Sunday, April 22, 2018

Monmouth Courthouse Lee Attacks! scenario - Electronic Brigadier

Next month at the upcoming Huzzah! 2018 convention I will be running a Monmouth Courthouse AWI scenario I've titled 'Lee Attacks!'. The scenario is a hypothetical re-match of the historical forces asking the question, 'What if General Lee had convinced Washington to allow him to attack with volunteer regiments instead of limiting him to only volunteer soldiers?'. The battle uses the historical order of battle, but when soldiers from a particular regiment were present, I instead give Lee the entire regiment (or brigade as the case may be). To make this a fair fight, I've brought an appropriate amount of the British column back to aid in the rear guard.

This and the Huzzah! game use my computer moderated rules, The Electronic Brigadier. While I've been happy with the system for AWI for about a year now, I'm always looking to improve thing as I work on the other periods. In order to give the convention gamers the best experience possible, I prefer to play test my scenarios with friends from my club when possible. This game was the dress rehearsal for the upcoming Huzzah! game. With a good mix of Electronic Brigadier veterans as well as less experienced players, I'm pretty sure this game gave the rules a good run through. I had my video camera running, so there are some short videos of the game interspersed in this report. Below, a quick view of the table.

Below left photo left to right the Americans: Earl, George, Mike and Rob. Right photo left to right the Britsh: Bob, Ralph, Kevin and Byron. In the background you can see I've only managed to get part of my collections into my new cabinets featured in the previous blog post.

This scenario is a meeting engagement with the British strung out in column of march on the road past the Courthouse (represented by the shabby shack in the middle of the table). The British rear guard has just managed to react to Lee's approaching attack from table left (south west). The British column is under the most pressure from the rear by Scott's, Grayson's and Wane's detachments, but further up the local New Jersey brigade bolstered by local militia approaches through the west ravine.

Both sides chose to attack on their respective right flanks. The photos above show Scott's detachment commanded by Earl, pressing Byron's rear guard ad-hoc brigade on the southern end of the battle. Earl's continentals took early advantage of Byrone's over-aggressive Hessian grenadiers, focusing fire on them eventually pushing them out of the British line. Byron's elite light infantry held the flank from collapsing while Kevin filled the void with fresh British grenadiers.

On the north flank, seen in the distance of this photo, Bob and Ralphs' troops pressed Rob's New Jersey brigade hoping to drive off Rob's two militia brigades. The British failed to close due to very effective fire from the militia on several attempts thanks to support from the New Jersey battery and a bad case of the jitters from one British regiment. The one British attack that did close with the militia sent the bayonet-less locals running to the rear.

As the battle continued the British suffered higher losses than the Americans, and as we called the game, the state of morale for the American army had a slight edge over the British.

The end of battle statistics were as follows:

British Rear Guard
Army cohesion: 83.3%
Total Casualties: 389 / 6240 (6.2%)
3 units shaken, 1 battery abandoned guns

Honors to: 123 - 64th Foot
American Advance Guard
Army cohesion: 84.3%
Total Casualties: 309 / 7420 (4.2%)
2 units shaken, 1 battery abandoned guns

Honors to: 233 - 3rd & 4th New Jersey

Both sides played competently. Although there were successes and failures on both sides, I think most were 'in the dice' that Electronic Brigadier rolls during combat and morale. Well fought game by all. I had great fun hosting it. Thanks to everyone for helping me play test the game.

Electronic Brigadier Extras

For those interested in the Electronic Brigadier rules in general, I was also able to get a nice video of Byron's move while Earl entered his information into one of the tablets. This gives a neat window into what goes on during a typical Electronic Brigadier turn for two opposing players. For more videos on Electronic Brigadier, you can view my YouTube playlist for Electronic brigadier. If you're interested in following the progress of Electronic Brigadier, you can join or view The Electronic Brigadier Google Community.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

New Figure Storage

I've never had a way to store my figure collection that could be easily viewed while gaming. My uncle uses some store display cabinets in his game space that I've always been very envious of. They can be seen in the background of this photo.  I've been looking for something similar, but to date have been unable to put my hands on any similar store displays. My solution - go with some off-the-shelf glass front book cases from Ikea. These are their REGISSÖR glass front cabinets. I picked them up on sale, but they were still a significant investment of money and took about five hours to assemble and install.

I'm still trying to decide if I need to put some lighting inside them. Before I received and installed these I was considering LED strip lighting on the underside of the shelves. After seeing them with my room's daylight spectrum fluorescent lighting they may have just enough ambient light to not necessitate the additional lighting. Until I decide I'm going to hold off on filling these with figures. If I decide to add the lighting I'll need to empty them. I'm trying to not have to do that.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Northern Conspiracy March 2018 Game Night

Friday the Northern Conspiracy got together for our March game night. We had a packed house with all games filled with plenty of players. I believe two of the three were at maximum capacity, but thanks to Michael's flexible scenario everyone found a game to play.

Speaking of Michael, he ran his medieval 28mm Castle siege game with the very fun Have Fun Storming The Castle Lads rules. 

Update - Ed has more photos and an additional write-up of game night on his blog here.

Byron ran his 28mm Indian Mutiny game using the Civil War skirmish rules Brother against Brother with slight modifications for the period.

I ran a 28mm Iron Cross game. The scenario was Operation Charnwood, July 4th 1944. Elements of the 8th Canadian Infantry Brigade with support from the 10th Canadian armored division press forward to capture the town of Carpiquet which is defended by the 26th SS Panzergrenadier regiment and elements of the 1st Panzer division.

Below the German defenders on the left, Kevin, Mark and John and the Canadian attackers Earl, Charlie and Bob.

I allowed both sides to pre-deploy up to three infantry detachments on their side of the table as listening posts. The Canadians chose to occupy their sector of the town with all three of their listening posts. The Germans put on each in the town, the farm and the bunker.

The Canadian presence in the town was effective and eventually killed one and drove out another German detachment from the large residence in the German sector. The Germans brought a Tiger I to support the bunker and duel with the Canadian Firefly that had bogged town on top of a hill. Faring even BETTER than the Hollywood easy-8 Fury, the Firefly luckily bounced not one, but THREE glancing blows from the Tiger, and with rousing words from their commander rallied from near death TWICE, escaping from the hill to pound the German-occupied townhouse.

The Canadians brought up an M-10 wolverine which easily took out an over-aggressive Flakpanzer 38(t). Somehow the Flakpanzer crew got brave in the face of just Canadian infantry, but soon found out they weren't a real tank when the M-10 showed up.

This wasn't all one-sided for the Canadians. The Germans reinforced the town with another platoon of infantry and flanked it to the east (far side most photos) with a second platoon that nearly destroyed the Canadian commander's squad. In the middle consistent fire from the farmhouse took out the British 17-pounder AT gun, and in an MG duel Kevin's MG-42 took out a British vickers .50 cal.

At time the game was a dead heat with both armies occupying about 50% of the center of the table's important objectives and casualties even. I believe eventually the Canadians had a good chance of winning the town and the Germans would probably keep the farm and hill with the battle being decided by which of the armor would come out on top.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

28mm French Napoleonic Lancers and more German WWII Infantry

I had some pin money from selling off one of my more expensive R/C gliders so I did some shopping on Ebay recently. This post is what I've purchased so far. All figures were purchased pre-painted, although both groups needed some additional work to pass muster. The first is a unit of French Napoleonic light lancers. These came individually based and nicely pre-painted. Unfortunately all of the riders were poorly glued on and most were loose. So were the bent up lead lances and flag staff. I de-based all of the figures, glued all of the riders back on properly, and re-fitted all of the lances with proper steel ones with pre-formed spear points. The flag staff was scratch built from the lead eagle affixed to steel wire. All items were glued on and re-painted. Then I went over all the figures and touched up  the shipping damage. The final step was to give them my usual basing process. Total time committed was about two hours - well worth it for such a sharp looking unit. Only slight issue is I'm pretty sure these guys aren't painted up as an actual unit.  I can't find references to any of the all-blue uniformed lancers with red facings. If it were just the facings, I'd have touched them up in yellow, but that I'm leaving them as-is.

The second unit is a few more German infantry from Veteran painting service. These were posted at a very nice price, so I couldn't resist picking up just one more unit. This one has a good mix of cloth caps which I like a lot for variety. These took the usual clean up painting of adding German grey to the helmets and gas mask case, a dry brush of gun metal on the rifles and SMGs and a few of the canteens needed some touching up. The basing on these is spot on so nothing needed to be done there. Total time invested was about 20 minutes.

We have more snow falling tonight, so these photos were taken indoors. Apologies for the poor lighting. I'm still trying to figure out how to remedy that. My gaming table has twelve four-foot daylight spectrum fluorescent bulbs which make the table very bright. Figure close-ups still seem to give me trouble even in that much light.

I'm counting these two groups as 24 painted figures purchased (mounted counting double) and four stands re-based in my annual totals.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Medium Bunker

Lately I've been on a huge 28mm WWII binge thanks to our club really enjoying Iron Cross. Iron Cross games are better with a lot of terrain. Also bunkers in Iron Cross, while good, aren't the unbeatable fortresses that they can be in some other rules. Thanks to that I feel I need to add a few more bunkers to my terrain collection. This is a  medium sized bunker that will accommodate one weapons team on my standard 2.25" circle bases or four individually mounted figures. I was TRYING to make a 5-figure bunker but somehow figured out a way to mess that up. Still this will be a valuable asset for future games.

I've shown it in the photo to the left with some 28mm figures for scale. I intentionally made the layers visible to mimic many of the bunkers that were poured in multiple passes.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

W.I.P - 28mm Small Townhouse With Gable - Part 3

Tonight I finished the base coloring of the small townhouse. I used some cheap craft paints on the roof, so I need to let it all dry at least 24 hours. Later this week or maybe this weekend I'll finish up weathering the house which should make it table ready. I'm not entirely sure the hours put into the piece can be justified against the cost of the excellent Miniature Building Authority buildings, but there is the satisfaction of knowing that the piece is homemade.

Monday, February 26, 2018

W.I.P - 28mm Small Townhouse With Gable - Part 2

Another night of progress on the small townhouse with gable. I've completed the applique stone work on the corners with some extra sprinkled in for texture. I've added doors front and back, a chimney and roofing made from polystyrene 'tile' roofing sheet. Next up a coat of paint on the trim, roof, chimney pipe and interior and some weathering.

I'm still undecided if I'm going to paint the corner stone work a different color from the field of the house. The main color is hardware store texture spray paint which has a very nice multi-color look to it up close. The digital camera plays tricks with it, but in person it looks a peach.

W.I.P - 28mm Small Townhouse With Gable

While helping one of my radio-controlled airplane friends with a project on the laser, I was showing him some of my wargaming items. As a younger man he also did some miniatures gaming. About half way through I showed him a stack of 'ideas' on my workbench. I quickly realized that I hadn't done a significant laser project in a while. I have a lot of Miniature Building Authority buildings. One that I've always wanted is their small stucco house with gable, but it's out of print. They have a couple that are similar that have replaced this one in their line. I figured I would take a shot at making something similar.

I've chosen to make these separate stories to make using figures inside much easier. The Iron Cross rules we play care if a unit is in a separate floor from another unit. The decorative band on the building I hope will hide the join line.

Still left to do is to add the corner stones detail applique and a few random stones in the field, then to tile the roof and add a chimney. Once that's all done I can give it a coat of paint. I still haven't decided if I'm going to make the roof flush with the side walls or not. Doing so will let the building be used adjacent to others in a town, but I think it looks less correct if the buildings have a small space between them.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

28mm Stone Walls - How many are enough?

A couple of weeks ago while visiting Adler Hobby, I purchased one package of round stone walls and three packages of block stone walls, both made by Pegasus Hobbies. These are a great value and can you can easily put them directly on the tabletop from the package. They come with a simple grey base color and light dry brush which is quite acceptable. The links above can be followed to see the 'before' pictures.

Not willing to leave well enough alone I picked out random stones on each piece and colored them one of three different shades, gave them a dark 'magic wash', dry-brushed them and then coated them with Mig weathering powder, Europe dust to finish them off. The round walls received a heavy dusting, the block walls a lighter dusting.

I think the extra work is definitely worth it. As a note, the Mig dust powder serves to de-saturate the colors as recommended by Mel the Terrain Tutor as I pointed out in my February 15th post which included his video.

The title of this post asks how many stone walls are enough? The answer is probably that you can never have too many. I have a 6'x12' table. Each of these are 6" long. That means the 24 pieces shown only cover half of the length of the table if I line both sides of a road with them. The photo to the left illustrates the point. I have another 12 pieces of the round stone walls already, but that's still a few apples short of a bushel. With buildings, and other items I think I have enough to do the trick for a couple roads going across the width of the table or one road going diagonally lengthwise if I just stop a couple feet short of each end. There's always the option of only putting a wall on one side of the road, or using them to outline fields, etc. I'm counting these as 24 terrain/misc. since each one is painted and weathered taking considerable time.

Also arriving in the mail today was a recent Ebay purchase, a Warlord plastic Churchill tank that I purchased pre-painted. There was some shipping damage so I had to replace the turret antenna and re-glue on some small bits on the fuselage. This tank was nicely painted and detailed but I did choose to give it a coat of Mig Europe dust to help it better match my other British armor. I didn't NEED a Churchill, but the Ebay auction was a good deal and the model was painted very nicely, so Bob's your uncle.