Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Happy New Year!

I will write up a review of the year soon, but I just wanted to wish anyone still reading this blog a happy new year. More content to follow over the coming weeks I hope. Inspiration has struck, but I am uncertain whether this will turn into action.

Friday, 27 December 2019

The Mandalorian

This afternoon, over lunch, I watched the final chapter of the Disney + show, The Mandalorian. It was everything I hoped and dreamed it would be. Perfectly ending the season, while simultaneously setting up the next in a satisfying manner. I cannot wait until next year, or whenever to get the next part of this story. I might be so bold as to say this is some of the best Star Wars created this side of the 1980s.

Also worth noting is the spark it has given me to continue my 6mm Sci Fi RPG stories. I just need to find my bag of dice, which I may have left at school over the holiday period. Prepare to see a flurry of activity.

Merry Christmas all.

In other news, Diablo III is coming along nicely. I am onto act 3 now with my female Crusader. This might be one of my favourite play throughs. I am excited to actually experience the Reaper of Souls expansion also.

Sunday, 10 November 2019

Taking a few more weeks off...

Every week I make a list of the miniature related projects I will make progress on at the weekend. Every weekend I distract myself with other things. Following Blizzcon and the announcement of Diablo IV, I thought I would take the opportunity to actually finish the Diablo III: Reaper of Souls expansion, which I have actually never played. I mean, I have completed the regular old Diablo III campaign as a kick ass monk. But then I bought the expansion a matter of weeks before getting married and putting my gaming computer into storage for a few years. As it happens it works well enough on the laptop so I will finish it over the next few months this time as a crusader sporting my Queen of Blades wings. 

I love miniature painting and wargaming, but in all honesty I am happy about having a little break from it all right now. I think the Christmas holidays will grant me some time and desire to base up and paint some more US infantry. I have what I need now to follow the A Sergeant's War Bocage campaign, I just need to take the time to give it a go. But not right now. Not just yet.

Saturday, 26 October 2019

What do I do in October?

I sit here with a rare evening free and am rejecting the idea of basing a bunch of US infantry ready to replace my other infantry with whom I am unhappy. Instead what I have done is boot up Steam and play Northgard, a great little game that feels like Age of Empires meets Civilization meets Vikings. I highly recommend this game to anyone who is not interested in competitive online RTS playing.

Anyone who pays attention to my blog sees that September and October are my least productive times. School is full on, days are getting shorter and colder. All I want to do is snuggle up with some garbage TV (althought I turned it off tonight) and eat junk. 

Sunday, 29 September 2019

I finished up some US reinforcements this weekend. Time to use these to diversify my 6mm gaming capabilities.

Here we have three of my nine M4 Shermans. These are just regular old M4s with the 75mm cannon. I am happy to have these and cannot wait to get them onto the table this week.

 The convoy. Having these M3 Halftracks with infantry and without mean I can use them for various things. Annoyingly one of the full halftracks has some scratched helmets so needs to be repaired and isn't pictured here.

M8 Greyhounds. I think these are gorgeous vehicles and one of my favourite units in the computer game Company of Heroes. They were the base of my learner US build (four rifle squads followed by an M8) a few years back when I was playing that game. I look forward to pitting one of these against a Tiger II to see if he can sneak up behind and pop a few shots into the back plate.

M5 Stuarts. I have some scenarios that require these tanks, and I have been interested in them for a while. I remember using these in the computer game Sudden Strike 2 to great effect. I also recently used them (or M3 Stuarts) in Blitzkrieg 2, to a less successful degree.

Monday, 16 September 2019

Reinforcements! Shermans, transport and some big cats.

After almost a month of anxious waiting my delivery from Heroics and Ros finally arrived. I am so glad it is here. I have been wanting to get on with this for ages. Only having only Sherman 76s has been a pain in the butt for ages. Now with some normal ones I can actually field some normal looking forces. 

I am also excited to try out the apocryphal story of the M8 Greyhound taking out a Tiger II. The purchase of a Panzerjäger IV is mrerly because I think they are stunning and there was a not insignificant number in Normandy.  The Puma is for nostalgia. One of my first kits ever was the Matchbox 1/76 Puma, which I still have even now, although it got a face lift a few years back.

Thursday, 29 August 2019

Holding the Line - a 6mm AAR

Tonight I took the rules A Sergeant's War for another spin, mainly to test out a few things, namely AT fire and HE fire.
The Scenario: A few squads of US infantry are holding a defensive line near a farm while an under-strength German platoon probes to test the viability of a larger counterattack in this area.

US forces: 2 BAR sections (4 men each), 1 30cal LMG (2 men), 2 rifle sections (5 men, one has a bazooka), 4 leaders, 1 57mm AT gun.
German forces: 2 LMGs (3 men each), 3 rifle squads (4 men each), 4 leaders, 1 StuG III.

The US defensive line. The 57mm gun covering the road with a BAR team holding the farm buildings. Their plan would be to fall back to the bocage lines held by their comrades should an attack of any note come. The right flank is being held by another BAR team while the rear is held by the 30 cal and the rifle squads. The Germans would be advancing in a general line.

 Jumping through the bocage a German rifle squad attracts some ineffective reactive fire from the BAR squad in the farm complex. Annoyingly this revealed their presence. Something I semi-ignored last game is spotting. But shooting basically gives the game away and by the opponent's next turn any enemy unit can shoot at you if they can get LOS. I think.

 Seeing a StuG III cautiously advance up the road the AT gun crew decide to engage. As the shot screams off it is clear it hits true as the StuG shudders...

 ...and begins to billow with smoke as rounds cook off inside. No crew make it out. I was almost disappointed that the first AT shot I have ever made with these rules hit and resulted in simple destruction. More likely would have been forcing morale checks from the crew.

 Seeing Germans in the open this rifle squad opens fire. The yellow is the hit die which was successful. The red die is the casualty roll, needing a 1 to cause a casualty, which they managed.

 The squad throw themselves to the ground, check on their dead comrade and wait for a chance to return fire. One hit and one casualty mean this squad performs 2 morale checks. Actually it is three because they are caught in the open. Their morale value is 4 so they need to roll 4+ on each die to avoid getting pinned. They actually failed two morale rolls, but the leader allowed them to re-roll one of them, which was a success. This squad cannot move, but can fire with a heavy penalty. However, before the Germans start moving and shooting, all German units who have pin markers can try and rally to remove one pin each.

 On the German left flank the MG34 team comes under fire from the defending BAR team, but the presence of their NCO helps steel them against getting pinned.

 Advancing up into the corner of the bocage a German rifle squad fires on the BAR team holding the farm house. Again, the presence of their NCO encourages them. I had many more successful Leaders leading this game, although I think there were a couple of times when they actually got killed and I forgot.

 At time goes on and it appears to be turning into a stalemate the BAR team on the US right flank looks like it might break, allowing the Germans to roll up the flank.

 Taking a chance the 57mm gun opens fire with HE against the MG team in the field to devastating effect. Under such fire and being in the open, not even the presence of their grizzled NCO can stop them breaking and seeking cover behind some bocage. A 57mm gun is a light HE gun, meaning it has FP2, so I roll 2 dice, needing 3+ to hit in this case. The hits plus being caught in the open led to 3 morale tests, all of which failed, and the NCO re-roll achieved nothing.

 Rifle fire sends the NCO scurrying off for cover also. I may have misunderstood the rules, but it doesn't seem you can kill leaders. They can only die while leading? I may be totally way off though.

 The already pinned down rifle squad takes more fire from the BAR team, becoming further pinned, but luckily avoiding becoming broken. Those German NCOs really know how to inspire their men!

That is until the 30 cal team opens up, breaking them, forcing them to retreat behind the bocage and off the battlefield. I read more about broken units. They keep retreating unless there are no enemy within LOS. So they kept retreating.

 On the US right flank the MG34 team comes under more fire.

 The BAR team on the right flank gets pinned again, but they keep rallying.

 The German squad firing up the road take some HE fire from the 57mm gun. They rally though and pass the morale tests.

 The MG34 team takes two casualties and becomes heavily pinned. They won't be doing much for a while. The unit is at less than 50% strength so the FP is halved. With 2 pins they cannot move or fire, but don't need to retreat.

After rallying some the MG34 team on the other side of the fight breaks again and retreats away. At this point the remaining German NCOs begin withdrawing their men. This may not be the right place to poke through the US defenses. 

This wasn't the best game in the world. I mainly wanted to experiment with AT and HE fire. I was thinking about having wave after wave of Germans coming, but decided it would get boring so kept to the first wave. The next game may be larger. I anxiously await my Heroics and Ros order with some Shermans and Stuarts. I want some actual allied armour.

Monday, 26 August 2019

6mm dirt roads - the cheater edition

These roads are stolen from the 6mm wargaming and terrain group on Facebook. 

1. Brown felt, cut roughly into strips. I didn't bother measuring. Will I live to regret this?

2. A dry brush with a generic light colour that I got from The Works for 99p. It has a shiny finish but I don't use it ever without washes. And dry brushed onto felt it seems to ignore the shine.

3. PVA glue squeezed directly onto the edges of the road. I did one road section at a time.

4. Use a cheap brush to spread the glue to the edges.

5. Pour flock over each edge. Tap the middle of the roads to shake flock off.

6. Probably seal at some point?

In all this lot took me about 20 minutes to make.

A Sergeant's Normandy - 6mm AAR

Today was a momentous day. I finally took the plunge and used my 6mm WW2 armies for an actual game. The rules I used were A Sergeant's War, a set I have had for a couple of years now and have wanted to get to the table for a while. I am glad that this happened.

The scenario: An under-strength US platoon is tasked with shortening their defensive lines by advancing a few hundred metres to take possession of some nicely defensible farm buildings. However, these buildings fall within the firing sectors of an opposing under-strength German platoon. Chaos ensues. 

US Forces: 3 "leaders", 3 infantry sections of 5 men, 2 BAR sections of 4 men.

German Forces: 3 "leaders", 3 infantry sections of 4 men, 2 MG34 teams of 3 men.

After advancing unopposed a few hundred metres the US infantry find themselves close to the farm buildings. The final push may be where they finally face some resistance. 

An MG team and infantry squad hug the bocage waiting to ambush the advancing Americans.

Another MG team covers any approach to the barn.

A BAR team advances to the edge of cover and comes under ineffective defensive fire. The first shots have sounded. Defensive fire halves the number of D6 you can roll, thus halving the number of possible casualties, and decreasing how many pins you can inflict. 2 pins is pretty bad. 3 pins breaks the unit, forcing them to retreat some.

After a general advance, with the Americans hugging a line of bocage, the Germans advance slightly, to hug their bocage line also. 

A rifle squad had trouble crossing the bocage and found itself out in the open. This time, when the German MG team open fire it was much more effective causing the unit to become pinned, but not inflicting any casualties. For each hit you take, you roll for a casualty. Then, for every hit AND casualty, you roll a morale test. The more morale tests you fail, the more pinned you become. If you get caught in the open, you also take an extra morale test. Mini red dice are pin markers. The numbers on them are irrelevant. I just couldn't be bothered to dig out my little card markers from Starport Scum.

On the other flank the US rifle squads advance into the open field, hoping to rush across. One squad gets heavily pinned under furious rifle fire. This is where I discover that getting caught in the open is actually really bad. Two pins mean you can't move or shoot and can only attempt to rally, or react in a firefight (close quarters combat).

Now it is the American turn and the BAR squad advances and fires, pinning the German rifle squad. I may have played wrong, but I played that my squad took 2 pins, but then at the start of their turn they could rally and lose one, so having 2 pins actually meant nothing because no-one was left to fire at them. But now thinking about it I can see the purpose.

Lots of ineffective fire is exchanged across the bocage, while one US rifle squad holds one of the farm buildings. I said that as soon as the US held both buildings I would give Jerry 2 turns to root them out.

The Germans lay down plenty of poorly aimed fire on the right flank causing little more damage than some scared rabbits and a few broken twigs.

On the left flank, however, the BAR team and the rifle squad both become pinned. It turned out that in this game, even having only 1 pin marker made you pretty much useless. All units needed a 3+ to hit, but had a penalty of -2 for being pinned and -1 because most units had cover, so I needed 6 to hit which almost never happened.

After rallying the BAR team on the left flank double pinned the MG team. This was a good win, essentially buying them some time to advance. The leader failed to succeed in the re-roll of a morale test. The BAR team scored 2 hits. It then rolled 2 casualty checks, but because they didn't roll a 1, none were inflicted. As such, because there were only 2 hits and no casualties, the MG team had to roll 2 morale checks, both failed. The leader nearby allowed them to re-roll one, but they rolled a 2, which failed. Rolling a 1, would have gotten the leader killed, which is the risk of using them. An interesting mechanic.

The right flank BAR team also managed to heavily suppress the German rifle team with withering fire. In this game I completely forgot that US infantry, armed with the M1 Garand get a free second suppressing attack that cannot cause casualties, but can cause more pinning. 

As a response the MG team and rifles opposing the US advance lay down some serious fire, heavily suppressing the GIs and even causing a casualty.

With the left flank heavily suppressed the NCO tries to help rally his men, only to get himself killed. At the start of each round every unit can attempt to rally to remove a pinned marker. If you fail this, your leader can allow you to re-roll, but on a roll of 1, he dies. 

Sick of all this sitting around, the right flank advance into ineffective fire. 

The US rifle squad holding the farm complex also advance slightly to help lay fire down on the German defenders. This is lucky as they manage to heavily suppress them.

Back on the left the US rifle squad charges in to engage in a firefight (close quarters fighting) with a German squad. This was mainly for me to experiment with firefights. I love them.

With devastating effect the GIs unload their weapons across the bocage, inflicting some casualties and forcing the Germans to retreat, broken. Luckily the nearby German unit remained resolute to fight on. The Americans soundly won the firefight. Casualties were lighter than I would have thought. The "spreading panic" thing was interesting, but it had no impact. White die represents broken.

In the centre the BAR team and rifle squad open up on a German rifle team and inflict a casualty while also causing the unit to break. 3 pins means broken. No moving, no firing. Retreat a full move away. Can only hope to rally in next turn.

The BAR team on the left flank advances up to the barn and opens fire on one of the MG teams, pinning it. Unable to do much by way of fighting, and unlikely to retake the farm buildings soon, the Germans call it a day and begin a withdrawal.

It got a bit boring in the middle where people just seemed to be lobbing fire across at each other to little or no effect. Otherwise I enjoyed the game and look forward to trying out some more. 

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

6mm Pak 40s and some support weapons

I now have a few more MG42 teams and a couple of extra Panzerschrek teams in the hope to get some more diverse forces together for any games I might have. I hope to have at least one before the end of the school holidays.

Two Pak 40s. These nasty guns are just waiting for some Shermans to poke.