Monday 7 July 2014

Back of Beyond

It's been a quite a while since the Back of Beyond toys have been out of their boxes so I came up with a scenario for fighting across Hugh Wilsons lovely table. I made up orbats for 8 different forces but unfortunately only 7 of us turned up on the night but there was plenty to keep everyone busy.
Annoyingly I'm still having problems with the blog not allowing me to post pics but fortunately my mate Bill Gilchrist has posted a report and lots of pics on his blog so at least you can see what we've been up to.

Friday 31 January 2014

Donnybrook finally finished

I had wanted to post a notice that the skirmish rules Donnybrook which I have put a lot of time playtesting have now been released but the Blog has decided to act up again and not allowing me to post any graphics so here is a link to Barry Hilton's site.

Thursday 2 January 2014

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to everyone who's been following my blog and apologies for the lack of updates since the beginning of October but I hope to rectify that this year.  The lack of updates is not due to the lack of gaming but more due to work, family and the passing of a couple of friends taking up all my spare time.

The end of the year ended on a high with a fantastic refight of the battle of Aughrim with good friends Barry Hilton, Bob Talbot and Gerry Donohoe. A lot of the time was taken up with taking photos which meant we never got it finished but it has been left in place to fight to a finish on the 12th January so I'll post some pics after that. I hope everyone has had a great Christmas and had lots of wargames goodies that will be making an appearance during the year.

Monday 7 October 2013

Manchuria revisited

We had another game at Colins the other week and refought the amended version of our Manchuria game. Bill Gilchrist and Mr Ray commanded the Russian force while Colin Jack and myself commanded the Japanese. We gave the Russians an extra tank and another rifle squad and reduced the size of the table from an 8x4 to a 6x4 but it meant the Japanese were allowed to deploy up to 5' onto the table.
Russian forces prepare to advance
The first two tanks run into the snipers
Colin as overall Japanese commander deployed the two sniper teams as far forward as possible backed by the Manchuko Militia hidden in woods on the left flank while the rest of the forces and deployed in ambush positions in the main defence line.
Manchuko Militia about to assault the Russian tank
The Russians seemed to get the run of the order dice and quickly managed to take out the active Japanese defenders before the remaining troops in ambush could act.. The Manchuko Militia were quickly wiped out before they could even launch their assault.
This was one of the few Japanese successes assaulting the half track and crew
The final Russian assault
The game worked out really well, except for the result and I think the changes we made will make for a more enjoyable game.

Saturday 21 September 2013

Manchuria 1945

Had a game along at Colin's house this week and went back to WW2 but with a slight difference that this battle was between the Russians and Japanese right at the end of the war. All the figures and terrain is from Colin's vast collection. Following the defeat of Nazi Germany the Russians transferred tens of thousands of men to face the Japanese in Manchuria which the Japanese had taken off the Chinese in the 1930's. This game was a playtest of one of the games Colin is putting on at our next League of Gentlemen Wargamers weekend in November which is based around WW2, I hope to add more as the weeks go by.

The Russians commanded by Colin have launched a lightening strike with tanks supported by armoured infantry and tank riders against what seemed at first a very week Japanese force commanded by me. The scenario is that the Japanese have fallen back to defensive positions over the river and could be set up anywhere over the river except for two sniper teams that could be positioned on the Russian half of the table.
Russian armour trundles through the town
Main Japanese defence line
I placed the majority of my troops and armour in the main defence line and village except for a unit of Manchurian Militia that were left to defend one of the bridges crossing the river line and the 2 sniper teams were placed in the main town on the Russian side of the table.
Japanese armour in ambush positions in the village
At first looking at my force which was strong in infantry I thought the game was going to be a walk over for the Russians as the only anti-tank weapons I had were my two tanks, it was only during the fighting that I discovered how effective my 2 sniper teams could be at taking out tank commanders which added with Colin's terrible dice rolling for orders meant that they spent most of the game going backwards and meanwhile my infantry, especially the grenadier company with their 3 light mortars took out all the Russian infantry facing them.
The initial Russian advance looked so menacing
They quickly took the first bridge
After an initial successful start when they quickly wiped out my Militia unit guarding the bridge things started to go badly for the Russians and soon all their supporting infantry had been wiped out except for a group that was still on the Russian side of the river at the end of the game. The snipers worked a treat at taking out 2 tank commanders just as Colin decided that tanks without commanders had to pass order tests to act. I'm sure he regretted that as they kept failing. That was the main reason his last lot of infantry were stuck on the far bank as they were trying to take out the snipers and he succeeded in taking out one team but that was his only real success of the game.
Last Russian infantry sniper hunting
As a playtest the game worked well and the Japanese victory was unexpected so the next time we try it we will add a few more troops and an extra tank for the Russians, especially as they will have a time limit to get their victory. 

Tuesday 17 September 2013

Maurice rules for AWI

Last weeks game was an AWI game at Bill Gilchrist's house since it was his turn to have a gammy leg although he's had it for a few weeks now. All the figures and terrain were from Bill's collection and a very tasty lunch was supplied by his lovely wife Helena. Bill wanted us to try out the Maurice set of rules by Sam Mustapha to see what we thought of them , Bill and Colin Jack commanded the British while Mr Ray and myself commanded the Americans,

Bill had already tried them a few times and wasn't convinced so he was using us as guinea pigs. Even from Bill's introduction I was becoming very sceptical especially when he announced that there is only one general in a force so no historical nonsense like Brigadiers or wing commanders. The biggest problem with this was that all orders are issued by cards, in fact the whole game is run by cards so not sure if the rules have been produced for having games or for selling cards as there seems to be quite a lot of them and for a multi-player games like the one we were having we should have had a pack of cards for each two players.
British right flank
American left flank
 Virtually all the action in this battle took place between these two flanks of the battle mainly due to the deficiencies of the command system. To get troops to move they all have to be of the same type and within 4" of each other and depending on how far they were from the commander you might have to use a number of cards to get the order through. If that wasn't bad enough it also meant that no other troops could move, rally off disruption points or even fire your artillery at long range as they all took order points.
The Americans guns only managed to fire twice in the whole game despite having a large number of targets in range as in most moves we were having to rally off disruption points which meant we couldn't do anything else so the two of us ended up commanding the one flank of the battle whilst the other flank virtually did nothing. The British players also had the same problem and their left flank only managed to get moving towards the end of the battle and neither sides cavalry managed to move at all.
British advance to close range
Unfortunately for the American army the dice rolling of Mr Ray and myself was especially bad even by our standards whereas Colin keep rolling more than his fair share of 5's and 6's which meant we struggled to inflict casualties on the British and take our own disruption markers off. Because of our difficulties this meant the Brits could spend time to get their left flank moving forward but they probably wished they hadn't as they ended up losing a couple of Hessian units. This now took their army morale down to 4 which was also the same as the Americans but in the next move the Americans lost another two units which took our morale to 0 which ended the game.
Just about the final moment as the last American infantry unit got blown away
and only left the artillery and cavalry on this flank
Mr Ray and myself just before the final dice rolls
In the end we had an enjoyable game but I think that was more to do with the company than the rules which might work better for standard European battles rather than American ones. The short range volleying part of the game worked OK it's the limitations of the command system that lets the game down in my personal view and stop the use of historical tactics of using cavalry wings and supporting troops. I did wonder if we were using the rules wrongly but we had Dave Patterson with us at the beginning of the game who rates the rules highly so I guess we used them correctly.