Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year - 2013 Goals

Well the world didn't end so another year of gaming lies ahead. I have a list of things I would like to accomplish in 2013 like most other people. I hate the term "resolutions" as I like to work toward something so I use the word "goal" instead.

My goals and plans for 2013 are:

1. Get in better shape. This isn't really a gaming goal but it does affect gaming. I always eat snacks while gaming and I need to ease up. I lost a lot of weight in 2012 and I want to keep going. It is always harder to work out the next morning after eating (over eating) snacks during a game night. I am always tempted to skip the work out and pick up the paint brush. I do have more energy for gaming since I started working out so it is a Win/Win.

2. Finish up my 25/28mm 1812 Russians. I still need artillery, cavalry and a few more infantry units. I ordered the Perry Russian high command pack from the Warstore last night. This is a difficult goal as I am really tired of painting Russians. if I move on to something else I will never finish the forces I need. There is only one problem, when do you really ever finish a range? Completing a range has never been truly defined by anyone.

3.  Terrain Boards. I would like to complete some terrain boards for 25mm gaming. I do get tired of the old cloth. I would like to try Gesso on insulation boards to see what I can do. The boards would be for 25mm Napoleonic gaming in Russia but wil lproably have multiple uses. The problem would be storage, but I need to work that out with the wife. I am moving her sewing room up to the duaghte's old bedroom.

4. Buy some support figures for the 25/28mm Napoleonics I want to fill the battlefield with things other than combat troops. Ammo wagons, civilians, field forge. mule train or apothecary wagon from Perry would be good. It is pricey but it really rounds out a collection. I would like to purchase a little each month from the Warstore.

5. Collect 25mm Old Glory Napoleonic Bavarians. I would like to play the 1st battle of Polotsk. Bavarians and supporting French taking on the Russians. it just appeals to me, I don't know why.

6. Start collecting 10mm Seven years war figures. I have the OOB for

Leuthen and Lobositz. I would like to start the collection after i get my Napoleonic collection in order. Preferably after the Bavarians are done.

Obstacles - Of course there are obstacles to my goals. I just need to figure out how to overcome them.

The first is the financial obstacle as 25's and 28's are more expensive than other ranges, even with an OG discount. How do you over come this...legally? If I buy a little each month it won't be so bad. Besides it keeps the back log down.

The second is that I am like any other gamer/collector; I have trouble staying on task. I am easily distracted by new figure ranges that look really nice. My son just notified me that he bought  some 15mm scifi figures from Rebel, so the distraction has already begun. I don't know how to overcome this obstacle as it is a hazard that come with the hobby.

The third is the lack of time.  I have little time to paint or play as life has a way of getting in the way. The summer is the worst of all as yard work and chores steal hobby time.How do you overcome something like this? I plan to let the house fall apart this year.

Well there it is, it will be interesting to look back from December to see what i actually accomplish. What are your 2013 goals? 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Stargate Playtest

Figures: 25mm Westwind and Phoenix
Rules: FUBAR
GM: Jim Carpenter

GAME 1 - Something Wicked This Way Comes
Our group has not played FUBAR before so we playtested 2 games. The first game involved 2 SG teams travelling to a distant planet previously unknown. Kyle and I each take a team. We read the one page rules and give it a try. Jim is running the opposing force and waited 5 years to get this game going.

SG1 and SG7 travelled through the gate and arrive in a brilliant flash of light. The teams descend the stairs.Oneal calls for a comms check, all seems ok. 

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The Stargate

The teams have come to a river. The area is very quiet and no sounds of life can be heard. Oneal calls for SG7 to go right and check out the rock formation.

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They see several figures shambling toward them. The teams prepare themselves for the unknown. The figures look odd in their movement as they steadily advance.

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SG1 with all the characters

Rustling can be heard in the distance. The first signs of life have been found. Soon the droning of groans and growls can be heard . "Sir I think this was a bad idea.....this is a dead planet." Oneal ponders and ecides to protect the Stargate and calls "We'll hold the line here SG7, its our only way home so we must protect the perimeter!....Over!"

Each squad has a person with a pistol, SMGs, and AR and grenades. The range of the pistol is 8", the SMG is 16", the AR is 24" so you need to be close to attack.

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Teal'c prepares a welcome....nice figure.

The teams prepare to fire from opposite sides of the ford. "Weapons are hot, prepare to fire!"


"Roger SG1...weapons hot....pick you targets"

We used zombies to get the game mechanics down. This allowed us to move squads about the field with little interference. The zombies were organized into groups and given Veteran status. Every hit was a potential casualty as we ignored suppressions for the horde. Zombies were given a save of 4+ for every hit on them as they are more difficult to bring down..

We also debated giving them the ability to move 6" without the need for activation. Hidden zombies would automatically activate when a figure moves within 6 inches.

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Groups of dead inhabitants emerge.
 Before the horde can make it to the river the steady sound of automatic weapons fire begins the grisly talley.

The squads fire across the river and start dropping the dead as they reach the far banks. Continuous fire stacks up the bodies quickly as we gave the zombies a save of 6. This was too high as no saves were made in the initial contact. We changed the save to a 4+.

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The crossing

As the last of the horde closed in they were dropped quickly by accurate fire. Oneill calls, "Cease fire, Cease fire.....We got them all....Lets get out of here!

This was a very quick game. The zombies did not last long and the game ended in about 45 minutes. The dead piled up in the river from the weapons fire. Allowing the 4+ save gave the dead a better survival but there was just too much fire power from the 2 squads who fired and moved back. We soon called the game due to lack of balance.

GAME 2 -The Jewel of Denial

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Phoenix figures and a Mayan from some other company Jim can't remember because he is getting old.
 I broke out my terrain that could be used with Jim's temple. We were glad to see how well the rock formations went with the temple. The Jaffar are from Phoenix and the Goa'uld is a mystery. They have light armor allowing a save of 5+, not great but better than most.

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The temple and the shiny rock
 The ancient temple houses a relic which is the objective of the SG teams and the DIA. Who will win the day?

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The jewel is on the altar and needs to be captured to win.
 A view from the stargate shows the temple in the background. This will be the entry point of both SG teams. The Goa'uld and the Jaffar

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A view from the Stargate to the temple

The SG team appears and can see the temple. It seems like a short distance but you need to activate to move, which is not a sure thing.

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With a flash the teams arrive

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Dramatic pose

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The view of the battle field
 The plan is for SG7 to go right while SG1 goes left. I win the initiative and activate SG7. They go through first and look for an ambush. I consider SG7 the red shirts of the game, my canon fodder if you will. The heroes of SG1 will then move in after all the hard work is done and take the glory.

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The Goa'uld, he is not a system lord yet, but the night is young
 Ok the plan goes awry on turn 1. SG7 appears and has to move to the right to take cover in the woods. SG1 fails to activate so they will be late to the party. SG7 advances deeper on the next activation and decides to work their way around the woods to the temple unseen.

On turn 2 SG1 arrives and must take cover quickly as a squad of Jaffar advance with their boom sticks. A firefight erupts and the Jaffar take casualties.

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SG1 is in cover and can not be seen.

SG1 gets suppressed in the process and continues to take fire. They shake off the suppression on the following turn and fire killing more Jaffar.

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SG1 is suppressed
 With SG1 suppressed and SG7 flanking the field another group of humans arrive. Its the DIA and they want the same objective. The DIA manage to gun down another squad of Jaffar and then negotiate the stream. The trade shots with the Goa'uld blocking the entrance and he is suppressed. SG7 takes the opportunity on a won intiative to gun down a heavy weapon outpost and dash to the temple.

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The DIA show up and they are looking for the jewel as well.
 The sprint is a 12" move and the team is not eligable to fire. Sg7 wins the move and just beats the DIA in a foot race to the temple. With guns drawn the DIA and SG7 stare each other down. A classic standoff as Oneill and the other overpaid members of SG1 are nowhere to be seen.

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A sprint to the stone.

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The DIA arrive...too late?

The leader of each team faces off in a brawl to decide the fate of the mission. The DIA sens out a hulking figure to take up the challenge. SG7 sends out their babe to beat some sense into the hulking brute. The combat was won in the first roll as the SG7 chic goes for the nads and takes out the man ape from the DIA.

Nobody saw that coming. Game over.

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Leaders face off....the Goa'uld lies there like a slug....his only defense.

The rules are fun and I will play them again with any modern/sci-fi game. The rules are free which is also great. I would use teams of 3 or 4 figures as rolling 12 dice seems like a lot in one attack. The short weapons range means you should have a terrain heavy board. Zombies are fun in these rules too but they should save on a 4+ to make it more challenging. We all had a blast and the rules are quick to learn. We did miss some details but it doesn't matter. A fun couple of games.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Merry Christmas to All

Game time has become scarce during the holidays as we spend less time on the hobby and more time with the family and friends. I still have a lot of shopping ahead of me.

To all you gamers, painters, sculptors, vendors, suppliers, hobbyists, collectors and bloggers here is to you!

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Washington Crossing

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Muskets and Tomahawks-First Game

Scale: 25mm
Rules Muskets and Tomahawks
Terrain: Lots of it
Figures: Conquest, Front Rank, etc....the usual suspects.

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The rules!

On Friday 12/14/12 we met to play and try out the rules for the first time, well for most anyway. We had a good turn out and the decision was made to divide the table into 2 games. After mulling about for a half hour and snacking we went over the rules and divided up teams. In my game I played the stalwart English and had 3 militia units and a unit of Indians. My team mate Jack took the Rangers and deployed out in front of the town.  Chris and Jim C. were the evil French and they divided irregulars and Indian forces that would attack the town. Our game was actually a scouting mission for the French and the British were defending. The French had to get figures in 6 different sectors on the table.

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Snacks to keep us healthy and strong
 Here you can see the size of the table. It was divided to accomodate the 8 players. A good way to keep everyone involved.

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Dave, Jim F, Joe D. and Eric...Tom is blocked by Dave

Players in game 2 make preparations, I should be paying attention rather than taking pictures but I am awestruck by the sheer spectacle of the games.

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Chris, Jim C and Jack study up on the rules, guess which one is a lawyer....go ahead guess
From the French side of the table. The use of cover would be needed to sneak up on the town to gain the advantage for the French. Would the British have enough troops to cover the entire approach? The terrain gives bonus defensive and line of sight modifications to dice rolls. Native really gain an advantage.

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The French will enter from the bottom of the picture and try to get to the village

Here is a shot of the terrain and figures from the other game. Another homestead to defend but I think the French are defending this time. Love the fences and fields.

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The second game is set up and the figures are ready to deploy

A close up of some of the natives being used in the battle. The Indians were given units of 6 to 8 figures. Fragile allies for sure but very deadly. They are hard to spot and harder to hit.

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Very colorful game, beautiful brush work

The Game Report

We began to go over the rules and they seemed very easy to learn. Every unit gets a single action on a card and you can move or fire or reload so you have to choose the action wisely. The exception is regular forces that get 2 actions on a card, but neither side had regulars in the game. There is a sighting chart with modifiers for terrain and weather conditions. Combat is based on a D6 with 4+ neded to hit and 4+ needed to kill and there are modifiers for range, cover and other factors.

In the opening moves we used markers until the sides could see one another. Some of them were dummy markers and some were actual troops. This made the game interesting as you did not know wehere the bulk of the enemy was until contact was made and each side shifted about to confuse the other. The markers began to be revealed as they were in LOS of one another.  The Rangers spotted some French allied natives and the show was open at that point.

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The field changes hands

The Rangers drew first blood and the natives had to take a morale check. They recoil and the natives temporarily fled to the woods. There was little time to rejoice as more French and Indians showed up. Then another unit of Rangers appeared to block the advance of the scouting parties.

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The fight in the field continues

The Rangers gained the advantage and feeling confident decided to advance into the field, a move they would soon regret. The French allied natives took advantage and began to flank the Rangers and inflicted casualties. The British forces were in danger and getting fire from the front and both flanks. The British militia was on the move and trying to get to the fight but they only move 4" per action.

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A foray into the field....look out on the right flank!

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Good God they are on the left flank too!

Then my British allied natives emerged from the woods to halt the French irregulars on our far left flank. This proved a mistake as natives gain advantages for woods and exposed my troops to lethal volleys. My small 6 man unit began to take fire. To add insult to injury I suffered a friendly fire event and lost one of my figures creating a morale check. This caused the natives to retire a move and lose one action for regrouping purposes.

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The Indians emerge from the woods....note the marker on the right representing another unseen unit....its actually a dummy marker.

The French units began to arrive in quick order and soon outnumbered the British. The French took up firing positions in the rocks, trees and fields. A fierce firefight ensued as both side took casualties. It is very difficult to see irregualrs and natives in the rocks, you have to be 8 inches away unless they fire and reveal their position.

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French irregulars and Natives dishing it out the the Brits.

Rangers begin to fall in the fields they were defending and soon fall back to the fence line. Where was that damn militia? The Rangers could not hold on forever. The French pressed the attack and emerged from the tree line. Rangers reloaded and dropped a few of the enemy. Then more Rangers fell from return fire as the cover could only protect them for so long.

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Leaving the fallen behind the survivors make for the fence line

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Natives allied to the French firing on the Rangers

With little fanfare the militia finally arrived to support the folding right flank of the British irregulars. The fire repulsed French aligned natives and secured the position. The French attack had stalled as British reinforcements arrived. When natives are in cover you need to roll a 6 to get a hit. When they are really dug into some difficult terrain you wound or kill them on a 5 or better after you hit them. It's harder than you think to roll high 2 times in a row.

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The militia arrive....................finally

A larger view from above reveals the struggle across the fields and woods of the frontier. The French are pressing hard to break through but not gaining any ground. The British at the bottom of the picture are holding defensive positions.

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The fight as seen from a UAV. The dead and dying strewn about the fields and woods.
 At this point in the game the French formed firing lines. An event card revealed one unit stumbled into a bear den and a unit took 2 casualties. A morale check resulted in the unit fleeing to the rear. Sorry there are no pictures of the bears as they are still on order from Ral Partha.

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Rangers and Militia in the rocks holding off the French advance

The French began to take casualties from fresh militia units bolstering the British line. After another turn we called the game. I think it would have been a closer game if we set the town in the center of the table. I would have liked to have seen how melee works with the rules. The entire game took about 3 hours and was very fun to play. The game moves faster than The Sword and the Flame is is just as fun. You do not need tons of figures and the game is very easy to learn. Look for a game at a convention if you want a fun time. I love the rules but the price is steep at $40. I think it is a worthwhile purchase.

Here are some pictures of the other game going on next to ours. Apologies for the lack of detail but I was involved in my game and unable to concentrate as to what was going on next to me.

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British regulars advance and get 2 actions per card.

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French regulars advancing through the fields to the battle in the woods.

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British/American homesteaders prepare to excersise their future 2nd Amendment rights.

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The regulars from both sides give and take volleys

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French Irregulars on the advance.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Bloodying the Nose AAR

I was reading up on Force on Force and decided to give the system a try for a WWII skirmish. Typically I use NUTS from 2 Hour Wargames to play skirmishes but I am trying to get more use out of Force on Force. I decided to run through some sscenarios from the scenario book Peiper at the Gates available from 2 Hour Wargames.I recommend the book if you want to run a skirmish campaign.

The scenario book is a campaign complee with special rules for different troops types and is written for the NUTS rules. Since FOF is also a skirmish rules set I thought the scenarios should transfer easily with little tweaking.

The first scenario is called "Bloodying the Nose"and it takes place on December 17, 1944 near Elsenborn Ridge Belgium. The scenario involves 2 US squads with some support from a Bazooka team and two .30 caliber machine gun teams against a German advance supported by armor. The US sets up by an old farm house and in the woods near the house. The Germans will enter from the board edge with most of the units coming through the woods. The scenario is unbalanced and heavily favors the Germans but it is the first day of the advance. The US is caught by  surprise so the Germans will have the initiative.

US infantry squads are located in the house, the small barn and in the woods. The bazooka team is covering the road and the MG teams are watching the flanks and set up in the woods. The Germans deploy infantry in the woods with armor advancing in a clearing. A squad of Pioneers is in the Hanomag and another assault squad trails behind the armor. Apparantly Peiper's armored columns are jammed up on the narrow roads and units are sent out to find another route. The Germans must exit the board  and the US must slow them down losing as little troops as possible. This is a solo game so I can playtest for balance and improve my understanding of the rules. I am using squads of 8-10 figures instead of smaller teams of 4-5 figures.

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US defensive positions

The US has a squad in the farm house which should be a good defensive position as it give 2 extra defensive dice. The Germans are actually starting off of the board but will enter through the woods. I decided to bring the STUG and Hanomag on the board on trurn 2.

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Germans start at the edge in the woods

The US infantry reacts first to the German move. The .30 cal MG team in the woods also fires but they roll poorly. They only score 1 hit on the German squad. The German morale is a D10 so they have no problem passing the morale check. They return fire with no effect. I now know that using large squads instead of smaller teams may be a mistake. I am rolling 10 dice at a time! As more German infantry arrives they win the combat round and beat the American reaction. They all but destroy the American HQ and .30 cal MG team. This is the effect of rolling lots of dice during attack as smaller teams don't stand much of a chance, even in cover.

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American HQ and gun team take casualties

On the second turn the US infantry in the farm house are holding on. The Germans maintain the initiative and decide to bring in the armor before activating infantry. The tank opens fire and pins the US, even though no casualties occurred the infantry must take a morale check if fired on by an attack greater than 4 dice. The German infantry and MG teams advance and fire on the pinned unit causing more casualties.

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A STUG arrives and pins the infantry

The Germans do lose a panzerscreck team and take another casualty from accurate fire from the house and MG team in the woods. The German infantry advances from the woods.

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The infantry emerges from the woods.

I took away the fast move abaility for infantry and armor. The snow conditions made movement slow and treacherous. Armor could only move 10 inches and infantry 6 inches.

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The open field gives no cover and the US gets an extra FP die as a result

The American bazooka team decided to take a shot. The infantry was taking heavy casualties so the tank had to be dealt with immediately. The Germans failed to react and the shot found its mark. One hit was scored and an 8 result on a D8 meant the STUG was immobilized. The attack is starting to bog down as infantry suppoerting the STUG began to take casualties. Another US squad reacted and gained the firing adavantage.

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Bazooka immobilizes the STUG....very lucky!

The .30 cal MG team was counted as a gun team and gets to roll 5 dice when firing. They received the cover bonus for the woods and remained static through the game.

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MG team gets extra FP dice for being a gun team

The second US squad did start to dish out casualties from the woods. They were a large squad and I think I will use smaller 4-5 man teams in the next game. 10 fire dice is just too much.

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Large unit of US infantry...I may change that to teams.

The Germans were able to neutralize the farmhouse, the shed and the MG team next to the shed. The Bazooka team was also taken out by the Hanomag which also held a squad of Pioneers. The US has to pull back at this point as there was only a squad and part of an MG team left.

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Farmhouse carnage

I did learn a lot about the rules. I typically play assymetric engagements and this is the first time playing regular troops for both sides. I would also use smaller teams insted of large squads. This scenario is unbalanced but it is the opening day of the Battle of the Bulge. I would also like to add armor in the next game I test. I like the rules and think they can be used at a convention. I will probabaly run a game at a future HMGS convention but limit the game to 4 players. I think 6 would be too difficult with all of the reactions.