Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Persian problems DBA 6 x 6 AAR

After my slight diversion in South East Asia, I got back on track with the 6 x 6 challenge this afternoon and played my newly painted Spartans and Persians against each other.
The Persian army

The Spartans opposite

The Spartans were the attackers and so the Persians chose lots of terrain which thanks to some fortuitous rolling all ended up on the table. It included a difficult hill, a woods and boggy ground, as well as the compulsory 2 ploughed areas. I thought that this might play into the hands of the Persians quite nicely, and wanted to see how it might work in their favour, so the Spartans chose the emptiest table edge to deploy on.
Persian deployment took advantage of the woods and difficult hill.

The Spartans took advantage of having a big long line of spears, with more spears in behind. The helots ended up in the bog, because really, who cares about the helots?

The Persian light horse started off with a magnificent flanking manoeuvre, and by the second turn they were beginning to disrupt the Spartan army.

Except a 6 and a 1 on the die rolls saw them run away!

Never mind, next turn and we'll have another go with the Spartan frontline.

Persian shooting knocked back a spear element and began to disrupt the Spartan line - this was the Persian plan - make life hard for the Spartans by getting them to need piles of PIPs and turning the flanks.

A second shot knocks back spears on the other side of the general while the Psiloi speed bump are forced to recoil behind the spears.

However, the initial Spartan charge pushes the Persian left back.

And next thing you know a bow element explodes, exposing flanks and causing all kinds of worries for the Persians. All is not lost though. The Persian left flank bows are on difficult going which is going to disadvantage the Spartans more than them, and an element of Persian cavalry is hovering for a flank attack.

The next Persian move gets 2 pips. This is enough to spring the trap on the left and kill off a spear element, but on the right the Spartans just begin to make a bigger hole.

Which they happily go through and close the door to turn the auxilia... 

...Who go splat. That and the defeat of the bows on the difficult hill ends the game.

The comparative losses - Spartans deliver a thrashing. The final score is 5-1 as the first double based element lost counts as 2. The final 2 elements were both lost in the same turn.
I think I deployed the ploughed areas wrong - they both should have entered two board quarters. I'm not sure if they have to be deployed in the same quarter as each other - that might be a question for the Fanaticus forum.

In terms of the battle, I don't think the Persians did anything wrong as such. The plan was pretty sound, but there were a number of 6-1 opposed dice rolls that went in the Spartan favour, and low PIP dice for the Persians in the last couple of rounds. Spear armies are certainly more effective than they were under DBA 2.1, and the mass of spear elements did an impressive job on their opponents. I'll definitely be taking these two armies for another run soon to see if I can develop tactics for the Persians. I think the Spartan tactics are pretty straight forward.


Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Another run through the jungle

John was going to come around today for a game of Pikeman's Lament, but I had to cancel as I have come down with my third bot of the year and didn't want to infect anyone else. I'm thinking I need to get some more exercise in order to gain a bit more of a robust constitution, but everytime I think about it, I get sick. Maybe therein lies the problem?
'He painted us!'

Anyway, rather than do nothing, I decided to have another go with the Portable Wargame in Vietnam. I see this as very much a squad based game, with one man being one man, and the rules, I hope, reflect this. So here are some basics:
Name of unit
Strength Points
Firing dice
Firing distance
US infantry team
3 squares
US M60 team
4 squares
NVA infantry team
3 squares
NVA RPD team
3 squares
+1 to roll
+1 to roll

As you will see, I use the pinning rules, but models must pass a test to unpin. If successful they can move or shoot. Otherwise all units move and shoot.
I've also changed the role of Officers/NCOs, whose main function is to motivate their men in unpinning, close combat and aimed fire.
The US exhaustion point is 50%, the NVA, to reflect their dedication to the cause, is 75%.

To improve game play, I painted all of the figures - 14 US troops and 17 NVA. I used the demon dip, and I'm quite happy with the results. It was certainly a quick paint job to do - one evening!

On with the game:

The US consisted of 2 infantry teams, 2 M60 teams an Lt, and a Sgt. Deployment was random on the baseline, the objective was to check and potentially clear the two hamlets.
Bird's eye view. The cards are flipped over every time a US unit moves. If it is a face card, they are ambushed by NVA.

The right hand teams advanced either side of the road. Sgt. Titus Pullar was with this MG team.

On the left, the first hamlet was checked and found empty. Lt. Luke Warner was with the MG team over here.

Contact! NVA appear in the woods and open up on the US troops.

Who are pinned.

Another surprise for Lt Warner and his MG team.

The M60s lay down some suppressive fire, while on the far left flank NVA troops charge the pinned US infantry team.

The US team is defeated and falls back, eventually ending up next the Lt's M60 team. The NVA follow up and occupythe woods.

US suppressive fire forces another NVA unit further back into the woods.

But they rally when support arrives from the other side of the road.

The US team in the woods on the right are taking a fair amount of fire.

But on the left the US forces are starting to get the upper hand. The NVA troops fall back behind cover to regroup.

When they finally come back to the fight they are met with a hail of lead.

 'Left flank clear. Let's move up!'

The last intact NVA unit is forced back from the road and pinned.

And their comrades are mopped up.

'Look ma, no enemies!'

The NVA have lost 75% and the game is over. Incidentally, the US troops were only 1 casualty away from being exhausted, so it was a close run thing.
Learning points:
With the US troops, always activate your M60s first. Suppressing the enemy is a good thing.
When the enemy are in cover firefights can get very protracted, basically needing a 6 to hit which can be quite a mission when you only roll 1 die. So - stay in cover if you can!
The plan had been to use the US infantry team to flank the enemy, but because they activated ambushes, in the open, this wasn't such a great idea. On the left the terrain limited the impact of the M60 fire support with the Lt.

At one point I started to test the idea that a unit that was already pinned would not be able to retreat, and would simply lose a figure instead. I'm still not sure about this. I may make that the rule i the troops are in the open, but if they can retreat into or behind cover then they can do so and remain pinned.

As much as I love my daughter's building blocks, I've ordered some Fairy Garden ornaments from China for a few dollars (how do they make any profit), which I will start to use when they arrive.

A fun way to spend 3/4 of an hour. Now where is that Tour of Duty soundtrack?


Sunday, 8 October 2017

Um, would you believe, Vietnam?

I was in the attic this morning, rummaging around to find that one figure you know is in the lead pile somewhere, but seems to have mastered the art of hide and seek, when I came across some 1/72 Esci Vietnam figures I forgot that I had. There were about 20 US and 20 Vietnamese figures - all NVA, so obviously at some stage I had sorted them from the VC and parted with the extras to points unknown.

Now just before this I had been drawing up a grid on a basecloth for a contemplated Portable Wargame project (more on this anon). The two things came together and I thought I'd give the WW2 PW rules a spin for a search and destroy mission in South-east Asia.

The two small collections were sorted into fire-teams of 4 figures each. The US featured two squads, each of a support team with blooper and M60 which would fire with 3 dice, and a scout team that would have only 1 die. The Vietnamese had four teams of four as well, two of these having an automatic rifle which would give them 2 dice, the others having 1 die each. All teams had 4 strength points.

The set-up
The terrain featured forest, which was able to be occupied, and thick jungle which was impassable. Two hamlets (duly sourced from my daughter's wooden block collection) sat near a road, and the US troops had to search and secure both of these. The North Vietnamese would remain hidden until they were sprung from ambush. For this, each time a US unit moved, a card from an ordinary playing deck would be turned over. If it was a face card, then a Vietnamese unit would appear in ambush within 2-3 squares of the US troops springing them. They had to emerge from next to cover, and not from behind the US troops. This was all planned, of course, on the hoof, so to speak, so I was interested to see how it would work.

So, on with the game.
The first US unit is ambushed in its first move towards the hamlet and forced to retreat.

And the same happens on the left flank.

The fire support team comes to the rescue, knocking out some of the attackers, but then springing another ambush

The two sides pin each other down in a protracted firefight

On the right the scout team makes some impact.

And the US troops start to get the upper hand on the left, but as the scout team works its way through cover to outflank the enemy, they spring an ambush from behind them.

The fire support team on the right engages the Vietnamese at close range, while the scout team turns to deal with the new threat.

Having dusted off the enemy on the left and the right with some vicious fire from the support teams, the US troops force the last Vietnamese unit back until it has to retreat off the board. Just in time too, as in this turn both sides reached exhaustion point.
This was a really enjoyable little game, and has given me plenty to think about (like how long will it take to get these figures all painted...). I think that scope exists to give the US troops indirect fire support, helicopter insertion and armoured vehicles. In response, the Vietnamese could have a few more infantry teams and maybe include an RPG and HMG in there as well. Looking at the Britannia Miniatures figures, they also have a US medic figure, which could add another dimension to scenario conditions. I'm enthused.

Oh dear, this wasn't part of the plan...


Saturday, 7 October 2017

Planning for the future

Well, I didn't get a fourth game in four days done, but we'll see what tomorrow brings. In the meantime, I've been thinking about 2018, specifically what I will choose to do for the 6 x 6 challenge next year. What I have liked about participating in the 2017 version is:
a. I've played more games in a year than ever before, many solo, and
b. By concentrating my painting around the games that I'm playing in the 6x6 I've really moved some of my projects along, notably the Seven Years War, Marlburian, Ancient Fantasy and DBA.
Appearing in a battle report in a blog near you soon...

The last few units I need to churn out this year are another 4 battalions each for the 7YW Prussians and Austrians (128 x 15mm figures), put the finishing touches on the last dozen Marlburian cavalry and paint a dozen Barbarians for Ancient Fantasy. Then it will be painting for others (John, Dan and Craig) and if I can get that out of the way, a start on next year's projects.

So with this year planned out, it is time to think about 2018. What do I want to accomplish?

The first thing is to choose 6 games that I want to play 6 times. To start the ball rolling on this one, I have 3 games from this year that I want to use again. The first is DBA, but not using the armies I already have completed. There are 2 Post-Mongol Samurai armies undercoated and ready to be painted, and I want to get some Great Italian Wars Spanish and French done, too. Next is Honours of War, with the aim this time to use the 6 x 6 as an incentive to paint my Russian army and put it on the table in stages. Third is Clobberin' Time. Not a lot of painting needed here, although there are some zombies and a few other odds and ends to get ready. What I really want to do is get back into playing the dice activation system and looking at a sub-plot generator that I can add into the rules alongside a campaign system to generate a comic book 'series', with characters progressing in a bit of a role-playing way.
The latest hero (Heru) I've painted for Clobberin' Time, ready for the big event of 2018!

That leaves three other games to look at for next year. One will be Eastern Front 1914, using the TLAGO rules. It is well and truly time that I got these armies completed and on the table. Next up is something of a quandary. I'd like to put both the Franco-Prussian War and the War of the Triple Alliance in the 6 x 6, but I plan to use the same rules for both projects, namely Neil Thomas' 19th Century Wargaming rules. As both are unpainted at the moment it would be quite a commitment to get both projects game-worthy as only one rules choice, but I'd like to get them both done next year if possible, so will look at a way they can be entered as two choices.
I love this period, and gaming armies are well overdue.
Ditto this one.

In a similar vein I was hoping to get my Team Yankee armies up and running by next year, but don't really want to make this part of the 6 x 6 because it isn't a game I'm likely to play solo, and therefore have little control over whether I can get the games played.

So in effect, my 2018 playing line-up is:
1. DBA (Book IV armies)
2. Honours of War Seven Years War
3. Clobberin' Time Superheroes
4. 19th Century Wargaming Franco-Prussian War
5. TLAGO 1914 Eastern Front
6. 19th Century Wargaming War of the Triple Alliance / Team Yankee WWIII / something else.

Which doesn't mean that the odd game of Fantasy Ancients and Marlburian won't pop up as well.

And the painting line-up is all 15mm:
1. Samurai DBA
2. Italian Wars DBA
3. Seven Years War Russians
4. Franco-Prussian War French and Germans
5. WWI Russians and Germans
6. Triple Alliance Paraguayans and Allies
7. WWIII Soviets and West Germans

We'll see how well I stick to this plan.


Friday, 6 October 2017

Save the Senator's daughter! - SBL 6 x 6 AAR

In his bid to destroy the power of Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus, Sextus Pompey has made a deal with the cult known as the Children of Neptune. They are promising him victory through the supernatural intervention of their deity. All they need is a blood sacrifice, and the bluer the blood, the better. This leads Sextus to order a raid on the Campanian coast to abduct the daughter of Senator Claudius Cassus Belli, a staunch supporter of Octavian. On hearing of this, Octavian dispatches Vorenus, Pullo, the Frumentarius Umbra and a small band of elite troops to rescue her, before she is sacrificed.
A scene from the battle

In this set up, the High Priest of the Children of Neptune is preparing to sacrifice Claudia, the senator's daughter, in an ancient temple on the shores of Sicily next to the water. He is a summoner, but in order to summon the greater demon, he must be next to the priestess and roll three activations. If he does this, then the senator's daughter is killed, and the Roman warband must concentrate on killing all of the enemy. The Children of Neptune start with four Cultists on the board defending the temple. The demons of the deep are to be summoned from the sea as the game progresses.
The table at the start of the game.
I began with a random deployment, numbering the edges 1-4 and rolling a d4 for each Roman figure to see where they came on. It ended up being quite an even spread. The priority, of course, was to try to get into the temple as fast as possible. We'll let the photos tell the story from here.

Starting position for Pullo's team.

Starting position for Vorenus' team

Vorenus leads the charge towards the temple

The first sea demon is summoned.

As the valiant legionary races to the temple a second sea demon emerges,but is taken down by the supporting fire of the Cretan archer.

A cultist is killed by pilum while the remaining cultists are engaged.

More horrors emerge from the depths, determined to serve their summoner.

The cultists put up a good fight, recoiling the stronger legionaries.

The first legionary enters the temple compound and the High Priest runs away, while the sea demon champion comes to his defence.

'Kill him my child!'

Sea demons clash with Romans. Pullo fancies fish for dinner!

But in the struggle he is the victim of a gruesome kill! His comrade, failing a morale test while knocked down, is also killed.

Vorenus jumps the temple wall and lands a mighty blow on the Sea Demon champion, just in time to save the brave legionary who had been battling singlehandedly against the monstrosity.

Umbra is finding theses sea demons a difficult challenge.

Another sea demon arrives in the temple, but in the nick of time another legionary arrives to help out Vorenus.

Watching as the combat unfolds, the High Priest summons a sea demon baron.

Vorenus kills the Sea Demon champion, then turns to help his fallen comrade. 

While the other legionary gets back up and charges into the High Priest, knocking him down.

The Sea Demon Baron arrives to defend the high priest, while Vorenus is too late to help his loyal soldier. He makes sure to take his revenge though. The last cultist charges a Cretan archer, while Umbra finally gets the upper hand against his sea demon nemesis.
Vorenus charges into the high priest, and together he and the brave legionary (who certainly deserves his farm) inflict a gruesome kill on the High Priest.
With no-one left to answer to, the sea demon baron returns to the depths, and the senator's daughter is saved!
Another fun game using the Song of Blades and Heroes system and the atmosphere of the world of Broken Legions.
3 days and 3 games towards the 6x6. I'm on a roll.