Monthly Archives: November 2013

Another WWII Play Test

Buck

The game getting set up

The game getting set up

Tonight I ran a WWII skirmish game at the HAWKs night.  Don Hogge brought the figures and set up the terrain for a scenario he has previously run with Battleground.  I was curious to compare the outcome from a Battleground game to the outcome with these rules.

Dave working his way into the farm yard

Dave working his way into the farm yard

The scenario involved two American squads with a Sherman tank and two German squads and a Pz. IV H vying for control of a farmhouse.

Germans setting up

Germans setting up

I had revised the Action cards to reflect the new morale rules.  I also let players use grenades pretty freely to make sure that was working okay.  Finally, this was the first time I allowed for any vehicle vs. vehicle action.

The Sherman takes a track hit

The Sherman takes a track hit

The game began with a bang as the Pz. IV scored a hit on the Sherman, resulting in a track hit.

Germans closing in on Americans in the yard pushing into the house

Germans closing in on Americans in the yard pushing into the house

The Germans got to the house first and put half a squad on the second floor with a couple of folks remaining on the ground floor.  At the same time, the German tank moved around the house and ran over a couple of Americans taking cover next to the wall.   Many of the Americans got over the wall and assaulted the German-held building.

Sherman brews up the Pz IV H

Sherman brews up the Pz IV H

The Sherman fired at the German tank as it was smashing the American squad.  The first hit bounced off the front.  The second hit struck the front glacis, penetrated, and caused the ammunition to explode.  The immobile Sherman then turned its attention to pumping 75mm HE into the upper-story windows.  (I’ve never liked WWII games in which tanks were placed hub to hub across the table.   In this picture, it looks like one of those games.  This is because a non-penetrating hit on the Pz. IV by the Sherman caused the driver to flinch and lurch forward.  That’s when the Sherman knocked it out.)

Germans push into the yard

Germans push into the yard

I was generally happy with the infantry combat, but I need to work on the vehicle combat a bit.

Melee between part of a German squad and part of an American squad

Melee between part of a German squad and part of an American squad

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Recently painted Pulp Figures

Buck

I haven’t had much painting time this week, but I did manage to finish up five Pulp Figures that have been in my project box.  Fall In is just a week a way, and I’m sure new figures will be tempting me.  I’m happy to say that except for the new batch of 10mm Napoleonic figures that recently arrived in the mail, my unpainted lead collection has become quite small.

It may be difficult to see, but I tried to paint an argyle sweater on the figure on the left.

These two characters couldn’t be more different.  One is a rough and ready adventurer enjoying a cup of coffee before engaging with head hunters or something, and the other is a “gentleman adventurer.”

This last figure was in the project box near these other fellows.  I think he might have been a free figure when you subscribed to Wargames Illustrated.  I let my subscription lapse when I was deployed and haven’t renewed, but I still had this figure waiting for paint.  There wasn’t much to this figure really, but it’s out of the unpainted pile.

Tonight we’ll be play testing the WWII skirmish game again with the HAWKs.  I’ll try to post some pictures tomorrow.

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Deladrin, Female Assassin: Figure 42 of 265

Chris Palmer

This week I finished the female assassin figure from the original 30 New Bones set.  As you may remember, back on October 7th, I used this figure to experiment with applying an ink wash prior to painting to help bring out the details and make them easier to see. (See: http://ift.tt/1fdbzwV )    I did the usual prep for this figure; soaking in dish soap and water, and then gluing to a black-primed fender washer.

As it turned out, I didn’t need to do the ink wash, because I decided to paint the figure mostly black.  Since this was supposed to be an assassin, I wanted her to be dressed to use the cover of darkness, and be able hide in the shadows, and so I picked a black and dark blue paint scheme.  It proved to be a fun experiment to do a figure dressed mostly all in black.
   So, to begin with I painted the whole figure black.  I then picked out her pants and shirt with Accent “Midnight Blue”, and her scarf/mask with GW “Regal Blue”.

When these colors had dried, I drybrushed  the whole figure with GW “Shadow Grey”. I then went back and carefully lined some of the edges of her armor and garments with the “Shadow Grey”, to help make crisper delineations between parts of her outfit.

I followed that step up up by going back and picking out some of the edges and other highlight areas, like all the little studs on her armor, with Apple Barrel “Apple Scotch Blue”.  When finished, I painted her face with GW “Elf Flesh”.   I wanted her weapons to look like they had black blades, so I painted black over any of the blue-grey highlights that had gotten on them from my earlier whole-figure drybrushings I had done. I then painted the very edge of the weapons with GW “Chainmail”.

When her face had dried, I gave it a wash with Windsor Newton “Peat Brown’ ink, and then when this dried, I went back and added highlights with the “Elf Flesh”, and a little of the “Elf Flesh” with white added to it. I painted her lips with the “Elf Flesh” with a little of GW “Tanned Flesh” added to it.  And finally, I painted her eyes white, and added black pupils.  I then painted her hair Americana “asphaltum”, and when dry went back and added some highlights with Americana “Sable Brown”, and some finer highlights with Americana “Khaki Tan”.

I let the figure dry overnight, and then gave it a coat of Ceramcoat “Matte Varnish”.  When this was dry, I then flocked the base, and let the figure sit overnight again. My final step was to spray the figure with Testor’s “Dullcoat”

I’m very pleased with how this turned out.  I think the black and dark blue outfit turned out looking very effective.  Interestingly,by way of contrast, I am currently working on an all white figure, which has it’s own challenges.
Figure 42 if 265: Complete

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Fresh Hordes

Rob Dean

The paper models stayed on the shelf this weekend, and the paintbrushes remained in the holder. Both of my sons were home in conjunction with having friends over for dinner, and William was busy with homework.

Nevertheless, Norman and I found time for a Hordes of the Things session on Sunday morning. We fought three games, all with different army match-ups.

Game 1 pitted his mostly rider-based fantasy Mongols against a ragtag band of my miscellaneous fantasy stands. I managed to summon a dragon, which took out a rider and a hero before fleeing after a wound. I remain dubious about the use of dragons in HotT….Still, I won that fight.


The second game pitted the same raggle-taggle fantasy army
against Norman’s fantasy Byzantines. Once more, I managed to get my dragon into play early.

I even managed a flanking maneuver, causing his general to turn to face, subject to destruction if forced to recoil. The first game wore out my luck for the day, though, and my dragon was sent fleeing from some doubtless minor wound. With that, Norman rolled up the remainder of my resistance in short order.


After a brief break, we went for a tie-breaker, pitting his
Antediluvian army against a force
of my recently rebased Carthaginians. We ended up with a clash of phalanxes, which was
broken when his hero worked his way around to the back of my line and blocked the retreat of my commander’s phalanx.

All in all, a pleasant gaming interlude, my 29th for the year…

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German Fallschirmjaegers Kill Patton and Bradley, but Other Generals Escape

Buck

I unexpectedly had part of a day free and invited a few guys over for a WWII skirmish game with the rules I’ve been developing.  Several of the folks I invited were unable to attend, but Dave and Chris got passes from their respective CINC’s Domicile and came down.  We probably should have spent the day taking photos for Bear Yourselves Valiantly; however, this was more fun.

Germans advancing toward the house

Germans advancing toward the house

The scenario involved a meeting of allied generals protected by some Home Guardsman and a Stuart light tank.  The Germans have somehow learned of the meeting and dispatched a platoon of Fallschirmjaegers to kill them.  The scenario began with the Home Guard deployed around the building.  The Germans (led by Dave), decided to attack with all their forces from one side.

Stuart tank lines up on advancing Germans

Stuart tank lines up on advancing Germans

Chris quickly redeployed his Stuart and began pumping HE into two groups of Germans.  Dave failed his morale check with the platoon HQ.  The result was that a random figure decided to run away, being removed from the game.  The random figure was the platoon leader, who fled on turn two!  (Dave is known for poor morale rolls in all my games, and he did not disappoint us yesterday.  At one point, three of Dave’s six teams (half squads) were pinned.

Home Guard redeploying to meet oncoming Germans

Home Guard redeploying to meet oncoming Germans

Because Dave had chosen to attack from just one side of the table, half of the Home Guard had no enemy to engage and were forced to redeploy.  In this picture you can see that Chris moved one of his two machine-gun teams into the building (placed on the roof during transit for convenience — they were really on the porch) and redeployed a squad of infantry.

Home Guard and Germans meet

Home Guard and Germans meet

In the early part of the game, this was the main engagement area.  Chris’ single squad of Home Guardsman was faced with by two squads of Germans.  HE from the Stuart slowed the Germans down a bit and ran off half of a squad, but Dave kept advancing.

One of the new rules I wanted to test was HE.  In this picture you can see a “medium” HE template.  In many skirmish games, when it’s time to resolve HE effects, everyone else can go have a snack and do their taxes.  I wanted something simpler and faster.

On some of the cards there are some explosion markers (see above).  There are more cards with the “larger” makers, fewer with “medium” markers, and even fewer with “small” markers.  Once the location of the burst is determined, one card is drawn for each figure in the burst template.  If the figure is in a small burst radius and the “small” burst marker is shown on the card, the figure is hit.  The player then draws the next card for the effect of the hit.  Neither side threw any grenades, but I got to test this out with the HE from the Stuart, and it worked well.

A German team pushes through the hedges and prepares to assault the house...

A German team pushes through the hedges and prepares to assault the house…

Half of a squad managed to move up to and through the hedge surrounding the house.  Dave hadn’t had time to prep for an assault by suppressing the defenders, so this was a gamble.

... but Home Guard teams comes around the corner of the house and assaults them.

… but Home Guard teams comes around the corner of the house and assaults them.

One of Chris’ redeploying teams of Home Guardsmen, which hadn’t made it into the building, ran around the corner of the house and into desperate hand-to-hand combat.  At the top left you can see another team of Germans coming to their assistance.  The Germans had better attributes, but Chris bested them.

The generals climb out on the porch roof to escape as the Germans close in for the kill.

The generals climb out on the porch roof to escape as the Germans close in for the kill.

Despite valiant resistance, the Germans were closing in on the house.  The poor machine-gun team that had redeployed to the second story of the house was shot up by the Germans.  The allied generals moved to the windows to engage the Germans with their sidearms.  In one burst of gunfire, Dave’s Germans killed both Patton and Bradley.  The remaining three generals moved to the porch roof as the Stuart crashed through the checkpoint and prepared to pick them up.

Two more teams of Germans advance toward the house.

Two more teams of Germans advance toward the house.

As the tank was moving to rescue the generals, two more teams of Germans prepared to assault the house.

Another view of the fleeing generals.

Another view of the fleeing generals.

Despite getting temporarily bogged down trying to smash through the hedge and German gunfire that wounded Monty, the tank got away with three of the five generals.  Since the Germans had killed two of five, the score was three points for Chris (the allies) and two points for Dave (the Germans).  I called it a marginal allied victory.

The main thing I hoped to test during this game was morale.  (I am running a game at HAWKs night on Friday in which I hope to test tank-on-tank rules.)  As discussed in an earlier post, I haven’t been happy with the previous three morale mechanisms I had tried.  They weren’t either dramatic or fun enough.  Rather than print another set of cards, for yesterday’s game I put the 52 results into a spreadsheet and used the RANDOM function to select one.  I figured if it worked, I could then make another set of cards for this week’s club game.  I think the results worked quite well.  Chris and Dave were concerned about morale checks, units and individuals were affected, and it went fast enough.  I think it’s just about there.

Another change I’ll make has to do with the computation of scatter distance.  I had envisioned the distance on the cards to indicate scatter distance by octagon “radius,” but we realized that that meant that larger direct-fire HE became less accurate than hand grenades.  We used the distance on the card as inches instead of radii, and it worked fine.

The final rule I was testing was having each of the figures have different attributes.  Since I haven’t reorganized my 28mm WWII figures and labelled them with identifying numbers, Chris and Dave had some trouble keeping track of which figure was which on the table.  I’ve been designing this game to scale, depending on the players’ desires.  You can play the game with the entire team having the same attributes, in which case you don’t need the record sheet at all and can merely mark wounds on the table.  You can play the game with the entire team having the same attributes but track wound location and effects.  Finally, you can play the game with each figure having different attributes.  As you ratchet up the complexity, you ratchet down the number of squads a player can manage while keeping the game running smoothly.  Except for trouble keeping track of which figure had which attributes, this worked fine as well.

I had set up a scenario for up to six players and only had two.  As a result, both Chris and Dave had too many figures to control.  Despite that, the game moved along pretty quickly.  I think if each player had just one squad, and if there were more decks of cards around the table, the game would really zip along.

I am really encouraged by the way the rules are working out; although, I don’t intend to try to publish them.  First, the game would be pretty expensive because you need a deck of 52 effects cards and a deck of 26 activation cards.  Second, I don’t want to go through the painful, error-prone, open to criticism process of researching the armor values of all the tanks I’d have to include.  Third, I’m tired of going through the arduous process of writing, laying out, and photographing a book only to be bashed by a reviewer and overlooked by folks because they are not one of the “cool sets.”  This will be something I may begin to run at conventions, but mostly I’m doing this as a side project for myself.  I need to start putting less time into this and get down to the task of writing the rules for Bear Yourselves Valiantly.

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Paper Modeling Lunch Project

Rob Dean


I haven’t had much free time at lunch lately, but I did bring my paper models project box yesterday. I got some work done on a planned inn compound, using various Dave Graffam PDF files…

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