Sunday, January 22, 2017

New Year, New Gaming Board!

Part of my 2017 New Year's "Gaming Resolution" was to "up my game" with terrain solutions and what better way than to start with the gaming table?  After reading through some posts on "Steven's Balagan" about ground cover, basing, and flocking, I decided to go with roughly the same formula he has on his "parched" gameboard.  If you follow the link you can follow the formula I used, which was an earth color, followed by a dark sand, and highlighted with a pale sand.

I glued the crap out of the flocked board, effectively hardening and sealing the flock.

 Next, I painted it in an earth tone I had mixed at "Home Depot" here in the USA.  This matches, almost exactly, the Tamiya Flat Earth XF-52.

Board let to dry
 I started experimenting while the board dried to see if I wanted to use a lighter shade or darker shade for the drybrushing work.

 Remember too that this will also be used for all of my infantry bases, terrain bases for trees and hedges, and basically any other piece of terrain I make.

Experiment with both shades of dark sand.

 The drybrushing went well but I have to admit, it scared the crap out of me.  The whole board looked like a desert wasteland or another planet.  Not much like the Mediterranean or central Russia in summer.

15mm Sci Fi trooper 

starting to add flock.  I still need to "soften" the edges up on the grassy parts.
 As the table started to take shape, I put some ground troops on the table.  Dave stopped by to say hi, and I broke out some Naps for picture-taking opportunities!  Admittedly, since I worked most of the weekend, I hadn't planned on gaming but the table was crying out to have some pictures with troops on it!

British Rifles!

 Once the grass flock was added, it assuaged my fears completely about the desert look.  The parched look I was hoping for was achieved!

Dutch standing in for Portuguese

French columns - I love how the bright table brings out the color of the miniatures.  I feel as if my board was too dark.

The board color also brings out the terrain details nicely and I feel as if the terrain and buildings stand out so much more now. 

So I still need to "lighten" the edges of the grassy areas up but lightly adding more flock, as well as sealing the

Friday, January 20, 2017

Commands & Colors Napoleonics - For Seven Years War???

I recently had the opportunity to host a Volley & Bayonet game where we attempted to refight the battle of Lobositz.  That entire battle had me thinking about the merits of Commands & Colors Napoleonics for Seven Years War battles.  Well an opportunity for some rare, precious free hours and a host of forces on the table leftover from the battle screamed out for the CCN treatment!

I did not modify the rules much yet as I feel as though I need to give them some serious attention in terms of changes from the SYW to the Napoleonic period.  I also hear that the game designer may release another "tricorn" CC version following the imminent release of the American War for Independence CC which is slated to come out soon.

God only knows how long that variant will take to come out and for those of us who absolutely cannot wait, I thought I'd just use the CCN rules almost as they are and see what happens.
The battlefield.  Lobositz is in the background next to the large River.  Sullowitz is clearly seen in the center along the blue Morellen Bach stream.  The 2 prominent hills are in the foreground.
 I did not bother with assigning special units to flanks, and instead chose to lay down the forces similarly to how they were deployed "in real life" and used the actual number of Regiments.  More on this later.

The Austrians
 I'm using Napoleonic French stats for the Prussians, and the Portuguese stats for the Austrians.

Prussian left flank

Prussian center on the Homolka-berg

Prussian right sans the Cavalry

Prussian Cavalry

Austrian left

Austrian center and reserve Grenadier "division"

Austrian center, continued

The whole field, ready for battle.  Lacy's advanced corps is beyond the morellen bach, all else in the Austrian Army are behind it.  There are 2 units of light infantry (supposed to be croats, but you get the idea) 
The battle started out with both sides getting an opportunity to push troops onto the crucial Lobosch hill, which featured so prominently in the actual battle.  Control of this hill enables the Prussians to easily push onto Lobositz itself, thus winning the battle.

The Austrians moved their 2 units of lights onto the hill and quickly were able to occupy advantageous positions and literally destroy a Prussian unit which had broken down into a skirmish battalion prior to the battle starting.

Prussians advance onto the hill

Austrians advance onto the hill as well

the fight is about to be joined!

Prussians are sent back from close combat.
 So in terms of modifications, I wanted to allow the lights the opportunity to shoot while adjacent but this is still a thought and not a modification.  I played the rules as written and the Austrians won the first engagement in the orchards and vineyards on the hill.

The Prussian cavalry corps gets into position

The center is fairly quiet

More shooting on the Austrian right

The Prussians see an opportunity and launch a Cavalry charge against the Austrian left who, while offering a valiant fight, retreat.

Meanwhile the Austrian lights locate the Prussian attacking Regiments and open fire on them.  They may have bitten off more than they can chew at this point!
 It would also seem at this point there needs to be an appropriate mechanism to ensure things remain somewhat "linear" and while that's really easy to talk about, I have no idea who to actually do it.

Austrian cavalry brigade is sent back

The development of the battle so far.  The Cavalry engagement is in the bottom-center of the picture.  The struggle for the hill is in the top-center of the picture.

I very much enjoy playing CCN as I feel it gives a clean game and has some very ingenious features to it.  I do believe though that when planning your own scenarios, much thought has to be given to balance.

I'm not sure throwing the entire OOB from Lobositz down on the table was the best idea to recreate this SYW clash.  Probably would have been better with not more than 3 infantry units per "division" with a powerful artillery unit in the center.  I feel as if, given the restrictions with the cards, there should be less units on the table as this is extremely slow to develop.

On the other hand, battle during the SYW was, as some have stated, at a very "leisurely" pace compared to Napoleonic battle.  So perhaps more units is more appropriate?  I'm interested to hear your thoughts on that.

Another modification I was thinking of was making artillery much more static, perhaps needing a leader to move once it has started firing.  That makes it much more difficult to move once the shooting has started.

So less units, less mobile artillery, and a forcing function to keep units in line of battle for that vital support they provided each other, are what I'm considering for modifications to bring CCN more in line with the SYW (at least before the author publishes something!).

Oh I also need to read up more on the rules as I find it's been so long that I'm constantly researching seemingly simple things.  Anyways not sure when I'll be able to complete this battle, but it's been much fun so far!

Again, I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts below.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Battlegroup Kursk: Gertsovka Station!

Yesterday there was not a single game on the horizon.  My buddy Dave F came over to help me work on the gaming table and, well, you cant keep us gamers still I suppose so after a trip to Home Depot, we broke out small forces for a quick Battlegroup: Kursk game!  (All pics by Dave F!)

I took Paul OG's advice and used the Skirmish Campaigns "GrossDeutschland at Kursk" book for a really small-scale but fun game featuring a couple squads on each side, supplemented by 81mm Mortars.

When I say small, this game was SMALL!  But delivered alot of good infantry excitement and tension on both sides as the Germans have to attack across a large open area.  BP for the German forces was "9" and when the math worked out for Ivan, turned out to be "3!"  Well we'd barely have a game so we adjusted the Soviet BP to "6" thinking that would give a little bit longer game.

I dont think the game lasted longer than an hour and a half.

Germans attacking.  2 Full squads, a HQs section, and on-call 81mm Mortars.

Soviet houses overwatching the bridge.  

Ivan moving into the woods overwatching the bridge

German squad moving up to the support by fire position

Another German squad!  ANGRIFF!
We rolled one die for orders each turn.  The action started sharply and Dave's LMGs scored a ton of hits on Ivan in the treeline.

Ivan moved up to the woodline to guard the bridge crossing

and fortified a building
 The German LMG opens up with good effect!
scratch 3 ivans!  Good shooting Jerry!

 The return fire isn't quite as effective as the German fires, but gets decent effects on target with a couple hits.

Ivan can't do much right now but miraculously continues to pass his morale checks. Meanwhile Dave's FO has a hard time getting priority for company mortars but that doesn't mean he cant try!

Ivan moves back to foxholes from.  Only the squadleader and DP team remain
 Ivan's squad on the right gets a pin and pulls a chit to unpin itself.  Luckily it's a "1"

Germans in the woods sneaking up on the buildings.

Ivan scores some more hits with the DP but Dave continues to pass his MC's

and even scores a "Beyond the Call of Duty Test" which he passes to good effect.  
 Next turn, the company approves the mortar mission and the Soviet left squad is treated roughly.
Squad pinned with a mortar barrage!
Future casualties force Ivan's squad in the house to bug out with 1 soldier left and the chit pull brings Ivan to the BP!  Germans win and the remaining Russians bug out!

mortar fire mission!

Soviet BP!  Just over an hour's game!