Daily Archives: August 26, 2019

Normandy Breakout Game at Mass Pikemen

Mark A. Morin

Last Saturday (August 24th) we had a very action-packed game of What a Tanker© using my Normandy Breakout scenario at the Mass Pikemen Gaming Club.  I have been tweaking the scenario, some rules, and improving the terrain and markers – and I believe the gamers who played really noticed all of the upgrades and changes.  I have been fortunate to get valuable feedback from the gamers which has been invaluable, and this game was no exception.  I have acted as a Game Master for this game a couple of times (discussed here), and this, the third iteration, was another great game that had the players highly engaged.

For this post, I will show some of the photos that tell the story – though simultaneously being a photographer and a GM are not always easy.  I appreciate the generosity of both Chris Rett and Ted Salonich helping with some photos – as well as playing of course!

The game scenario is:

After a successful D-Day landing and consolidation, the tanks of the Americans and the British are stymied in the hedgerows of Normandy. German armor has set up effective defensive positions in favorable terrain. However, the Allies do not know the exact locations of the German tanks, and the Germans have limited knowledge of where the Allied armor will be coming from and the direction to which they will try to break out. New rules that allow reconnaissance and the effects of other combat forces will challenge both sides in this action-packed game.

The Germans are in secret positions (basically ambush positions) that they choose in advance of the Allies arrival – which is also secret in terms of the exact vehicles that the Allies choose.  Both sides get to secretly select their vehicles (with some restrictions), and poker chips are used for the scoring.  The Germans here did stop the Allies from breaking out – though the Allies were able to gain more points by both effectively recon of enough blind positions and knocking out enough valuable German vehicles.  The final score was 117-109 in favor of the Allies – with the game score turning on the Allies knocking out a Jagdpanther on the last turn.  The casualties were:

  • Allies – 5 vehicles:
    • UK – 3 vehicles:
      • 2 Daimler Dingoes
      • 1 Firefly
      • 1 M10 Achilles
    • US – 2 vehicles:
      • 1 M3A1 Stuart
      • 1 M10 Wolverine
  • Germany – 3 vehicles:
    • 1 Sdkfz 233
    • 1 Panther D
    • 1 Jagdpanther

Let’s see what the day looked like!

4 map at session
The Allies moved on from here.  The British had the far left road, and the Americans had the far right road.  The middle road could be used by both Allies.  The wooden discs are possible German positions to be reconned.
5 map at session
A side view of the tabletop that better shows some of the (blind) possible German positions.
6 map at session
The view from the German side of the board that the Allies needed to cross.
1 Me as GM
Your properly attired GM.  (Photo by Chris Rett)

The Germans effectively used a Bonus Attack card to draw first blood – calling in a rare Luftwaffe attack on a Daimler Dingo.

7 Dingo hit by Luftwaffe
The Daimler Dingo hit by the Luftwaffe – my new blast/knocked out tank markers looked pretty amazing (and I am biased of course).
4 Jagdpanther hunts Stuart
A Jagdpanther prepares to engage an M3A1 Stuart from an excellent ambush position.  The Stuart decided to run around the corner and recon the disc on the left…(Photo by Chris Rett)
5 Surprise!
… and the Stuart “successfully” reconned the position – it went around the bocage to find the Elefant in the room. (Photo by Ted Salonich)
5a Surrprise
The Stuart fired its 37mm at the frontal armor of the Elefant.  No effect.  The Elefant returned fire, and blew away the Stuart.
9 Firefly knocked out by StuG G
A Panther D and a StuG G combine forces to knock out a Firefly near the burning Dingo.
10 Panther D knocked out by Achilles
An M10 Achilles fires at and knocks the Panther D into a ruined building, damaging it.  It gets a second shot, and rolls well enough to torch the Panther.
11 M18 Hellcat moves up to help British
The Americans move up an M18 Hellcat to help the Brits – it ended up moving behind the Jagdpanther and was able to destroy it.
8 Gamers
The gamers ponder their moves.
13 Last shot
The Allies called in a lot of artillery-delivered smoke to protect their vehicles.  It was effective.
6 Panther burns and Tiger I arrives
Here comes the Tiger!  Note the StuG G that ambushed the M10 Wolverine.  The crew of the M10 survived – as denoted by the black smoke versus the fiery smoke.  Also shows the Allied smoke screen in front of the Jagdpanther.

As the German vehicles are worth, in general, much more points, the loss of their expensive vehicles made a big difference.  Both sides played well, but I have to say the Germans were not very lucky with their dice at times.  

I will be tweaking the game scenario in a couple of ways:

  • Adding stopping bonuses for the Germans:
    • A 20-point bonus for the Germans if no Allied vehicles are able to breakout across the tabletop.
    • A 10-point bonus for the Germans if only one Allied vehicle is able to breakout across the tabletop.  If 2 or more cross, no German bonus.
    • Award the Germans 2 points for each unreconned point.  This will incentivize recon, but force the Allies to choose what is most important.  (The Allies already get 2 points for each reconned point.)
  • Allow a “banked 6” to be used for either an advantage on the next activation (per the rules) or as an automatic “6” on the next activation roll (determined by the player on the turn he banks it). Thanks Ted Salonich!

Thanks again to the all of the players.  And for those who follow this blog who wondered if their named vehicle got fried, only one Cromwell (“IRO”) deployed and did not get into action.  However, the M10 Achilles “Per” (named for Per from Roll a One) did get knocked out by one of the StuG G’s.   Sorry my Swedish friend!

Hope that you enjoyed this – and I will be running this game on Saturday at BARRAGE in Maryland (September 28th) and at the Fort Devens Game Day on October 19th.  I may also run it at other upcoming gaming cons if possible.  Thanks for looking!

 

from Mark A. Morin https://markamorin.com/2019/08/26/normandy-breakout-game-at-mass-pikemen/
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The Campaign Season Opens (NQSYW Battle reports)

Rob Dean

As mentioned previously, Chris Palmer and I got together for a game day on the 12th of August.  His report on these two battles has already been posted, and can be found here.  For both of these battles, we used A Gentleman’s War, and randomized the exact orders of battle.  We then poked around in the book’s scenario suggestions for something that look plausible with the forces involved.  
I don’t think that I can sustain a full fictional battle report today…
My notes for the battles
The first battle, the Defense of Schepper’s Farm, used the Isolated Detachment scenario from the rules.  Both sides had six units, but the Schoeffen-Buschhagen defenders had only two of them (a battalion of the Adelmann regiment and a battery of field guns) at the start, defending the walled farm enclosure, while the other four (2 battalions of the King Rupert Jaegers, a squadron of the Szathmari Hussars, and a horse gun battery) formed the relief force, and did not appear until the first joker was drawn.  
Schepper’s Farm: The North Polenburg cavalry advances.

The battle opened with the North Polenburg cavalry sweeping forward in the center while their infantry slogged through the woods on either flank.  The Schoeffen-Buschhagen field artillery, emplaced behind the stout walls of Schepper’s Farm opened fire, causing casualties among the hussars on the near end of the cavalry formation.

Schepper’s Farm: Extended view of the action; defenders to the right.

As the North Polenburg infantry struggled forward, impeded by the woods and the steady fire of the farm’s defenders, the cavalry formed up on the unprotected side of the farm and charged toward the S-B positions.  Although the gunners managed to level a gun or two around and get off a last round of canister, the dragoons swept across their position and the last gunners fled.  The infantry defenders managed to form up in the newly introduced square formation, and repelled the horsemen.  As the N-P attackers reformed to continue the attack, the King Rupert Jaegers, arrayed for battle, were seen approaching the farm, and other S-B troops were also arriving. 

Schepper’s Farm: The Schoeffen-Buschhagen relief force arrives.

Conscious of the need to husband troop strength at the very beginning of what might be a decisive campaign season, the North Polenburg commander made the decision to sound the retreat.

Schepper’s Farm: Overview of table position at the end of the game.

After some lunch and a visit to the friendly local game store, Chris and I reset the table for a second game.  This time we started with the scenario, electing a deliberate attack to seize a strategic point, which we chose to represent with a bridge.   I took a force of six units generated from the garrison table (and ended up with a light infantry, three line infantry, and two guns), and Chris took nine units from the main force table, ending up with five line infantry, two guns, a heavy cavalry unit, and a light cavalry unit.  After deploying, it looked like the defenders standing in the open were a bit vulnerable, so I grabbed some earthwork pieces from the collection and put down a redoubt.  I split my light infantry into two detachments, one on each flank.

Schlegelsbridge: The opening positions

North Polenburg commander oversees the deployment of his troops

As the battle opened, North Polenburg cavalry advanced on their left flank, to be met by intense fire from the Schoeffen-Buschhagen guns.

Schlegelsbridge: North Polenburg cavalry sweeps forward into a hail of cannon fire.

Nevertheless, their advance concerned the 2/Adelmann commander, and he ordered his unit to retire to a more secure position.  Meanwhile, in the center, the North Polenburg infantry advanced bravely into a withering fire from the redoubt.  No progress could be made until an astute N-P artilery commander realized that his guns could be emplaced in an enclosed field in such a way as to enfilade the right end of the redoubt.  As their fire began to tell, the issue was in doubt…briefly.  The S-B guns on the south side of the river opened a long range fire on the N-P artillery position, and, with a sudden roar and vast column of smoke, half of the N-P artillery were eliminated by a lucky shot.  One presumes that a howitzer shell set off a carelessly deployed powder stock…

Schlegelsbridge: the 2nd battalion of the Adelmann Regiment falls back.

The North Polenburgers, though, did not lack bravery, and pressed forward with an attack on the S-B left flank.  Briefly driving the defenders from the wood and the left end of the redoubt, mounting casualties left them unable to hold the position, and, once again, the North Polenburg commander was compelled to retire.

Schlegelsbridge: The Jaegers defend the woods at the S-B left flank.

As Chris notes in his battle report, perhaps this would have been better balanced if the redoubt had been rated as a little less sturdy, but he came close to clearing it, so I suspect that another unit, or perhaps two, would have given a fully balanced scenario.

I am hope that a rematch will come soon.  It has been a great pleasure to see these forces on the table again, and we have been enjoying the rules a lot.  I am considering some sort of formal but simple campaign system, but more about that when it actually occurs…

via The Sharp End of the Brush http://sharpbrush.blogspot.com/2019/08/the-campaign-season-opens-nqsyw-battle.html
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Dreadmere Townsfolk, Crone: Bones 4 Dreadmere Figure

Chris Palmer

   This past week I painted the Dreadmere Townsfolk, Crone, from the Bones 4 Dreadmere Expansion.
    I prepped the figure in the usual way, soaking it in a dish of water with a couple drops of dish-soap added, then giving it a light scrub with a soft toothbrush, and then rinsing and drying it.  I then glued the figure to a black-primed 1" fender washer with Aleene’s Tacky glue, and then glued him to a tongue depressor with a couple drops of Elmers glue.

     I began by painting the face, arms, and legs with an unnamed Reaper MSP Sample Paint. (Christened “Valkyrie Cheekbone” on the Facebook page.)  I then painted the skirt with Folk Art “Poppy Seed”, and the blouse with Apple Barrel “Apple Maple Syrup”.  After that, I painted the shoes with Reaper MSP HD “Umber Brown”.

      Next, I painted her pouch with Americana “Asphaltum”, and her walking stick with Americana “Mississippi Mud”.  While I had this color out, I also used it to paint the entire base. After that I painted her scarf with Americana “Zinc”.  I let the figure dry for a while, and then gave the whole thing a coat of Citadel “Agrax Earthshade” wash. 
     When the wash was dry, I painted her eyes, and then applied a little Citadel “Reikland FLeshshade” wash to her lips.  I then highlighted her skin with some of the Sample Paint, mixed with some Ceramcoat “White” and added some eyebrows with Americana “NeutralGrey”.  After that, I highlighted her blouse with Apple Barrel  “Lemon Chiffon”, and highlghted her skirt with Folk Art “Dapple Grey”.

     Next, I highlighted the scarf with some Crafter’s Acrylic “Storm Cloud Grey”, and used some of the “Mississippi Mud” to highlight her shoes.  I then highlighted her pouch with Nicole’s “Brown”, and her walking stick with Ceramcoat “Territorial Beige”.

      I let the figure dry overnight and the next day I gave it a coat of Americana “DuraClear Matte” varnish.    Then, when  the varnish was dry, I used some white glue to flock the base.  Another overnight dry, and I sprayed it with Testor’s “Dullcote”.

     This  is a nice simple figure with a lot of character, and was a nice simple one to paint.

via All Bones About It http://allbonesabout.blogspot.com/2019/08/dreadmere-townsfolk-crone-bones-4.html
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