Thursday, August 31, 2023

They Couldn't Hit An Elephant rules - Gaines Mill scenario

Game at Stephens today this time trying 'They Couldn't Hit An Elephant' rules from early TFL stable which we had tried several years ago but discounted as option (think Stephen disliked them as Aggressive troops rather overpowered and other sets came along).

We were trying a few house rules Stephen had come up with (we dumped several as unnecessary and added a couple) and a JR scenario of Gaines Mill as basis for game.

With lots of discussion we failed to finish game but hopefully did get good play test of rules and both agreed there was lots to like and seemed better than we remembered them.

Only real issue we had was shooting at multiple units with a mix of target numbers (especially with ever troublesome skirmishers). 

Did not get to any Melee action (beyond theoretical) so this may throw up other issues but otherwise all seemed very playable and fast playing (certainly compared to JR).

One needs a firm initial plan as hard to change orders as CinC required and he can only be in one place at a time, use of Blinds worked fine and use of PIPS for actions very like Principles of War.

Stephen trying to get a set of ACW rules that satisfies his feel for the period (I have less knowledge or opinions on intricacies of period) with playability and flavour to the fore.

Saturday, August 26, 2023

Ulster Wargames Society - Hail Caesar II tried

Monthly club meeting today and I participated in a Hail Caesar II game run by Billy using a fraction of his extensive 15mm collection.

No formal scenario as such just a gathering of figures for a bash up, with Billy commanding a force of New Kingdom Egyptians against a mixed force of Libyans (Dave S) and Sea Peoples (moi).

I have only played Hail Caesar once solo and that was a long time ago and don't own and have not read the latest version 2 so very much a new experience, and Billy just revisiting them after a long break too.

We had played and enjoyed several turns system) we had been making, mainly due to assuming several Black Powder aspects applied. 

Main ones were we were treating Support units incorrectly, they can add dice in hand to hand but not any pluses to Melee Outcome Results (unlike in BP) and also when a unit Gives Ground we had missed that winners can Follow Up which makes a huge difference as such recoiling units can be ground to dust through continuous pressure (following up units get 'charge' bonus) especially if additionally Disordered. 

All in all HC is a very different beast to BP despite similar core systems which is indeed just how it should be.

Despite rule errors this was a fun 'buckets of dice' style game especially as we retained the standard 28mm ranges which meant units were engaging each other PDQ.

Also at club (as per usual no idea how any of these turned out)

Mike and Simon played 15mm WW2 game(s) using Combat HQ and Yanks vs Krauts

Andy and ? played another Team Yankee game this time on a much reduced scale ie a 6' x 4' board as that is format for Competition (in Cardiff) next year for which they continue practice.

Not sure but I think this was 2 NATO forces (British and West Germans ?) conducting training maneuvers. 

And last but by no means least Phil had put on another large eye catching WW2 game in 20mm, this time based on Sword Beach.

This was conducted on two separate tables one being the beach landings, using Rapid Fire and on other action further inland (?) using Phils home brew rules. 

Some great bits of kit and terrain in use

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Great Crisis Of Frederick II - solo play through

Managed to get a play through of Great Crisis of Frederick II over last day or so.

It is indeed a light (quite lucktastic) rendering of the Seven Years War in Europe but an enjoyable time was had even solo.

Boy oh boy the Prussians and their British/Hanovarian Allies are well outnumbered and after initial Prussian offensives at wars opening (only Prussian get to act on Turn 1) their backs are really up against the wall on multiple fronts.

The Austrians are a match numerically for Prussians with some limited support from Sweden, Holy Roman Empire and Saxony (all part of Austrian Alliance) but France outnumber Allies greatly and the Russians once they arrive are a juggernaut (some of their Commander levels seemed bit generous).

Prussians got bogged down in several lengthy sieges whilst Austrian Alliance bidded their time and built up irresistibly awaiting Russians to crush Prussia in a pincer.

Prussia has so many areas to manage threats from it is a real juggling act for them and they are susceptible to defeats/reverses and their consequences.

They suffered from below average Action Point rolls (you roll a single D6 with Prussians adding +2) and not very kind sequence of Action Chit selections (they missed one of their 2 possible activations on a couple of turns).

Once Russians arrived it was dire for Prussia as just could not stop the Tsumami from the east, of course only learning game mechanics (fairly straightforward) so better overall strategy might assist.

Combined with losses to Resource Forts (including several recaptures) the Prussians succumbed in 1759 when Berlin fell to Russia (there is auto win for Allies if Berlin captured and Prussian resource areas drop to certain level.

Catherine can die (and Russians change allegiance) later in game which would most certainly put Austria on back foot but tough to survive that long. 

Overall a fun game (as always would be much better 2 player) and certainly showcases just how lucky in many ways Frederick was in reality. 

Russians arrive on Prussian eastern flank besieging and taking Koingsberg 

French begin to mass to push on western regions

Frederick bogged down in siege warfare as enemy encroaches from France and Austria

Large Prussian force isolated at Neisse (they did 'breakout' later)

French pressuring British/Hanoverians as Austrians push north and Russians flood west

Prussian forces being 'pocketed' in central Germany as Berlin falls (blue cube)

British looking thinner on ground but holding on 

Campaign ends 

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Chain of Command and The Great Crisis of Frederick II

Another bash with CoC today using our 15mm kit and another scenario from the 'Scottish Corridor' Pint Sized Campaign again as a standalone scenario.

This one was 'Encounter At Le Valtru' which has SS (Stephen again) against Scots (yours truly) in a patrol/probe type encounter both with 16 support points.

I added a Churchill, 2 x MMG Teams and an Entrenchment. 

Germans had a Tiger and a 75mm Howitzer dug in and an off table Adjutant.

Patrol phase saw Krauts gain a central table line whilst Scots had a lonely jump off point at village edge whilst others were 'forced' back to cornfield.

Huns managed to form a bit of a strongpoint in buildings with a full section (with the nasty 18 dice for 2 MG42s) later assisted by the Infantry Gun, which managed to break a Vickers team I had deployed.

Added injury was one volley that saw Huns inflict a single kill which my attached Senior Officer decided to absorb and I lost 3 Force Morale (I started with lowly 8 to Hun 10)

I did bring on my Churchill to engage said strongpoint but was soon engaged by Tiger but survived, indeed I later hit the Big Cat with 4 hits (pretty good from 7 dice) and he only saved 3 so he took shock and driver 'stunned'.

But losses mounted elsewhere and further broken saw me dip to a single Force Moral and therefore just a single Command Dice and then a Turn ending use of a CoC Dice ended game as a unit Routed and Morale evaporated.

Another fun game with CoC (we are warming to it) and great to again finish a game, albeit a smallish affair.

As ever not a lot to see in pics as low unit density on table

Germans have deployed on central locations

Scots MMG and section deploy around stream and get punished (it was here the Senior chap to rear bit the dust).

Huns pushing on their left

Strongpoint forming (75mm IG later appeared in front of wall)

I also obtained another board wargame (on bit of a binge at present after a hiatus) with arrival of 'The Great Crisis Of Frederick II' from VUCA Simulations which is a light game on SYW in Europe (certainly compared to 'Clash of Monarchs' which is much more in-depth, detailed and complex) and is a hybrid of Chit Pull with Point to Point movement and Tactical Cards 

Only just set the game up and am perusing the brief rules but its another eye catching game from VUCA chaps.

Friday, August 11, 2023

Holland '44 - a Vassal PBEM game started

Started a PBEM Vassal game with Mike with Holland '44 from GMT games of which we are just about to complete first full turn.

Bit of a learning curve for us both as new to game (although I have dabbled with other titles in the series) and to Vassal module (which has some very helpful aids).

Mike is the Allies and I the Germans and interesting so far (it is Market Garden after all !) and no idea if either of us playing optimally but look forward to seeing game progress.

Hopefully enjoyable and satisfying enough to push us into others in the series.

Whilst Pbem via Vassal can be a bit stop/go compared to an live session or face to face play its great not having to have game set up for weeks on end and being able to slot game sessions into any free time available.

This series of games by Mark Simonitch are firmly in the moderate complexity level but have nice depth without being too onerous to learn or play.

As with many such games there are several exceptions/special rules (airlanding and bridge blowing being obvious ones in this) and understanding the nuances of ZOC Bonds and Combat Modifiers takes a minute but adds to simulation feel.

Overview of game map (bit large for single screenshot)

Arnhem 1st Airbourne area 

82nd Airborne Nijmegen area

101st Airborne around Eindhoven

Last but not least 30th Corps begin moving up 'the wide part'