Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Future War Commander Forces

I spent part of the last couple of weeks re-basing and re-painting my science fiction armies.   Most of the vehicles are from the plastic Renegade Legion Cohort packs while some are from the old plastic Warhammer 40k epic sets.   They are being used for a far future space setting called Human Space.

Human space is divided between the Pantharii Imperium, The Federation, The Domain and several unaligned planetary systems.  The Pantharii Imperium, The Federation, and The Domain are almost exclusively human settled planets.   The Unaligned Worlds region has planets settled by humans and various aliens.   There is also an outside alien race that has sent raiding and invasion forces.  The volume of space is about 70 parsecs from side to side, 110 parsecs from top to bottom and 40 parsecs deep.  There are also a few planetary systems that have ruins from an ancient advanced civilization.

The Federation and The Pantharii Imperium are officially at peace, though there have been some incidents in the border systems.   The Domain and the Federation are hostile towards each other.   The Domain is ruled by a repressive theocracy.   Though larger than the Federation the Pantharii Imperium is too corrupt and lethargic to attempt an all out war with the Federation.  Both the Federation and the Pantharii Imperium have agents in the Unaligned Worlds region seeking to influence various systems into joining them. There are some non-human aliens in the region, but they are not powerful enough to pose a threat to any of the major human star nations.

The greatest danger to the region are the aliens from outside it.  These are humanoid in shape, but with a bluish skin color, white hair, yellow-green cat like eyes, and sharp pointed teeth.   All attempts at communicating with them have failed.   Their spoken language is unpronounceable by humans and is in the ultrasonic range.   They seem to have a ridged, traditional structure to their armed forces.    Since their actual name for themselves is unknown they have been called the BluMe'Nes.  

The BluMe'Nes and an Ogrethulu
Part of the Pantharii Imperium armor.   These were painted pink per my Daughters request.  The vehicles are from the Renegade Legion TOG cohort set.  And yes they are the Pink Pantharii %)

Federation armed forces.  Vehicles are from the Renegade Legion cohort set.  Infantry are from the old FASA Mechwarrior range.  The color scheme is a green base with yellow camouflage markings for both the vehicles and the infantry.

A somewhat fuzzy closeup of one of the Federation vehicles.

I found the cases on Amazon.   They are available individually or in packs of ten.   The individual price is rather expensive and is about twice the cost per case if bought in a pack of ten.   The pack price is about $32.  They inside dimensions are about 10 inches by 12 inches (250mm by 300mm).   They can also be stacked.

At this time I am still deciding on what type of terrain to model on the bases.   I still have to finish re-basing the Ground Zero Games infantry that I will be using for the Pantharii Imperium.   The Domain forces are the old Warhammer 40k epic Imperial Guard and I have not yet decided on a color scheme for them though they have been re-based.    I will also have to purchase some vehicles for them.

I did convert the Renegade Legion Vehicles to Future War Commander.   The renegade Legion rules for armored combat were very tank happy.  The information can be found on the Blitzkrieg Commander website download page under Renegade Legion.   Most of the vehicles have a turret mounted cannon and laser.   If the target is in range of both weapons their attack values can be combined.   They cannot engage separate targets.   The ones with hull mounted cannons can engage a target with both the cannon and the turret mounted laser or can engage separate targets with each.   Renegade Legion vehicles are armed with almost every system you can imagine.   In addition to the cannon and laser, they also carry guided missiles.   Some also have anti-personnel weapons and/or anti-aircraft weapons.  CinC still makes the Renegade Legion vehicles

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Home Made Rivers and Roads

After reading about making roads with caulk, I decided that I would try doing so myself.   And if roads could be made then so could streams and rivers.   I have some commercial latex roads that I bought a while back and while they are good none of the commercial rivers were what I wanted.   Usually they were too wide and too regular in width.   The caulk that I used is made by DAP and is available in several different colors.   I decided to try the lighter brown TAN color.
I taped some clear plastic wrap to the top of the patio table and using a caulking gun squeezed out a single bead for streams and multiple beads for roads and rivers.   I had a couple of hard plastic parts bin dividers that I used to smooth out the roads and streams.  Fortunately they had a tab that could be removed from one edge making a 2cm (3/4 inch) wide opening which was just the right width for roads.  After letting them dry in the sun for a few hours I turned them over and let the other side dry for a few hours.   The following three pictures show several stream sections drying.

After the streams had dried I first painted them with GHQ field grau and then immediately went over them with GHQ sea blue.  This gave them a greenish blue color that varied instead of being the same along the length of each section.  The final photo shows two unpainted road sections and a couple of stream sections.  The bridge is from the PaperTerrain 6mm stone bridge set.   They have two different bridge sets and they are available in a couple of different colors.  One set is sectional lengths that can be used to create bridges of different lengths and the other has arched  bridges in three different lengths and a pontoon bridge.  After painting I used some scissors to trim the ends and to cut the ones with multiple bends into shorter sections.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

House Rules for Cold War Commander

In the Battle of Montana Libre report I mentioned some modifications to the Cold War Commander rules.   There are a number of reasons for those modifications.   A Nato battalion was expected at times to be defending a 5km front.   Another item that I found on the internet provided information on company and platoon frontages.   At the 1cm = 20m scale of the rules a battalion would defend a 2.5m(about 100 inches) frontage on the game table.  A company would defend as much as 1.4m(5 feet) and a platoon 60cm(2 feet).  With one stand  representing a platoon this would be almost impossible.
Soviet tactical doctrine is similar and unit frontages are as follows

The second item was the difficulty of achieving a kill against modern tanks.  This has been mentioned in a number of posts on the CWC forums.   Modern tanks are difficult to kill.  Especially when a stand represents a platoon instead of an individual vehicle.  However, during the gulf wars allied forces did achieve quite a few kills.   Many of these from air and helicopter strikes, but also from tanks and ifv's.   The Battle of 73 Easterly being one notable encounter.
Also we did not want to have to keep track of the number of hits from turn to turn or make a die roll to see if a stand was knocked out when the number of hits remaining was not enough to knock out a stand.   We considered the hits do be a temporary disruption of the platoon and that the removal of the hits at the end of the turn to be recovery of platoon cohesion.
The following house rules were implemented to allow a battalion to defend a 5km frontage on a reasonably sized game table and to increase the possibility of knocking out tanks.

1)  Ground scale is doubled to 1cm = 40m   A 5km frontage would then be about 1.25m(50 inches or just over 4 feet) on the game table.
2)  Although not mentioned in the rules, the amount of time per turn was doubled keeping movement rates the same.  This was done so that units moved a reasonable distance per turn instead of just creeping along.
3)  Gun ranges were kept the same, but infantry anti-tank, anti-tank missile, and mortar/artillery ranges were halved or adjusted to fit the revised ground scale.
4)  The basic infantry ranges might be adjusted at a later date though as 30cm is about 1.2km at the revised ground scale which is a bit far for most light machine guns.  Though it is isn't too excessive. 
5)  Instead of adding only one die for half range, the number of dice was doubled when firing at half range or less.  This does not apply to infantry weapons,  IATW or ATGM.   This was done to reflect the greater rate of fire for guns and in the doubling of the time scale per turn.  (update infantry range reduced from 30 to 20cm)
7)  ATGM may fire twice per turn, instead of just once, provided they have more than one command activation.
8)  The number of dice for indirect fire has not been modified. During the game neither side was able to call their artillery enough to determine if the number of dice should be adjusted or if indirect fire should be allowed to be called twice during a turn.  The later of the two options might fit better with the doubled time per turn and with the modification to the number of times ATGW can be fired during a turn.  (update - artillery rules kept as written after further games determined that a well placed battalion barrage was quite effective )
9)  Russian tanks firing ATGW can use them at over half range even though their modified ranges are not greater than the range of the gun as they have more attack dice at that range.   With the doubling of dice at half range or less this gives the tank guns more dice when using regular ammunition at those ranges than they would have if they used the missiles.   This would be in keeping with the tactical doctrine for tank gun missiles being used at long range.
10) The command distance modifier was kept at the 20cm modifier of the rules and initiative distances remained the same

All of the above was done in order allow formations to to use tactical doctrine frontages on a reasonably sized table and to avoid modifying as few of the rules in Cold War Commander as possible.  Pete's rules are very good and provide a fun and great game.   Not all of the participants in the Battle of Montana Libre game had experienced the rules before.  Comments were that the rules were very good for representing modern warfare.   One participant who had only been gaming with 20mm figures using Force on Force reported that he had purchased modern GHQ Soviet and British forces after playing the game.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Battle of Montana Libre

I would like to thank all the participants who played in the  March 2nd Cold War Commander game at The GameKastle in Fremont.   This was a battle between two fictional Latin American States.   These were Imaginations that I had created a while back.   They are not intended in any way to represent actual nations and the region was chosen for its wide variety of terrain.

The two nations are the Peoples Democratic Republic of La Cucaracha led by El Supremo Jefe Patronus and the Federal Union of Buena Vista ruled by President for Life Elvis Narcisso.   La Cucaracha uses Warsaw Pact and Chinese equipment while Buena Vista uses a variety of Nato and Israeli equipment.

There were five players in addition to myself.   Since none of the initial arrivals had previously played the rules we fought a meeting engagement.   There were a number of house rules and modifications to the basic rules.   The ground scale and time per turn were doubled, but movement and most of the weapon ranges were kept the same.   ATGW and IATW had their ranges halved, but ATGW vehicles can fire twice in a turn instead of just once provided they get more than one activation.   Instead of adding one die at half range the number of dice was doubled except for ATGW/IATW.  This was done to speed up the game and to make it more possible to knock out tanks.  Some of the armor and save values were also modified.   See for the number of dice needed to have an average chance of knocking out units with various save and hits.  The post also has a link to a site with data that I used to modify some of the hit/save numbers for some vehicles.  A number of western IFV's and tanks have had armor upgrades that allow them to have saving throws vs ATGW and IATW.   Even with the long range missile advantage of the T90 tanks the La Cucaracha players sought to close to half range in order to have a better chance of knocking out the Leopard 2A6's of the Buena Vista army..

The table area was 6 feet across by 7 1/2 feet wide or 7.2km by 9km.

La Cucaracha was faster at deploying so got to move first each turn.    Their forces consisted of the 1st Motorized Infantry Brigade (re-enforced) and the 3rd Tank Brigade.   These were chosen by a random draw prior to the start of the game by the first two players on the La Cucaracha side from a selection of 8 different brigades.   The Buena Vista forces were the brigade equipped with West German Vehicles.   When Manny showed up he joined the La Cucaracha side and an additional CO unit was provided for the 1st Brigade troops.   The 1st Brigade had two tank battalions, one BMP battalion, three BTR battalions, one 122mm SP artillery battalion and some brigade troops.   The 3rd Tank Brigade had three tank battalions, one BMP battalion, one 122mm SP artillery battalion, and brigade elements.   There was the possibility that there would be additional artillery and air support, but the die rolls for those were unsuccessful.  After die roll adjustments the air superiority rolls were equal.  The Buena Vista forces also failed their die roll to get additional artillery support

The Buena Vista forces were two tank Battalions, one Puma battalion, one Boxer battalion, two artillery battalions, and various brigade troops.   The Buena Vistans had two brigade groups and were able to distribute the companies and platoons amongst the various HQ as they saw fit.

The La Cucaracha army entered from the north side of the table with the 3rd brigade on the right and the 1st brigade on the left and center.   The first brigade's advance eventually bogged down as casualties mounted.  The right wing Buena Vista battle group decimated the BMP battalion.   There were a couple of turns were the initial command roles for some of the La Cucaracha 1st Motorized Brigade battalions failed and they were unable to move forward.   Only one blunder was rolled during the game.   This had little effect as only one platoon of the center tank battalion on the La Cucaracha side had to retreat.

On the other flank the La Cucaracha 3rd brigade started out with a slow advance, but then scored several activations in a row and quickly assaulted the hill and village on the west end of the table.   The 3rd gave as good as it got losing 5 platoons, but knocking out 5 of their opposing platoons.   After four hours the game was called as several of us had to be heading home.   The game was judged a minor victory for the forces of La Cucaracha as they had a strong superiority in numbers on the 3rd brigades flank and were likely to break through on the western edge of the battlefield.   There was little possibility of either side making further headway in the center or eastern side of the battlefield, though it was possible for a company of Buena Vista Leopard tanks to be sent from the eastern part of the field to the west.

 Buena Vista Army12800 points not counting special artillery munitions
2 CO (CV10)
16 HQ (CV9)
2 FAO (CV8)
1 Recce Unit (Luchs/Lynx)
24 Infantry Unit (Regulars)
24 Infantry Upgrade (Armbrust)
2 Support Unit (Mortar, 107mm, M106)
12 IFV Boxer
12 IFV Puma
6 ATGW Unit (TOW, Jaguar 2)
6 Artillery Unit (155mm, M109)
24 Tank Unit (Leopard 2A5)

La Cucaracha 1st Motorized Brigade (re-enforced) 10185 points
1 CO (CV9)
6 HQ (CV8)
1 FAO (CV6)
3 Recce Unit (BRM-1)
36 Infantry Unit (Conscripts)
36 Infantry Upgrade (RPG-29)
9 IFV Unit (BMP-2)
12 Tank Unit (T-90)
3 ATGW Unit (AT-5 Spandrel, BRDM)
1 Air Defence Unit (AA, ZSU-23-4 + SA-16)
1 Air Defence Unit (SAM, SA-8/9/13)
3 Artillery Unit (122mm, 2S1 M1974)
27 Transport Unit (BTR-80)

 La Cucaracha 3rd Tank Brigade 8310 points

1 CO (CV9)
4 HQ (CV8)
1 FAO (CV6)
3 Recce Unit (BRM-1)
9 Infantry Unit (Conscripts)
9 Infantry Upgrade (RPG-29)
9 IFV Unit (BMP-2)
18 Tank Unit (T-90)
3 ATGW Unit (AT-5 Spandrel, BRDM)
1 Air Defence Unit (AA, ZSU-23-4 + SA-16)
1 Air Defence Unit (SAM, SA-8/9/13)
3 Artillery Unit (122mm, 2S1 M1974)

The La Cucaracha army totalled 18,495 points not counting special artillery munitions.
Photos of the game follow
View of the battlefield from the south end of the table.
Dan in blue shirt who stopped by and the first three to show up for the game.  Gregg and Manny would arrive a bit later
Start of the battle La Cucaracha army arrives.
First turn.  La Cucaracha 3rd Tank Brigade advances.
Arrival of Buena Vista armed forces.
End of first turn.  Buena Vista infantry has occupied the city, while Leopards advance forward.
Lead battalion of La Cucaracha 3rd tank brigade advances towards stream.
South end of battlefield.   BTR battalion takes cover behind woods as tank battalion takes losses.
The south end of the battle.  Fight for the hills.  Hidden behind Gregg's hands is a hill with a Leopard company on it.  This company would have the worst hit record of the battle.
BMP battalion of 1st brigade getting shot apart.
Same area.  The BMP battalion would lose 2/3rds of its strength in a couple of turns.
The fight for the hills intensifies as both sides take losses.  Initial assault by BMP battalion against town is thrown back.  Manny's attack with the 3rd Brigade would tip the game in favor of the La Cucaracha armed forces earning them a minor victory.
The remains of the BMP battalion.  The battalion commander, Colonel N. Harwood, would be demoted to a desk job.
1st Motorized Brigade advance stalls with half the tanks in the left tank battalion destroyed.
View of the city occupied by Buena Vista infantry.   End of the game