Monday, May 27, 2013

Check This Out...

As promised - here are some mouth-watering photos of our latest creation in the kitchen - chicken shwarma!!

Oh and I'll post some pics of our Gettysburg trip too.  Then my thoughts on 54mm Toy Soldier wargaming AND a very BAD experience at the Gettysburg Toy Soldier Shop.  He's lost my business!  Tune in soon.

I'm sure you're just dying to know what happened there.  Well I promise to post soon.  For now, suffice to say the old man has LOST this guy's business. I'll drive all the way up to my mom's or just online.

Anyone wargame in 54mm?  Just curious.  Would seem that black powder and volley and bayonet are practically made for that nostalgic scale

Friday, May 24, 2013

And Now for Something Completely Different...

Well we had our first real meal in the house this evening - we made Chicken Shwarma, a delicious middle eastern grilled sandwich stuffed with marinated and seasoned chicken, cucumbers, onion, pickes, a creamy garlic sauce, and french fries all on a grilled pita.  Delicious.  The whole endeavor got me motivated to start my "food blog" which I appropriately called "cozido."   Feel free to stop by and have a look.

I may post pictures and the recipe for Chicken Shwarma tonight if anyone is so inclined to cook it or eat it.  THis is my first shot at "food blogging" and "food photography" taken with a crappy phone camera.  Let's see what happens.

By the way - 3 tours in Iraq got me hooked on middle eastern food.  Shwarma is one of my guilty pleasures.  Huzzah!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

First Post & Thoughts on Black Powder

This is SOUND OFFICERS CALL's first broadcast from the underground bunker in Horsham!  (PA not UK).  Our internet is lightning fast now that we're out of the apartment and I will most certainly now be more productive on the blogging front since the moving is practically over.  So good news there.

Secondly, Black Powder.  As I've said before, very similar concepts to the popular Warmaster style of game rules, but the concepts are where the similarities end.  Warmaster is one of the most influential game rules ever published and honed a sophisticated methodology for the fog of war.  The system was successfully adapted to many game rules since and where it has, the rules have been quite popular and successful (read as enjoyable).

To be honest, I very much enjoyed Warmaster Ancients, Blitzkrieg and Cold-War Commanders.  I have yet to play Future War Commander but it's coming.

Black Powder takes the warmaster concept, simplifies some details of movement, shooting, and close combat, and leaves you with a sense that wargames rules have "come full circle" since the old days.  3 shooting dice for standard units is a great way to keep the mess down.  Disorder is NOT a function of casualties, although it could be in the right circumstances.  Movement is simple and straightforward.  There are no ridiculous movements allowed when in the face of the enemy, and hand to hand combat is equally simple.  Thing fire and fury only simpler!

So far I've only played one very small game, and read the rules twice over.  I'm impressed with the quality of the rules and as I've read many others comment, am happy to have the book on my shelf if for the simple fact that it is has alot of eye candy and the humor in the book is second to none for a horse and musket wargame rules set.

Volley & Bayonet to me has always been an industry standard.  If you wanted to have fun, you played something else.  If you wanted to simulate what a general has to decide on during a real battle, you played Volley and Bayonet.  Black Powder may be "the next big thing" here at Sound Officers Call.  Huzzah!

Look for a Black Powder AWI game coming up something next week.

This weekend, the staff here at this blog will be taking our yearly vacation.  Last year we visited Lake George, Forts William Henry and Ticonderoga, and other battle sites from the French & Indian War.  This year, we are making a "pilgrimage" to Gettysburg!  I can hardly wait.  Many pictures to follow.  I hope everyone has a great week.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Absence & a quick ACW game!

Attention Wargaming Blogosphere!  

SOUND OFFICERS CALL!  has been off the net for quite awhile due to its impending move into new digs.  Wife and I have been moving our stuff into our house for the last few weeks - all of the wargaming stuff (Troops, Terrain, Hobby Supplies, logistics, victuals, draft animals, ammunition, rations and other assorted sutler's goods) are now stashed away in the FUTURE HEADQUARTERS OF SOUND OFFICERS CALL!  Broadcasting from an underground bunker in Horsham!  (Pennsylvania, not UK)

The Armies....a sad state of affairs.  And this isn't even all of them.  The rest are still in my grandfather's basement in huge plastic totes!
So the move is almost complete.  Soon it will be time to start organizing and unpacking.  I have shelves which my wargaming stuff is poised to go on, and will be building a 6' by 4' gaming table!  So for now, ignore the hideous wood-panel trim and linoleum floor of our basement.  It's the only part of the house we haven't remodeled yet. 

In gaming news, having recently purchased a copy of black powder, and, itching for a chance to roll some dice in anger, I broke out the ACW miniatures and played 2 short games - 1 of Fire and Fury and 1 of Black Powder ACW!

The infamous "battle of Fox's Junction"

A Union battery of light 3" Ordnance Rifles deploys for action.  They would cause some major rebel heartaches until finally taken by a Rebel brigade.

Meanwhile a mighty Rebel host advances!

A rebel Napoleon Battery is damaged!  Finally got to use my snazzy marker!  "in counter-battery we trust"

Union troops deploy behind a stone wall ready to meet the enemy

 GAme was very simple with 1 Division on each side attacking to capture a vital road junction.  The yankees won the first round but only because of atrocious dice rolling on the rebel side.

What's more interesting though, is the fact that I used to absolutely LOVE Fire and Fury and I found the rules lacking this time around.  It's funny how our tastes change as we get older.

Rebel Brigade is low on ammo after rolling a smooth 10.

They charge the battery and, though eliminating it, are themselves disordered.

Epic combat!  Firefights at deadly close range.  The yanks would come out on top of this round.

The battle ended with 1 Yankee Brigade swinging around and pouring enfilading fire into the Rebel flanks.  This doubles your firepower in Fire and Fury and proved to be the deciding moment in the Fire and Fury game.  Now onto Black Powder!!

2 Regiments abreast score a lucky roll and execute 3 moves, moving them into rifle range.  In black powder, 15mm troops halve movement and ranges.

The advance to contact starts at the orchard!

Black powder relies heavily on casualty markers

Battery moves up to support!  They did not have the orders to fire, just to move and unlimber.  The casualties are piling up now on both sides and for some reason, I'm rolling LOTS of 6's now.  6's immediately cause "disorder" and that means trouble.

The yanks gain the upper hand!
I have to say Black Powder was very enjoyable, save for some rules technicalities that I didn't quite get at first.  Having read over the rules a few more times, I think I have the casualties, shaken, disorder, and close combat nuances down.

Those who say it's like a "black powder version of Warmaster" are slightly mistaken.  Some of the mechanics are the same, well, the concepts are the same, but the game rules play out differently.  The rules are simple, though not simplistic, and they handle horse and musket combat most elegantly IMHO.  I didn't play long enough to garner a good AAR - just wanted to show my loyal readers some ACW eye candy and that I am still alive and kicking!

I expect games to start back up within a week or so.  Painting may take slightly longer than that.  Still waiting on a release date for Zvezda's "Hot War" 1/100 modern models.  I have some small games lined up as well to include:
20mm Warmaster Meeting Engagement
WWII Spearhead
Force on Force Iraq
Seek Out, Close With, & Destroy WWIII Brits vrs VDV
Future War Commander: EPIC!!  (finally!)
Black Powder AWI with AAR


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Black Powder, Dirtside II or Stargrunt II Anyone?

Does anyone have experience with these games?  Looking for some of the veterans out there.  I noticed Stargrunt seems to have some concepts that "Force on Force" borrowed like the Skill-Dice function (D6 for poor troops, D8 for regulars, etc) and reaction tests.

That was an interesting find.
You can download Stargrunt II for FREE from the Ground Zero Games website along with Dirtside II its larger companion.

Once again sorry no recent posts!  Still packing and moving - all of my miniatures are either at the new place or packed.

I am really jonesing for some gaming though.  Just received my beautiful hardbound copy of "Black Powder" in the mail this week and thank God the pages are printed in "drool resistant" glossy paper!  I really can't wait to play some Nappies, AWI or ACW games with it and see how it works.  It seems very similar to the Warmaster, BKC family with familiar command values and initiative movement.

In other news, the wife recently asked when my "sci fi kick" was going to be over...  She may be in luck as I am very much wanting to get back on the horse (pun) painting up my Napoleonics.  I also wouldn't mind getting in an odd game of Warmaster Fantasy, Crossfire WWII (been awhile), Disposable Heroes WWII, and maybe even some Fire and Fury ACW if I'm up to it.

Most of my terrain and miniatures are already at the new house and our dining room table is there as well......

Maybe to exorcise the "Sci Fi Bug" out of my body, I ought to play a large, Future War Commander massed battle with all my Epic: Armageddon troopers???  THat might do the trick.  Maybe.