The latest additions to my 6mm (1/300th) Cold War forces.

I’ve been busy in the shed expanding my Cold War micro armour collection in preparation for a multiplayer game of 5core: Brigade Commander that I am planning.

6mm US

First up with have a mix of US Army vehicles: A Command stand and a company of M1A1s plus extra ATGM, mortars and Vulcan AA cannons mounted on the ubiquitous M113 chassis.

6mm Warthog

To give the US some air support I painted up a A10 Thunderbolt II aka The Warthog. Probably THE close air support aircraft for the Cold War period.

6mm Harrier

For the Brits I have done a Harrier GR3, for a change I decided to do it in the winter camo scheme often seen sported during deployments to Norway.

6mm jaguar

Also for the Brits I’ve painted up a SEPECAT Jaguar, one of my favourite Cold War era jets.

All the models are from Heroics and Ros apart from the infantry that are from Irregular.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

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Beating around the Bush (Horizons).

Last week I took a trip with Bill of Under Fire Miniatures to vist his friend Wing Commander Luddite aka Nick to playtest his African campaign/ battle system that he is developing called Bush Horizons. Also it was nice to see the Wing Commander’s model collection and be able to game with it. All models and terrain in the photos are his.

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We were joined by Jerry and Kev to run through a full campaign turn and play out any resulting battles.

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Basically the game was set in a fictional African country sometime in the 1970s/ 1980s. You create an armed/ political party: Kev and I formed B.O.P.M to take on P.R.O.F. run by Bill and Jerry. You then have 40 ‘elements’ to split between 6 different abstracted territories of the country. Once both side have committed their forces for the turn it is revealed to both sides. Any contested areas are played out. If you are massively outnumbered you can always conceed the territory to your opponent.

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Once a battle has been decided upon both side roll a number of D6 equal to the number of elemnts that they committed to that battle to see what actually turns up. These elements are then grouped into units for the battle.

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We managed three battles of various sizes in an afternoon so fighting a campaign to its conclusion wouldn’t take that long.

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The tactical battle system is fast and elegant and gives you a definite result with hte minimum of fuss. I’m looking forward to being able to get another turn of the campaign done.  I’ve not given away too much in terms of the mechanisms of the campaign or battle systems are they aren’t mine to do so with but it would be great to see the rules reach a wider audience someday. Playing the games got me thinking about other, historical, areas it could be used for. The South Africans fighting the Angolans and Cubans wouyld be an obvious one. You could play up the quantity versus quality difference there. Also I thought that the campaign system with a few tweaks would work well for the various wars that have broken out in the area around the Great Lakes, particularly the Kagera War between Tanzania and Uganda (I know its fairly obscure but I’ve been reading a lot of the Helion African at War series recently clicky ).

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Wing Commander Luddite’s 6mm modelling skills are amazing and as the photos show it is something to aspire to. I will try to up my scenery game in 1/300th now.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

Assorted games from recent weeks.

As much as I’ve been busy beavering away in the shed making kits and painting I have been getting quite a few games in too. I’ve not done a battle report in a while for the simple reason that trying to take photos at meaningful points in the game comes third to a) playing the game and b) having a laugh with my mates, the latter is the best reason for gaming imo.

Nonetheless I have taken some ‘happy snaps’ as it were of a few recents evening’s gaming so thought I’d put them up here:

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First up we have the old Milton Bradley game Battlemasters from 1992. Done in conjunction with Games Workshop as an entry level game it comes with a rather nice printed plastic mat.

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Paul had found a cheap copy in a charity shop so he took it up to the games club and gave it a run through that evening. It plays quick so we managed to get two full games in. The above photo gives you some idea of how the random card cannon mechanisms works.

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The second scenario saw the ‘evil/ chaos’ army attempting to force a river crossing to take out a fortified tower. It seemed to be a quite a tall order for them to do that given that the ‘Empire’ army was at full strength.

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I ran a nice little 6mm 5core: Brigade Commander game for Evan and Bill that saw Bill’s 1980s British defend a section of the German countryside from Evan attacking Soviets. You can’t beat a bit of 1980s Cold War what if? gaming to stir nostalgic memories of the 1980s. I really should get a CD of 80s music to go with these games.

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The twist in the scenario was that the Soviets faced a large flanking counter attack that they weren’t ecpecting. Here Evan tries to reposition his troops in the face of approaching British armour.

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Here a MIG 23 from the VVS tries to halt the encroaching Chieftans threatening to overrun the Soviet HQ. The game ended in a bloody draw.

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I have managed to get a couple of games of the French expansion of The Great War board game. The op[ening games are based around the battles for Verdun. The first game seemed a tough ask for the defending French. I played the game twice in an evening with Paul swopping side: on both occasions the French were decisively beaten.

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I played the second of the new scenarios with Evan. Again we played it twice, again the French were beaten both times. Evan played as the Germans the first time. Veteran gamer that he is he quickly indentified the the weakpoint in my defences and went for it winning comfortably. After we swopped sides I looked at the board and couldn’t come up with a better plan so copied his shamelessly for much the same result.

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I dug out my modest fleets of Russo- Japanese War ships for a naval battle with Paul. We could have probably done with a bigger table as this turned out to be the naval equivalent of a knife fight in a telephone box.

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Here Paul’s Russian battleship is trying to ram my battleship squadron, having crossed his ‘T’ I gave him little option. Fortunately he bounced off my side armour and a lucky critical hit roll sunk him. A fun game, I need to add to my collection though before I can play the war as a campaign as I intend to do at some point.

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Finally with have the recent Too Fat Lardies’ tank skirmish ruleset What a Tanker. Evan ran the game for Bill and I, I had three BT7s and a T28 facing off against a STUGIII, Pz38t and a PzII. After a lot of to-ing and fro-ing around the table Bill whittled me down for the win. I’ve mixed views on the game (I think the games set in the early war don’t work, for boring mathematical reason, due to the game design) but that aside it was one of the most enjoyable evening gaming I had had in a long time.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

Some more 6mm reinforcements.

I’ve been busy expanding my 6mm Cold War collection again.

First up we have a very mixed bag for my Americans: M60, M109s, M551 Sheridans, A battalion’s worth of troops in HMMWVs, some recon and anti- tank HMMWVs and finally some leg infantry.

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The models are unknown for the M60, Heroics and Ros for the Sheridans and M109s and Scotia for the HMMWVs. All of the infantry and HMGs are from Irregular.

 

Moving onto the Russians we have a handful of vehicles: a ZSU23-4 and 4 MTLBs, 2 portee-ing the ZSU23-2 AA gun and 2 the Vaselik auto mortar.

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The ZSU23-4 is from Irregular and the 4 MTLBs are Scotia models.

Finally lots of infantry and support weapons (HMGs and mortars).

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All from Irregular this time.

 

I’ve based everything for use with Nordic Weasel’s 5core: Brigade Commander rules. I use a 50mm square base for a company stand and a 30mm square base to represent a platoon sized attachment.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

Fictional vehicles for fictional wars

I know that in some circles ‘What if?’ get a bad press (and certainly in the case of the Nazi fan boys obsessing about Maus tanks it is justified) but I’ve always been drawn to them. I think thios is because know why something wasn’t used tells you a lot about why other things did get used. I find that knowing about what technological blind alleys were peered into fascinating. Like my old math teacher said don’t go straight to the answer, show your working out…

On that theme here are a few vehicles that didn’t really exist (in one case) or see service (in an other) that I’m looking forward to adding into my 6mm Cold War games of 5core: Brigade Commander. [Edit- both models are available from Scotia ]

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First up we have some 130mm Russian self propelled guns. These ‘existence’ of these were first revealed to the west by the controversial Cold War defector Viktor Suvorov who made a career of exaggerating the strength and martial prowess of the Russians.

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Supposedly they were to equip Motor Rifle Division to give them some long range firepower. (In fact a similar vehicle was made in the 1950s in very small numbers the Su-122-54. There is a very good article in Armor if you can find a copy). Either way a copmany or a couple of supporting platoons are now available for my Soviet forces.

 

Secondly, and most importantly to Twilight 2000 players, we have the LAV75, I mean, RDF light tank. This little thing was a possible US Army acquistion as an air transportable light tank; it was armed with a long barrelled high velocity 75mm gun.  Although the project got to prototype stage  it progressed no further.

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Again, I got enough so that I can field either a company or supporting platoons.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete

New Years Eve game-athon.

Last weekend for NYE my friend Simon came up for a weekend of gaming. We tried to fit as many in as possible and in that regard we did pretty well.

Starting things off on Saturday we played a ‘Cold War goes Hot’ game of 5core: Brigade Commander. Bill had an early finish from work so he brought round a late 1980s British armoured  brigade which he has been working on recently. I decided to umpire so I gave Simon a reinforced Soviet Tank regiment and a pair of Mi24 Hinds. The game went back and forth, with heavy losses on both sides.

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An overview of the table.

The battle swung back and forth with heavy casualties on both side although all of the helicopters survived until the end of the game which is unusual in itself. The brace of Hinds found their role as a QRF. Simon used them to plug the gap when ever Bill’s Challenger tanks opened up a hole in his lines.

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Russian tanks and mech infantry take cover in a wood.

Brigade Commander is a great game imo. It plays really well and is easy to pick up with everyone I’ve shown it too being really favourable to it. I’ve plans to try a large multiplayer game of it soon -ish so watch this space….

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A pair of Hinds covering the tank company in the wood.

Later on that evening Simon and I looked at Nuts! publishing’s Urban Operation boardgame. It started off life being developed as training aid by a serving French Officer before being released as a commercial project. Being a block game it adds a nice bit of fog of war combined with nice chunky playing pieces. The use of generic blocks combined with unit cards allows a large range of scenarios and campaigns to be included. We decided to look at a one off game based around the Russian attack into Grozny in 1996.

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My initial defending positions as the Chechen player.

 

The game handbook suffers a little in its translation and the jargon heavy military style of the rule books could also be looked at for the civilian market but it does provide a good playable modern warfare simulation. It can be frustrating to platy as the rules punish mistakes quite harsly but I suppose that is the point. FIBUA  has never been described as easy. However, the forces in a scenario do provide you with the tools you need to win… as long as you use them wisely.

The next morning, suitable fortified with a fry up we looked at ‘War Plan Orange’, a C3i magazine game that takes GMT’s Empire of the Sun board game of WW2’s pacific war, trims it down and sets it 10 years earlier. It is quite a heavy game requiring a lot of careful planning to get your fleets in the right position.

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Simon’s IJN fleet spreading across the pacific, with suitable reading material to hand.

My luck was not with me. I won the unimportant encounters but 5 of my 6 attempts to take central pacific islands were rebuffed. In the end I ran out of time in the game to either retake territory of inflict an attritional victory. That said I really enjoyed the card driven mechanics and look forward to a second game. Also I’ll keep an eye out for Empire of the Sun too.

Following a trip to WW2 in the pacific we went right up to date and looked at a print and play game that I had made from Yaah! magazine (it was the one I featured in my tutorial a bit back). The game is set around the Russian separatist attempts to take Donetsk airport from the Ukrainians in 2014. For a magazine game the rules were very well laid out and played nicely without the errors that tend to creep into these things.

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The separatists force their way into the airport buildings.

About halfway through the game I had to break off and get some food on te go. Fortunately Chris had turned up so I delegated the defence of the airport to him. With beginners luck and a few judicious decisions he completely pulled around the course of the defeat I had been staring into and won the game. Finding my carefully placed ATGM that I had forgotten about and using it effectively seemed to turn the tide, that and rather aggressive moves with BTR80s. Another game to revisit soon.

After tea and with some beer/cider/whisky we set up another GMT game: Andean Abyss. The first and in some ways the simplest entry into the popular COIN series. Four factions battle for control of Colombia in the late 90s/ early 00s.

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Mid game, FARC are ascendant with two areas designated as FARC zone so no-go areas for the government. 

Playing as a threesome Simon took the government forces, Chris the AUC and myself the FARC. The drug cartels themselves were run through the games flow charts- something that always provides a tough game. Mid game we all called a truce to beat them so we wouldn’t be beaten by a game mechanic. In the end both Simon and I were over our victory conditions but as he was over by the bigger margin the victory went to him.

As the night was still young we dragged out my favourite ‘fun’ game then a laugh: Twilight Creation’s Innsmouth Escape.

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Trying to rescue trapped students from hordes of deep ones.

The human player, me in this instance, has to navigate the board trying to rescue the requisite number of students before escaping the board. The game uses a nice hidden movement mechanic and the waves of re-spawning deep ones generate a tension as you always seem to lose more health than you can heal. In the end I had rescued enough people but was killed before I could exit the board.

On Monday Simon and I had enough time for one final game. We decided upon returning to the naval theme and getting my 1/2400th Russo Japanese ships out. Taking the Japanese I had 2 battleships with 3 cruisers and 3 destroyers to Simon’s 3 battleships and the same number of cruisers and destroyers. My collection is pretty small still so rather than fight out a particular historical battle I just pulled together what I thought would make an interesting game.

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Destroyers may get a lucky hit with their torpedoes but they don’t last long when under the guns of bigger ships.

The rules we used were ‘Tsushima’ from A and A game engineering. Fast playing bckets of dice style rules that give a nice fast game. The opening stages of the game where you move by counters provides a nice tense mini game where you try to jostle for position.

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Right at the end of the game Simon got a critical hit on the bridge of my flagship… even though the battle had gone in my favour the fate of my avatar had to be determined. We gave me a 50% chance of death and a 50% chance of heroic scarring… the dice were kind and after a painful recovery I have some impressive battle damage to show off around Tokyo.

 

On the subject of the Russo- Japanese Naval War I picked up White Bear and Red Sun rules/ campaign system in the Wargames Vault sale, so when I’ve got more ships in my collection I’ll look at running a campaign on the conflict.

All in all a cracking few days gaming- we managed to get seven different games in.

Simon has put his thoughts on four of the games over on his blog, have a look here:

http://lestradesgame.blogspot.co.uk/

Cheers,

 

Pete.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A small Cold War game.

I recently played a quick game of 5core: Brigade Commander with Bill. He had recently finished some late 80s Brits that he hadn’t had on the games table yet so it was a good excuse to have a game.

Bill brought a British tank Brigade consisting of 8 companies/ squadrons of Challenger I tanks and 4 companies of mechanised infantry in Warrior IFVs plus a HQ company and a flight of Lynx helicopters, these were backed up with supporting platoons of Scimitar and Scorpion recce tanks, Blowpipe MANPADs and Swingfire ATGMS.

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I fielded a Soviet armoured regiment with the divisional recce battalion. This amounted to 7 companies of T64s with 5 companies of mechanised infantry in BMPs and a flight of Hinds. These were backed up with 4 recce platoons, 2 AA platoons and 3 Engineer platoons.

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I figured given that our forces were roughly equal we should have a simple encounter game, we set up the table with plenty of woods and a big urban area in the middle. I lost the set up roll and deployed over the full 4 foot frontage I had. Bill favoured his right flank.

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To add doctrinal differences to armies 5core uses tactics cards that can be played to give a slight advantage or to hinder the enemy. To counter Bill’s strength on my left flank it was to one of these cards I turned: ‘Commandos’. I placed they at the end of my first turn in the woods in the front of Bill’s units hindering their movement in the early turns. This gave me enough time to rush plenty of units forwards to the urban areas at the middle of the table. Losses were fairly equal for most of the game. Bill made good use of his ‘Scoot and Shoot’ tactics card and his Lynx helicopter- I was lucky not to lose both units to the ATGMs it carried. My artillery was slightly more effective than his; it didn’t kill anything but was good at pinning units in place. On the Soviet right flank Bill launched a devastating close assault by a mechanised infantry on a damaged T64 company stuck in the open and wiped it out, my Commandos too fell to a determined close assault by infantry and Warriors in the woods. I only managed to pull things round when I had 2 consecutive good turns, taking advantage of some re-positioning moves, my tanks opened up and with 4 shots killed 4 units. At this point Bill called the game as I’d taken out over 2/3s of his armour and his left flank had folded. Unusually for our games both helicopters survived to the end; I only moved mine once and never fired it.

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All in all it was a great way to while away a couple of hours, Bill only lost due to my luck being so good. He has been busy painting up FV432s and Chieftains so hopefully we’ll have a rematch soon.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.