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.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

No Brain Wargame no Cure for a Funk

     I have been in a funk for over a month now. Projects started remain unfinished. I wanted to work more on how to use the wooden tiles in my wargames to activate units. However, once again I couldn't decide what figures or period to use. In the end I decided on a No Brain Wargame at its' simplest, two armies armed only with spears on a chessboard. Each army started with 5- 4 man units. There was one tile for each unit, along with the odd tile to stop the turn.  At first the game progressed well. However, as the armies came together, it seemed that one army was getting to move more than the other before the "stop" tile came up. Now one good thing about playing solo games is you can change the rules during the game. I decided to remove the "stop" tile, so every army could move 5 times in a turn.  As the game went on I also decide to let units move more than once per turn, another unit sacrificing its' movement.  It was an ok game. In the no brain game individual figures retreat. On a square game board, the figures become spread out. With a hex board, retreating figures can fall back toward each other and form ad hoc units. I decided to try another game using the rules mentioned above on a hexed field.

     The second game once again was just "ok".  In this game each army got a commander who could add himself to a unit, increasing their strength.  At first this game seemed to be going in a good direction. However, after a while I would put the "general" figure with a unit and then move it three or more times in a turn; other units just sat not moving. The game was finished, but it was a disappointment.

    Post game there are several things for me to think about. First of all, even in a No Brain Wargame there should be at least two different weapons class in each army, be it archers and spearmen or riflemen and artillery. Just having one class of soldiers makes it strictly a game of who gets to roll first slug fest.  Also, if a unit gets to move an additional time in a turn, it should be limited to moving twice in one turn. Another possibly is each unit moves each turn, with a bonus tile for each army giving them an additional move per turn.

   While these games haven't snapped me out of my funk, they have given me some food for thought and have me wanting to play out another game to try the changes mentioned, so they weren't a complete waste of time. The games also got me to dig out my copies of "Practical Wargamer" magazines and I spent an enjoyable evening reading articles instead of sitting in front of my computer.
The two armies after their first moves.  One reason I wanted to play this game was to use the Peter Laing figures on the right; it was the first time I've used them.  The pictures will not be a blow by blow of the battles.  They will show a couple of the problems that arose in the games.

Two blue soldiers are forced to retreat.

The two who just retreated then move to their right to form a three man unit, that then attacks the soldier to their front; with no result.

This picture demonstrates a unit moving twice in a turn. The first attack forces one blue soldier to retreat. The second attack on the blue unit to its' right has no success.

The next two pictures shows a double move by the blue unit. Its' first attack kills one red soldier and forces another to retreat off the board. 

The blue unit then falls back one square and attacks the unit to its' left, killing another red soldier and making the other retreat.

The end of the battle; the blue wins the victory.

the second battle pits the Peter Laing Ottomans vs....

.....the Peter Laing Persians.

In this picture an Ottoman unit with the general, has caused one Persian to retreat. The Persian figure retreating is the general.

The Turks attack the same unit, this time causing two Persians to retreat and killing another. The Turks then advance into the vacated hex.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Risk Figures, Wood Squares, Cigar Boxes, and a Bottle of Wine.

      It's been over a month since my last wargame.  I have also been working overtime so haven't  had time for working on games.  However, it did give me time to think of some new ideas for my solo games.

     In the most recent issue of LONE WARRIOR, one article talks of using meeples to activate units. Meeples are man shaped tokens used for board games. Basically there would be a meeple for each unit.  Instead of the usual ugo-igo,  whatever color meeple was drawn gets to move. There is also an odd colored meeple, which, when drawn, ends the turn. I have used a similar idea with playing cards, but never being good at shuffling cards, this tended to be a disappointment. I couldn't find meeples, but I did find wood square to use instead.  I marked them as infantry, light infantry, cavalry, and artillery. For this wargame, I flipped the squares over and randomly picked 7 units for each army.  After picking each army, once again I mixed the squares up and randomly placed them on the back line of the battlefield. For this game I used the board with no terrain. This also gave me a chance to use my Risk Europe figures.   After turning over the squares and placing the figures on the board, the squares were placed in a deep cigar box with an odd colored square added to indicate the end of the turn.

     Before I go on, a side note. My wife unfortunately smokes. We have been going to a cigar shop to buy her cigarettes. The shop we go to leaves the old cigar boxes in the corner  for customers to take. If you buy something he lets you take them for free. If you just come in for the boxes, he charges $2.00 per box. The money he collects on the boxes he donates to a retired police K9 charity, so I will usually still give him $2.00 a box. I started collecting these with the hope of getting foam rubber and boxing up my semi flat figures.

   Quite simply, I start drawing squares out of the box; whatever color & unit symbol moves. Once the odd color is drawn, the turn ends and the squares go back in the box. Now, it's been a long month for me and the wife worked late last night so I decided to have a couple of glasses of wine. Once the game started, the wine started to flow.  So instead of trying to give a blow by blow, as the game got quite confusing, I will let the photos show the action.

The red army at the top. They had no cavalry, but did have a catapult. The blue army at the bottom.

Another shot looking down the blue line.

After a few squares had been drawn. The squares marked "LT" were archers.

The red army draws an artillery square. The catapult causes one cavalry unit to retreat.

This is at the end of the first move. The yellow square ends the turn.

At this point I started marking moved units with arrows, so I would remember who had moved already.

Blue archers move forward and fire at a red archer unit, forcing them to retreat two hexes. Yellow arrows show retreats.

This is an overview shot at the end of turn 2. The red army didn't get to move many units, and suffered 4 killed.

Another shot of the photo above.

Turn 3. Only one unit moved.

A red unit forces a blue unit to retreat and goes in pursuit. The blue army takes the opportunity to cut this unit off.

End of turn 4. 

Blue army tries to eliminate the trapped red unit, who lose 50%.  The red unit uses its' turn to retreat. I am using BATTLELORE rules. Being a "blue unit" by BATTLELORE rules, it can either move two spaces or move one space and battle. It chooses to use its' complete movement.

An above view of the battlefield. At this point it becomes obvious that the battle is getting quite confusing, especially if you are drinking and gaming!

The blue army becomes obsessed with the trapped infantry unit.

The red army counterattacks.

The red army wipes out a unit of blue archers; the blue cavalry overruns a red archer unit. What's more, it closes in on the red army headquarters. 

Next turn the blue army draws a cavalry square right away. If the red army can drive them out of the camp, the battle will go on.

At this point the blue army has eliminated 4 red units; the red army has suffered over 50% causalities, and so have lost the battle.

I was happy with this system of movement, although a couple of times I forgot to remove a square after the unit was eliminated.  I am thinking of using squares to randomly place terrain on the field, although I haven't quite worked that out. Of course, I could always get more squares, enough for each hex.

Some of the cigar boxes, which I hope will be put to good use protecting more fragile war-game figures.