Friday, January 08, 2021

Combat Commander - solo session

Had a short solo (just for a change) bash with Combat Commander today.

Felt I needed a quick outing to keep my hand in (as we say locally) as seems ages since I played this excellent game face to face (not since early March last year !) and several months since I played via Vassal either.

Set up the second original scenario 'Bloody Bocage' with Yanks facing Krauts in

Whilst not idly suited to solo play this is still a great experience and thankfully the rules are still lodged firmly in the old grey(ing) matter.

The rules overall by the late Chad Jensen are still for me one of the most well written sets I have ever encountered

Just such a fun game system and despite its apparently endless randomness it still has the feel of a proper plausible simulation of low level tactical action, just so much narrative is generated by the card play system and not a dice in sight.

Must give the Great War version another run out.

Tuesday, January 05, 2021

Field Of Battle 3 - Seven Years War Seasons Of Battle Campaign - Death Of The King !! (pictastic)

Decided to get some figures on the table for (yet another) solo game.

Played out 3rd session of the SOB Campaign I have been running solo with FOB3 over last few months.

Campaign had now progressed to Autumn (Fall for Yanks) with Prussians poised just inside Russian territory.

Several cards of the SOB system played resulting in a Move to Lichwicz by Prussians and some small Supply adjustments to Army Morale (-5% to Russians and +5% for Prussians).

Russians brought enemy to Battle at Lichwicz but an appalling set up roll (12 to 2 for Prussian) they saw the enemy pick an open map with Russians stuck on least favourable edge.

The Prussians also got a 30% boost to their Army Morale and 5 extra tabletop deployment squares, whilst Russians got only 2 extra squares and ability to define 1 piece of terrain (they chose to downgrade a Class II Wood to Class I).

Things all seemed to be going Prussian way prior to set up but they did roll poorly for Morale total (despite boost) whilst Russians rolled well seeing the Prussian 16 units having 21 AMP with the 20 Russians gaining 25 AMP, the Ivans obviously up for defending homeland.

The table prior to deployment (the poker tokens denote extra deployable areas) Note sparsity of terrain on Russian side (the fields are for decoration only)

I partially randomized the deployments which worked ok but did see the Prussian left wing mounted Brigade somewhat isolated on a hilltop.

Deployment completed with Prussians occupying high ground on both flanks but neither side able to deploy in the town areas at start.

Once battle commenced things just went awfully for Prussians as Russian artillery rolled extremely well and Prussian Move rolls saw several stuttering Brigades (in fact Infantry Brigade Kanitz failed to move 5 times !!).

Russian Infantry volleys were also much better than their superior opponents and Prussians were taking lots of AMP losses and indeed had a couple of units Routing.

Prussian Grenadiers approach the town

Brigade Kanitz fails to support their left flank

Russians advance on the town as more Infantry moves to confront Prussian Cuirassier

Russian Cavalry massed on their right wing

Supported by Infantry (three of these were lowly D4 Militia class)

Kanitz watches as battle erupts around the town and friends are engaged on his left with 2 Battalions routing (red plumes) from effective Russian Artillery.

A fairly tense action occurred around the central town as Russians managed to steal the march and occupy the built up areas.

Prussian Grenadiers did manage to dislodge the enemy but was only real Prussian success.

Action around the town as Prussian Grenadiers fling the Russians out

However static Prussian Cuirassiers are about to suffer

A unit of Frei Korps wisely stay out of trouble in the hilltop wood

Russians advance beyond the town to support their mounted wing

The town about to fall (the Prussians had to later retire from their gains here)

Despite lowly (D8) commanders for Russians they rolled well for Movement and got right into the face of the Prussians in numbers.

On Russian left their foot Regiments advanced upon the Prussian Cuirassier Brigade and simply blew them out of their saddles (they never recovered routing right off table) !!.

On Russian right opposing Cavalry clashed and after a poor Prussian charge the Horse Grenadiers of Russia soon put them to flight and this flank too was in dire straits.

Prussian Infantry suffering "Where is Kanitz !!??"

Mounted Wings about to clash on the hill

Russian Heavy Cavalry backs off from Prussian Musketeers, awaiting Infantry support

Overview showing how Kanitz (in center) has left other Brigades 'hanging'

Prussian left wing Cavalry in difficulties as their Commander falls (black plume)

Later the Prussian Cavalry has all but disappeared (one unit of Dragoons left and pulling back)

Forcing supporting Infantry to adopt defensive posture

Kanitz finally makes a slow move forward (only 1 meagre segment)

Casualties among Prussian Officer Corps was truly catastrophic as 3 of their 5 Brigadiers died in battle ! the Russian lost only 1 and so Prussian units suffered Disorders all across the line.

This then resulted in the Campaign ending event as Frederick stepped in to Rally a Routing unit which he duly did however on the soon appearing Army Moral Card he rolled the requisite 1 (on a D12) and was KIA !!!

Death of a King......................

The battle rolled on for several more cards but writing was on the wall for Prussian cause as they now suffered Down 2 on Move cards and indeed lost 4 Morale on an Army Morale card before Frederick was replaced by Seydlitz (a D10).

They did however actually manage to inflict some damage on the approaching enemy but had lost 6 units by this stage and all their Army Morale.

The next Army Morale card saw them defeated and with Frederick the King dead I decided to call an end to the campaign.

Several Prussian units have Routed off table (more would join them)

Prussian Grenadiers about to abandon the town as Russian Foot advances past on both sides

Dregs of Prussian Cuirassiers about to leave the field on their right.

Overview near the end as both Prussian wings have gone

A Russian General did fall on their left temporarily slowing progress

But elsewhere the Russians surge forward

The hill is theirs.

Positions at end as Prussian Infantry form a solid line from which to retire

Despite being forced to play solo this was an interesting Campaign and further evidence that the system and of course FOB itself is probably the best set of rules I have for solo play due to the inherent variability of the card sequencing, battle set up and unit generation.

Certainly better than not playing at all...........................  

Saturday, January 02, 2021

What A Tanker ! via Zoom

Ulster Wargame Society had a multi-player bash today via Zoom today using 'What A Tanker' rules from Too Fat Lardies stable.

Set up and hosted by Jeremy (much thanks) and ended up with 3 players per side.

Initially it was 3 Soviet fielding T34/76 and 3 German using PzIVH with anyone knocked out rolling for replacement AFV possibly an upgrade or indeed a downgrade.

First time trying What A Tanker and it is light playable and fun fare, kind of like a WWI dogfight or Western gunfight but with WW2 tanks.

No Infantry, Artillery, Anti-Tank or Airpower stuff to worry about just pure tank vs tank.

Players take turns based on Initiative order (normally a dice off but today using a card draw) then roll Command dice (basic 6 x d6 less any permanent or temporary damage) which allow various actions depending on the scores ie 1 = Drive action (movement) 2 = Acquisition (general knowledge of enemy target), 3 = Aim (drawing a direct bead on target, but broken if target moves), 4 = Fire action (actually shooting at target already acquired and aimed at), 5 = Reload and 6 = Wild Dice (can substitute for any other), these can be used in any order and combinations your rolls allow.

Fast Tanks (like T34) can change any one dice to a Drive dice and Small tanks require an extra Acquisition dice to be 'seen'.

Moving vehicles can varying direction up to 60 degrees (as can their turrets independently) or turn a full 90 degrees for -1 Move dice, reversing is at 1xd6 rather than 2D6 for forwards moves.

Some variation for terrain (affects number of Acquisition dice required), with to Hit scores required (basic 6+ on 2D6) amended due to cover and suchlike with double 6 or double 1 having improved or conversely an adverse effect.

Vehicle Armour and Strike Values standard Lardy stuff (same as IABSM or COC ?) with multiple dice to achieve penetration normally on 5+ and then Armour 'save' rolls. 

Again some variation when rolling 6 (potential Critical Hits) or hitting Flank (4+ has potential effect).

Not a system I am big fan of but works fine here as unless 3+ excess hits achieved (ie target brewed) damage results in a Vehicle Retiring or suffering loss of Action Dice sometimes Permanently or Temporarily (can be restored by substituting a 6)

I do not have the rules so may be other stuff I am unaware off, but was able to play with very little problem from the QRS.

A 'Dashboard' is used for each vehicle to record various status of Tank such as when Buttoned, having achieved Acquisition or Aim and being Loaded or not.

Not a lot of 'meat on the bones' as a WW2 game but certainly a nice fun diversion especially in present lockdown circumstances.

I had a lengthy duel with a T34 which saw me lose 2 Action Dice temporarily but managed to get a killing shot on this enemy later.

However was unable to effect any other part of battlefield due to a couple of rounds of unusable dice (unable to move, no line of sight/acquisition etc).

In the end the Soviets lost 2 x T34 with one coming back as another T34/76 and the other as a more potent T34/85.

My two German comrades lost 4 x Panzers,  one on last turn so not replaced whilst the other saw replacements of a PzIIIJ twice and a lowly PzIIC (rapid fire and small but poor armour and gun).

Think the kit was 15mm but might have been 20mm ?

A nice pick me up in this ongoing dearth of gaming period.

View of the Dashboard for my PzIVh with Zoom meeting on iPad (was able to bring up the tabletop to full screen as required)