Saturday, July 29, 2023

Ulster Wargames Society - Chain of Command game played

Monthly club meeting today and I partook in a game of Chain of Command run by Jeremy D and Mr Smylie, using 15mm kit (which visually suits the ground scale).

Been a long time since I played CoC but this was hugely enjoyable and easy to pick up with Jeremys umporing and rules knowledge.

Remembering when Sections count as Sections or as separate teams in relation to Shock effects was only confusing aspect as most other stuff pretty intuitive and the Dice activation/Command system works very well. Having teams reduced to 2 or 3 figures but still able to fire at full firepower (unless shock effects) took a bit of getting used to but certainly works in system overall.

Scenario was from 'Scottish Corridor' Campaign pack and was 'Attack Into Mouen' but bigged up (double OOB I think ?) using Big CoC rules (minimal amount of added complexity) to allow 2 players a side. Walls and Hedges were classed as high so this fairly cut down fields of fire unless in buildings.

So it was attacking SS (commanded by Other Jeremy and Mr Smylie) against defending Scottish heroes (led by Dave T and moi).

Patrol phase saw Scots pretty much pushing forward on right (Dave T) and holding around Mouen on left (yours truly) with Nazis mostly pinned back (there would be further hampered in deployment first two turns by our Close Support Barrage), being denied easy access to farm on our left.

Sure enough we pushed forward on right and I consolidated on left and this worked well as we inflicted some early casualties on Hun.

However once they did deploy the SS sections put out tremendous amount of firing (19 dice ) with their 2 x MG42 teams compared to our sections with their single Bren and rifle teams(12 dice) and Dave started to take hefty casualties and shock and began to fall back but his push forward had slowed SS advance on that flank..

On my flank SS arrived piecemeal around farm (some unlucky command dice rolls) and I was able to deploy my entire Platoon unmolested along hedgerow to continually inflict pain. The SS concentrated a lot of effort on our HMG which deployed in a building (and was eventually destroyed). 

SS deployed a Tiger (!!) and a PzIVH, we had a 6pdr selected as support (but never got to use it as fields of fire not conducive.

We did have 2 Piat Teams and use of my team was highlight of game for me.

I managed to roll a required 1 to deploy it onto a Jump off Point and had a second Command dice roll in hand (as I had rolled 2 sixes) so I placed it in front of the advancing Tiger. The SS had a COC Dice in hand so used this to Opp Fire but only failed to break the Piat team (1 kia) so I fired and indeed hit the Tiger but the shot bounced (Piat rolls 7 dice needing 5-6 the Tiger has a whopping 11 armour dice). However I then rolled new Command Dice with my second phase and rolled another 1 so got another shot off a Tiger and although I barely managed to achieve a hit I scored 4 penetrations and the Tiger on managed to save 1 (out of 11 dice needing 5-6 !!) so was ko'd and then very obliging exploded causing numerous hits on two nearby Hun sections. Huzzah !!

Sadly the nasty vengeful SS wiped out these heroes soon after so posthumous gallantry awards.

Dave T also used his Piat and managed to hit the PzIV which was crossing a wall and whilst not damaged it was forced to retire. 

This along with several other losses caused SS to declare they would quit the field

Great days gaming with a rule set I have neglected but which worked pretty well for scale of game its set at (nominally same as IABSM but feels bit more 'skirmish' level)

Overview from Scots left after Jump Off Points established

Dave T uses his JOPs to deploy well forward on Scot right

SS were denied access to farm but did start to deploy around its environs

My Platoon begins to deploy along hedgeline 

Scots use smoke to protect from the massed MG42 deluge of fire

Big cat appears

As does its PzIVH running mate

Tussle for farm (SS have taken several losses here)

But they eventually consolidated in the orchard

My Platoon is now fully deployed pouring fire at any enemy that appeared (as remnants of one section is broken and retreats)

"THE TIGER IS BURNING !!" (thank goodness)

Also at club (it was a 20th century day) were games of Battlegroup and another Team Yankee (believe these chaps are practicing for a 'mainland' competition next year).

Did not see how these played or turned out ?

Team Yankee, I think it was Warsaw Pact Czechs vs British and West Germans

Battlegroup game with Adam and Dave Ps lovely 20mm kit. Think this was an ad hoc set up rather than a formal scenario (?)

Another Big Cat in the mix

And the not often seen Buffaloes about to have artillery dumped on them I think

Friday, July 28, 2023

Combat Mission Pbem game completed.

Pbem game with Mike I had ongoing with venerable Combat Mission Barbarossa To Berlin completed with his Ivans gaining a minor victory.

Scenario was Izyium Diet Plan set in May 1942. 

I had taken a couple of 'Flag' objectives early on but a troop of PzIIIs on my left flank were annihilated by a T34 and a KV1 in short order and this allowed Mike to push a T70 onto one of my objectives to contest it (no Panzerfausts this early on)

On right we had a ding dong with my Stugs and PzIVs and his armour. Lots of lowly T26s dispatched but again the KV1 is of sterner stuff.

I had at one point 3 AFVs with damaged guns which fairly stymied my hitting power. 

A veritable flood of Ivan infantry appeared and again Mike was able to contest a 'Flag' to gain the win despite suffering marginally higher losses.

This was a cracking encounter.

Overview of 'table' from Hun right

Annoying T70 contesting a 'flag'

The final result and casualty tally


Thursday, July 27, 2023

O Group - Eastern Front scenario 'Operation Blau' played

Game with Stephen using O Group as we wanted to try the Soviets in game system as they seem rather hard done by in several ways (Poor AFVs, lack of Spotters, slower HQ Impetus accrual), so we decided to give the 'Operation Blau' scenario a try from Eastern Front supplement.

I had Germans attacking against Stephens Russian defenders and after our usual deluge of waffling about other projects/rules/board games etc we had at it.

Initial barrage saw Soviets lose 1 Platoon but their one and only (?) inherent benefit is that they can replace the lost Platoon with a Green Platoon.

We only managed 6 or 7 turns but this was enough to see arrival of 2 x PzIIIJ for Huns and a T34/76 for Soviets. These had a couple of exchanges of fire with a single Shock caused on a Panzer. The T34 has a more potent gun and better armour but is hampered by being Poor AFV so needs to roll a Spotting dice on every shot beyond 10", however the PzIIIs with 50mm L42 suffer a -1 to hit due to being classed as Low Velocity weapons so fairly even.

I had 2 x PZII Recon Panzers which failed to reveal any enemy after 7 rolls and one was ko'd by an ambushing gun, the other survived but was hit by Mortar fire causing Shock.

I lost a couple of stands (3 in total including PzII) but was due to lose a good deal more when I uncovered an entrenched Ambush position with an MMG attached to an infantry Platoon (6 D6 with 3 re-rolls). 

We ran out of time but was good to see Soviets in action with O Group and felt that they may work best as defenders and in early war.

Not many pics as not much to capture with so many Combat Patrols and hidden units



Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Donnerschlag - set up ready for solo tryout

Donnerschlag arrived and I have just completed set up ready for a try with game in ensuing few days (O Group minis game tomorrow so brushing up on those today).

Great looking game with a nice mounted map and counter with a sort 'glossy linen' feel to them.

Game from fairly new German company VUCA Simulations who have a reputation for high production values (well deserved).

As anticipated some rules errata to absorb (docs printed) but the game is on lower end of complexity scale with only 10 pages of actual rules and nothing too onerous at first blush.

The use of Activation and Combat cards looks fun.

The icy looking map

Unit counters colour coded for Formation Acitvation

Soviet defenders (the A,B & C areas are possible relief corridors to off-board Stalingrad Cauldron that Germans are trying to reach)

German and Soviet Activation and Combat cards

Monday, July 24, 2023

Stalingrad: Advance to the Volga played

Had a proper bash with new acquisition and what a tough old time it was for Germans !

To win outright (ie exceed historical outcome) they must capture every area on board (they start with 9 and there are 50) or if they can exceed 40 they have achieved the historical outcome (a draw in game terms).

Soviets can auto win of they 'force' German morale to zero from starting level of 19 but since every repulsed result causes a -1 morale drop and you lose 1 at end of each turn (you can spend Supply to push up by 1) it soon dwindles. 

When Morale is good, Germans get +1 to all attacks conversely when its low this bonus is lost and Soviets get +1 to defence, Germans do get a +1 if 3 or more units from same formation attack together, but any loss sees units Repulsed with lead unit destroyed (can be brought back with Supply expenditure) so low yield attacks are fruitless and costly.

But boy is this a hard proposition with several areas defended by some tough Soviet units of who it seems maximum strength  value is 10 with Guards tactic but usually married with +4 terrain in the high urban areas along river.

Taking several areas proved really tough as even a +3 Light Urban area can have an 8 or 9 strength defender (tactics vary) and Germans can only mass a maximum of 4 units in one zone although they can support with Supports up to number of attackers. 

The Stukas are powerful (only 3 in mix) but less so than I first thought as they are marked as -1D6 to defender which I took initially to mean Soviet threw 1 less D6 however upon actually reading rules this is 1D6 rolled to reduce Soviet defence by total rolled bit less impactful.

At start of each turn you roll for Random events and I was twice in a row effected by Operational Pause which means you roll a D6 and that many German areas must flip their units to Spent prior to action phase, I of course managed to roll a 6 twice fairly gutting offensive power. Other events reduce Artillery effect, increase Soviet defence or effect things by off-board offensives by Soviet Armies. All grist to the mill for solo player

I did take most of southern part of City but could not make a dent in northern half.

The game is as can be seen quite dice luck dependent but it is fairly quick playing and rather addictive fun and so have set up for another try this time to try several optional rules of which being able to Isolate (cut an area off from Volga) Soviet units looks most useful, others not so much.

Early stages as I make some inroads in south of city

Managed to take Grain Elevator zone (garnering a +1 morale boost for capturing High Urban areas)

Support assets accumulate at turn start but note German Morale marker is in last box of Good status) 

Soviets being forced onto river bank but way too slowly and costly


And in final splurge for birthday another title en-route, 'Donnerschlag' depicting failed relief effort towards Stalingrad. 

A more traditional hex and counter style game but with cards for Activation and Combat effects.

The game looks graphically awesome but am aware of its having a fairly extensive Errata/FAQ document but got at a decent price so took the plunge.


Saturday, July 22, 2023

Stalingrad Advance to the Volga 1942 - an early birthday present

Stalingrad - Advance to the Volga (by Revolution Games) is an early birthday (25th - date that is not age unfortunately) pressie that arrived and got it set up and running on table.

Game is a solo type on Germans attack on Stalingrad in early October 1942.

It is based around the Area system first seen in the old 'Storm Over Arnhem' Avalon Hill title, of which designer Mike Rinella is very much an aficionado/proponent, so usual aspects of Area defence factor variety, Movement Costs, Spent units and so on.

One plays as Germans with Soviets as purely static (but tough) units, with fog of war element being that the Soviets are unknown/hidden units each with varying defence strengths and 'tactics' and are taken from a pool of units based on terrain type.

Tactics are labelled as Heroes, Ambush, Guard and similar all of which have varying effects in or post combat (extra losses to attackers, loss of morale that sort of thing).

Germans have Supply points which they can spend to 'buy' assets at varying cost of usual variety; Stukas, Artillery, Engineers all of which generate modifiers to combat. They can also boost their Morale level.

The victory schedule for Germans looks tough (only played a single turn so far) as they need to capture essentially all areas whilst their Morale (combo of morale and logistics) level dwindles and Soviet resistance increases as they push further into urban areas (defence factors increase)

Great production values in game with nice counters and a luv'rly mounted map board.

Rules are short concise and clear and this is a rules light game although it does include a couple of scenarios and some optional rules.

Have Cyprus game from The British Way set up on other side of table and just started as well so I feel like a Chess Grandmaster (except not so grand or in any way a master and not playing Chess, but otherwise identical).

This one is similar to Palestine game with Arms Caches, Intel and Cells on a very small area of conflict.

Friday, July 21, 2023

More of The British Way soloed

Been performing ferry service to and from various Hospitals and Health Centers for an elderly relative so reduced time for gaming (no time to prep a minis game) this week but did manage to squeeze in a couple more sessions with The British Way.

The title with its 'mini' games fits this niche perfectly as each game takes no more than 2-3 hours to complete and easily fitted in over several sessions if needs be.

Each game in box is very immersive (even solo) with enough variety and differences between each to keep it all fresh within same COIN umbrella.

Managed to play Malayan and Kenyan Emergencies to completion and up next is Cyprus then I hope to replay all with the Campaign system included.

Had great play through of the Malaya game which plays much more like a 'standard' COIN game with Resources, Area Control and Population Support. 

I was therefore more attuned to how both sides operated in this one with only a few adaptions for subject matter and unique Events to assimilate.

British had a much smoother time in this one although it was close in the end and I know that early play of the Malayan Communists was ineffectual (too many Events taken).

Then I got Kenya to table which again is more akin to a 'standard' COIN game but with some twists (such as only Mau Mau track resources and can never destroy British Troops and a Supply Line concept) and Events.

British looked to be clear winners up until last few cards as Mau Mau managed to obtain control of several [rovinces and convert these to Resistance (from Loyalty) which combined with a couple of Terrorised areas swung VPs in their favour with Brits unable to reply in time.