Sunday, March 29, 2015

Stop the Romans -- the First Playtest

On Saturday, Ed, Stan, Mike and John came over to help test the game I am going to run at Cangames this year.

Stan and Ed took command of the British and Mike and John controlled the civilized forces. Both sides have 3 divisions, the British have one division of horse and chariots and 2 of Warband and sling (as well as some Druid Fanatics waiting behind the dyke) and the Romans have 3 divisions with Legion, Auxilia, Light Horse, Engineers and Archers. The British also have some garrison troops on the dyke and 3 victory point units (a cart, some camels -- these will be replaced with cattle for the actual game, and a mule train) that start near the Roman edge and have to escape to the British edge

At the beginning of the game the Romans can choose to either have their forces run rapidly on to the table in a possibly haphazard fashion or wait one turn and move on as a group. The Romans decided to rush on 2 divisions and leave the third to enter in a more orderly fashion. The frist division got their light horse up to the camel train and then failed the roll to bring anyone else on.
The other division did a bit better and brought on almost all its infantry.

Rather than fighting a rearguard action slowly moving back to the dyke, the British charge forward into the Roman line.
The Druid fanatics perform their rituals behind the dyke as the British Cavalry move forward.
The British attack goes well as they wipe out a unit of Legion and sweep in on the now stranded Scorpio.
The Scorpio is wiped out but now 2 legion units have moved forward, including the Preatorians

The battle now heats up as the British commit the rest of their troops hoping to weaken the Romans enough that they will be unable to assault the dyke.
As the Cavalry gets close, several Roman units are badly beaten but the British infantry are all but wiped out
The cavalry try and charge forward but due to confusing orders end up just short of the Romans.

The cavalry charge in but the Praetorians prove too much for one of the cavalry units.

Once the  cavalry is dealt with the Romans push forward to the dyke adopting the Testudo to protect themselves from the rain of missiles coming from the top of the dyke.

At the crucial moment the oxen pulling the Roman Engineers fascines decide they have had enough and flee from the dyke leaving the engineers with only the fascines they are carrying.
Undeterred the Romans continue to press forward
The Romans move into the ditch as the fanatic warbands move up the rear bank.
The Romans get a toehold on top of the dyke and get their first glimpse of the fanatics
The fanatics drive the first legion back down into the ditch and pursue them.
After several turns refusing to give up the safety of their Testudo, the Praetorians get to the top of the scarp only to face a unit of fanatics.
The fanatics push the Praetorians back and prepare to leap of the scarp to finish them off.

At the other end of the dyke, the Legions are now getting across in greater numbers.

They also manage to help support the Praetorians before the fanatics can get stuck in.

The final attacks of the fanatics are held off by the disciplined Romans and the pass will be controlled by the Romans through the winter.

The game went very well and I think everyone enjoyed it.

The biggest change  I will make as a result of the playtest is that I will start the British further back towards the dyke, this will make the Roma n pursuit of the VP units a bit more exciting and will (hopefully) encourage the British to fall back to the dyke. I think the armies are reasonably balanced, on the day we should have another Warband and another Legion and I think I will split the Roman archers into 2 small units.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Semper Fidelis

I finished up some Roman Marines and Western Ally archers.

For the Cangames game, the Marines will just count as Veteran Medium Infantry but I do hope to get some boats for them at some time. Warlord used to make a command set for these guys but it has been discontinued, I have some extra shields so I may get an Aventine miniatures Auxiliary command set and use it for these guys.

These guys could pass as Legion archers as well.

We will see how they do in the playtest this weekend!

I have (barely) started painting the Legion unit I had assembled already and that should be all I need for the Cangames game. I will then put aside the Romans to concentrate on WWII (in both 15mm and 28mm) for a while. They are my favourite army to paint so I imagine units will be sneaking their way into my painting queue!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Review of Nachtjaeger and the Battlfoam 1520XL

This weekend I picked up the newish Nachtjaeger book for Flames of War and my new Battlefoam bag arrived on Friday so I thought I would give my impressions of both.
I didn't really think I would be super-excited about this book, I was afraid it was going to be all Nazi uber-tech and not much else. There is a little bit of that but the lists in it are actually pretty good and the rules for the night vision stuff aren't terrible (though I have to say I have no desire to actually play with those rules)

The British get 3 lists, 2 Tank and 1 Infantry. The first list (11th Armoured Division) is for a Tank Company equipped with Comets. The Comet is a pretty good tank (both in the game and in real life) but it only saw combat in the last few months of the war so I can't imagine many people will really want to rush out and buy and paint a dozen of them -- I know I don't.

The second is for the armoured recce regiment of the 11th Armoured (15th/17th Hussars) which didn't get the Comets but does re-arrange its Cromwells so the Challengers are all in their own platoon. This is a list I would play given a chance.
A platoon with the 3 or 4 17 pdrs with ROF 3 is going to make even the heaviest of German tanks stop and think (and you can take 2 platoons if you happen to have 6 or 8 Challengers -- I just have the 3 pictured).

The third list is for infantry which has all the cool stuff the British get in late war like APCs and Crocodiles but on my quick read through there was nothing new and exciting.

The Germans also get 3 listts. The first 2 are for Panzerdivision Clausewitz which have a mix of Pz IVJs and and Pantthers (as well as STuGs, PZIV/70s and Jagdpanthers). They are rated Reluctant Veteran so they should be quite interesting to play -- and makes them cheap enough that you can have a variety of late war German armour in your list.

The last is a Marine-Grenadierkompanie which is also interesting. They are rated Fearless Trained (the fearless part seems a bit of a stretch) and can have a variety of support units. The infantry stands all have assault rifles and panzerfausts so they are quite powerful -- though they are really only better than normal Germans rated as MG teams when they are attacking and that probably isn't happening much in 1945. The really interesting part of this unit is they can take heavy-AA on railroad cars, I think they are likely to be borderline useless but they will be cool figures and I will definitely pick up some when they come out (if they come out, I don't see them mentioned on the FOW web page)

Some of the German units have the option to take IR night fighting gear which may be good but I probably won't make any effort to figure out the rules for it until I actually face someone who takes them.

Overall this book is an average FOW supplement. The lists are somewhat interesting even if the campaign they fought in isn't particularly interesting to me.


About a year ago I decided that I should get some Battlefoam trays to carry my Hail Caesar figures. I managed to fit the Romans and British into two plastic tubs but it wasn't ideal and they did get banged about a bit.

I decided on 3 tray configurations with the units already arranged on their movement tray. One for Cavalry:
One for Infantry:
And one for smaller units and command
Because of the height of the standards in most of the units, I went for the deepest trays available. When I got those back I decided that they worked reasonably well and that I should order some more and another bag. I had originally thought to get another bag like I had now but the thickness of the foam doesn't divide nicely into that bag and it seemed it would be better to have just one bag so I ordered the bigger 1520 XL.
This bag is certainly big -- it has suitcase wheels and a handle as well. The big drawback is that it opens on the side which means that you have to slide the trays out which requires a bit so space if you are going to do it carefully -- of course if this bag is needed it is likely to be a big game so there should be some space.

I was a bit disappointed that Battlefoam had changed the colour of their bags so they are all black now. The olive colour of the old ones wasn't all that wonderful either but I am not really a huge fan of back. Overall I am quite pleased with this purchase, it means that I can run a Hail Caesar game at Cangames or at the club and not have to worry about transportation and that I can store my figs in it at home at least until I get the basement sorted out (or paint up more Romans -- which to be honest, is likely to happen before the basement gets tidied).


I did manage to assemble my PzIV/70s so I will start in on them this week along with the PzIV Js and some Romans.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Firestorm Lorraine: Getting Ready

Starting in April the Ottawa Miniatures Gamers are running the Firestorm: Lorraine campaign for Flames of War. I am playing on the Germans side since the minutiae of late war Shermans in FOW is too much for me to handle.

I have been buying a few things for this campaign and here is my to be assembled/painted pile:

I had considered painting up some German infantry with assault rifles but I am really not in the mood to paint 15mm infantry (and if I was I have my Egyptian and Israelis in line first). I also thought I had got some FLaK halftracks but maybe they got back ordered (I did find my missing M2 Bradleys while looking for them so that is good).

I want to play with the Pz IV/70s so I will probably start with those (and the Pz IVs since they are all assembled). The halftracks would be good since the Pz IV/70s are in the FFH Panzergrenadier company but to be honest, I probably have enough halftracks already. I also want to run a list with a lot of Panthers so they will probably be up next.

Getting through the whole pile before the campaign ends should be an attainable goal even if my main focus during the time is on my 28mm  projects (Romans for Cangames and WWII stuff)

Monday, March 2, 2015

Fate of a Nation Final Round, Game 2

Here is the battle report for the second game but before I get started Mike has some comments on the games on his blog

For the second game we played a free-for-all. The Arab players added something to their list (can't remember what) and Stan and I each took out one M51 and I took the AA platoon and Stan took air support.

Again, Stan faced off against the line of T-55s behind a hill.

Someone has killed something because both players are moving their tanks at the same time!

Israeli air support arrives but sadly gets reduced to one plane due to the self-defense MGs on the M48s, I think we killed one tank.

The Ishermans rush forward to kill the M48s (or at least try)

The T-34/85s make up for their abysmal performance in the last game by taking out all the Ishermans (and the Jordanian M113s move forward)

The M48s take a plastering but the T-34/85s survive!

Another Israeli airstrike takes out some M48s and below that the Jordanian infantry has jumped out of their APCs after they come under fire.

The 2 Israeli AA halftracks are taken out causing my company to break and losing us the game. It was much closer this time.

I would like to play more of this time period -- I don't think I want to paint more T-55s though but doing some of the other lists for the Egyptians may be worthwhile and I am definitely going to paint some M48s for the Israelis so there is something better than the Isherman but cheaper than the Centurion

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Fate of a Nation Final Round

We had the final game of our Fate of a Nation Tank Aces campaign at the club today. There were 4 of us so we decided to do one big 2 on 2 game. Stan and I took the Israelis against Mike with the Jordanians and John with the Egyptians.

 Stan and I had identical forces each with an M-51 ISherman company command, a platoon of 3 IShermans and a platoon of 2 Sho'ts. The Egyptians had command of 1 T-55, a platoon of 10 T-55s as well as a platoon of T-34/85s and an AA platoon with 57mm AA. The Jordanians had command of M48, 2 platoons of M48 and infantry in M113s.

This was our first time playing with the point values from the proper book (rather than the magazine supplement) and the first game that had platoons (in the smaller point value Tank Aces games, each tank is treated as a n independent team).

We rolled for the Pincer mission so we started with all the Israelis on the table attacking and the Arab forces had half their force in delayed reserve and one ambush platoon.

The game started out well with my company wiping out the T-34/85s facing them. Stan had less luck (and was facing bigger tanks) and only managed to bail out one T-55.

On the Arab turn they got air support and ranged in on my Sho'ts
This resulted in one of the Sho'ts being destroyed.

I moved my IShermans up to fire at the T-55s and destroyed one. In the excitement I forgot to spread out the tanks in case of a future air attack.

It turned out not to matter because all 3 tanks were wiped out by the Jordanian Pattons before the plane got to strike! At that point all I had left was the company command tank.

By the next turn, Stan had lost his 2 Sho'ts and we decided to call the game and play another mission.

It was a fun game, I am still not sure how the Israelis can deal with the numbers against them. Maybe taking Pattons rather than Sho'ts is part of the solution (though I don't have any painted at the moment so it wasn't really a choice for today).

I will post the AAR for the second game in a later blog.