Monday, 27 June 2016

Gaming in the Shed - Game 1

On Saturday I had the privilege of being invited to a day of gaming in the superb shed of Wargames Table chum Steve. Even better, he kindly set up a game of Kings of War, supplying both sides along with Easy Army lists! Thanks mate! :o)
Armies drawn up for battle
Steve offered me the choice of armies, Kingdoms of Men or Orcs & Goblins ... since my WFB days I've always had a soft spot for the gobboes so that was an easy choice! :o)

Steve's Orc & Goblin army is made up mostly from GW Lord of the Rings figures and I think it looks marvellous!
Send forth all legions!!!

For the Kingdoms of Men, Steve used a combination of historical figures. Looking good eh!?
Stand fast men!

I haven't played that many games of KoW yet so I was a little apprehensive about muffing it all up, but Steve gave me a quick refresher of the key points and we set to. One of the great things about KoW is that the rules are very intuitive and elegant, but they're not so simple as to give a boring game. Far from it in fact! I was soon quite comfortable with what was going on. (Please do not confuse that with me actually having a 'plan' or knowing what I was actually doing!!)
Orcs and Trolls take on Men and a Nelly

We both wasted little time in getting to grips with the other side. Steve's men definitely had more fire power in terms of bows and scouting type cavalry so I was especially keen to close the gap.
Can my Orcs (accompanied by a rather inept Shaman) hold off the Chariot horde?
The Orc shaman had a spell that would improve the Orcs combat ability. All I had to do was roll a 4+ on two D6 ... you can guess how that went. Clearly the dullard had forgotten the words!?!

On the left flank the big beasts came in to play. I had the Witch King on a Fell-beast along with a Giant. His Nelly had flattened my Orc horde and readied itself for a second onslaught. The Trolls were taking a real battering but with help from their Regeneration ability, were just about hanging on.
Carnage on my left flank!

The Giant absolutely massacred the Nelly and stormed on towards the ranked up warriors. The Orc flying beastie scoffed a unit of scout cavalry and moved on looking for more.
Fe-Fi-Fo-Fum! ;o)
At this point the Orcs & Goblins had the edge in terms of points but Steve's other flank was going to be a much tougher proposition.

The Orcs and their Shaman (who finally remembered the right words!?) had dealt with the Chariots but were somewhat battered. Steve had a Phalanx of Spearmen, some archers and decent unit of medium cavalry and some mounted Scouts. I've got a couple of units of Warg Riders - quite fearsome - plus some archers. So all to play for!
That's the last of photos (sorry). What happened was that the Orcs and one unit of Wargs charged the Phalanx but ... the dice abandoned my trusty Orcs. This was helped somewhat by Steve's unit having a couple of abilities that really turned the tide. The Orcs were beaten off but by then the big beasties had crossed the table and started munching on Steve's Spearmen. The three cavalry units on the edge of the battlefield had a big melee but the men had the best of it.

After six turns we rolled to see if there would be a seventh but the dice came up a '3' and the battle finished. Totting up the points Steve had edged a win by 270 points. As it was a 2000pt game he needed a margin of 200 to win. Had we played another turn then it might have been a draw as my beasts were well positioned to fall upon his remaining troops.

All in all a superb game. Kings of War is highly recommended. A light hearted game that's easy to pick up, yet satisfyingly and subtle to play. A big Thank You to Steve for sorting all this out. Much appreciated indeed :o)

So with that done we had a spot of lunch and sorted out a game of Bolt Action ... more on that in the next post!

Friday, 24 June 2016

British 3inch Mortar and Spotter

Apparently there's been some sort of vote going on ... !?!?! ... Anyway, let's not worry about that and instead look at some toys! :o)

Mortars are (IMHO) a 'must have' for any World War Two force. So here's one for my British regulars.

Unusually for me I've mounted the figures on separate bases... not sure why? I just sort of did it :-S
But I'm happy with the result all the same.

In Bolt Action you can add a spotter to a 3 inch mortar team, so here he is with binoculars at the ready.

Thanks for looking!

Saturday, 18 June 2016

More Painted British Paras

I needed a few extra Paras to bulk out some of my sections. We often play games with limited armour so there's plenty of points to go round for more men, even relatively expensive elite troops like British Paras. Here they are.
Last one over the hedge is a rotten egg!
No! Back this way chaps!
Keeping an all round look out for Jerry
We loves painting camo ... don't we precious? :-/
My painting recipe can be found here if you're interested.

A lovely figure I've had for ages is the Warlord Medic, here he is.

Rushing forward with morphine and bandages at the ready! I probably ought to paint some sort of armband on him - I had assumed that it would be sculpted on the figure but it's not. Whatever?

He even has a little mug on his backpack - after all who doesn't feel better after a nice cup of tea?

Thanks for looking!

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Duel in the Sun - Italy - Games 3 and 4

What better way to spend a free Saturday than with friends at a great wargaming venue (BIG @ Bristol) pushing toys around the table, rolling dice and generally chewing the fat? Exactly! So that's precisely what Orange Dave and I did yesterday.

Our Duel in the Sun campaign is ticking along nicely so we decided to go for two more games in one day. The first is an amphibious assault where the allies are landing on the Italian mainland. Since I'd been victorious in the second battle of the campaign (having successfully held up the allied advance across Sicily - but only just!) my troops had plenty of time to prepare the beaches.

Here are Dave's superb scratch-built landing craft sailing across his equally excellent seascape. I expect those brave chaps are feeling a little queasy!
Life on the ocean wave? No thanks!

Here's the beach ... bunkers, trenches, sandbags, minefields and barbed wire ... and not an ice cream van in sight?!?
Welcome to Italy!

Dave, being as cunning as a fox with a PhD in craftiness, decides to concentrate his attack on my slightly weaker left flank. For some daft reason I had both the HMGs on the other flank. This plan totally caught me by surprise!
Hard to starboard Bosun!

Dave took this excellent pic. Looking from this angle it's a pretty forbidding beach!
Steady men! Steady!

Turn 2 or 3 and the landing craft hit the beach. On the way in they'd taken a lot of small arms fire which had resulted in a few pins but since (a) the landing craft are effectively armoured transports and (b) I didn't have any heavy weapons (must paint some!), the chaps on board were okay-ish. Dave really enjoyed flicking the ramps down ;o)
Ramps down! Go Go Go!

However ... all the pins meant that some of the troops were rather reluctant to get out and on to the beach. Frankly we couldn't blame them. The amount of bullets whizzing through the air along with the mortars, artillery, etc would have been nothing short of terrifying.

The vessel on the right in the pic below is packed with Commandos! I should point out here that Dave had a series of very shonky dice rolls for morale to get his pinned troops moving. There's not much you can do when 2D6 come up with 11 is there? This slightly stalled the attack in the surf, which as you'll see later, had quite an impact.

Dave's attack on one flank meant that I had to rapidly re-organise my defences. At the bottom of this pic you can see some of my troops running behind the bunker to shore up (pun intended) this flank. Also of note is the just behind the sandbags next to the bunker is my Forward Artillery Observer - I don't usually include these in my German force but this time he proved invaluable!

Further along the beach a squad and two HMGs hurry along to get in to the action.

In turn 2 I called in the artillery and at the start of turn 3 in came the shells - timed to perfection. A second roll of a '6' meant the blast had maximum radius too. One section of Commandos was totally obliterated and other nearby troops were badly pinned, struggling as they were in the surf.

Number three landing craft swings hard to port so as to give the men a slightly more sheltered route on to the beach. The dune would block a lot of the German firepower.

The guns on the landing craft reduce this German squad to just the NCO who amazingly passed his morale check.
Halt! Englisher swine-hunds!

Dave's Forward Observer (in the surf just beyond the dune in the pic above) calls in the artillery but again the dice abandon Dave as he rolls a '1' and I get to re-position the target point. I really felt for Dave and his brave soldiers - the attack was faltering and very few Germans had been slain. His artillery caused yet more damage to the boats and the troops struggling to get on to the beach - however it did kill that lone NCO.

The other section of Commandos from landing craft number one gain the beach, skirt the wire and assault the German defenders. These tough allied fighters are truly awesome and made short work of the German regulars.
Tally ho! Let 'em have it lads! Dakka-dakka!

But the next dice out the box was black so a squad of German veterans move up to slaughter the brave Commandos in a hail of lead.
Gott im Himmel! Die Engländer schießen!* Dakka-dakka!

*I think that says "God in Heaven! Shoot the English!" ... Apologies to any German speakers/readers if it says something entirely different :o)

Anyway, turn 5 and the attempt to take the beach is clearly going south. But Dave and his brave chaps don't give up! Another boat shifts position to try to use the dune to shelter the troops as they disembark.
Note the monstrous squid-creature from the deep appearing at the top of the pic ;o)

But the German HMGs can still draw a bead on them and more soldiers are shot up in the surf.
Ah!!? Look out for the mighty squid beast!

Turn 6 ended with just a few allied troops on the edge of the beach but the German defenders were still largely intact.

We rolled for turn 7 and the dice came up a '3' so the battle ended there. However, it was such fun that we played it anyway. But the result was settled. The landings had failed - although the actual score in terms of VPs was closer than expected.

This is first amphibious landing that either of us have done and it was fascinating! A real challenge and certainly something very different. Highly recommended! A big Thank You to Dave for organising everything and making some first class boats and scenery. Hopefully they'll see action again when we do our Normandy campaign later in the year.

So... on to game four!

This is entitled "Backs to the Sea". The Allies have managed to gain a toe-hold on the Italian beaches but the Germans have organised a desperate counter-attack with the intention of driving the Allies back in to the waves. The battle takes place in the rather battered seaside settlement of Villagio sul Mare. Thanks to Jim at BIG for turning his cupboards upside down to find some suitable buildings!

The Allies are dug in one side with the Germans dug in on the other. Both sides got a preparatory bombardment, so plenty of pins all round! Here's the view from Dave's side.
The once picturesque resort of Villagio sul Mare.

And the view from the German/Italian side.
Spot the slight scenic gaffe?

Look at the table again... Can you see what the potential issue might be? ;o)

Dave's men have made the most of all available cover.

Okay, it's turn three and not much movement by either side, although the tank did push forwards. Yes the issue with this table was that in our haste to get the game going we rather forgot to put any scenery in the middle of the table. A German attack across such open terrain would have been suicidal so I settled for a long range fire-fight hoping that my LMGs and HMGs could hammer the Allies.

The tank provided some hilarity as it rumbled about knocking chunks out of buildings and sections of soldiers alike. The early pinning of several German units made it difficult to get them firing effectively. Thankfully I managed to keep the British Forward Observer thoroughly pinned until he was taken out by my sniper, so no hefty bombardment from the Royal Navy.

A very different game from the landings but still great fun, plus quite instructive in terms of how to lay out a table!! The result was that whilst the Germans did rather more damage to the Allies than they received in return, they could not carry the day. So a win for the Allies; their hold on the mainland remains intact and is soon reinforced leading to an Axis retreat.

So a splendid day of gaming all round! Two excellent campaign games with a win each. That means it's honours even in the campaign so far, two wins each. But by winning game 4 Dave has the upper hand as we go in to game 5 ... Monte Cassino!

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Para Vickers MMG and Flamethrower

I'd been using the Vickers from my British Regulars to support my Paras, but they deserve one of their own don't they? Here it is.

As with the Para mortar, I've affixed them all on one base and added some scenic stuff.

Digging through my figures I found this flamethrower (Warlord). The figure is a little slim compared to the Artizan figures but matches reasonably well I think. I picked the chap with the bandaged head to accompany the flamethrower as lacking a helmet he appears slightly shorter than the other figures.

Thanks for looking! :o)

Thursday, 2 June 2016

British Para Mortar and Forward Observer

My Paras really needed some fire support so here's a 3 inch mortar.

With these 'team' weapons I generally prefer to keep all the figures on one base. It looks more natural and allows room for a bit more scenery. It does mean you have to track casualties with little markers but that's not exactly onerous.

If you're interested then you can find out a lot more about mortars here ;o)

The Paras also needed a proper Forward Observer to rain shells on the enemy! (In Bolt Action this is a free - and very welcome - addition to most British forces) I haven't added a radio aerial as they always seem to break off.

I assume the extensible cover for the radio backpack protects it from the elements and maybe makes the knobs and dials easier to see and use?

Thanks for looking.