Saturday 31 December 2016

Happy 2017!

A short final post at 90 minutes for 2016 to expire, to wish you all a happy New Year, may 2017 bring you above all health, love, and peace... and of course wealth too.

I hope to continue sharing with you my hobby life this year, although unfortunately I'm starting 2017 with the wrong foot, as we have some potential health issues in my family that I strongly wish will end up in being just a false alarm. We'll know for sure in 3 weeks time. Therefore, no plans for 2017 at least for now.

In the meantime, bear with me and a likely irregular posting over the next weeks.
Best to all.  

Saturday 24 December 2016

Merry Christmas to the Blogosphere

A short message to wish you a many Merry Christmas, peace, health and money (of course to be  spent in games, lead and plastic).

Looking back the year, gaming wise it's been a strange one with lack of focus on periods/rules and volatile activity due to the flooding of our club premises just before the summer, that put us out of business for many months (until November).

Notably also in my gaming group, we have had some dispersion of projects. After 2 years of intense Chain of Command games, we were eagerly expecting the release of the Sharp Practice II, the skirmish rules for the Black Powder era. After a strong start playing mostly focused on the Napoleonic era, we realised that skirmishing was not totally to our taste and looked for ways to scale it up.

The truth is that after several failed attempts, we decided to abandon the project and instead explore other rule options with the scale we were looking for. A strong candidate emerged with Age of Eagles II, ony to be put on hold after the release of Pickett's Charge in November.

Although the latter is focused on the ACW period, the author already announced a sister book covering the Napoleonic period. A few test games unveiled a very solid and interesting set of rules and we are now waiting for the new book.

Almost concluding the year, my attention is being called by Rattenkrieg!, a new set of skirmish rules for the IIWW period published by Barrage Miniatures. I played a first game last week and was very positively impressed by the original game mechanism, based on an action/reaction engine. I promise to write a detailed comment sometime next week.

But not all was negative. Less time wargaming meant more time allocated to painting and I'm myself surprised by the large output achieved of French Napoleonics in 28mm, becoming the French reference player within my gaming group. And more reinforcements are coming as a result of my participation in The Painting Challenge for the second year in a row.

Summarising, a peculiar gaming year 2016 and looking into 2017 to be a Napoleonic year.
Enjoy the holidays!   


Sunday 11 December 2016

Old Hickory Campaign Game 3

The third game of the Hickory Campaign concluded with a decisive German victory, causing a bloody havoc on the US units that had to pull out into Le Neufbourg, the objective of the offensive. Frankly, the position of the US players is in serious risk as the game today eliminated some critical scarce assets like ATGs and men.

The game was played in the Orange 2 map of the campaign booklet and corresponded to a Scenario 6 "Attack-Defend" in terms of the Chain of Command terminology. The German was of course the attacker and the victory conditions called for them either to wipe the resisitance in the table or force a withdrawing due to Force Moral erosion.

Thursday 8 December 2016

Old Hickory Campaign Game 2

The second game of the Old Hickory campaign finished with a German victory. A very funny game in which for the first time in life I saw a F1 race between three German Hanomags, competing to reach first the US table tactical edge.

Following the initial setback  of the campaign when the Allied airforce dispersed the concentration of German units at its jumpoff area, the German HQ activated the second company (2 platoons) and ordered an attack through the same Orange route of the first attempt.

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Old Hickory Campaign Game 1

German HQ (H-1 hour)

News that the heads of the assault columns are now in the jump-off positions and ready to take on the arguably unprepared US troops near the railroad line (area code name Orange 1) are received with satisfaction at the Das Reich regiment HQ. 

Suddenly the deafening noise of aircraft engines flying at low level fill the air and the dreaded black and white stripes of the Allied air force the German officers eyes ... luckily the planes pass away leaving the HQ unmolested, but almost immediately machine gun and bomb explosions are heard towards the jumpoff area followed by black smoke columns .

A devastating air attack has dispersed the German forces, with the units running in panic pursued by the Allied Typhoons and the Mustangs. After what looks like an eternity, the planes finally leave and it's time now to take stock of the damages and regroup the surviving forces. The attack is cancelled and will be postponed at least for the following day.


And this is how the first turn of the Hickory campaign ended... played without placing a single model on a wargame table and actually resolved by Whatsapp! Let me explain what just happened.

As commented in the previous post, there are three attacking routes and the Germans must select one; the Allied had an air interdiction asset that had to be allocated to one of the routes before the Germans announce their attack. If they select the same route, the Germans suffer a devastating air attack and their units are dispersed and unable to take the offensive, losing the game.

Incredibly, both decided to choose the Orange route, which they communicated to me this same afternoon. Must reckon that I had a big laugh and the poor German players were in total shock for this unexpected (and unknown to them) option in the Allied hands.

All this was settled communicating with the two groups of players through Whatsapp!

This is one of the advantages of playing campaigns and using independent umpires: incresed for of war and uncertainty; and of course more fun (specially the umpire). More surprises in store for both sides... and only I know.. Wa-ha-ha-ha!! 

New Chain of Command Campaign rolling!

Seeing my club gaming buddies somewhat inactive, I decided to stir things a little and have put in motion a new campaign for Chain of Command. We'll play the supplement Old Hickory confronting US and German units in Normandy. This campaign is specially challenging for the former, as they face a brutal counterattack of the Das Reich division (operation Luttich) in late July 1944 in the Mortain area.

Historically the counterattack failed thanks to the stiff resistance put by the US 30th Infantry Division "Old Hickory", a relatively untested unit arising from the National Guard, despite facing a veteran German formation.

This campaign supplement presents a conundrum to the US player, as the Germans can chose attacking through three different axes and the Americans must distribute their limited assets before the actual campaign starts to cover all possible routes of advance.

The response of my gaming group to the campaign proposal has been phenomenal and now I have six players enrolled. Therefore I will have to accommodate more forces than those stipulated in the book and will be using the Big CoC large battles supplement to play the campaign.

The campaign will start tomorrow December 8th (national holiday in many European countries). You may like to follow live in Twitter the progress of the game (@AnibalInvic) but I'll also be debriefing here shortly after each game.