Thursday, January 18, 2018

Northern Conspiracy January 2018 Game Night

Last Friday the conspiracy braved the weather again to get in some winter gaming. I participated in Greg's WWII skirmish game run with 'Chain of Command' rules by Too Fat Lardies. Greg's scenario featured his beautiful terrain and figures. This time the blitzkrieg into Poland at the start of the war. The scenario was a Polish counter attack. Phil, Chris and I were the Poles against experienced CoC players Byron and Dick.

Our attack was blunted early with effective MG fire from the Germans' Panzer I and main gun fire from their Panzer II quickly taking out one of my tanks and suppressing Chris' infantry. A turn later a Pak-36 popped a hole in the second of my three tanks, taking out my platoon leader.

From here things turned towards the Poles favor with Phil and his Polish light tanks tearing a swath through the right side of the Germans taking out tanks, infantry and the Pak-36 AT gun with equal prejudice. Phil's tanks were obviously crewed with Poland's finest tank crews. On the other flank Chris' infantry pressed forward and paid a heavy price for every inch of ground. Dick and I slugged it out mano-a-mano Panzer II vs my Vickers 17-ton tank, neither of us able to penetrate, or sometimes even hit the other. After several near misses on each side, my tank finally withdrew from the action, the heat too hot for them (retreated off the table). It was about this time that Phil's tankettes had finished up the Germans on his flank and were turning to the other side to seal the deal. Well done Phil - you saved Poland for another day.

Pete ran his 28mm Flanders game. It was epic-sized, trimmed to fit the players present for the game. Like most game nights at the Conspiracy, I wish I had been able to play in all THREE games.

Ralph ran a submarine warfare board game, Captain Sonar that was well received.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Star Wars X-Wing Ground Forces - Play Test #2

Last Friday Bob hosted the 2nd play test of his Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures Ground Forces rules. These are a series of house rules to extend Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures from outer space down to the planet's surface. The game uses available and previously-available licensed Star Wars toys and miniatures into a 6-10mm ground game. Combat and movement mechanisms are all similar or compatible with the core game, so familiar to new players.

The scenario was an Imperial attack on a Rebel base. The Imperials came in hot and heavy with AT-ATs and smaller walkers. The Rebels defended with their own walkers, heavy and light tanks and a few land speeders.

Mike's land speeders suffered dearly in their run at the AT-ATs. One did attempt a harpoon snare attack, but missed before being taken out. As the battle slugged on the Imperial forces kept the upper hand. The smaller walkers being just as effective as the larter AT-ATs. In the end the rebels did manage to take down one of the Goliaths, but the writing was on the wall for them.

This is a fun diversion and has great toys. Bob's rules have taken a huge step forward since the first play test and the game was big fun. Below is a small video of the battlefield during opening instructions.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

2017 Year In Review

2017 was a rough year for me personally. Things are better now, but my painting suffered throughout the middle of the year and painting totals are down significantly from previous years. Here's hoping 2018 brings me back to normal. My wargaming friends were great support during the year with 18 games played. I was also able to host 7 games myself and co-host another.  This was the year of WWII for me with a majority of my effort put into my WWII armies and running Iron Cross games. My favourite unit of the year is shown above, my scratch-built conversion of the Warlord Marder III into a Flakpanzer 38t and the RSO Pak-40 converted from the Warlord RSO and the gun from the Warlord Marder III. the best part of both is the RSO can still be used as a transportation vehicle due to use of magnets to mount the armoured cab and the AA gun on the Flakpanzer can also be used on the ground as an normal towed version.

Totals for this year are as follows:
  • Painted 28mm figures: 56 (mostly WWII British)
  • Painted 28mm vehicles: 7 - TWO were scratch build conversions
  • Terrain/Misc created: 51 - One scratch-built 28mm WWII German generator and some movement trays
  • Purchased painted 28mm figures: 28 (less than I painted!)
  • Purchased X-wing miniatures: 46
Painted figures pie-chart:

In 2018 I hope to continue enjoying Iron Cross WWII gaming. It's my hope to settle down on club 'house rules' for terrain and some of the less clear portions of these otherwise excellent rules. My other big project will be to return to working on my Electronic Brigadier rules in hopes of getting Napoleonics play tested and fully tuned. Once that's done I hope to allow some friends access to the system to run some games.

Here's wishing everyone a fun and productive 2018.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Northern Conspiracy December 2017 Game Night

Last night about 14 of the Northern Conspirators braved single-digit temperatures, slick roads and a burst sprinkler pipe in the hotel to attend December game night. Considering the slick roads and holiday season, a good turn out. Two games were run. To the left Mark Decouteau's War of 1812 game of the Battle of Lundy's Lane. This game was run using Mark and Ed's house rule wing scale variant of Volley & Bayonet. Talking to Ed after the game it looks like he and Mark are on the right track with this variant and all had a good time. Apologies for the poor focus on the photo. The lighting in the room was a bit dark and the hotel maintenance staff were a bit too overwhelmed with the flooding to ask for their help with it.

The other game was my 28mm WWII Iron Cross game. This was a hypothetical fight over an unnamed village in France on or around D-day plus four. The scenario was a German defense of a small village with the British attacking. The Germans started with a platoon of Osttruppen (Poles) in the village with the British marching on a superior force with armor support and the Germans bringing in some regular grenadiers and some scraped-together light armor to defend.

Rob and Charlie were the British. Although they didn't stop for tea, Charlie's force flanked the town and a large portion of it never really got into the fight. Charlie's armor and mortars were used to good effect, but the infantry lagged behind. On Rob's side he decided to also develop a heavy Vickers MG field of fire supported by his Sherman before going in with his Tommies. Once fully engaged it looked effective, but the Poles held firm responding to several rallies from their German officers.

In the end the Poles held out long enough for the German reinforcements to arrive and solidify the situation for the day. D-day +5 would probably see them pulling out under the darkness of night, but for this day the Germans carried the battle for the village.

We like the activation system and combat systems in Iron Cross a lot. It's a simple game with a lot to recommend. There are a few 'dark corners' in it that are left for the game master to handle. For my games I'm working on a consistent set of guidelines to use game-to-game to keep things predictable. I've worked up a QRS that is more intuitive for us on the west side of the Atlantic. Once I'm happy with it I will probably make it available for public consumption.

Friday, December 29, 2017

More WWII British Infantry and Support Weapons

These will likely be the last figures posted for 2017. The year started off well with me doing quite a bit of 28mm vehicle conversions for WWII skirmish gaming, but personal events kept me away from the painting table for most of the year. With a game to put on tomorrow, I found the motivation to base up these figures which have been languishing on the painting table since late spring.

The infantry in the force consists of ten rifle-armed infantry, two Thompson-armed NCOs and a crouching figure suitable as an officer or forward observer as needed. In addition to the grunts, there is another 3" mortar and a 'Six-pounder' anti-tank gun. All figures are West Wind figures (from Old Glory here in the USA) with the exception of the two NCOs which I believe are Artisan. They are block painted and finished with my home made 'magic wash'. Grass tufts are Leadbearer's tufts which I highly recommend. I'll count this as 21 figures for this year's painting totals counting each special weapon as a single figure.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Merry Christmas

I'd like to take this chance to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and happy new year.

Things at home have been distracting from my hobby, but with a work break coming up I hope to finish basing up some 28mm WWII British I've recently finished painting.

I'll also be hosting an Iron Cross game at our club's December game night later in the month that should make for some nice photo ops for a last game of the year.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Two French vs Austrian Napoleonic Campaign Games

Last Saturday, ten of us got together to play the opening battles in a new Napoleonic campaign run by Charlie, the author of Napoleon's Rules of War. We used my large twelve-foot table, split in half to play two battles simultaneously. Seen at the left the full length of the table as the battles begun.

On the near table, the larger of the two battles was played with French players Rob, Earl and Byron (left to right left photo) and Austrian players Peter, Kevin and I (right photo left to right with me behind the camera).

At this battle the French were outnumbered three to four, with the Austrians having their corps artillery in addition to the additional other troops. The French did well causing more Austrian casualties than they received before being forced to withdraw from the battle due to their own casualties.

On the far table were Ralph as the sole French commander and Bob and Mike as the Austrian commanders. The troops in addition to the players were 2:1 in favor of the Austrians. Ralph fought a good defense, but the Austrian numbers here brought a predictable result.

This was an enjoyable rare December game. With all that goes on during the month we were happy to sneak in a day of gaming, and get both large games on the table for an afternoon of fun.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Northern Conspiracy October 2017 Game Day

Last Saturday fellow blogger and club-mate Ed M hosted an EPIC-sized 28mm alternate Waterloo scenario of Prussians vs. French in the Ramillies Gap. The game featured Charlie's excellent rules, Napoleon's Rules of War with some modifications specifically added by Ed for the game. For more photos and information, Ed has a lovely article on his blog about the game day from the game master's point of view.

The game was a one-day campaign and game all wrapped up into one. The order of march was determined prior to the players arriving, but approach marches were up to each player. I was commanding Prussian 1st division with Byron my 2iC commanding the right brigade, while I was on the left - tasked with taking the town. Opposite us was the French primary push complete with the young guard and it's accompanying grand battery!

The French artillery hit early and often. I was able to return the favor against French infantry in the town with my 12-pounder battery, driving them out. Towards the end of the day more French reinforced the town. With the battle drawing to a close I made a push into the town with a multi-battalion force while the Prussian grenadiers supported the attack on the right neutralizing a young guard battalion that was worn down from ranged fire. My attack was only partially successful with my regulars locked in a struggle for the town with the French.

Across the battlefield there were losses and gains on both sides, most of which still in the balance when we ran out of time. This was an epic fight fought to a draw - everyone won since we all had a great time. Many photos below....

 Prussian center advanced guard approaches the battlefield...
Main bodies of French and Prussian forces in the center. The French, first to the town, secure it.

The main forces engage each other, first with artillery, then cavalry, then combined attacks. Prussian position battery clears the front of the town.

The Young Guard arrives, secures the town and advances to attack  the center.

Towards the end of the game here is a series of left-to-tight panoramic photos. Left of center, the French dragoon division arrives and threatens Prussian 2nd division. Prussian reserve cavalry responds. In the distance, 3rd division presses the French light cavalry.
In the Center the struggle for the town continues. Prussian grenadiers holding the town's left flank, French Young Guard hold the town right.
 Right center, Byron's command at a stand off with Dave's French.
Extreme right, Mike, Michael and Kevin press against Earl's French.