Thursday, 17 August 2017

Where Sten Guns Dare

Another set of rules to grab my attention is the latest publication from Nordic Weasel, a very aplty titled WW2 skirmish system built around small scale commando raiding and derring-do. I had a cunning plan a couple of years ago to do just this sort of thing in 28mm, my Achtung Kommando! project, but with no set of suitable squad level rules to use, aside from Bolt Action! which I don't really like, I left the figures to gather dust on the shelf.

Now, suitably equipped with proper rules for commando raiding, I may now well dig them out, blow off the dust and blow something up later in the year?

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Patton's First Fight

I've been reading through the Fistful of Lead: Viva la Revolucion! scenario supplement and working out how to put together a starting force for both the American Punitive Expedition and the Villistas. An obvious scenario to kick things off would be Scenario 10: Patton's First Fight. This represents the raid by Patton and his foraging party on a ranch where one of Villa's top commanders, Julio Cardenas, was staying, leading to a brief but bloody skirmish in which the rebels were killed. It's a small scenario with limited forces, so perfect as a beginning to a larger project.

The 20mm forces required for the scenario I already have from Shellhole Scenics, including a squad of ten US Infantry and a contingent of six Dorados, the elite cavalry unit of the Villista forces, the latter both in mounted and dismounted form. In the raid, the small force of Cardenas actually made a run for it on horseback, charging out of the gateway of the ranch in an attempt to getaway. The scenario only has them on foot defending the ranch but I might as well paint up the mounted figures too. I think I may also have a couple of die cast toy vintage cars for Patton to arrive in?

The only thing I need is a terrain square and a suitable 20mm scale ranch house with a surrounding wall, as I already have some desert scatter terrain and can improvise a two foot square board. This can actually be  little smaller as the scenario assumes that you will be using 28mm figures, so I might scale it down to 20'' or so? The ranch can be found in the Blotz 20mm Middle Eastern range, which has a couple of suitable buildings, both with lift-off roofing. These could be used as they are, with one only needing the addition of a small outbuilding to be spot on, although I could change the position of the main gateway to match the scenario plan.

This is definitely a manageable project and would be a good place to start!

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Crom: A Skirmish Game set in the Hyborian Age

I have been thinking about some fantasy skirmish gaming for a while, having failed to get Frostgrave off the ground due to the not insignificant body count, terrain and time required, with something equivalent to a Fistful of Lead in terms of scale. I stumbled across the Crom's Anvil site the other day, by way of the Wargames Website, and thought that the Crom rules using 15mm figures sounded interesting.

The Crom rules are based on skirmish gaming with a handful of figures in a Conan the Barbarian style, with the use of 15mm figures rather than 28mm as an added twist. The Crom's Anvil range of 15mm figures and terrain is what grabbed my attention, especially the way that the lovely Copplestone Castings 18mm figures have been used as a starting point, with very real advantages in terms of cost and space required for a decent terrain set up.

By scaling down to 15/18mm the playing area can be reduced to no more than a 60cm square board, which would be very easy to produce on one of those cheap canvas picture frames, with some scatter terrain position on top. As much of this is of a desert or arid appearance the effort required to create it would be minimal and I already have some 15mm Blotz laser cut middle eastern style buildings that I could use. There are only a handful of figures required too,

The Crom rules themselves are only a fiver from Matakishi's Workshop via Wargames Vault. They use a neat card driven, dice pool system and opposed rolls to make movement, combat and magic use really tactical, although they might take a little getting used to. There are some after action reports in a linked campaign narrative format on the Crom's Anvil site and the Crom Companion includes a breakdown of a typical introductory game, so you can see how the system works for real.

I may well give this some more thought.....

Thursday, 10 August 2017

The Mexican Expedition 1916-1917

I'm skimming through this US government pamphlet history of the US intervention in Mexico to track down Pancho Villa. There's a separate volume on the 1st Aero Squadron and it's role in the expedition, which is also worth reading, even if the aircraft involved didn't achieve very much. There were several small scale skirmishes between the US troops, the Carranza government forces and the Villistas, including a few which didn't go so well for Black Jack Pershing's doughboys. Here's one for a start, the rather grandly titled but fairly pointless Battle of Carrizal:

There's some good stuff here, with lots of potential for some skirmish gaming using the Fistful of Lead: Viva Revolucion! supplement as a starting point. I will dig out the Shellhole Scenics 20mm figures that I have when I get back from my holidays to see what I can do with this project. I have American infantry and some vehicles already but, from the reading I've been doing, I'll need to add some US Cavalry too, probably using the Early War Miniatures figures, together with some Mexican federal troops.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Fortifications Presqu'île de Crozon

We went to the Crozon peninsula opposite the naval port of Brest a couple of days ago and visited the various fortifications around Roscanvel and the Pointe de Espagnols. These range in date from the Vauban era, through the Napoleonic Wars to the late nineteenth century, with the usual Atlantic Wall bunkers often superimposed on the top. The most impressive site was the Fort de Capucins on the Western side of the Roscanvel peninsula, although we couldn't climb down to walk around it as the kids only had flip flops on and the path was pretty steep. Anyway, here are a selection of pictures that I took on our very brief day trip, but I'm sure we'll go back to have a proper look next year.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

I.N.W.D. 2017 Sails and Powder Playtest

As promised, a very enjoyable if rather unrealistic and overly simplified Napoleonic naval game, using Sails and Powder for International Naval Wargaming Day 2017:

Anyone know of a more realistic but still fast play, 'beer and pretzels' set of rules for this sort of thing?

Saturday, 5 August 2017

International Naval Wargaming Day 2017

As today is the aforementioned inaugural I.N.W.D. I'm going to be playing a Napoleonic naval game using the very simplified, fast play Sails and Powder rules. Yesterday, I went to see the fortifications on the Presqu'ile de Roscanvel peninsula opposite Brest, so I thought a game of Royal Navy blockade and break out by a French flotilla would be very fitting. I'll post an after action report over on the other blog, as it's more of a beer and pretzels, print and play sort of thing, which is the best I can do as I'm on holiday. I will, however, add a post about my day trip to see some of the pretty spectacular coastal defences that we visited yesterday, with some good photos too.

Friday, 4 August 2017

A Fistful of Plastic

The sprog asked if he could have a game of A Fistful of Lead: Reloaded AKA 'the cowboy game' today. We are on holiday at the moment so I don't have access to my 28mm figures or terrain but I do have a copy of the rules on the laptop, so all that we need to run a scenario or two is some alternative figures of some sort. I'm going to have a look in the local supermarket for some plastic toy 'Cowboy and Indian' play sets tomorrow, which should fill the gap and possibly even include some covered wagons, fences and cactus, which you normally find bundled with this sort of thing. They may well be in technicolour but at least it will be easy to work out which gang or posse is which!

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Magasin de Presse

It's time to raid the local newsagent again, in search of more cool French military history, aviation and wargaming magazines. This time I have only grabbed a copy of the latest edition of Los!, which is particularly good as it has an article on Italian Navy coastal forces on the Eastern Front, which is really interesting.

I didn't know, for instance, that there were operations on Lake Lagoda by Italian MAS boats based in Finland against Soviet coastal convoys. There's obviously loads of potential for scenarios there, let alone in the Black Sea. At last, I have a good use for my Skytrex MAS boats and Soviet MTB's!

There's also a lengthy article on the Cold War confrontation between NATO and the Soviet navy in the Norwegian Sea and another on B-24 Liberator anti-shipping strikes against Japanese shipping in the CBI, which would make for some interesting Bag the Hun gaming. Good stuff!

Monday, 31 July 2017

International Naval Wargaming Day 2017

That nice chap David Manley has launched the first International Naval Wargaming Day, scheduled for Sunday 6th August, the birthday of Fred T. Jane, no less. I thought this was a genuinely brilliant idea, so am very happy to spread the message a little bit further with a rather natty poster, if I say so myself, courtesy of the US Navy and five minutes with MS Paint. Here's David's explanation:

Anyway, I'm on holiday so whatever I can come up with in naval wargaming terms for the weekend ahead, may well have to be a bit lashed together, if not last minute. I have a few ideas but all will be revealed on the big day itself. If I was at home I'd set up a game of Schnellrules for Schnellboote, Galleys and Galleons or Victory at Sea but I'm sure I can come up with something suitably nautical here instead!

Pershing's Punitive Expedition

I've been reading through the Fistful of Lead: Viva la Revolucion! supplement, with a focus on the Pancho Villa Expedition scenarios which are included as the last two out of the ten in the set. The first of these is based on the infamous raid by Pancho Villa on Columbus, New Mexico, while the second features the raid by Patton on the San Miguelito ranch to capture Julio Cardenas, although he was killed in the firefight that followed. These are both cracking little scenarios, with only a six to ten figures aside, so more than feasible in 20mm.

However, I have enough 20mm American Expeditionary Force figures and Villistas to expand the size of scenarios to twenty figures or so per side, which opens up all sorts of potential skirmish gaming possibilities. I originally bought two of the Shellhole Scenics army packs, which include about thirty infantry, nine mounted and dismounted cavalry or a couple of vehicles, together with a couple of machine guns or artillery pieces each. This means that I have more than enough figures for some decent platoon level skirmish games, with a few motorcycles and a Jeffrey Quad armoured car too.

All I need are some buildings, which I can get from the Blotz Middle Eastern adobe range in 20mm, and some railway track and a train, which I can source via eBay from the old Triang range. The Shellhole Scenics exhibition game featured a very nice train using the same OO gauge locomotive, box cars and caboose, which are readily available for peanuts if you hunt about a bit. I've also got an old 1/72nd scale Curtiss Jenny model kit that would be ideal for scouting ahead of an American patrol or supply column. I have all the terrain I need otherwise already.

This could be a lot of fun...if I ever get round to doing it!?

Saturday, 29 July 2017

A Fistful of Lead: Viva la Revolucion!

Jaye Wiley has just published a scenario supplement for A Fistful of Lead: Reloaded based on the Mexican Revolution. This neatly combines one of my favourite sets of rules with one of my favourite historical conflicts. How neat is that! 

I will now, at long last, have a set of decent skirmish rules to use with the Shellhole Scenics 20mm figures that I bought at Warfare last year. The scenarios are squad or platoon level, so ideal for 20mm rather than the more expensive option of 28mm. I can also use a lot of my existing desert terrain.

The supplement also has rules for motor vehicles, trains and aircraft, to bring things bang up to date c1910 and to add some more excitement to the scenarios. I am now a very happy gringo! You can get your own copy of the Viva la Revolucion! supplement from Wargames Vault or direct from Wiley Games.

Battle of Britain Bookshelf

I'm reading The Battle of Britain: An epic conflict revisited over the holidays. It's had very good reviews and is currently only about four quid on the Kindle, so it's well worth grabbing a copy. I'm also going to be playing a series of Battle of Britain themed games over on my other blog, so should have plenty of inspiration. I really should run a Bag the Hun Finest Hour campaign too, which I have always wanted to do but somehow never managed to get around to. Perhaps I should stick to Wings At War: Scramble for Britain instead, as 1/600th scale is much cheaper and far quicker to paint than 1/285th!

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

More Tea, Vicar?

As it's the Summer Holidays, I will be shuffling over to the other blog for the duration, where I will be doing the usual board, card and print and play wargaming stuff. This time I'll be giving the Table Air Combat system a thrashing over the skies of good old Blighty, for some linked campaign style scenarios set during the Battle of Britain. I'll also be trying out the one brain cell, print and play Napoleonic naval rules, Trafalgar (very original that) and I'll be continuing my attempt to play all of the scenarios in the excellent Tank on Tank hex and counter series, both on the Western and Eastern Front. If that's not enough, I may even try out Airfix Battles for some WW2 skirmishing or take some of my new 'off the shelf' games along to playtest, who knows?