Monday, 22 May 2017

WW2 Naval Campaign for 6x6 Challenge

Planning for my next 6x6 challenge has progressed and is ready to start. I am using the WW2 Naval rules by Panzer8 which I originally downloaded a while back. The site has sadly since disappeared, but the rules can still be found in an archive here. The rules come with a solo mechanism which I intend to try out.

The campaign is loosely based upon the destruction the German battlecruiser Scharnhorst. In the campaign we have Blue force trying to protect the convoy lanes from surface attacks by Grey force's battlecruiser supported by three destroyers.

Grey Force 1 - battlecruiser
Grey Force 2 - light cruiser and two destroyers
The campaign is set up for solo play with the raiding (Grey) force's movement being determined by dice. The aim is for the player of blue force (me) to stop any raids on the convoy lanes and sink the raiding force.

The weather will play a significant part in the campaign and any engagements that occur on the tabletop.

Grey force ships move towards convoy lines. Roll dice on a 1,2 move left diagonally, 3,4 straight ahead, and 5,6 right diagonally. Once they reach the top of the map they start their return journey towards the coast using the same approach with dice rolling, instead just going in the opposite direction.

Grey force moves as one until stormy weather, then they roll separately for their moves. When the weather is not stormy the destroyers will move to rejoin their battlecruiser if in an adjacent square. If not adjacent, they continue to roll separately for movement.

If grey disengage after an engagement, they roll for movement as before, but the direction they head is towards the coast. If they are not reengaged, then they will continue to move back towards the  convoy lanes.

If there is a sea battle in the air cover zones near the coast. Grey forces get the benefit of 3 air plane sorties from the coast.

Blue Force 3 - battleship and cruiser
Blue Force 4 - destroyer and two corvettes
Blue Force 1 - cruiser and light cruiser
Blue Force 2 - destroyer and two corvettes

Blue ships movement is controlled by the player. However, there are two constraints on Blue's movement.

  1. When the weather is stormy, Blue force's ships must roll a dice to move. On a 5 or 6 they may move, otherwise they remain in position searching for a target.
  2. When any Grey ships of any kind are in the convoy lanes, Blue ships must move towards and engage the closest Grey ships.

Steps for a campaign move:

  1. Roll for weather. 1=Clear Conditions, 2,3,4=Poor Conditions, and 5,6=Stormy Conditions
  2. Blue force movement
  3. Grey force movement
  4. If opposing forces are in the same square they do battle

Campaign starting positions
Determining victory - Grey gets 1 point for each force they get to the top of the map and Blue gets 1 point for each of the Grey forces they eliminate.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Grid-Based SciFi Rules

This last week I have spent in Wellington (NZ) to see my son's graduation and catch up with family and friends. The hours spent flying between Melbourne and Wellington has allowed me to work through some grid-based Sci-Fi rules I have been messing around with over the last month or two.

One of the earlier test games
The rules include the activation mechanism I started to play around with back in early April. (Post link here.) Writing up the combat/shooting mechanism was the last part of the rules puzzle required and the time on a plane allowed me to pull together all my notes and scribbles.

Yesterday and today I have spent taking photos to support the rules, which are now on a tab above or click here.

Also, while away I was also able to come up with a solo approach for a WW2 naval campaign based upon the book "Destroy the Scharnhorst" which I mentioned in my last post. I will be using some of my scratch built generic WW2 fleet. They are all made from balsa wood, tacks, and plastic dowels.

All models together
Very basic approach to scratch building with guns stuck flat
The different model heights achieved through layering balsa wood
A few years back I needed a few ships to play Panzer8 WW2 naval rules and just go carried away making the models until my stock of balsa wood ran out.


Sunday, 14 May 2017

Planning, painting and rules

One of the 6x6 challenge games I am planning to play uses WW2 naval rules by Panzer8 (which were based upon some free Minden WW1 naval rules). I had originally picked these rules as they would provide quick games if I was struggling to get sufficient games in.

To make the 6 games a bit more interesting I am thinking a mini-campaign should help. To help me get some ideas for the campaign I am about to read "Destroy the Scharnhorst" an adaptation from "The Battle of the North Cape" by Lt-Commander Michael Ogden, R.N.. I picked this little book up  in a secondhand book store some time ago and it was tucked away in the corner of a bookshelf waiting to be read.

Old and battered secondhand with yellowing pages
On the painting front I was able to complete another 19th century imagi-nations cavalry unit. Green stuff was used to help form the hats and disguise the fact that they are ACW cavalry. The rest of the figure remains unmodified other than painting.



My remaining time over the weekend was spent doing what I thought would be some final tweaks to the Sci-Fi rules I have been working on. Except as I progressed through a couple of trials games, I soon found the tweaking became a reworking of the combat rules. Both frustrating and interesting at the same time.

Sci-Fi game testing out new rule mechanisms


Thursday, 11 May 2017

Scratch building Gabions

To add some defence works to my 19th Century armies I decided I would have a go at scratch building some Gabions. Here are the photos of the steps.

Materials used - dowel and a flyscreen repair kit
Cut the flyscreen repair material to size (which has a sticky side) and wrap around the dowel.
Cut off the end bit which has been wrapped
First Gabion completed 
Once a few Gabions have been made they are glued together on a stand
Add some small stones to the tops of the Gabions
Cover with PVA glue
Once the PVA glue is dry they are painted with a dark brown 
Dry brush the Gabions with a light grey and a mid-brown on the tops
Ready for a varnish
In use
Meanwhile in the background while the glue and paint dries I have been playing one or two 19th Century games. The shape-eyed will notice I am trying to game using a grid tabletop. I am presently I flip-flopping between liking the grid for its speed of play and the aesthetics of free movement and measuring and not having a very regimented looking tabletop.

A game in progress


Sunday, 7 May 2017

19th Century Rules Written Up

I continue with painting the final units of my 19th century imagi-nation armies. By the end of this weekend I will have completed a couple of additional artillery units to add to the infantry unit completed during the week. This will leave only two infantry and two cavalry unit to finish.

Painting continues
I was able to salvage to artillery pieces from the various bit I had left over which have not broken over the years (brittle plastic has been an issue with these old miniatures). They are in the photo with a combination of grey, red and brown pieces.

To complete the 19th century project, I have continued to work on some home grown rules very much based and inspired on One-Hour Wargaming and 19th Century Wargaming both by Neil Thomas.

Initially I started with the rules using a 6" gridded tabletop, but have since switched to measuring movement and shooting. I cannot put my finger on why I prefer pushing around these miniatures with a measuring stick rather than using a grid, but I do.

So for those of you who are interested in the rule variations, I have written up the rules on a page link above.

Monday, 1 May 2017

6x6 Gaming Challenge - Progress in April


As we have reached the end of another month. My progress in the six-by-six wargaming challenge (setup by Kaptain Kobold) slowed to only two games. The aim of the challenge is to play, and record in a post, at least six individual games of each of your chosen six rules or boardgames over 12 months.

6x6 challenge progress to date:
  • One Hour Wargames (Tank-on-Tank) SciFi Variant - 6 games completed in February
  • Dark Ages with Dux Bellorum (Osprey) - 6 games completed in January using paper armies
  • WW2 Naval (Pz8 rules) - not yet started.
  • WW1 OHW - not yet started.
  • Galleys and Galleons (Ganesha Games) - purchased "Wargame the Spanish Armada 1588" by Peter Dennis for the paper models. 2 games played.
  • Hundred Years War using Lion Rampant (Osprey) - 6 games completed as part of a series of campaign games. While the challenge was completed, I continued with the campaign which ended with game 10.
Part of the slowdown in April was due to working through some Sci-Fi rules and the resulting test games. These rules are now written up and just need some example photos added before being posted.
Sci-Fi Game in progress
A second distraction was the on-going painting of my 19th Century armies. Two-thirds of the units are painted, enough to start with some gaming.

Imagi-Nations game in progress

Saturday, 29 April 2017

First game using 19th Century armies

I am now at the stage of having competed enough units of my Imagi-Nations armies to have a game. This will also help determine how many more unit I will need to complete. Both armies stand at 4 infantry units, 2 skirmish units, 1 dragoon unit, 2 cavalry units and 2 artillery units.

Start of my first test game
From the other side of the tabletop
When starting this project back in February I was unsure whether to use a grid or not. I had based up the units so a gridded game was an option. So with this first game I chose to go with a grid after laying out all the units to see how they fitted and looked on the tabletop.

Two columns on the move
For the rules I chose to use Neil Thomas' Rifle and Sabre rules from One-Hour Wargames as a starting rule set with a few modifications. Quite the usual starting point for most of the rules I use. I like the simplicity and additional rules can be easily added.

For a number of the variations Neil Thomas' 19th Century Wargaming book was the source of inspiration.

Columns advance towards the opposition
On the other flank
As the game progressed a few rule mechanisms were left by the wayside and other took their place. I now need to write up these modifications before I forget which of them worked and which did not. I ended the game early and will try a replay with a written up rules again this weekend. So while the rules are still in a flux, it was still a joy to get these old figures onto the tabletop.

All the models in these pictures are old Spencer-Smith plastic figures. Mostly ACW with a few Napoleonic lancers throw in. Conversions have been limited to trimming hats and adding the feathers using green-stuff to confederate infantry and cavalry models.

The advancing columns meet head on
Battle lines are drawn as reserves start to arrive
From playing this test game (admittedly with some work in progress rules) I think a few more units are going to be required when I start devising a campaign. I will want to be able to field forces with different make ups. So I plan to add to each side: 2 more infantry units, 1 more cavalry unit and 1 artillery unit. This will give me two armies of:

  • 6 infantry units
  • 2 skirmish units
  • 1 dragoon unit
  • 3 cavalry units
  • 3 artillery units

I am expecting to field between 8 to 12 units in a game on a 6x4 foot tabletop. More than 12 and the tabletop can get over crowed with units, and the whole game can turn into a bit of a boring slog.



Tuesday, 25 April 2017

A mixed weekend of gaming, rules, conversions and painting

I ran out of time to do a post this past weekend. I was happily playing some test games to help finalise some Sci-Fi rule changes before writing up my notes. At the same time while pondering the rules I continued to paint up the 19th Century Imagi-Nations units, and also tried out a couple of conversions for a future Napoleonic project.

Imagi-Nation Painting
The painting of my Imagi-Nation units continues with one more infantry unit completed and a unit of dragoons on the painting table close to completion. In the next week (or two) I hope to start playing a game using rules based around Neil Thomas' One-Hour Wargames and Wargaming 19th Century rules.

Infantry in line

Sci-Fi Rules and Games
A few weeks back I posted about the activation approach I am using with these rules (link). With the activation mechanism settled, this weekend was spent trying to work out the combat rule mechanism.
  1. The attacking unit selects the weapon type best suited for the attack. This represents the primary weapon used by the unit in an attack. (Units can carry multiple weapons.)
  2. Roll the number of dice for the attack dependent upon the weapon and type of target. The more powerful the weapon or suitability against the target the more D6 are rolled.
  3. Select the highest scoring D6
  4. Subtract the units armour value (AV) from the highest score. Any remaining value is the number of hits a unit has taken. Lightly armoured troops have an armour value of 2 and heavily armoured troops (and vehicles) have an armour value of 4.
  5. Remove models from troop units or place damage markers on non-troop (vehicle) units.

When an attack is declared the defending unit can, if in a terrain square, choose to take cover and use the terrain cover value for it’s armour value. (Soft cover is AV=3 and hard cover AV=4.) 
The downside of taking cover is the unit becomes pinned and will need to use a move action to remove it. 
I did consider adding 1 to the armour value, but prefer this approach as it forces a decision to take cover. As a solo gamer this adds to my involvement in the game by causing me to make decisions (do I reduce casualties at the expense of movement in the following turn?)
As can be seen from the armour value the most hits on a lightly armoured unit (AV=2) is 4 with a roll of 6, and for a heavily armoured unit (AV=4) 2 hits would be sustained. Units have a maximum of 5 models or 5 hits for non-troop units (vehicles or big monsters).
W40K Tyranid forces attack Space Marines
Lightly armoured Tyranid units use cover to advance
As I write this post I am halfway through writing up the rules. I hope to post them with some example pictures to help with explanations next week.

Future Napoleonic Project
As I get closer to finishing my 19th Century armies I will have a number of ACW figures remaining. If I convert these and combine with some plastic Napoleonic Spencer-Smiths, I should be able to field two forces (a mix of cavalry, artillery an infantry) for some One-Hour Wargaming style games with units on single bases.

French Line Infantry - formerly ACW 
Green stuff used to create the shako - the only modification
I will be painting them to represent (as best as possible) campaign style uniforms. These are simple figures with few details so the campaign style dress is the best fit and will be quicker to paint.

Basing will be 3x4 inches

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Paper ships for next 6x6 gaming challenge - games 1 and 2

With a few paper ships made it was time to play a couple of games using the Galleys and Galleons by Ganesha games, which is my next 6x6 gaming challenge. I played two games, the first one with my daughter who was visiting over Easter and was kind enough to offer to play,  and the second was a solo game.

Spanish Galleons
English Galleons
The first game was a bit of a hoot as both players tried getting to grips with the sailing rule mechanics of the game. Some missed activations saw one of Spanish galleons merrily sailing off the board.  The remaining Galleons fought  it out with the English who suffered badly after a successful boarding action and some excellent broadsides by the remaining Spanish galleon. A win to the Spanish and my daughter who was delighted to have won.

Game 1 - only one photo was taken of the game itself
Looking up and remembering the multiple special rules was quite frustrating in the first game. So for the second game I converted these various special rules into some galleon statistics. So rather than just quality and combat, I had quality, shooting value, boarding value, and defence value. This helped speed up the combat quite significantly in the second game.

Start of the second game
Spanish galleons split by the reef.
A successful boarding action by the Spanish
A second Spanish win
By the end of the second game, a second Spanish victory, I had certainly come to grips with the basic rules. I liked the activation approach which works very effectively as the galleons manoeuvre to try and gain the advantage over their opposite number. The effects of combat also get factored into the activation process and the level of risk you want to take when rolling for successful actions.