Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Federal Union of Buena Vista Army

The Buena Vista army is organized into brigades of two tank battalions, one wheeled mechanized infantry battalion, one tracked mechanized infantry battalion, two self-propelled 155 artillery battalions, an air defense company, and a combat engineer battalion.

Tank battalions have four companies of three platoons, two recon elements, a 120mm mortar battery, a forward artillery observer, a headquarters section, and a tactical operations section that functions as a second headquarters unit.    Mechanized battalions have four companies of three infantry platoons, two recon elements, a 120mm mortar battery, an ATGM company of three platoons, a forward observer, a headquarters section, and a tactical operations section.  Artillery battalions have three firing batteries.  The engineer company has two combat engineer platoons and a vehicle launched bridge platoon.   The anti-aircraft company has one missile platoon and one gun platoon.

The country's president for life, Elvis Narcisso, likes to indulge in purchasing tanks and vehicles from different countries.   Currently there are four brigades in the Buena Vista army.   One brigade has American equipment, one has British equipment, one has French equipment, and one has German equipment.   Attempts are being made to purchase equipment from Israel to equip a fifth brigade.

The Buena Vista army is an all regular force and is well trained and equipped.   Low level initiative is encouraged.    The overall size of the army is smaller than that of La Cucaracha.  Older equipment has been moth-balled.  Troops who retire from the army are part of an inactive reserve that could be called into service to use the older equipment should the regular army be decimated.

Buena Vista and La Cucaracha have had a long lasting dispute over a region on their border that has large reserves of oil.   Both countries have used their income from oil sales to equip their armies.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The La Cucaracha Army

Theoretically the La Cucaracha army is organized into two divisions, each consisting of an armored brigade, a mechanized brigade, two motorized brigades, and  an artillery brigade.  The divisions are administrative formations.  The First Division has the 1st Motorized, 3rd Tank, 4th Guards Mechanized, 6th Motorized, and 10th Artillery brigades.  The Second has the 2nd Guards Tank, 5th Motorized, 7th Mechanized, 8th Artillery, and 9th Motorized brigades.  Except for the 2nd and 4th Guards the army is composed of conscripts and tends to lack initiative at lower levels, though overall training is good.

The armored brigade would have three tank battalions, one mechanized battalion, one self-propelled 122mm artillery battalion, and brigade assets,    The mechanized brigade would have two tank battalions, two mechanized battalions, one self-propelled 122mm artillery battalion, and brigade assets.   The motorized brigade would have one tank battalion, one mechanized battalion, two motorized battalions, one self-propelled 122 artillery battalion, and brigade assets.   The artillery brigade would have three self-propelled 152mm artillery battalions, and one multiple rocket launcher battalion.  All artillery battalions have three firing batteries and a forward observer platoon.   The forward observers can be assigned to combat battalions as needed or function on their own.

The tank battalions have three ten tank companies and a headquarters element..   In game terms this would be six platoon sized elements plus a headquarters element.   The exception to this is the 4th Guards Mechanized Brigade which has thirteen tank companies which would be nine platoon elements in game terms.  There are plans to increase the strength of the other tank battalions to match those of the Guard.  The infantry battalions have three infantry companies, each of three platoons,  an anti-tank platoon with man portable ATGMs, an 82mm mortar platoon, and a headquarters element.   A mechanized battalion would have BMPs and a motorized battalion would have BTRs.   The mortar platoons use MTLBs.

Brigade assets include an anti-aircraft company of one ZSU platoon and one SA13 platoon, a recon company of three BRDM platoons, an anti-tank company of three BRDM ATGM platoons, a 120mm mortar battery, an engineer company of two combat engineer platoons riding in BTRs and an MTU bridge layer platoon, and a headquarters element.

In reality the army is not as well organized as listed above.   Brigades vary in strength from two to six combat battalions.  The composition of the brigades, plus the brigade assets and artillery battalion, is as follows:

1st Motorized Brigade - two tank battalions, one mechanized battalion, three motorized battalions
2nd Guards Tank Brigade - two tank battalions and one mechanized battalion
3rd Tank Brigade - three tank battalions and one mechanized battalion
4th Guards Mechanized Brigade - one tank battalion and two mechanized battalions.
5th Motorized Brigade - one tank battalion and one mechanized battalion
6th Motorized Brigade - one tank battalion, one mechanized battalion, one motorized battalion
7th Mechanized Brigade - one tank battalion, two mechanized battalions,  two motorized battalions
8th Artillery Brigade - two 152mm SP Artillery battalions, one rocket battalion
9th Motorized Brigade - two tank battalions, one mechanized battalion, two motorized battalions
10th Artillery Brigade - three 152mm SP artillery battalions, one rocket battalion

La Cucaracha does have some older equipment in storage.   These are mostly obsolete tanks and AP:Cs which could form three additional understrength tank brigades.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Battle of Princepe de La Paz at the Miniature Wargaming Society of Sacramento

Following the game on Saturday at the South Bay Game Club I decided to run the same battle the following day at the Sacramento club meeting saving time unloading and reloading everything in the car.

I did take the foam mats out as I had time to finish flocking them after getting home Saturday evening.

The two fictional Latin American countries 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.
Mike O/Brien commanded the Buena Vista force while Hal Lotman and Keith commanded the La Cucaracha brigade.   The forces were the same as the previous battle with La Cucaracha fielding the 4th Guards mechanized brigade of one tank battalion, two BMP battalions and one  122 artillery battalion.  This was supported by two 152mm artillery battalions and one rocket battalion.

Buena Vista forces were two tank battalions, one IFV battalion, one APC battalion, two 155 artillery battalions and one MLRS battalion.  

The La Cucarachans were defending.   The Buena Vista forces had to either capture the city of Princepe de La Paz or surround it.   The Buena vista plan was to break through on both flanks and cut off the city.   One tank battalion was off table in reserve and could be diced for starting on turn two.   The game lasted about three or four turns with the Buena Vista forces punching holes through both flanks.  At this point the game was called as a victory for Buena Vista as the defenders had lost about a third to half their force.  

The battle used a number of house rules designed to expand the battle field to a size more suited for brigade or larger forces instead of the battalion sized field of the normal ground and time scales of the rules.  These can be found in a previous blog post.  http://18clovehamhock.blogspot.com/2013/03/house-rules-for-cold-war-commander.html

 The battle field. Buena Vista forces on edge of table.
 La Cucaracha forces deployed 
 Buena Vista forces advance and break through on their right flank
Action near the center of the table.   City of Princepe de La Paz in right center of photo.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

South Bay Game Club November 14th

Ran a game of Cold War Commander at the South Bay Game Club this past Saturday.  This was a fictional battle between The Peoples Democratic Republic of La Cucaracha and the Federal Union of Buena Vista.

I was using some of the 2 foot by 2 foot foam mats that I had just received.   These were black and had been painted a light brown and partially covered with green foam.   Roads were centered on each edge of the mats and those mats with water ways added had them off set by about 4 inches.

The Buena Vistans were attacking and had to either capture or surround the city of Princepe de La Paz. Their forces were two tank battalions, and IFV battalion, an APC battalion, two 155mm artillery battalions, and one MLRS battalion.   The La Cucarachan 4th Guards Mechanized brigade was defending with two BMP battalions, a tank battalion, one 122mm artillery battalion, two 152mm artillery battalions, and a rocked artillery battalion.

We got a late start and were not able to finish the game.   As a result the battle was inconclusive.

There were over three dozen people at the club meeting.   Other games were a Viet Nam game, a Northwest Frontier game in memory of Larry Brom, a Napoleonic naval game, a Tactica game, and Cthulu game, and a DBA tournament.

 The battlefield.   I only had time to glue foam along the edges of the roads.
 Buena Vista forces (on the left) advance against the positions of the La Cucaracha 4th Guards.
 Another view of the battlefield.  The large town in the back is the city of Princepe de La Paz.

The Northwest Frontier Game 
The Napoleonic naval Game
The other games had ended earlier and I was not able to get pictures of them

Friday, October 16, 2015

YouTube videos

One of the South Bay Game Club members recently posted a link to a Lego WW2 video.  Apparently there are quite a few Lego war videos from Ancient through Horse and Musket to WW2 and the future.

This is a link to the Asculum and Heraclea videos

Sunday, October 11, 2015

South Bay Game Club Meeting October 10th

There were quite a few games to choose from at the October meeting.   Cuthulu Wars, Hott, Skies the Limit (Korean War air), Samurai battle using Tactica, Napoleonic Naval using modified Blood Bilge and Iron Balls, and American Civil War using Rank and File.

I didn't get much of a chance to observe the other games as I was participating in the Napoleonic navel game.   After the Hott game ended the players joined in a second game of Cuthulu Wars.   After the naval game was over I did get a chance to observe the ACW, Samurai, and air war games.  The ACW game had a crowded battlefield and looked like it would not come to a resolution by the end of the day.   The air war game had a bout a dozen planes in the air, but also appeared to not being resolved.   The Samurai game was reaching a conclusion with heavy casualties on both sides.

The naval game had been an intense affair with the luck of the activation draw going both ways.   There were four 74's on both sides with the names of the ships being chosen by the players.   Three of the French ships were Bon Ami, Bon Jovi, and Le Target (French commander).   The British were HMS Wanker (commander's ship). HMS Incontinent, HMS Inglorious, and HMS Albion. 

The British fleet was able to gain the wind advantage as both fleets approached each other.   HMS Wanker and HMS Incontinent were able to cause some serious damage to Le Target with one of the hits caused by HMS Wanker causing an explosion and starting several fires.    Le Target was to spend most of the rest of the battle putting out fires  and trying to repair other damage as the British fleet poured additional fire into her.

About two turns prior to the end of the battle the British commander and I were discussing withdrawing from the fight as his ship had taken a serious pounding losing two masts, most of the hull, and half of one broadside.   The Albion had also lost its starboard broadside and the Inglorious had also been damaged.   The Incontinent had also been damaged, but had been able to affect repairs and was only suffering loss of part of its crew.   The French fleet was in better shape with only Le Target in serious trouble and a second ship having lost most of its masts..   Then our luck changed.  Inglorious was able to score 7 of 7 hits at long range.   Combined with additional hits from Wanker and Incontinent caused the second French ship which had lost two masts to lose its last mast and its entire starboard battery.   Albion was able to come about and bring its port battery to bear on Bon Jovi.   With additional damage inflicted by the other British ships, Bon Jovi struck.  Only Bon Ami was unscathed while the other two French ships were adrift.   Except for the HMS Wanker, which had lost two of its masts, the British fleet was still able to maneuver and would have overpowered the Bon Ami and been able to finish off the drifters.  Victory went to the British.   Several of the participants had to leave at this point, so we decided to take a break and get something to eat from one of the local places before returning to the meeting.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Dominion Armored Forces

I have completed painting and basing the armored vehicles for the Domain.   The Domain is the smallest of the three major powers in "Human Space".  See http://18clovehamhock.blogspot.com/2013/03/future-war-commander-forces.html  It is the smallest and least advanced of the three major powers.  

The vehicles are from the Darkest Star 6mm Dark Star Federation range.   These were originally made by Adler.
Unfortunately the stats for the vehicles are not included in Future War Commander rules (DS) Federation Detachment army list.

 The entire group of three battalions.   There is an armored battalion, a mechanized infantry battalion, and a motorized infantry battalion.   Infantry figures still need to be based. 
 The mechanized infantry combat vehicle.  There is also a command version that I am using for both command and a mortar carrier.
 The gun tank version.  There is also a plasma tank version that I am using as an FAO/FAC command element
 The wheeled APC for the motorized infantry.
The wheeled gun vehicle.  Used as a recon element.
The paint scheme chosen is based on the NATO three color pattern with a dark green substituting for black and a sand color substituting for the reddish brown.  These were chosen to blend in with the game mat that I use.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


I was able to attend Pacificon on Saturday.   though I had originally planned on attending both Saturday and Sunday, household projects intervened.   Pacificon is a multi day convention that is run on the American Labor Day weekend.   It starts on Friday afternoon and runs through late Monday afternoon.   There are literally hundreds of miniature, board, and role playing (including live action role playing LARP) games for people to participate in.  For those unfamiliar with American War Game conventions almost all games are participation games.

For my part I ran both Raphia and Asculum on Saturday.   Raphia had four members of the South Bay Game Club participating.   The battle tended to follow the historical course of the original.   The Seleucid's right wing defeated their opposites with Ptolemy running to the infantry guard.  On the other wing Ptolemy's cavalry held its own against the opposing Seleucid cavalry.  In the center the Seleucid Asiatic and Arab infantry broke causing the Seleucids to concede the game.

Asculum started out mimicking history.  The Greek cavalry defeated both Roman cavalry wings.  However, in the center the Roman infantry broke the Tarantine phalanxes before the Greek cavalry could exploit their victory.  At this point the game was called with the Romans winning.   The Greek cavalry had been too badly mauled during its fighting with the Roman cavalry to have much effect and could have been easily countered by the Triarii.  The Roman Hastatii had many worn units, but these had been replaced in the battle line by the Princepes.   With the huge gap in the Greek line the more maneuverable Roman units would have been able to exploit the opening and flanked the remaining Greek and Italian infantry.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Dan Rygasewicz

Longtime friend and fellow war gamer Dan Rygasewicz passed away yesterday from a heart attack.
Dan ran several different gaming conventions including Peanut Wars and First Raid.   He would also run games at many of the local conventions, including Pacificon, Western Front, Conquest Sacramento, and many more.   Dan's favorite type of miniature games were naval games, followed by the American Civil War.  He and I met many years ago when we helped some friends with a war game convention.  Dan and I last met at Western Front at the beginning of this month prior to a trip he was making to the east coast with his wife.  He had already scheduled several games that he would be running at Pacificon at the start of next month.  In his memory Pacificon will be draping the table in black and display his photo.   He will be missed by all who met him and gamed with him.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Battle of Calinicum at Western Front Game Convention

The second game I hosted at Western Front was the Battle of Callinicum.  This battle took place on Easter Sunday April 19, 531 AD.  Belisarius had been following a large Sassanian raiding force and had been joined by Hermogenes the Magistar Officiorum, second only to Justinian.  Belisaurius had wanted to avoid battle, but his generals urged otherwise.  The battle took place across the Euphrates from the town of Callinicum.  

Historically after exchanging bow fire for a while the Persians attacked the Arabs on the Byzantine right, drove them off and forced the Byzantines to fall back towards the river where they held out until the Persians withdrew.  The game was to follow a different path.   The Persians appeared to shift towards their right as they advanced.  There was an exchange of missile fire where the Byzantines came off the worse.  Though the Byzantines scored as many hits as the Persians, because the Byzantines were in close order and the Persians were in open order,  the Persians were able to attempt saving throws and made almost all of them.  The front line of Byzantine cavalry had started in open order, but had changed to close order with the second line filling the gaps.

The Byzantine cavalry then charged the Persian cavalry facing them taking some additional losses from missile fire as the Persians evaded.  The Byzantine cavalry now ran into the Persian second line.  At this time, other than the Bucellarii, the Byzantine cavalry was mostly armed with bows and swords.  The second line of Persian cavalry was armed with lances in addition to their bows.  As such they were equal to twice as many of the Byzantine horse in combat and were able to hold against the Byzantine onslaught.  Meanwhile the Arab allies of both armies had engaged on the other flank. 

Fighting was intense.  The Arab allies of the Byzantines were doing as well as their opposites, but the Byzantine cavalry was taking more casualties than the Persians.  The Persian cavalry which had evaded was rallying and would soon be returning to join the fighting.  At this point the Byzantine general commanding the infantry was slain.  The Byzantine infantry held and continued fighting.  Then the leader of the Persian Arab allies died, causing most of the Arabs to leave.  A couple of units of Arabs continued fighting with one of them seeking revenge for the loss of their leader.  The next to fall was  Azarethes, the Persian commander.  At this point the Persians conceded and withdrew. 

All of the leader losses had taken place during the same round of combat.   For this game I had decided to test an alternative method of checking for leader losses that used a pair of six sided die instead of a single ten sided die.  Numerically this would result in their being less of a chance of a leader being killed.  However, the die rolls were such that the three leaders were lost.  The procedure was to declare whether the losses received during the current turn by the unit the general was attached to were to be added or subtracted to the score of two six sided dice.  If the total was 13 or more, or one or less, then the general was lost.
Rules used were Scutarii.  Most of the Byzantine and Persian armies were from Heroics and Ros.  The Arabs on the Byzantine side were from Irregular and those on the Persian side were from Heroics and Ros and Rapier.  The Rapier cavalry mixed well with the Heroics and Ros cavalry.   Some of the Persian cavalry and Byzantine infantry were from Baccus.  The Persian commanders were Nick Cuaresma and Brent Burdine.  The Byzantine commanders were  Mike Nankervis and the fellow from the morning game who left before I got his name.

 The Byzantine commanders discuss their plans.  Mike, as Belisarius in the background.
 Persian commanders ready for action.  Brent on the left Nick on the right.
 The Byzantines respond to the Persian advance.
 View from the side of the Euphrates.  Byzantine cavalry has chased off the front line of Persian cavalry and is engaging the Persian second line.
 The fighting continues.  As can be seen the Byzantine infantry has taken more losses than the Persian cavalry facing them.
 Back to the other side where the two different tribes of Arabs are fighting each other.
 The Persian Arab allies rout following the death of their leader.
 Results of the fighting between the Byzantine and Persian cavalry.  Several units of Byzantine cavalry have become shaken while Persian morale is still steady despite their losses.
Belisarius and the remaining Persian commander discuss terms following the battle.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Battle of Marathon at Western Front Game Convention

This past Saturday I hosted two battles at the Western Front Game Convention at Randy's House of Games in Sacramento.  The morning game was the Battle of Marathon.  Rules were Scutarii.  The Greeks were from Rapier Miniatures and the Persians were a mix of Rapier and Baccus.

The Greeks advanced slowly towards the Persians though the rules did allow them to make a quick advance.  The Persians were lucky and were able to get a couple of volleys of arrows off before the Greeks could close.  Their fire was deadly enough to cause several units of hoplites to become shaken and not close.  The Greeks were able to cause more casualties during melee even though the greater depth of most of the Persian line mitigated some of the losses.   The Persians were unable to exploit the gaps in the Greek line.  Though they did rout a couple of units of hoplites, Persian morale collapsed and all except a couple of units of Persian infantry who were chasing one of the routed hoplite units fled from the table.  The Greeks had 1000 hoplites routed and about 100 or so casualties on other units for a loss of about 400 to 500 men of the 10,000 they started with.   Persian losses were about 7000 of the 18,500 infantry they started with.  The 1000 Persian cavalry did not arrive in time to participate in the battle.

Aaron was the overall Persian commander assisted by a new player who's name I unfortunately did not get that day.  Chris and Scott were the Greek commanders.

Changes from the scenario published in the rule book were to increase the number of Persian infantry from 6000 to 6500, increase the attack value of the thinned center units of hoplites from 2 to 4, and dicing for the arrival of the Persian cavalry starting on turn 3.  The Persian cavalry arrives on turn 3 with a die roll of 1 on a ten sided die,  a roll of 1 through 4 on turn 4, and 1 through 9 on turn 5.  a roll of 10 resulted in not arriving.

 Aaron contemplates the Persian deployment
 Chris relaxes before the battle begins.
 The battle lines advance.  Ionian Greeks at left of Persian line.
 Contact with several hoplite units hesitating.
Two units of hoplites rout.  Persians pursue on far left.   On the following Persian turn the Persian army's morale collapsed as the rout of one unit caused the adjoining units to test morale causing them to rout and precipitating additional morale tests and routs.  Other than the two pursuing units all other units in the Persian army routed.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Western Front Game Convention

This past weekend Randy's House of Games in Sacramento California hosted the Western Front Game Convention.  The event had a wide variety of miniature and board games.    The following are several pictures of the Gaming area in the back of the store.

Next are some pictures of the various games on Saturday.

The Battle of Marathon using Scutarii.  Persians on left Greeks on right.
 The DBA tournament
 Battle of Kursk using Blitzkrieg Commander.
 Treadheads, a tank skirmish game
 Cedar Mountain, a boardgame designed and published by a local Sacramento Gamer.
 Playtest of upcoming Jutland board game.
 Battle of Zama using Command and Colors.
 Another view of Kursk later in the day.
Battle of Callinicum using Scutarii.  Persian commanders discuss strategy.

I will provide more detailed accounts of Marathon and Calllinicum in later posts.

Monday, August 3, 2015


Manny Granillo hosted Waterloo at his new home on July 19th.  Scott was Napoleon, Kurt was Wellington, and I was Blucher.  There were 14 participants for the battle using Corps Command.   Napoleon was victorious this time.  The allies advanced their forward units off the hills and while they were able to slow the French advance, the casualties they suffered led to the allied army's defeat.  The first elements of the Prussian army arrived in time to see the Dutch Belgian cavalry flee from the field.   Photos were taken with my phone.
 view of the battlefield from the west
 French army.
 Allied army.  Prussian 2nd in command in background.
 The French advance

Dutch Belgian cavalry leaving the field.