Sunday, December 27, 2020

Battle of Yuk Foo

Bruce and I continued our email Cold War gone hot gaming using modified Scharnhorst for the map game and modified Rommel for the table top. This game was a Soviet (blue, moving first) v Chinese (red) conflict somewhere in Mongolia.

Bruce made two changes to Scharnhorst for this game to see how they played. First, there were three kinds of objectives for which each side secretly diced: infrastructure (1-3), resources (4-5), and population centres (6). The Chinese got infrastructure (airbases on the map) and the Soviets got population centres (cities son the map). This idea was to generate some uncertainty in the map game (rather than just a rush to bag common objectives).

Second, the side with the recon advantage got to choose its side (Russians chose west). But the other player could choose any of the three remaining sides (Chinese chose south). The idea was to reduce the power for the recon advantage (where you choose your own side and, de facto, the other guy's side) as well as to (if adjacent sits were chosen) open the possibility of a static front and more open, cavalry-style play on the rest of the map.

I would say the multiple types of objectives was a success. Choosing a side was maybe less so? Hard to know after one play. Anyhow, the open phases saw a concentration of units in the SW corner of the map.

At the beginning of Day 2, I declared a battle and structure the field to advantage myself (basically all of my units were in columns D and C and I bet that Bruce had made a more balanced allocation). Given the numerical superiority of the Chinese, I wanted to fight only half his force at a time with all of mine if I could manage it.

There was some last minute map moves (I tried to deny him an airfield, having guessed his objectives) but he needed to swing his troops in as reinforcements.

At the end of the map phase, the Soviets has 11 points and the Chinese had 5. There were enough points on play on the map (plus 1d6 of points for a tactical win) that victory hung in the balance. 

We then deployed. The Soviet plant as to sweep south and clean out the Chinese foot troops and then move east to and destroy the rest of the Chinese before reinforcements arrived. The Chinese plan was to sit tight except on the far eastern edge of the board were they would, if possible, try to grab some victory points.

Turn 1 saw an aggressive Soviet advance supported by helos and artillery. The helos came and went over the course of the game (which was a bit of work to track) and, in the end, the Soviet artillery probably made the differences. (A couple of units are missing on the board as I lost their chips--I just wrote them on the map itself).


The Soviet attack was damaging but but short lived as bad dice meant Chinese units survived causing the Soviets to tip. The Chinese foot in the middle of the board were badly damaged but irritatingly still there. The Chinese regrouped in turn 2 but their one attack in Hex E11 was a bust.

Turn 3 saw the Soviet continue to attack, grinding down the Chinese foot and swinging an armoured and help force well south to bottle up the Chinese and threaten their supply base. A lucky strike saw the Soviets successfully grab the supply base (Hex H11 in bottom right) and eliminate the Chinese artillery. 

On Turn 4, the Chinese attempted to regain the supply base but their air strike did not come through and a barrage further disrupt their attack. 

Chinese reinforcements did arrive (a horde of T-62s/Type 70s). But they were bottled up by all of the traffic on the eastern edge of the map. On Turn 5, the Russians used a wave attack to clean up the foot and pulse across the board to the east. While the Soviet attacks were not fantastically effective, they were enough to blunt the reinforcements' combat strength.

The Chinese used their reinforcements to attack the Soviets but could not inflict enough casualties to turn the tide on Turn 6.

Turn 7 saw a swarm of helos and a rain of shells contain the attempted breakout.

Turn 8 saw a last push to recapture the Chinese Supply base but the Chinese units were just too attritted to make much of an attack. The second wave of Chinese reinforcements did not arrive.

Turn 9 saw the Soviets redeploy to bottle up the eastern edge against any further Chinese reinforcements and clean up the remainder of the Chinese units on the SE corner. 

I called the game at this point because the Chinese could not win (even if the reinforcements showed up). After the tabletop battle, victory points were 15 to 2 for the Soviets for a convincing win. 

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Heroclix hodge-podge

The last post of this year is a job lot of Heroclix re-paints that I finally moved off of the paint table. 

First up are some Trek rogues. I think the pig men are Tellarites.

Then an Andorian.

And finally a Talosian. I had two of them painted but one flew off the original base when I was popping them off and disappeared somewhere. She may turn up later.

I also have a couple of figures from who knows where. Some kind of mechanical wraith and a goon of some kind.

Overall, this has been a good year for painting. Less so for gaming! Hopefully, 2021 will be better!

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Rommel WW3: West Germany v Czech SSR

Bruce and I finished off another modern map plus table top battle this weekend. The map game is adapted from Scharnhorst while the table top game is adapted from Rommel. This scenario was a West German rapid reaction force (helo troops mostly, blue units) taking on a Czech second line uni (red).

The Czechs won initiative and decided to move on from the south. The goal was the population centres. The map above is the first moves of the second day.

Two potential battles developed (west and east). The victory points under Red Column 4 made Bruce decide to push here and evade on the west.

In the end, we each had to units in the battle zone and reinforcements ready to come on. At this point, the Czechs are way ahead on map-game points but the West Germans can bag three points plus 1d6 of they win the battle.

We deployed our troops and I gave the Czech orders to Bruce. He then gamed things out. I felt pretty good going in but under-estimated the quality differences between the Germans and the Czechs.

Bruce picks up the narrative here.

As per instructions the Czech tanks made spoiling attacks against the W. German Helicopter Infantry mustering for the battle. The attacks did not go well. The Czechs were repulsed with minimum German losses.

Initial set up

On the western front things went better for the Communists. The W. German Armoured Infantry attempted to assault over the bridge, repeatedly. Each time they were repulsed the T-60s would attack them in the flank while they were still disorganized (Tipped).

Meanwhile the W. German Helicopter troops swung north and west of the city. Using the hills as a staging area they followed launched assaults, after the Armoured Infantry and caused significant damage. The Czech commander tried switching in fresh troops, but after seven Helicopter assaults the city fell.

With the city taken, and the communist strength tapped (all units down to 1 or 2 strength) it was left to the reinforcements to take back the urban hex. On Turn 8 the Reds, in the north west sector arrived. Unfortunately, on Turn 9 the NATO reinforcements arrived on the opposite baseline. 

The Czechs used their wave assaults to close the ground, quickly. They cross the stream and a swirling, furious tank battle ensued. the superior armour of the M-60s and the Cobra Attack Helicopters caused extra Hits and rendered the Czech tanks impotent after a couple of turns.

As the battle of the north wore down the last of the Czech reinforcements arrived on the central-east edge of the battlefield. With time running out, Czech Armoured Infantry attempted an assault over the bridge. The NATO troops had used the time to construct defenses, so although the Czechs caused some damage it was absorbed by the entrenchments.

The infantry withdrew seriously damaged. At the same time, the T-62s had crossed the river and become disorganized. They reorganized, on Turn 17, and launched the final assault, on two flanks. However, the W. Germans had taken the opportunity to clear their OPs file, so they had a full range of tactical options open to them. 

The combination of tanks in cover, entrenchments, offensive shifts down and defensive shifts up were too much for the T-62s. The were solidly defeated and sent packing with a stand lost and the remaining stands down to strengths of "1".

The clear win for the Germans meant they also had the points to win the overall game. All in all a very interesting campaign, which led to a very flowing battle. The Attack Helicopter "Bingo" rules worked really well. Both W. German Attack Helo units were on and off the table several times. They aren't on for long - 3 or 4 attacks but then they return is short order - three or four reinforcement phases, or 1 1/2 to 2 turns.

We're presently playing out a USSR v China game and Bruce has fiddled the Scharnhorst rules a bit to see how they work. There are two main changes we're trying out. First, there are three types of objectives (population centres, infrastructure, and mineral resources). Each side security dices for their type of objective for the game. This add some strategic uncertainty.

Second, the winner of the recon phase gets to choose his entry side first. But the other player can then choose any of the three remaining sides to enter from. This slightly reduces the value of winning the recon phase and also means ones flanks are more vulnerable. I had hoped it might also means a more open and fluid game when adjacent sides were chosen--there could be a rush to bag points away from the main fight. We'll see how that plays out over the weekend.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Yule tidings

With the holidays approaching, I thought some Harry Potter figures in their Yule Ball formal attire would be appropriate. These are Nanos Metalfigs and are about 35mm? 

First up we have Harry, Cho and Ron. I have stripped other figures but decided to try just painting over these figures with highlights and a wash. Meh.

The second group includes Neville Longbottom, Fleur Delacour, Victor Krum and Hermoinie.

The red of Krum seems to confound my camera.

Overall, festive enough. Not my favourite poses or paint jobs. Also not sure what gaming use they will be. But done is done! Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Rommel WW3: Cold War goes hot

Bruce and I played another WW3 map campaign by email, this time set in Germany. Bruce, playing Soviets, effectively winning the campaign on the first move of Day 2 (!) as he rushed Column 3 forward and both pinned and bottlenecked half my force.

I played out the map game a number of times and there was no good path to victory so I decided to disrupt his attack and hope for the best tabletop battle outcome I could manage. As a result, I rushed forward a NATO unit (B) to disrupt his movement and bag a bunch of victory points.

Bruce responded by getting some points back, resulting in a very confused map situation by the end of Day 2.

On Day 3, I declared a battle and selected the most advantageous 6 squares I could. We then made our final moves with the units still able to move and Bruce locked up the map game. 

We then switched to deploy our units, sorted out battle plans, and I played out the table top game for both sides. I may even have gotten the rules right!

The NATO battle plan was for Team Yankee to grab the bridge while waiting for the PPCLI to come up on its right flank and then coordinate their attacks. The Soviet battle plan was for the recon and T-80 to advance across the river and grab the town while the main force of T-80s waited to fend of NATO reinforcements or for some extra Soviet troops to show up.

NATO had a full 10 Ops for the first turn and decided to expend them all on four tactical moves. Team Yankee moved across the bridge while the PPCLI moved up the right flank.

The PPCLI snuck over the stream while Team Yankee attacked a Soviet unit that withdrew.

On impulse three, there were three battles. Team Yankee hit the main group of Soviet tanks. The US forces had a shift down plus had a unit driven back before the attack. Both sides rolled 6s and each did three hits of damage. Team Yankee fell back tipped and done for the turn.

The PPCLI attacked the weaker Soviet stack and and rolled a 5, doing 3 hits of damage. The Soviets rolled a 6 and got a shift up and did 4 hits The PPCLI fell back and tipped. There was also a feint at the Soviet supply base that was easily driven off.

On impulse four, a scratch force (penalized as such) made another attack on the main Soviet tank group. NATO scored 2 hits while the Soviets scored 1 plus an additional hit for armoured superiority. The NATO group moved back tipped. NATO was out of Ops and the Soviet’s had two left but were badly mauled.

On Turn 2, the Soviets gained 4 new OP points and used some to reorganize an armoured force. Due to Soviet censorship, there were no pictures of the resulting assault (including a helo) on the tipped Team Yankee units. Each side rolled 6s and did 3 hits each. This effectively wiped out the Soviet's ability to attack and initiative passed back to NATO. No reinforcements arrived.

On Turn 3, the PPCLI attacked a tipped Soviet force (Hind plus T-80) and wiped it out. Team Yankee went after the remaining Soviet tank unit and also destroyed it. At this point the Soviets had only a damaged helo and an SP Artillery left so the game was called.

The table top battle was pretty decisive but could not overcome the loss of points in the map game (with a table top victory roll, it was, I think, 8-5 for the Soviets). While the table top game was lopsided, I think that nicely reflected the flexible NATO response of trying to gain local superiority to attrit attacking units and slow the advance?