Monday, July 23, 2018

Tomahawks and Tankers

I had a chance to get in some gaming this weekend. On Saturday, I got together with Kevin and David Sullivan for a game using their Flint and Feather figures and the Song of Drums and Tomahawks rules. The figures look great and my photos don’t really do them justice (I recently got a new camera and I’m still learning how to use it, even on Auto settings).
Moving onto the board
It was planned to be a four-player game, but we only ended up with three people. David had envisioned a three-way battle, but Kevin and I didn’t really hear that part and ganged up on him. Kevin and I had eight native warriors with a mix of muskets, bows, and “primitive weapons.”
My troops with their stat sheet
David had a mixed force of natives, with mixed bows and hand weapons, and French, armed muskets and swords.
Frenchmen, with a big stick, in the distance
The rules have some interesting mechanics that is shared with other Song of … games, but also has some period specific rules. I like the activation rules, the combat rules seemed to be a lot of pushing and shoving with some surprising lethality mixed in to keep you on your toes.
some ineffective skirmishing
David and I started close together and engaged in some skirmishing. Kevin had some horrible rolls during the game and it took him a long time to get his warriors to engage. My bow fire proved to be mostly ineffective. I did have some luck with my muskets and by the end of the game I had killed a couple of David’s Frenchmen. My melee figures turned out to be pretty ineffective and unlucky. All my melee battles ended with my figure getting whacked by David’s primitive weapons. One of the special rules for the era is that if the player with a primitive weapon rolls a natural 6 and wins the melee, they automatically kill the opponent. This happened to three of my warriors, at which point I decided to focus on long-range shooting.
My bowman misses his shot while my hero tries (and fails) to bash a Frenchman
More skirmishing
After everyone lost half their forces, we decided to end the game. I lost five figures, Kevin lost four, and David lost four. Since Kevin and I had ganged up on David, we declared him the big winner.
My survivors limp off the field
I like the rules and look forward to trying them out again. You can read David’s and Kevin’s reports of the action on their blogs.

On Sunday, I had a little free time and decided to try a solo game of What a Tanker. I pulled out my 1/285 scale Desert War tanks (from a previous summer project) for the game and used centimeters for range instead of inches. I didn’t want to do a 1 vs 1 battle (that seemed a little boring, even if I was just learning the rules), so I decided to match a British M3 Lee and Honey against a German Panzer III H and Panzer II F (the points matched up nicely for these tanks). 
The British tanks ...
and the Germans
I wanted to include some basic terrain, which in the desert is mostly dunes and scrub. But because there aren’t any rules for hills in the game, I decided to treat dunes as minor obstacles. If two were stacked, the second would block line of sight. I felt like this gave me some decent terrain to try to hide behind and kept the battlefield looking like the desert.

The rules are pretty straightforward, but it still took me a little while to get into the swing of the action. Both sides moved forward and took a few pot shots, without inflicting any permanent damage. As the tanks closed, the Panzer III got off a good shot at the Honey hitting with four dice. But the Honey rolled four saves and only ended up falling back.
Lucky Honey
Once the tanks got closer I started getting more permanent damage on both sides. The Panzer III was caught in a crossfire and reduced to two command dice. But then the Panzer II, which had been slow to move all game, suddenly sprang into action. It closed on the Honey’s flank and blew it up with some rapid fire shots.
Not so lucky Honey
The next turn, the M3 Lee finished off the Panzer III, making it a 1 on 1 battle. The Panzer II tried to maneuver to get on the Lee’s flank, but the British tank was able to get the right combination of command dice to acquire, aim, and shoot. That was followed by goods rolls of the 6 strike value dice, which turned out to be too much for the little Panzer.
The M3 Lee is the winner
It was an interesting little game. There are a more decisions (and frustrations) than I originally thought there would be. Additionally, it seems hard to get an outright kill with the early war tanks (that may change with later war tanks) and the battle seems to be more about whittling down your enemy. I’m looking forward to playing the rules some more.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Summer Update

After taking my usual time away from gaming after Enfilade and with the normal gaming slow-down for summer yardwork, I’m looking at getting back to some gaming stuff. Here is what is on my summer horizon.
A pair of previously painted Italian G.50 fighters
First up, the Malta air campaign. This is an outgrowth of the Illustrious project and was spurred on by getting a playtest version of David Manley’s Air War 1940 rules. The campaign will be based off some ideas published in Wargames Illustrated #198 (yes, that is an old issue from June 1998) and the new Osprey Malta 1940-42 air campaign book. We’ve taken the general idea from that article and fleshed out the missions and victory conditions a little. But mostly it will be a chance to put some planes in the air.
I’ve currently got a mix of planes I’m working on for Malta and the Western Desert including – Gloster Gladiators, Tomahawks (P-40B/C), Spitfire V, Cr.42s, and G.50s. Kevin is working on the Luftwaffe and already has a bunch of Italians and British. I’m also going to pick up some medium tonnage merchant ships, in case one of the missions ends up as a ship attack (they will also show up in my WWII coastal forces games). The Malta game will most likely take the place of my usual summer solo game, since I will be playing games with other people!

Once the Malta planes are done, I expect to move some Gripping Beast Plastics Arabs, foot and horse, into the painting queue. I've put together the light cavalry figures and I'm working on the heavy cavalry next. I'll put up photos once I get some paint on the figures.

Another possible summer distraction is the new "What a Tanker!" rules from Too Fat Lardies. Some of the guys in the area are talking about starting some linked games as part of a campaign. I've picked up a copy of the rules, so I can join the action. Although I think I will skip the France 1940 campaign and pick up with the next one (Russia or Western Desert). They are planning on using 15mm tanks, which should reduce any costs of having to buy tanks for this little side project.

Finally, I'm looking toward August and what I can game I can run for International Naval Wargaming Day 2018. David Manley started this last year (and I'm hoping he continues to push it) to "Celebrate the birth of the father of naval wargaming, Fred T. Jane, by running or taking part in a game of your own!" Jane's birthday, August 6, falls on a Monday this year. But I'm hoping to get a few people together the weekend before (or maybe even on Monday) far a small game. I just need to go through my stuff to pick out an appropriate game. 
There will probably be a few other things that pop-up during the summer, but it feels like this is a good start.