Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Modern Battlegroup: Battlegroup REFORGER Vehicle Stat Cards

Moving on with my Battlegroup modern, home-brewed, unofficial supplement "Battlegroup: REFORGER," I thought I would post an example of a unit stat card I've been working on.  It's not very "sexy" but it gets the job done...

Remember, all penetration and armor data comes from "Team Yankee," the GDW board game.  The penetration table I use is an expanded, 2D6 table based on the Team Yankee Combat Results Table.  The MG ROFs have been slightly fudged along with the movement for the game.  These are the stats I used for last post's game "A Clash of Reconnaissance."  Ken has expressed an interest in playing this supplement so I'm forging ahead with producing some cards for the next scenario in the campaign.

Please sound off with what you think - is this useful?  There are some experimental rules in here IE "wide tracks" which is similar to the "T-34 mobility" rule from Battlegroup: Kursk."  Also, I threw in some advanced fire control and enhanced spotting supplemental rules to reflect the Leo I's EMES-18 fire control system on the Leopard IA5 and the PERI-R12 night sight.

and of course the Marder.

and the Luchs - all West German vehicles from my game the other day.

Also to whet your appetite, here is an OPFOR vehicle.  A T-80.

I'm working on more tonight and tomorrow.

For anyone interested, the penetration table is below.  All I did was take the Team Yankee CRT and expand it for 2D6.  Cross reference the Penetration with the Protection value to give you the "To Kill" roll for an engagement.  Very straightforward.

Anyways, I'm going to continue on developing the vehicle cards for future games.  So far this has proved to be alot of fun.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Modern Battlegroup: Battlegroup REFORGER AAR

I started toying around with some ideas for playing the awesome Battlegroup: Kursk rules with Cold War era forces set in Central Europe in the 1980s.  The home-brewed results I assembled were satisfying enough for me to launch a test-game of them using my West Germans and Soviets.  Quite a few industrious individuals have already been playing their own home-brewed and unofficial modern supplement for Battlegroup so I thought I would join in.  I have read that the design team behind Battlegroup is planning a modern supplement but that is way down the pipeline.  Who can wait that long?!?!

Coming up with all of the Armor and Penetration data proved to be too big a job so I went with tried, tested, and true data for my Battlegroup: REFORGER supplement - I used all of the attack and defense values from excellent Team Yankee board game, as well as a modified combat results table morphed into a 2D6 armor penetration table.  The result looks very similar to the Battlegroup family of rules penetration table and if you've ever played Team Yankee, you know it's a well-researched game with solid combat values.

I played the scenario "A Clash of Reconnaissance" as it fits in nicely with a "D+1 Soviet Advance" scenario.  The Soviet recce elements are attempting to locate and fix the NATO main line of resistance (MLR) and the NATO covering forces want to stop them.  I used similar forces to the scenario in the BGK book:

Soviet Recce: 1x BRDM-2 and 1x PT-76 track
Soviet Mechanized Infantry Platoon: 3 x BMP-2 with dismounts
Soviet Armor (reserve): 1 x T-80 MBT
Breakpoint is 15

NATO Recce: 1 x Spahpanzer Luchs
NATO Mechanized Infantry Platoon: 3 x Marder IFV with dismounts
NATO Armor: 1 x Leopard IA4
Breakpoint is 18

This game is a meeting engagement.  AAR follows with lots of pictures!

Soviet BRDM2 during the opening minutes of the war.
 The game started out with the Soviet recce units working their way forward onto the objective and by turn 2 they were mixing it up with the Luchs.

Looking west from the Soviet entry point.  The BRDM2 is visible just next to the gasthaus.  The PT76 track is in the woodline next to the cropfield.  The Luchs is behind the small pine forest to the west.  Objectives are marked with a Soviet Guards token and a German WW2 First Panzer Division token.
 Units were slow to come on with both Infantry platoons arriving piece-meal.  The biggest difference between Battlegroup Kursk and my modern supplement is the speed at which the units get into the fighting.  The IFVs have great mobility and when I played this as a WWII game, the recce action was over before the infantry got to shoot at each other.  This was much different with the battle unfolding almost from turn 3 on.
West German Luchs stalking prey.

reaching the objective.

Soviet infantry arrived.  I diced where they would start from.

Luchs trading fire with the PT76 scout.

Pinned and subsequently destroyed.  The lesson learned here?  If you can be seen, you can be hit.  If you can be hit, you can be killed!

 The recce action heats up as the BRDM goes for cover and the PT76 misses its one and only shot to kill the Luchs.  The auto-cannon chews through the PT 76s obsolete armor and it brews up right on the objective.
The battle so far.  Soviet infantry working their way forwards towards the hill while the Luchs is holding its own.
 German infantry arrives all at the same time and uses their speed to get around the pine forest and reach the objective for a counterattack.  Ivan must be stopped!
German Marder IFVs making their way towards the crossroads for a local counter attack.  I like this picture.

View from the Soviet perspective at the crossroads.  The BRDM is a sitting duck!
 One of the Soviet BMPs moves up and the infantry dismount around the objective to cover it with RPG, RPK and small arms fire.  Their comrades work their way up to the hill.

BMPs approach the hill and the German objective.  
 The Russian BMPs get into position along the dirt road, ready to flank the hill and engage Gerry.  The T-80 arrives on the battlefield and just in time.  Meanwhile the BRDM falls prey to good German gunnery as the Luchs adds another kill to its tally, and it's only day 1 of the war!
Turn 4 the T-80 arrives!

The BRDM burns, and I am continuing to learn a valuable lesson about wheeled recce...

Marders creep into position around the objective to set themselves up for a good ATGM shot next turn.

Heer Infantry (actually US infantry but what the hell...) dismount and take up positions around a destroyed house to contest the objective.
 The beginning of turn 4 sees the arrival of the Armor and it's important for me to introduce a "new" rule to this supplement - Explosive Reactive Armor and saves as all of my infantry fighting vehicles are equipped with lethal Anti-Tank Guided Weapons (ATGM).  I gave the T-80 a 5+ save when hit by an ATGM to see if the ERA can deflect the shot. Also I used the restricted movement rules from Team Yankee so if you want to fire an ATGM, you must remain stationary.  

It's also important to note a minimum ATGM firing distance so the 0-5 bracket is prohibited for ATGM fire.

Leopard I arrives on the field

Here is a nice shot with the progress of the battle along with the trusty Team Yankee rulebook and my own Armor Penetration table, based on the Team Yankee CRT and modified for 2D6 firing.  In this picture you can see the BMPs next to the hill and the lone T-80 working its way up the road.

Soviet infantry fighting vehicles moving forward.

Marders moving into position.
 I resumed the game this morning and the T-80 raced up to the objective to attempt to knock out the Luchs vehicle and some of the reported Marders.  Meanwhile the Soviet infantry advance on the hill and dismount their carriers, with 1 squad remaining to cover the objective.  One of the German Marders is in a perfect position for a shot and during the German turn, it fires on the T-80 with the ERA saving it!  Another Marder takes a shot and the T-80 fails its ERA save.  The penetration roll is successful and the T-80 is toast.
moving past the burning BRDM this T-80 is on the prowl!

meanwhile the Soviet infantry fan out.  The BMP in the upper left is in a perfect spot to guard the Soviet flank.

Burning T-80.
 Speaking of ATGM fire, one of the Soviet BMPs spots a Leopard I moving up across the field!  Permission to engage is instantly forthcoming!! (are you crazy Serzheant?  Open fire immediately!)  The BMP2's AT-5 Spandrel missile makes short work of this small cat and both tanks are effectively knocked out of the game.  Man, keep your infantry with your tanks and suppress the enemy at all hazards!  These ATGMs are no joke...

Victorious Soviet gunners watch the Leopard brew up.  Meanwhile the Soviet infantry begin the advance on the hilltop.
 The infantry fight heats up now as the Soviet squad covering the crossroads fans out to engage German infantry.  Their fire causes a West German morale check and subsequent "Beyond the Call of Duty" move and the fight is on!  Soviets in a still-smoldering building (destroyed by well-planned Soviet artillery of course) trade vicious automatic weapons fire with the Germans on the other side.  The Soviet infantry on the right cautiously moves up the hill and secures the West German objective.  The resulting counter sees the Germans reach their breakpoint and the game is over with Gerry pulling out.
On the Soviet left a fierce firefight breaks out with a West German squad and the Soviet squad covering the objective.  The Russians attempt to flank the objective, only to run straight into German small arms and crew served weapons!!

Soviet infantry armed to the teeth standing on top of the German objective.  Crossroads secure comrade captain!

Germans mixing it up with the Russians at close range.

Spahpanzer Luchs - next game they will be an Ace Crew!!!
 What did we learn today?

  • Move your units tactically behind cover and out of enemy line of sight whenever possible.  
  • Suppress enemy IFVs whenever possible.
  • Cover the objective and kill areas with fire.

A game set in the 1980s should have mug with a slogan from the 1980s  to hold its tea.  Anyone remember this??  
Well if you've reached this part then I applaud your patience.  This was a very exciting and fast-paced game that was extremely enjoyable and again, I can see what is so attractive about the Battlegroup rules.  Things move fast and the combat plays out like a real narrative from a modern fight.  I like the more realistic casualty rates as well.  The results of this battle are what I would expect from a real battle, with units pulling out still retaining much of their combat power, but their position becoming untenable and their morale failing, they pull out.

Making the switch to moderns was relatively easy with the Team Yankee values used for armor and penetration data.  The penetration table was a little bit of work converting it to 2D6 but the results are a convenient combat results table that delivers satisfying results for gaming.  with that said, there's still a little work to do:

I still need to work out better small-arms values for infantry weapons.  The modern era has a plethora of lethal shoulder-fired devices that can kill vehicles so suitable values need to be developed.

Spotting rules come from the original World War II rules and there should be a slight enhancement in a vehicle's ability to spot other enemy vehicles.  I added +1 to all of my vehicle spotting rolls and this might be good enough.

I should develop "vehicle stats" like in the BGK book that lays out penetration values at range as well as any special rules the vehicle brings with it.

Lastly I need to paint more infantry and vehicles!  I had to use some stand-in infantry as well as my VDV infantry for Soviet dismounts.  Next time, Id like to have more infantry painted up for both sides.

ATGM limited shots.  This is a very important feature - ATGM shots should be limited just like main gun shots in the WW2 game with resupply available as an option for larger games.

I am looking forward to incorporating mortars, more tanks, artillery and combat air support into the mix,  I have all those 1/144 Hind and Apache models, it would be a terrible shame to not use them!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Some Bolt Action

While cleaning up the hobby area one thing led to another and the next thing I know, I'm throwing some dice in a quick game of 15mm Bolt Action.

These are some of my "leftover" infantrymen from the Battlegroup re-base operation.  Also, I may have ripped up some individually based infantrymen from Rapid Fire to join in the mayhem.

I played the first scenario from the rule book "envelopment" and the battle featured 2 German and 2 Russian Infantry squads, both led by first lieutenants, along with some recce armor.  The Soviets fielded a T-70 and the Germans a Panzer II "Not-A-Luchs"

Soviet squad at the edge of a cornfield engaging the Germans!

more 15mm Soviets taking the high ground.

My "Not a Luchs" Luchs recce vehicle.  Still without proper flock and decals!
 The game started out slow but turned ugly really fast.  If you don't know what you're doing in Bolt Action, keep your troops in cover.  That's all I can say - they go down really quickly!

Something I like about Bolt Action??  How many games have you played where a 20mm Autocannon was a major weapon system?  BA classes guns and cannon into "light" "medium" and "heavy" categories and has a truly elegant system for armored combat.  In this case, my Panzer II mixed it up with the T-70 and came out on top - but just barely!  The Germans rolled a lucky "6" for the penetration roll which was exactly what they needed to make a dent in that T-70.  Add the 2 for the Penetration value and you just barely match the T-70's armor value of 8.  If you match the armor value (not exceeding it), you subtract from your damage roll.  So the best I could hope for was starting a fire on board the T-70!  How cool is that?

Anyways Ivan failed his morale check and the crew bailed.  No more T70!!
Germans push through the woods.  These are some leftover infantry - but don't tell them that!

Command group.  They would actually prove pivotal by blunting a Soviet push through the woods!

When you roll a 6 for damage, the firing player can select casualties.  I took out the NCO and the other SMG!!  Game Over Man!!

Bolt Action is a fun and light hearted game which I enjoyed very much.  15mm is a perfect size for my table and I already have so much of it that having a game was a very easy affair.  This game also has tremendous potential for gaming in other periods as well (Vietnam, Modern, Sci Fi etc).

Speaking of other periods, I organized my 15mm moderns today for a proper game of Battlegroup: Modern (for lack of a better name) taking the terrific Battlegroup rules and modifying them for a modern Cold War-Hot battle.  I dont have nearly enough infantry painted/ based for it, but I hope to remedy that soon enough for a Cold War-Hot battle.

I will post some of my ideas on conversions and added rules, as well as my Armor penetration table for anyone who is interested.

Man it has been a long time since I've posted anything!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

New Painting Style Attempts!

The Napoleon at War rule book has a nifty painting guide for French troops and British Cavalry and I thought I would give it a try.  Ever since the first day I realized I couldn't paint miniatures to save my life, I started using a block-method for painting 15mm troops using a black undercoat and highlighting details.  The results have worked for my skill level fairly well and the result is a collection of respectable (I think they're respectable) looking forces on my table.

I don't usually like white primer or undercoating because I feel like it exposes my horrid painting skills.  The method from NAW, however, is the best of both worlds I believe and I'm happy with the results of this stand of French troops I have almost finished now.
White primer

Blue coat (or whatever the primary color is)


White undercoated Frenchmen.  I'll explain everything.
The NAW guide tells you to paint them BLUE after the white undercoating.  Then, cover the entire model in a black wash.  After the wash dries, paint the solid details in a series.  So paint the white pants, belt, lapels all white. Then paint the face and hands. Then paint the knapsack and musket brown.  Then paint the red cuffs.  Etc.  You can't really tell but beneath the white lapels and the jacket front, it's still the blue from their first coat.  

Then you wash out the white with a diluted gray paint.  When all finished, highlight in the original color.  I haven't highlighted the pants yet or detailed the accouterments but they look very nice, especially compared to my first French unit:

these gentlemen are block-painted over straight black, and while they're "not bad" I dont think they're as clean as the other set above

  I also tried out the technique on a SYW Prussian figure from Old Glory:
Not bad.  The wash settled into the right areas and the grey wash actually looks better than block-painting all that white on the trousers and waistcoat.
Here are my block-painted Prussians.  Again, not a bad look but I don't think it's as clean as this style.

Here they are side by side.  You be the judge.  

Side by Side

Frenchmen side by side.  Much cleaner.  The chaps on the left look like they've soiled themselves... 
So that's it.  Next challenge will be painting white Austrians in this manner.  Hopefully they turn out OK and not goofy looking or I'll have to resort to the block technique again!  By the way, another French Battalion, Prussian Regiment, and Austrian Regiment on the workbench.  Those Austrians from last week have been finished and just need flocking.

Scaling down to 3 stand battalions allows me much larger battles and literally doubles the forces I have available for various games.  That means more battles and more battle reports coming up!  Huzzah!