Normandy Breakout Game at Mass Pikemen

Last Saturday (August 24th) we had a very action-packed game of What a Tanker© using my Normandy Breakout scenario at the Mass Pikemen Gaming Club.  I have been tweaking the scenario, some rules, and improving the terrain and markers – and I believe the gamers who played really noticed all of the upgrades and changes.  I have been fortunate to get valuable feedback from the gamers which has been invaluable, and this game was no exception.  I have acted as a Game Master for this game a couple of times (discussed here), and this, the third iteration, was another great game that had the players highly engaged.

For this post, I will show some of the photos that tell the story – though simultaneously being a photographer and a GM are not always easy.  I appreciate the generosity of both Chris Rett and Ted Salonich helping with some photos – as well as playing of course!

The game scenario is:

After a successful D-Day landing and consolidation, the tanks of the Americans and the British are stymied in the hedgerows of Normandy. German armor has set up effective defensive positions in favorable terrain. However, the Allies do not know the exact locations of the German tanks, and the Germans have limited knowledge of where the Allied armor will be coming from and the direction to which they will try to break out. New rules that allow reconnaissance and the effects of other combat forces will challenge both sides in this action-packed game.

The Germans are in secret positions (basically ambush positions) that they choose in advance of the Allies arrival – which is also secret in terms of the exact vehicles that the Allies choose.  Both sides get to secretly select their vehicles (with some restrictions), and poker chips are used for the scoring.  The Germans here did stop the Allies from breaking out – though the Allies were able to gain more points by both effectively recon of enough blind positions and knocking out enough valuable German vehicles.  The final score was 117-109 in favor of the Allies – with the game score turning on the Allies knocking out a Jagdpanther on the last turn.  The casualties were:

  • Allies – 5 vehicles:
    • UK – 3 vehicles:
      • 2 Daimler Dingoes
      • 1 Firefly
      • 1 M10 Achilles
    • US – 2 vehicles:
      • 1 M3A1 Stuart
      • 1 M10 Wolverine
  • Germany – 3 vehicles:
    • 1 Sdkfz 233
    • 1 Panther D
    • 1 Jagdpanther

Let’s see what the day looked like!

4 map at session
The Allies moved on from here.  The British had the far left road, and the Americans had the far right road.  The middle road could be used by both Allies.  The wooden discs are possible German positions to be reconned.
5 map at session
A side view of the tabletop that better shows some of the (blind) possible German positions.
6 map at session
The view from the German side of the board that the Allies needed to cross.
1 Me as GM
Your properly attired GM.  (Photo by Chris Rett)

The Germans effectively used a Bonus Attack card to draw first blood – calling in a rare Luftwaffe attack on a Daimler Dingo.

7 Dingo hit by Luftwaffe
The Daimler Dingo hit by the Luftwaffe – my new blast/knocked out tank markers looked pretty amazing (and I am biased of course).
4 Jagdpanther hunts Stuart
A Jagdpanther prepares to engage an M3A1 Stuart from an excellent ambush position.  The Stuart decided to run around the corner and recon the disc on the left…(Photo by Chris Rett)
5 Surprise!
… and the Stuart “successfully” reconned the position – it went around the bocage to find the Elefant in the room. (Photo by Ted Salonich)
5a Surrprise
The Stuart fired its 37mm at the frontal armor of the Elefant.  No effect.  The Elefant returned fire, and blew away the Stuart.
9 Firefly knocked out by StuG G
A Panther D and a StuG G combine forces to knock out a Firefly near the burning Dingo.
10 Panther D knocked out by Achilles
An M10 Achilles fires at and knocks the Panther D into a ruined building, damaging it.  It gets a second shot, and rolls well enough to torch the Panther.
11 M18 Hellcat moves up to help British
The Americans move up an M18 Hellcat to help the Brits – it ended up moving behind the Jagdpanther and was able to destroy it.
8 Gamers
The gamers ponder their moves.
13 Last shot
The Allies called in a lot of artillery-delivered smoke to protect their vehicles.  It was effective.
6 Panther burns and Tiger I arrives
Here comes the Tiger!  Note the StuG G that ambushed the M10 Wolverine.  The crew of the M10 survived – as denoted by the black smoke versus the fiery smoke.  Also shows the Allied smoke screen in front of the Jagdpanther.

As the German vehicles are worth, in general, much more points, the loss of their expensive vehicles made a big difference.  Both sides played well, but I have to say the Germans were not very lucky with their dice at times.  

I will be tweaking the game scenario in a couple of ways:

  • Adding stopping bonuses for the Germans:
    • A 20-point bonus for the Germans if no Allied vehicles are able to breakout across the tabletop.
    • A 10-point bonus for the Germans if only one Allied vehicle is able to breakout across the tabletop.  If 2 or more cross, no German bonus.
    • Award the Germans 2 points for each unreconned point.  This will incentivize recon, but force the Allies to choose what is most important.  (The Allies already get 2 points for each reconned point.)
  • Allow a “banked 6” to be used for either an advantage on the next activation (per the rules) or as an automatic “6” on the next activation roll (determined by the player on the turn he banks it). Thanks Ted Salonich!

Thanks again to the all of the players.  And for those who follow this blog who wondered if their named vehicle got fried, only one Cromwell (“IRO”) deployed and did not get into action.  However, the M10 Achilles “Per” (named for Per from Roll a One) did get knocked out by one of the StuG G’s.   Sorry my Swedish friend!

Hope that you enjoyed this – and I will be running this game on Saturday at BARRAGE in Maryland (September 28th) and at the Fort Devens Game Day on October 19th.  I may also run it at other upcoming gaming cons if possible.  Thanks for looking!

 

 

British Armor and Some Blogs Worth a Look

During the Allied breakout from Normandy in 1944, the British Army used several different tanks and tank destroyers.  Some were American-made, some were British-made, and some were conversions of American vehicles.  For my What a Tanker© Normandy Breakout Scenario, I had plenty of British Shermans, a couple of Fireflies, and a few Daimler Dingoes, but the available British vehicle menu needed some fleshing out.  Clearly missing were the Cromwell Mark IV cruiser tank, the Churchill Mark IV heavy infantry tank, and the M10 Achilles tank destroyer.  This project aimed to rectify that situation, especially as I plan to run the game at a few upcoming conventions (such as at BARRAGE and at the Mass Pikemen Gaming Club.

While looking at some images of these vehicles in my reference books, I came up with a new idea to incorporate into the project.  First – a brief segue.

I started this blog back in 2015, inspired by my friend Buck Surdu’s blog.  I was getting back into the hobby – and thought I’d share what I was learning about the gaming I was doing, the miniatures that I was working on, some history, and whatever I found interesting.  Since then, I have posted 143 times (this post is #144), have 139 followers (thanks to all and I am always happy for more so feel free to follow if you don’t already!).  I also learned of many others’ blogs and now I follow many of these.  Several  originate in the United Kingdom, Australia, and other Commonwealth nations.  They inspire and entertain me, and perhaps they will do that for you as well.  So, let’s get back to the idea I just mentioned.  Perhaps I could work in a few of those bloggers into these vehicles and have them be represented in a small way in this project and the future games I run.  More on that shortly…

Now, a few qualifying points.  Each of the vehicles you will see below has a link to a blog – BUT, these are not the only ones that I follow and my goal was not to leave anyone out.  However, I chose to include the following as ones that are among my faves, AND who have a connection to a place where, well, the Queen is on the currency (with two notable exceptions that I’m sure you’ll allow me).  Also, I wanted to use Battlefront decals to both make the tanks both easier to identify on the tabletop (these are small 15mm scale tanks) and have some connections to the bloggers.  Ease of identification on the tabletop is important, as most players have little knowledge of the history of the tanks.  Of course, there are experts somewhere who can correct me – and that’s not an issue.

Truly, I wanted to be as authentic as I could, but as I tried to research British tank markings, frankly, I got more confused!  The issue is not improved by any information about the decals from Battlefront.  US tank markings are pretty straightforward comparatively (IMO).  With 6 Cromwells here, I needed some variety!  You will see I used a number of decals from varying Commonwealth nations – and different theaters – incorrectly – and on purpose!  In addition to the decals, I varied spare road wheel and toolbox placements, as well as adding some freehand names to the tanks.  My freehand work is OK for the scale here I think – you can be the judge – I had to use a spotter brush and still make them look like a crew added the names.  Again, the decals I used below are not as historically accurate as possible, and that’s fine with me – they do accomplish the playability and blogger-linking goals I described.

So onto the project – I had 9 vehicles:

The Achilles had some casting defects that I remedied with green stuff.  I also gave them some leftover plastic .50 caliber machine guns as the ones they had were too bendy.  The plastic Cromwell’s got some BB’s in the hulls to add weight.  I tried to make the tanks a lighter green so as to match the other ETO British Shermans I already had.  I also added some radio antennae.

Now, in alphabetical order by name – and all linked blogs are worth checking out:

Alex

Alex’s blog can be found at Leadbaloony   He does a great job with terrain and older GW Space Orks (I believe from the late 1980’s to early 1990’s) that are painted unbelievably well.  I named a Cromwell Mark IV for him – it has a number 4 and solid white decals on the turret.  The red and white unit decal is (I believe) an older one from the 21st Tank Brigade, which I chose because Alex is a British veteran.

1 Alex done3 Alex front side on road2 Alex left side on road

AZAZEL

Azazel’s blog can be found at Azazel’s Bitz Box.  He is a fantastic painter and modeler and his interests run the gamut from terrain to 40K to Flames of War to board game minis and more.  He still finds time to run a monthly community painting challenge.  This July’s was “The Jewel of July ’19 Community Painting Challenge”, which included:

It’s for Vehicles. A Motorcycle or a Maus. A Starship or a Gaslands Car. A Panzer IV to a Kettenkrad. A Rhino APC or a Konigstiger or a War Rig or a M’ak I. (or M’ak II?)

This post is my second one for July’s challenge (here is my first).  The challenges are a always LOT of fun to see and he is a great guy for doing it month after month.  The Cromwell named for Azazel below has an open white square on the turret and a number 81.  As Azazel is an Aussie, I gave the tank an ahistorical 9th Division (Australia) decal with a lovely platypus on it.  The Aussies during the Normandy campaign were of course busy back in the Pacific theater fighting the Japanese, having already done their time fighting the Germans in North Africa.  I am sure that this Cromwell will acquit itself well.

1 Azazel2 Azazel front in field3 Azazel left side in field

IRO aka Imperial Rebel Ork

Moving on to yet another Aussie, IRO, his blog is Imperial Rebel Ork .  He is the master of kit bashing GW stuff into marvelous creations all his own.  He creates new worlds of wonder is all I can say – and I recommend you take a gander.  He also has a fine podcast he does with his buddy Warren (Waz), and its very funny and worth listening to (and not just because I made a promo on episode 14).  They do indeed need a lesson on American accents that originate outside of the Deep South!

His imagination is wonderful, and you never know what he will come up with next.  His Cromwell has a few markings that need explanation.  The turret has a couple of 3rd Infantry Division (UK)  triangle markings that I chose because I liked the look for the tabletop.  There is a number 75 on the tank, and the unit marker is a later 21st Tank Brigade one (I think).  I chose it because it had a devil/imp on it, and IRO is definitely that!

1 IRO2 IRO Cromwell front3 IRO Cromwell right side4 IRO Cromwell left side

John aka JNV aka Just Needs Varnish!

I find John’s blog Just Needs Varnish! very interesting and informative, PLUS the guy really know how to paint and create games.  His stuff ranges from WWII to lesser-known conflicts like the Paraguayan War and the War of Italian Unification.  He does his research, and I really like his attention to detail.  We are alike in that way I think.  Most importantly, John loves tanks too!

While John is a Brit, the tank with his JNV on it has turret markings for the 1st South African Infantry Division. As with IRO’s tank, these are of course not correct, but will visually helpful on the gaming table.  The tank has a 96 number on it, and a British 2nd Armoured Brigade insignia from North Africa on the hull front.

1 JNV2 JNV front3 JNV front in bocage4 JNV left side

Pat’s 1:72 Military Diorama’s

Pat is a military modeler and not a gamer.  He has a lovely blog Pat’s 1:72 Military Diorama’s that details his work from the medieval era to the English Civil War to WWII.  His projects could be considered epic just from their size and scope, but the man does very high quality work too.  As I call it, great eye-candy – check him out!

Pat is also an Aussie.  His Cromwell has open white triangles on the turrets, and a number 15 on it.  It also has the same Aussie 9th Division platypus marking as Azazel’s tank.  

1 Pat2 Pat Cromwell left side3 Pat Cromwell front side

Per at Roll a One

Here is my first exception to the rule of having links to blogs of subjects of Queen Elizabeth – Per.  Per is Swedish, and I believe lives in the UK, so we’ll include him here.  His gaming blog is Roll a One which I follow on WordPress and on Twitter (though mine is also linked on Twitter I have little idea of what to do with mine on Twitter!).  Per creates truly massive games, most of which deal with Sweden in some way or another.  He has done WWII era what-if games with Swedish tanks, some unbelievable stuff for the Great Northern War in 6 mm, and lately some post-apocalyptic stuff that I really like.  Similar to Alex, he creates very immersive games.

Now I have no Swedish tanks like the Stridsvagn m/42 (but Per does) – and I wanted to include him as I like his stuff.  I’m also 1/8th Swedish, so I had a soft spot!  Per, I named an M10 Achilles for you – but with no decals.  Mainly this was because I could not find much in terms of references on such unit designations – and secondly because the model hull was not great for decals.  It did get (like all my British here) a star to keep them safe from the RAF and USAAF misidentifying them.  I did not buy a crew for this one.

1 Per2 Per left side Achilles

Pete at SP’s Projects Blog

Pete is another Brit with a fantastic hobby blog.  His is SP’s Projects Blog, and is quite good and has a number of interesting projects from terrain to vehicles to infantry.  I like Pete’s blog because he does a great job on his hobby work, and has a number of very interesting modern pieces.  He is also well versed in history, and writes some of the best battle reports on his Necromunda games.

Pete’s Cromwell has turret markings with an open red circle.  This is the only one I made that is resin and metal – the other 5 Cromwell’s were plastic.  It has a number 91 on it, and an insignia from the famous 7th Armoured Division – who was in Normandy!

1 Pete2 Pete left side3 Pete front side

Tabitha

Now for a real exception – Tabitha is my granddaughter and only a bit older than 2½.  She’s not a Brit or an Aussie, but she does light up our lives.  I’m still waiting on her blog though…

Similar to Per, she gets an M10 Achilles named for her.  As she has Finnish heritage (through me and my daughter Ellen of course), in her stead I will recommend a full Finn –  Mikko – and his blog here.  Mikko’s blog is the wonderfully named Dawn of the Lead.   Mikko is into pirates and zombies (and maybe pirate zombies).  His painting is superb, check his stuff out.

Now back to Tabitha and her named Achilles.  Also – I did not buy a crew for this one either!

Me and Tabitha1 Tabitha2 Tabitha front Achilles3 Tabitha left side Achilles

TIM aka The Imperfect Modeler

Now last, but most definitely not least, may I present the last tank and blogger for this post!  TIM aka The Imperfect Modeler (neither are his real names – he is actually Dave).  His blog can be found here.  It might be a shorter list to share with you what he is not into in terms of modeling.  His dioramas and figures are 28mm to 54mm, and span the American West, WWII, fantasy, and much more.  They are amazing, and you are missing out if you have not seen his stuff.

Dave also has a skill with writing and his blog postings are also very amusing.  We are relatively close in age, and I appreciate especially his discussions on movies and music.  His painting is top-notch, and his dioramas are stunning.  It’s a shame he is not a gamer though, his tabletops would be mind-blowing.

As Dave is a Brit, and a real man worthy of respect (just ask his wife), he gets the Churchill IV heavy infantry tank named after him.  It has turret markings of open red squares, and a number 71 (which was a good year for him I understand).  I chose the battleaxe symbol of the 78th Infantry Division for his tank (also not in Normandy, but worthy of Dave).

1 TIM2 TIM Churchill front3 TIM Churchill left side4 TIM Churchill left side in field5 TIM Churchill right side6 TIM Churchill rear view7 TIM Churchill top view

That wraps up the individual nods – please check them out!  I’ll conclude with a group shot, my new British tank menu for What a Tanker© and the paints and materials I used.  I hope you enjoyed this post, please let me know your thoughts, and I hope you found a new blog to enjoy!  Up next, more Americans!

5 group side

British Tanker Menu

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS, FLOCKING, GLUES AND MORE USED ON THESE VEHICLES:

  1. Gorilla Glue
  2. Daisy Air rifle steel BB’s
  3. Neodymium magnets (1/8″)
  4. E6000 epoxy
  5. Vallejo “Surface Primer – Black”
  6. Spare Battlefront plastic .50 cal machine guns
  7. Reaper MSP “Black Primer”
  8. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  9. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  10. Vallejo Model Air “Olive Green”
  11. Vallejo “White”
  12. Vallejo Game Air “Black”
  13. Battlefront “Dark Gunmetal”
  14. Vallejo Model Air “Aluminum”
  15. Vallejo Model Air “Wood”
  16. Citadel “Typhus Corrosion”
  17. Citadel “‘ardcoat”
  18. Battlefront “Monty Shade” (wash)
  19. Army Painter “Military Shader” (wash)
  20. Vallejo “Surface Primer – Grey Primer”
  21. Vallejo “Gloss Varnish”
  22. Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
  23. Decals from Battlefront
  24. Microscale Micro-Set
  25. Microscale Micro-Sol
  26. Microscale Liquid Decal Film
  27. Vallejo “European Mud” (Thick Mud)
  28. Vallejo “European Slash Mud” (Splash Mud)
  29. Vallejo “Crushed Grass” (weathering)
  30. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish

 

 

 

I just wanted to do this!

For those of you who are modelers and or gamers, you know the feelings about your hobby work –  to do a good job recreating a scene, a vehicle, terrain, or just a figure such that others enjoy it.  I put this blog in the same category.  I understand that for better or for worse, I am putting myself out there and my creativity to be judged up or down.

This blog post will be a bit different in that its admittedly somewhat self-indulgent.  I am unsure as to how it will be received – but I hope that you enjoy it and that you can appreciate what this was for me and why I was doing this last weekend.

Last Saturday, the Historical Gaming Club of Uxbridge, MA, sponsored a road trip to the American Heritage Museum in Hudson, MA.  I have posted about this museum last year (you can read about it here).  It’s really great.  I unfortunately also signed up for a golf tournament an hour away and was disappointed in my planning.  I was however able to leave the tournament (my team lost by one stroke) after I was done and drive to meet the others (about 10 of us) at the museum.  And I brought two “friends”…

Followers of this blog know that I have been somewhat tank-heavy in hobby activities and gaming since last fall.  I thought that it would be cool to have the real Panther at the museum meet my 15mm/1:100 scale Panther.  And as my late grandfather Marcus C. Delaney drove an M24 Chaffee light tank in WWII, I wanted to hook up one of my M24’s with a real one too.

I just thought it would be a cool thing to do – and to give my models a connection to the real deal.  Of course, you can be the judge.

First stop was the Panther.

1 Big Panther, Little Panther
A real Panther and my  model – can you see it?
2 Big Panther, Little Panther close up
There it is!
3a on left fender
Impishly placing my Panther on the right fender.
3 on left fender
Both Panthers are now aiming at a T-34…but I don’t think mine has the needed gun velocity!

Then I moved over to the M24 Chaffee.

4 On M24 Chaffee side
Where is my model?
5 On M24 Chaffee side close up
There it is!
6 On M24 Chaffee side close up
On the M24 frontal armor.
7 me and both M24 Chaffee's
Trust me, we are all smiling.  Even my grandfather from above.

It felt good to do this, and I’m glad I did.  Now when these are in a game, I can say that they have been with the real thing, and in actual contact.

Would you do this?  Let me know in the comments section, and thanks for looking!

My HUZZAH! 2019 Recap

The 10th running of the HUZZAH! wargaming convention was held last month from May 17th-19th in Portland, Maine.  It was ably run by the Maine Historical Wargamers Association.  There were a lot of games, including some run by friends from both the Maryland -based H.A.W.K.’s (Harford Area Weekly Kriegspielers) and the Historical Gaming Club of Uxbridge (Massachusetts).  Several members of the Mass Pikemen were also in attendance.  I missed the sign up to run a game, but I was nevertheless happy to make the trek to Maine, attend and play.

As I am catching up on my blogging, and as I did not get a chance to take many pictures of games that I was not involved in, this post will focus on the five games that I did participate in at the convention.  It will hopefully give a flavor of the games, and my experience – however slim compared with all the events that were run there.

Game 1  – “The Enchanted Valley; Rules – Blood & Swash/Thunder & Plunder

The first game was run by Eric Schlegel from the H.A.W.K.’s.  The scenario was “The Enchanted Valley” – a fantasy game in which you had a small squad, and you had to battle GM-run bad guys for treasure and points.  In my case, I had a squad of halflings (hobbits), and the figures were old Grenadier ones from the 1980’s.  I spent the game battling giant armed frogs and goblins, while other players were similarly battling other creatures.  The rules were Blood & Swash/Thunder & Plunder written by two friends of mine, Buck Surdu and Chris Palmer, and were the basis for their later set of rules – G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T.   You can read about these and other rules here (just scroll down).

1 The Enchanted Valley

2 The Enchanted Valley
Eric and Vickie await the start of the game
3 The Enchanted Valley
My squad – these are Grenadier halflings from the boxed set Halflings – which was issued in 1980 by Grenadier.  You can read about them here.
4 The Enchanted Valley
My squad stats.
5 The Enchanted Valley
Nice view of the board and some of the players, including Bruce Carson on the left and another H.A.W.K. Duncan Adams on the right.
6 The Enchanted Valley
The frogs I battled.
7 The Enchanted Valley
My hobbit leader dispatched a goblin leader and a few giant ticks.

I fared OK, but did not come out on top.  I think that there were close to 8 or 9 players.   I think that Eric and Vickie ran the game well and it was quite fun.

Game 2  – “Mortwald Under Siege: Zero Hour”; Rules – Warhammer 40K

Many of you who follow this blog are avid 40K players and GW miniature painters.  The minis that you assemble, convert, and paint are truly a sight to see.  Additionally, the terrain is very eye-catching.  Of course, I missed that whole era/genre of wargaming when it launched and as it grew.  I wanted to give this 40K game a shot, and I will likely give the game another shot at some time in the future.  But before I go on, I want to say that the following is not an attack on anyone who loves 40K – it’s just my experience with it at the HUZZAH! convention.

It was the absolute worst gaming experience that I have ever had.  Sorry, but it was.

The terrain was gorgeous, and the figures were well-painted.  The game scenario, unfortunately, had no story or reason as to why anything was there in terms of terrain or figures.  There were two tables next to each other, and mine had several newbies and some experienced players.  A couple of the GM’s were subbing (and admirably trying I will say) for another GM who could not attend.   But hurting their efforts was the fact that there were hardly any cheat sheets or charts available, and those that were were microscopic in font size.  Much of the game was spent figuring out the stats of the different space marine factions by either looking at the rule books or some players using a GW app on their iPads or iPhones.

The players on my side with whom I played also had a similarly negative experience.  What I remember about the game was that a large number of Plague Marines moved in, and over us (whoever we were – the figs were blue and some kind of space marine) with seemingly no way of effectively stopping them.  I don’t remember many strategic of tactical gaming choices we made except to move and take up defensive positions and try to shoot.  Was it balanced or play tested?  Who knows.  My memory of the game includes spending a lot of time looking at other people consulting rule books and devices, interspersed with being overrun by gloppy plague marines.  Oh yeah, there was the conversations on my side with teammates asking WTF multiple times.  I was told by someone I trust that this game was not typical – and that perhaps Kill Team is better.  Again, I’ll keep an open mind, but for beginners this game was definitely was not!  I also want the GM’s to know that we did not hold the experience against them at all – at least I did not.  It’s not easy to be a GM.

8 40k

One of the two tables  – not the one I played on.

9 40k
Table 1
10 40k
Table 1
11 40k
Table 2 – we were defending this side.
12 40k
We came, we were confused about the rules, the scenario…then plague marines wiped us out.

Just to be clear again, I follow several blogs whose authors do a great job on GW stuff.  I mainly tried to play because I have been inspired by their projects.  If you want to see some of their excellent painting and conversions of GW stuff, check out any of the following sites:

These guys give me hope to try 40K again…sometime.  This game finished off Friday at HUZZAH! for me.

Game 3  – “Clash at Palmer’s Island, Chesapeake Bay 1637”; Rules – Feudal Patrol™ (as of yet unpublished)

Duncan Adams of the H.A.W.K.’s ran this scenario on Saturday morning.  It featured Marylanders (my side) contesting the “illegal” occupation of Palmer’s Island by Virginians and some Indian allies.  The rules used were Buck Surdu’s soon to be published Feudal Patrol™, a card-based system similar to Combat Patrol™, but for eras/genres with more swords and arrows and matchlocks than modern warfare.  As a huge fan of Combat Patrol™, I was really looking forward to trying the system.  Here, it was a skirmish action.

The game went very well, with the players grasping the game’s concepts very quickly.  Also, I liked the changes on the cards for melee and missile weapons.  Our team’s matchlocks (and troop maneuver) held the day with a major victory.

13 Feudal Patrol
Game set up.
14 Feudal Patrol
Maryland militia move in for the assault.
15 Feudal Patrol
Duncan Adams ably ran this fun game.
16 Feudal Patrol
Virginia had Indian allies – shown here attempting to flank our attack through the woods.  
17 Feudal Patrol
A relief column of Virginians (upper right) kills one Marylander (forefront).  The Virginians are then taken quickly under matchlock fire as they exit the woods.
18 Feudal Patrol
Marylanders take out the Virginian leader as he less than bravely hid in the brush.
19 Feudal Patrol
This became a bit of a scrum afterwards, with casualties mounting and the Marylanders prevailing.
20 Feudal Patrol
Close up of some of the figures and terrain.
21 Feudal Patrol
The Indians made a flanking charge from the woods, but were beaten back.

Game 4  – “Battle of Hannut” with 28 mm tanks; Rules – What a Tanker

I have been very much into playing What a Tanker© by Too Fat Lardies since I attended BARRAGE last year.  I was very psyched to try this scenario, The Battle of Hannut, which happened in Belgium in 1940.  Christopher Boynton ran the game and did an excellent job.  There were 10 or 12 players.  His tanks were 28mm (I prefer 15mm but 28mm are fine and fun).  His tanks and terrain were very well painted.  The terrain and set up were cool as well.  I played on the French side and took a SOMUA.

Interestingly, Christopher had a few changes he made for the game.   First, for activation, he used a card-based system.  Second, he had everyone roll all of their Command Dice at the same time at the beginning of the turn.  Lastly, he allowed you to turn in all your dice for one you wanted if your roll was bad.  The card system was interesting, but really not too different than rolling dice, except that “banking” a six from the previous turn got you an additional card for activation that could be better than what you would have gotten.  I’m not sure I like all players rolling all the Command Dice at the beginning – it allows you to see what your adversary can do before you take your turn.  You also get to choose which Command Dice you lose if you take damage.  The house rule on converting all your dice into one desired action was interesting, but I would not add that as it helps damaged tanks too much.  It was different, but consistent for all players.

My SOMUA moved up quickly and was the target for no less than four German Panzers.  My armor absorbed the hits, but eventually my tank was knocked out – with the crew surviving.  I respawned as a new SOMUA, and rammed a Panzerjager 1.  The game ended there.  We achieved a minor victory for the French.  Thanks to Christopher for running a superb and fun game.

22 WaT Battle of Hannut
The Battle of Hannut set up.
23 WaT Battle of Hannut
My SOMUA attracts a lot of German attention (upper right).
24 WaT Battle of Hannut
Eventually, my SOMUA was knocked out.
25 WaT Battle of Hannut
Late in the game, I got to ram a Panzerjager I with my second SOMUA, doing minor damage to the German.  Christopher Boynton used the flame markers as “ACQUIRED” markers.

Game 5  – “Test of Honour Returns to Hanghai”; Rules – Test of Honour

The last game for Saturday was “Test of Honor Returns to Hanghai” using Mike Paine’s wonderful and extensive Hanghai tabletop.  Ted Salonich and Ryan MacRae split GM responsibilities as Chris Rett was unable to attend.  They did a marvelous job running the Test of Honour rules by Grey for Now Games.

I also finally got to game with Mike Paine, a true legend in the New England gaming community.  We were teams of three, and Mike faced off with us.  We had a back and forth, but in the last couple of turns we were beaten back soundly.

Thanks again to Ted and Ryan for running a fun game.

26 Test of Honor
Ryan (standing on the left) getting set up, while Mike Paine and his team wait for the game to start on Mike’s table.
27 Test of Honor
Mike Paine’s board is so much fun.
28 Test of Honor
Final scrum on the island – we were soon pushed back.

Game 6  – “Returning to Hanghai”; Rules – Mike Paine’s home brew rules

On Sunday morning, I had the chance to finally try Mike Paine’s Hanghai game.  It is a 1920’s pulp game, and it is a big hit at a convention with both young and old.  It was pretty much the same table as what we played Saturday night, but there were ships and planes and many other cool things all scattered everywhere.  The amount of work that went into the table is staggering.  You have to see it to appreciate it.

I took a naval crew in a gunboat – and I had a submarine.  My leader was Captain Nemo.  The goal of the game was to grab treasures and key items.  I was playing next to Eric Schlegel, and I decided to try to eliminate the competition, which led to counter-fire, with Eric getting the better of the exchange.  I ended up with only a submarine and one sailor, so with a long drive back home, I surrendered my sub to Eric with Mike Paine’s blessing.

Truly an epic game to try!  Thanks to Mike Paine!

29 Hanghai
My crew and gunboat.
30 Hanghai
Eric Schlegel’s forces return fire on me.
31 Hanghai
Mike Paine – master of Hanghai game.
32 Hanghai
The game attracted a lot of players, young and old.  The amount of terrain is unbelievable.
33 Hanghai
View of the harbor.
34 Hanghai
My gunboat and Captain Nemo – before Eric shot them all.

This was my first HUZZAH! but hopefully not my last.  By my count there were 117 games over the three day weekend, so this is a very small sample.  Thanks to the folks of the Maine Historical Wargamers Association for running a classy convention!

If you have any thoughts or feedback, please let me know below.  Thanks for looking!

US Armor for 75th D-Day Anniversary

I am working on creating a Normandy scenario for a What a Tanker© game that I plan to run at a monthly gaming session at both the Mass Pikemen Gaming Club and the Historical Gaming Club of Uxbridge.  With the 75th Anniversary of D-Day coming up in little more than a month, I thought that would be appropriate. 

My challenge was that I really did not have enough historically-appropriate tanks and tank destroyers for such a scenario.  I did have 9 plastic British Shermans and 2 Fireflies that I bought on eBay that were well-painted.  I also had 2 resin Shermans and 2 resin Stuarts that I got from a guy who makes his own models and sells them already painted.  The British stuff came with a bunch of infantry that I sold, so the nice plastic British armor ended up costing me net only $1.40 each!  The US tanks were OK for the tabletop, and for the price (about $5-6 as I remember), a relative bargain – but I wanted better.  I also had no Germans for that theater, so that is part 2 of the project.  For this part, I am focused on five US vehicles.  Together, I will have enough to make a joint US/UK force.

Three of the five vehicles came from Battlefront and were metal and resin and some plastic:  one M3A1 Stuart (#US003); one M4A2 Sherman (#US045); and one M10 Wolverine tank destroyer (#US102).  The other two were M24 Chaffee tanks that did not make it to D-Day, but replaced Stuarts starting in the latter part of 1944.  These two were 3D printed models from somebody on eBay – and not great detail-wise.  But, the M24 was the tank my grandfather, Marcus C. Delaney, drove in Europe during WWII, so I thought I’d work on those at the same time.  I used many of the same research books that I have cited before – and I did not take pictures as these are more recognizable to most gamers and modelers.

Above, you can see the group – below is a group shot after assembly.

1 all assembled
Ready for paint – 2 M24 Chaffee’s, an M3A1 Stuart, an M4A2 Sherman, and an M10 Wolverine – with its crew on toothpicks.
2 turrets
Turrets mounted for painting.

I mostly used my airbrush for painting – and on the M24’s I tried to minimize the 3D printer lines with paints, washes, and weathering.  I decided to try a few Vallejo weathering products that caught my eye – I made a test of them first.  Of course, these are applied with a brush!

3 weathering
I thought the brown mud was too heavy, and the industrial splash mus was too thin – so I went with the other three.
3a weathering
I really liked these three – very nice weathering products.  The white labels on the top are what I do to help identify them in my supplies.
4 turrets painted
Completed turrets.

It’s now time to share some eye candy of the completed tanks and the tank destroyer.  Of course, I am also using these 5 as the first entry for a monthly painting challenge from Australia’s own Azazel – this being “Mechanismo May ’19 Community Painting Challenge“.

5 M3A1 front
M3A1 Stuart in the bocage.
6 M3A1 side
Side shot of the Stuart in a field.
7 M3A1 rear
Rear shot of the Stuart – it’s not as shiny as this!
8 M4A2 side
My M4A2 Sherman – “Deuces Wild”.
9 M4A2 front
Nice shot coming through the bocage – I really liked the mud and grass effects.
10 M4A2 rear
Rear shot – beware lurking panzerfausts!
11 M10 in field side view
Side shot of the M10 Wolverine cutting across a field into a gap in the bocage.
12 M10 in field side view
Another side shot – this was a very fun model to build.
13 M24's front
My two M24 Chaffee’s.  They won’t be at Normandy, but they will be later in the war.  I do like that I was able to give them some better texture with the weathering products.
13 M24's rear
Rear shot of the M24’s.  
13 M24's side
M24’s in convoy.  They were mostly used as scouts, and were used (and some are still used) by many different armies worldwide.  My grandfather told me many stories about his service driving one.
14 All US painted
My 5 US tanks for this project.
15 3 Shermans
For comparison, here you see three Shermans – from left to right – my M4A2, a plastic British Sherman I bought already painted, and the resin one I bought pre-painted on eBay.  
16 2 Stuarts
Here are the two Stuarts for comparison.  Mine is on the left – and the eBay resin one is on the right.  I will treat the resin ones as M5’s, which are better in What a Tanker
17 all Allied ETO
My complete ETO Allied vehicles – there’s a couple of Fireflies in there too.  I will use all of these except the M24’s for Normandy.

Now I have 18 US/UK vehicles for Normandy – which should be plenty.  I also know that some folks are bringing some DD Shermans and a couple of Churchill’s.  I have 6 German tanks and tank destroyers for Normandy and 11 for the Eastern Front (all about 60% completed), with 3 more to assemble (plus 5 scout cars).  That should be enough for a couple of fun games.  Stay tuned as I’m hoping to complete the Germans soon.

Thanks for checking this out – below are the paints etc.  Let me know your thoughts if you would!

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS AND FLOCKING USED ON THESE VEHICLES:

  1. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  2. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  3. Vallejo “Surface Primer – Black”
  4. Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
  5. Vallejo Model Air “US Olive Drab”
  6. Vallejo Game Air “Black”
  7. Battlefront “Black”
  8. Battlefront “Dark Gunmetal”
  9. Battlefront “European Flesh”
  10. Battlefront “Skin Shade”
  11. Vallejo Model Air “Bright Brass”
  12. Vallejo “Base Grey Primer”
  13. Vallejo “Neutral Grey”
  14. Army Painter “Military Shader” 
  15. Vallejo Model Air “Wood”
  16. Polly S “Rust”
  17. Vallejo Mecha Color “Light Rust Wash” (wash)
  18. Gorilla Glue
  19. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Gloss Varnish”
  20. Microscale Micro-Set
  21. Microscale Micro-Sol
  22. Microscale Liquid Decal Film
  23. Microscale Satin
  24. 1/8″ rare earth neodymium magnets
  25. Appropriate decals from Battlefront
  26. Vallejo “European Mud” (Thick Mud)
  27. Vallejo “European Slash Mud” (Splash Mud)
  28. Vallejo “Crushed Grass”
  29. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
  30. Aleene’s poster tack

 

 

 

 

My HAVOC 2019 Recap

Battle Group Boston’s HAVOC 2019 (or HAVOC XXXV) is in the books.  This previous weekend in Shrewsbury, MA was a Friday-Sunday gaming marathon that saw me run two games (What a Tanker” in North Africa and “Attack of the Warbots” using Combat Patrol™).  I also played in three other games: a First Boer War scenario using Combat Patrol™; “Look Sarge we are Invading Russia” using Look Sarge, No Charts™and another “What a Tanker” game on Sunday.  I have not been blogging much recently as my prep for the event took a lot of time.  So, this post will share some shots of the events, with more focus on the games that either I ran as a GM or participated in as a player. 

Of note, it was very nice to have my West Point classmate and good friend Dave Wood from the Maryland HAWKS make it up to play in my games and run two of his own.   It was also great to see attendance and gaming from the Mass Pikemen, especially Mike Morgan, Leif Magnuson, Chris Comeau, and others.

On Friday, I ran “What a Tanker – North Africa” and had a full table.  I was able to roll out my new Bonus Attack cards that I created for the convention.  They were very popular in the game and I will be expanding my use of them in the future based on the scenarios I run and the historical aspects of the specific theaters and scenarios/battles.  I will adjust their use, and how I allow tank replacements going forward.  Still, the game went very well, and I earned an award for the “Best in Time Slot”!  The Axis battled back from early losses and defeated the British 104-58.

04062019 HAVOC What a Tanker North Africa Photo
My game announcement poster
Bonus Attack Cards
My “Bonus Attack” cards for the game.  They worked well, especially the Combat Engineers.
Overview
I mapped out the game board in my cellar beforehand.  I got a new 8′ x 4′ badlands/desert mat that worked very well for the scenario from Frontline Gaming.
Buildings with roads
Detail of the town I put in the middle of the battlefield
1 WaT starts
Friday night’s full crowd at What a Tanker – North Africa using 15mm tanks.
2 M11 39 burns after airstrike
The first use of one of my Bonus Attack cards – in this case an airstrike card on a hapless M11/39.
3 Panzer III rams A13
What a Tanker  – or in this case “What a Rammer” as a Panzer IIIE runs into an A13.  The Panzer IIIE got the worst of it from the Brit, but the A13 was subsequently knocked out by an Italian M13/40.
4 players
The game had a lot of action, but in the end the Axis prevailed.
5 Award
I was happy to earn this award, but the players’ enthusiasm carried the day.

Saturday, I played in two games, and ran a third.  The first one Saturday morning was “First Battle of the First Boer War” using the Combat Patrol™ rules system as modified for this era.  It was a fun game, with the Boers holding off the British as they attempted to seize a wagon.  In the end, the Boers prevailed.

1 Dave Wood first Boer War
Dave Wood briefs the players on the Boer War scenario.
2 Brits attack First Boer War
Boers are outnumbered, but hold the wall – each glass bead represents a morale check.  They held for a long time.

There were many other games – over 56 I believe, and I did not get a chance to take a picture of all of them, but here are some shots below.

3 ACW
A beautiful American Civil War board.
4 Palestine
Palestine in WWI.  Definitely a game I would have loved to try.
5 Wings of Glory
Wings of Glory.
6 Bolt Action
Bolt Action.
7 Trilaterum
A new sci-fi game, Trilaterum, had some beautiful scenery.
8 Test of Honour with OGRE in background
Test of Honor – and note a 1970’s classic return in the back – OGRE – a near future tank game.  I played that game with cardboard chits in the early 1980’s.

The next game went up in operational level and down in miniature scale.  Dave Wood ran “Look Sarge, We are invading Russia”, using the Look Sarge No Charts set of rules and 6 mm microarmor.  The Germans held off the Russian counterattack, and won the game.  Both of Dave’s games were very well-received.

9 Dave Wood's Look Sarge we are invading Russia
The Germans move down the road.

Skipping to Sunday, Leif Magnuson ran a nice What a Tanker game using 28mm tanks in an Eastern Front battle.  It was a lot of fun, and the Soviets eked out a win.  Leif also won an award for “Best in Time Slot” – well-deserved.  This meant that our club (The Mass Pikemen) won two awards – and both were “What a Tanker” games!

10 28mm WaT

“Ivan is a Tanker” run by Leif Magnuson.

Flashing back to Saturday night – I ran an updated “Attack of the Warbots” game.  The game was a success, as the players had a great time.

04062019 HAVOC Attack of the Warbots Photo
My game poster
04062016 Warbots setup pic
The game set up plan.
1 Attack begins
The tabletop is set – and the attack begins.
2 Attack on wall
The Warbots got slowed by the Aphids defense, but managed to advance a Mark 1 Sphere tank to the wall.
3 Space Roos try to spoil
On the other side of the board, Leif Magnuson’s Martians and Robot Peacekeepers press their attack against Chris Comeau’s Space Roos.
4 Space Roos try to spoil
Chris jet-packed his Space Roos into the heart of the Martian attack.  
5 SFC Mallard disables tank
The Star Ducks disabled a second Mark 1 Sphere tank with a satchel charge, immobilizing it and taking it out of the fight – a critical loss.
6 sprint to the finish
Biological forces desperately converge on the Mark 1 Sphere tank as it breaks through and approaches the captured tank and its Space Dwarf repair crew.
7 Robot Peacekeeper Banzai Charge
Meanwhile, the Robot Peacekeepers pulled a “Banzai” charge morale check and swarm the defending Space Roos on the other side of the table.

At this point in the battle, Duck Wader made a power leap with his Sith powers, and drove his light saber into the Warbot tank, resulting in its disabling just two inches from victory. 

Nearby, Roberker, a giant robot (with flame-throwing arms) was the Warbots’ last chance.  The Frinx shot Roberker a bit, and its resulting morale check caused a miracle result – apparently the robot lost face, ran away in shame, and blew himself up!

8 Suicide of Roberker
The suicide of Roberker.  I replace these “ancient” miniatures on the battlefield when they become casualties with homemade cards.
8a Suicide of Roberker
The card that did in Roberker.  Note the morale result at the bottom – I have the Warbots use the South Pacific deck from Combat Patrol deck which have different (WWII Japanese) morale results.

The death of Roberker was followed by raucous laughter from the table – even from the player who had it happen to his Roberker.

I was tired after the weekend, but it was a great time.  I want to thank all the players, as well as the GM’s, and especially Battle Group Boston for another fun convention!  

 

 

 

Looking Forward to HAVOC!

I have been very busy – too busy to effectively write blog entries lately.  I have been working on terrain and game support for the two games I will be running at HAVOC on April 5th and 6th.  Each will support 10 players – and its my goal that all have a blast!  So, in the interim, please enjoy these two announcements – hopefully I get some other stuff painted and blog-worthy for you dear readers!  The link for the convention is here.

I am looking forward to seeing a number of friends – including my old USMA classmate (and HAWKS member) Dave Wood who is also running a couple of games – so that’s exciting too.

I’ll be running these two games!  

04062019 HAVOC What a Tanker North Africa Photo

I updated this game with my Space Roos and have new terrain!

04062019 HAVOC Attack of the Warbots Photo