Thursday, 28 April 2016

WW2 gaming and additional rules

I have been able to get a couple of WW2 games in this week using a 4' by 4' playing surface. One game being with my son who is visiting who picked up the rules very quickly being based on a One-Hour Wargaming format.

One area of the rules I am looking at is introducing Forward Observation Officers attached to light Reconnaissance units and improve the chances of hits with indirect artillery fire. The reason for considering this is to create a greater variation between some of the units and their roles in the game. Presently there is not much difference between an infantry unit and a reconnaissance unit other than movement allowance. With the ability to direct artillery fire and not be penalised for indirect fire, Reconnaissance units also have reduced fire power to provide some balance.

So light Reconnaissance units when observing for indirect fire do not minus 1, and their attack values are 5+ against infantry and guns, with no ability to attack tank units. I have yet to update the rules as I want to get a few more games completed using these rules (see page tab above).

Early stages of a game
A couple of units and pillbox started at the weekend have now been finished off.

Pillbox made from balsa wood 
A couple of motorised British units

Monday, 25 April 2016

WW2 Aircraft Sortie Rules

It has been a fairly quiet week for wargaming with my Daughter visiting over last week and my Son arriving this weekend. Although I was able to get a couple of WW2 games in to use my new trees (see previous post) and worked though an aircraft sortie rule to add to my house rules.
Game in progress
Aircraft Sorties Rule
At the start of the game agree on the number of aircraft sorties allowed to occur. During the Artillery & Mortar phase the controlling player can roll 1D6. If a 5+ is rolled a sortie occurs. During each turn a player can roll for a sortie until they are all used or the aircraft is eliminated by AA fire.

During a sortie aircraft attacks occur as part of the artillery & mortar phase. Identify two adjacent squares to be attacked anywhere on the table. For each square roll a D6 and for all attacks use the direct fire artillery on the combat table. If a 1 or 2 is rolled the aircraft breaks off & the attacks cease for this sortie.

If there are enemy AA guns within 2 squares of any unit being attacked, then a score of 1 or 2 results in the aircrafts elimination & all further sorties cease.

(For non-gridded wargaming see WW2 Rules tab above -  aircraft can attack all units along a 9" straight line).

On the modelling side I have started on a couple of British motorised units using Airfix's WWII RAF Vehicle Set along with a scratch built pillbox. As my units represent companies in the rules I'm trying with my kit choices to get as much variety of vehicles as possible.

On the workbench - Trucks and Pillbox
With luck I am hoping I'll get a couple of one-hour wargames in this week with my son.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Making Cheap Trees

Today I finished putting together some larger trees for my 20mm WW2 forces. Most of the trees I have are suited for 15mm troops. So half a dozen larger trees were required. While searching around for scourer pads for my hedges I came across these large scourer pads at my local hardware store  (Bunnings) which looked perfect for turning into trees using a similar method to the hedges.
Large Scourer Pad 2cm thick and 12cm x 25cm
End Product a large tree
The steps to making these are...

For each tree first cut out two 6cm x 6cm squares which get the corners rounded off and random bits cut out to make them uneven. Do the same for a 3cm x 3cm piece which will go on the top of the tree you are making. I found tin-snips really good at cutting the scourer.

For the trunks cut out some circular bases and attach some dowel. I drilled a whole in the centre of the base the same size as the dowel and pushed to dowel in with some glue so they will hold firm. Once dry you can add some texture to the bottom of the dowel (tree trunk) be gluing (PVC glue) on some scenic material. Then paint green.

Trucks glued on to bases
With all the cut out scourer pull the bits apart so they become bushy looking.

The pulled apart scourer piece on top (before bit on below)
Paint the trucks brown and dry-brush a light brown to provide a textured look. Then scenic material is glued on the base. Once dry sharpen the top of the stick (trunk).

Trunks painted and bases with scenic material glued on
Brush and dab on emulsion green paint brush to all the cut out scourer pieces. I forgot to take a picture of that part of the process. But the painting is very rough and ready.

Once the paint is dry push on two large scourer pieces and glue on a top smaller piece.

The pieces stacked one on top of each other to create trees
In all I spent less than $10 for the dowel and scourers. I already had the MDF board used for stands and paint left over from making the hedges in a previous post.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

WW2 AA guns and back to squares

This week I have been gradually making and painting some WW2 anti-aircraft units using two Airfix Bofors 40mm Gun & Tractor kits and Airfix's German 75 mm PaK 40 and Truck kit, which I purchased a couple of weeks ago.
British Bofors AA Gun and German AA Gun (a Bofors) mounted on Opel truck
With one of the Tractor kits, which came with the Bofors gun, I thought I would make it similar to the Krupp Protze Tractor by changing the bonnet and keeping the back tray flat.
A slightly modified British truck to give it a look of a German truck

A comparison to a Krupp Protze (right)
With these kits finished I will be trying to get in a WW2 game this week. I will be using my house WW2 rules (page tab above) and converting them back to squares with a couple of modifications. The decision to move them back to squares is a result from a question I received from John "the Ferryman" on my post of a battle report.

John's question was "how was it playing? Any thoughts?" My immediate response was that I was happy with how the game played, but it started me thinking about the difference between measuring and grid for the game. The big difference with free movement was it allowed me to concentrate firepower by allowing a greater number of units to shoot at targets. So when I try the rules using a square grid I will allow units to shoot through squares occupied by friending units, providing they are in open terrain and only one unit occupies the square.

Friday, 15 April 2016

A game of Swatters

During this week I was able to get in a quick game with Ganesha's Swatters SciFi rules using my 40K Space Marines and Tyranids. I used the force lists in the rules to keep things straight forward and found reasonable matches fro my 40K units.

2 x Power Armour Trooper squads each of 5 x Space Marines
1 x Marine Sniper squad of 5 x Space Marine Scout squad
4 x Warriors each of 5 x Hormagaunt
1 x Assault Warriors of 5 Genestealers

Start of the game (and only picture I took)
I selected a meeting engagement scenario which has the two forces trying to destroy each other on a board with very little terrain. The look of the game reminded very much of my first few games with my son when I first bought him the Games Workshop Space Marine and Tyranid starter set.

With not much terrain the Tyranids launched themselves at the Space Marines. I was not expecting much out of the game other than getting familiar with the rules. However, the game played well with the Space Marines getting forced back with each subsequent wave of attacks which treated to push them off the board. The game ended up as a bit of a close run thing for the Space Marines. If I had understood the rules better I suspect the victory would have been reversed with the Tyranids forcing the Marines off the table.

I will definitely be using these rules again. They are designed for bug hunt situations, but can be tailored for man vs man or man vs machine game, and come with a few suggestions in the back of the rules on how to approach this.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

SciFi house rules and campaign army lists

Recently Kaptain Kobold tried playing a game using my grid-based SciFi house rules (which are inspired by the One Hour Wargame ruleset). A link to the Kaptain's - The Stronghold Rebuilt - blog is here. The use of one's own rules by someone else is both very pleasing and also daunting as to how they may interpret them. Especially as they are one page rules which limits explanations and examples are pretty much out of the question. If you are interested in how a couple of armies based in the Warhammer 40K universe line up -  here are my campaign army lists with details of the units and their attributes.

The droid ability for the Hive Tyrant and Prime (read Hive Tyrant number 2) both had Tyrant Guards. Generally I only allow one ability per unit or character, but I decided to allow the Tyranid commanders to have two as they had fewer character models.

Monday, 11 April 2016

WW2 NW Europe Battle Report

Over Sunday I was able to get a WW2 game in. The scenario somewhere in North West Europe had both forces probing forward into a gap in the lines. The terrain was fairly busy with hills and woods around the small spread out farming town of Roalun.

To start the game both forces had three probing battalions (represented by markers) advancing on the table moving at 9" a move. Both sides rolled dice to see who could move any of their markers. This continues until a couple of opposing markers can in to observation range. Once this occurred, all forces were placed on the board within 12" of the marker they were associated with, and not within enemy observation range. Except for the initial contact where one model was placed. Contact was made at 14:15 (Game clock start time) in the town of Roalun.
German Forces
British Forces
The Germans have a Tiger company and supporting armoured infantry company 45min away with an estimated time of arrival of 15:00h.

Game Report...
14:15h - An advance British infantry company which had entered Roalun fired upon German armoured reconnaissance travelling alone the road towards the town.
Initial Deployment
14:30h - The British quickly deployed around the town. Meanwhile in the centre German forces quickly took up cover in the surrounding fields in the centre and on British left flank in readiness for the advancing Shermans and Churchill tanks supported by armoured infantry.

14:40h - Some effective British artillery barrages and shooting eliminated a German self-propelled AT unit and armoured infantry in front of the advancing tanks. The Britsh advance infantry company in the town quickly succumbed to German fire.
British centre push forward
14:55h - In the centre the British pushed forward and in the process lost their self-propelled AT unit (Achilles). The town of Roalum was being fiercely contested by both sides.

15:10 - The British were successful in elimination the treat of a German armoured reconnaissance unit and motorised infantry unit. However, a Tiger tank unit with supporting armoured infantry had arrived.

15:25 - The British advance had a set back with the loss of two reconnaissance units which had been leading the advance. The appearance of a Tiger tank unit on the British left flank was posing a major treat.
Unit of Tigers and supporting armoured infantry arrive
15:50 - The German counter attack was now beginning. After the loss of the Churchill unit, the British started to shift their units towards the Roalum to form a defensive line, and support the defenders in the town who were under increasing German pressure.
German counter-attack in full swing
16:05 - Ineffective shooting (read poor dice throws) allowed the German counter attack to make good headway and clear the town of all defenders.

16:30 - Remaining British units start to retire as the Germans finally occupy the town of Roalum.

For this game I did not use my grid-based rules and instead used a smilier set with simplified combat mechanism and measured movement/ranges. (see page tab at top.)

Saturday, 9 April 2016

WW2 Rules - continuing to mess around

So far this week I completed a couple of paratroop reconnaissance unit and artillery units adding to my ever growing collection, and continued to mess around with my WW2 house rules. In recent weeks I have been merrily playing with a square grid based set of WW2 house rules, and while the game played ok, I was not been happy recently with the look of the games and they feel to lack flexibility. So I considered using hexes or moving back to a tape measure. In the end I have chosen to move to the traditional measuring approach, while trying to keep aspects of the grid approach I like, such as having one unit in a terrain feature.
My growing British Paratroop Battalion

Reconnaissance and Artillery support added (both are from the Airfix Airborne jeep kit)
Having recently read the Swatters SciFi rules (from Ganesha Games) it reminded me of using pre-cut sticks for measuring. So when moving you lay down the stick touching the unit you want to move, then move the unit ensuring the base ends up touching the stick (see picture). Its quite a quick way of measuring and minimises the delay created when measuring.

Using pre-cut measuring sticks rather than a tape measure - sticks are cut 3" less than the move allowance in the rules.
I have also simplified the combat mechanism in the rules so I use only one dice. Much happier with this approach for combat and moving (for the present anyway). Rather than update the last rule version, I thought I would have a try with creating page on this blog. So you can view the rules on the page tab above, and I even managed to get a table in.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

More WW2 kits and SciFi rules

I managed to pick up Airfix's Airborne Jeep and 75mm Pack Howitzer kit at my local Art shop while browsing. This will allow me to add an airborne reconnaissance unit and artillery unit to the paratroop battalion I recently completed.

As it will soon the 30th anniversary of the first release of Space Marines so I thought I have a battle with my 40K units this coming weekend. As a change from using my house SciFi rules I am going to use the Swatters rules recently purchased from Ganesha Games. They use the Song of Blades engine and are designed for company level forces against bug-like monstrous aliens. So I will be using Space my Marines and Tyranids miniatures to begin with. Later I may later try adapting the rules to other forces, such as Orcs, Necrons, Imperial, etc. The rules have a few short suggestions on how to do this in the back of the rules.

Monday, 4 April 2016

Making fields and hedges

Other than playing one game, which turned out to be a very one sided affair, I decided to continue with building up some more terrain for my WW2 20mm armies. To date I have been getting away with 15mm terrain. A week or two ago I tried making one field (see below) which was ok, but will create storage problems as it is fixed on a 6" x 6" base.

The original field design in use
The scenario I played over the weekend required quite a few hedges to be present on the table, so I also wanted to have the flexibility to create hedge lined roads or fields. Here is my approach...

Materials used:

MDF 3mm board
Kitchen scourer (it comes in a pack of 6 in dark green)
Balsa wood 1.5mm thick
Scenery material (I use combined light green and brown)
PVA glue
Green paint (I bought a sample pot at the hardware store in colour is very similar to GW Goblin Green paint)
Paint for gates (dark brown and mid-tan colours used)
Brown corduroy material

Step 1

Bases are cut out of MDF board 1" wide and 6" long.
The kitchen scourer is cut into strips. I was able to get 5 strips of 15-20mm (1/2" to 3/4") out of 1 pad to suit model size. The scourer pads were 6" long the perfect length.
These are then stuck onto the base with a good dollop of PVA.
The same approach is used for sections with gates, except with a gate sized piece of balsa wood.
Once the PVA is well and truly dry I trimmed the ends at a 45 degree angle. (I used tin snips to do this - they worked a treat).
Step 1 - Gate section on left and general section on right

Step 2

Paint the bases and brush over the scourer material. This was all very rough and ready - on finesse here.
Once dry paint the gate a dark brown.

Step 2 - bases painted and scourer strips brushed over with paint

Step 3

Once paint dry add the scenery material by painting the base with PVA glue and dipping in the scenery material.
With a steady hand paint on the gate details - no need to be too precise.

Step 3 - Add scenery to base

Step 4 (optional)

I choose to varnish (matt) the bases and gates.

Step 5

Cut the corduroy material into 6" squares.

Finished product

The pictures show the completed hedges with fields. I have also purchased some yellow/brown felt to mix up the field colours. I can now field 6-7 fields on my wargaming table (excuse the pun) or 6' and 6" of hedges.

Friday, 1 April 2016

WW2 Rules Updated

I have finally got around to updating my WW2 house rules with my scribbled notes and stuck in some pictures to explain aspects of the rules. The major change is the reduction of disruption markers from two to only one before a unit is eliminated. This is compensated by rolling for hit effects (not all hits have an effect) and ability of units to reorganise to remove disruption markers.

If interested the rules are found here or link in top righthand corner of blog.

During this week I have made up some hills from some foam board. A hacksaw blade easily cut the basic shape which was smoothed with sandpaper. This was followed by a coat of green paint, a good application of varnish, and while the varnish was wet a sprinkling of scenery material. They look a tad too square, one of the disadvantages of using a gridded gaming table. Next time I will make them a bit more rounded or oval as they only need to accommodate one unit. I will be able to use the hills with both my 15mm and 20mm models.

Shaping and sanding the foam board

Trying them out

A closer shot