Saturday 30 December 2017

Happy 2018 and some plans

Last post of the year, wishing the blogosphere a very happy and prosperous 2018, hoping it brings health and success in your personal and professional fronts. Not a happy 2017 for us at ahome specially the first six months and wishing the year to end once and for all.

As for wargaming plans, after the experience of 2017 I've decided to shorten my planning horizons and try to live by the day, not terribly concerned with failures or success. This does not mean that I have no t sketched some ideas for  next year.

There's actually one important milestone at the end of April which will be the triannual trip with my club friends to a battefield, convention or museum. In 2012 it was Salute and Bovington; in 2015 it was Crisis, Waterloo, Arnhem and Bastogne; in 2018 it's going to be D-Day Normandy and the Samur Tank museum. Very excited with the trip as you can imagine.

On the gaming front:

- To continue with General d'Armee and Commands & Colors Napoleonics (the last expansion “Epic Battles” was my Xmas gift)

- New potential projects: retaking the First World War with Through the Blood and the Mud (one of my club friends is taking a lot of interest in it and I would not mind playing again after several years); I just recently listen to a Podcast dedicated to the GMT game of the COIN series called “Labyrinth” that has attracted my attention and is now in my line of sight; and finally explore some Cthulhu-related project (don't know yet if card-related, role or tabletop).

So this is it, reiterate my family and my own best wishes for 2018.

Thursday 28 December 2017

TFL Christmas Special

A quick post. Just before Christmas day the traditional TFL  Special issue was released, containing over 130 pages of scenarios and ideas for many of the house's rule sets. This year it also includes a scenario I wrote for General d'Armee called "Encounter at Guareña River".

This a small battle or large skirmish (whatever you may want to call ot) that took place on 18th July 1812, two days before the major engagement at Salamanca, between a British-Portuguese and a French force.

It's been extensively tested at the club and was even some time ago adapted to be played as a Sharp Practice scenario (you can see a review in my blog here)

Sunday 24 December 2017

Merry Christmas

May I wish you a very Merry Christmas in the company of your families, relatives and beloved ones. As many of you know 2017 has not been specially good to us, at least initially, when my wife was diganosed breast cancer on 22nd December 2016. Luckly we have overcome the problem and since early summer we have returned to a more or less normal life. These Christmas start in a complete different mood at home as you can imagine and I hope 2018 will be a better year.

Other people I know has not been so lucky and they will be having a special place in our thoughts tonight, in particular Kay the wife of Michael Peterson (aka MadPadre) whose example and love have been a light for us in these difficult months. Wherever you are today Mike, you'll be present in our house tonight.


Wednesday 13 December 2017

General d'Armee - A player review

As many of you know, General d’Armee (GdA) is a new set of Napoleonic rules published just before summer by Reisswitz Press, the sister company to TooFat ardies. The author, Dave Brown, is a well-known and experienced wargame rules writer so I was expecting a good quality set, as it’s been the case.
Although I bought the book the release day and read thoroughly in my summer holiday break, I decided to refrain from commenting in the blog until after I had tested on a gaming table and could consider myself enough familiar with the system.
For that purpose, I gathered a small group of players in my local club and have been extensively playing since late September. GdA is not simple, on the contrary, the learning curve is fairly steep at the beginning; but now I feel finally fairly confident and familiar with the rules.

What is General d’Armee?

In GdA players seat in the saddle of a commander of an army or division (in Napoleonic terminology): 5 to 8 brigades, each composed of several regiments. The rules however can be stretched and extended to play with a full Army Corps. So at least on paper, GdA is suited to play medium to large battles.

However the basic manoeuvre unit is an infantry battalion (300 to 1000+ men), cavalry squadrons and artillery batteries, representing the building blocks of the regiments; and this is as we’ll see later one of my main objections to the game.
General d’Armee is an old-school wargaming set; the 100 pages manual is basically all rules, with some photos and a good number of examples to illustrate or clarify the different topics. It is not designed for a light reading; it’s full of details and as I said before, it requires a fair investment of time in reading, annotating and playing with the book on the side for consultation. 

Sunday 26 November 2017

Eight Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge

To mark my return to a normal wargaming and blogging schedule, my first post since late April is to announce my participation for the third time in Curt's Painting Challenge. For those not in the llop, this is a friendly painting competition among wargamers across the world, organised by Canadian Curt Campbell, who I'm very fortunate to have met personally (him and his lovely wife Sarah) in a trip to Spain last year.

The Challenge launch also marks the final countdown to Christmas. The Challneg works by each participat setting his own target in the form of points awarded from painting your minis, and extends between Decemeber 20 2017 and March 20 2018. No best way to spend this dark and cold afternoons!.

In addition to the points with your painted inis and models, you get additional points participating in the thematic bonus rounds, always named with strange names to squeeze our heads with a little bit of creativity. This year's themes are the following:

  • Flight' (January 6th submission / displayed January 7th / voting results January 14th)
  • BFG: Big Freakin' Gun' (January 20st submission / displayed January 21st / voting results January 28th)
  • 'Music/Musician' (February 3rd submission / displayed February 4th / voting results February 11th)
  • 'Childhood' (February 17th submission / displayed February 18th / voting results February 25th)
  • 'Monstrous' (March 3rd submission / displayed March 4th / voting results March 11th)
Any ideas on how to approach the themes are more than welcome!

Over the past two years I have focused on one single project (German Fallschirmjager in 2015/16 and Napoleonics in 2016/17). this year won't be different and will continue swelling the ranks of my Napoleonics collection to play General d'Armee. The only new news is that I'll be painting 20mm minis in addition to my traditional and favourite 28mm scale minis.

This year Curt has also added terrain to the challenge. I'm not a great modeller and therefore I'm not expecting to take advantage of the addition, but who knows.

So expect a little more of activity in the blog in the coming weeks and months

Monday 1 May 2017

Update & House Cleaning

Easter week holidays and some domestic priorities among my gaming buddies has brought a temporary break in our Vietnam games. However I have not been idle and manage to finish this
M-577 Command Post vehicle from Force of Arms, a really nice model but alas unavailable as the company seems to have gone under.

If you follow my Twitter account (@Anibal Invic) you'll also know that I'm currently working on a M106 Mortar Carrier too, again form Force of Arms.

Monday 10 April 2017

DMZ Vietnam # 3 - Winning Hearts and Souls (or at least trying)

Third game of CoC DMZ, the Vietnam supplement for Chain of Command. After two games, we are now more confident on controlling the new mechanics and decided to add some complexity, introducing a political dimension to the game loosely based on Charlie Don't Surf, the Platoon-sized rules written by TooFatLardies (full details at the end of the post).

Using this time one of the scenarios included a Surf's Up, the US player was briefed about its mission: he must take control of remote village of uncertain name suspected to be the depot area of NVA units infesting the region. In Chain of Command terms, this is a "Scenario 6 Attack on an Objective" of the main rulebook, in principle winning the US if capturing the jumpoff point located in the center of the village.

But it wasn't to be so easy. As the NVA had important food and weapons supplies hidden in the village, those should be discovered and destroyed. If the enemy could exit its tactical edge with the supplies, the NVA player was victorious even if the US take control of the village. The village was inhabited and any civilian potentially a casualty in a fire exchange would count againts the US (or the NVA!) "Political Score".

Peaceful local peasents (or not?) on their way to tendering the fields
Setting the scene let's see how the table looked opposed the US entry side.

Tuesday 4 April 2017

Professional Wargaming

Let me call your attention to this recent post in the "Mad Padres' Wargame Blog" run by Mike Peterson, a chaplain serving in the Canadian Army, dedicated wargamer and long-distance friend.

The post deals with the use of wargaming techniques in the training and preparation of the professional modern armies. Lots of quality food for thought and links to some interesting articles in The Strategy Bridge, an online journal on military matters. Highly recommendable reading allover.  

Sunday 2 April 2017

Chain of Command Vietnam - Enter the ACAV

Second test game today with Chain of Command DMZ, the unofficial supplement to play the Vietnam conflict with Chain of Command. In this game we introduced for the first time a vehicle, my "Peace Maker" ACAV model,  parked in my garage for sometime now.

We chose this time to play the "Attack on an Objective" Scenario Six of the main rule book. The table had a major jungle (type 2 area) crossed by a dirt road leading to a village which according to the intelligence cources was a major NVA depot area.

The battlefield form the US edge

Friday 31 March 2017

Storming the Citadel - New Chain of Command Campaign

TooFatLardies just announced a new campaign book for Chain of Command in their "pint-sized" campaign series (Pint = priced as a pint of beer in Richard Clarke's local pub). Storming the Citadel is the first  time that TFL moves East, to the time of Kursk/Citadelle, following the trails of the GrossDeutshcland Division.

As usual, the campaign is self-contained with all the army lists, scenarios and special rules, supported by a nice display of maps and historical information. Another one not to miss!

Sunday 26 March 2017

Up Country - Testing Vietnam Chain Of Command Variant (take 1)

Don't panic, despite a long period without posts I'm still here...

As announced early this month, I recruited some of my gaming pals to test the Vietnam War variant for Chain of Command

Monday 6 March 2017

Back to Vietnam War?

A short post with a twofold intention:

First, to show that I'm still alive and kicking. However due to a health problem in the family (my wife was diagnosed breast cancer on 23rd December...), my hobby time has shrinked substantially and I decided to invest whatever time available in painting for Curt's Painting Challenge and playing some games from time to time (lately with Command and Colors Napoleonics).

The good news is that the health problem seems now contained and the doctor is rather optimist on overcoming it, although we'll still have to fight whatever remains of the SOB inside my wife´s body and the treatment will last 8 months to a year.

Second and the main reason of the post, the possibility of returning to play the Vietnam period, albeit not with Charlie Don't Surf but with a new set based on the popular Chain of Command World War II rules.

This is fact NOT an official supplement, but the lone effort put up by blogger Jason Sendjirdjian, who has been extensively reporting the progress on the rules and the lists in his blog Wargaming DMZ for most of 2016. This chap very generously has compiled and nicely edited a 41-pages pdf document (here) with all stuff needed to play the game.

This is a period that gained traction in my group when Charlie Don't Surf was first released a few years ago. It was (actually IS) a very good set of rules and an excellent simulation of the tactics and atmosphere of this grim theater of operations. Truth is that after a lot of playing my gaming group attention moved to II World War with Chain of Command, and Vietnam fell into oblivion.

With the limitations emerging from obligations with my wife treatment, I'll try to lead a Vietnam reinassance within my gaming group... time now to undust my Grunts, Charlies, NVAs and M 113s!

The good news are that we already have all we need in terms of gaming material and in 28mm, so no need to invest (much) money in a new project. I hope the rules work good, I haven´t even read the pdf yet (will do tonight) but considering the hard work already put by Jason and his demonstrated knowledge of the conflict, I'm honestly optimistic.

I strongly recommend visiting Wargaming DMZ and if you fancy show your gratitude for the generosity shown by the author sharing all this wrok by leaving a comment in the last post.


Sunday 8 January 2017

Old Hickory Campaign Games 4 and 5 (conclusion)

This weekend we played turns 4 and 5 (conclusion) of the Old Hickory campaign for Chain of Command. If you remember when we stopped in early December, the Germans had already won two games through the "orange route" and were now arriving to the final US defensive line at Le Neufbourg.

The US players called all reinforcements scattered in the different approaching routes to concentrate now into the village and to put a strong opposition despite overwhelming odds. The US side also played their last air support card in the 4th turn, resulting in the dispersion of the German attacking columns, winning the game and gaining some breathing space.

After this, the German deployed a new platoon form the general reserve (the one used in game 3) and then we moved to game number five, which as you will see resulted in a new straight German victory and also de conclusion of the campaign.