Saturday, 21 November 2015

Taking up the Challenge

You know Christmas is just around the corner when... Curt launches its Annual Painting Challenge. This is now in its sixth edition and has developed as one of the most remarkable social media event of our hobby.

The challenge gathers wargamer aficionados from all over the world. The contest includes duels between participants and special thematic bonus rounds where you can let your imagination fly to create a vignette representing the theme. All details can be found in Curt's blog.

After many years watching the fun from the sideline, this year I'll take up the challenge and will participate for the first time. I'm aiming to a modest target of 500 points considering how unpredictable my hobby time can be and also how sloooooow painter I am (as my gaming buddies can attest).

My focus will be 28mm of course. I have a couple of IIWW projects to use (an early war German Army and a late war Fallschirmjager platoon, both with supports) as well as completing my Napoleonic project with some French infantry and additional cavalry units. I see this as a good sting to plan and put a spin to my painting and gaming plans for 2016.

The challenge starts with the winter (on 20th December) and will finish with Spring (20th March). Quite excited already with it... wish me luck!

A final comment on blog administration: I'm leaving tomorrow Sunday on a 10 day business trip to Latin America, returning early December. Don't expect to see much activity here until then. My next post will be the third part of the Crisis trip, the visit to Arnhem and will be followed by a special entry on the not quite known but really remarkable tank museum of Overloon, also in The Netherlands.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Episode 2 - Dragones in Waterloo

This is the second instalment of our trip to Crisis 2015, covering the visit to the Battlefield of Waterloo. I must add that personally, the most emotive milestone of the whole trip, suffering one of those “Stendhal Moments” on arriving to the “Butte de Lion” feet, when I could hardly contain my tears... how many of us in the wargame hobby had played countless hours (with my younger brother in my case) in the early 70s with the Airfix farm and the boxes of British, French and Prussian soldiers???
A visit to the real Waterloo one day in the future was one of my earliest dreams, but it has taken 53 years to become true... I’m sure you understand the feeling

Freezing but happy and moved

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Operation Martlet Campaign - Games 1&2

Today we have started a new campaign for Chain of Command using Operation Martlet, the latest pint-sized booklet published by TooFatLardies a few weeks ago. Martlet was the prequel to operation Epsom in Normandy and put the players in command of the element of both the 49th Division and the 12th SS Hitlerjunged Division.

We had the opportunity to play 2 games, the first an outright victory for the British and the second for the Germans when the British decided to retreat. A main historical issue in this campaign was the effect of the morning fog in the deployment of the British units, which is treated by the campaign and had a clear impact in our performance.

Game 1
The first game corresponds to a scenario 2 "The probe" of the main rulebook. To achieve victory, the British must exit at least one unit through the German tactical edge. The power of the patrol phase to win a game was demonstrated today, when we won the game in two activations thanks to our performance in the pregame phase.

The table from the German side

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Episode 1 - Dragones in Crisis...

As regular readers of the blog know, a group of members of Club Dragón planned several months ago to attend Crisis in Antwerp, one of the most recommended wargames events in Continental Europe. As the dates also coincided with a long week-end in Madrid, we extended the trip to 5 days in total, intending to visit some of the famous battlefields around: Waterloo, Arnhem and Bastogne/Ardennes.

Crisis is organised by a local wargames club (The TinSoldiers of Antwerp) and 2015 marked the 20th anniversary of this event. The theme of the show this year was... Waterloo!! (surprise, surprise)

The show occupied two quite large former store buildings in Antwerp harbour, and despite the large crowd of wargamers and traders attending, there was enough space to walk around... nothing like the oppressive atmosphere I felt in 2012 in London’s Salute.

We arrived just 15 minutes before the official opening and a large and long queue was already forming. I was having nightmares remembering how long it took me to enter Salute, but to my surprise it was quite efficiently managed and by 10.10 we were inside (kuddos to the organisers!!)

Almost all usual suspects in the hobby were present there (nothing to envy to Salute in that respect) and it was also a good opportunity to meet some less well know manufacturers that offer good quality niche products  at competitive prices too.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Back from Crisis 2015

Long hiatus in the blog, but more than justified as I have been out travelling around Belgium and Holland after attending Crisis 2015 in antwerp. Just landed last night and obviously have lack the time to start organising even my thoughts, not say the photos (over 700 taken...)

I plan to write several posts on Crisis, each of the battlefield visits (Waterloo, Arnhem, Ardennes/Bastogne) and about the Military Museum in Brussels.

Be patient, please...

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Ramps Down!

I could not make to the club today but have been in an email exchange  and being sent several photos from the Pacific Theatre game played this morning. It was a test game of "Ramps Down!" the seaborne invasion supplement for the incoming Second World War close combat skirmish rules "Rattenkrieg" written by my friend and owner of Barrage Miniatures, Alf Comps jointly with (my also friend) Alejandro Lozano.

These set of rules have been in an extended testing phase since early this year; but according to my proprietary sources :-) they will be released before Christmas. You can download an excerpt of the rules here.

Although the focus of Rattenkrieg is urban close combat fighting with infantry and armoured support, the game this morning was aiming to test the core mechanism using a larger amount of troops and in a sea-landing environment.  The first results look promising, although some tweaks will be needed as well as incorporating other extended support options.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

"5th Platoon" - A CoC Arnhem Campaign #5 and Final

Fourth and final game of 5th Platoon, the Arnhem Campaign for Chain of Command published in issue 74 of Wargames,Soldiers & Strategy magazine. As expected, a straight win for the British, given the really bad state of the German forces after three consecutive lost games.

This final game was an “Attack on an objective” scenario of the main book, and the British had to take the crossroads in the east side of the map. The map shown only two ways to approach the crossroads:  north of the road, totally open flat terrain, likely to be a suicidal attack; south of the road, hopping from house to house until reaching the line of German defense… guess what route the British players chose.