Posts Tagged With: Guns of August

A Few Terrain Reviews

Due to a number of matters outside of our control, my usual group of gamers has been very inactive recently, and this has been reflected here on these pages.  I though as a change I might post a few little reviews of some terrain I have in most cases recently received. Even more so because I enjoy sharing excellent products and traders with others!

At this year’s Guns of August I decided that I was no longer satisfied with my scenery.  A few years ago I purchased a couple of yards of a green felt that I had intended to paint up as a ground cloth for Wings of War.  I never actually completed that painting, and instead, the cloth became destined for other purposes.  While it is no inexpensive craft store felt and a far better color than most felts it is still a large expanse of green with little variation.  With a lot of terrain feature placed upon it this is not such a problem, but at Guns I had a table mostly free of such things, and I was very disappointed with the result.

So, the first thing I looked at to improve matters was that cloth.  I could have broken the featureless expanse by airbrushing varies colors but I didn’t trust my artistic abilities.  Instead, I looked to two commercial sources.  These were Cigar Box Battle Store and Game Matz.

The club uses some of both of these fine products.  The Cigar  Box mats are beautifully painted cloth whereas the Game Matz are printed on heavyweight vinyl and many are photo realistic.  For various reasons I decided to purchase the Game Matz  Grassy Battlefield mat, though I do intend to purchase some Cigar Box Mats in the future.

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These mats are beautiful.  Some of you may have seen the Dark Forest mat by the same producer in many of my Pulp Alley posts.  Chris also owns a sea mat.  All of these are excellent quality, durable and waterproof.  They are too stiff to drape over terrain, so any hills or mountains have to be fully flocked and placed on top.

I have been relying on roads by Ricks Scenics and am very pleased with them, but recently need double the amount I had available.  This became a challenge because the company is no more.  Flying Pig Terrain took over production but they now are on hiatus!

I needed a lot of roads, wanted them to look good but didn’t want to spend a lot of money since I have already a good deal of rather expensive Ric Scenic Cobblestones!  Fleabay and War World Scenics to the rescue.

These roads were a very good price even with shipping from England.  They are not all a perfect match to each other color wise but they are far closer looking in person than the above pictures would suggest.  The appear to be a material very similar to roofing tiles but much thinner (at least thinner to those in the United States) with nicely flocked edges.  I bought two sets, one was simply straights and the other a bunch of useful pieces (smaller straights, turns, intersections, etc.).  These are very flexible, nice looking and will play the part of any metalled or asphalt roads I need, leaving my Ric Scenics for cobblestone and dirt roads.  I will be buying some more of these as I need a slip the other direction and I would like to cut some of the turns and straights to give me more choices.

While looking for these roads I stumbled on some beautiful hedges.  I wasn’t in the market for these, but hedges are always useful.

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These also were on Fleabay, sold by Treefella1.  For about $4o USD I received over 200 inches of hedges! I have no idea what material is giving these their bulk, but they are flocked and based upon cardstock.  The gates are very nice.

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Very pleased with these.  They did take a while to get here, and I am concerned about how durable they might be (the box it filled with flocking that has already come off) but I am far from disappointed.  These were far less money than equal quality products I have seen elsewhere, well worth the wait and I can reflock them if they ever need it!  i don’t see how I will ever need any more hedges!

The next items are NOT new, but I decided to add them as I am so very pleased with them

First, Hotz Mats fields.

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These are made in two different scale sizes, mine are the 20mm to 30mm set.  They are just felt with flocking in rows but make some of the sweetest plowed fields I have ever seen.  His sets in this scale come with four in various sizes and they are available in two different “seasons”.  His delivery times can sometimes be slow, but the product is inexpensive and worth the wait. $13 USD for a set at the time of posting.

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They do only come in squares and rectangles but one could easily purchase an extra set to cut up to form triangular pieces to make the squares fit into odd shaped areas.  These are completely flexible and lay flat.

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Just a few shots with some vehicles and a Charlie Foxtrot house to show all of these elements together.

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Cheers untill next time,

Ron

 

 

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Categories: Charlie Foxtrot Models, Game Matz, Hotz Mats, Review, Terrain, Uncategorized, War World Scenics, Wargaming | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reckoning for Lone Rock, A Pulp Alley Adventure!

Yesterday afternoon found me off enjoying my local convention, guns of August, where I ran a Pulp Alley game of wild West Cowboy Action!  This is the first time I have used Pulp Alley for a cowboy skirmish.

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I decided to use the Crime Spree adventure in the Vice Alley campaign book.  This is of course designed for 1930s gangsters, but one of the greatest aspects of Pulp Alley is how easy it is to do whatever you want with it.  Because I was playing at a convention I decided to allow 6 leagues (and therefore 6 players) rather than the usual maximum of four.  Because I was allowing six players I decided to allow a larger playing area as well.  Pulo alley is usually played out of a 3″x3″ table, but I decided to use a full 6″x4″.

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I can’t really give as much detail as I might like in an AAR.  The number of inexperienced players, the tight quarters of the gaming hall, and the roar of the fans trying so hard to cool the hot air all conspired against me for properly documenting the game.  I often wasn’t really sure what was happening myself.  Another great advantage of these rules is that while they can be difficult to explain, they are very easy to learn.  Very quickly the players were able to help themselves very ably.  This allowed me to prepare for another game I was planning on running directly after this one. Similarly, I had only a small number of photos to use here.  Many of these, most of the non-antiqued ones were taken by one of the players

Similarly, I had only a small number of photos to use here.  Many of these, most of the non-antiqued ones were taken by one of the players

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Again, borrowing from the notion of Vice Alley, all of my leagues were intended to be classed as criminal or vigilante.  The leagues consisted of El Guapo and his banditos, The McBroom gang, Marshall Harris and the Pinkertons, Sheriff Silas and his Posse and of course Preacher Harris and his Evangelical Vigilante Suffragettes.  I had planned a sixth league which of cowboys but I ended up with just the five players, that’s fine.  I think in the environment we were ibn even five was probably too many.

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The plot points consisted of Major Plot point:  An active Bank Robbery

Minor Plot Points: A witness

An assault

A burglary attempt

An informant

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The game was a lot of fun.  Some of my players had no experience with gaming at all let alone with Pulp Alley, and two were children ( though one of those was probably getting close to adulthood).

Categories: Convention, Pulp, pulp alley, Uncategorized, Wild West Skirmish, Williamsburg Legati | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

War of the Roses and Sharp Practice 2

So a project that I have been working on for some time now has been a War of the Roses game using Sharp Practice.  The original idea for this comes from Pat’s blog Wargaming With Silver Whistle. The Idea was later added to the Too Fat Lardies’ Summer Special 2013. This excellent article with it’s inspiring photographs and the availability of The Perry Brother’s figures certainly called out to me, and I started to build for it.

So I began to buy figures and build, soon I learned that my local wargame show Guns of August,  intended to have a medieval theme.  The die was cast.  Only one problem, Sharp Practice 2 was released…

Obviously, I could have left matters alone and used the old rules, but I decided to revise the old Of All Base Passions  to version 2.  this I have done with no permissions requested or granted so apologies to all concerned parties.

 

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Yorkist Troops Approaching Greenstead from the east

In a similarly unoriginal fashion, the scenario I ran was also from the Silver Whistle blog.  This is a pretty simple scenario.  Completely equal forces approaching an uncontrolled town and the opposing Lords territories.

 

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Yorkists crossing the Bridge

 

 

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Lancastrian Forces approaching from the West

 

 

From the start, luck smiled upon the Yorkists.  Both the command cards and the dice luck seemed to smile upon them.  Actually so did the terrain.  There was a walled field that should have been placed a few inches further to the west.  Its location ended up giving the Yorkist forces a real advantage,

 

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Yorkist Archers Take the Field

I should have placed this field with its center equal to the Town’s main entrance.  Doing so would have been fairer.  This error allowed the Yorkist to take the wall and in the following archery duel, they would not have had such an advantage over their enemy.  The Archers in formation began a long range duel with one another, but with the Yorkists in cover and the Lancastrians exposed the former were slowly getting the worst of it.

 

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Yorkist Billmen Make Their Way to the Side Gate

Oddly, neither Lord realized at first that the walled town had gates on the sides.  Upon this epiphany both sent forces towards those weaker entrances.  The bad luck with command cards, and with their dice for movement prevented the Lancastrians from reaching theirs.

 

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Billmen Break Down the Eastern Gate!

Not so the Yorkists.  After just a few turns they broke through the wall and quickly dealt with the weak defense of the townspeople.  Gisborne, the Town’s mayor was still getting his forces together.

 

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The Lancasters   Reconsider Their Targets

 

The Lancaster Archers realize the weak position but also notice that the enemy’s Men of Arms have been approaching the Town’s front gate and are well in short range.  This proves wise, and while little blood is spilled the foot knights find themselves becoming a little shaken.

 

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Grand Melee!

Seeing that the Yorkist knights are close to having excessive shock, the Tudor commander ordered his billmen to close with them.  While the idea had merit, it failed to recognize the differing quality of the troops involved as well as the armor advantage of the knights.  As would be expected by their Noble Liege, the men at arms suffered very little from the scrape. They were forced to withdraw having received some small addition to their shock, but they lost only one man to the Lancastrian loss of 5.  Not only were the forced back by losing the fight by four, but they were now broken as well.  they routed back from whence they came with a tremendous amount of excessive shock.  The problem is this took them right through a group of their archers with enough excessive shock that they two now were broken.  The Lancastrian luck continued to plummet when an enemy arrow pierced the armor or the Lancastrian’s second in command.  He fell dead.  In a frighteningly quick fashion, the Lancastrian force morale total went from 10 to 3.  Lord Oxford was forced to order his men to pull back fearful that otherwise, they would simply rout.  The only good luck he had was when a random event (and perhaps the Yorkist soldiers breaking through the gates) caused Master Gisborne to place himself and the townspeople under the protection of the Lancastrians.

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So, in the end, I had decided to not make use of deployment points but rather to follow the original idea of marching forces into the game.  Partly I reached this decision due to the scenario predating the new rules and partly because I don’t imagine this period to be one of great stealth.  This was an error, however.  Far too long was spent getting the troops into action.  In fact, oddly the fight went march,  march,  march, shoot a little, charge and then suddenly it was over.  I am also not convinced that there may not be a better way to do armor.  Presently it is a saving throw, but as all hits already have a saving throw for cover it seems redundant and the game starts to feel a little like a Warhammer.  More thought may be necessary there.

 

Cheers,

Ron

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Convention, Sharp Practice, Too Fat Lardies, Uncategorized, War of the Roses, Wargaming, Williamsburg Legati | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Guns of August

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August 20-23 marked the return of local wargaming convention, Guns of August.  This local show is one of two put on by ODMS here in Williamsburg every year.  Usually there are about 200 people in Attendence and soon the venue will be changing to allow for continued growth.

I was slated to run a Sharp Practice game on Friday night, but had to cancel due to difficulties getting home from New Hampshire on a work related trip.  While that game didn’t happen I did take the time to run a add on Chain of Command game Saturday afternoon.

The game was a Fall of France game, set in May of 1940.  Having nothing special prepared, I simply rolled for a scenario following the procedures suggested in the rules.  One challenge was that I was missing my 1940 army lists which were not properly put away after Historicon.  Because of this annoyance I was forced to organize my troops as per memory and I had no idea what the proper support costs were.  I ran the game a s a probe, and decided to give the Germans the use of a Panzer II and the french a 25mm Antitank gun to counter it with,

My players were two old friends of mine, Alfred and Malcolm.  Alfred decided to play Germans and so Malcolm took command of the French.

The French suffered a bit from their patrol phase.  One challenge to Chain of Command is the learning curve attached to the patrol phase.  This phase represents the pre-battle reconnaissance of the forces involved but it is a game unto itself.  it is also pretty much exclusively a Too Fat Lardies concept and therefore unfamiliar to most players.  Very often it will take a players few games to understand the importance of the phase and how to use it tactically.  this does give an advantage to the player more familiar with the ruleset.  I think at conventions I need to get more proactive in helping new players through this bit.  the French therefore found themselves with most of their jump off markers trapped rater close together and far back, behind a stone wall to the rear of the table.  one was forward in the central farmhouse.

The French did take the very strong defensive position in that central farmhouse.  A German squad aggressively approached it to just out of Close combat range.  Their Junior Leader ordered two potato mashers lobbed into the house, but they missed the window and skitted of harmlessly.

Germans advance on the Farmhouse

Germans advance on the Farmhouse

Well almost harmlessly.  Oddly enough this aggression seemed to frighten the Poilus inside and the immediately were ordered to retreat and fall back to the cover of the stone wall that ran parallel the length of the southern table edge.  this action proved disastrous, as it meant crossing an open area in cross fire to get to that cover. The Frenchmen took serious casualties and their eventually broke and fled, causing serious loss to the French Force Morale, not to mention represent a third of their force already gone.

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Frenchmen in position behind stone wall

After this point the French settled into a static defense of the rear wall and the game turned into a long drawn out exchange of small fire.  Never the best course of action in a Chain of Command game and certainly not one when opposing a larger force also in defensive positions.

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More of the same

Either from confusion or unlucky  command dice rolls, the French command was slow to deploy his brigaded Rifle Grenades which can be devastatingly useful.  The Germans never deployed their Panzer II, and because of that the French also waited to deploy their AT gun, which may have proven helpful against the infantry onslaught as well.

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German squad takes cover in destroyed farm house opposite the French held wall

Eventually attrition did it’s bit.  The French position slowly collapsed due to casualties, shock, and dwindling Force Morale.  Just in the nick of time for me OI might add, as I was scheduled to run the Battle for Lake Tanganyika directly thereafter!

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The French Line

THE BATTLE FOR LAKE TAGANYKA

 This was the second time I ran this battle, but this was the reason it was created.  My club, The Williamsburg Legati, are commemorating the 100 year anniversary of World War One by sponsoring themed games at both Williamsburg Muster and Guns of August over the next few years.  Some of these are the major actions and other, like this one, or more unusual situations.

This battle was actually made up of a few encounters fought between December of 1915 and February of 1916 on the world’s second largest and second deepest freshwater lake in the world.  involving elements of the British Royal Navy,  Belgian Congo’s Force Publique, and Imperial Germany’s Kaiserlich Marine.

Basically, the Germans held complete naval superiority of the lake this with small ship and a couple of boats.  The British decided to challenge this by transporting two 30 foot motor boats through the Congo.  A crazy and arduous adventure on its own.  Command for this mission was given to an eccentric British Naval administrator Geoffrey Spicer Simpson.

For the game I combined what were in reality two separate actions, to allow the Germans the use of both their boats instead of letting the British attack them piecemeal as happened in reality.  The game was played in 28mm with most of the vessels built by myself with the exception of the British vessels the Mimi and the Toutou.  These are Old Glory castings.  the rules used were TVAGs Boilers and Breechloaders.  A little bit of adjustment had to be made for the two British ships (which are both petrol boats not covered by the period or rules).  The vessels are also over armed by the rules,, but I followed the history.  That might have been an error.  Having run this twice I am pretty sure that the points are not equal, giving far to strong an advantage to the British/ Belgian coalition.  If I ever do this again I will need to make some changes.

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The Congolese ex torpedo boat Netta, with Mimi and Toutou in the background

Boilers and Breechloaders is a card driven activation system.  this proved disastrous for the Germans.  Over and over again they were losing initiative to the Brits.  Besides that factor, the Kingani’s captain had horrible dice luck.  he was successfully avoiding any critical damage but is shots kept missing their target, and his 6 pounder was the largest of the German guns.  Furthermore an incredibly lucky British first shot left hedwig’s main gun crew disabled!

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The German Squadron, Kingani and Hedwigg Von Wissman

Damage was being done to the British boats.  One more hit on either would have seen them destroyed, but the Germans lost the ability to strike.  Kingani was taking on water, her speed reduced and constant machine gun fire eventually left the Hedwig bereft of her crew.

I like to report that all players had a good time, but not on this occasion.  At least one of the Germans was displeased.  I do think this game has some balancing issues, which I had warned when I begun, but it really was more luck that hurt the Germans than anything else.  I may run this on one more occasion, or maybe not.  The theme for Williamsburg Muster is Naval and the second battle did happen in February 1916 (Muster is in February).  if I do, I will either use different rules, modified rules or leave the Belgian ships out.

Categories: africa, Boilers and breechloaders, Chain of Command, Convention, Sharp Practice, The Virtual armchair general, Too Fat Lardies, Wargaming, Williamsburg Legati, Williamsburg Muster, world war I, World War II, world war one, wwii world war two normandy buildings mdf | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Friday Evening, Guns of August 2014

Tonight was the first night of Guns of August 2014.  Guns is a local Williamsburg convention for historic wargaming though a few Science Fiction games are usually present as well.  Not to mention Gnome wars.  When I asked one of the organizers about the average attendance I was only told that 300 was the largest.  I would image that the usual participation is probable somewhere between 200 and 300. GoA is hosted by the Hampton Roads Wargamers who hold a similar though slightly better attended convention in February, Williamsburg Muster.

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This evening I ran “Kellogg’s Rifles” which was basically “Fondler’s Rifles” from the Compleat Fondler, published by Too Fat Lardies.  I altered the Characters and their names, as well as replacing the 95th rifles with the lesser known 60th, the Royal Americans.

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I had decided early on to play the scenario with a maximum of four players.  The idea being that two would play the British Big Men (Kellogg and Hoffman) and the others would play the French.  This was a less than perfect answer because for those readers unfamiliar with the tale, most of the French big men do not arrive until the fourth blank card.

My players were Brian and Gray playing the French and Peter and Malcolm playing the Riflemen.  All of the players except Brian are people I have known for a while.  Two of them were somewhat familiar with the game.   Gray had played a few time before, not as much as he would have preferred.  Brian had only played solo games at home.  He mad it very clear that I was looking forward to playing.

The scenario begins with the rifles running from an ambush by the dragoons and seeking cover at a small Spanish farm.  After getting a head start of two moves, the French dragoons came chasing behind them.  French Sergeant Martin brought his two groups in formation onto the field and began to wheel towards the British Sergeant Hoffman’s men who were making there way to the cover of a stone wall.  Unfortunately for the French this gave their flank to the two groups of Rifles taking cover in the broken ground of the hills north of the farm.

Hoffman's men running for cover

Hoffman’s men running for cover

Martin did his best to maintain order and to drive his men forward, but as a status I big man he lacked the initiative necessary for the cross fire he found himself in.  Not to mention s number of turns in a row that ended before they began thanks to the unlikely repeat early appearance of the Tiffin card.  Martin was forced to withdraw and even though I was charitable and allowed him to try to regain the bottle of his men while OFF the table, the Rifles made their way safely to Corunna long before the pother French men even arrived!

Rifle men in the rocks

Rifle men in the rocks

The game lasted about an hour and a half and all the players enjoyed it.  Even Gray whose big man hadn’t even made it to the table!  As we were slotted for more time, and no one was going to be using the table we all decided to play again.  For the second game however we made some alterations.  I raised Martin’s status to 2 so that he would not be so flat footed, and we decided to shorten the arrival time of the other French dragoons to three rather than four.  Peter and Malcolm switched the big men the were playing around, but the french players stayed as they were.

Peter and his command

Peter and his command

For the second game the French decided to come on the table dismounted.  They also came in separately rather than as a formation.  While this change of tactics was an improvement for them ( they did do more casualties to the British than in the first game) still things seemed to be working against them and again they were driven from the table and again I allowed them to try to regain their composure off table.

As in the first game, the British smelling victory began to move forward to the road to Corruna and safety, but here things changed.  Col Laurent arrived attached to 3 groups of Dragoons under the direct command of Captain St. Pierre.  The French Colonel raced one of these groups through the snow towards Hoffman’s men hunkered down behind their stone wall.  The French charge struck home but the brave Rifles proved victorious and sent the Frenchmen reeling backwards again off the table.

Hoffman's Rifles celebrating their victory!

Hoffman’s Rifles celebrating their victory!

Things were not going so well on the other flank however.  The riflemen who had made their rush to the road to Corunna now found themselves being charged by Capt. St. Pierre and another group of Dragoons.

Unexpected Dragoons!

Unexpected Dragoons!

Taken completely by surprise Kellogg ran with his men, who retreated back to the cover of the rocky hill before the charge could reach them.  Regaining himself he steadied the men and moved back to do the same for his reserves.  The timing was disastrous.  As he left the forward group the dragoons dismounted and charged this time on foot into fisticuffs.

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Sergeant Armistead and his Dragoons in fisticuffs with the leaderless rifles

Finally, Sargent Martin had cajoled his men back into order and they returned to the field.  Sargent Armistead continuing charging after the retreating rifles.

Second Dragoon charge

Second Dragoon charge

Kellogg’s two groups by now had suffered so much punishment that they fled the field, disordered into the countryside.  Hoffman’s men still held their own and were in good condition, but it was clear that they could not long hold out on their own.  they retired from the field in good order.

Overall everyone had a jolly good time and Peter has suggest that our club (Peter and I are both members of the Williamsburg Legati) should play it at the club.

Myself and my players as well as some of their children who just didn't want to miss out on the photo

Myself and my players as well as some of their children who just didn’t want to miss out on the photo

Tomorrow it’s Chain of Command.

 

Cheers,

Ron

 

Categories: Convention, Napoleonic Wars, Sharp Practice, Too Fat Lardies, Uncategorized, Williamsburg Legati | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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