Burning Jedis – a Star Wars game

Last night we played another Star Wars game, but this time using the FUBAR rules that had been recommended to me by John Leahy on TMP.  A scenario was written up, and I just guessed what would be balanced forces, I didn’t try to use the points system that is also available on the page. In the end, it was a pretty good guess.

The scenario was as follows:

Pelagios 9 is secret research facility set up by the Republic. It is so confidential that only the Supreme Chancellor knows its true purpose. Despite this, the Separatist leaders have somehow found out about it and are preparing to make a raid in order to capture the scientist Cham Zharr (seen above  – he’s the Nikto with the Mon Calamari bodyguard).

In the vicinity of Pelagios 9 are Anakin Skywalker and his padawan Ahsoka Tano with a platoon of Clone troopers. They have been dispatched to aid in the defence of the research facility until more help can arrive.

Meanwhile, Count Dooku and a large droid contingent are leading a lightning raid on the facility. Even Dooku is not 10% sure about what is going on a Pelagios 9, but Darth Sidious is adamant about the importance of this mission (how does he find out about all of this secret stuff?).

So the scenario set up with four units of battle droids and one AAT arriving on randomised table edges. Defending the facility was a squad of Clones and half a dozen Mon Calamari security detail. There were also two Golan Arms defence turrets ( I might repaint these in camo colours – what do you think?)

Reserves arrived at random times based on the whim of the random gamesmaster (me).

The first couple of turns saw the AAT and right flank turret go head to head and not achieve much. A lot of units failed activation rolls and so couldn’t move to allow the ‘on guard’ units to retaliate.

The first Clone reserves to arrive got a rude shock as they headed to the research facility to bolster its defences. Led by Ahsoka they were caught in an ambush by a unit of B2 Battle Droids arriving (below).

On the left flank the Clones faced a unit of B2 Battle Droids ducking and weaving (is that standard operating procedure for droids?)

Oh no! A series of successful activations and Ahsoka’s unit is taken down in a hail of blaster fire – including the Padawan herself!

The Republic’s remaining reserves arrived at the same time as the rest of Separatist forces ( I just wanted to get everything on the table). A LAAT blasted in and dropped Anakin and a clone squad into the middle of the melee.

On the left three ISP speeders arrived and wiped out the B2 droids – and the Sith apprentice leading them.

In order to get the AAT to activate, Count Dooku turns up and jumps in to tell the droids what to do. They say Roger, Roger and ignore him totally.

Clones, the turret and Speeders have to hold off the Hailfire Droids and a Spider droid (see photo below) on the left. The Speeders kept having their guns knocked out, which made them pretty pointless – although I allowed them to fly close and throw grenades.

Boom! the LAAT takes out the AAT – finally! As you can tell from the smoke, the right turret had been taken out in the previous turn by the droid tank, so Dooku was feeling quite proud of himself. Just as well he got to have his moment as he failed his 3+ saving roll and went up in smoke with the AAT.

The clones waded into the droids, led by Anakin, and despite a good kill record, couldn’t clear them out. For some reason Anakin then broke off contact and ordered his squad back.

Which left him vulnerable to a crossfire from the B2 battledroids and a Spider droid.

The last Jedi on the table went down. And at about the same time, as they were not anywhere near capturing him, the Separatist Hailfire droids bombarded the Mon Cal squad and killed Cham Zharr. So in the end no-one held the objective. It ended up a Separatist victory anyway, because it turns out Palpatine wanted the scientist dead and figured that would be the most likely outcome if he sent Dooku in to screw things up again.

Overall everybody agreed they enjoyed the game very much, and the FUBAR rules were extremely easy to pick up. We did think that the Jedi were a bit wimpy and had virtually nil influence on the outcome.  I’m going to power them up a bit (even more h2h attacks and able to strike any model within 3″ – not just base to base) and make them a bit more survivable (give them a number of wounds). We’ll see how that works.

We also had a couple of turns where pretty much no-one passed their activation roll. This caused mirth at the time, but if you play the rules on a frequent basis I can see this getting just slightly irritating. I think that the answer might be to give the squad sergeants a higher activation rating than the rest of the squad, but I’ll think that one through a bit more.

FUBAR did seem to lead to a fairly static sort of firefight game. I’m not sure if that is just because the players couldn’t really be bothered moving, because there were so many missed activations, the defensive nature of the Republic side,or what. With characters a bit more suped up there might be more movement in the future – even if it is a case of rampaging Jedi and Sith doing their thing.

Terry played the Republic side and Adam and Sam (both pretty much newbies) played the Separatists. There was a lot of laughter, so everyone obviously had a ton of fun.

Nate

Games night 30th march

John has gone to India for work for three weeks, so before he went we quickly organised a game at his place. It turned out to be only myself, John and Terry in the end, with 3000 points a side on an 8′ x 4′ table.  the plan was to have Chris there as well, and everyone would bring a 1500 point force – John and Chris would provide the allies and Terry and I the Germans. Then we would randomly draw for which army we played with. But Chris had the flu, so we ended up with John and I taking the allies against Terry with all of the Germans.

The scenario saw a British armoured regiment coming to the relief of a Para company, and was the first time I have ever played bocage. If I had known at the start of the game what I know now, I would have deployed a lot differently.

Lines up in the bocage – I should have massed the armour nearer to the camera if I had known that there would be no way to fire from one hedge to the next…

I had two platoons in the centre of the table – John’s paras are in the town.

The Paras deployed with the German assault massing on the far side of the river.

The German Panthers advance –

– and set about wiping out the Shermans in the centre.

Terry attempts to get his forces across the bridge, but only succeeds in getting his trucks set alight (along with most of their passengers)

While John blows up his support on the far side of the river.

My tanks resemble the parking lot that so many purists insist Flames of War becomes. But it is because of the Mexican stand-off at the bocage (were the Mexicans in World War Two?). Who will blink first?

Me of course! After all, I have numerical superiority – I should be able to get at least half my tanks across and that will be enough… D’OH!

John’s paras launch  counterattack and whack the remaining Germans pretty convincingly.

With nothing left to lose (actually, pretty much just nothing left) I launch a desperate infantry attack on the advancing Panthers. My infantry didn’t even manage to make a decent speed bump. Sigh. This is Terry’s revenge for the walloping my Russians have given him the last couple of times. Set me up in the bocage and watch me flounder around!

At least I have the satisfaction of knowing I’d designed a pretty solid 1500 point army list…

This was the situation before my infantry did their death or glory charge. It was a very short trip to the objective for the Panthers once they were disposed of.

So, a lot of fun (especially for Terry), but it was quite a slow game without Chris there as well, as terry had to effectively fight two opponents. Next games night we might try this switcheroo again.

Nate

Irregular games last Friday

On Friday night I was able to head out to John’s for games night, and was joined by Chris, Terry, Paul and Jordan. That was good because it meant that we had even numbers to play with. We paired off with Terry and Chris playing Afrika Korps vs Kiwis and Paul and Jordan playing Afrika Korps vs British armour. John and I decided to have a game of Napoleonics using Black Powder, as we hadn’t played either of these things in several months.

The Battlefield looking down towards the French ourtflanking movement after Turn One – John has already turned his line to face the threat. Grrr!

John set his British up on a ridge in Spain somewhere, preparing for a French attack. I decided that it was folly to simply assault the ridge head on, and brought the French on in two wings. I would contest the church with the infantry and try to bust through the British cavalry and loop around behind the British infantry. Meanwhile I would take my other infantry brigade down the extreme flank to try and cross the river and upset his balance. It was a fine plan on paper, but was fouled up in the first turn when John rolled three moves for the brigade on his left and simply turned his line to face the river.

It was now not going to be a single head on fight anymore, but two separate head-on fights. Hoo-bloody-ray.

The British Line patiently waits while the French deploy to cross the river.

The attacks went slowly after that. John occupied the church before I could get there and the cavalry just eyed each other for far too long. I tried to bombard the Church to soften up the defenders prior to assault, but my attacking troops kept getting shot up. In the end the British came down off the ridge and drove the French infantry off. At the same time my cavalry finally wiped out the British cavalry, but it was too little too late.

Artillery pounds the church but little softening up is happening. After their first clash the cavalry rallies and prepares for the next round. 

On the other side of the table the French and British went tit for tat as John’s general suffered paralysis of command while the French crossed the river (we house ruled the river would take three turns to cross unless by bridge). In the end, though, the French Brigade simply lost too many battalions and broke before the Brits did. The French army was broken and the battle ended with the Brits victorious.

The French cross the stream slowly – but the British just sit and wait.

I have to say I had rotten luck with the dice, failing the break tests at the end of the game quite spectacularly with aq series of 3s and 4s. And John getting three moves with his left hand Brigade in the first turn was also a rotten piece of luck, but then ’twas ever thus in the Peninsula.

The motivation for this battle was to see what sort of game I will get when I have painted my Peninsular War armies – 8 battalions and 2 cavalry a side. I may have to work towards 12 battalions for each, as I felt that there just wasn’t really enough to play with in the end. I also think that the scenario would probably have benefited from some late arriving reserves.

On the other table battle raged in the North African Desert. The final verdict was a triumph for the Afrika Korps, but it was hard work. The British armour under Jordan fought literally to the last tank, and Chris was giving as good as he was getting for large parts of the game.

Chris’ Kiwis, already burning up.

Terry’s Afrika Korps. He hasn’t quite got around to putting together desert PaKs. The Infantry are a commission I did for him, using Command Decision figures. Their Afrika Korps are very nice and I enjoyed painting them.

Stukas say hello to some Portees. The objective is, of course, the only piece of grass in the Desert..

Above is an example of Paul’s resin dug-in markers. He sculpted the originals and then cast them in resin. They are perfect for Flames of War and can meet up to form a trench system if you want. If anyone would like to purchase some, just let me know and I’ll put you in touch with him.

Lastly, nothing whatsoever to do with games night. I thought I’d paint up some of my Wargames Factory Romans (this is pre-baby) and construct a light box to try photographing them.  The result – fail. I may not be using enough light for my box or maybe the paper is too thick. Back to the drawing board.

I’ve hit painter’s block at the moment, as happens every year. This year I think it is a combination of starting back at school and having a new baby at the same time. I’m hoping I’ll feel a little more settled in a couple of weeks and get back to the brushes.

Nate

Burning Stukas with Burning Empires

As promised here is a brief report on the two Flames of War games played by the Irregulars last Friday.

First up are John and Terry with two scenarios taken from the Hellfire and Back and Burning Empires books.  The first saw Terry’s Afrika Korps defending a fortified position in a Witch’s Cauldron. Despite the odds appearing to be in John’s favour several times, Terry defended the objectives well.  I didn’t see too much of this game as I was setting up the 28mm table at this stage, but there was much laughter coming from that direction:

Above: the end of the game with John’s tanks contesting the objective – but not claiming it!

The Maori advance over the hill

Afrika Korps infantry run back to their fortifications, effectively stopping the British from claiming the objective.

After this game they decided to play out a raid scenario from Burning Empires.  John’s SAS were mounting a night-time raid on a German airfield. They had to burn the Stukas and Ammo dump and successfully escape before Terry’s reserves could arrive and stop him.

Terry managed to get teams on in every turn and they effectively arrived in the pefect position to block John’s withdrawal.  Not that the dice were doing him any favours as his teams failed to blow up a single objective in his first series of rolls.

Time was runing out and John’s trucks were not as resilient as he would have liked. He finally managed to blow up all of the objectives, but there was little left that could escape. Laughing maniacally Terry wiped out the last of the SAS and LRDG teams. Two wins to Terry – well it was about time he started winning again.

Over on the other table an Eastern Front battle was brewing. I spent even less time over here and didn’t manage to take many photos either unfortunately. This was a 2200 point stoush between Paul and Jordan playing Germans on one side and Dylan playing a large Soviet Tankovy force that John and I provided on the other. The result was a German win, but as it was the first time that Dylan had run Soviets he did fairly well. The Sturmoviks were the heroes of this battle, included in the army list because Paul loves his big German tanks so much.  I wanted to see the look on his face when they had rockets in their behinds!

Dylan’s artillery behind a corn-field. T-34/85s heading into hull-down positions.

T-34/85s on the left flank dealing with two Tigers – a job they performed admirably well.

So an enjoyable night and we look forward to the next games evening. Chris says he will be there this time, so I’m hoping to get a good battle in.

Nate

 

Leaving it too long

It’s three weeks since the last entry and I have heaps of stuff to blog about – especially as I seem to be doing a lot of painting and some playing. That means one enormous blog or do a few installments over the next couple of days and hope that I manage to get to the computer. Well, I’ll go the minimalist way because I want to leave and get some painting done tonight.

So first off the block, last Friday was games night for the Rotorua Irregulars. I had planned to have a 28mm World War Two game with John, but Chris didn’t turn up to play Terry, so John played him instead. The ulterior motive for the 28mm game was to show off a few photos of the finished US and German troops that I’ve painted in action, so I set them up anyway and simultaneously answered any questions that people had regarding the Flames of War rules – not that I’m an expert – just more expert than some others.

So here are the pictures of the American troops devoid of battle report as their was no actual fighting – just a photo shoot:

 

The US troops are painted using the Army Painter dip. I really like the effect this has had on them.  John quickly painted the Sherman for the photos, so it hasn’t been finished properly.

The last minis I painted for the US army were the Anti-tank gun and crew.

The Germans were holding the town opposite the US deployments.

The next post will have a description of John and Terry’s desert  games and the Eastern Front game played by Paul, Dylan and Jordan.  Then I’ll review what I’ve been doing at the painting table, and the revised plans for this year.

Nate

Wookie wonders

The Irregulars games night last night featured our first Star Wars game using the Star Wars Miniatures Battle figures and a modification of the Warhammer 40,000 2nd edition rules.  The scenario was ad hoc and consisted of the Separatists holding four terrain features, one of which was the entrance to an underground droid manufacturing factory.  The Republican forces had to occupy the terrain for a full turn looking for an entrance before they were told whether they were in the right place.

The Separatists were deployed by me as the umpire, occupying the four key terrain features, but with a secret ability to bring reserves on in ambush.  They could appear from any terrain feature so long as they did not end up within 4″ of an enemy figure.  The Republicans were allowed to come on double their move from anywhere on the board and operate as if they had made a single move.  This simulated their element of surprise.

Forces consisted of:

Republicans: Yoda, Obi Wan Kenobi, 4 Wookies, a Clone Commander, a Veteran Clone squad and a standard Clone squad.

Separatists: General Grievous, Jango Fett, Dam Skak (a Sith Acolyte), 3 units of Droids, 1 unit of Super Battle Droids, a squad of Neimoidians and 2 Separatist Commandos.

The Clone forces turn up behind the Battle Droids guarding the northern outpost.

“Quiet day today, sarge.  Say… did you hear something?”

While the Wookies and the Jedi appear on the Eastern side.  Yoda and Obi Wan charge straight into melee with a droid squad.

The Wookies burst around the corner and fire a burst at the Neimoidians on the Eastern bunker, killing one.  It isn’t easy shooting when you get your finger hair caught in the trigger.

Obi Wan and Yoda scythe through some battle Droids on the South-Eastern generator.

“Roger Roger!” The Battle Droids take 2 hits from the Clone fire and failing their morale test run for the nearest cover.

“Uh-Oh!  Umm, Yoda, I could do with some help here.”

“Busy I am.  Your own s***, you must sort”

General Grievous, Dam Skak and the Super Battle Droids spring their ambush, with Obi Wan firmly in their sights!

The Wookies charge the Neimoidians and remove their least important limbs.  Yoda leaps onto the bunker to check it for the underground entrance.

Greivous and Skak teach Obi Wan the meaning of ‘more than you can chew’.  Two wounds on the Jedi and none in return.  To be fair, his dice were so appalling we started calling him Obi One from then on.

The Wookies move on from the Neimoidians who are busy trying to work out why they ever bothered to leave the Zuskat farm back home. Note: a Zuskat is a sort of cross between a mushroom and a guniea pig – a real Neimoidian delicacy. On their way to the central objective they come under fire from the Super Battle Droids and their fur proves to be rather ineffective armour.

Jango Fett and the two Separatist Commandos make an ambush on the Clone squad headed for the central objective.  The Clones fail their morale test and head for the cover of some convenient rocks.

The Wookies move into the assault , looking to mince up some droids, but OH NO!  Wookie ones! Battle Droid NV388-94519 is a hero! “Two Wookies, no problem.”  The other droids comment on the fact that the Wookies were already wounded.

A vista of the battlefield. Obi Wan inflicts two wounds on Grievous and using the force flings him 14″ away (which is quite an impressive distance when you are 1″ tall).  Grievous lands hard but makes his armour save, and stands up next to Yoda…

“A Baddie you are. Your arse I will kick.”

But too late for Obi One.  Another poor roll and he is on the ground.  Dam Skak takes off to help out Grievous. Luckily she was in a hurry and didn’t check if Kenobi was Kaput.  I’m pretty sure he’ll pull through, otherwise there is gonna be a major continuity issue that even George Lucas won’t be able to overlook.

Jango Fett rocket packs into battle only to get smashed by a Wookie.  Grievous also goes down before Yoda’s lightsabre. Then the Jedi master deals to Dam Skak.  All three will have their bodies whisked away by some astromech droids, because like Obi-Wan, they aren’t allowed to die yet.  We need to save that for the big screen.  Yoda now slashes up the Super Battle Droids, but rolls ones; “When 900 years old you reach, continuously roll high dice, you will not.  Hrmmm?”

With next to no opponents left on their feet, the Republic wins.  Who would have thought that the entrance to an underground droid factory would be this otherwise pointless hatch in the middle of the board?

Boy, that was fun.  With a lot of dead (or incapacitated).  The Warhammer 40,000 2nd edition rules worked really well, despite my rustiness with them.  I last played with them in 1998, which is now much longer ago than I would like to think.  I chose that edition because as far as I was concerned it was the last time that 40K was fun.  Every edition since has, in my humble opinion, sucked.  I think they work great for lightsabre duels, and I used the Psyker phase as a force phase.  I am thinking of changing this though, and integrating force moves into the rest of the sequence (Jedi leaps, hurling objects etc).  I’ll also spend a bit more time on the weapons stats.  Some weapons gaining rapid fire or extra dice for shooting would be good.  Otherwise, as John and Paul commented, it felt just like the movies.  Wookies are big, tough and strong, Stormtroopers and Battle Droids can’t hit the side of a barn and Jedi stride around the battlefield looking for opponents worth their time (swatting aside insignificant  plebs on their way).

Chris and Terry also played an Eastern Front Flames of War game, but I didn’t get around to taking any pictures, I was so absorbed in our stoush.  Chris won, though, which makes me think that Terry will be out for blood next games night.  He won’t like losing three on the trot…

Nate

Testing out some Napoleonic rules at the Irregulars

The last games night was on the 12th August, and consisted of the small turnout of Paul, John, Jordan and myself.  Paul and Jordan decided to play a 2500 point Late War clash between Brits and Germans, just so Paul could get all of his beloved big cats on the table (not really all – it would have to be 10,000 points for that to happen).  John and I decided to test out my recently updated take on the Irregular’s Napoleonic house rules.

We had a small game, 8 battalions of infantry and 2 cavalry regiments with one battery a side.  John took the French and I took the British.  The game cracked along at a fair old pace and it was looking likely that we would be finished before the others had completed deployment.  Then, things went wrong…

Above: intention cards down the French right advances upon the British lines.

On my right John had occupies a town, and I just didn’t have the troops to evict him from it.  On reflection the terrain was too big for the size of the game.

Above: French troops occupy the town.

Above: The British realise that any assault is pretty much a foregone conclusion.

On my left I ended up without adequate support for my infantry, who had to form square.  When I sent my cavalry over as support they were enfiladed by artillery and driven back.  I had not deployed in any preconceived plan, and too late it dawned on me that I was not going to capture any of the objectives.  Now it was a case of going on the defensive and hoping to inflict more casualties on the French than they did on me in an effort to cause a stalemate.  This also did not go to plan.

Above: The French bear down on the left of the British lines.

The battle then devolved into a slugging match as John whittled down my troops.  They kept passing morale, to the point where even at half strength they were still hanging in there.  On reflection I had not made provision for accelerated collapse one 1/3 of a unit was removed from play.  The game went on and on, and only finished ten minutes before Jordan and Paul at 1.00am.  Unbelievable.

Paul slapped Jordan silly, but having said that Jordan had never played with any army other than Germans before.  Halfway through the battle with his tanks providing large amounts of smoke from their burning engines, Paul suggested that Jordan could fire smoke to even up the playing field a bit.  Of course, their wasn’t much left to actually fire the smoke by that stage – real sporting, Paul!

Above: Jordan’s artillery support… ‘you mean they can fire smoke?’

Above: Big Cats and burning Shermans.  Story of the night…

Above: Schwimmwagens are just cool.

Above: Paul’s love of modelling is quite extraordinary.  His objective marker of repairing Wittman’s Tiger is simply fantastic in its attention to detail.

So 2-0 for Continentals vs British.  A sad day for the Tommies all round.

As for Napoleonic rules, I’ve ordered the new ruleset Napoleon at War.  If what I’ve read is to be believed they are exactly what we are looking for – the Flames of War version of Napoleonics with simple and fun mechanics but good historical results.  I have no doubt that the Napoleon at War crew are aiming to do for Napoleonics what FoW has done for WW2, and I’m hoping that they succeed.  It would be great to have some Napoleonic tournaments with a dozen or more players involved using a ruleset that wasn’t so intricate it made my nose bleed.

I’m tempted by the 1815 range of French and British (and Prussians) that they offer, but I’ll finish building my ‘Napoleon in Italy 1796-7’ armies around these rules first.  If the rules turn out to be a flop I can just keep them based the same way and use Black Powder.

Nate

 

July’s Irregulars game night

Once more the Rotorua Irregulars set themselves up for a night of gaming.  It was the usual suspects – John, Terry, Chris and myself, and we were joined by Shane and Richard who run the Rotorua Wargames Club.  The Irregulars used to frequent the Rotorua club once a month (in fact I helped found it), but unfortunately life has got in the way of any sort of regular participation on a Saturday.  Hence we put ourselves together at John’s place where we can game in the evening after the kids have gone to bed.  So we weren’t intended to be a schismatic creation, and it was great that Shane and Richard could make it out.  They are both contemplating getting into Flames of War (they’ve already started buying bits here and there), but are very committed to finishing Games Workshop armies.

So we had organised to play mid war Flames of War with four 1750 point armies.  Chris took Russian Tankovy and I had Russian Strelkovy.  Opposing us were John with an Italian army and Terry with a Luftwaffe infantry army.  John extended one of his 8′ x 4′ tables out an extra 4 feet and a river down the middle marked the two battlefields.  We both finished deployment at about the same time:

This is the view looking down the line from where Terry and I deployed.  Richard took control of some of Terry’s troops and Shane took over some of Chris’ Russians.

Here’s the deployment viewed from the other end.  By the time I had taken this photo the Russian first move had already happened.

It was another one of those games where I was so caught up in the game I forgot to take photos every turn.  Not that it really mattered on my end, because it would have simply shown a remorseless advance by a mass of infantry…

Here are the Italians sitting on a hill awaiting the Russian onslaught.

The Russian God of war – my 12 gun artillery battery.  The 122mm are Battlefront models – or rather Crusader miniatures from before they changed their name.  I love the big-ass barrels on them.  My apologies that there are unpainted figures on the table – I am currently working my way through the Strelkovy, but as anyone who has been there would tell you, it is a long process.

The artillery was the thing I was looking forward to using the most, with its double template and rerolls for misses.  The fact that it stretched the length of the table edge gave it a psychological edge over my opponents as well.  This came in handy as they spent a lot of their firepower targeting the artillery rather than the infantry.  The fact that the guns were pinned in turn 2 and stayed that way for the rest of the game could be seen as a disappointment, but they soaked up a lot of fire that could have been going elsewhere!

Terry’s left most deployment – Marders and an infantry group with 88s sitting on the hill.  I think the decisive moment in this battle was when my infantry burst from the woods and the flamethrowers smashed 4 teams of infantry.  The surviving Germans failed their morale (funny that) and the T-34s were free to turn their guns on the Marders.  By the end of turn 2 the writing was on the wall for this flank.

So the moral of the story for me was that flamethrowers are worth the price and that artillery is a great distraction for enemy fire.   The final moments came when my infantry overran an objective on the right flank and Chris’s Cossacks did the same on the far left.  It was like a giant pincer attack in the end.

Cossacks head for the Italian-held objective.

Strelkovy liberate comrade Bumitch, once again caught behind enemy lines.

Not the best battle report ever, I’m afraid, but that is what happens when I forget to take photos as the game progresses.

I’m loving Flames of War at the moment.

Nate

Irregulars battle night

Another games night on Friday and two games of Flames of War were happening – a late War stoush between a British Armoured company and a German Panzerkompanie, and an Early War melee between the French and the Germans.

There were five of us due to an unforeseen cancellation of three players, so I decided that I would umpire the two games and offer tactical advice here and there.  John and Jordan are really still learning the rules, so I was mostly there to help them out.

The Late War game saw John run his mostly Sherman  British army (which he had never used before) against Jordan’s Panzerkompanie which had artillery, Panzer grenadiers and PzIVs.  Jordan rolled for a scenario, and a ‘1’ meant a free fro all (the first of many 1s that Jordan would roll that night).  The deployment was relatively straight forward with John putting heavy emphasis on his left flank – he put his Sextons and M10s there alongside a rifle platoon and a platoon of Shermans.  Jordan spread himself out across the board, making sure that his pioneer platoon was dug-in on at least one of the objectives.

Jordan’s first turn saw him move a unit of his Panzer IVs into position.

The start of the game was really just a feeling out of each other, but by the end of turn two I had to ask John what his plan was.  I then suggested using the strength he had on the left flank to try and capture an objective.  In turn three he duly moved his left flank elements forward.

John’s deployment on the left.  His M10s sat in the wood for 2 turns, and his Shermans are hidden behind the village.

His stationary M10s with full rate of fire had managed to take out one Panzer IV on Jordan’s right flank.

In turn three the British began there advance.  Immediately one Sherman failed its bogging test and got stuck on a hedge in the centre.  At the top of the picture you can see the M10s and the Shermans breaking cover.

Jordan’s Panzers were rolling terribly – and burning excellently!  At the bottom of this photo (of British turn 4) you can see the Panzer IV that was bailed out in turn one and neer remounted for the rest of the game – but was also never killed.  Slightly frustrating…  Also note that the British Shermans are about to claim the objective.

The end of the game (turn 6). The Shermans so close to the objective in the previous photo were wiped out by a combination of a lone Panzer IV, 15cm howitzers and poor morale rolling.  So the right hand Sherman platoon reversed onto the objective, MGed the last defending stands and won the game.  Well done the Brits (and John…)

On the other table Chris and Terry battled out a ‘Fighting Withdrawal’ scenario with the French on the defensive.  Terry had virtually no cover and his rushed attack was pounded mercilessly by Chris.

A view down the battle line.  In the distance you can see Terry’s Recce units burning.

Chris’ Somuas preparing to inflict damage.  The end result was a predictable win for the French.  Don’t feel too bad for Terry, though – they did win this war!

And just because we could, here are the players in John’s helmet collection, wearing the noggin protectors of their respective armies:

Nate

The Battle of El Ementri – Flames of War Modern

So last Friday we fought the second playtest of the 1973 Israeli and Egyptian armies for Flames of War.  Unfortunately I completely forgot my camera and John’s wasn’t charged up, so there are no pictures of the battle in progress, only a couple of photos ripped from other sites, but I do want to make a few notes.

Rule changes couldn’t prevent a battlefield full of these…

1.  I was concerned that the points costings might be a little broken when the Egyptians got wiped off the board last time.  Now this could have simply been my poor generalship, but I did think that the Egyptians needed a little more to balance out the Israelis at 2000 points.  I rejigged the Egyptian list, replacing the BMP-1s with more infantry and a unit of five SU-100s.  This proved to bring a lot more balance to the game we played.

2. I removed the rule around the Saggers that allow wary Israeli tank crews to dodge the first missile if they pass a skill test.  This is a fairly sensible rule given that  the Israelis soon developed tactics to deal with Sagger attacks,  but takes away one of the few ‘cool toys’ that the Egyptians possessed and used to devastating effect at the beginning of the conflict.  So I proposed to Owen (the guy that wrote the lists) that maybe the ‘Sagger dodge’ could be a ‘Late War’ extra, with crews paying 20 points per platoon for the ability.  Incidentally, I credit the change of this rule with the better showing of the Egyptians in the second playtest.

3.  The lists as they stand allow you to choose only one type of tank in your company – either T-55 or T-62.  I have to admit that I simply ignore this stricture, because of the models that I have available.

4. Finally I allowed my HQ T-62 to be Confident trained, assuming that the commander of a tank battalion would have some decent experience to fall back on.

…But they did make sure that there were plenty of these left behind as well.

The battle was once again an encounter scenario, but this time the Egyptians fought the Israelis to a bloody stalemate.  Probably a fairly good simulation of the early days of the Yom Kippur War, although the IAF was getting a pretty free ride from the SAM umbrella’s absence.  I think that if the game had gone another two turns we would have ended up with an Egyptian victory, as they were only a move away from taking an undefended objective.  Quite an impressive turn-around from just a couple of little tweaks!

Nate

(images were taken from http://idf-armor.blogspot.com and http://www.qwiki.com/q/#!/Tanks_in_the_Cold_War ).  The first is an excellent resource that I have gone to many times for ideas.  The other answered my google call for a broken Patton…)