Sunday, September 27, 2020

WW2 Naval Action: Battle of the River Plate

I headed over the Roy Scaife's place on Saturday afternoon for a WW2 naval game using Roy's rules entitled Dark Seas.  Dark Seas is a hybrid between our Beat To Quarters naval rules and Victory At Sea.  Roy has a collection of 1:1200 ships that are just beautiful!

We played through the Battle of the River Plate scenario that pitches the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee against three Royal Navy cruisers, the HMS Ajax, HMS Achilles and HMS Exeter.

The great thing about naval games is the setup --- roll out the blue mats and put out the ships and you're done!

The Admiral Graf Spee makes a run for the far side of the table - can the Royal Navy ships sink her before it can escape to a neutral port?  Yes, we pulled it off - just barely!

I ran the HMS Exeter which started the closet to the Admiral Graf Spee and also was isolated from the other Royal Navy ships.  Fortunately I was playing against Roy and he has fairly terrible dice so he was unable to sink me before making the run through the other Royal Navy ships.

Pictured you can see the ship card that covers the weapon systems, special rules, speed/turning, and damage tracking - templates - and the ship itself with the wake marker that is used to set the current speed of the ship.

The other two Royal Navy ships pictured above with their ship cards and the QRS for the rules.

Below are some action shots of the battle.  All together we played through this game in ~2 hours at a leisurely pace.  Rules are streamlined and very fun. 

Just to give you an idea of the size of the ships.  Normally WW2 is played at 1:2400 - but we like larger ships.  Below you can see the USS Missouri (US Battleship) and the German Bismarck along side a regular D6.  The rules are designed to be easily played on a 6 foot by 8 foot table.

Very nice ships and the larger size adds some real visual depth to the game that is so often missing from games using 1:2400 scale ships.

Friday, September 25, 2020

LOTR: Saruman and Dol Amroth

The LOTR collection continues to expand with some purchases from Ebay. This painter I've bought from before and he does excellent work.

First up is the new set for Saruman and Grima.  Love the Palantír with the eye of Sauron in it.  I already painted up Lurtz for Isengard - with this addition there really isn't anything else I need in the way of heroes.  There are some minor heroes I have that are being sent off with the stuff going to Steve Dake - but they will be in the unit command stands.

I also picked up a great Knights of Dol Amroth force from the same guy.  This is one of the few items I don't have in my collection today (painted or unpainted) and aligns perfectly with my new organization/unit system.

This gives me either 2 small cavalry units (6) or 1 standard size cavalry unit (12).  For the foot knights I get 1 small infantry unit (12).  Then to top it off is the mounted/foot Prince Imrahil to lead the force.

I will of course be popping all these figures on clear multi-figure bases once they arrive.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

LOTR: Send Out Your Warg Riders

Just a quick post for you all today.

In the famous words of Saruman - "Send out your Warg Riders!"

The extremely talented MARK BROOKS has just finished up this batch of Warg Riders for me. 25 mounted Warg Riders (2 units of 12) and 6 Wild Wargs (1 unit of 6) - all of which will be used for my Fords of Isen scenario.

The first shot from Mark is of the whole lot of them ...

Bazinga!  Mark really outdid himself here ...

Next shots from Mark are of each colour group.  So much variation - it really doesn't get any better than this!

I can't wait for these suckers to arrive - straight on some clear bases and ready to play! 

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Middle Earth Battles: Fords of Isen

Over the summer I've been going back and forth and thinking hard about the future of my Lord of the Rings collection.  My primary issue is the rule systems for the Middle Earth SBG and the War of the Ring rules.  I just fundamentally don't like how they play.

Moreover, I like the aesthetic of wargames to be that of densely packed troops in mass battles. While I certainly dabble in skirmish games (e.g. SAGA) my primary love has always been mass battle games.

I finally made a hard decision.  I've already completed my notes for what I'm tentatively calling "Middle Earth Battles (MEB)" which will be my adaptation of rules for fighting massed battles in Middle Earth.  I've also decided on an army organization and basing system that will allow me to represent the battles in such a way that I find visually pleasing on the tabletop.  For the rules, it is a shift away from shooting dominated foundation into a melee dominated foundation.  More to come in a separate post on that front.

My first inspiration for a game with these new rules is to do the battle at the Fords of Isen.  A classic and well covered battle.  To that end, I've designed this scenario to drive my work on this project for the next few months.

I have almost the entire Rohan force done and painted - but I'm sending off a large portion of the Isengard force to my trusty wizard Mr. Steve Dake.  While Steve hits those troops I'll be doing the Rohan buildings and river Isen.  I hope to play some tests of the system using completed troops soon so much more to come on that front.

Some initial notes to give you an idea of the rules/organization:
  • Base size for cavalry - 75mm wide by 50mm deep.  Base size for infantry and monsters - 65mm x 50mm.
  • Each stand is 6 figures for infantry and 3 figures for cavalry. Monsters are 1 per base (variable base size).
  • Units are generally 4 bases, 6 bases (standard size), or 8 bases).
  • Heroes are "unit level" or independent.  Unit level are essentially a command stand of their troop type.  Major heroes move about the battlefield individually.
  • Magic and heroes will operate using a modified version of my "command point" system I recently added to my Empires at War rules.
  • On a turn when a unit charges melee will be broken into an initial "impact" round of melee, then all subsequent melee is "normal" - but unlike my AWI, ACW and Napoleonic rules, melee can span multiple turns.
That is just a general idea of some elements of the rules.

Map & Deployment

Below you will find the map with all start positions marked.

Turns:  Games lasts for 8 turns.  At the end of turn 8, the Isengard player rolls 1D6.  On a 4+, play one final turn (turn 9).

The Isen Runs Red:  Any unit touching the river that loses a round of melee combat immediately suffers D3+1 casualties with no saves.

Flanking Force:  The Isengard flanking force may arrive anytime from turn 1 onwards.  On turn 1 the Isengard player rolls 1D6.  On a 4+ the flanking force arrives. If the flanking force does not arrive, on each subsequent turn add +1 to the die result (cumulative - turn 2 is +1, turn 3 is +2).  On turn 4 the flanking force automatically arrives if it has not already.

Relief Force:  Elfhelm's relief force may arrive anytime from turn 2 onwards.  On turn 2 the Rohan player rolls 1D6.  On a 4+ the relief force arrives. If the relief force does not arrive, on each subsequent turn add +1 to the die result (cumulative - turn 3 is +1, turn 4 is +2).  The relief force will automatically arrive on turn 5 if it has not already.

Elfhelm's Éored may enter the game from any point on the sourthern/bottom table edge.

Rohan Order of Battle

River Force
  • Théodred's Royal Guard (Dismounted) - 6  (36 figures)
  • Grimbold's Helmingas - 6 bases (36 figures)
  • Oathsworn Warriors - 6 bases (36 figures)
  • Oathsworn Bowmen - 4 bases (24 figures)
  • Oathsworn Bowmen - 4 bases (24 figures)
  • Riders of Rohan Éored - 6 bases (18 figures)
  • Outriders Éored - 4 bases (12 figures)
Relief Force
  • Elfhelm's Éored - 6 bases (18 figures)
  • Erkenbrand's Éored - 6 bases (18 figures)
  • Riders of Rohan Éored - 6 bases (18 figures)

Isengard Order of Battle

Main Force
  • Uruk-hai Phalanx - 6 bases (36 figures)
  • Uruk-hai Phalanx - 6 bases (36 figures)
  • Uruk-hai Warband - 6 bases (36 figures)
  • Uruk-hai Warband - 6 bases (36 figures)
  • Uruk-hai Crossbows - 3 bases (18 figures)
  • Uruk-hai Berserkers - 2 bases (12 figures)
  • Isengard Troll - 1 base (1 figure)
  • Isengard Troll - 1 base (1 figure)
  • Dunland Warriors - 6 bases (36 figures)
  • Wildmen of Dunland - 4 bases (24 figures)
  • Wildmen of Dunland - 4 bases (24 figures)
Flanking Force
  • Uruk-hai Scout Warband - 6 bases (36 figures)
  • Warg Riders - 4 bases (12 figures)
  • Warg Riders - 4 bases (12 figures)
  • Feral Uruk-hai - 2 bases (12 figures)

Monday, September 14, 2020

Napoleonic Battle Report - 1815

This past Sunday I hosted a Napoleonic's game using my new version of Empires at War. The scenario was based on a theoretically one where Ney continues to pursue the allied army in 1815 after the battle of Quatre Bras.  The allies pull together to continue to fight a rear guard action while the bulk of the army continues on the road to Waterloo.

It was great to get the British and allied units on the table, specifically the Dutch-Belgians and the Brunswick units. The scenario ran with the Brunswick and Dutch-Belgian formations far forward of the main British position.  The two formations would fall back on the British line as they face overwhelming French forces.

Both the Brunswick and Dutch-Belgian commanders decided to hold their ground.  But, this left little room to back up as the French closed ranks with them.  The Dutch-Belgian formation got overrun, but significantly delayed the French on that half of the table.  Unfortunately, once destroyed, there was nothing to stop the French advanced on the British position.  Some of the Brunswick units made it back to the British line, but many did not.  Eventually the British/Allied army broke.

The British and Allies earned additional victory points (and command points) for each turn they had at least a single non-broken formation in the "middle" 3rd of the table. Final victory points was 46 for the French to 38 for the British and Allies.  Minor victory for the French.

Close up pictures below ...

Phone pictures below ...

Was great to get a game in with the crew.  I hope you are all staying safe and healthy.