Sunday, March 15, 2020

South Bay Gaming Club meeting March 14

There were four games at the club meeting today.   Form on the Admiral's wake (age of sale0 rung by Bob,  American War of Independence in 54mm run by nick,  WW2 air run by Chuck, and a fictional modern armor game run by me.

This was the battle of Salon de Companerismo had the Union Federal de Buena Vista first division fighting the first division of the Republica  Democratica Popular de la Cucaracha.   The UFBC first division had three combat brigades and one divisional artillery brigade.   The combat brigades had one brigade with two tank battalions, two puma battalions, an engineer battalion and one artillery battalion, one brigade with one tank battalion, three puma battalions, one engineer battalion, and an artillery battalion, and one brigade with three boxer battalions and an engineer battalion.   The divisional artillery brigade had three MRL battalions and one AA battalion.

The RDOC had a brigade with three tank battalions, one BMP battalion, and an raillery battalion.  The second brigade had two tank battalions, two BMP battalions and one artillery battalion. The third and fourth brigades had one tank battalion, one BMP battalion, two BTR80a battalions and one artillery battalion. The divisional artillery brigade had three artillery battalions, one MRL battalion, and one AA battalion.

The rules used were Lightning War - Red Storm, which are available for free from  LWRS   We did use some house rules for the game as we kept the ground scale to one kilometer per 10cm (four inches) and  changed the quality ratings to roll pf two dice instead of a single die roll.  The table was 24km square.

View of the battlefield from the northwest

At the start of each turn two six side dice were rolled for each brigade and adding any modifiers.   For this scenario there were none.   Both sides were rated as good with a rating of 8 for all units except the RDPC artillery brigade.  The die roll is used to determine the order of activation for each combat formation (brigades for this game). The score for each of the formations on both sides determines the order of movement for the turn.   The highest score can move first or choose to move later in the turn.  This gives the higher scores an advantage over lower scores as they can choose to move when it is to there best advantage.  The next higher score now has a choice of moving or deferring their move to later also.   The same applies to each formation in turn and can force the formation with the lowest score to move first.  This process is repeated until all formations have moved.

Indirect fire is then resolved followed by  direct fire.   It is possible for artillery fire to disorganize a formation which would then cause it to only fire with half its combat factors.   Artillery fire is not guaranteed as the unit calling the fire has to roll equal to or less than the artillery formations quality rating and calling divisional artillery has a modifier applied to its rating.  Artillery fire is very good at disorganizing units, but causing casualties on armored units is difficult due to the save modifiers.   Infantry in built up areas can also be very difficult receive casualties also.

The UFBV used march and road movement to move quickly forward and gain a positional advantage over the RDPC.   At first casualties were very light.   The RDPC was advancing from the east and managed to occupy the town on the south center of the battle field.   The UFCV advanced towards that town and prepared to storm it with a pair of infantry battalions.  Artillery and direct fire had disorganized the DRPC defenders. If the UFBC could roll high enough for initiative on the next turn the two battalions would be able to move first and assault the defenders before they were able to recover from disorganization.  They were able to do so and their assault drove the defenders from the town.

View of the town on the turn prior to the assault on it.

Center of the battlefield on the same turn viewed from the southeast
Attacks by the RDPC to the south of that town were halted and driven back  In the center part of the table UFBV artillery and direct fire badly damaged another couple of RDPC battalions.

On the northern flank neither side was making much progress.   Artillery and direct fire from a Leopard 2 tank battalion damaged another BTR battalion.

Combat had taken a full rules day.  Both sides paused for the night and combat resumed in the early morning of the next day.  At this point UFBV artillery and direct fire took a toll on RDPC units. By the end of turn eight the two RDPC brigades on the southern half of the table had two exhausted battalions with possibly more by the end of the next turn.  It was judged a UFBV victory.We had played for about four hours with a short lunch break included.      

End of turn five.   RDPC tanks would occupy the hill in the left center and their infantry would occupy the town to the left of it.  UFBV infantry would advance up the road towards the town and the tank battalion on the road in the right center would advance through the town in the bottom center then deploy above it.
We have tried several different rule sets including Fistful of Tows, Spearhead, Cold War/Blitzkrieg Commander and others.   These played the fastest of all of them and were easy to comprehend and use.  The rules are available for free from

Friday, February 21, 2020

Scutarii at MWS meeting

Dave Howard and I got together for a game at the MWS meeting on February 16.   The armies were Pyrrhus and Republican Rome.  Keith also participated on my side commanding the left flank.  While Rolf and Frank assisted Dave.     The armies totaled 420 points each.   The Romans had a full consular army of two Roman legions and two Latin Ala totaling 16,800 infantry and 2400 cavalry.   Pyrrhus had 2400 cavalry, 12 Elephants, 14000 Greek and Macedonian phalangites, 4000 Tarantine Phalangites and 1500 mercenaries.

I planned an echelon attack leading with my right flank and having Keith hold back the left flank.   The Romans spread out on the wings of the battle.   Keith was presented with the opportunity of attacking the two Roman cavalry units on his flank with all three of his cavalry units and charged into them.   Unfortunately his die rolls were not effective.   The Romans were able to bring up infantry units to envelop his cavalry and eventually destroy them along with capturing the general commanding them.   This left our left flank in a dangerous position with the Romans having enough troops available to overwhelm it.

On the right flank I was initially successful breaking some of the velites and cavalry opposing me.   However, Pyrrhus and a couple of other cavalry units became embroiled in a fight with several Roman cavalry units.   Eventually both my cavalry and Dave's would be destroyed, but Pyrrhus managed to extricate himself.   One of the elephant units broke and rampaged into my right flank phalanx unit causing little damage before eventually succumbing to wounds.

In the center the legions and the phalanx units were engaged in combat all along the front.  As Roman units became exhausted they were replaced by units from the second and eventually the third line.   The phalanx units were also being worn down.   One of the Tarantine units had become shaken and might have broken in another round or two of combat.   Having broken some of the velites on the Roman left I had a cavalry unit in position to threaten the flank of the Roman center.   the Romans countered by shifting some Triarii to counter this.  Because the Romans had spread their army out they had stripped some of the Triarii from back rank this left them without enough replacement units for the combat in the center.  At this point we called the game.  During the next round of combat several Roman units would have been destroyed and would have likely caused most of the remaining infantry in the center to flee.

The cavalry on both of our flanks had suffered severe casualties, but with the Roman center broken we would have been able to counter any flanking moves by the remaining Romans.  Roman losses were about 5000 or so as we did not have enough cavalry to pursue the 10,000 routers.   Our losses were about 1800 cavalry and several hundred infantry.   A Pyrrhic victory.
 Beginning of game Romans on the far side are advancing.
Our opening move.  On the following turn the phalanx units would move towards the left to more directly confront the Romans.  My right flank cavalry and elephants were heading towards the gap between the legions and the Roman left flank cavalry.  Dave on the right and Rolf on the left. (Photo by Mike O'Brien)

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Battle of Arracourt 1944 at the Fresno Game Club

On February 1st the Fresno Game Club had their monthly game.   The rules used were Rapid Fire.   I commanded the American forces with Neal and James as sub-ordinate commanders.   Dave, Brent, and Jeff commanded the Germans.

My plan was to have the two armored infantry companies in forward positions to delay the German advance.  One company occupied the woods on the north side of the table while the other and the battalion units occupied the southeast village.  Neal deployed in depth further back at the other villages.   I put our Fire Direction Center and the on table artillery at the west end of the table behind the ridge.   I had three forward observers.  Two were placed with James' infantry companies and the third occupied the woods at the center of the table.   I also commanded the re-enforcing engineer and tank companies.

Visibility for the first five turns was limited to 12 inches due to morning ground mist.   The Americans had first fire when units came within spotting distance in the mist.

The Germans arrived in two columns.  One on the northern road and the other near the southeast village.  I directed three of our eight guns on the German forces that had advanced to the top of the hill just south of the southeast village on the first turn.   On the second the other five guns came down on the northern column.   The observers headed towards the rear after calling the fire in order to protect them from being overrun by the advancing Germans.   By turn five they had reached positions on the eastern half of the table.  The artillery continued to fall on the original target areas causing sporadic losses for the Germans and slowing their advance.   James' infantry in the southeast village was eventually overrun, but not before causing more casualties for the Germans than he received.

My observers lifted their fire and proceeded to re-direct it.  On turn seven all eight batteries fell on the leading formations of the northern German advance taking out a Panther  and forced the lead elements to fall back.

James' company in the northern woods was being assaulted by tanks, and multiple infantry units, but was holding on and inflicting more casualties than he was receiving.   As the mist lifted the southern German force could be seen advancing across the open ground towards Neal's forward positions.  Their fire caused several losses including Neal's headquarters element, but did take some damage.   On turn seven the engineers arrived and occupied the southwest village.  The tanks would be arriving on the next turn.

At this point the game was called due to time.   The Americans were declared the victors for preventing the Germans from advancing far enough to achieve their victory conditions.

While Rapid Fire is not too complex and fairly easy to learn the mechanics of the rules do not match the level of play the game is supposed to represent.  Each tank is supposed to be a platoon and infantry is organized as multiple figure companies.  When played with 15/20mm figures towns are represented by two to three buildings.   This would be okay, except that instead of being treated as representations of an area occupied by multiple buildings as it would be at the scale of the game, each building is a single building.   This prevents bazooka teams from firing from within the buildings per the rules.   As such the game plays like it is a lower level skirmish game with individual infantry, vehicles, and buildings.  Artillery fire also deviates more than it did historically and is less accurate.   The rules do take into account the American use of fire direction centers to direct artillery barrages and the ability of American forward observers to call multiple battalions of raillery on a single target.
 Beginning of the game cards represent real and dummy unseen units. The Germans are arriving from their start edge represented by the yellow cards.  American are the chartreuse cards.
 Rear area of the American deployment
 Hellcats ambush lead German unit on the northern road.   The white X marker is the aiming point of the American artillery barrage
 Destroyed vehicles on the north edge.  By the end of the game the Germans would only advance slightly west of the hedge rows where the Hellcats are located.  The woods at the edge were still being contested by American infantry.
Gamemaster Ron in background.  Germans are slowly clearing the village in the southeast.   It took them more than four turns to do so.  White cotton puffs mark smoke rounds from German mortars.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Rommel and Pirates

Earlier this month I participated in a game using Sam Mustafa's Rommel rules at the Fresno game club.   The  rules had been modified slightly for a 1980 Cold War gone hot game.   The game started later than planned and we only made it through three turns.   Little Wars TV on YouTube has a review of the rules and two videos of a D-Day game that they did using a modified version of the rules.   I found my experience to be similar to what they described about the game play in the review.   The mechanism of using op dice to determine strategy for the turn and offensive and defensive tactics for the combats was time consuming having only minor effects on the combat outcomes.

Pictures from the game.  Bryan was the game master and provided all the 15mm vehicles and terrain.
 Russian starting positions
 Forward Russian Motor Rifle Division on our ruight.
 forward left Russian Tank Division advancing in the top center.
American starting position

I am planning on running a couple of games at the Gauntlet Gaming convention using Lightning War - Red Storm and will do a comparison of the two rules in a later post.

The following weekend I participated in a Fistful of Lead pirate game at the South Bay Gaming Club.  The Scenario was based on a scene from Treasure Island where the pirates attack the heroes in a stockade.   I was one of the two players running the heroes.   We had eight on our side.   There were 18 pirates attacking them run by five other players.    We killed a few of the pirates before they reached the building and broke down the door.   The hero of the game was Jim Hawkins.   He took out four of the nine pirates that we killed in hand-to-hand combat as the pirates came charging through the door one at a time.   He did have some ineffective help from the other defenders though they usually ended up wounded or dead for their efforts.   There were rousing shouts of "He's dead, Jim" each time he felled one of his attackers.  The following pictures were taken by Lawrence.
 From left to right Bob, Allen Chris (who was the other defender) and me
 Our gamemaster Nick on the right edge of the picture
 Me, Nick, Doug
Doug, Wes, and Bob

The Gauntlet  convention is this weekend and I still have a few recent vehicle purchases to finish painting before the weekend.   These are several dozen vehicles for the Federal Union of Buena Vista's army along with some T34-85's for later this year.   Also, a couple of dozen vehicles for the People's Democratic Republic of La Cucaracha.   Hopefully there will be enough players at the convention.   Last year's Gauntlet had a good mix of games and enough players for the games.    This year is questionable due to some changes in format.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Projects for 2020 and a review of projects for 2019

Back at the beginning of 2019 I posted my project plans for 2019.   These are listed in black with status in Red   All Projects are 6mm unless noted otherwise.

Finish Late Roman/ Byzantine army  Still to be done
Finish Sassanid Persian Army  Still to be done
Finish Warbands  Still to be done
Finish lace wars armies  Completed
Finish Napoleonic armies.  Completed
Purchase and paint modern engineering equipment after GHQ finishes releasing the vehicles for early this year.  Completed
Make 2mm towns and villages. (counted about 40 for one scenario)  Dropped plans for 2mm army
Make some more 6mm towns, villages, and farms.  Made some, more to do
Finish painting 2mm armies.  Replaced with 6mm Franco-Prussian and completed
Paint about a dozen 25mm sci-fi figures I dug out of storage.   (yes, they are actually 25mm figures from 35 years ago)  Completed
Make jungle.  Got some left over palm trees and bamboo to place on Litko hexes.  Completed
Make pine forest.   Bump chenille on Litko hexes.  Started

Items that were added and completed
purchased and painted some 1:285 Leopard 2 Revolutions
Finished painting some 28mm fantasy figures.
Finished the 28mm castle
Purchased and painted some 28mm science fiction figures
Printed and assembled a 28mm spaceship using World Works Games First Light, expansion, and other sets.
Printed and Assembled the 28mm Desert Village and Desert Fort sets from Wargames Vault.
Printed and assembled a 28mm Science Fiction town using World Works Games Mars Station set.
While most of the above were not reported on the blog, they can be seen in several of the blog posts.

Projects for 2020 are as follows:

All are 6mm unless noted otherwise.
Complete Late Roman/Byzantine army
Complete Sassanid army
Add cavalry to Achaemenid army
Finish Warbands
Make additional built up areas
Make pine Forest
I have a dozen two foot square interlocking mats that have been painted a light brown to finish
I have a bunch of 28mm Fantasy figures in various stages of painting to finish.
Add a few more 28mm science fiction buillding paper buildings.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

End of Year Gaming

I haven't  posted for the last couple of months.   During that time I have participated in a several games,  run a couple at the conquest Avalon convention and painted some additional items.

At Conquest Avalon I spent Saturday gaming, taking part in a French and Indian War game using Rank and File which ended in a draw,  a Ridiculous Vanity game where my king charged the opposing commander and due to an extremely unlucky set of die rolls ended up dying,  and a KISS Rommel game commanding the British at Toburk.    The British were overrun.  On Sunday I ran a Franco-Prussian War game using 1871 rules.   This was two Prussian line corps vs a French four division corps which was a draw.

I also ran a Franco-Prussian war game at the Miniature Wargaming Society of Sacramento using Bloody Big Battles this was Prussian victory.  Of the two rule sets 1871 played better, but was not that satisfying a game.   I will be trying Rank and File for a Franco-Prussian War game in 2020.

After trying KISS Rommel, I went looking for a better set of rules for large scale battles.  I found the turn sequence for KISS Rommel which had the moving side doing all the firing with no return fire from the defending side to allow one side to gain a distinct advantage.  The Tobruk game used a die roll for initiative.   On one turn the Germans chose to move second, moved up to range and attacked the British causing a few casualties and removing some of the defensive works and mine fields.  On the following turn they again won the initiative, moved first this time and took out more of the defenders, while breaking through the defenses.   At this point there were not enough British left to stem the German tide.

The last game of the year was a fictional lace wars game set in H. Beam Piper's Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen universe.   I again commanded the Ilter army.   The scenario was from the Wargame scenario book.   We got to choose seven units from the list of forces available,  I choose a heavy cavalry unit, five infantry units, and the two artillery piece unit.   The opposing side chose the two artillery piece unit and six infantry units one of which was light infantry.   Both sides got to designate one of their units as veteran and would use a die roll to determine which of the other units was raw.   I choose on of the infantry units to be veteran as did our opponents.  Both sides die rolls resulted in one of the other infantry units being raw.   Both sides had two subordinate commanders.  One of them was aggressive and the other was not willing to follow orders.   I did not know what they were like as Mike, the gamemaster told them in private prior to the start of the game.

We started the game in road column with one unit on the table and the rest following behind.  Fortunately my aggressive commanders units were the second command in the column and my insubordinate commander was the last in line.   I lead with the heavy cavalry, followed by the grenadiers.   The other two commands had two infantry units and one of the two guns.

We won initiative for the first turn and my cavalry quickly headed down the road and turned left at the junction.  The Grenadiers and the next command followed.   The third command headed off the road to the right to secure our right flank.

On the second turn my cavalry moved into position to threaten the flank of the lead two infantry battalions.  The opposing side had occupied the village with another of their infantry units, had another marching behind the village and woods to their right flank, had the two guns occupy a hill to the left of the village and had the other two infantry in front of the guns.   My grenadiers move up to the central inn at the junction.  The second command deployed the gun to the right of the inn and moved up the infantry just to the left of the grenadiers with the lead battalion on the hill.  The third command move up and deployed its gun and infantry on the right on the following turn. Due to their guns being deployed back on the hill they were firing at long range while ours were firing at intermediate range with twice the effectiveness of theirs.

On the third turn the enemy's lead battalion charged my grenadiers.   The fire from my grenadiers was not enough to halt the charge and a bloody fight ensued for control of the inn.  Both sides lost half their men and my grenadiers were forced back.  Meanwhile my cavalry charged the second battalion of infantry and routed it.   On the following turn the cavalry again charged causing that unit to run further and then hitting the enemy grenadiers in the flank routing them.    Over the course of four turns Princess Gwendolyn's regiment of horse would engage in the two charges and come under fire multiple times from the enemy's infantry.  They were able to extricate themselves from that situation and move to the left flank of our aggressive commander's infantry with only one of six bases having been lost.

Our aggressive commander had regained control of the inn and the survivors of the grenadier battalion moved up to occupy it.  While all this was happening our right flank and guns had been engaging  in a fire fight with their opposites.

The enemy's aggressive commander was the one opposing ours.   One of his infantry units charged ours on the hill and was thrown back.  This set up the situation where our infantry unit and the heavy cavalry would be able to make a joint charge into the unit that had been thrown back.  Our artillery and musket fire caused one of the infantry units in the center of their line to loose over half its men and rout.   One of our gun crews had been driven from their guns by the enemy artillery, but was able to return to their gun the next turn. Our right flank command had taken some losses during the exchange of musket and artillery fire.

At this point the game was called  as a victory for our side.  with three of the opposing infantry units having fled the battle.   Our grenadiers were at half strength and only good for occupying the inn or defending.   One unit of infantry on both sides were still at full strength.   All the other infantry on both sides had taken casualties, but were still effective.  With the game called we were not able to make the combined cavalry and infantry charge we had set up.   A lucky result for us would have seen a fourth enemy unit routed and destroyed.  

The following pictures were taken by Mike, our game master.
 End of the first turn.  My cavalry on the road at the bottom.
 Turn three charges by our cavalry and their infantry at the inn in the middle
 Turn four the cavalry continues charging into the flank of the opposing grenadiers.
 Another view of turn four.
 End of game our cavalry and infantry are preparing to charge.
 End of game from behind the other army
.End of game.   Our army is on the left and the other is on the right.  The unit at the bottom of the picture is their grenadiers who had recovered from being broken by our cavlary.  Our right flank had fallen back due to casualties, but was still in good order.  Their guns are on the hill at the bottom right and their other two infantry units are to the right center with one on the road and the other at the base of the hill.  The unit on the road would have taken fire from both our guns, the grenadiers and the second line of infantry on the hill for a total of 12 dice  while the cavalry and the first line would have charged the unit at the base of the hill.  While it was not guaranteed there was the chance that both of those units would have broken.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Franco-Prussian game at South Bay Game Club

We played a fictional encounter between a four infantry division French Corps against a Prussian and a Bavarian corps  using the 1871 rules by Bruce Weigel.   The French were the victors.   The scenario needs to be better balanced due to the lower morale of the Bavarians.   Either the Bavarian corps should be replaced with another Prussian corps or if they are used the Prussian corps should be the Prussian guard corps.   The French a total of six Turco and Zouave regiments which are higher rated morale than French and Prussian line regiments.  Chris provided the Baccus 6mm troops for the game.  I provided the scenery.  
 View from the south.   French advancing on a broad front. 
 View from the north.  French left flank engages Bavarians. 

 French road column advancing. 
 Prussians take up positions in town at top of picture. 
 Prussian cavalry regiment guards ford in center of picture. 
 Prussian columns advancing. 
 French and Bavarians engage.  French cavalry division at top defeats Bavarian cavalry. 
 French regroup and consolidate their position. 
 Prussians marching along the road. 
 French (on the left) are slowly pushing back the Prussians.  
 French (on the right) continue to wear down the Bavarians. 
 French attempt to storm the hill and will be driven back.   
 Prussians under pressure on their right and left.