Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Combat Mission - PBEM game resolved

Have been playing a Combat Mission Barbarossa To Berlin (venerable in PC terms as released way back on 2002) game with Mike via Pbem which just resolved today.

Scenario was set March 1945 at a spot called Golzow with a foggy encounter between heavy weight German and Soviet forces with lots of Panthers, Tigers, JSII and T34/85.

Very much a close range slugging match that the Germans (me) managed to win.

I lost 13 Panzers (mostly Tigers) whilst Ivans lost their entire force of 25 Tanks and failed to exit any for Victory points.

CMBB is still such a great game.

Foggy conditions added to by smoking wrecks at game end

Destruction at ground level from one of my surviving Panthers

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Combat HQ game at Ulster Wargames Society meeting

Club day and I participated in a game using Combat HQ with Mike and Simon.

CHQ is a set I briefly dabbled with but never really got into but do have the 2nd edition Pdf.

Mike set up a 6mm game based upon Operation Goodwood in Normandy July 1944 (adapted from a Field of Battle scenario) using his terrain and toys and he umpired being most knowledgeable with system (I really must dust off my 6mm and get them to table)

We simply diced for side and I landed with German defenders against Simon with British attackers.

We did not use the Blinds/Hidden units rules (as need to refresh understanding of these) but this did not seem to effect game especially as Simon massed all his stuff on his right and I then moved all my stuff from my right to my left to thwart his advance. This did allow me to advance a lone PzGr Company on my right into a village (Fueonville ?) unopposed recapturing from initial British control (victory was dependent on control of the villages).

Game saw a sort of massed tank brawl much to Mikes shock as I think he was expecting a broader advance with a more nuanced defence, that will teach him !

System uses Command Dice each turn to generate initiative and orders backed up by Staff Orders (that can be replenished if used).

I had 9 Dice each turn and Simon had 10, you roll and group them into 'chains (ie like numbers) that can be used singly or in said chains allowing 1-3 actions per Command Group (up to 4 units ie roughly a Company of 1-4 Platoon stands). Each command group is activated by use of the dice but only once per turn however use of said Chains can allow multiple actions for each activated formation.

However ones are bad (or my case extremely bloody naughty) and sixes are good, as they count as Wild Dice (can be used as any other dice or to enhance shooting and several other options) but if you roll more ones than sixes you 'fail' command possibly giving your ones to enemy who counts them as Wild dice. I do not recall obtaining any such gifts from Simon (stinghy) but 'gifted' him at least 12 such generous offerings over course of game.

Staff Orders (I had pool of 6 Simon had 8 or 9 ?) can be used similarly to Wild dice but also to call in Artillery or sustain/adjust barrages.

Movement and shooting is slick and quick being a form of 'buckets of D6' system (not my favourite method) but this suits the fast play grand tactical scale of system.

As example a Panther unit fires with basic 10 anti-tank dice needing basic 4+  to hit a Sherman rolls a basic 7 dice in defence needing basic 4+ to 'save'. Any attacking rolls of six that defender fails to match results in target becoming Suppressed (no shooting). Each excess hit causes a Disruption with units KO'd upon 3rd such disruption (a D3 is then rolled which reduces Force Morale).

The number of dice rolled and to hit numbers required can be adjusted by usual stuff like range, cover, morale state and use of Wild dice or Staff orders (these are quite flexible/important in system).

Movement is usually a fixed amount (3-6") with variable dice additions but use of dice Chains can allow a formation/unit to move large distances (number of shooting dice is possibly effected).

There is of course much more to system than this brief outline and we did get a couple of things wrong but game flowed really well and it was very enjoyable overall.

Game essentially ended up a draw as we called time but I was certainly shy of Panzers by this stage having used them to stymie Brit armour, however Simon unwillingly to advance into range of my 3 batteries of 88mm guns with his few remaining tank units.

System sort of felt like a mix of FOB WW2 game, Blitzkrieg Commander and maybe Chain of Command and is very much a quick play low complexity style set.

I only managed a couple of ropey pics (always a good sign)

Action hot and heavy around village of Bras (red dice is center of ongoing British barrage which destroyed a PzGr company)

Panther company (visible on center right with 1 unit already KO'd) attracted a 'poo' load of attention including some nasty M10 Achilles. They were eventually wiped out but gave good account of themselves and tied up tons of British units. The cards are very nice unit stat cards Mike made up.

A Company of PzIVH advance in foreground with a Stug Company also advancing in distance as Brits push forward

Also at club were three other games which I had only a very brief lunchtime visit to and no idea how they turned out.

Jeremy M had an Arab-Israeli air war game (interesting subject) no idea what rules used.

The the two Davids had a FOGR game going (apparently lots of dead generals) 

Andy had an impressive 28mm GDA game, French vs British

Thursday, January 26, 2023

L'Art De La Guerre - guess how many more games played ?

Final practice session for Stephen today before competition this weekend with another 2 games of LADG.

He of course used his Late Romans and I fielded Triumvirate Roman (ie Marian morphed from my Polybian Romans) with Armenian ally (ie Cataphracts) and then Galatians with some Greek subject troops.

Rather fictitious army match ups (not my favourite) but still fun games.

Marian were interesting to use (2 Brilliant Generals) but as always the cataphracts under-performed even when I had a 3:1 and 2:1 factor matchups with only their heavy armour saving them from taking hits themselves.

This one came down to my right wing disappearing before I could do sufficient damage elsewhere.

Galatians were out maneuvered which is not unexpected with warband and lost as supporting wings folded. 

If he does not win competition (or at least do well) it will not be down to lack of practice.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

L'Art De La Guerre - another 2 games (and a board wargame session)

Played LADG today with Stephen giving him another 2 practice games for up his up coming competition in darkest Cork.

He has finally submitted his list and choose Late Imperial Roman and today I decided to try a couple of pike based armies to give him something new to deal with.

I of course have no such armies so borrowed requisite figures from his vast collection.

First game I used Graeco-Bactrian with a mix of pike, cataphracts, impact 'Companion' types and couple of elephants.

This was a fairly close game despite terrain really cramping my deployment (could have been worse had I not managed to re-locate a large marsh somewhat).

Found pike a useful type but the elephants failed miserably and cataphracts had no targets as Romans availing of brush and my cavalry were overwhelmed on my right.

Second game I used Ptolemaic with 8 pikes including 2 elite with Generals backed up by same Impact cavalry with some medium foot (Thracians with 2HCW and spearmen).

Terrain was more open but not really an issue for mainly HI foot armies.

A mighty clash of pike and legionaries in center and 2 mounted wings clashing on my left.

But (and thankfully its been awhile) I had a horrendous turn of dice rolls which saw me lose 3 units outright ! and my pikes take several hits all along the line. Game was essentially over (as flank of phalanx exposed) but I fought on with the Pikes inflicting some hits on Romans but the accumulation of losses and hits saw army fold.

Enjoyed the pike armies and tempted to form one but likely folly as painting them will be my undoing (its been 3 years since I lifted a brush !!!!). 

Couple of shots of the massed Pikes as they did look the part

And in that vein I had actually prepared myself just yesterday to paint up some Napoleonic figures but ended up going 'sod it' and playing a solo scenario 'Hedgerow Hell' of Combat Commander.

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Battle Command - another solo test Malburian period this time

Set up and played another Bat Cmd solo play through, this time using my 10mm Malburian types with a replay of Ramillies scenario adapted from Lace Wars as these 'toys' have not seen table time in a while.

Units are Regiments/Brigades which works fine with FOB/Bat Cmd.

For ease I used generic unit stats and made all Commanders D10 with exception of CinCs who were D12 for Marlborough and D10 for Villeroi.

As many more rolls are determined by CinC quality this has potentially more effect in Bat Cmd (indeed feels more like FOB2 in this respect which had a bigger spread of deck quality types).

I really enjoyed this game as I am beginning to appreciate the greater depth of decisions with new Action Matrix vis the multi card decks of FOB.

Constantly one turns a card makes an Action roll and is faced with 'oh dear I have options but what is best overall ?'. 

As an example turning a Infantry Fire card is no longer simply applied to every command group on a side. On said card a player might indeed get only the Inf Fire option or he might also have available Leadership, Melee or occasionally Move. But possibly (on odd Action roll) only 1 option would apply to overall army or (on even Action roll) he can apply any one of his available options to each separate command.

In FOB I would have 3 Melee cards in a standard deck and thereby 3 set opportunities to Melee with units (barring re shuffles) per deck but in Bat Cmd there may be potentially more chances to choose a Melee option than just turning the single Melee card itself. 

But the caveat is that if I Melee on a Fire card I may be giving up that chance to Fire for one or more commands, whereas in FOB the Fire cards are always going to appear as distinct separate actions, a different dynamic indeed.

Game played slickly and of course being Piquet type it played to a firm conclusion over a couple of sessions. Game was very close with both sides going to zero Morale but Allies did gain a few morale chips from French and French turned an Army Morale (no Action rolls on these 'trigger' type cards) card first and failed to remain on the field. There being only 1 Army Morale in an 8 card deck as opposed to 3 in 27 is different and am unsure if this makes its presence more or less likely in game terms as many more re shuffles occur ?

In FOB I would usually include a 'Rolling Fire' optional card in deck to differentiate between Platoon and Rank firing for infantry in period. In Bat Cmd I included the Event card in Allied deck with its appearance allowing Platoon firers (Dutch and English foot) to re-load (rolling a D6 with odd meaning only 1 Cmd could re-load with evens allowing all Cmds to avail of option). Again not sure how this compared 1 in 9 to 1 in 28 but it seemed similar.

So again I am finding Bat Cmd is different to FOB but not necessarily better or worse but still do think FOB is marginally better suited to solo and multi player simply due to more straight forward card play.

Will be interesting to see how Stephen views new system

Armies at deployment (I used historical set up) with French on left

Dutch Foot Guards occupy town on Allied left, they later ignominiously routed off table 

The Earl of Orkneys tough elite English command on Allied right, hills represent very low fold in ground that English mounted utilised in actual battle to conceal movement.

French horse occupy the open ground on their right, they suffered early on from effective Allied artillery fire.

Bulk of French foot line the Gheete

French mounted with support from crack Swiss foot

More French foot massed around Ramillies and the Gheete including Garde Francais and Garde Suisse.

Late in proceedings with mounted having bashed each other and Allied foot advancing in centre

French horse now decimated but Allied horse mostly spent. A unit of Swiss and Irish have crossed Gheete from French left to annoy Allied foot (but they were later almost destroyed by Allied guns firing on flanks)

A stalemate on Allied left as neither side able to recover order or losses

Allied foot pressing forward to Ramillies (which they took) as French foot marched to plug gap

Swiss and Irish trying to flank Allies, they destroyed only a single unit before being battered

Friday, January 13, 2023

L'Art De La Guerre - 2 more games

Another couple of practice games with LADG for Stephen as he tests out his Late Roman and Achaemenid Persian armies before deciding which to take to Cork competition.

Against his Persians I used Galatians who suffered from very effective shooting (Persians have lots) and played 'chassies' with Persian cavalry most of game. Loss of My Paioan Ally general and Light Chariot CinC in one turn ended game quickly.

Next up I fielded my Sassanids against the Late Romans, using an almost entirely mounted force with a mix of cataphracts, heavy bow cavalry and lots of light cavalry including some elite Huns. This was closer game but as ever my cataphracts failed to achieve their potential (roman foot are tough with archer support). The bow armed mounted are great at shooting and evading, gaining some VPs but they eventually have to fight especially as flanks of cataphracts need protecting.

Always good to get 2 games in one day.