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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

Where we are going we need roads….

As you will have seen from past posts I’ve been getting into 6mm ‘Cold War goes hot’ gaming recently. However I’ve been unhappy with roads I’ve used for my games: I just used the thinnest dirt roads from my 20mm collection. Whilst they did the job I’ve been on the look out for a more suitable replacement and after considering a few options I’ve made my own (kind of).

 

Firstly I purchased this rather nice  PDF from Wargames Vault:

http://www.wargamevault.com/product/196057/Roads-1-285

Being multilayered you can selected the different types of road marking and road surfaces before printing them out. I went for European markings and dirty asphalt dry before getting them printed out (Cheers Brian). I then used the technique I had previously utilized to make megagame counters and stuck them on to self adhesive floor tiles (4 for £1). You can get thicker more durable tiles from places other than pound shops but they need to be cut with a blade and ruler rather than scissors that slows down production.

I went from this:

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To this:

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I tidied up the edges and added a bit of weathering with marker pens and pencil crayons to give a bit of variety:

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I did plenty to give enough variety to the road layouts. The vinyl tiles give them a bit of flexibility but I don’t know how well they’ll drape over hills… Gentle slopes should be OK.

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I made up a quick layout so I could see how they look:

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You get a decent selection of parts although I’d have liked to see a single into dual carriage way connector. I grabbed some 6mm toys to see how they scaled (Heroics and Ros based on 50mm and 30mm squares for 5core Brigade Commander):

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Overall I’m really pleased with how they look. I’ll get a game in with them as soon as possible to try them out.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

 

Some 6mm terrain.

MDF laser cut terrain has really taken off in the wargames world in recent years, I’ve been buying the odd bit for my 20mm collection for a few years now but have only just got round to getting some for my 6mm games.

 

I bought three buildings from Blotz to try. The bigger buildings come in sections and it is a nice touch that you are able to buy ruined levels to have the same building with different levels of destruction.

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Construction was simple enough using PVA glue and following the online instructions. I took my time and let sub assemblies dry before moving on to the next stage. MDF can soak up paint due to its porus natures so the buildings got two coats of spray paint (from pound shop cans) before I went at them with hobby acrylics.

 

Overall I’m impressed with them and will order some more further down the line.

http://blotz.co.uk/

 

I recently pick up some small pieces of 6mm scatter terrain from Leven Miniatures to use as markers and objectives. I went for the fuel dumps, supply dumps and the sandbags.

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The above strips of sandbags are intended to be put just infront of a company base (50mm square for 5core: Brigade Commander) to show that it is dug in. I’ll be after a few more bits from Leven next time I see them at a wargames show.

http://www.levenminiatures.co.uk/

Cheers,

 

Pete.

 

 

Assorted vehicles and terrain bits.

I’ve got these finally finished off since the new year (I’ll also do a looking forward/ looking backward post tomorrow) so I thought I’d do a big photo dump of a post to get them out there:

First up- a 6mm sized ruined factory made from bit of resin I got from a private seller on the Lead Adventure Forum.

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A small house from Leven miniatures, again in 6mm.

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A barricade from S and S model scaled for 20mm. I’m tempted to give the bus some more weathering.

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A Armourfast 1/72 Valentine converted to a Bishop with an S and S aftermarket part; the short coming of the Armourfast suspension are evident in the photo more than in real life. I may yet do some remedial work on them.

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A cheak FAI 1/72 diecast repainted and decaled into a Finnish scheme.

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A trio of 1.72 Rhodesian Bush War vehicles from S and S.

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A Rhodesian SAS conversion of a Unimog,

 

 

An armoured lorry.

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Another Unimog conversion; this time a mortar carrier. I’ll add the crew at a later date.

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Three diecast 1/72 BTR60PBs.

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Firstly a simple repaint.

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One converted into a command variant BTR60PAU, conversion kit by S and S.

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Repainted with infantry seated on the outside Afghan style (they considered mines a bigger risk than snipers). Infantry by S and S again.

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Cheers,

 

Pete.

6mm Cold War- the collection so far.

I’ve been busy trying to get as much as possible of my 1/300th, 6mm collection ready as quickly as possible. The few tryout games we’d played meant that when I had some free time they were the first things that I painted.

I’ve gone for a quick painting style that will hopefully look good en masse rather that individually. To be honest the infantry are too small for me to paint well.

They have been based for 5core- Brigade Commander on 50mm square company bases with 30mm square platoon bases for the attachments.

Last night I laid them all out on my table for the group photos.

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Foucusing on each Brigade/ Regimental sized unit we have the following:

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A Soviet Motor Rifle Regiment in BMP1s.

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A Tank Regiment with BMP2s.

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Some extra tank companies- both T72 and T62 as well as 2 companies to represent the Divisional recce element.

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An amphbious ferry, a company of infantry as well as some post Cold War company bases.

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Four companies of VDV parachustists and some support for them.

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For opposition I’ve this motley mix of US companies. Covering quite a large time frame I have M60A3 and M60A2 ‘Starship’ companies as well as M1 A1s and Bradley. I intend to rationalise this part of my collection with a few extra purchases.

 

Also missing form these photos are any aircraft or helicopters. They are currently on the work bench and should be finished soon.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.