French defeat Germans at Mass Pikemen

Last Saturday, December 1st 2018, the Mass Pikemen Gaming Club held their monthly gaming session with a lively game of What a Tanker© by The Too Fat Lardies company.  The scenario we used was one from France 1940, with available forces from that time frame.

Each team was given poker chips to represent available points to choose and deploy their tanks.  In this scenario, each had 25 points to choose three tanks.  If a tank was destroyed, the winning team would get that many points in chips – which they could use to either upgrade a deployed tank, buy a new tank, or purchase a Bonus Card.  The destroyed tank would respawn in the game.  There was a river in the middle of the board, with roughly equivalent terrain on both sides of the board.  I said that any tank on the opposite side of the river at the game’s end would count for two times as many points for victory.  This gave each side an incentive to move forward.

For initial forces, the Germans chose two Panzer IVD’s (2 for 14 points) and a Panzer 38(t) (one for 9 points), leaving them with 2 chips extra. The Germans passed on choosing a Panzer IIC.  The French chose two R35’s (2 for 14 points) and one SOMUA S35 (1 for 10 points), leaving them with one extra chip.  While there were StuG IIIA and Char B1 bis vehicles in the inventories, I did not allow either to be chosen initially for reasons of play balance.

1 board
The game board set up.  The Germans chose to enter on the right side.
2 board
The Germans initially deployed from here, with the French deploying on the opposite side.
3 R35 knocks out Pz 38
In early action, a Panzer 38 (t) was knocked out by a flank shot from one of the R35’s as it hid on the left behind the bocage.  A Panzer IVD and the other R35 watch it burn.
4 R38 hides
The previously successful R35 runs behind the bocage.  Another Panzer IV crosses the river at a ford (minor obstacle), but by this time it had been hit multiple times and was down to one Command Die…
5 dice
…and the French SOMUA rolled this!  An example of the French Command Dice rolls.  Each 6 is a Wild card and each 4 is a firing die.  Basically, this allowed the loaded French SOMUA to fire 3 times in that turn, contributing to the demise of the Panzer IVD.  Unfortunately, the Germans’ rolls were hardly ever this good during the game.
6 Scott and Ethan
The previously mentioned unlucky Panzer IVD burns on the left by the bocage.  Scott and Ethan Howland are maneuvering another Panzer IVD and a Panzer 38 (t) against the SOMUA S35.
7 SOMUA showdown
The SOMUA activates, and moves to the rear of the Panzer IVD, but is unable to get off a shot.  The Germans were able to subsequently knock out the S35 in their only kill of the day.
8 R35 and Pz IVD showdown
On the left French flank bridge, a duel went on between a Panzer IVD and an R35.  The French were lucky and activated first, hitting the German in the side.  Subsequently, the German reoriented, but was hit again and forced back.
9 Pz IV burns
The Panzer IV was dispatched by the intrepid two man crew of the R35.

At that point the game was called.  The French crossed one R35 to the other side of the river and got 14 points.  The final score was France 38, Germans 12.  It was a good rolling day for the French and a bad one for the Germans.  The best tanks did not get to deploy, but both sides needed to use terrain well, and they did.  It was nice to have some new players (Leif, Ethan, and Scott), thank you for coming.  Everyone had fun, and I will run this scenario again.

Score Breakdown:

French 38 chips:

  • 1 chip left over from initial deployment (1 chip)
  • Two Panzer IVD’s knocked out (14 chips)
  • 1 Panzer 38 (t) knocked out (9 chips)
  • 1 R35 on the other side of the river at game’s end (14 points)

Germans 12 chips:

  • 2 chips left over from initial deployment (2 chips)
  • 1 SOMUA knocked out (10 chips)

Our next session will be on January 5th at 2 PM at 110 Pleasant Street, East Brookfield, MA.  Please follow us on FaceBook at the Mass Pikemen Gaming Club.

 

Happy Tanksgiving! 2 Soviet, 5 French, and 5 German tanks get off the November painting table for “What A Tanker” games

November 2018 for me has been a month of armor, culminating in a fine “Tanksgiving” – a fine output for me of early WWII 15mm (1:100) scale armor.  I intend for these to be used in What a Tanker© games.  Certainly, my mid-November visit to the American Heritage Museum played a role in spurring this direction in my hobby efforts.  You can see my current 2018 production here, and there are a lot of tanks.

My focus continued to be on early war vehicles.  I had enough forces for an early Eastern Front game between the Axis (Germans and Italians) and the Soviets, but I wanted to have more variety in terms of tanks available.  My KV-1 platoon needed some help, so I added some BT-series tanks.

My other goal was to build German and French forces for a France 1940 scenario.  For the Germans I added a Panzer IIC, a Panzer IIIE, and three StuG Ausf A assault guns to my fleet.  For the French, I added two Renault 35’s and three SOMUA S-35’s.  All of these came from the Flames of War line from Battlefront Miniatures.  I really like their tanks, even though I don’t play Flames of War!  I think that I can get some crossover between the early-war German forces for such a scenario and use some on the Eastern Front.  Long term, I am also planning on designing a North Africa scenario for the British and the Germans, and some of the figures I got from Battlefront will serve nicely after I paint them in desert colors.

Regarding colors, I also acquired some of the Battlefront paints so as to understand the colors that they recommend.  The current Battlefront “Colours of War” line mixes sets of 20 ml and 12 ml dropper bottles, as compared with Vallejo’s 17 ml bottles.  It appears that at least some of their paints may have been made by Vallejo, at least in the past.  I found them to be good paints that worked well either thinned in an airbrush or a regular brush.  At the end of this post, I will share the paints and materials that I used for those interested.

In this post, in order I will discuss the Soviets, the French, and the German models I worked on in November.  I also am submitting these as part of a Mechanical November community painting challenge run by Azazel (which is very fun to be a part of – check him out!).

Soviet

The two Soviet tanks that I added were the BT-5 and the BT-7.  An advantage of adding these will be that they also were used against the Finns in the Winter War and against the Japanese at Nomonhan in 1939 and during the Soviet Invasion of Manchuria in 1945.  So, I can use them in different scenarios for sure.  I followed the same procedure to paint these as I did my previous early war Soviet tanks.

For assembly, I again chose to magnetize the turrets by drilling out the hulls and the turrets and using rare earth magnets.  I weathered all of the tanks, as I prefer my tanks to be muddy.  I also left the crews out, as I did not like the way they fit in the turrets.  Of note, their Christie suspensions (an American invention) would be reproduced with the T-34 series.

Overall, I am happy with the way these turned out.  In What a Tanker© their fighting characteristics are exactly the same.

6 BT5 and BT7 front
BT-5 (left) and BT-7 (right) frontal view
7 BT5 and BT7 back
BT-5 (left) and BT-7 (right) rear view

 French

I have always had an affinity for the French Army, as I have a French name (albeit of French-Canadian extraction), speak French, and spent time with three different Regiments du Genie (Engineer Regiments) back in the 1980’s.

For my France 1940 scenario, I already had two resin Char B1 bis tanks from Wargame Models in Ohio.  I added two light infantry tanks (Renault 35 or R35) and three SOMUA S35’s for a balanced group.

Assembling and painting these would require new uses of poster tack, plastic plates, and wood screws.  This allowed me to both safely handle the tanks in production but also to get the right look of the camouflage.  I decided to leave the crews out, as I had little confidence that they would survive the tabletop for very long as the models were designed.

I also got to play with some decals from Battlefront.  These did require retreatment with Liquid Decal Film from Microscale Industries before I used their other products to affix their decals.  I could not believe that the French roundel decal came in two pieces (the blue dot was separate and had to be affixed after and onto the red-ringed white circle).  That was annoying!

9 French forces for 1940
My new French tanks with my old Char B1 bis tanks
10 SOMUA's front
The three SOMUA S35’s, frontal view
11 SOMUA's left side
SOMUA side view showing the card-suit designations on the turret backs

12 SOMUA's right side

13 R35 front
Renault R35’s

14 R35 moving

15 Defenders of France
Nice group shot

German

For the Germans, I chose to use the Panzer IIC, the Panzer IIIE, and the Sturmgeschutz Ausf A.  The Panzer II’s came in a box of 5 – but was missing one tank gun.  Battlefront has promised to make this good (and I expect it soon).  I chose to make one of the Panzer II’s a France 1940 candidate, saving the other four for a North African scenario that I will complete later on.  The Panzer IIIE came in three separate blisters.  Ironically, the Panzer IIIE was the worst of the Germans to assemble.  One gun was almost split, and the turrets were nearly three different sizes.   There were a lot of mold lines to correct as well, especially on the tracks.

I repaired the one gun with green stuff, and chose it for the France 1940 group, saving the other two for North Africa.  Lastly, historically it seems that very few StuG III’s made it to North Africa.  Therefore, I added all three of the assault guns for my France 1940 scenario.

12 Panzer III prepped for camo
The Panzer IIIE prepped for camouflage
14 PzIIC right side
Panzer IIC complete, left side
15 PzIIC left side
Panzer IIC, left side.  The 14 is for my wife – her and my lucky number!
16 PzIIC rear
Rear view of the tiny Panzer IIC.
17 Pz IIIE front
The Panzer IIIE completed.  The brown camouflage doesn’t really show up as well here (so I guess it works!).
18 Pz IIIE back
Panzer IIIE opposite view
19 StuGA's front
Sturmgeschutz III Ausf A, frontal view
20 StuGA's left side
Sturmgeschutz III Ausf A, left side view
21 StuGA's right side and rear
Sturmgeschutz III Ausf A, right side and rear view
22 all German fronts
My Germans for the France 1940 scenario

I was glad to have finished these in time for our club’s monthly session (which I will post about shortly).  I will be adding more to my fleet, but in the meantime, I hope you enjoyed these.  Do you have a favorite?

I appreciate hearing your thoughts and feedback in the comments section below.  Thanks for looking!

 

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, WASHES, AND FLOCKING USED:

COMMONLY USED ON MULTIPLE TANKS:

  1. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  2. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  3. Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
  4. Battlefront “German Camo Black Brown”
  5. Battlefront “Dark Gunmetal”
  6. Vallejo Mecha Color “Green”
  7. Battlefront German Camo Black Brown
  8. Vallejo “Surface Primer – Black”
  9. Vallejo “Burnt Umber” (pigment)
  10. Vallejo “Light Sienna” (pigment)
  11. Vallejo “Light Slate Grey” (pigment)
  12. Vallejo “Natural Umber” (pigment)
  13. Vallejo Mecha Color “Light Rust Wash” (weathering)
  14. Vallejo Mecha Color “Oil Stains” (weathering)
  15. Battlefront “Oxide Red”
  16. Gorilla Glue
  17. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Gloss Varnish”
  18. Microscale Micro-Set
  19. Microscale Micro-Sol
  20. Microscale Liquid Decal Film
  21. 1/8″ rare earth neodymium magnets
  22. Citadel “Nuln Oil” (shade)
  23. Citadel “Nuln Oil Gloss” (shade)
  24. Appropriate decals from Battlefront
  25. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”

UNIQUE TO THE SOVIET TANKS:

  1. Vallejo “Surface Primer – Russian Green”
  2. Vallejo Panzer Series “Camouflage Olive Green”
  3. Vallejo Mecha Color “Light Green”
  4. Citadel “Biel-Tan Green” (shade)
  5. Citadel “Athonian Camoshade” (shade)
  6. Secret Weapons Washes “Sewer Water”
  7. Citadel “Agrax Earthshade”

UNIQUE TO THE FRENCH TANKS:

  1. Battlefront “GI Green”
  2. Battlefront “Flat Earth”
  3. Battlefront “Sicily Yellow”

UNIQUE TO THE GERMAN TANKS:

  1. Battlefront “Panzer Gray”
  2. Battlefront “Rommel Shade”
  3. Battlefront “Chocolate Brown”
  4. Battlefront “European Skin”
  5. Battlefront “Skin Shade”
  6. Vallejo “Medium Skin Tone”
  7. Battlefront “Black”
  8. Green stuff

Thanks again for looking and for your feedback!

 

 

“What A Tanker” Eastern Front battle at November Mass Pikemen Session

On November 10, 2018, the Mass Pikemen held their monthly gaming session with a game of What a Tanker set on the Eastern Front in 1942.  The scenario was a 1942/1943 one where a Soviet force consisting of 1 KV-1a heavy tank, 2 T-26 M1939 light tanks, 2 BA-64 armored cars, and a couple of Gaz trucks was surrounded and needed to break out through the Axis lines. It was my first chance to get all of my recently painted tanks on the tabletop.

Initially opposing the Soviets was a German force consisting of  2 Panzer IVd tanks and a 1 Panzer 38(t) tank.  Reinforcements were staggered for the Axis, and they consisted of a 1 Panzer IIIN tank, a Hetzer tank destroyer (Jagdpanzer 38), and an Italian M13/41.  It was imperative for the Soviets to exit the other side of the board with the KV-1 and the two trucks as quickly as possible.

The Germans moved on first – and one of the T-26’s was able to early on get a couple of shots in on one of the Panzer IVd’s, with the second one knocking it out.  This was a fun event for 7-year old Jack Burns who was playing in his first war game ever.  He was so excited to knock out the German tank.

1 Mike's Panzer IV death
The Panzer IIIN moves on the board as a reinforcement.  The second Panzer IVd takes advantage of its burning comrade’s smoky wreck.

The Soviets KV-1a was slow to move forward, and the T-26’s outran it.  The Panzer 38(t) moved up to the ruined factory and took aim at one of the T-26’s in the open.  It fired, and missed the Soviet.  Returning fire, the T-26 hit and knocked out the Panzer 38 (t).  Two down for the Axis!  Shortly after this, the other Panzer IVd peeked out from behind its brother, only to suffer the same fate from the plucky T-26.  Three down now!

2 Chris, Jared, Jack
Chris Smedile, Jared Burns, and Jack Burns advance their vehicles.  The Panzer 38 (t) is behind the wall in the center in a good defensive position, facing the T-26 that was to knock it out.
3 Chris C, Mike, Jared, Jack
Chris Comeau and Mike Morgan (and later myself) played the Axis.  This view shows the length of the board the Soviets needed to cross.  Each fighting vehicle had a magnetic dashboard, and its own colored dice.  Command Dice were always white though.

Let me add a side note here on my rules modifications for this scenario.  What a Tanker does not have rules for either armored cars or trucks.  I modified them here for the armored cars, which I made Fast (easier to always move), and Small (tougher to hit).  For their Armor, I only gave them a 1, which meant that any hit from a tank gun would very likely be enough to kill the BA-64.  As the BA-64 only had a machine gun, I gave them 2 modified Strike dice.  The modifications were twofold.  First, their range was 24″ (half that of the tanks).  Secondly, the BA-64’s would hit on a 6, but the only likely result of such a hit would be to force the target to button up if it was not already.  If the BA-64 player rolled double-6’s, I would allow 2 strike dice.  So the BA-64’s were harassers at best.  I had the Gaz trucks move last, with 2 D6 of movement (no command dice).  If they were hit, they were destroyed.

4 Chris celebrates his kill
Chris celebrates his second kill, while the Panzer 38 (t) burns.  You can see here behind the BA-64’s a D12, which I used for initiative rolls instead of D6’s and re-rolling for ties.  It worked much easier and was much less confusing.

Back to the battle!

At this low point, they got reinforcements in consecutive turns.  First, the Panzer IIIN came on in turn 2.  In turn 4, the Axis got the Hetzer and the M13/41.  The tide of battle was turning.

5 Hetzer chases KV-1a
The Hetzer ignores the BA-64 and sets out to hunt the KV-1a.

The Panzer IIIN moved up to the hill, awaiting the T-26 and a truck.  The German successively took both out, leaving the Soviets only with one T-26, one truck, the KV-1a, and the BA-64’s. The M13/41 rolled badly, and hid behind the Panzer IVd wrecks for better dice rolls, even taking humiliating fire from the BA-64’s that caused it to have to button up.

5 truck death
In the foreground, a Gaz truck burns.  The crew of the Panzer IIIN behind the hill looks at the burning T-26 in front of it.  In the left center, the Panzer 38 (t) burns, as do 2 Panzer IVd’s in the right rear.  On the left, the showdown between the lumbering KV-1a and the Hetzer is about to begin.

The Hetzer moves fast, and tried to move around to the rear of the KV-1a.  It succeeded, and missed with its initial rear shot.  The KV-1a immediately turned the tables, turning 180°, and rotating its massive turret towards the diminutive tank destroyer.  The Soviet again got initiative, firing not once, not twice, but three times – and unbelievably missing on all three attempts!  The saving grace for the Hetzer was its Small characteristic, which meant the KV-1a needed a “7” instead of a “6” to hit.

The Hetzer then got initiative and rolled its Command Dice well enough to fire but not to maneuver towards the Soviet behemoth’s vulnerable rear.  It decided to take a chancy shot at the frontal armor of the KV-1a.  It got 5 hits on 7 dice (needed a “5” or “6” to hit).  The Soviet player got zero saves, and the KV-1a was knocked out.

6 KV burns and truck faces m13 41
The KV-1a burns on the right, while the Hetzer and the M13/41 hunt the last truck (on the left).  The BA-64 attempted a ramming attack on the Hetzer to give the truck a chance to escape.

The BA-64 ramming attack did nothing to the Hetzer, which dispatched the armored car with one shot.  Meanwhile, the Italian M13/41 took out the last truck.  The surviving BA-64 was destroyed by the Italian, leaving the Panzer IIIN and a damaged T-26 in a showdown.  With the loss of the trucks and the KV-1a, the game was called an Axis victory.

7 final
Mike Morgan victoriously surveys the smoky battlefield.

The game was a fun one for winners and losers, with highs and lows for both.  Next time, I will probably give the Soviets a second KV-1a.

The next Mass Pikemen’s gaming session will be on Saturday, December 1st from 2-8 PM, at 110 Pleasant Street in East Brookfield, MA.  This is a change from our previous 3-9 PM time slot.  We will be playing What a Tanker again!

Please join us, and share your thoughts and feedback in the comments section below!

Let’s do some tanks! Soviet KV-1a platoon for “What a Tanker”

I have been working on getting a fleet of tanks for the What a Tanker game from the Too Fat Lardies company.   It’s a great game and has been a true hit with my gaming club, the Mass Pikemen.  I have been working on building up a flexible group of tanks, and so far I am up to 71 tanks in 15mm/1:100 scale – not including ones needing assembly and painting.

My sources have been eBay, hobby stores, and Facebook.  If I waited to paint them all, I would never do another project, so finding some mostly painted resin (and reasonably priced) models from Wargame Models in Ohio has helped shorten the process.  Mostly I just washed and varnished the ones I have gotten from WMIO.

One group acquisition was from another source on eBay – it was a resin Soviet KV-1 platoon consisting of 5 KV-1’s heavy tanks, 2 T-26 light tanks, 2 BA-64 armored cars, and 2 trucks.  I do not know the manufacturer.  They had been given some sort of dark brown coating with splashes of lighter brown.  They color-wise did not look particularly like Soviet tanks from 1941.  This platoon is the main subject of this blog post.

0 Group of tanks
My tank fleet grows – the KV-1 platoon is in the upper left.
1 KV platoon unpainted
The platoon as I got it in the brown colors.  I decided to make the heavy tanks as the KV-1a version.  All of the turrets were not magnetized, which I did do as well as part of this project.
2 magnets
I removed the resin post on the turret and drilled out 1/8″ holes in it and widened the preexisting hole in the hull.  I got some nice neodymium 1/8″ x 1/16″ magnets for magnetizing from totalElement.com.

It was necessary to use a Sharpie to mark one end of the 1/8″ magnets such that I inserted them in the correct alignment (I did not want the turrets “blowing off” prematurely!).  I glued the magnets into the holes with Gorilla Glue.

3 magnet turret KV1a
Each turret originally had this post that I removed and drilled underneath.
4 drill and magnet turret KV1a
Magnetized K-V1a turret
5 BA 64 repair
BA-64 turret showing my repair of the gun.  It was thin resin.  The other resin gun broke later as well so these are not sturdy.

I needed to find a way to paint the figures without damaging the paint, and tanks were new to me.  I decided to take advantage of the magnets on the turrets here.  I used small nails inserted into styrofoam blocks (the kind used for flower crafts).  For the hulls, I masked the tracks for secondary painting, and such that I could hold them safely.

6 priming turrets
How many turrets can fit on the head of a nail?
7 priming hulls with masking
The hulls masked for priming.

I airbrushed/primed the figures with Vallejo “Surface Primer – Russian Green”.

8 all primed
The platoon primed.

I then gave the figures an airbrushed base coat with a thinned coat of Vallejo Panzer Series “Camouflage Olive Green”.

9 all primed
The platoon base coated.
10 close up base coat
Close up shot of one of the KV-1a hills after base coating.

These looked too drab, and not very Soviet green looking.  I moved on to adding Vallejo Mecha Color “Green” with a light airbrushing.  Next, I used a brush to dry brush Vallejo Mecha Color “Light Green” on the figures.  I was able to then give the figures an appropriate light green by using Citadel “Biel-Tan Green” as a shade.  It worked!

11 contrast after light green and Biel-tan
Contrast the before shading (turret on left) and after (turret on right).  The light green helped give depth to the shaded turrets and hulls.  I darkened everything with an additional shade – Citadel “Athonian Camoshade”.
12 close up hulls after green wash
Before the “Athonian Camoshade”…
13 after wash with athonian camoshade
…and after adding the darker shade.

At this point, I removed the masking and painted the tracks.  I then wanted to add some mud, dirt, and dust with pigments.  I used several Vallejo pigments and binders (all listed at the end of this post).  These models are small, (about 3″ long by 1½” wide by 1¾” high so I wanted to give enough weathering without overwhelming them.

14 adding the pigments
An in-progress pic of weathering one of the hulls.
15 ready for varnish
All of the weathering done and the vehicles ready for varnish.
16 varnish hull
KV-1a hull varnished.
17 t26 varnish hull
T-26 hull varnished.
18 all done
The platoon nice and dirty with the mud of Mother Russia.

This was my first attempt at painting any WWII tank models.  I think I can do better, but early war Soviet tanks are pretty simple, as they had not usually added any markings.  It will not be my last, and I am hoping that I get better with more tries.  This project also is my first submission for Azazel’s November Community painting challenge – Mechanical November ’18.  If you have not checked out his blog, it’s worth a look.  Also, my next few posts will showcase tanks, so I hope you enjoy.

Now for some eye candy!

19 5 KV1a
All five KV-1a’s with different angles to view.  Ignore the giant tetrahedrons please!
20 5 KV1a
Front view
21 5 KV1a rear
Rear view.  I “mudded” them up a bit here.
22 the platoon
The combat vehicles move out.
23 one of each
One of each AFV I painted plus 2 trucks.
24 KV1a in town
KV-1a in an urban setting.
25 T26 in town
T-26 in town (what’s left of it anyway).
26 BA 64 in town
BA-64.

I hope that you enjoyed this post.  Please let me know your thoughts and feedback below in the comments section.

Thanks for looking!

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, WASHES, AND FLOCKING USED:

  1. Citadel “Imperium Primer”
  2. Vallejo “Surface Primer – Russian Green”
  3. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  4. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  5. Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
  6. Vallejo Panzer Series “Camouflage Olive Green”
  7. Vallejo Mecha Color “Green”
  8. Vallejo Mecha Color “Light Green”
  9. Citadel “Biel-Tan Green” (shade)
  10. Citadel “Athonian Camoshade” (shade)
  11. Vallejo “Surface Primer – Black”
  12. Elmer’s White Glue
  13. Vallejo “Pigment Binder”
  14. Vallejo “Burnt Umber” (pigment)
  15. Vallejo “Industrial Splash Mud” (weathering)
  16. Vallejo “Light Sienna” (pigment)
  17. Vallejo “Light Slate Grey” (pigment)
  18. Gorilla Glue
  19. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”

Thanks again for looking and for your feedback!

My BARRAGE XXII Recap, September 2018

The H.A.W.K.’s held their BARRAGE convention in Havre de Grace, Maryland at the end of September 2018.  They had over 70 gaming events, and it had been on my “hoping to attend” list for most of 2018.  Also on my wish list was to be able to run my “Attack of the Warbots” game using the Combat Patrol™ card-based system.   I was hoping to attend but was unsure (for several reasons) up to a week beforehand as to whether I was going to be able to go or not.  In the end, the stars aligned, and I also got to run my game!  Box checked!

There was a lot going on here – and I saw a lot of great games.  The following is just a snippet, through my eyes, of the experiences that I had.  The games and the game masters that I saw did an incredible job.  Truly impressive.  Certainly, the H.A.W.K.’s put on a great gaming convention and my kudos to all of them and the other game masters.

I started on Friday with running my latest iteration of “Attack of the Warbots” with my Archive, Mega Miniatures, and Wargames Supply Dump figures, all of which are OOP.  I had seven players, with three on the Warbot side, and four on the defending side.  Of note, I was lucky to have had as players both Buck Surdu (my old West Point buddy and the author of the Combat Patrol™  rules) and Dave Wood (my old West Point roommate who introduced me to tabletop gaming in 1982).  I also had the good fortune to have Greg Priebe playing alongside Buck – and Greg wrote the Star Wars supplement for Combat Patrol™.  Buck is very fond of ducks (in a good way of course), and was in command of Duck Wader and some Star Ducks, while Dave was on the Warbot side with a couple of Mark 1 Sphere tanks.  Greg commanded the Aphids and the Frinx.  A few other players were there but I did not get their names (sorry).  The Warbots needed to recapture a lost Mark 1 before the defenders could repair it and get it off the board.

09282018 BARRAGE Attack of the Warbots
My flyer for the “Attack of the Warbots”
1 Barrage my game set up
Game set up from the attacking Warbot side.  I got set up early, which is why there seems to be an empty hall, but it filled up quickly.
2 inital casualties
Early action – the defenders gained the initiative and the Red Warbot squad on the left of the photo took casualties from effective Star Duck and Aphid fire.  The Warbots smartly maneuvered a Mark 1 tank to attempt to breach the rusty steel wall defenses.
3 initial casualties
Closer view of previous action showing Aphids in a bad place.
4 warbot explodes
Aphids strike back!  They get a critical hit on a Red Warbot’s power plant, triggering a catastrophic explosion (smoke plume), which damaged several of its nearby comrades.  This made this fire team have to make multiple morale checks (as shown by the red beads).  One of these pinned the team in place for the remainder of the game.  As the critical hit catastrophically destroyed the smoky Warbot, that plume would restrict line of sight for that pinned team as well!
5 wall about to go...
Dave Wood prepares to destroy the wall with his Mark 1’s Death Ray, and…
6 wall is breached
…the wall is breached, frying a few defending Star Ducks.
7 duck casualties mount
Roberker moves towards the breach.
8 Duck Wader atttacks
Meanwhile, on the other flank, Duck Wader used a Force Leap to engage the Green Warbots in melee.  He was able to give the Aphids on that side a brief respite.  Wader got initiative again before the Warbots, and was able to Force Leap back to safety after damaging several Warbots with his light saber.
9 tank stopped
Back on the right, the Warbots get one of their two Mark 1’s within a few inches of the building where the captured tank was being repaired.  SSG Canvasback (yes, he has a name!), the 2nd Squad Leader, fires his Quackers Repeating Blaster and got a lucky hit, knocking out the tank’s left auto cannon sponson.   This allowed enough suppressive fire cover for the Star Duck Squad led by SSG Gadwall to close assault the tank with satchel charges…
10 duck close assault
…and successfully knock out the Mark 1!!  Roberker, a giant flame-throwing robot was following closely behind, but another critical hit from Greg Priebe’s Frinx immobilized the giant robot, stalling the attack.
11 stopping the Warbots
At the same time on the left flank, Duck Wader again Force-leaped over the wall into the midst of the Green Warbots, and launched a Force-Blast attack.  This sent waves of destructive energy through the closely-crowded Warbots.  Many were damaged, and one even had a power plant explosion, which caused even further damage to that team and multiple morale checks due to a second explosion.  These morale checks eventually disrupted the attack as the Green Warbots either ran off the table, or got into a massive traffic jam at the breach.  Here, you see Duck Wader after he had dispatched the Warbots.  He was wounded, but had wreaked havoc on the Warbots.
12 happy defenders
At this point, the other Warbot tank was immobilized, and the game was called as a defenders’ victory.  It was a near-run thing as the defenders were unlucky in rapidly repairing their captured Mark 1, but they would have been able to complete the repairs.  Here are some of the happy defenders – Rob Dean, Buck Surdu, Jim Stutzman, and Greg Priebe.

I then turned into a player, and decided to try a Lion Rampant game ably run by Philip Jones.  We were the Vikings who had seized prelates, monks, and treasure in a raid, and were trying to escape to their longship, while being pursued and blocked by Welsh troops.

13 Lion Rampant
“Llandaff is in flames, the bishop and his monks carried off- but the men of Glywysing have the Vikings trapped between two forces as they try to get back to their ships. Will they break through or will Bishop Cyfeilliog be rescued?”
14 Lion Rampant roster
My forces
15 Lion Rampant Vikings move out
Our initial deployment – Welsh would block us and harry us from the rear.
16 Lion Rampant Dave Wood prepares
The Welsh harry from the rear and Dave Wood prepares for battle.
17 Lion Rampant running
Vikings moving out.
18 Lion Rampant running
Crossing the river and all looks good…
19 Lion Rampant traffic jam
…until Welsh forces combine to slow and stop us.
20 Lion Rampant monk escapes
A monk escapes!

Our casualties mounted!  The game points were tallied, and rightly called for the Welsh.  I did find the system fun, and Philip ran the game in a very fun way.

After this, I was walking around, and was recruited for a “What a Tanker” game run by Brian Lipscomb.  It was set in North Africa, 15mm scale, with the British set against the Germans and Italians.  Brian asked if I wanted to have a German or Italian tank.  Being a sucker for a challenge, I of course said Italian.  I was given a Fiat M13/40 tank.

21 What a Tanker start
My M13/40 tank sheet.  Brian did a nice job with using magnets for managing data on the sheets.
22 What a Tanker M13 chasing the Honey
I am pursuing a rear shot on a British Stuart “Honey”.  He slipped away, for the moment…
23 What a Tanker M13 goodby Crusader 2
Don Hogge pursued me in his Crusader II to take the pressure off the Honey.  Don shot at me and missed.  I rotated, fired, and smoked his tank.
24 What a Tanker M13 goodby Honey
This allowed me to renew my approach on the Honey.  I got hit with minor damage to my running gear.  I returned fire, and got the Honey with my first shot.  That’s two tanks!  Later, I finished off a Matilda II for my third kill (on the deep left) – and all this with an Italian M13/40!

Needless to say, I really enjoyed this game and the mechanics.  Brian is a superb GM.  More on that in a bit…but this was a fun way to end Friday!

On Saturday, I had really looked forward to playing Buck’s Sea Lion game.  There weren’t enough players, so it was called, BUT I wanted to share the unbelievably beautiful game set up.  Buck will run this game at Fall In and you can read about a play test of the game here.

25 Sea Lion

26 Sea Lion
Rear of the table
27 Sea Lion women
Some Women’s Land Army troops
28 Sea Lion beach
Great scenery – these are the Germans assaulting the beach.
29 Sea Lion beach
Another view of the beach and wharves.  Landing craft in front held two 35(t) tanks, and a Panzer III.
30 Sea Lion shops
Nice bars with British sailors and folks hanging out…or are they?

So again, I wandered around, and saw another Brian Lipscomb “What a Tanker” game, this time set on the Eastern Front.  After Friday, I was happy to give it another go.  I was teamed with two others who had not previously played the game.  We had a certain number of points, so I volunteered to take a lesser tank (a T-70 light tank) so that they could have better ones – in this case a T-34 and an SU-76.

31 What a Tanker T70
Love what he did with these data sheets and the magnets!  This is for the T-70.
32 What a Tanker T70 kill
I maneuvered alongside the T-34 and put the killing round into a Panzer IV.  Kill #4 for the weekend.

At this point, Don Hogge and Buck Surdu visited the table put up a dollar each for anyone to kill me!  Talk about motivation!  We were being outmaneuvered by the Germans at this point, so I moved back and used my kill points to upgrade my T-70 to an SU-85.

33 What a Tanker SU85 upgrade
My upgrade to an SU-85.

The scenario that Brian devised also had infantry (controlled by him as the GM and using a random events chart) – with the town as an objective.  I used the SU-85 to hammer the German infantry as Soviet infantry was arriving.  I killed four stands and got a bunch of kill points.  I reminded my teammates that I had started off as a T-70, and they gave me one extra kill point, which allowed me to get a monster ISU-152.  At the same time, the Germans were reinforced with a Jagdpanther and a Sturmgeschutz III.

34 What a Tanker ISU152 upgrade
My last upgrade – the ISU-152.

Immediately I maneuvered the ISU-152 to hit more infantry.  The Germans decided to try to get me with their Jagdpanther and the Sturmgeschutz III.  I moved my tank destroyer next to a building to face the Jagdpanther down the main street.  He fired.

He missed!

I returned fire and destroyed the German tank destroyer.

35 What a Tanker ISU152 takes out jagdpanzer IV
My ISU-152 nails the Jagdpanther.  Kill #5 for the weekend.
36 What a Tanker ISU152 takes out jagdpanzer IV burning
Jagdpanther burns.

At this point, the Sturmgeschutz III was maneuvering to get a flank or rear shot on me.  As the ISU-152 is very heavy and slow, I was only able to spin to face the Sturmgeschutz III.  It was a question of initiative – and I got it, hit the German assault gun, and got kill #6 for the weekend (and the $2 bounty on me!).

37 What a Tanker ISU152 takes out sturmgeschutz burning
Kill #6!

I then participated in a play test for a near future warfare scenario using cyber warfare with the Look Sarge No Charts  system.  It was run by Dave Wood and was interesting to do.

38 LSNC near future play test
Dave explaining the system.
39 LSNC near future play test
Assault on the hill.

Every BARRAGE there is a pickup WWI air combat game that is a hoot.  I’ve never managed to get a kill in the game before, but I did this year as a German.  Eventually, I got shot up and had to glide home.

40 Aerodrome game
WWI fighter game – I had the red plane in the center.

The last tabletop game that I played in was a First Boer War Combat Patrol™ game.  I was on the Boer side and we had to defend our wagon from being seized by the British.  The game was fun, but there was a low point.  We had a couple of players from New Jersey who vanished mid-game without so much as a notice that they were leaving.  I think they hated defending.  Anyways, we struggled on and ended up winning the game.  The other players were great sports, and were great company.

41 Combat Patrol Boer War
Boer War game

After this game at the end of the con, I got to play in the traditional LARP pirate game.  I had a nerf crossbow (treated by the GM as a musket) that took out Buck with a shot to the glutes.  My weapon later misfired, and the resultant damage took me out.  That LARP is always a fun game though!

The flea market presented many vendors and items for sale.  I grabbed a Verdun game that I had last played with a gaming club in Monterey, CA in 1985!  I’m not sure when I will get to play it, or with whom, but it was OOP in 1985, so a nice find!  Buck and I visited the Verdun battlefield in 1987 or so, so it was nice to get this game here.

I must congratulate again the H.A.W.K.’s on a well-run con.  Little Wars TV attended and filmed so you can see more of the convention here.

Thanks for looking and as always, I love any feedback!