Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Static Defense

At least, I think that's what it's called.

For this game, again I loosely based it on something I saw on Band of Brothers.

The Germans are on a hill opposite the US, who are dug in. The Germans have decided it's time to drive out those pesky Americans.

For rules, I'm using Morschauser Modern with roster, infantry can move or shoot, not both, vehicles can do both, each base is 3x3 and represents a squad. Each vehicle is 1 vehicle in this one. I expanded some of the weapon ranges since this is at a lower scale than usual.

I set an arbitrary 10-turn limit.

Germans: 2 platoons (6 squads), 2 HMG teams, 1 half-track, 2 tanks (Well, technically 1 tank and 1 tank destroyer), plus an artillery barrage (4 attacks on randomly determined US units)

US: 3 platoons (9 squads), 1 HMG team, 3 tanks arrive on turn 4

Gratuitous close-up.
The figures closest to camera are Airfix.
1st platoon takes some damage from the artillery barrage.
Another gratuitous close-up as the German half-track prepares to attack.

Things don't look like they're going to go well for 2nd platoon.
The German advance - the infantry on both sides take heavy fire.
This is just silly.
Turn 4: The cavalry arrive!
Close combat destroys the German infantry.
Chaos ensues as the armor clash!
The German half-track flees the field but not before spraying a few rounds of  MG fire.
Stand off!

Down to two, and suffering damage, the Shermans fire one last time.
Boom! the PZ IV is eliminated and the Jagdpanther flees the field.
End of game.
30 minutes to setup.
30 minutes to play.

It was a fun little game. The static US force position made it a bit ho-hum - but fortunately I play solo, so I still had plenty to do running the Germans. The melee did the German infantry in, and in ways I did not anticipate. In the end, I should have given them 3 or 4 platoons instead of 2, since they could only move or shoot, not both. Or allowed them to move and shoot.

Blitzkrieg Commander or maybe FiveCore Company Command (which I've read and will be trying shortly) might have been a better choice for rules, but Morschauser didn't disappoint.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Friday Night Paint Table (a bit late)

Had a little time Friday night and started this group of Conte plastic US paratroopers. I love how animated the poses are.

The fellow in the back was completed ages ago - I've got him nearby for color reference. 

When I went to pick up the figures Saturday night to block in the flesh and do the webbing, I was too tired to contemplate getting stuck in on detail work, so they'll be a bit longer like this.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Basing: The Perennial (Weekly?) Dilemma

Is there anything worse than the self-doubt inspired by making a basing decision?

54s in particular seem a bit more troublesome than most - so few rules suggest a size for them, and doubling or tripling can often result in ridiculous base sizes.

If you take a look at my other blog, you'll see that my 54s were mostly multi-based, 2 figures to a 3" square:

Typically, I treated each base as a squad for Blitzkrieg Commander, or a platoon for One Hour Wargames (sometimes I used two bases for a 6" front per Neil Thomas's rules).

But after seeing Tim Gow's play test of a Little Cold Wars inspired WW2 game on Megablitz and More where the figures are four to a 4" square  for platoon, I decided to unbase everything and give that a try with some 4" MDF coasters I picked up for the purpose (4" also corresponds to what Neil Thomas suggests for a basing width minimum in OHW):

This looks good to my eyes, but, despite almost never playing 1:1 skirmish anymore,  I really want the flexibility to use my figures as individuals and on bases and potentially, bases of different sizes (I have commitment issues, what can i say?), but not have them fall over when I move those bases.

I'm also demanding as you can see.

So, stealing borrowing from Mr. Gow, I have decided to mount each figure to a base, attach a magnet, and make the movement tray/sabot from steel.

But, as I just bought the 4" coasters (well, around 4". They aren't perfect), and more than I could use at that, I thought it better to see if I could make them work. After some research, I found "steel paper" available relatively inexpensively and easily cut with scissors - so that's that.

Deciding on which base for the figures themselves took several hours of wasted energy researching round vs square and which size for 54s. The Miniatures Page is almost as bad as getting lost in Wikipedia! I saw everything from 1" squares to 1.5" circles to 2" squares/circles, and why squares are better and circles are better. *bangs head on desk*

I opened up OpenOffice Draw and made scale renderings of different sabots with bases and how figures with different sized integrated basing might look. (Obsess much?)

Finally, I went back to the inspiration for this, and, after reading dozens of entries on Megablitz and More, I found the dimensions of the rectangles Mr. Gow uses (30mm x 40mm), and promptly placed my order with Litko for the same, with rounded corners.

No sure how long until they arrive (I rarely order anything not Amazon Prime with 2 day shipping, so I'm somewhat spoiled that way), but in the meantime, I've got five Conte US paratroopers primed and ready for paint this weekend. Ironically, they will probably be left as single figs for 1:1 skirmish games.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

WWII Small-Squad Skirmish!

Inevitably, when you tell people you use 54mm figures, they think you play small skirmishes with no more than a handful of figures. 

Sure. Sometimes.

But, for me, it had been a long while, until last Friday, that is, when I decided to play a scenario from Britton Publisher's Solitaire Soldiers.

In this one, a German HMG team (6 figures) and a security team (4 figures) are in a village - they've been tracking your approach and open fire.

I wanted a pulpy game, not realism, so for my squad, I went with the venerable Team BBC (Cpl. Hardcastle, Lance Cpl. Deacon, Pvt. Peacock) and for rules, I chose G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T.

Hardcastle is a Hero (Duh!) (he had 2 skills but I never used them), Deacon is a Leader (with Luck) and Peacock is a Veteran (I forget what skill he had and can't read my notes). I gave them Hit Points, 3 for Hardcastle, 2 for Deacon, 1 for Peacock. All are unattached and activated individually, while the HMG team are activated as a whole, as are German security team.

Dice indicate possible enemy location.

Team BBC mugs for the camera.

Dastardly HMG team with more dastardly NCO.
Hardcastle and Peacock make it to cover, but under fire from their left (security team in house).
Deacon is not so lucky. So much for that skill.

Guns blazing!

Hardcastle charges the enemy position dodging bullets (mostly successfully).

In brutal hand-to-hand, Hardcastle takes out the entire HMG team. The security team ended up skulking off of the table in light of his valiant display.
Custard tarts for all!

It was fun, although it took nearly longer to set up than play. I'm not as into small squad skirmish games as I once was, but for what it was, it was a good use of a late night hour.

Figures are a mix of W. Britain, Conte, Airfix, Matchbox, and CTS

Saturday, August 13, 2016

OHW: Blow from the Rear

Had another opportunity to sneak some game time in on Saturday night. To keep things quick, I used a scenario from One Hour Wargames, Blow from the Rear.

For rules, I used Morschauser with ranges from OHW. I did forget to use the card activation I used last time, but that was all well and good.

The only other change I made was in the force generation. I decided that I wanted to include HMGs and half-tracks (which I treat as Morschauser scout cars). So, if the result was Mortar or ATG, i rolled a d6, 1-3, I'd use the unit specified, 4-6, HMG. For tanks, on 4-6 I'd use a half-track.

US are Red, Germans, Blue.


US: 3 units of infantry, 1 HMG, 1 tank, 1 half-track
Germany: 3 units of infantry, 1 mortar, 1 ATG, 1 HMG

Blow from the Rear

The Germans have the ford and bridge well covered.

Things were going poorly for the US - the HMG and 1 platoon were destroyed - until turn 6, when the cavalry arrived.

Some close combat later, and the Germans weren't looking so hot.

The tank unit sets its sites on driving the Germans back from the bridge.*

The US advance continues - the tanks are on the ropes. It's dangerous this close with infantry. 
Not pictured: The tank unit overruns the platoon to its front, and then the German PAK 40s unleash fury.

It wasn't until turn 14 that the US cleared the Germans from within 6" of the ford and bridge and victory was assured. Although the cost was high.

The US captures the gun and drives off the remaining German mortars to claim victory.

Figures used:
US: W. Britain, TSSD
Germany: Airfix, Matchbox, CTS, 21st Century? (the gun crew)

*I didn't realize that in Morschauser, units in the river crossing a ford can't fire. Next time, I'll remember that.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Morschauser Modern: Tank Escort

For the second play of this scenario, I used the point values given in Morschauser and changed the OOB:

US: 1 mortar, 1 HMG, 1 tank, 3 rifle unit
Germans: 1 HMG, 1 1/2 track (treat as scout car) 1 ATG, 1 tank

(click pics to enlarge)

Tank Escort Redux!

The American advance..

Dastardly Germans lie in wait.

The 1/2 track is knocked out early by 1st Platoon and 3rd Platoon's assault on the ATG begins soon after.

The gun is captured, but the MG-42 and PZ IV have come out to play.

Obligatory Instagram-like vignette.

Despite some wounded, 2nd Platoon takes out the German armor.

1st and 2nd Platoons take a hammering from the HMG positions before 2nd Platoon is able to close assault and eliminate the threat. 3rd Platoon managed to flank them, but it was an academic exercise.

This game proved better balanced. I think one more HMG or perhaps a platoon of infantry for the Germans would have been just about perfect.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie? Never!

I was thinking about how the Morschauser rules are really enjoyable and are pretty much perfect, and then, moments later I was making tweaks. SMH.

It wasn't long before I had overcomplicated the beautiful simplicity of Morschauser adding rules for cover, morale, and a million other things. Thankfully, I stopped myself before it was too late.

But I did make one change.

My most played, if not favorite, commercial rules are GASLIGHT which, for the uninitiated, uses an activation deck to determine which unit acts when. They also limit units to moving or shooting on their card draw - but discretion, valor, and all that, I kept it to the activation deck.

My Frankenstein's monster rule set is now: Morschauser's Modern rules, with Neil Thomas's One-Hour Wargames ranges, and an activation deck for initiative.

Since I'm on vacation, I was able to set up another scenario and play.

Once again, I borrowed from Band of Brothers and once again, kept the unit count to 6 per side.

The US would enter from the left side of the map (attacker isn't really the right word) escorting armor across the table through, what turns out to be a German occupied village.

In the first play, the US force consisted of 2 tanks and 4 rifle units, while the Germans had 1 tank, 1 ATG, 1 1/2 track, 2 HMGs and 1 rifle unit. This turned out to be lopsided engagement - essentially the Germans had 3 HMGs (the 1/2 track had one). The game ended with the armor retreating off the table in a handful of turns.

A second play through with better balance was in order.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Morschauser Modern for the Win

A few nights ago, I had the opportunity to play a game, but found I had trouble finding rules that were satisfactory. Neil Thomas's One Hour Wargame WWII rules are my fall back so that's what I played, but they leave me wanting as often as they scratch the itch.

By some miracle, I was able to play another game last night and this time I decided to use Morschauser's moderns with roster, but with Neil Thomas's OHW 6-unit standard.

To make the stands last longer than one or two turns of combat, I still rolled only 1 die per unit, rather than 1 per strength point. I also used the ranges from OHW for movement and shooting. As I'm going for a game with toy soldiers look, with my 1/32 figures, this works fine.

The scenario was one of my own design, inspired by my current re-watching of Band of Brothers. In this case, the US is approaching a German occupied village with orders to capture it, the Germans need to defend it (I arbitrarily set 10 turns as their victory condition). The US has 4 units of rifle infantry, 1 unit of mortars and 1 unit of HMG. The German defense has 2  units of rilfe infantry, 2 HMGs and 1 tank unit. The US begins with 3 units in column on the road heading towards the village, contact has already been made.

The German platoons were stationed in the buildings closest to the attackers, while the HMGs occupied the other two buildings. The mortar was stationed at the edge of the woods, and the tank just above the rightmost building:

Yes, that's a birdhouse.
The first of the US platoons made it to the buildings relatively unscathed, but Morschauser close fighting was pretty devastating for both sides. Both sides benefited from getting their MGs into the fray.

As turn 10 concluded, the Germans were down to a mortar (still in the woods and not technically in the town) and tank (threatening the US MG team - also outside of the town limits), and the US had 1 platoon (which had gone after the mortar), 1 MG (the only unit in the town) and 1 mortar (which was peppering the tank ineffectively)

This was too indecisive for me.

So, I played one more turn: the US wiped out the tank and I figured that meant the mortar unit would fall back through the woods and swamp. US victory.