Sunday, December 18, 2016

Random Thoughts on My Gaming.

     I have had increasingly less time for my gaming.  I try to do something when I do have spare time. Here are some random events that have happened in the last couple of months.

     I went to the local big bookstore a couple of months ago .While there I picked up a few magazines, including a wargaming magazine. When I went to check out, the clerk behind the counter started talking to me about wargaming, as he was into wargaming.  I was in a rush that day, so after a few minutes talking, I excused myself ( I am seeing why I'm a solo war gamer!). While talking, he mentioned the Meeples and Miniatures podcast, by Neil Shuck. As a big part of my job requires me to drive around, I have been listening to the podcast. I find it more enjoyable than the true crime pods I had been listening to. While listening to this podcast, he also mentioned another podcast he produced "View from the Veranda" where he and Henry Hyde, of "Battlegames" fame, discuss wargames. I have been listening to this series this week.

    As I spend most of my day in a van, I usually eat my lunch in the van. Now, my cellphone provider has given me a "Christmas gift" of unlimited data for the month of December. I have been taking full advantage of it. While on break or eating lunch, I have been watching lots of videos. Among them are "Callan: Act of Kindness" and the wargaming classic "Battleground" series. I also started watching Youtube videos of people playing different wargames. Last week I came across several of gamers playing Memoir '44 as solo games. After watching a few videos, I realized that the Richard Borg line of games were the answer to my problem of limited gaming time. As I already have Memoir '44, Battlelore, and Battle Cry, it seemed that I should start putting these games to good use. The last few days I got two games in; and it has me inspired to continue to get more gaming in.  With the Memoir'44 game, I used my Peter Laing WW2 figures instead of the plastic figures that came with the game. Unfortunately, I just had enough for the first scenario; I'm not sure if I will be able to use them with all my games. However, it might also have me using my Airfix and Matchbox figures in these games.

    I recently came across a "headless horseman" toy soldier, which seems the ideal size for my 40mm project. I have ordered new rubber for making a mold. This mold will be a three part mold, and as I still haven't mastered two part molds, I am hesitant about starting this mold. However, I really want to try to get this figure cast, and when I have a little more time, will try to start the mold.

   Finally, I bought a "Practical Wargamer" magazine that I didn't have, and bought two lots of 1st generation Minifigs Napoleonics.   Also, on one of the "View from the Veranda" podcast, both Neil & Henry  couldn't give enough praise to Richard Borgs' Command & Colors; Ancients.  As mentioned earlier, I already have three Command & Colors games, so I found a copy of C&C;A on Ebay and bought it. after buying it, I got an email from the seller in which she thinks she might have mixed up my package and might have sent me the wrong game. Hopefully she didn't!
Memoir '44 wargame with Peter Laing miniatures. Pegasus Bridge scenario.

The Germans guarding Pegasus Bridge.

The British use the "Behind Enemy Lines" card. The paras push the Germans off the Orne Bridge...

....and capture the bridge, for the first victory point!

The British assault on Pegasus Bridge bogs down. The Germans brought up two units that fired across the river, pinning the paras down.

To win the game, the first side that won 4 victory points wins the game. The British had three victory points; but the Germans also had 3 victory points. 

The Germans launched a two prong attack on the British. The Germans didn't eliminate any British  units, however, on the German left, they pushed back one British unit. The British had lost the victory point as they had been forced off the Orne Bridge. The British unit that retreated fell back onto the Orne Bridge, giving the British their fourth victory point, and the victory!

During the game the British got very few cards that allowed them to move units in the center; two units never even moved during the game.

A Battle Cry game: the First Bull Run.

Both sides push forward their left flanks.

A Union infantry unit fires from a distance on the only Confederate artillery battery, and eliminates it!

The Confederates launch an assault in the center.

The Union draws the "All Out Assault" which allows them to move all units. The results are disastrous for the Confederates; they lose three units in this attack and lose the battle.  When I play solo again, I think I will remove this card from the deck. 

The Union tries to kill General Jackson; they miss.

My newest Practical Wargamer.
I have been finding myself going back to the bookstore  more than I usually do, looking for the sales clerk who was into wargaming. I was hoping to maybe have another discussion with him and possibly even setting up to have a wargame with him. Last time I found myself doing this, was over 30 years ago when I would go food shopping, hoping to run into my future wife. Does this count as a "man crush"? 

Monday, December 5, 2016

A New Minifigs British Regiment

    One good thing about being in a funk is I will try to jumpstart my way out of it by trying different projects. This week I watched the "Callan" show, "Act of Kindness". Inspired by this show, earlier this year, I started to make several Minifigs regiments using 1st generation French and Russian Napoleonic figures. In "Act of Kindness", it was French against British, so  I wanted to make a British regiment along the lines of my earlier regiments.  As I was nearing completion of the regiment, I  looked back on previous posts. The first units formed were 18 man units; 6 stand regiments with 3 figures per base.  I started painting enough figures to make the 18 man units, even though they will in all probably be used in four stand units, such as used with Battle Cry or Command & Colors games. The figures are being painted for the most part as "generic" figures, meaning just red coats with no facing colors and the drummer is in a red coat, instead of reversed facing. Below are some photos of the nearly completed regiment. Some fine detailing is needed, such as shako plates, and the stands being painted. Once completed, they will receive a coat of gloss lacquer. 
The regiment. Before putting on the gloss lacquer, I want to work on redoing the flag.

Although the Battle Cry system has three infantry and one flag per unit, I wanted the unit to look a little larger; when the last infantry stand is removed the command stand will be removed at the same time.

This is actually a 21 man unit. The French and Russians have 5 infantry stands and a command stand.  I think I might increase the regiments to seven stands.  By painting them the same, I can use them for either as 21 man units, or as 4 stand units.  The six figures in the back on the right still need more painting.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Totally Accurate Battle Simulator Finally Available

      A while back I mentioned a video game, Totally Accurate Battle Simulator, a.k.a. T.A.B.S, that looked like it would be enjoyable to play. It IS NOT as described; it is not a totally accurate battle simulator! However, it is a fun game to play. It has undergone quite a few changes from when I first saw it. It's all for the better; however, I wished one option was the original game as first shown. The original game was really silly to the extreme! That being said, they have different armies you can play with, such as Viking Greek, Napoleonic, and miscellaneous. You can play against the computer, or go to "sandbox" mode, where you build both armies. In this mode I could see two people playing against each other using the same computer. The "soldiers" still look like those inflatable people with flapping arms that car dealers use to attract attention to their dealerships. The consist of the red army and blue army; the soldiers are blue and red with google eyes. When using the Napoleonic army, the soldiers are provided with a  shako for a uniform.

      I received this game for free. It is right now available as an "Open Alpha"; whatever that is! I will say that if and when they finally finish this game I would in all probably be willing to buy it, if nothing else as to have on my computer to play when I'm really bored.

     If you would like to see the game, there are plenty of videos on Youtube. If you would like to see the actual company website, here is a link:   Landfall Games .

Monday, November 28, 2016

Hyborian Wargame using Risk Figures

   In recent weeks when I have time I putter around with my wargaming collection. While there has not been any one project that has captured my imagination, I have made some progress with several projects.  I continue to knock ideas about on how to use the colored wood tiles to create uncertainty in my solo games.  Yesterday I played a game using the tiles to pick what the army has and how it was deployed. Once the armies were deployed, the tiles were drawn randomly. In this game every unit moved on a turn.

  The army of Cimmeria (blue army) has launched an attack on Aquilonia (red army).   Both armies have 6 units, which were picked randomly from tiles, and a headquarters.  The tiles are then once again mixed and put down randomly. The battlefield is a squared off board, 12 X 12 squares.  In the middle is the one piece of terrain, which was a large hill. Units were based on Battlelore units, although I used Battle Cry dice during the game.
The Aquilonian Army (hereafter referred to as the red army) in the left, the Cimmerian Army (blue army) on the right.

The red army has one archer, two cavalry, and three infantry units. The blue army has two cavalry and four infantry units.

The blue cavalry wins the race for the hilltop.

The blue army pushes back the red army in the center. The rest of the pictures were taken at the end of the turn;  the arrows shows the different movements and retreats.

The red army now concentrates its attack on the blue army's flanks.

As the armies lost units, I would remove a matching tile. I placed the tile on the opposing armys' headquarters as an easy way to keep track of units lost.

At this point in the game both sides had lost two units.

The blue army makes a big mistake. They have brought an infantry unit up behind their last remaining cavalry unit. The red army then rolls; the blue infantry is blocking the cavalry's line of retreat, so the last piece is removed from the board. In Battle Cry the crossed swords count as a hit against all units, however, I don't use the crossed swords in that fashion. To me, it leads to a bloody game that tends to end too quickly.

Close up of the mistake.

At this point the Cimmerian army has lost four units, and has lost the battle. What's left of the army now retreats towards Cimmeria.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

WW2 Wargame

       A few nights ago I was randomly going through some of my collection of wargaming parts. I came across a Micro Machine truck that I had started painting but never finished. I pulled out some paint and finished painting. If you don't know about Micro Machines, they were miniature toy vehicles that were sold in toy stores. Galoob company made military vehicles that were actually very good miniatures. However, most of them were painted non military colors.  I have a pretty good collection of Micro Machines, but haven't used them as much as I wanted to. That evening I painted several of them with the goal of using them in a game. The next day I saw a posting at Battle Game of the Month blog. It used Neil Thomas' One Hour Wargame scenario; Unfortunate Oversight. I have fought this scenario twice before. I know it pretty well by now. Instead of rolling for the armies, I just gave both sides one tank unit, one artillery unit, and four infantry units.  For rules I used Bob  Cordery's Memoir of Modern Battle.  In the scenario description the blue army moves first. For this game I was drawing colored tiles for movement. The blue army automatically got to move one unit first, then I drew for who would move next.
The German units are to hold the bridge at the town as long as possible; it is the last line of retreat and must be held. The British army wants to seize the hill behind the German line. It is an ideal observation post for German artillery spotters. The British engineers have managed to drop a bridge at night without the Germans realizing it. The British then send a task force to carry out the mission.  First thing in the morning the Germans spot the British column moving down river. Each of the trucks carry an infantry unit.

The Germans realize that the British have deployed a bridge downstream. The British have sent one infantry unit to try to distract the Germans, with little success (I wash't going to fall for that a third time!). The British artillery has managed to hit the German artillery unit.

The next move the British artillery finish off the German artillery. Originally I was going to position the German artillery on the hill. However, I decided to try to stop the British tank unit with overwhelming tank and artillery fire.

The panzer unit manages to push the British armor back, but suffers a hit itself.  As the hexes are too small to fit 3 Micro Machines tanks on, I put two infantry figures with the tank units. As the tank units took hits, I removed one of the infantry figures. As can be seen, the British Priest artillery unit has a gunner with a shell next to the gun. If the Priest takes a hit, this gunner would be removed first.

The last British infantry unit crosses the bridge.

This shot shows the end of a move.  The Germans have launched an attack to try to crush the bridgehead. They force one infantry unit back, but the German unit is caught in a crossfire and is eliminated.  The panzer unit is also eliminated. At the other bridge, the British infantry firing across the river has wiped out the German resistance in that sector.

The British infantry now cross the bridge; they will be coming up behind the German defenses.

The remaining Germans refuse to give up (at this point the Germans have lost 4 out of 6 units and have lost the game. However, I wanted to continue playing; no matter the results I considered the game officially over at this point). One German unit is forced back but immediately counter attacks. The other German unit on the hill uses a panzerfaust and hits the tank unit.

The British pushes back one German unit, which then falls back to the hill to join in the defense. The British tank unit pushes the Germans back and advances onto the hill. The Germans counterattack. They knock out the last tank and inflict 50% casualties on one of the infantry units.

The British commander now orders the Priest unit up. Instead of wasting his infantry in a costly assault, he will blast the Germans off the hill.

At this point the German commander realizes the battle is lost and saves what's left of his command.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Putting a Bad Habit to Good Use

       My wife went to the tobacco store yesterday and I found two more cigar boxes. These boxes were  extremely well made. It motivated me to get going on boxing up my semi flat toy soldiers.  we stopped at a fabric shop and I picked up a yard plus of 1/2 inch foam for $12.00.

      When I got home I went right to work. I decided to use the new boxes to begin with.  Unlike the other boxes that had latches to hold them closed, these were so well made they didn't need latches. Unfortunately, after cutting the foam and placing the toy soldiers in the box, the foam was above the lip of the box, and the lid kept popping open.  I used an elastic band to keep it closed. I then used one of the cheaper made box. After layering the foam and toy soldiers, the foam was level to the lip and closed perfectly.  I had two of these boxes and seemed ideal for the project. When I go to the shop again, I will look for more of these particular boxes
The two new boxes. I will probably find a different use than toy soldier storage.

The first attempt at storage.

I got two layers of soldiers in this box. However, the foam wouldn't let the lid close properly.

My old way of storing the toy soldiers.

One thing that surprised me is the amount of figures that I have. I'm going to need a lot more boxes.