Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Chain of Command - Capture the Bridge #2

Round #2 of the CoC scenario that I played last week, this time with an opponent who unsportingly didn't let me win!

I had planned to revamp the scenario from last week's game (attacking a German bridgehead over an unnamed Russian river) and shift the period to the Spanish Civil War but before I knew it the week had passed and I didn't really have time to rummage around and sort out the Spanish armies so the game became essentially a straight refight.

This time I took the German defenders while Keith led the Soviets in an attack to capture a bridge.  The layout was broadly the same as last time with a slight rearrangement of woods and buildings, but nothing significant.

The German defenders
...and the Soviet attackers
As usual the early deployed  forces quickly grabbed what cover they could and exchanged fire from buildings but the game did see an early arrival from both sides armour.  The Soviet BA10 quickly sped down the road and engaged the German Pz38 that had turned up.  A couple of rounds of fire ensued which looked to be going to Germans way until a devastating shot from the AC's gun knocked the Panzer out...disaster!!

The doomed Pz38
...and its nemesis, the BA10
The deployed infantry units continued to exchange fire with Keith's unit holding the centre taking a lot of 'Shock' points but still managing to hold on, largely due to the arrival of his Senior Commander who presumably did a lot of close range shouting.

On the German right I deployed another section ready to face a couple of German sections that were creeping through the woods very sneakily. 

I was now very worried about the Soviet armour (they also had a T26 which had arrived but was leaving all the fighting to the Armoured Car) and deployed my Panzerbusche team who tried a couple of shots into the ACs flank without success.  Unfortunately this drew lots of MG fire and eventually they were knocked out too, leaving me with little that could damage the German armour.

Keith's units in the wood bravely charged out to take on the Russian section on my left in hand to hand combat.  A brave attempt since success would have opened up this flank and cleared the way to the bridge but the Soviets were hit hard by the supporting MG fire (and some rubbish dice) and broke and ran.

My last attempt to gain some ground was a brave/stupid deployment of my last section in the open in full view of the BA10.  Somehow my luck held... the AC didn't manage to fire and Keith failed 3 times in a row to deploy his remaining section which could have proved devastating if it had arrived (I presume they were somewhere behind the lines with a cache of vodka!).  My section ran into the cover of the woods, seizing one of the German Jump off points in the process and beginning to threaten the German flank.

...Run!...there's an AC coming!!
At this point we called it a night... the Germans had managed to hold off the attackers and the bridge remained in their hands.  The Soviets however were in a stronger position with 2 armoured units on table which were looking pretty invulnerable and one remaining unit off table which might eventually turn up.  The attackers had one section broken and 1 pretty beaten up while I'd lost 1 section, my tank and anti-tank team and both sides morale was even and getting dangerously low.  Overall probably a draw but with the Soviets better poised to win the day.

A fun game with a result suitably different to last weeks game to show up elements of the rules.  I will try something similar with the SCW armies to see if the earlier period makes a difference but my next thought has been to look at the CoC rules that appeared in the Too Fat Lardies last Xmas Special which had a Great War adaption and see what can be done with my Russian Civil War armies which have languished in the loft for too long.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Cavalier '15

Today I went off the Cavalier, the show run by TWWS in Tonbridge, Kent.  It usually marks the start of the show year.  I tend to go to Cavalier, Salute, Colours and SELWG.

It's a reasonably short 45 minute hop round the motorway for me so fairly accessible.

The show is held in The Angel Centre, a sports centre in the town centre...why do wargames show organisers insist on putting wargamers into close proximity to fit, healthy people trying to exercise!!

The show was reasonably busy in the morning when I arrived...not packed but it seemed fairly steady till 1-ish when I left.  By this point it definitely felt quieter (I could get to the Bring and Buy without the judicious use of elbows) but this may have been due to a lunchtime lull. It'd be interesting to hear if it picked up again after lunch.

I hadn't gone with any great spending plans...in fact I was resolved not to get tempted by anything new.  I did nearly succumb to a couple of things... Hydra Miniatures Retro Raygun figures nearly won me over.   Initially I'd been looking at these as I'd thought their robots would be ideal for a post apocalypse game, but the whole Pulp Sci Fi setting looks fun ( and anything which features Comet the Galacteer Space Chimp is going to win every time!).  I can see myself eventually getting some but not at the moment. 

I also nearly bought some Tumbling Dice 1/600 aircraft. I'd recently read about the Finnish/Russian air war in WW2 and had been thinking these sounded like an interesting set of forces to collect when what should they have ready painted and just sitting there waiting to be bought but a set of planes for each side.  Luckily they were a little too pricey for me so I decided that at some point I'll get the unpainted sets but I may regret that decision when it comes to applying the tiny decals!

In the end I only bought a pack of 4Ground buildings and a few Peter Pig Early war British and Russians to bolster the existing troops I have . 

There were a fair spread of companies vying for my money and I had a chat with Keith from Armies Army who seemed to have steady flow of people checking out his figures.  There was a pretty good range of games on display... as usual a few suffered from the problem of people being more engaged in the game than in talking to the punters ( a bit of a pet hate) but the standards were all very impressive.

Here are a small selection of photos... as usual apologies to the clubs who put the games on as I couldn't remember who did what/

This was  Zombie game being shown off by a new company

An unusual James Bond skiing game, escaping from the enemy agents and helicopters.

Tonbridge Wargames club's Crossfiregrad game
A very nice looking Vietnam game
...and flying above it was this impressive bomber complete with a string of
bombs dangling below it, heading for the unsuspecting
NVA (sadly they don't show up well on the photo)

WW2 Bolt Action game, Allies attempting to stop the launch
of the V2 and capture the rocket scientists

An ECW which seemed to be using Musket and Tomahawks rules... interesting idea!

An ACW game... I assume this was the new Cigar Box game cloths...looked really nice

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Odiham Castle

I do like a castle!  Last year we managed to squeeze in a number of castles on our holiday in Wales but despite the wealth of castles in the South East (especially Kent) we don't often go on visits... for some unexplained reason they don't hold the same attraction for my wife!

Despite this, last weekend she suggested visiting Odiham Castle in Hampshire (only just...it's just over the Surrey/Hampshire border)

We recently decided that at least once a month we would take it in turns to organise some kind of family activity... having a teenager means we rarely do things together , especially as he's very busy with a host of musical things going on.  We thought that this way we might spend a bit of time together although there is a danger in placing yourself in the hands of one of the others and entrusting them with choosing something to do.

My wife had to pick the first day (settled by dice roll...I'll make a gamer of her yet!) and came up with Odiham.  I think there was a nice dog walk along the canal planned as part of the day which may have been her cunning plan all along.

The remains of the octagonal keep
Odiham is a nice little castle, one of only 3 built by King John sometime between 1207 and 1214.  John may have set out from here to Runnymede (or possibly somewhere else...I think Odiham town council may have been clutching at straws here).  The castle was built on a bend of the River Whitewater and originally included banks and palisades.  Now only the remains of the octagonal keep remain.

Shortly after it was finished in 1216 it was besieged by the French and held out for 2 weeks despite only having a garrison of 13 men.  The castle was later given to Eleanor, sister of Henry III who promptly married Simon de Montfort.  Following his death at Evesham it reverted back to the crown.

It was also involved in rebellions by the Despenser family, hosted parliament and was a home to David II of Scotland for 11 years after his capture at Neville's Cross.

A very large upper floor fireplace

By the 15th century it was used as a hunting lodge and had fallen into ruin by 1605, just leaving the keep.  Apparently it has a ghostly minstrel... he didn't put in an appearance sadly

The main entrance with a spectral figure...oh, sorry...it's my son...

We finished off with a walk along the Basingstoke canal where one of the dogs tried taking on a couple of swans (not a good idea) and ended up for a late lunch at Newlands Corner, a Surrey viewpoint and beauty spot full of bikers, which does a very nice bacon roll.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Chain of Command - Capture the Bridge

Last night saw another game of Chain of Command.  In previous games I've been a bit frustrated sometimes as the opposing side have tended to seize buildings and tree lines and dig in, taking advantage of the heavy cover.  This can lead to games becoming a bit stagnant with little fire and movement.  It strikes me that this is probably realistic.. who really want to advance in the open in the face of heavy rifle and LMG fire...but doesn't always make for the most exciting game.

For this week's game I opted for a Seize the Objective scenario in the hope that this might spur at least one side into action.  The scenario pitted a Soviet force counter-attacking against a German platoon who had established a bridgehead across a rive somewhere in Western Russia.

During the patrol phase  the Soviets pushed forward using a farmhouse and wheat fields as cover.  The Germans left one patrol marker on the bridge itself and pushed there others forward towards some woods on the Soviet right and some ruined buildings.  The deployed jump off points ended up looking like this...

The opposing lines
German defences on the river

Chris, taking the German side, decided that attack was the best form of defence and pushed 2 infantry sections and a Pz38 in from his left flank, attempting to take out some of the Soviet jump off points or at least put them under pressure.  Over on the other side of the table 2 sections were holed up in opposing buildings, trading shots.  Despite the protection of the heavy cover we both took casualties but the German NCO was wounded, knocking him out for a turn (a long time in CoC) and causing a morale loss to the Germans.

Over the next couple of turns he was hit at least once or twice more, causing a morale loss each time. I wasn't sure whether his injuries would repeatedly cause a morale loss but having checked with the experts on the Yahoo group it seems we go it right and it does mount up.  Frankly the German section would have been better off shooting him straight away and getting it over with!

The Pz38 and infantry begin their attack on the left.

The pressure on the Soviet right flank was beginning to mount as I'd repeatedly failed to deploy anything and Chris now had 2 infantry sections and a tank moving rapidly towards my Jump Off markers.
More German infantry in the woods

Chris then decided to push one of his sections out of cover towards the farmhouse and my dice finally came good!  A Soviet section appeared in the wheatfield and opened up on the exposed Germans causing heavy casualties over the next 2 phases.

The exposed Germans come under short range fire

Not surprisingly the Germans eventually broke under the sustained fire, despite Chris managing to get his tank into action (without much success).  The unit was wiped out apart from the NCO and accompanying Senior Leader who fled backwards away from trouble.  The wounded German NCO was hit yet again, leaving the Germans with very few morale points and my Chain of Command dice had now reached the magic level of 6...this allows players to do a number of special actions and crucially allowed me to end the turn (we actually only played 1 turn).  This routed the German Senior and Junior Leaders off the table, finishing off the morale collapse and winning the game.

It felt like a slightly cheesy way to win but the clock was getting on and it would have been time to stop anyway.  It's the first time I've noticed the heavy impact of wounded leaders in CoC...I guess the answer is to keep them out of trouble where you can and avoid sticking them up in the front line where they can get short heroically...over and over and over again!!

I have another CoC game lined up next week and I'm tempted to re-fight this scenario again since it seemed to work (obviously since I won!!), possibly with a Spanish Civil War twist.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Home Guard

After the great painting drought of the last few months  have finally managed to get some paint on the brush and start painting things!

In line with my preference for elite cutting edge troops I've been working on some British Home Guard which I plan to use with Chain of Command. 

Too Fat Lardies have released loads of suggested army lists for various forces for CoC including the Home Guard who, as you can imagine have a range of unusual weapons at their disposal including Milk Churn Mines and Bed Sheets to hide behind.  There are also some interesting National Characteristics including "Your not from round here..." and "I went to Bisley you know..." which give assorted bonuses.

Perhaps not the most hard-core fighting force but certainly more interesting than many and they should give some interesting "Went the Day Well" type scenarios.  At a push they could also double for BEF as long as no one looks too closely!

Wednesday, 4 February 2015


You might have seen assorted postings on various sites about the forthcoming Conan kickstarter from Monolith Board Games.  I'm not normally tempted by crowdfunded  projects but this one caught my eye, not least due to the huge amount of stuff that comes with it.

Monolith had been looking for $80k and as of today had reached just over $1.7 million!   I went for the basic Barbarian package at $90 which includes the game plus stretch goals and these seem to be being added on a daily basis at the moment.  There are also a range of more advanced packages up to $135 for the more extravagant customers.

The game itself looks excellent and pits one player controlling the baddies against 1-4 players taking on the roles of the heroes. It does seem to be a brave attempt at capturing the feeling of the books and comes with a huge number (74 in the basic game) of very nice looking figures and scenery items as well as boards, card decks etc.  The potential for using the items in a range of other games looks very good too.

Details of the game can be found here.  The Kickstarter ends on 11th February with the game itself expected in October so time's running out!