Gladiators.

For a bit of light relief, Brian, Evan, Chris and I have been running a Gladiator campaign using the Two Hour Wargames set: Red Sand Blue Sky.

Each of us has generated a Gladiator and hope the fight him from the Fringes of the Empire through to the Colosseum in Rome and hopefully win his freedom. Once we have played through this we should have enough knowledge of the rules to run our own Ludos, this is the main objective (it probably came from watching the recent Spartacus TV series too much).

Evan and I have gone for a Retiarius fighter, Brian a Murmillo and Chris a Dimachaerus. For a list of types the wiki page is as good a start as any:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Roman_gladiator_types

Being a proper wargames campaign I made a map and have it on a pin board with flags to show each fighters progress.

Gladiator Campaign map 2

Also I’ve been keeping a campaign journal- once it has been completed I’ll post it here too (though you’ll have to wait to see just how bad out humour gets). Evan is currently in the lead with Flobodon (from parts unknown) though Brian with Romulus Roman has won more fights, Chris (Edmund from England) and I (Knut the German) are battling for not being last.

For figures I bought some of the rather nice Crusader Miniatures 2nd hand from LAF to which I added a couple of packs from the Foundry range.

IMG_6115 (2)

As you can see I’ve gone for a blue as my team colour when with get round to battling pitting our familia against each others.

As a game Red Sand Blue Sky is great fun, quick to set up and quick to play though a match. I made up a pair of boards from mounting card and sand with a quick dry brush of paint. By running 2 games at once the four of us can clear a months of game time in an easy, sociable and enjoyable evening.

IMG_6095

A Hoplomachus and a Dimachaerus (Chris) fight for the entertainment of the crowd.

A Hoplomachus and a Dimachaerus (Chris) fight for the entertainment of the crowd.

Advantage to Chris at this point I guess.

Advantage to Chris at this point I guess.

For the record (and I imagine it will only make sense to my British readers out there) my favourite was Panther, Jet was far too obvious.

Cheers,

Pete.

Advertisements

A Stalingrad AAR.

As promised these are a few pictures from a recent Stalingrad game. Not as many pictures as I would have liked as the camera batteries died not long after play commenced….

In a previous post I showed off my sewer collection whilst testing some rules for their use; given how well that test went I was keen to get them in a full game. The idea of staging an urban game with a parallel sewer network beneath had been one of my gaming objectives since I saw a demo table using the same principles in the very early 2000s (I know I’m not originally but it was a great table and more importantly inspired me- surely the point of any demo?).

I decided on a simple attack and defence scenario, the Germans were attempting to shift a group of stubborn Soviets out of their assigned area. To do so they had a infantry platoon of a HQ and 3 squads, 2 Engineers squads: 1 with a Flamethrower and 1 with demolition charges as well as a STUGIII. The Soviets had 2 squads of infantry, 1 squad of militia, 2 Anti tank rifles and a small but capable Engineer team, additionally they had plenty of Molotov cocktails that they could either cache in buildings or distribute before the start.

If any one wants the briefings or house rules just let me know.

I made the sewer network before I set up the above ground parts. The idea was to give the Soviets options to reinforce through the sewers quickly and relatively safely as well as the opportunity to try and use them to get behind the advancing Germans.

The sewer network- looking at it from the German side of the board.

The sewer network- looking at it from the German side of the board.

Then I set up the urban terrain: the black counter represent manhole covers- I did have some better ones but they are AWOL in the shed….

Above ground- again from the German side.

Above ground- again from the German side.

Both parts side by side. The attack came from the left of the picture.

Both parts side by side. The attack came from the left of the picture.

The game went well. Both players (Brian- Soviet and Evan- German) suffered from either extreme of luck throughout the game. We used the random events from the latest version of NUTS! (Two Hour Wargames) and they added a nice dangerous feel that felt right for the game, though Brian may dispute thiss as a booby trap was generated that took out his Anti Tank rifle team as it tried to close on the STUG. However the next turn saw reinforcements arrive in his favour- this came in the form of a very welcome T70, it’s 45mm gun being better (just) than the PTRD 41 that he had just lost.

Soviet defenders man the barricades.

Soviet defenders man the barricades.

Supported by the STUGIII the Heer advances.

Supported by the STUGIII the Heer advances.

Underneath the Soviets push forwards.

Underneath the Soviets push forwards.

Given the lethality of Machine Guns advancing from building to building is the only way forward.

Given the lethality of Machine Guns advancing from building to building is the only way forward.

Using the MG34s to cover his advance up the board Evan made decent progress, his slighht edge in his figures rating also helped. Sadly I had not factored enough time in the evening for the game. Urban games always soak up more men and time than a rural one; adding an extra level just increases this. So we had to finish and pack up before a definitive conclusion- a rematch is planned for a yet to be determined Sunday afternoon..

The sewers were a big hit and some good suggestions came out during the evening. Mainly extend the sewers so they cover the table from edge to edge. This would give the attacker the option to set up initially sub surface. Also using bomb craters to allow ‘down only’ access to the sewers (either in the middle of the street or through a ruin’s cellar) to add extra option to game play.

Of course you don’t need a fancy set up to try a similar game, sketch maps and printouts would do the job fine, possibly better as they could allow for hidden movement; that would keep both sides guessing. However as I said at the start the visual side was the main reason for doing this set up. I would recommend Mark’s Island of fire for inspiration but the price that is goes for is eye- watering.

Cheers,

Pete.

Down and dirty Sewer fighting.

Or scatological combat spelunking.

Over the years I’ve been buying up the Ainsty produced sewer section, I’m pretty sure I’ve bought them off all three of the companies different owners. A while back I got round to drafting some rule amendments specifically for their use. Evan had come round for game night so we got the blocks out came up with a few different layouts and ran through a couple of different scenarios.

The first one was a Stalingrad affair with plenty of SMGs and each side using lanterns (with gave a pool of light) or torches/ flashlights (a cone of beam) to light their way. The second game was slightly more fantastical as it was a Berlin 45 set up. It was chosen so I could use a handful of my IR equipped figure to test out those rule modifications too.

Sorting out the bits and pieces: I had made sure I had kept a note of the paints I had used to ensure continuity.

Sorting out the bits and pieces: I had made sure I had kept a note of the paints I had used to ensure continuity.

Layout one. Each side approached the other from a ladder entrance.

Layout one. Each side approached the other from a ladder entrance.

Soviets advance forwards.

Soviets advance forwards.

The Germans move up too.

The Germans move up too.

The Soviets (me) come off worst in the ensuing exchange of fire.

The Soviets (me) come off worst in the ensuing exchange of fire.

As the Germans had torches they could turn them off and just shoot into the areas illuminated by the lanterns of the Soviets. A wise tactic which completely halted the Soviets advance.

As the Germans had torches they could turn them off and just shoot into the areas illuminated by the lanterns of the Soviets. A wise tactic which completely halted the Soviets advance.

At this point we quickly reset the layout and moved forward a few years to Berlin 1945.

Layout two. This time I took the Germans and Evan the Soviets.

Layout two. This time I took the Germans and Evan the Soviets.

This time the Soviets had flashlights of their own as well as heavy steel plate body armour.

This time the Soviets had flashlights of their own as well as heavy steel plate body armour.

The Germans had come prepared with state of the art weaponry.

The Germans had come prepared with state of the art weaponry.

The Germans rushed forward and with the IR sights slotted the Soviets as they appeared.

The Germans rushed forward and with the IR sights slotted the Soviets as they appeared.

The second game was rather one sides so only ran for a couple of turns. To be fair as games the 2 scenarios were rather unbalanced though that wasn’t the point of them. Given that they were to test some rule modifications they worked well, though the rules seems to favour which ever side has the technological edge. I did balance that by having the ‘home’ or defending side be the only force who could move quickly through the tunnels, representing local knowledge so it did go some way to balance this.

I never really intended to sewers to be a game within themselves rather than an adjunct to an above ground game, literally adding an extra level to fight across. Future candidates for this will be Stalingrad and Berlin as well as Warsaw. If you haven’ t seen Kanal http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0050585/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1 you are really missing out on a classic. Also I’m pretty sure I’ll work in some modern counter- terrorist action int to. Pulp games would be option too. I’ll get round to working out some scenarios and getting them played over the summer- given the action will be on two tables I’m pretty sure they’ll be good for multiplayer games too.

Cheers,

Pete.

PS- apologies for the extended gap between this post and the last. A period of ill health has meant I directed what energy I had into my studies.

Afghanistan Skirmish AAR.

Here are a few photos from one of my recent games:

It is another playtest of my Afghan take on NUTS!.

Work is progressing on it slowly- I’m finding it slow going to write something that other people will read and use compared to writing a quick scenario specific game rule for use at home. There are bits that I’ve written that work very well but then there a bits that I think could do with some work too… I’ll keep plugging away at it.

Anyway on with the pics:

The table: this was a head to head game. This is the view from the defending Taliban side.

The table: this was a head to head game. This is the view from the defending Taliban side.

Brits take cover behind a low wall.

Brits take cover behind a low wall.

Meanwhile the  ANA advance across a field.

Meanwhile the ANA advance across a field.

A Taliban RPG gunner lies in wait at the edge of the village.

A Taliban RPG gunner lies in wait at the edge of the village.

The Brits take their first casualty- at this point the dynamics of the game change from the mission to CASEVAC.

The Brits take their first casualty- at this point the dynamics of the game change from the mission to CASEVAC.

The Brits have walked into a strong defensive position of the Taliban and are struggling to win the firefight.

The Brits have walked into a strong defensive position of the Taliban and are struggling to win the firefight.

Meanwhile the ANA get pinned down at the edge of the fields and get overrun by a small group of Taliban.

Meanwhile the ANA get pinned down at the edge of the fields and get overrun by a small group of Taliban.

At this point the game was called. The Coalition although started well become bogged down with a position that it couldn’t successfully outflank, with the need to evac a casualty it would have to call on a significant amount of support to extricate itself from that position.

Will tweak a few rules and have another playtest soon hopefully.

Cheers,

Pete.

The two games of last week.

Last week I managed to get a fair bit of gaming in so I thought I’d post them up.

Firstly Evan and Bill came over to mine for a game set in Chechnya played using my modern take on the Two Hour Wargames system. As it was a small scenario- a Russian truck has got stuck in a bad part of the area so a squad has been sent out to escort them to safety while two small groups of Chechens move in for the kill- we played it twice. However the pictures are from the first game only. Game 1 saw Bill and I take on Evan’s Chechens, while game 2 saw Me take on the role of the Chechens whilst Bill reprised the Russians.

A view of the table from the Chechen entry edge.

A view of the table from the Chechen entry edge.

Again but from the Russian side- the green radio truck was the objective.

Again but from the Russian side- the green radio truck was the objective.

Russians advance to rescue their comrades.

Russians advance to rescue their comrades.

The truck crew hide in the recently fortified abandoned house.

The truck crew hide in the recently fortified abandoned house.

The Russians spread out as they close on their objective- passing between two wrecks.

The Russians spread out as they close on their objective- passing between two wrecks.

However the Chechens have moved up to blocking positions.

However the Chechens have moved up to blocking positions.

The first attempt for theRussians to leave the safety of the ruins met with disastrous results.

The first attempt for theRussians to leave the safety of the ruins met with disastrous results.

Long story short- a PKM is a powerful asset in any fire fight.

Long story short- a PKM is a powerful asset in any fire fight.

However some good shooting from Bill's Russians even things up a little.

However some good shooting from Bill’s Russians even things up a little.

However Evan responded by moving up with grenades...

However Evan responded by moving up with grenades…

With predictable results. The first game was a clear win for the Chechens.

With predictable results. The first game was a clear win for the Chechens.

The second game was a little more balanced- both side took heavy casualties but couldn’t finish each other.

Secondly I went up to chez Evan on Sunday for a WW2 skirmish using NUTS!- this time a troop of three British Shermans has been isolated in a forward position and have to hold out until the infantry can move forward to support them, meanwhile German tank hunter teams close in. I played the Germans whilst Evan took on the Brits. It was also a chance for us to try out the rather nice large hills he has been making.

The table Evan had set up- the Shermans set up in the walled farm and their reinforcements entered on the far edge.

The table Evan had set up- the Shermans set up in the walled farm and their reinforcements entered on the far edge.

The set up positions of the Shermans- trying to cover as much ground as possible- there were a few dismounted crew men covering the blind spots.

The set up positions of the Shermans- trying to cover as much ground as possible- there were a few dismounted crew men covering the blind spots.

A German tank hunter team moves forward.

A German tank hunter team moves forward.

A STUGIII moves forwards to duel with the Sherman Firefly- unsurprisingly it came off worse. Due to the random deployment of the Germans I went with what I had rather than trying to reposition and expose a flank.

A STUGIII moves forwards to duel with the Sherman Firefly- unsurprisingly it came off worse. Due to the random deployment of the Germans I went with what I had rather than trying to reposition and expose a flank.

On the positive side my Panzerschreck team found its target and brewed up a Sherman.

On the positive side my Panzerschreck team found its target and brewed up a Sherman.

Whilst redeploying to meet the threat of the PanzerSchreck the Firefly looses its commander to a well placed K98 bullet.

Whilst redeploying to meet the threat of the PanzerSchreck the Firefly looses its commander to a well placed K98 bullet.


Then the same Firefly had its tracks shot out by a PanzerFaust. We called the game there as the Britis infantry were advancing on to the table. My attacking infantry had taken heavy losses but had KO'd on Sherman, immobilized a second and killed 2 other crewmen. A close thought game that swung back and forth.

Then the same Firefly had its tracks shot out by a PanzerFaust. We called the game there as the Britis infantry were advancing on to the table. My attacking infantry had taken heavy losses but had KO’d on Sherman, immobilized a second and killed 2 other crewmen. A close thought game that swung back and forth.

Given real life stuff… blah blah… you know the story… I’m massively behind on posting up my battle reports so I’ll drip feed them out based on whim so watch this space.

Cheers,

Pete.

Modern Rules Playtest

Sorry I’m a day late- those who know me would not be surprised that my virtual time keeping is as bad as my real world efforts.

Right, as to where I am with the rules (they really need a decent name so answers on a postcard [or comment] please), the rule amendments are all done and playtested, and I’m working through a campaign, Evan is running a 2010 onwards British platoon for me and hopefully Brian will start a similar one, though this time with Germans later this week.

The games have been platoon sized (where I’ve pitched the game) and I’m trying to get the balance right when it comes to what the PEFs turn into. I want the game to be easy for the Western/ Coalition/ NATO player until something goes wrong then the really challenge starts. That said I’m tempted to add more variation to the reinforcements table already. Another thing I’ve been experimenting with is large numbers of PEFs, the game below featured 16 (to be fair the table was 6 by 4 and I rolled for activation in groups of 4 and that worked fine. However given that the EAL was only 2 the majority turned out to be false alarms… It remains to be seen how this works when the EAL is significantly higher.

‘Right enough waffle Pete’ I’m hearing your say ‘on to the pics’… The basic set up was to have Evan’s platoon set up in the middle of the board and defend the large compound for the required number of turns, 12 in this case. PEFs surrounded him and then didn’t really do much, I was hoping for some viscous assaults from multiple sides to really test his deployment of forces but the dice didn’t choose that path. The activation dice didn’t give the insurgents a chance for 4 turns on the trot at one stage.

The randomly generated table with the defended building in the middle.

The randomly generated table with the defended building in the middle.

Tooled up Brits prepare for what could be their Rorke's Drift.

Tooled up Brits prepare for what could be their Rorke’s Drift.

Taliban appear and move up.

Taliban appear and move up.

A brief firefight ensues.

A brief firefight ensues.

Given the fire power that a modern platoon can bring to bear they were often one sided.

Given the fire power that a modern platoon can bring to bear they were often one sided.

Evan got lucky with the dice and received a squad of ANA as reinforcements.

Evan got lucky with the dice and received a squad of ANA as reinforcements.

Some civilians wander through a field at the edge of the board.

Some civilians wander through a field at the edge of the board.

The ANA adopt a roof top fire position and get the Taliban in a cross fire. Just after this the game ended at the conclusion of turn 12.

The ANA adopt a roof top fire position and get the Taliban in a cross fire. Just after this the game ended at the conclusion of turn 12.

Apologies that there are so few photos, running the game took a fair bit of time. It was a fairly quite engagement really, though it gave Evan a gentle introduction into the mechanisms. Hopefully tomorrows game will provide more excitement.

Cheers,

Pete.

Update, mid July- a smorgasboard of Airwar gamers, Airshows, the RSI and Afghanistan.

Been a while since I’ve posted anything and as such I’ve got a bit behind on things. As such this will be a bit of a whistle stop tour of what I’ve been up to.

Firstly I have played a trio of air war games:

A rather nice little skirmish set in the period of the fall of Singapore. The games was played with Bill's newly acquired models.

A rather nice little skirmish set in the period of the fall of Singapore. The games was played with Bill’s newly acquired models.

We enjoyed the game so much we had a second go of it using the same models the following week.

We enjoyed the game so much we had a second go of it using the same models the following week.

The following week I put on a Korean Airwar game, with 8 MIG15s trying to shoot down 3 B29s with a small fighter escort.

The following week I put on a Korean Airwar game, with 8 MIG15s trying to shoot down 3 B29s with a small fighter escort.

In a previous blog post I showcased my Decima Mas force. I couldn’t wait to get them on to the table so I came up with a quick scenario set in the final months of the war in Italy. Evan and I played the game a couple of weeks ago using NUTS! as usual.

Evan's Shermans approach the RSI held village.

Evan’s Shermans approach the RSI held village.

I try to reinforce with two freesh squads of Decima Mas troops. It was to be in vain as Evan's textbook tactics gave him a convincing win.

I try to reinforce with two freesh squads of Decima Mas troops. It was to be in vain as Evan’s textbook tactics gave him a convincing win.

I also managed to fit in a family day out to the Waddington Airshow. It was a great day out- the first Airshow I’d been long to since I was a child. Lots to see there- more than you can really manage in a day. Great to see the flying displays, the Battle of Britain Memorial flight was a stirring as ever, especially with a Dambusters anniversary flypast too. The Vulcan was there displaying, as majestic and powerful as I remember from at least two decades ago, the other military fast jets were a favourite of mine. For some reason the aerobatic displays left me a little unimpressed, although the technical skills on display were very impressive.

The Battle of Britain Memorial flight.

The Battle of Britain Memorial flight.

The mighty Vulcan.

The mighty Vulcan.

A Vietnam era Huey on ground display.

A Vietnam era Huey on ground display.

There seemed to be less aircraft on ground display than the last show I went to and the USAF were completely absent. I guess the reason lies with operational commitments and the changing nature of airforce inventories since 1992… There were also far more ‘family friendly’ activities at Waddington than at prior shows.

Moving back to gaming; playtesting has begun in earnest for the modern rule modifications I am working on.

An Afghanistan game in progress.

An Afghanistan game in progress.

It’s a case of watch this space as I may need some extra playtesters soon….

So there you go, a quick overview of my hobby activities over the last month or so. If anyone wants and more pictures of anything I’ve featured please shout out as I’ve plenty more pictures, especially of the airshow including some very short videos I took on my ancient camera. I’ll have to look into stitching them together to make a mini film I suppose.

Cheers,

Pete.