Dragon Rampant Remote Game — Raid on the Myzantine Frontier

Rob Dean

My brother Norman and I took some time out of our busy schedules yesterday (ahem…) to play a game.  After our recent Cincycon outing, I was in the mood for more fantasy, so I suggested that we have a game of Dragon Rampant.  As I have mentioned elsewhere, an advantage of Dragon Rampant in a remote setting is that each player has a relatively small number of maneuver elements to concern himself with, and the exact angle and positioning of those elements is less important than the general idea of which other unit (or piece of terrain) their activation is intended to address.

My solo campaign has a battle pending which I have already determined will be resolved using the DR scenario “The Crystal Gale”, so I thought it might be interesting to try it with two players first, and my brother was agreeable.

Accordingly, I set up my 3×5 table with a little slice of the borderlands of the Myzantine Empire, in the northern reaches where it borders on the Orc lands.  (This is a bit of background from an unfinished fantasy map, intended to give some structure to my collection of older “true” 25mm figures.)

My first observation was that my table was too small to have much flexibility with respect to the placement of the objective markers (the royal crystals by the scenario write-up, reskinned here as information tokens).

The battlefield, as seen from the east, from whence came the Orcs

The battlefield, as scene from the west, from whence came the Myzantines
I chose two forces from my collection of figures which were all Ral Partha, out of respect to the inspiration provided by Cincycon.  The orcs, shown below, had a reduced model unit of elite foot as the warlord and his bodyguard, a unit of orcish heavy foot, a unit of goblin berserkers (bellicose foot), two units of goblin wolfriders (light riders downgraded to javelins rather than bows) and a swarm of rats (lesser warbeasts).
The Orcish force
The Myzantines had the Governor’s bodyguard (elite cavalry with the level-headed advantage), a unit of allied horse (heavy riders), a unit of heavy foot spearment, a unit of light spearmen (with added javelins—which never got thrown), and a unit of light archers.

The Myzantine force
We decided that we would use the rules that we have been putting off unit we were more familiar with the game, particularly the leader personality roll and the availability of additional victory points for the fulfillment of quests/boasts.  My brother, after seeing the army lists, elected to command the orcs. I rolled a leader who was immune to fear (less than helpful since no enemy unit caused fear), and my brother rolled a “commanding” leader who was allowed an activation reroll once per turn.  We randomized the direction of approach, as per the scenario write-up, and I ended up entering along the short side of the table partially behind the river, as shown above.
My second observation, as we got started with the game, is that it was going to be very difficult to reach objective/information markers when his force had faster units than mine, and he had an activation advantage.  
Nevertheless, we pressed on.
Orcish wolf riders advance boldly to open the action
I realized after the first two moves, when he already had 4 of 10 information tokens in the bag, that my only chance of pulling out a victory was going to be to succeed at my quests/boasts.  For me, that meant that I couldn’t afford to have anyone rout, and I needed to destroy more units than I lost. Since the game would end when the last information token was collected, I realized that I was going to have to leave one on the table and protect it in order to have a chance to beat up his units.
So, I attacked as quickly as I could with my elite riders, and followed them up with the allied horse.  The heavy spears were sent to the right flank to keep him from circling around toward the last objective marker, and the light spears with their javelins and the bows came up on the left to soften up his units for a decisive charge by the elite riders of the Guard.
The Governor’s Guard faces down the goblin berserkers

Norman’s rat swarm was subject to the Wild Charge rule, and they ended up getting into a protracted charge/response cycle with the allied horse, which wore both units down.  Eventually the allied horse were wiped out, but at least they didn’t rout.

Allied horse takes on swarms of rats

I got involved in the mechanics of running the game, and didn’t get a picture, but over on my right flank, my spearmen were under heavy attack by javelin throwing wolfriders, and even repulsed an unexpected attack by the orcish heavy foot, who waded across the river at a disadvantage to come to grips with them.  Eventually they were routed by the unanswerable rain of javelins.  It turns out that one of Norman’s chosen quests was to destroy that particular unit…

The Governor’s Guard in pursuit of the Orc Warlord and his Bodyguard
Having achieved his side quests and collected 7 of the 10 information markers, he decided it was time to withdraw.  As my only hope of losing less ignominiously was to pursue him, hoping to destroy another unit or two, I pursued with what I had left…my archers (who were very unhappy about being ordered forward), and the Governor’s Guard, reduced to half-strength. The warlord and his bodyguard, taking up the rear of the orcish force, exited well ahead of my pursuing cavalry.  Assuming that I got the two information markers left on the board, my final score was 3 minus 2 for the failed quests/boasts, a total of “1”, while he had 7 plus 3 for his quests, for a total of “10”.  Ouch.

However, the real primary objective, of taking my mind off of things for a little while, was achieved.  The total elapsed time was two hours, which left me with time to prepare dinner.

I’m sure that more remote games will be on the agenda in the near future.  I will try to take a few more pictures next time I’m hosting.
 

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Recent painting — Mid-March

Rob Dean

The last four things I finished (and in things go in my log as finished when they have been based and receive the final varnish coat) were from four different projects.

The first up was a stand of 4 Caesar 1/72 Sea Peoples, a single (blade) stand of which is available to a late Bronze Age Libyan DBA army.  It might be a while before my son Norman and I face off in a DBA Bronze Age game, so I’d like to have at least one new army ready. The Libyans are still going to need a command chariot.  I have the pieces set aside for one, but haven’t assembled them yet.

Caesar Sea Peoples stand for the Bronze Age Libyans

As part of my continuing effort to assemble forces of Minifigs Mythical Earth figures as a nostalgia project, I set aside the next unit of orcs and finished up a unit of their opponents, the “official” men of Gondor.  There being relatively little in Tolkien about Gondorian iconography, I decided to borrow some inspiration from the Spartans, and decorated the shields of this unit with the usual Elvish character for “G”.  They are somewhat oddly posed, looking off to one side a bit, and I tried them both shield forward (as finished) and faces forward before gluing them down.  I should check the Gondorian spearmen and consider that question in advance.

Minfig ME44 Gondorian Swordsmen

While Huzzah has not yet been cancelled, I have strong doubts that it will actually happen this year.  Nevertheless, I’m trying to make some progress on painting figures for the 40mm French Revolution project.  This sample Frenchman was built by adding a bicorne head from a Meisterzinn multiple piece mold to a body from a single piece running musketeer, with the neck drilled out to accept the plug in the head casting.  He’ll be part of a unit of troops in relatively fresh regulation uniforms, one of four visually distinct Garde Nationale units I’m hoping to create.
Meisterzinn figure with a head swap as a French Garde Nationale
The latest figure to be entered into the log is a current Iron Wind Metals production copy of a Ral Partha thief, sculpted by Tom Meier sometime in the early 1980s.   Playing Chaos Wars at Cincycon last week has me inspired to work on my Ral Partha collection.  Starting with an individual is not, perhaps, the best way to get the next unit painted, but it was what the Muse offered, and I don’t like to throw inspiration back in the Muse’s face if I can at all avoid it, lest she not come by again….
Ral Partha 01-114 Thief, sculpted by Tom Meier

At least the desk is relatively clear for when I next sit down to paint.

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Some COVID-19 Painting Progress

Buck

Since most of us are “social distancing” and avoiding personal contact — sort of like Millennials with cell phones sitting in the same room texting each other — I have been painting a little. My daughter is home from school, and we’ve been doing things with her, so I haven’t gotten as much painted as I would normally. As we all work on our “lead mountain,” many mail-order business remain open, so make sure this doesn’t happen to you.

Make sure this doesn’t happen to you!

At Cold Wars last weekend, I purchased some the Black Sun “Deep Ones” from Pulp Figures. I painted them this week, because they weren’t very complicated, and I could easily pick them up and put them down as I was interrupted. I primed them white, painted them with Contrast Creed Camo, and then painted in the details.

Dark Sun Deep Ones with rifles.
Another view of the Deep Ones coming to get you!
A final view.

I supplemented these with the female lizard warrior from Bad Squiddo.

Female lizard warrior from Bad Squiddo.

When I return from a convention, I usually very quickly file, prime, and base any purchases so that when he muse strikes me, I am ready to paint. I have four Really Useful Boxes dedicating to holding my ready-to-go lead mole hill. Recently I re-discovered these armed frogs that will supplement my frog and turtle armies from Eureka Miniatures.

Armed frogs. No, not Frenchmen. Real frogs.
I painted a normal GASLIGHT ten-figure unit of them.
I decided to get a little fancy with decorating their cloaks.

Well, it’s 0400, and I can’t sleep. So back to the painting table.

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Convention Reports

Rob Dean

So, like many people, I have been transitioned to telework for an indefinite time.  Getting ready to ride this out at home has taken some time, and so far I have not been able to find a dedicated block of time for hobby activities.  Perhaps this week I will have the time management worked out better.  For the moment, that’s all I’m going to say about the pandemic.  Stay safe; stay sane.
Before this, I had been to two conventions in two weekends.  Scrum Con was put on in Silver Spring, Maryland, by the Second Saturday Scrum Club.  This was only its second year, and I missed last year.  It was a one-day event featuring both roleplaying games and miniature games, and I was one of several HAWKs who were hosting games.  Scrum Con was set up this year on a time-block system, in which the majority of the games started at the same time, with two time blocks, morning and afternoon.  Due to a late cancellation by another GM, I was afforded the opportunity to run my game in both time blocks, so I got to the facility comfortably early.  The venue was the Silver Spring Civic Center, which was clean and well lit, though lacking so much as a vending machine for onsite refreshment. Free parking was available in the municipal parking structure immediately across the street, which was pretty good.  Carts for GMs were recommended, and I have one, so that was not a problem.  I should have rehearsed how I was going to stack my boxes and bungee them in place, though, as I was running a 54mm game with some large boxes a little precariously arranged on my cart, and my bungee cords turned out to be shorter than I had thought.  That wasn’t the convention’s fault, of course. Scrum Con was spread out over three function rooms, which had been set up with round tables for RPG events, and rectangular tables for the miniatures events.  Two rooms were downstairs adjacent to each other, and the room I was in was upstairs.  An elevator was available to get my cart to my table.  
I was mildly disappointed, though not surprised, to find that I didn’t end up with players for the morning game.  At least my table was already set up and ready to go.  I jumped into Duncan Adams’ Space Station Accipiter game, a perennial favorite HAWKs offering showcasing the large club collection of Buck Rogers semiflat figures from vintage 1930s home casting molds.  This was the first outing for a vintage Princess Ardala figure my son William found and painted for me a couple of years ago.  
Princess Ardala and her Tigermen of Mars minions skulking around Accipiter

 For my own game, I chose to run a 54mm skirmish game with Medieval Mayhem, the home rules that Ross Macfarlane and I put together as part of the HAWKs Battles for Beginners contest/project back in 2003.  I had just dusted off in September, after a rest of a couple of years, for Barrage 2019, about the same time that Scrum Con was soliciting for games, so I had been reminded that it was just the sort of easier to approach game that would be appropriate for a mixed genre convention.

Defenders of the village take position
Attendance may have been suppressed by the growing concern over the corona virus, but, in any case, a couple of my pre-registered players were among the folks who did not pick up their badges.  The scenario I was using is easiest with an even number of players, so, with five who showed up to play, I took a role in the action myself.  The original purpose of these rules (and this project) was to provide a game which any player would be able to pick up in a few turns, and I was pleased that was the case at Scrum Con.  By the third or fourth turn I scarcely had to adjudicate anything, and everyone seemed to be engaged, with some side discussion about the possibility of using the rules at home.  So, from my point of view, a success.
Once I had the game packed back up, I figured out where the nearest Starbucks was, dropped my boxes back off at the car, and wandered over to recaffeinate.  Generally, it was a good day, and I look forward to attending/GMing again next year.  I would recommend it to anyone within driving range.
The following weekend found me in the Cincinnati area for Cincycon.  My brother and I had talked about going.  It’s somewhat local to him (two hours) and is the designated gathering for the Chaos Wars Demo Team.  I had about decided not to go, when my partner urged me to go and spend time with my brother. It’s a very good local convention, with a reasonable selection of dealers, and a program of all three main tabletop genres—miniatures, RPGs, and board games.  I flew in to Indianapolis on Friday morning, where my brother picked me up on his way.  We were on site by the middle of the afternoon.  He set up his Chaos Wars demonstration scenario, and we played through it a couple of times while waiting for the crowd to build up.  Unfortunately for Cincycon, the coronavirus concerns were rapidly growing, and it looked to me as though attendance was down considerably from the other two years I’d gone.  
Chaos Wars demo armies in action
It’s always nice to see a bunch of classic Ral Partha miniatures in action. 

My brother, commanding intently

Paint and take table with classic Ral Partha

As it seems like Cincycon may be my last gaming convention for a while, and, as two weeks have elapsed since then with symptoms, I am glad that I went.  I came home with a bunch of notes about how to display miniatures gaming for a broader audience, and an urge to paint some miniatures, so we’ll call it a success.

I had intended to go to Cold Wars the following weekend.  While it occurred, the fact that the state governments were already calling for cancellation of large gatherings before it was time for me to go reinforced my decision to pass.  Huzzah, out in mid-May, is starting to look like it is going to be within the timelines for social distancing.  More to follow, I suppose … I’ve gotten some painting done the since the previous post, but I’ll save that for next time.

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Combat Patrol and What a Tanker games – My TotalCon 34 Recap

Mark A. Morin

It’s been about a month since the last gaming convention I attended, and my how the world has changed.  I cannot see how a large convention could be held right now (though Cold Wars indeed happened in Pennsylvania this weekend).  There are a few upcoming gaming cons in obvious risk – and for now I think it useful to blog and paint and reflect back until this COVID-19 crisis passes (and that it will).  Best wishes for health and happiness to all my readers all over the world, from the US to Australia to the UK, All across Europe, and Africa and Asia. Now with everything at a lock down or a standstill due to the coronavirus crisis, I thought it was a good time to write a post about the games at my last convention as a distraction.

I had promised you great readers a few battle reports from TotalCon 34.  It was a very large convention with around 600 attendees.  Miniature games were a smaller offering there compared to RPG, LARP, board games – and a number of other offerings with which I was unfamiliar!

The convention was held from February 20-23, 2020 at the Best Western Conference Center in Marlborough, MA.  I had signed up to run four games – two on Friday and two on Saturday.  Two were Combat Patrol™ retro sci-fi games – “Space Cowboys versus Giant Zombie Cosmonauts” and “Attack of the Warbots” with my mostly OOP collections from Archive Miniatures, Mega Miniatures, War Games Supply Dump (and my own creations).  The other two were scenarios for What a Tanker© that I have created and discussed previously in this blog: “Battle of France May-June 1940” and “Normandy Breakout!“.

Running four different games in two days was a challenge (my vehicle was full of mats, terrain, and miniatures) but I pulled it off well enough I believe.  I’ll share some photos and some descriptions of the action.  I think the players had a good time.  This post will be pretty photo-heavy.

The first game I ran was on Friday was “Space Cowboys versus Giant Zombie Cosmonauts“.  I had four players (though I could have accommodated 9).  It turned out that I had two seasoned gamers on the defending Space Cowboys side and two younger players on the attacking Giant Zombie Cosmonaut/Martian/Retrovian side.

02212020 TOTALCON Space Cowboys versus Giant Zombie CosmonautsMy flyer for this game – the space on the right is for business cards to share information about my gaming club –  the Mass Pikemen Gaming Club.1 set up from defenders sideView from the defenders’ side.  They must save the chemical plant from destruction or kill The Mind.2 set up from attackers sideView from the attackers’ side.  They must destroy the chemical plant in 10 turns or less.1 SC vs GZC setupThe game set up at TotalCon 34.2 SC vs GZC setupRetrovians prepare to attack.3 SC vs GZC setupClose up of the chemical plant before the defenders deployed.  I allow the defenders to deploy by any barrier or the chemical plant.4 Retrovians attackThe attackers ponder their next move.  The defenders moved and took up good defensive positions in and overlooking the wadi.5 SC take casualtiesOn the attackers’ left flank, Retrovian fire begins to take its toll on the defending Space Cowboys (aka Texican Space Rangers).6 Martians take casualties in wadiOn the other side of the table, Martian infantry attempt to charge across the wadi.  Effective rifle fire decimates the Martians in the open.  The stack of cards on the right indicates a pile of Martian KIA that ran into a hail of cowboy lead.7 GCZ take casualties and move towards wadiThe Mind and its Giant Zombie Cosmonauts get close to the wadi, while Retrovians provide supporting fire.8 SC squad runs awayThe Retrovian fire is too much for one squad of Space Cowboys, which fails a morale check and skedaddles for cover.9 Robo servo gun and Brasheer knocked outCarnage ensues.  A Robo-Servo gun is destroyed (black smoke), while another gun destroys a Retrovian three-legged assault pod.  The fleeing Space Cowboy squad from the previous shot is in the upper left.  The Mind is breaking through in the top center, but many of its zombies have taken hits to legs and are falling away from the advance.10 Brain is killedAs the protecting zombies fall away, the platoon sergeant, Armando Garcia, jet packs next to The Mind in a desperate attack.  The Mind had a 60% chance to react to the move and preemptively fry the Space Cowboy, but failed in the attempt.  SFC Garcia fired his assault rifle and killed The Mind, ending the game.

The game was a blast.  The defenders took up good positions but the attackers’ pressure was building to a decisive point.  Unfortunately, The Mind became vulnerable and the defenders’ gambit worked this time.  The players quickly got used to the Combat Patrol™ system.

The next game was later that night, when I ran “Attack of the Warbots”.  I have run this game several times, and it always is a crowd pleaser.

02212020 TOTALCON Attack of the WarbotsMy flyer for the game.

I had about 8 players for the game.  The attacking Warbots made good progress initially in breaching the wall.  However, the defenders jet-packed their bazooka-armed Star Ducks onto unprotected rooftops – and got pretty shot up.

1 Attack of the Warbots set upThe Biological Alliance is in an “Alamo” type of a defense, with a massive force of Warbots attacking from this side, and an allied Martian force (yup they showed up in this game too) from the opposite side.2 wall is piercedThe Warbot on the far right uses a plasma beam breacher (basically a long disintegrator ray) to piece the defenders rusty wall.  This kicks up a lot of smoke from the vaporized material.  The Warbot that did this uses a lot of energy in the effort and is stunned for three turns while recharging (hence the multiple “stun” placards).3 targets on the roofMore Warbot destruction ensues as they fire another plasma beam breacher through the Aphid position in the center.4 Mark 1 Sphere tank stunned by attacking FrinxFrinx cavalry (on glyptodons) armed with anti-robot arc weapons and blasters charge!  They manage to stop a Mark 1 Sphere tank with a non-penetrating hit that stuns it at the walls edge.5 The other Mark 1 Sphere tank attempts to flankOn the left Warbot flank, a defending Space Roo player checks to see if his RPG-armed Space Roo can engage the other Warbot Mark 1 Sphere tank.  It could, and at extreme range knocked out the other Warbot tank.5a end of gameThe end of the game found the captured Warbot tank repaired and capable of driving off of the board.  Therefore, a Biological Alliance victory!6 After BattleHappy gamers (and me) after the game are all smiles!

After this game, (which was around 11:00 PM+), I and some of the players cleaned this all up.  As my next game was in the morning at 8 AM, I set up my Normandy Breakout! scenario for What a Tanker©!  I have a lot of  bocage (hedgerows) for this game as you will see.  I got set up, and ambled off to my hotel room for a few hours of shut-eye.

02222020 TOTALCON Normandy Breakout!My flyer for the game.

This scenario is as described on the flyer above, but to be clear, the Germans are in hidden positions across the board known only to them and the GM (me).  Additionally, the exact force composition selections on both sides are done secretly, as each side buys vehicles and Bonus Attack cards with points.  Each side starts with 200 points.

Points are earned by the Allies (US and UK) for successfully reconnoitering hidden positions (which could have either possible or actual Germans there), for knocking out Germans, and for crossing the board and breaking out.  Germans earn points for unreconnoitered positions, knocking out Allied vehicles, and can get a game bonus for limiting Allied crossings to zero or no more than 1 vehicle.  The Germans vehicles are more expensive, so their defensive benefits need to be offset by successful ambushes and an overall defense against any Allied breakout.  I announce only who is winning at the beginning of each turn, but not the exact score – so as to keep the game feeling crew-focused.

I had between 4 and 6 players (some joined mid-game).  The Germans went initially with two 8-wheeled scout cars (an Sd.Kfz. 231 and an Sd.Kfz. 233, a Panther D, and a Tiger I, all of which deployed secretly.  They loaded up on Bonus Attack cards as well.

The US deployed on the left half of the board, and the UK/commonwealth on the right half.  The US chose an M5 Stuart light tank (with recon abilities) and an M10 Wolverine tank destroyer to start, while the Brits took a Daimler Dingo scout car and an M4 Sherman.  The Allies also maxed out their Bonus Attack cards possibilities.

1 Dingo and Achilles move outThe Americans move up their M10 Wolverine “Demon”, while behind a British Daimler Dingo recons a field.

On turn 1, the Allies spent 71 points on vehicles and cards.  They successfully reconned 5 positions at 2 points each for 10 points, leaving them with 139 points at the end of the turn.  The Germans spent 88 points on vehicles and cards.  The German Tiger I ambushed and knocked out the British M4 Sherman for 14 points.  At the end of turn 1, it was close – 139 to 126 in favor of the Allies.

On turn 2, the Allies respawned another British M4 Sherman for the destroyed one, and bought 1 more Bonus Attack card.  This new vehicle was at no cost as the replacement cost as much as the previous loss (the Germans did get more points for killing that previous Sherman on turn 1).  The M10 Wolverine rolled a great movement, and was able to breakout successfully, gaining the Allies 16 points and taking away half of any potential German end-of-game bonus for preventing Allied vehicle crossings.  On turn 1, the US M5 Stuart had been able to move into a field and successfully recon a position where an Sd.Kfz. 231 was hiding.  On turn 2, the Stuart activated first, and destroyed the German scout car, gaining 11 more points for the kill. The Germans for their part bought two more Bonus Attack cards for 10 points.  Overall, the Germans had a weak turn, and only recovered 2 points by activating their Sd.Kfz. 233 before the US could find it.  The successful M10 “Demon” crossing widened the score at the end of turn 2 to 161-118 in favor of the Allies.

2 Sd.Kfz. 231 is pursued by M5 Stuart with Brit M4 Sherman burningAt the end of turn 1, the M5 Stuart chased down a German Sd.Kfz. 231 in a field.  The M5 activated first in turn 2, and destroyed the German scout car.

On turn 3, the Germans knew that they were losing, but not by how much.  They made a bold move and chose an expensive new tank for a respawn of their lost Sd.Kfz. 231 – a Tiger II.  The net cost was 18 points after “credit” for the “trade-in” in lieu of a free respawn of another Sd.Kfz. 231.  Adding another Bonus Attack card brought the German spend for turn 3 to 23 points.  The US player got a free respawning replacement M10 for the one that crossed on turn 2, so the Allies spent no points at all on turn 3.  They did earn 6 points for reconning German positions.  The Germans got a bit of revenge as a Panther activated and took out the M5 that killed the Stuart for 12 points, and the Tiger I moved to a crossroads and took out a second British Sherman for 14 points.  The score at the end of turn 3 was 167-123 in favor of the Allies.

3 early game action with Tiger etc.

Turn 3 action – the destroyed the German scout car is the left.  The Tiger I has moved to an excellent position at the crossroads and has knocked out the second Brit Sherman.  The Panther (not seen ) was hiding at position “F”, and activated.

4 Panther avenges Sd.Kfz.231 by taking out StuartThe M5 Stuart was no match for the activated Panther.

On turn 4, the Allies decided to get three more vehicles.  Two were respawning ones for turn 3 losses – the US got a “free” M5 to replace the one killed in turn 3, and the Brits “upgraded” its second lost M4 Sherman to an M10 Achilles tank destroyer “Tabitha”.  They also bought another M4 Sherman for a new very young player that joined the game, and a couple of Bonus Attack cards.  The Allied spend was 24 points.  The Germans only bought 1 card, for 5 points.

During turn 4, the Daimler Dingo had a fun time.  It successfully reconned the hidden position of the Tiger II!  Then, scared for its survival, it and its crew sped off down the road to cross the other side  – gaining 7 points for crossing and thereby nullifying any potential German end-of-game bonus.

The Brit side then flanked the Tiger I at the crossroads with the M10 Achilles “Tabitha”.  It took a quick flank shot on the German, and did some damage.  It then called in the RAF (with a Bonus Attack card) which destroyed the Tiger I for a big 25 points.  The Allies successes widened the score at the end of turn 3 to 177-118 in their favor.

5 Dingo finds Tiger IISurprise!  Daimler Dingo finds a Tiger II and takes off before it can be destroyed.6 Young player and his Dad use a SHermanA young player takes command of a Sherman for the US.7 lots of action and Tiger I hit by USAAFThe Tiger I is destroyed in the crossroads by the RAF.

Turn 5 would be the last turn of the game.  The Allies respawned another Daimler Dingo for the one that crossed in turn 4, and bought a couple more Bonus attack cards, spending only 10 points.  The Germans were despondent, and decided to buy a Jagdpanther and a Bonus Attack card for 29 points.

The M10 Achilles “Tabitha” fresh off the combined arms kill of the Tiger I maneuvered for a rear shot on the Panther – and killed it for 22 points.  The Germans tried to hunt down a fleeing M5 Stuart.  It lined up a deadly point-blank rear shot on the Stuart – only to miss the shot.  It was emblematic of the German sides day.  After another position was reconned, the day belonged to the Allies.  The final score was a lopsided 191-89 in favor of the Allies.

This was the biggest disparity in this game ever (and I have run it many times).  In my opinion, the Germans did not keep their eyes on the objectives.  They also did not effectively take advantage of their ambush positions, and left too many openings for the Allies, who maneuvered their lesser vehicles much better than their foes.  With that said, all had a fun game.

8 Jagdpanther hunts M5 StuartTurn 5 – the M5 Stuart is missed by the Jadgpanther.

With some help from players, the tabletop was cleaned and it was time to take a break.  I could have played a game but I decided to spend the next game slot relaxing as I felt a but tired.

My next game was on Saturday night – “The Battle of France, May-June 1940” for What a Tanker©.  The scenario reverses the previous game a bit, with the Germans attempting to break through the French defenses and head to the channel and cut off the Allied forces in Belgium.  There are also two different Bonus Attack card decks that I made for this scenario.  I described this scenario in my blog previously here.

02222020 TOTALCON Battle of France 1940My flyer for the game.

I had originally 10 players signed up for this game, with 2 on a waiting list.  I was disappointed that I only had 5 players show up – but it was fine.  I had two German players and three French players.

Each side had 200 points at the start.  Here again, the exact force composition selections on both sides are done secretly, as each side buys vehicles and Bonus Attack cards with points.  Points here are earned by the Germans for successfully reconnoitering hidden positions (which could have either possible or actual French located there), for knocking out French vehicles, and for crossing the board and breaking out.  The French earn points for unreconnoitered positions, knocking out German vehicles, and can get a point bonus for limiting German crossings to zero or no more than 1 vehicle.  Similar to the Normandy Breakout! game, I announce only who is winning at the beginning of each turn, but not the exact score.  This definitely keeps the game feeling crew-focused.

There are a couple more key additional nuances to this scenario.  There are two bridges, and the French player can spend points to wire one, both or neither bridge for demolition.  Any French attempts at demolition may be tried at any time, but are not guaranteed.  They also get a “free” small minefield (that is not very effective) that is also secretly set at the beginning of the game.  The French decided to wire the bridge on their right flank for demolition prior to the game, leaving the one on their left with the small minefield next to it.  During the game (which I will discuss), the French did blow the bridge on the right, and were able to fool the Germans into believing that the other was wired as well.  This rendered the minefield a non-factor in the game, but made the Germans attempt to ford the river.

The Germans decided to buy 2 6-wheeled Sd.Kfz. 231’s and a Panzer 38(t) on turn 1.  They also maxed out on Bonus Attack cards for a total of 50 points spent.  The French deployed in hidden positions (half the tabletop is designated as under the control of French cavalry tanks, and the other half (mainly the town area) is under the control of French infantry tanks.  The French bought a Panhard 178 armored car, a Char B1 bis, and a SOMUA S35.  Their initial purchases all had radios (some French tanks do not), so they were able to max out their Bonus Attack cards.  The total initial French spend was 71 points, including the wiring of the right flank bridge.

During turn 1, the Germans drove one of their scout cars onto the right flank bridge, and the French successfully destroyed the bridge with the German on it, gaining 11 points.  This also spooked the Germans to avoid the bridge as they feared it was also wired (and it was not!).  After this the Germans were forced to use fords to attempt crossing the river.  The Germans did successfully recon one possible hidden position for 2 points.  The score at the end of turn 1 was 152-140 in favor of the Germans.

On turn 2, the Germans respawned a Panzer IVD for the lost Sd.Kfz. 231 at no net point cost.  They also reconned a couple of French potential positions for 4 more points.  The French bought an additional SOMUA S35 for the cavalry for 10 points, and uncovered three of their own positions in order to meet a table-crossing threat from the surviving Sd.Kfz. 231 and a Panzer 38(t).  This gained them 6 points.  The Panzer 38(t) is a fast light tank, and was able to ford the river, along with the other scout car.  The French recognized this threat, and attempted to deal with it by activating its vehicles in the town.   The Germans used a Bonus Attack card to bring down smoke and obscure their movements.  The score at the end of turn 2 was 156-136 in favor of the Germans.

1 Sd.Kfz. 231 and Panzer 38(t) skirt the townThe Panzer 38(t) on the left and the Sd.Kfz. 231 (6-rad) on the right successfully ford the river, fearing that the bridge was wired for demolition (it wasn’t).  They get ready to dash off the table into the vulnerable French rear.2 Germans plan their assaults and roll diceThe Germans get some excellent movement rolls.3 Char B1bis moves out in townThe French react and send tanks such as their Char B1 bis to stop the penetration by the Germans.4 German smoke screen blocks Char B1The Germans foil the Char B1 with a smoke screen.

On turn 3, the French hurriedly bought a Renault R40 for 8 points and tried to use it to stop the crossings.  The French also bought more Bonus Attack cards for 15 points.  The Germans bought nothing.  During the turn, the Germans successfully crossed the Panzer 38(t).  This despite the fact that at first the Char B1 crossed the smoke and missed it, and then the R40 shot at and missed it.  This crossing earned the Germans 8 points, and limited the French end-of-game bonus chances.

On the cavalry side of the table, the Germans tried another smoke screen to protect a Panzer IVD as it crossed a ford.  one of the smoke rounds hit the river mud and did not ignite – leaving a hole in the smoke screen.  The French cavalry S35 did manage to shoot and damage the Panzer IVD on the other side, just after it forded the river.  This pushed it back into the river.  The French SOMUA then called in and then destroyed it with an artillery barrage using a Bonus Attack card, earning 8 points as well (and blocking that ford).  The Germans also reconned another of the hidden positions for 2 points.  However, the Sd.Kfz. 231 made it to within 1″ of the other side of the table – and the R40 had a rear shot aimed at it at turn’s end.  The score at the end of turn 3 was 166-124 in favor of the Germans.

5 Sd.Kfz. 231 escapes R40 and Panzer 38(t) sees Char B1The Char B1 crosses the smoke and takes aim at the Panzer 38(t) – and misses.  An R40 activated and missed the Panzer 38(t) as well.  The Panzer 38(t) then rolled well and was able to cross the table.  The German Sd.Kfz. 231 almost made it off of the table and was in the R40’s sights as turn 3 ended.6 On other flank, bridge blows and fords attemptedThe German smoke screen imperfectly covers the Panzer IVD after it fords the river…7 Panzer IV knocked into ford and knocked outThe Panzer IVD is pushed back into the ford and destroyed by artillery and SOMUA fire.  This blocks the ford (to the consternation of the following Panzer 38(t)!).

On turn 4, the Germans respawned the crossing Panzer 38(t) and the destroyed Panzer IVD for identical models, and added a Bonus Attack card for a total spend of only 5 points.  The French bought 3 Bonus Attack cards in the hope of stopping the German scout car from crossing.  The R40 activated first, and then missed the Sd.Kfz. 231.  The German scout then crossed, ending any chance of a game bonus for the French and earning 11 points for the Germans.  The score at the end of turn 4 was 172-109 in favor of the Germans.

I failed to get any more photos after turn 4 (I think I was getting tired!)

On turns 5 and 6, the French were getting desperate as they knew they had lost the game bonus.  They bought an Hotchkiss H35, and a SOMUA S35 took out another Panzer IVD.  The Germans bought a StuG III ausf. A.  Both bought more Bonus Attack cards.  The Luftwaffe was called in on the Char B1 bis and successfully destroyed it.  That loss ended the game.  The score at the end of the game was 159-89 in favor of the Germans.

Both sides played well, bu I have to say the dice abandoned the French at critical times.  The Germans crossings sealed the fate of the game.  It’s nice to see that both games results have differed each time and that no side has an advantage.

After this, I packed up with help (especially from Leif Magnuson – who was a BIG HELP THANK YOU!), and went home to sleep.

I hope you enjoyed these battle reports.  Now that the COVID-19 is endangering lives, we’ll have to see if and when I get to run these games again soon.  Let’s all hope for the best, and prepare accordingly.

Wishing all of you and your families safety and health!

 

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Recently Completed Ozz Figures

Buck

The race to get all my Ozz figures painted for Cold Wars 2020 is over. Last night I completed the last four figures. The other HAWKs are still working to get across the finish line, but since they are two hours away from the convention instead of 15, they have another day.

Quadling brigade commander riding a wild boar.

Russ sent me four sample Quadling cavalrymen to preview. We haven’t received all the mounted commanders for the infantry and cavalry regiments, so I decided to repurpose these samples as regimental and brigade commanders.

Central Province Quadlings with a regimental commander, who is vain enough to carry his own standard.

This is what an infantry and cavalry regiment in Wars of Ozz is supposed to look like: five bases plus a mounted leader. The regimental commander is really mostly for aesthetics in the rules, but doesn’t a unit look cool this way?!

Northern Province Quadlings with regimental commander.

I really like the looks of these “big battalions.” It reminds me a little of In a Grand Manner.

Southern Province Quadlings with regimental commander.
Size comparison of the four major Wars of Ozz nationalities.

On the Facebook page and on some of the on-line fora, there have been questions about figure size. The range is nominally 28mm; however, the different nationalities are different sizes. From left to right in the picture you see Munchkins, Gillikins, Quadlings, and Winkies. The Winkies are probably the closest to 28mm, with the Munchkins and Gillikins being of smaller stature and the Quadlings being beefier and taller.

We are running FOUR Wars of Ozz demonstration / participation games at Cold Wars 2020 this weekend. One is Friday evening, and there are a morning, afternoon, and evening game on Saturday. Give the rules a try and see what a mass of Wars of Ozz figures look like on the table.

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1/72 Fantasy — Some Recent Painting

Rob Dean

Time got away from me a bit in February.  After painting 40+ old Minifig Mythical Earth figures and most of a DBA army of 1/72 scale Bronze Age Libyans in January, I had intended to finish up the Libyans, relax a bit by painting a few 1/72 scale fantasy things for the Portable Fantasy Game/Campaign, and go on to some 40mm French Revolution.  Unfortunately, I got as far as “relax a bit”, and suddenly ran out of month.
For the Portable Fantasy Campaign (PFC), I most recently completed the army of the Cold Islanders, and can generally make do for the two basically medieval armies.  I resolved to work on bringing the Orcs up to strength, so naturally ended up painting elves instead…
The PFC is being built to use Hordes of the Things as the mass battle rules.  I am a little short on the more fantastic elements in plastic, so when I painted on of these Reaper Bones “saproling” figures the other month, I got the idea that it would be nice to do a pair of them with a Caesar elf sorceress as a Beasts stand.  The saprolings drybrush easily, and the sorceress is in a pose that invites a little freehand on her dress.  My son Norman and I had come up (at his inspiration) with a set of “seasonal” elf units, the Springblossom, Summerbough, Autumnleaf, and Winterbranch Guards, so I painted her with a design suggesting that she’s attached to the Springblossom Guards. 
Elvish Beasts stand

Two tree creatures and a sorceress of the Springblossom Guard

I have the saprolings on hand to do one more stand, and would expect to vary the sorceress’s attire to one of the other seasons, probably the Autumnleaf Guards.

The Red Witch and retinue, part I

…and the other side

In a recent roleplaying game, we were up against a broom-riding witch, and I tried my hand at a little bit of greenstuff work, changing the staff on a Caesar Adventurers female magic user to a rather rustic broom.  It came out usable, and I painted her in a red/black color scheme.  To use her in a game, I felt like she should have a guard/retinue, so I picked a few figures for that, a Caesar Adventurers rogue, a trio of Accurate men-at-arms and a knight, and a Caesar archer.  I did them in the same red/black theme, and gave all the shields a matching household badge design. (Per pale, sable and gules, a crescent argent…)

Two Accurate figures and a Caesar archer on the right

I recently received a box of Strelets Roman Transport figures, intending to use the pack mules as part of my baggage train.  However, my eye was also drawn to these two figures.

I’m not sure how Roman they look, but they do look like they will do double duty as a possible rogue and mage, to add some variation to the PFC’s player character collection.  Since they are for a fantasy purpose, I didn’t worry too much about whether the colors were achievable with historical vegetable dyes, the sort of thought process that most people somehow manage to avoid getting wrapped up with…
I’ve been to two conventions in the past two weekends, with one more to come, but that’s a topic for a different post.  I’m working on finishing up a stand of Sea People blades for my Bronze Age Libyans as well, which will also be for a different post.

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Completed Ozz Figures for Cold Wars

Buck

Today I finished the figures I will be using for the demonstration / participation games at Cold Wars next weekend. Several members of the HAWKs are also painting figures to be ready. You really need to come and try these rules and see these figures at Cold Wars.

A mass of Winkies

Here is a brigade of five regiments of Winkie infantry. The brigade commander is riding a Zilk.

Another view of the mass of Winkies.

Winkies are cheap troops, because they have no firearms. But they do well in melee, and there are a lot of them.

Another view.
And one more view.
These are the Winkies I completed today.
And a closer view.

I also recently finished three regiments of Quadlings.

Southern Province Quadlings
Another view.
Central Province Quadlings
Another view.
Northern Province Quadlings.
A closer view.
Lesser Pumpkinheads ready for action.

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Battle of France 1940 at Mass Pikemen

Mark A. Morin

The Mass Pikemen played an action-packed game at our February gaming session.  The game was a What a Tanker© game for my Battle of France, May-June 1940 scenario.  This also served as a final play test of the scenario before using it at upcoming gaming conventions (TotalCon 34, HAVOC, and HUZZAH!).

At the start of the game, each side gets 200 points to buy tanks and armored cars as well as Bonus Attack cards if the vehicle has a radio (all the Germans have radios, many French vehicles do not).  The French are defending and have the ability to deploy at secret positions known only to their side and the GM.  The French forces are divided – with half of the battlefield being under the responsibility of cavalry tanks, and half under infantry tanks.

The Germans are exiting wooded areas on two congested roads heading to two bridges over a river.  The German mission is to cross the board and exit the other side (and head to the English Channel) – and gain points for doing so.  There are also several possible fords over the river that are minor obstacles.

The French player may also spend points to wire either one or both bridges (or none) for demolition.  This status is also known only to the French side and the GM.  The French side may attempt to blow a bridge at any time, but failing to blow the bridge or allowing any Germans to cross makes subsequent demolition attempts more difficult.  If a bridge is blown while a vehicle is on it, that vehicle is destroyed.  Any side that destroys a vehicle gets points for that action as well.  As GM, I only announce who is ahead at the beginning of the turn, and I do not share the score so as to maintain a fog of war for the players and try to maintain a crew-focused battle.

1 Battle of France set up
Overview of the battlefield from the French side.  The French deploy infantry tanks left of the second road on the left, and cavalry tanks on the right of that road. 
2 Battle of France set up town
Detail of the town where most of the hidden positions are for the infantry tanks.  Both infantry and cavalry had access to Panhard 178’s and H35’s.
3 Battle of France French cav side
The right (French cavalry) side showing the river and the bridges.  The rocks in the river were designated as fords.
4 Battle of France Mike rolls dice
The German players deploy.
5 Battle of France Panzer 35(t) knocked out
From a hidden position, a Panhard 178 calls for anti-tank support.  Using a 47 mm anti-tank support card from the Bonus Attack cards, a Panzer 35(t) is torched before getting to a bridge, while a wary Panzer IVB watches.
6 Battle of France Panzer IVB on blown bridge knocked out
A German Sd.Kfz. (6-rad) recon car crosses the bridge without incident.  Feeling safe, the Panzer IVB tries to cross.  The French had waited for a bigger target, and successfully blew the bridge with the Panzer IVB on it – destroying the Panzer IVB.  In the rear, another Panzer 35(t) observes multiple burning comrades.
7 Battle of France Sd.Kfz. 231 knocked out by SOMUA
The Sd.Kfz. 231 (6-rad) recons around a building and finds a SOMUA S35.  The SOMUA easily kills the German scout car, but not before taking some damage from Bonus Attack card artillery.
8 Battle of France river forded by Pzjager I and 38(t)
The battle heats up.  The surviving Panzer 35(t) fords the river as does a Panzerjager I with another Panzer IVB behind them.  The French activate the hidden Panhard, and the SOMUA S35 takes some more minor damage.
9 Battle of France SOMUA finally taken out by 88
The SOMUA S35 is hit by 88 fire and finally taken down by accumulated damage.  The black smoke indicates that the tank is knocked out, but the crew survived.  I use orange smoke to indicate that both crew and tank are destroyed.  
10 Battle of France Panhard dispatches 38(t)
Having taken damage from the SOMUA, the last Panzer 35(t) is knocked out by a daring attack by the charging Panhard 178.

At this point the game ended, and the French had a solid victory with the score being 158-112.  The French also got bonus points for no German being able to traverse the board.  The Germans made a couple of unsuccessful Luftwaffe attacks which hindered them as well as the early casualties.The scenario is pretty solid and the gamers made key decisions that affected the game.  I did run this scenario and three other games at TotalCon 34.  I will share the results of what happened at TotalCon 34 on a future post and things went differently!.

Thanks for looking!

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More WIP Wars of Ozz Figures

Buck

I woke at 0230 this morning, and I started thinking about work and couldn’t get back to sleep. So, I went to the painting lair and continued work on the Wars of Ozz figures I need to have done for Cold Wars demonstration games.

Quadlings from the Northern Province.

Quadling land is made of three provinces: North, Central, and South. These are big farm boys. The Northern Province Quadlings have a roughly British Napoleonic look about them. The regiment picture above is nearly complete. I need to paint the officer’s sash (probably green) and base and flock them. Due to the race to get a LOT of units painted for Cold Wars, decoration of the bases will probably not be done in time.

Central Province Quadlings.

The Quadlings from the Central Province have a roughly French Napoleonic look about them. These are getting close. I need to paint the three colors on the muskets (black, brass, and silver) some of the lace, the blanket rolls, and the bases.

Southern Province Quadlings.

The Quadlings from the Southern Province are meant to be roughly American War of Independence looking in their homespun brown coats. I have to paint the rifles and red stripe down the trousers. I also need to affix the flags to all the units.

For all three regiments, I need to paint the drums and attach them to the drummers. If I can stay up long enough this evening, I should finish the Quadlings and only have two regiments of Winkies left to paint by Sunday evening.

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