of infantry, various MG and bazooka teams, the forward observer (who never one called the artillery), and close to 3/4 of its armour including all the M10s. These losses were caused by a stiff defence on the part of the Germans and terrible gunnery on the part of the American tank crews. This scenario goes to show that the presence of but a single Tiger is enough to frighten both the 6mm and 6ft men alike, even if its actual effect is far less than imagined. Overall both players enjoyed the game immensely over the four hours it took to play. The rule set that we used (tentatively titled Fireteam), I have been working on for some months now and is in the final stages of polishing. We will play again soon and I will post the results of that battle as well. For my next project I need to finish the rest of the Americans and then move on to Russians.

The Vanquished

The Victorious