Wednesday 31 July 2013

Weekend at a Painting Workshop

On Sunday I attended a very interesting workshop to improve my miniature painting techniques. This was organised at Villa El Pedrete, a new business initiave launched by two of my club mates: a space  dedicated to weekend wargames, workshops and many other non-hobby related events (seminars, working group gatherings, small celebrations, etc).

The fact is that after 30 years in the hobby, I've never been totally satisfied neither with the quality of my painting  nor with my efficiency to finish  a new project involving painting a large amount of lead (I'm so slooooow!). And when the workshop was announced, I jumped into it without a doubt, specially because it was taught by one of our club's best painters.

And what I did learn?  Nothing revolutionary but overall evolutionary.

Our maestro on Sunday shared some interesting painting tips. He has developed an efficient painting technique by which he does not spend a lot of time in details (like for example eyes or very ellaborated cammo schemes) but compatible with a high quality figure painting and excellent visual effects when on the table.

Monday 29 July 2013

Chain of Command Pre-Order Period Starts

Just hot form the press!! The pre-order period for Chain of Command just started at the TooFatLardies website. There are different bundles of products combining the rules hardcopya  and pdf editions, specially designed jump-off point markers and other game materials at a substantial discount of the retail price that will be set on the release date (21st August), so don't miss the opportunity!

Monday 22 July 2013

US Army WW II Pictorial Book

I bring today a truly fantastic freebie: the European Theater US Army Pictorial Book in eBook format published by The US Army Center for Military History, a well of information for any military history aficionado from the AWI to the modern conflicts of Afghanistan or Irak. Caught a glimpse of the book at the Arkie Gamer blog, incidentally another one to add to your favourites list.

The 450+ pages long work spans from the build-up period in England (1943) to the final months of the war in May 1945. If you plan to build a US force for Chain of Command, here you have tons of inspiration to personalise your army!

Really worth downloading, but it takes some time so don't be in a hurry or use a slow connection to attempt it.

Saturday 20 July 2013

Chain of Command: A Diary # 5

The fifth (and probably final) entry of my Chain of Comand Diary series, occasional posts commenting my impressions while testing the incoming set of skirmish II WW rules by the TooFatLardies.

Topic today: shocks, moral and units resilience...or how every single of your toy soldiers matters  
Those acquainted with the TooFatLardies games know that the moral system in the rules is based on the concept of "shocks", reflecting the level of beating that a unit can take before "breaking" away.

Shocks explained
The TFL system differs vs other popular rule sets in the market in two different dimensions:

  • Units do not start with a fixed absolute level of moral  (points) that is gradually eroded by combat until breaking. The impact of shocks in the fighting ability of the unit is measured against the remaining men in the unit after casulaties.
  • Shocks are part of the "friction" philosophy underpinning all TFL rules, in the sense that these cause deterioration to the combat efficiency (in the form of restrictions to movement, penalties to fire or close combat, etc) and resistance to comply with orders.

Thursday 18 July 2013

200 Followers Reached!

My blog has reached a new milestone, with the number of followers now at 200. Thanks for joining  and welcome to this space of relaxed wargaming discussion... though  I must admitt to be somewaht frustrated by the short number of comments (on average) left in my posts (come on guys, say something specially that you don't like)!

Let me introduce now briefly our last 5 partners:

Sunday 14 July 2013

Lehr Recon - A Chain of Command Game

Last Chain of Command game of this season (and probably until the rules are finally released on 21st August), as most of my gaming mates will start their holidays from next week onwards. I chose the "Lehr Recon" scenario from the "Heroes of Omaha and Panzer Lehr" Skirmish Campaigns book.

It involved a halftrack mounted platoon attack in July 1944 to some elements of  of the US 9th Infantry division in the rearguard line. The latter are in fact a hastily collected melange of clerk and security units with a bazooka tem and an MMG as all support, of green quality, but that I decided to leave as standard moral. Quite unbalanaced at first glace and, as expected, they were totally overrun buy the veteran Germans in a few turns.

Friday 12 July 2013

Breaking War - German Army Painting Guide

Breaking War is one the most popular wargame magazines in Spain and has recently launched a special issue with a detailed painting guide of the German II WW army. I thought interesting flagging as there is a version in English of potential interest to the anglo-saxon readers of my blog. You can find more information here

Wednesday 10 July 2013

Chain of Command: A Diary # 4

Welcome to my fourth entry of the Chain of Command Diary, a series of occasional posts about the incoming II WW skirmish rules sets by TooFatLardies. But first an important announcement as Big Rich officially disclosed
*** 21st of August ***

as the expected release date for Chain of Command. So prepare to lighten your wallets and refill your Pay-Pal accounts before paying your summer holiday expenses!

Topic of today: Armour! ...or how Richard Clarke tamed the Big Cats to avoid dominating the gaming table

Those of you already familiar with the previous instalments of this series  will know by now that Chain of Command is basically an infantry driven game. But who could not be attracted by the lure of the Panthers, the Tigers (...or the Crocrodiles!) ; and to be brutally frank, a II WW game is not a real II WW game if we don't have our toys to play, right?

Monday 8 July 2013

1 Million years ago...

... well not years, but views... and not in my blog but in one of the most popular wargaming blogs over the blogosphere. Señor Lee Hardy (aka Big Lee and a honourable member of the Postie's Rejects international wargaming brotherhood), has hit the amazing... 

**** 1 Million views mark ****

and to celebrate he's organised a most genereous prize giveaway. I strongly recommend you not only to sign in to the goodies draw but to become a regular follower and reader of Lee's excellent pieces. 

My warmest congratulations to Lee and hope to be witness not of the 2 million but the 10 million celebration sometime in the future.

Sunday 7 July 2013

Outskirts of Sainte Marie - A Chain of Command AAR

We played a small action scenario with Chain of Command this morning. Located in Normandy 6th June in the morning, two US paratrooper and one Infantry sections supported by a couple of Shermans are tasked with taking control of the main road crossing Saint Marie.

The German command had reinforced the village early in the morning with a couple of ad-hoc gruppes of Fallschirmjaeger,  heavily armed with LMGs and panzerfausts, while reinforced with a tank hunter (Panzerschreck) team to deal with any enemy armour threats. However, no mortar support was available due to a most disconcerted and broken German chain of command in the early hours of D-Day.

Both sides wer rated as elite (6 command dice) and the moral level (determined by a dice throw) was 9 for the Germans and 8 for the US forces.

Saturday 6 July 2013

Chain of Command: A Diary # 3

This is the thrid entry of my Chain of Command Diary, a series of posts commenting my impressions while testing the incoming II WW skirmish rules to be published by TooFatLardies in the summer of 2013. 

Topic of today: Command & Control...or how the TFL boss caused panic among the Lard retinue
Those familiar with TFL games know that one of the most distinctive features of their systems is the use of card-driven activation to govern the games, replacing the more traditional turn-based and IGYG systems. 

Cards activate commanders and units, and the card deck composition is key to simulate different national characteristics or specific scenario situations of the forces involved: for example, a "MG bonus card" allows a high quality support weapon crew to fire twice or a "Blitzkrieg" card enables a German panzer commander to exploit a gap in the enemy line  by moving twice in the same phase.  

Not suitable to all wargamers tastes, underpinning this system is the idea of recreating battle friction and fog of war: while not making the whole game unpredictible or denying the control of the forces or the implementation of the battle plan, card decks introduce an element of uncertainty and forces the player to chose between different tactical options at each time.

Wednesday 3 July 2013

Panzer Tactics... for free


Another very kind free giveaway ebook  by Amazon and Stackpole: this time Panzer Tactics, a real jewel of a book for anyone interested in small engagements in the II WW.  A comprehesive comment from a reader at Amazon's website with whom I 100% agree:

Extremely valuable - material found nowhere least in my own ever-growing collection. We have the experiences of a Guderian, von Mellenthin, or Manstein, self serving as they sometimes may be, but at all these decades remove the view of the actual panzer crewman starts to get a little hazy. This book remedies this by way of hundreds of photographs that I don't believe are published in any other popularly available work. The CAPTIONS to these are of value! (For example: "Proper spacing is 100 meters - these Pz IIIs are too close!).

Each chapter begins with a concise exposition of the topic (Offensive operations, Defensive operations, Unit Movements, Command and Control, Logistics and Maintenance, etc.) from the point of view of the experienced veteran. A number of reproductions of the actual training materials for panzer crew from the period are included. The author takes pains to show how, during actual operations over the course of the war, panzer crew were repeatedly forced to improvise, departing from rigid adherance to the doctrine in these materials. Also included are a number of sketch maps of various operations at the smaller unit level, to further illustrate the principles. I believe a number of these are from actual after-action reports, hand drawn by the officers involved.