Game Report: Cold War action in 6mm.

One of the (many) facebook groups I’m on posted a link to a you tube video… it was an old British Army of the Rhine instructional video of how to defend against a Soviet attack in the early 1980s. I’m a sucker for that doctrine/ training type of thing so gave it a watch. It did give me an idea for a 5core: Brigade Commander scenario and, mindful of the current climate, decided to run it for Evan and Bill.

Bailey has inspected the terrain set up and approves.

The video shows the escalating attacks of a Russian division as it contacts a BAOR defensive line. The video ends with the Soviets forming up for a bigger attack in regimental strength. For the scenario I swapped Brits for West Germans (all provided by Evan) and let the Soviets (from the collection of Bill) deploy after the West Germans had set up. Bill picked two points of Evan defensive line and deployed a company, followed by a battalion 6″ back and the rest of the regiment another 6″ behind that at each point selected. If you watch the video you’ll see where I was coming from with this deployment. The objective for the game was the crossroads.

The crossroads were the key terrain of the game.
The Soviets deploy in depth from their chosen routes of attack.
Leopard 1s further back in reserve.
The Soviets push forwards

As usual we used the Brigade Commander rules from Nordic Weasel. We three are big fans of the system and have built up considerable forces between us. We use a 50mm square base to represent a company and a smaller base for a platoon sized attached asset.

The dug in positions protected the vulnerable Leopard 1s from the worst of the fire, but they were slowly forced back.

With anti air support the BMPs push towards the crossroads.
The West German defenders in the BUA.
Airstrike: unfortunately the SU24 was driven of by the Gepard SPAA.
In return the West Germans send in their Alpha jet with impressive results.
The lone mechanised infantry company makes an attack against the German held BUA.

The game swung backwards and forwards with the crossroads changing hands a few times. In the end, although casualties were very light on both sides, Bill had pushed Evan back from the area around the crossroads and had disrupted Evan’s armour so I decided it was a winning draw to Bill’s Soviets.

I may do a urban skirmish game based on the final, defeated assault of Bill’s mechanised infantry company. Something for later on….

Cheers,

Pete.

Zona Alfa: From the Shed to the table.

I tend to work better to a deadline so was more than happy to run a game of Zona Alfa for friends with a week’s notice, even though I still had nearly 30 models to paint in that time. Firstly I needed to finish off the various zone hostiles that I had collected, these are the various monster/ fauna that inhabit the zone and make life difficult for the players. I had a mix of zombies from Mantic, Copplestone and Pig Iron. All were painted in a similar muted palette and complement each other. The Mantic and Copplestone ones go well together as they look like the reanimated corpses of previous expiditions to the zone….

The horde of zombies.
Pig Iron Production zombies
Mantic zombies
Copplestone zombie troopers.

I also had a small selection of Reaper Bones models to represent the mutants, both large and standard size, that can also appear in the game. Nicola very kindly painted these three for me.

Reaper Bones used as mutants.

I also wanted to round out my collection of military types witha few more figures. I got some of the Under Fire Miniatures cold war camo suited Soviets and added Pig Iron Productions gas mask heads and backpacks to give them more of a STALKER vibe. Whilst the hardness of the metal that both companies used made drilling them tough on the fingers I’m really pleased with how they turned out.

The converted Under Fire miniatures Soviets.

For the game at the club I wrote a brief intro to the game (which I can post if people want) and made up four forces for the players to use: two military, one scientist and one bandit. After a quick run through of the rules they teams set off to revover the protyped weapon left cached by a previous expedition into the zone. I purposely ignored the Allies and Enemies rules for this game, mainly as it was a one off zero sum mission it would added more combat to get the players better used to the rules.

My Zona Alfa collection in it storage box.

Set in a level one zone I placed the two hot spots so that the players would be able to interact with at least one lot of zone hostiles each.

The game table, the objective was in the cached ammo crate, the skulls are hotspots. Most of the terrain was from my 3D printer.

In the end the Scientist and the Military player ended up trading shots and finding out how bloody the combat syestem can be whilst the Bandits crept forward clearining a hotspot and then cunningly used electric juice to speed forward to snatch the mission objective, after the Military team had dispatched the rats it had spawned the previous turn. The scientist cleared the hotspot closesst to them, again hiding a rat swarm before finding an anomily there and getting a rare artifact. At the point the Bandits were attracting a lot of attention so began to take a lot of fire as the other two teams attempted to snatch the weapon for themselves… at the expense of most of their team they did manage to get it off the table. However, I did point out to the players that in a campaign game they’d need to watch their casualties more and that finding a rare artifact could mean that whilst you don’t win the game the money it earns your team may be more beneficial in the long run.

The Bandits emerge from the edge of the woods.

The Military team pinned down behind the ruins.

The game went down really well and there are a couple more players who wish to try it so hopefully there will be enough interest to get a campaign going. I’m sure I did some of the rules wrong but it has been a long time since I ran the game, pre COVID19 infact. As always I enjoy running the game and seeing how the players interact as much as I do playing.

Cheers,

Pete.

Introducing The Angrian War Room: Nicola’s blog.

I want to give a big shout out to my wonderful girlfriend’s new blog ‘The Angrian War Room’

https://theangrianwarroom.wordpress.com/

It will feature her painting, gaming and history based projects. I know some of what is coming up and I’m really excited for you to be able to see what Nicola has been working on and has been planning for the future.

If you could pop over to her blog and say hello and follow her I’d be very grateful. Also if you need any further encouragement she has just put up a battle report where we both played the new Ravenfeast rules by Little Wars TV, I got horribly slaughtered in the game so you can relish the victory over me with her there.

Cheers,

Pete.

Game Report: Zone Alfa.

Been rather busy recently with uni work so not had much time to do as much hobby stuff but I know where my priorities lie. As such I’ve not bneen gaming much. There was a brief window where people from 2 different households could meet inside before my  area was subject to a localised lockdown… in that gap I managed to get a small game of Zone Alfa (Osprey Games) in with Joe. I painted up some more minis for it which I’ll put up soon.

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We had planned to get a Zone Alfa campaign up and running at the club, but Covid put paid to that. I had, however, started to get a few bits and pieces for it in 28mm so that is the scale I played against Joe with. I know I was planning to do 20mm Zone Alfa at home, and I still am, but we were being sensible and socially distanced; so we only touched our own toys, tape measures and dice and so on.

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My previous game of Zone Alfa degenerated into a rather bloody gun fight as the factions we both played were mutally atagonistic. This time as we both ran military teams so were cautiously allied. We could have rolled to shoot at each other but neither of us decided to.

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In the end this worked in our favour as it was a good refresher on how the exploration,  anomalies and zone hostiles worked.

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We weren’t using the game as part of a campaign- where Zone Alfa shines- more as a rules refresher. I think in the end Joe’s forces would have looted more stuff than me but I’d have got mnore experience for my team as I killed more.

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It was really good to get to roll some dice again and get new figures on the table. Shame that the new lockdown has already got in the way of 2 games that I had planned. It was also nice to have some of my 3D printed terrain on the table too. Hopefully I won’t have to wait too long until my next game now.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

 

 

Game Report: Falklands War Matrix game.

Last week I got the chance to play in another Matrix game- this time a rerun of the Falklands War of 1982. Again it was with the group from the Sheffield Wargames club but with a suitable socially distanced format through Skype.

 

Matrix games are really all about structured discussion- state and action and an effect with three reasons why it will happen and then the umpire adjudicates and in this case tells you if you have succeded or not. You are not limited to just yourself and your forces you can try and have an effect on anything.

 

The game was for seven players, Thatcher and Admiral Woodward for the UK, President Reagan and General Haig for the US, Galtieri for the Argentinians, As well as Pinochet and the UN being played. Each player was given their own briefing in advance. I was given the role of President Reagan with the basic tasks of ensuring that the islands were returned to the UK and offering some support too.

 

I played quite aggressively; with the US as the preminent economic power house I made sure to funnel supplies to the Brits (I knew they’d need them) as well as trying to distract the Soviets with naval exercises in the Med, hopefully to stop them meddling. I also gave Pinochet some cash to run month long exercises with his armed forces to make sure the Argentines were distracted there too. Am pleased to say that the game followed the history fairly well with the Black Buck raids, Exocets and the eventual recapture of the Islands all happening in more or less the right order.

falklands matrix game

The game was great fun to play- a good chance to do a bit of roleplaying too. Can’t thank Tim enough for running the game and the other players for making it so much fun. The format of the game worked really well over Skype too. Tim just set the camera up at the representationmal map whilst we presented our arguements.

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With a couple of matrix games under my belt I’mm eager to play another one.

 

You can find Tim’s reports on the game here and here. The scenario is considered a matrix game classic and has been well recieved by a wide vareity of players and organisations, it is available in this book.

Cheers,

Pete.

Game Report: Aeronautica Imperialis.

Just before the social distancing and lockdown came into effect here in the UK Evan and I tried the Aeronautica Imperialis stater box that I got for xmas. Having painted up all the aircraft in it I was keen to give it a go, Evan is always keen on any sort of air war game too.

 

We started off with simply one aircraft each; I took the Ork Dakka jet whilst Evan went with the Imperials. Getting the hang of the movement rules was easy enough and the shooting is simple to resolve. That said the Ork plane was shot down pretty quickly.

We then upped the numbers with Evan having both Imperial fighters whilst I took three Dakka jets. Whilst they can dish it out the Dakka jets have a glass jaw so it was another Imperial victory.

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For the third game Evan took one bomber, with the mission to cross the table and escape, whilst I retained the three Dakka jets (I couldn’t help but reference the WW2 dogfight between a Sunderland and 3 JU88s in the Bay of Biscay here). With the last possible chance I managed to get the bomber shot down having whittled its hit points away one by one.

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We managed all three small games in about 2 hours, just shows how quick to pick up the game is. Both of us really enjoyed it, I’ve picked up the expanded rules/ campaign book so wer’ll definiately be playing it again.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

Megagame Report: Outbreak.

Paul’s Story Living Games company was approached by a couple who wanted a game run as part of their wedding celebrations. Being keen board gamers they fancied something that could involve their party of 30 so Paul came up with a game set in the not too distant future where nation states/ regional power blocks battled each other and tried to contain an outbreak of an unknown virus.

The two of us headed up to the North Yorkshire venue a bit unsure what to expect- given the party was made up of all first time megagamers and possibly hungover.

We set up the main world map on the snooker table in the country house and I commandeered the dining table to run the science game. The wedding party were mulling around snacking and drinking already- some had got into the spirit of things and had got into costume.

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Given all of the constraints of the game and the inexperience of the players the game went fantastically. After a rather polite start they got the hang of things and were playing against each others. An ill advised attack by Russia on the US blew up in the face of Europe who supported Russia rather than the actual aggressors. Guess it comes down what can be proved by the UN player.

Later on in the game the US did take a massive hit and had most of its population wiped out, I wasn’t quite sure what happened here as I was busy trying to help the science players eradicate the virus and stop the bioterrorists that had been revealed.

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All in all it was really refreshing and motivating to see so much enthusiasm of these first timers. The way they approached the game was great to see and it showed that you don’t need that many control to keep a game moving. Both Paul and I were made very welcome and Paul’s game must have gone down well as they have book him again for next year and their first year anniversary.

On the way home I did ponder whether there are too many controls in some games given how well it ran with just two of us. Perhaps the more control present the less that players, either consciously or otherwise, are prepared to do for themselves.

Cheers,

Pete.

Megagame Report: Hold the Line, Poland 1939.

Due to illness I had managed to miss two games in a row that I was due to attend… I was really hoping it wasn’t going to be three in a row as the next one on my calendar was Paul Howarth’s Hold the Line ’39. Based on the invasion of Poland that kickstarted the war in Europe, it was to be played using the block based rules set that he had developed last year for Czech mate ’38 (see previous blog post). For a bit of a change I decided to sign myself up as a tactical player at the map. Usually I prefer command roles in these types of games but I fancied a change.

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As a lowly German player I was assigned my sector and given my order: advance through the mountains from the south then sweep round the back of Warsaw to apply pressure on the capital. This was to be the diversionary attack with the main effort coming in from the west to trap and defeat the majority of the Polish forces whilst a push down from East Prussia would take the capital. At least that was the plan that the high command team had come up with. They had also opted for a longer build up and mobilization. This gave us more units and resources to start with but gave away our intentions to the Polish players: quite what bonus that gave them we were unsure. Still, for once, such decisions were above my pay grade.

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The setting for the game was once again the wonderful, and fitting, Encliffe Hall in Sheffield. Paul had done a great job with the blocks and maps, shame our deployment onto the maps was a bit hamfisted… due to the Poles taking too long then some of the blocks being ‘tidied’- as such my deployment ended up being suboptimal with ramifications for the rest of the game.

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As you can imagine it was slow work trying to force the mountain passes. Whilst they were lightly defended it did take much for the combat modifiers to stack against me, also my mountain troops weren’t where they should be due to the botched deployment.

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The game system is now fully mature and was very nice to play. Given I was on a side map I didn’t see much of the rest of the game other than watching the growing amount of blocks being committed in the centre, that and the shouts of either joy or despair coming from the other side of the ballroom where the attack from East Prussia was going in.

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By the end of the game the Germans had managed to get units into the capital of Warsaw; but with much heavier casualties and in a longer time span than what the Germans achieved in 1939. Nice to be rolling dice at the table for a change but on balance I prefer the command roles. As such I request one for when the next version of the game system is rolled out next year for the invasion of France.

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I did take Nicola along as an observer- she was really interested in the idea but felt she lacked enough game experience to take part. I explained that the higher command roles are more about decision making rather than game rules; she seemed more taken with that. Hopefully I’ll persuade her to take part in the France game.

Thanks to Paul for putting the game on, and extra thanks as always to the control team who helped out.

Cheers,

Pete.

Necromunda Campaign Round up.

I’ve been very remiss (black dog issues) with posting up my Necromunda campaign so I’ll do a post with a thumbnail sketch of each game and a few pics to catch up but I’ll do a big post on the last game which we are all planning to finish off the campaign with.

Necromunda Campaign 2: Game 4

Games Workshop have just released another supplement to Necromunda bringing in hazardous environments to the game, as well as some other thing. This was eagerly awaited by us all and the new rules are to be added in.

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The scenario that was chosen to try and force a crossing along a narrow bridge. Between the weather and the lights going out in the underhive James, playing his Delaque, and I struggled to make much of an impact against each other so we were both happy calling it a no score draw.

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Necromunda Campaign 2: Game 5

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This game saw Van Saar on Van Saar violence as Marcus and I fought over the possession of some lost loot whilst trying to avoid three large chasms in the floor. Again random environment effects were in play with a large body of water draining through the hive, I managed to avoid most of it but Marcus suffered quite badly due to it giving me the win.

Necromunda Campaign 2: Game 6

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This cycle saw me as the arbitrator – I game up with a fungus hunting scenario* where they were being used as ingredients for drugs. Everyone seemed to enjoy it.

*See the bottom of the post for the scenario.

Part of my role as Arbitrator was to field any challenge matches as such I went up against James and his Delaque on the more restricted board. It was the first game in which I fielded an Ambot- it worked a treat as it kept half of James’ gangers on the run or engaged; either way away from the loot crates. So I got the win.

Necromunda Campaign 2: Game 7

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The roster for the campaign changed as Scott had to drop out, Richard stepped up to fill in with a Venators gang. I ended up fighting Richard in my own scenario which was good fun. As he had a starting gang I was massively more points than him so to balance things James joined forces with him his Delaques. Another fun game and a win, also one that gave me a better insight in how to write Necromunda scenarios.

Necromunda Campaign 2: Game 8

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This cycle Niall had come up with a great scenario to fight past carnivorous plants that a gang was using to guard its drug stash. My gang with 2 Ambots this time, the winning streak I was on had been proving very profitable, took on Richard’s Venators again. Sadly for him my gang had got too powerful and he had to concede. To be fair to him he fought hard and the carnivorous plants did more damage to him than I did. Marcus and J were playing the same game at the same time on a different board, Marcus brought along some cider which made the whole evening very civilised.

Necromunda Campaign 2: Game 9

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My penultimate game of the campaign was to be against Simon and his gang of Genestealer cultists. We were to investigate a dark corner of the hive in Joe’s scenario to try and locate an on the run escaped Ork. I was hoping to simply blast him when he revealed himself but Simon put his men in a better position than I for when the Ork was revealed. I had a cunning plan involving my flamer but I played it a turn too early and it wasn’t as effective as it should have been. A rare loss for my usual firepower heavy approach.

Looking forward to the final game now.

Cheers,

 

Pete.

 

*My scenario:

No low hanging fruit in the Underhive….

Introduction:

An Escher gang has been pushing a new drug throughout the hive and the noble houses are not happy as production in the factorium levels is dropping to the point that quotas may not be met. The drug is made from a fungus Psilocybinus that grows on the undersides of high walkways by the hive walls. There has been speculation by Necromundan scholars that the fungus has beewn brought in by the last storm, other look to a more malign xenos influence. The noble houses have been buying up any collected fungus to stop it being processed into the drug whilst the Escher gangs pay handsomely for it too. Gangs have been trying to collect as much as possible before deciding who to sell it to….

Set up:

Gangs start with 6 random gangers, the rest enter as reinforcements as usual. After picking table edges, the player with priority nominates a point on their edge- starting gangers must be placed within 8 inches of this point. Their opponent then does the same.

The howling winds Badzone event starts in play: at the end of a turn roll a D6 it will stop/ start on a roll of 5 or 6. No other environment or event card is used.

Objective:

Collect as many fungal spores from walkways as possible. When a ganger is at least 4 inches off the table surface they may make a basic action to look for fungus. On a 5+ on a D6 they have found some (a failed result means that the figure will have to move at least 6” before trying again), for every 2” above 4” the die roll gets easier by one. There is no limit as to how much a ganger may carry. If the fighter goes out of action all spores are lost.

Ending the game:

Game lasts for 6 turns. The gang that has collected the most spores is deemed the winner.

Experience:

All fighters who take part in the battle get 1 xp. All fighters who end the game in possession of at least 1 spore gain 1 xp. Xp for kills is earned as normal.

Reputation:

The Winning gang gains 1 REP, If this is the first battle between each gang then both gangs gain 1 REP. If a gang bottles the lose 1 REP. If a gang collects more than 6 spores in total they gain 1 REP.

Reward:

Each spore is worth D6 credits. After the battle each gang must decide if they are going to sell them to the Escher gangs or the Noble houses.

If the gang chooses to sell to Escher any Needle Weapons or Choke grenades bought at the Trading Post (assuming a high enough roll has been made) cost 5 credits less or halve the number of spores collected to get 1 drug of that rarity for free.

If the gang sells the spores to the Noble Houses when rolling for income from territories add one to all dice rolls. The authorities look they other way on the criminal activities of the gang for a short while… quidus pro quous….

Kill Team Tournament @ Star Stores, Scunthorpe.

A couple of Saturdays ago around lunch time a small group of us met up in the back room of Star Stores for the inaugural Kill Team Tournament… 4 of us were regular players against each other, myself (Plague Marines), Nicola (Death Watch), Adam (Necrons) and Andy (Tau); joining us was Dave (Plague Marines too).

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My Kill Team for the tournament.

Given the odd numbers one of us got a pass through the first round- luckily that was me, so I settled down to watch the first round. My gf Nicola took on Adam, the winner then taking on me.. The Death Watch put up a good fight but the close combat specialists of the Necrons proved too tough.

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Nicola’s Death Watch versus Adam’s Necrons.

The second watch up was Dave versus Andy, this time the Tau suffered badly against the toughness of the Plague Marines giving Dave the win. That meant Dave went on to fight in the final and Andy would play the loser of mine and Adam’s game.

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The Kill Zone for my first game.

When it came to my game against Adam we had to fight for control of 4 objectives. Here my lack of numbers proved to be my undoing, I had the smallest team in the tournament… I couldn’t taken enough ground and put fire down where it was needed so whilst I was trading shots with the ranged Necron models their close combat specialists whittled me down.

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Adam’s Necrons move up.

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My plague Marines locked in combat and doing badly out of it.

This meant I was to face Andy in the battle for Bronze. We played on the dungeon board and had to break through to the opposing board edge. A slow and steady advance played into my hands; this added to some very lucky dice rolls meant I shot away the Tau pretty easily. Deciding to concentrate on the better models first helped too. A fun game that gave me the Bronze.

Meanwhile Dave battled Adam for the win, a brutal game saw Adam scrape a win; this was thoroughly well deserved as he had won three games in a row.

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Adam’s Necrons (Gold).

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Nicola’s Death Watch (5th)

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Dave’s Plague Marines (Silver).

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Andy’s Tau (4th)

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My team and my bronze medal.

A very big thanks too for Adam for being the driving force behind the organisation of the tournament and providing all the Kill Zones we fought over.

The medals were really nice- hefty bits of metal… looking forward to the next competition already.

Cheers,

Pete.