Archives for November 2007

[AT-43] Trench Battle

We ran an interesting AT-43 game last night. It featured a small number of troops – 1500 UNA vs 1000 Red Blok. The Red Blok held a trench line with three objective points. The win condition was to control more of objectives than the enemy at the game end.

To cut to the chase, the UNA lost. The UNA showed up with 3 fire toads (2 normal and 1 Iron Rain), 1 Steel Trooper unit, 1 Jam TacArms and 1 Steel TacArms units. The only cover was the trench line. The UNA held back and shot up the Red line. They had a Nakovalny and a lot of infantry. The ‘Nak’ instantly became the most important target on the board. It survived into turn 2 but was a complete smoking ruin before that turn was out.

The infantry was difficult to dig out. If we had the luxury of time we could have stayed back and hit them with lasers and MG fire and softened them up but the fact is that that was going to be a very slow process. What we needed was mortar fire. We didn’t have it so it meant we had to go in.

I was pushing the UNA and I made what I consider in hind sight a critical mistake. I should have placed my Steel Troopers behind the firetoads. The would have had cover and I would be able to use the take cover combat drill. Another tactical issue was that I probably should have picked an objective and massed my forces to overwhelm it. The use of medics makes it important to overload units – especially when you are using low shot-count systems like Fire Toads.

Overall a very fun game. It felt like a WWII battle actually. We used the lovely Hudson & Allen trenchworks which looked great. If only I had not forgotten my camera.

Chuck Norris Approved

While I don’t want Wonderful World to appear to be casting it’s endorsement one way or another for Presidential Candidates, I do want to provide my faithful readers (yeah, you three!) with some timely information about who Chuck Norris is endorsing!

Quartering a Division

Say, got a mess of figures you need to store, transport and keep safe? I know I do. I have about 2000 WWII 20mm figures. Nice stuff. I like to keep it organized, safe and I like to transport it when I need to run games. I’ve used Sabol Designs cases before but never one of this magnitude. It is practically luggage! I just purchased a Division Case for my 20mm collection. I don’t get as much use out of my collection because right now storage is a nightmare. Thanks to Sabol though I’ll be able to organize this stuff very easily. I am very much looking forward to it.

Metalstorm and iRobot join up to make The Terminator just one step more real

“This gun shoots through schools”:

The quote is from the movie “Johnny Dangerously” and is appropriate. Metalstorm and iRobot are in a joint venture to produce what we hope never gains self-awareness – the next generation of combat frames. Pretty intense stuff.

Click the title above for the full article.

"Follow Me!" he cried and so I did

Years ago when I was 14 I went to a gaming convention and met some amazing people. David Donovan and Pete English were there. They became friends for life. Pete and I played in a WWII game called Follow Me! I loved the experience because it really brought the war alive for me more than any film ever did.

Pete got a copy of the rules. Now that he is married and has a house full of kids he has to make sacrifices every now and then. He got his copy of “Follow Me!” the day we met. It pained him to think he’d have to throw it out because he was running out of space but I was there this past weekend and it had just as much sentimental value to me as it did to him so I have taken it. I am not sure how I will care for it but I’ll find a way. I don’t want it for the rules – there are plenty of other WWII rules I prefer now such as DHC7B. Its worn cover, dog eared pages and stains make it unattractive looking. But it was the first and so it will always be special. Though I didn’t wargame again until I met Jan Spoor many years later, this is definitely the experience that planted the seed.

The rules model so much. They were meant for Platoon or Reinforced Platoon action but by today’s standards they would be seen as very slow playing. I don’t know how accurate they are at simulating combat but there is a table for everything. For example one decision point is how fast are you going to drive your tank over broken ground to escape the guns of tank destroyers? There is a table that looks at the chance of a mechanical breakdown occuring because you are going too fast and being hard on the machine! Very few rules today cover such an issue.

I look at them more as role playing rules than wargame rules. You write your orders. You move everything simultaneously. You have a thousand decision points to contemplate. It is truely fascinating to contemplate. I remember in that first game the question was asked, how do you cross the intervening distance between the crater you are in to the woodline over the field? The rules were meant to cover that kind of detail.

Another friend in that same game was Nat St. John who went on to form the St. John Group. He stated a few years ago that learning how to play “Follow Me!” made statistics in college easy. I have to agree. I think it did the same for me.

G8 Timer Update

Samuel BarberAdagio for Strings

The timer worked great last night. We played the 2nd Scenario again in Descent. I said I was going to give 6 minutes to the players and 4 minutes to myself to complete the turn. Killer Ken said they weren’t going to need all those minutes. The turns can seem to go quick but on the first turn the players took 10 minutes. Once we got used to the timer the turns took only 5 for the players and about 3 for me. I like how it focused us all to play and make decisions quicker.

The post is an experiment to see if I can embed songs from iTunes.

As for the game, the players won. We declared that the scenario was hard enough and would have required about 5-6 hours to actually complete. I don’t see why the giants were made so tough. The party did a good job of utilizing their special abilities. In particular one character got to set Guard for free and set it on another player and that was critical in taking down the first giant. Killer Ken and Atrocity Al seem to have a really good grip on the rules. The others are coming along too. Next time we run scenario 3. I am looking forward to it! Nasty Naga are the nuisance in that one.

Fulda Gap 1985!

My how life comes full circle. The first miniatures wargame I played was Cold War Micro Armor. Last Tuesday Joe Collins ran a 1/285th scale Fulda Gap scenario with Soviets rushing to capture a bridge head and Americans and Germans defending. It was a fun game! It came down to the wire with the American’s gaining the slightest of advantage but enough for victory.

The rules were Modern Spearhead and while I’ve played and hated those rules before they seemed to work here. Maybe in the past they were not run right or maybe this time there were modifications but either way I greatly enjoyed the experience.

In an unintended tribute to all the old movies, this game was won with the cavalry literally coming over the hill to save the day!

Lots of photos (totally unedited so far) can be found here:

G8 Game Timer

Here is a a clever device I got years ago and then lost! I just found it again this weekend and I’d like to write it up for you. It is the G8 Game timer. It is a turn timer that works much like a chess clock only it works for up to 8 players! It is a handy compact device with easy to use controls and a big display. You can set total game time, total time players have overall, total time players have per turn. There is a pause button, it makes sound and flashes a light and it has two memory banks. You can even turn it off and start back up again later!

Originally I got this to moderate “Napoleon in Europe” by Eagle Games. It has many uses though. Tonight I plan on trying it with Descent to get the game moving. I think people think better and move quicker when there is a time limit. I’ll report how it goes. I am giving the players 6 minutes per turn and myself 4 minutes to complete all moves. It will help keep things focused and bring the game to a conclusion.

Fly, Mongoose, Fly!

Well I did another video. This one is pretty simple. In Halo 3 you can alter the maps and the game rules quite extensively. In Forge multiple people can cooperatively modify and build maps. In Theater you can see replays of games and Forge sessions. 4 of us got involved in a Forge Session on Friday, Nov. 2nd and had a blast. Literally. As with all Forge sessions, when you are just messing around one of the things you just have to do is throw a lot of stuff together wrapped around explosive fusion coils. Then all it takes is a few errant bullets or a frag grenade and you have some fun!

What we didn’t know in our Forge session was that we jettisoned a Mongoose ATV clear over the sea wall on the Last Resort map. I noticed it in the playback of the session and we took a closer look and sure enough it went sailing! So we made an homage video. Yes it pretty much is a wast of your life to watch it but we all need to be entertained. Iggy Pop supplied the soundtrack so how bad can it be?

My next update will be about the Fulda Gap ’85 game that was run this past week by HMGS-MS’s very own Joe Collins. Fun was had by all!