Daily Archives: March 21, 2016

Cold Wars AAR: Final Battle of the Elvish Frontier

Chris Palmer    Friday night at Cold Wars I ran my “Final Battle of the Elvish Frontier” mass-combat fantasy scenario using  Bear Yourselves Valiantly rules and 10mm figures.  The scenario had a column of Elven refugees and treasure wagons fleeing an army of Lizardman and Goblins that was approaching the Elven capital.  Part of the Lizardman/Goblin main force has branched off to intercept this juicy target, and the Elves have rushed a guard to protect it.  The scenario was designed for 6, and I had four players show up.  So I pitched in to help the Elvish side and took the third command, and had the Lizardmen/Goblin commanders divide their third command up among the two of them.

The two other Elvish commanders advance their troops on to the field.  My force of mounted knights entered on turn 3.

The Lizardmen/Goblin commanders consider their next move.

Lizardmen battlegroups advance to cut the Elvish crossroad.

Elven legions move up to keep the road clear.

A view of the table near the middle of the game.  The Elves needed to exit 3 of their 6 treasure/refugee stands off the road at the lower left corner of the photo.

The desperate fight at the end.  With bat swarms and hordes of Warg riders closing in on the Elves’ column, the Elvish knights throw themselves into the enemy to stem the tide.   Even the refugees and wagon masters fend off several Warg attacks.  But, alas, it was not to be the Elves’ day, as my dismal dice rolling ended up with the knights bloodied and beaten.  I called the game at that point, and declared it a Lizardmen/Goblin victory.

     I had a great group of players, and had a blast GM-ing the game and running the Elves’ flying relief column.  As a whole the Elves’ dice rolling was miserable, and the Lizardman/Goblin commanders had dice that were hot. Eventually the Elves had been so beat up that there was nothing they could do anymore to stem the tide, so I called the game and declared the Lizardmen/Goblin commanders to be the winners.

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Combat Patrol at Cold Wars 2016


A narrow miss against two Polish vehicles

A narrow miss against two Polish vehicles

Last weekend was Cold Wars in Lancaster, PA.  Due to family commitments, I was only able to attend on Saturday, when I ran three back-to-back Combat Patrol ™ games.  In addition to my games, Zeb Cooke ran a Winter War game with 28mm figures, Dave Wood ran two Boer War games, and Duncan Adams ran his Napoleonic game (see previous posts).  Running three back-to-back games on Saturday had the benefit of limiting the amount of time I had to spend money in the dealers’ hall, but it also limited my ability to take pictures.  The picture above is the only one I remembered to take of the Poland 1939 game.

A wide shot of the Russian initial setup

A wide shot of the Russian initial setup

In my first game a Russian column was pushing up this road through the snow, but the Finns had other ideas. The Finns began the game hidden in the various wooded areas.  In addition to some satchel charges and Molotov cocktails, the Finns had a single anti-tank gun.

The Russians advance

The Russians advance

The Russian tanks were mostly road-bound, as they had to suffer bog checks if they left the road.  The Finns had also mined one of the frozen lakes.  The Russians immediately spread out their infantry to try to clear the wooded areas.

The Finns welcome the Russians to Finland

The Finns welcome the Russians to Finland

The hidden anti-tank gun brewed up one of the Russian light tanks.  By the end of the game, most of the Finnish infantry had been badly mauled, but the Russians had also taken heavy casualties.  I called it a narrow Finnish victory.

My second game was based on a scenario from the Skirmish Campaigns book on Poland 1939.  The Poles launched a local counter attack to knock the Germans on their heels.  It was a bloody affair with nearly every tank on both sides wiped out.  While I was running this game, Zeb was running his Winter War scenario.  I understand it went quite well, but I was busy running my own game and didn’t get a chance to see it.

My third game was based on another Skirmish Campaigns scenario and was set in France in 1940.  The French launched a local counter attack.  According to the scenario, the Germans had a 75mm gun, which in 1940 was a monster.  The gun took out two Somuas and two Char Bs.  The French continued to advance up the road into the teeth of the AT gun while pumping HE shells into the anti-tank gun’s position.  Luck was not with the French as after pumping six or seven HE rounds into the position and driving off the crew once, they were not able to knock out the crew.  The Germans had lost all of their tanks (35(t)s and 38(t)s) by the end of the game. The French objective was to push two vehicles across the table, but they only got one off the table, and their remaining Somua was still in the kill zone of the AT gun, so I called it a German victory, but it was a close run affair.

In all three scenarios, the rules worked pretty well.  There was a bit of not seeing the forest for the trees.  I have been working on an optional rules supplement to handle a few “corner cases” that are not fully addressed in the rule book, but in general, they held up well in a variety of situations.  In the France 1940 scenario, the French players were upset that they were unable to knock out the AT gun, which was a result of really poor luck.  Still, I think they came close to winning and could have won if they had done something other than continuing to charge up the road straight at the AT gun and had instead sought some cover, they may well have won the game.  Players tend to ascribe tactical failure or bad luck to the rules being broken, and this was no exception.  An odd situation occurred that I may address as an optional rule, but again players tend to latch onto one tree and forget about the forest.  Also, in the Finland game, players kept complaining that they wanted to gunk up the game with additional modifiers that favored them.  (They would likely have been just as vocal about opposing those same modifiers if they had been on the other side.)  While most of the players were very happy with the rules, a few folks didn’t appreciate the streamlined nature of the rules or the fact that a lot happened in a short period of playing time.  At the same time my France 1940 games was going on, I kept an eye on a France 1944 game, and while the players had a great deal of fun, there wasn’t a lot of movement.  The card mechanic is really unique, and I have found that sometimes players really fight it and don’t try to get their heads around it.

On Military Matters brought 16 copies of the starter set (printed rule book, one activation deck, and two action decks) and sold more than half.  Of course, I would have liked for them to sell out, but I think that was a solid showing.

I also recruited someone to start working on the modern Afghanistan and Iraq supplements for the game.  There are a lot of issues to work through, so don’t expect this in the next month, but it is definitely moving forward now.  So, while I am working on the South Pacific WWII, there are folks working on Napolenoics, British Colonial (Boers, Zulus, and the Sudan), the Falklands and other post-WWII British campaigns, and Modern Afghanistan and Iraq.  I am looking for someone who wants to go after Grenada and Panama, so I can concentrate on my favorite campaigns of WWII: Finland (done), France 1940, and Poland 1939.

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Malek Necromancer: Figure 207 0f 266

Chris Palmer

   Last week, before I left for Cold Wars, I put the finishing touches on Malek Necromancer from the Necromancers set.  I’m now half way through this set, with two done, and two to go.

      I began by painting the figure entirely in Black.  I then drybrushed the cape with Folk Art “Dapple Gray”.  Next, I painted his leggings and sleeves with Americana “Zinc”, and then I added highlights to his loincloth with Duncan “Olive Green”.

My next step was to paint his mask with Crafter’s Acrylic “Light Antique White”.  I then painted highlights on his boots, belt, and gauntlets with Americana “Neutral Grey”.  Next, I painted all the parts I planned to eventually paint gold with Folk Art “Golden Harvest”. 

    I then painted the skulls at his feet with Nicole’s “Brown”, and the rod of his staff with Crafter’s Acrylic “Navy Blue”.  After that I painted his sword with Folk Art Metallics “Gunmetal Grey”, and the sword hilt, scabbard top, staff parts, and the skulls on his outfit with Ceramcoat “Bronze”.   After everything had a while to dry, I gave his mask and all the metallic parts a wash with GW Agrax Earthshade" wash using a wet brush.

    I took some time to work on the skulls he’s standing upon at this point.  First, I drybrushed them with Americana “Khaki Tan”, and then with Americana “Buttermilk”.  I then painted on spot highlights with Crafter’s Acrylic “Light Antique White”.  By now the wash was dry, so I worked on his mask.  First I carefully painted in eyes, then I used some of the “Light Antique White to do highlights.  Next, I added highlights to his staff with Americana "True Blue”, and I highlighted the ribbon that seems to be hanging from the staff, with Ceramcoat “Black Cherry”.    I then did highlights to his leggings and sleeves with Crafter’s Acrylic “Storm Cloud Grey”; and then touched up the highlights on his cape with the original “Dapple Grey”, and his gloves and boots with the “Neutral Grey”.   Moving on to the metallics, I did highlights on his sword with Folk Art “Silver Sterling”, and I highlighted all the gold parts with Ceramcoat “14K Gold”.
      Lastly, I painted the base White.  When everything had overnight to dry, I gave the figure a coat of Ceramcoat “Matte Varnish” early the next morning.  Midday, I flocked the white areas with Woodland Scenics “Snow” flock and late that afternoon I sprayed the figure with Testor’s Dullcote.  When the Dullcote was dry, I superglued a red nail-art gem to the circle at the top of his staff.

    I really like how he turned out, and I think the gem on his staff makes a really nice accent.

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