Sunday, 31 July 2016

A mixed bag

Hundred Years War

Last week I sorted through my cleaned up Hundred Years War Minifigs 25mm miniatures to see what sort of armies I could muster. I will be basing my units on 4" by 3" bases with 10-12 foot figures and 5-6 mounted figure. The unit numbers will be determined by fit and availability. I currently have a preference for mounting my miniatures on 4" by 3" bases so they fit nicely into a 6" square grid and allow enough room to place terrain pieces and speeds up the game. In all I should get 3 long bow units, 4 crossbow units, 8 men at arm units, 4 levy/pike units and 8 mounted knight units.

Testing the base size.

I am hoping to use Lion Rampant rules for small engagements and One Hour Wargaming rules for larger battles. In both cases I will track casualties using a couple of dice and leaving space on the base to move the dice with the unit.

Swatters / SciFi

During the week I was able to get in a couple of games using Swatters ruleset with modifications to both combat and shooting rules. The modifications seem to be working for me now, by which I mean, I am enjoying the flow of the games and not tweaking the rules on a constant basis. I am now considering starting a short campaign to give the games more purpose and a narrative now the rule changes have settled down.

Space Marines vs. Necrons

WW2 Rules

After playing a few WW2 campaign games the previous week I have decided to make a rule change to how artillery and mortar shooting occurs. Previously the grid-based rules stated that only one square could be attacked by one mortar or artillery unit. The idea behind this restriction was to avoid undisrupted units being eliminated by barrages alone. I still want to keep the approach of not eliminating units with a barrage, but want the option of allowing barrages to overlap on a target to increase the likelihood of disrupting a unit. The new rule allows multiple barrage attacks on the same square, but only barrage hit will apply to the unit.

Monday, 25 July 2016

WW2 campaign game report

Over the last few days I have been able to play three more WW2 campaign games. The first one described here had Commonwealth forces (in Red) launching a limit attack on German forces (in blue). The attack plan was to have the first wave move up through the woods with armoured units and contest the buildings, while the rest of the first wave would move on to the village. The bulk of Red reserves would be used to seize the village.

Attack plan
The starting positions of the forces with both sides having half their forces in reserve. Normally the game is played in a 4' by 4' table gridded into 6" squares. However, my table marker for the edge of the table got knocked so I ended up playing on a 4' and 6" wide table.

Blue forces had laid minefields covered by a pillbox located next to the village.

Game start
The attacking Red force quickly moved forward and the armoured left flank made contact with Blue forces.

While Red's left flank continue to press forward their casualties were starting to rise.

Blue's reserves arrive just as it appears the Red flanking force was about to breakthrough.

Blue reserves bolster the defence and attempt to stem Red's armoured advance with a counter attack.

Red air support assisted in the elimination of Blue's mobile artillery while Red's armour engages with Blue's counter attack.

As night closes in Red forces have full control of the village and have control of the woods. A victory for Red just before time runs out.

The game was in the balance until the final three moves when an effective airstrike and artillery bombardment by Red eliminated the treat of a counter attack by Blue.

The other two games I have played were also limited attacks on either side, and both failed to reach their objectives.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

A blast with HYW

This weekend I completed cleaning up my Hundred Year War Minifig 25mm miniatures. I have been slowing cleaning off the paint on these armies over the last few weekends. It's a laborious job once the miniatures come out of the paint stripper. I found while most of the paint came off, but the remaining paint needed a quick scrub to clean them up. All very time consuming and messy.

Water Blaster - Added to the modelling toolbox
With another weekend of cleaning ahead an alternative approach was required. The new approach involved the use of a high pressure hose, and it worked a treat (hence the post title). The clean up was done in a third of the time including tidy up time afterwards.

Water blaster in action
I have some ECW miniatures to clean up in the future which will be made much easier with this approach: into paint stripper for 1 week and then water blasting 30 minutes.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Gaming on a smaller table

I usually play on a 6' by 4' table and have a tendency to use too many units in a game, and overload the table leaving little space for and flanking manoeuvres. Most of my recent games (WW2 and SciFi) have been played on a 4' by 4' table and I am learning to resist the temptation to play with too many units. This is because I know I cannot use all my units, and partly due the playing games in a campaign where the selection of units is generated by rules.

This week I was continuing to play some SciFi games on a 4' by 4' table as I wanted to test out some rule variations and have some quick games as well. With one of the games I decided to keep the forces picked and just open up the game by playing on 6' by 4' space, increasing opportunities for manoeuvring of units and not relying on the edge of the table to protect the flanks. It is an approach I will be trying to do more of in the future to break the tendency of crowding too many units on a tabletop.

The latest addition to my Chaos forces

Monday, 18 July 2016

AWI terrain - fences

My 15mm terrain was looking distinctly European and I am planning to play some AWI in the next few weeks. Thanks to some useful terrain suggestions from Ross (much appreciated).  I have started to introduce some variety for my fences. As with all my 15mm and 20mm terrain I am taking a very simple approach to the building of terrain features which often employs balsa wood and simple paint techniques to avoid doing anything too fiddly.

Step 1 - Cut some MDF bases. In my case they are 6 inches long and 1 inch wide. Cut and stick balsa wood strips and tick to the base. Once the PVA rule is dry on each angle in the fence stick a cut matchstick on either side.

Step 2 - Paint the bases and use dark brown on the fence.

Step 3 - Using a light grey with a touch of medium brown watered down with 50% water to make a wash. This was is quickly painted the fence posts and sites to represent the fencing. No need to be too precise. The reason I use a wash is it flows on easily and doesn't look as stark on the dark brown which shows through a little bit.

Step 4 - Finally finish off the bases. I use a mixed grass flock of two parts light green and one part brown.

Step 5 - I like to coat my terrain in an acrylic matte varnish to keep the flock in place.

When I first looked into this project I did consider making everything with matchsticks, and I try one fence strip only to find it all a slow and sticky. This way of using balsa strips is a bit of a cheat, but it does work quite effectively for 15mm.

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Swatters Rules Variations

This week I have played a few games of Swatters using modified combat rules. So far I am happy with the way the games are playing. The reasons behind the rule variations to the core rules are to make the game more geared to ranged combat and tailor them to suit my Warhammer 40K collection.

I have not changed any of the activation rules or expenditure of actions. These remain the same as I really like the mechanic, and have added the reaction rule idea from "Of Gods and Mortals" another Ganesha rule set. This rule variations allows any single unit once turning a turn to attempt an action for each failed action by an opponent.

In terms of combat variations there are five areas of changes:

  • Units combat scores
  • Combat rolls
  • Melee
  • Vehicles and monstrous creatures
  • Unit elimination

The make up of a unit is still the same, but with each unit having an assigned combat score for the type of troops rather than based upon the number of models. The combat score is used to determine the number of casualties after combat rolls. So a lightly armoured troops have a score of 1, armoured troops a score of 2 and heavily armoured a score of 3. If a unit is in cover, then +1 to their scores.

Lightly armoured Cultists (C1), armoured Chaos Marines (C2) and heavily armoured Chaos Terminators (C3)
For combat rolls the defending unit does not roll. Only the attacker rolls and adds to their rolled score on 1D6 with modifiers for weapon types and subtracts for the range. A note here for ranged combat, -1 for each distance bound away from a target unit, including the first bound. The total score is then used to remove models from the target unit.

For example, a Space Marine unit with Boltguns and missile launcher shoots at some Chaos Cultists  en cover at a distance of 2. They roll 4 with adjustments of -2 for the range and +2 for the missile launcher. So with a score of 4 they can remove 2 Cultists who are lightly armoured and normally have a combat score of 1, but have a combat score of 2 because of a +1 for cover.

Space Marines cause 2 hits on Cultists in cover (C1+1)
Melee is treated the same way as combat, but the units being in contact. This is quite different to the way Swatters has melee working which forces an outcome, but I have found most combat situations are over within 2 turns with no negative range modifiers and cover to reduce hits. (Units only get cover on the first charge into melee.)

Vehicles and monstrous creatures are treated in the same way as other units, but with combat score of 4. The difference between a light vehicle and a heavy tank is the number of hits they can take before being destroyed. Only certain high power weapons can attack a vehicle of monstrous creature.

An Imperial Sentinel (1 hit), Chimera (3 hits) and Leman Russ (4 hits)
The approach to combat and treatment of units is along the lines of One Hour Wargaming rules where there is no combat reduction with the loss of models. I like this approach and have essentially modified the Swatters combat along these lines, keeping the stragglers rule and forcing units to take a quality check with one dice whenever casualties are taken. Any failed quality check with 50% casualties causing a unit to be removed.

I am going to stick with the Swatters rules, plus my variations, for the moment as they have to date provided some enjoyable gaming. Buying these rules was money well spent in my view, and the variations on my part are as much about me always wanting to mess around with any rule set I get.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

A mixed bag and some old Minifigs 25mm HYW Medievals

A mixed bag of topics in this week's post with W40K, Medieval's and Swatters game. As I am slowly getting through building and painting my remaining Chaos Marine Warhammer 40K models I have stashed away. I thought I had better start preparing my next project, cleaning up my old 25mm Minifig Hundred Years War miniatures for painting.

One Heldrake all painted up to add to my slowly growing Chaos force
I did consider leaving them as there were, painted by me as a 15 year old, but I need to put them on big bases and quite a few of them were painted with some interesting colour combinations. Probably colours I already available in my paint collection. So putting sentiment aside into a container of paint-stripper went the men-at-arms, to come out the next day looking mostly cleaned up after a good soak, wash and rub with an old tooth brush.

Minifies 25mm HYW all cleaned up.
I intend to use Lion Rampant rules with these miniatures once completed. Rather than have single based miniatures they we be based in groups of 6 foot and 3 mounted, and I'll tracking casualties with dice.

My one question is how to paint these? I am leaning towards an old school shinny look as most of the miniatures in a unit will have the same stance.

A Swatters game underway with W40K models
I did manage to get a game in this weekend using the Swatters Rules (Ganesha Games) with some modified combat rules. I am really enjoying the games I have played and I will try and post the most recent house rule modifications over the next week.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

WW2 Campaign Stocktake and Bridge Rules

I am now about a third of the way through my WW2 campaign based upon the number of supplies used. So for those of you who may be following my solo campaign progress, I thought a quick stocktake would be helpful.

At the start of the campaign Commonwealth forces occupied 7 squares on the campaign map and had 3600 tonnes of supplies. The German forces occupied 18 squares and had 1400 tonnes of supplies at their disposal. The objective of both sides was to occupy the most campaign map squares. To achieve this they can make a full scale attack at a cost of 400 tonnes or a limited attack for 200 tonnes. For simplicity there was no supply cost for defending.
The starting positions. (All the arrows remind me of the start of the Dad's Army TV series I watched as a child)
So far there have been six games played, four Commonwealth attacks and two German attacks. Both German attacks were limited attacks (400 tonnes used in total) and three of the four Commonwealth attacks have been full-scale attacks (1400 tonnes used in total).
Current front lines. The arrows show the last three attacks (2 arrows are a full scale attack)
As it stands now Commonwealth forces occupy 9 squares and have 2200 tonnes of supplies remaining, while German forces occupy 16 squares with 1000 tonnes left.

So far all games have been won by the attacking forces. Half the games have been close and could have gone either way, and the other games had a predictable winner halfway through. The dice generated terrain and unit numbers partly determined by the score of two average dice, has meant attacks on squares with woods and rivers really do require a full scale attack to have any chance of being successful. As was the case of my last game where Commonwealth forces successfully made a river crossing against stiff German resistance.

Commonwealth forces finally force a crossing which as in doubt for a long while.
I finally got to use my Airfix Buffalo which briefly supported the vinyl river crossing
At this juncture in the campaign I have made changes to both campaign rules and added to my house rules used to play the games.

In the campaign attacks cannot be made diagonally and any single isolated squares will be eliminated. An isolated square is one where a supply line cannot be traced to other squares occupied by friends forces (diagonal moves are not allowed). The owning force does gets one campaign turn to attempt to reestablish a supply connection.

In may house rules I have not really covered bridges (A bit slack of me and still not added at time of writing). Because bridges are a bottleneck for movement, I allow units to move their full movement onto the bridge and they must stop on the bridge. When moving off the bridge they can only move 1 square. Bridges do provide cover for infantry units.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

WW2 Campaign Games

This week and weekend I have been able to get a couple of WW2 games completed as part of a WW2 campaign. Both games took just over an hour to setup and play, a timeframe which works well for me. Both games were limited attack games for both German and Commonwealth forces with the attacking forces winning in each case.

The first game was a close run affair with the defending Commonwealth units putting up stiff resistance on a tabletop layout with a town centre being a key feature.

The start of the game had German infantry forces advancing 
Mid-game had Commonwealth forces were under pressure, but holding firm with their reinforcements
Towards the end German heavy tank (Panthers) reserves turned the tide of the battle with most AT units having been eliminated by infantry attacks earlier in the game
The second game was very one-sided and a bit of a romp for the Commonwealth forces. Both sides had thrown well for the number of units. The German defenders had scored 9 with two average dice plus 6 as the defending side. Commonwealth forces had scored 10 with the average dice plus 12 for a limited attack. The big difference was the rolling for the type of units with Commonwealth attackers getting many 5's and 6's, allowing them the field a strong armoured force of tanks and armoured infantry.

In this game saw the first use during the campaign of strongpoints and minefields (which only German forces can use). The rules for minefields are:

  • Units must use all their movement allowance to move into and out of a minefield
  • When attacked in a minefield the attacker gets to re-roll failed hits. 

While a strongpoint is treated as a stationary heavy tank and attacks as armoured infantry.

Strongpoint and minefield
In hindsight the minefields and strong point should have been positioned around the buildings. So far in the campaign the games gave gone with the attacker, with all out assaults required when attacking a campaign zone which increases the number of woods or rivers on the tabletop. Given most of the attacking on the campaign will be with the Commonwealth forces as they try and gain territory, we will see more limited attacks as supplies are not unlimited and the cost of an all out assault is double that of a limited attack.

This coming week will see a couple more WW2 games, but I will be switching back to Sci-Fi for a couple of games as I complete some more 40K Chaos units. An army I have been building up slowly over the last 18 months, and will want to see the completed units in action on the table. Whether I use the modified Swatters or my house OHW rules is yet to be determined.