Monday, December 27, 2010

A set of wonderful Christmas gifts!

Well, with Christmas (and the gifts) done, I finally can post and enjoy my new gains.

To start, Rob bought me Conflict of Heroes: Price of Honour - Poland 1939, an expansion to the Conflict of Heroes series.  I've never managed to play more than the first 2 firefights from the first game (Awakening of the Bear), despite really liking the rules.  Let's hope I can get some time and drive to get it and this expansion on the table.  Thanks Rob!

Next, the girlfriend bought me a Nook, from Barnes and Noble.  I'm in love with the thing.  Currently, I'm reading Anabasis by Xenophon.  More on all of this in a later post.

When I came home from spending the weekend with the girlfriend's parents, I found on my doorstep a copy of GMT Games' The Spanish Civil War.  I had apparently ordered it, and long forgotten about it (I had canceled all my GMT preorders earlier this year because of financial constraints).  That was a pleasant surprise, I don't own a single game on the subject, and I've heard good things about this one.

Finally, I received a ton of free ASL products, to help assist with playtesting, as well as being a better player.  This included a bunch of the old ASL Annuals, which was a huge surprise.  I'm almost done clipping the counters for Beyond Valour, and once that's done, you can be sure to see several battle reports of Advanced Squad Leader as I work to gain more proficiency with the rules and tactics.

I got a ton of other great gifts, but they aren't really relevant to my wargaming, so I won't list them here.

Anyway, hope everyone's Christmas was awesome!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Yeah, like there isn't enough blogs saying this exact thing today :).

No real content, but I wanted to wish everyone who takes time to stop by and read this blog a Merry Christmas.  I really appreciate you guys stopping by, and I have a bunch of ideas for the new year to provide reason to come back!

Have a safe and happy holidays in the meantime!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Battle Report: Nations at War: WSR Basic Scenario 2: Le Hauderie and Montmar Tin-En Graignes

Wow, I've been busy!  This took me a bit longer to post up than I expected.

The final gaming I did on Black Friday was another game of Nations at War: White Star Rising, this time with an opponent: Rob.  We played scenario 2.

Scenario 2 covers, according to the description, an attack by the US 175th Regiment and 29th Infantry Division to take the towns of Le Hauderie and Montmar Tin-En Graignes, held by the German 17th SS and 352nd Divisions.

A quick Google search doesn't turn up either of those two towns, but I'm guessing that the scenario references the towns of Lenauderie and Montmartin-en-Graignes, which were kind of a side show to the Battle of Carentan (town shown on the map linked).  Maybe the names (or spelling of them) have changed in the years since the battle?

Regardless, Rob played as the Germans, and I took the Americans.  The goal was to advance the Americans across the map, and take either of the two cities.  I had 8 turns to accomplish this.  Nothing else special going on. 

I have two formations under my command: the 2/16 Infantry, consisting of a lot of infantry on foot with some heavy weapon support, and the 73rd Recon, with some Armored Infantry and an M8.

Rob's formations were elements of Kampfgruppe Dauer (SS infantry with heavy weapon support), and elements of Schtz.Btl.107 (consisting of... more infantry with weapon support).

Just a warning, pictures are a little flaky this battle report.  I struggled to get the camera to work correctly at the store.

Turn 1:
I advance both of my formations west (the American formation automatically activate the first turn of this scenario), crossing the bridges, and pretty much being stuck out in the open.

We then draw both of the German formation's chits, and Rob uses the opportunity to reposition his units to receive my attacks.

Movement in the North. No shooting yet.

And my movement in the South, again, thankfully, no shooting yet.

Turn 2:
The first chit drawn was the Schtz.Btl.107. They started shooting at my infantry (with their 81mm Mortar), disrupting one, and reducing another by shooting from a German Infantry unit.

I was disappointed, however, when we drew two straight End of Turn chits, ending the turn. That left my 2/16 Infantry a bit damaged and out in the open, without first getting a shot at recovery.

Turn 3:
First activation is the SS in the south. Since I'm out of effective range (and still embarked, limiting the effectiveness of his infantry) they don't accomplish anything.

2/16 activates next, and they begin to move into the woods. Having played on map A during my first solo experience with the game, I figured that the best way to get into position to attack the city would be through the woods. This helped a lot, since it meant I was out of sight of most of Rob's shooting. However, I didn't get away fully- the Schtz.Btl.107's mortar took an Opportunity fire shot against my ATG, and managed to disrupt and reduce it.

The Schtz.Btl.107 activates at this point and the mortar attempts to finish off the ATG, but failed to get any hits. Rob sends his HQ with an Infantry unit into assault against my HQ and Infantry, and are dealt 3 hits (and cause 1, I think), causing the unit and the HQ to be eliminated. Not good for him.

The turn couldn't end until the 73rd activated, and they finally did so, moving up safely (Rob had attempted firing with the SS earlier to no effect), and I disembarked my infantry, deciding that either way I was going to be vulnerable, but hoping to take cover in the cultivated terrain next turn and advance into the town.

Action in the North. With no Germans defending the forest, I'll get a good shot to move through it and threaten the target city safely, I hoped.

Status in the South. With luck, next turn I would begin to take chunks out of my opponent.

Turn 4:
The first chit drawn was the 2/16 Infantry, which is great news for me. I rally what I can, and I push through the forest. The 57mm ATG doesn't rally, and sits out in the open. I opt to leave it behind. My goal is the city. I move one of my infantry stacks to get a line of sight into the open road, just in case Rob tried to move across it, and threaten my army.

After drawing one of the End of Turn chits, we then drew the 73rd Recon. I chose to start reducing my opponent, and I open fire, killing one of the Arm Inf units facing me, and disrupting the ATG.

Fortunately for me, the second End of Turn chit was drawn, and although the German formations were required to activate next turn, it still felt great to get a practically free turn.

Progress in the north. Looking good!

Progress in the south (sorry about the glare!). The defenders start to feel a little sparse.

Turn 5:
Of course, in true 'fair' fashion, the Germans are the first two formations to activate on Turn 5. The Schtz.Btl.107 activates first.

With the HQ being thrown out of position by its death, the whole formation is not in a good spot. The 81mm Mortar failed it's Out of Command (OOC) check, limiting what it could do (basically, it's only allowed to fire as Opportunity Fire). The German HQ and the Pioneer unit went after the rear of my infantry column, assaulting into me and causing 3 hits, while taking one in return. The HQ attempted to bring a second unit with it, but it was disrupted en route.

The SS activated next, and began firing at my attackers, who were in the open. They disrupt the infantry squad stacked with my HQ, as well as another one of my infantry squads.

The 2/16's formation chit is drawn next, and ignoring the Germans, I move to the edge of the woods closest to the town, and prepare for my glorious assault.

The first end of turn chit is drawn, and I briefly stress that the 73rd could be subjected to a second round of shooting in the open, effectively ending it.

It's not to be, however, as the 73rd Recon's chit is drawn, and I rally my army. I assault into the nearest Arm Inf unit, but sadly take three hits (and dealt 1), eliminating the Infantry unit, and the HQ with it. I shove the rest of my infantry forward into the cultivated field, hoping that I activate before the SS do, so I can deal some heavy damage.

Turn 5 ends with me threatening both towns, but with pretty heavy losses in the south.

In the North, things aren't going so terrible. I can begin to attack the town next activation.

In the South, things aren't as great, as I'm now outnumbered and surrounded.

Turn 6:
The 73rd do get to activate next, and I quickly assault an Arm Inf squad, killing it. My M8 fails to provide any help with its shooting, yet again.

The first end turn chit is drawn, followed by the SS formation. They start by shooting at my Infantry squads, dealing 2 hits, disrupting my units. This is followed by an assault by one of the Arm Inf units, who dies for his efforts, but clears out my infantry, leaving me with only the M8 stacked with the HQ. Not a really scary combination. This effectively ends the game in the south- I spend the rest of the game taking a few shots at the defenders, and try to assault at one point, but I have no realistic shot of success there.

Unfortunately, the second End Turn chit is drawn, moving us to Turn 7.

American offensive is effectively ended in the South.

Turn 7:
The Schtz.Btl.107 activates to start the turn, and Rob begins to retreat everything he can back towards the town (sadly, it's less than he'd like). Everything has passed their OOC checks and rallied, so he's as good as he's going to be at this point. The HQ and the Pioneer assault another group of American infantry, and deal two hits.

The 73rd Recon and the SS both activate here, but since Americans have already lost down there, I'll skip the recap.

The 2/16 gets to activate before ending the turn, and I begin my assault. I send two Infantry units assaulting into the first hex of the city, and although they only score one hit (and take 0 in return), it's enough to clear the squad in there out of the way, meaning I've claimed the first hex of my goal! However, it's about to be turn 8, and if I don't get an activation I've lost!

Americans take the first hex of Ste Jeanne.

Turn 8:
And I get lucky. First activation is the 2/16!

They assault the city fully, and completely claim it, killing the defenders. Rob realizes that he has nothing that can get there and win it for him... and concedes the victory to me. Americans win!

I thought this scenario was a bit more interesting (and closer) than the first scenario, although it's a bit peculiar. There's two battles going on, and they have no reason to ever interact (since the Germans need to defend both cities. It's almost like two small scenarios being played at the same time. I'm not sure what the Americans can do in the South, although I suppose staying in the vehicles and maybe trying to get into the forest in the south would be an option. I don't think there's enough time to do it though.

In the North, I think I did what the Americans will have to do. Rob believes he set up his defense too far forward (meaning he was chasing me to the town at the end of the game) which is probably a true observation. If I ever get a chance to play this scenario again, that's probably what I will end up doing.

So far, definitely like the system. Hopefully I'll get a play on Scenario III soon!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Last weekend gaming

On Black Friday, instead of wasting my time with all that 'shopping' stuff my girlfriend talks about so much, I decided to go play some games at Games and Stuff in Glen Burnie with Rob.

It was a pretty interesting event- it ran from 11am till about 3 am on Saturday (and we were there for all but maybe an hour or so of it).  And man, did we get some games in. 

Starting the day off, we played two games of Dust Tactics- a newish release from Fantasy Flight Games.  It uses miniatures, but it's not really much of a 'miniature' game, since a lot of mini concepts don't really fit.  It's pretty simple, and played pretty quick (once we figured out that Rob was teaching the rules wrong ;) ).

Ended up playing it twice, with Rob taking the first scenario, and me the second.

Scenario 1:

Scenario 2, early in the game:

We followed this up by playing two games of Frontline General: Spearpoint 1943. I was the Americans twice, and lost both times. I'm just not sure how to get the Americans to win, grrr.

Next time we play, we should be trying a scenario, maybe that will make the games more competitive.

Next up, we played Incursion, by Grindhouse Games, a Nazi-era game with zombies. It was a pretty good time, and plays similarly to Space Hulk in some ways. Our first (introductory) scenario was a basic one- the Americans have to close off the entrance points to stem the tide of zombies. After a particularly unlucky turn for Rob (playing the Americans) I cruised to a win.

The second game involved both players trying to retrieve an item in the center of the map, and taking it off board. I got there first, but died, and Rob grabbed it and took it off the board for a win.

Some pictures from the second game:

Next up was a game of Warmachine. That gets covered on one of my other blogs.

Next, we played a game of Manoeuvre, a quick-playing favorite of ours. We ended up playing the Ottomans (run by myself), vs the Spanish, run by Rob. After trading some blows early on, I pushed forward for a nightfall victory, by having my cav swarm his side of the board late game.

This picture is a little after halfway through the game. One of my cav units got surrounded up towards the top, but thankfully survived.

Nations at War, scenario 2 followed- I'll put a post up about that here soon.

Hold the Line was next. This is a Worthington Games release covering the Revolutionary War. The scenario tried was the invasion of Long Island, with me playing the British. I'm not sure I really got the hang of this game- the Americans retreated pretty easily, and I wasn't able to put much pressure on them throughout the game.

Early game:

Later on:

We finished up the day with another game of Manoeuvre, with me as the Americans facing off against the Austrians. It came down to the wire- I put myself into position to win on the last roll of the game, assuming an about average roll. Failing that though, I ended up losing.

Lots of gaming, and lots of fun. I also won a copy of the Flames of War Operation Bagration campaign game which was a nice bonus.

Will have the playthroughs of the two games mentioned up as soon as I can!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Battle Report: Nations at War: WSR Basic Scenario 1: Noville, Belgium

After reading the rules, clipping the counters, and looking longingly at Nations at War: White Star Rising for several weeks, I finally got around to playing it.  Unfortunately, I didn't have an opponent handy, so I ended up playing it solo.  This generally isn't a bad thing, especially when I'm first playing a game, because I'm sure I'll need to check the rules multiple times, slowing down a Face-to-Face game.

The first scenario covers a precursor battle to the Siege of Bastogne, in Noville, Belgium.  In the battle, a battalion of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR) and 4 M18 tank destroyers attacked units of the 2nd Panzer Division who were en route to capture fuel dumps needed for the German offensive.  The M18, a notoriously fast vehicle, and the infantry support got to a spot on the highway well before the German objective, and began to attack.  The result was a solid victory for the Americans- the M18's strong shooting and mobility caused the Germans to stall on the attack (believing they were going up against a significantly stronger force than they actually did), and the Americans ended in possession of the town.

In the scenario, we have a similar situation.  Kampfgruppe Beck, with its 6 tank platoons and infantry support are attacking the town of Ste. Jeanne, defended by infantry of the 507th PIR, as well as tank support from Combat Command Alpha (CCA).  An M18 platoon is attached to the 507th.

To make the game more interesting, a portion of the Kampfgruppe Beck formation enters from a randomly determined board edge as a flanking force.


The Americans deployed on both sides of the road, but kept a sizeable amount of forces back with the town, in case the Germans broke through (the tanks would hopefully have to assault the town, which isn't favorable for tanks vs. defending infantry).

The Germans deployed in the town, prepared to advance across the river as soon as possible.

Nations at War: White Star Rising uses a chit-pull system, so there's no guarantee certain formations will activate from turn to turn. This factors into the German plans- they have to move into position fast, because they can't know how many chances they'll have (they will activate a minimum of once every other turn however). They have 8 turns to accomplish their objective.

Turn 1:
Very uninteresting turn. The first chit draw was the End of Turn chit. CCA was then drawn, but with no one in sight and no real need to reposition, they passed. The second End of Turn chit was drawn, ending the turn.

Since neither the 507th nor the KG Beck chit was drawn this turn, neither End of Turn chit was returned to the cup. One would be added back to the cup upon each of these formations activating.

Turn 2:
The first chit was the 507th, who passed, since they didn't have anything to do.

KG Beck finally activated. The flanking force rolled to see their entrance location, rolling a 3, meaning they were coming in from the south. The tanks on the right moved across the river. The M18 on the hill took the opportunity fire shot at a Panzer IV, and reduced it. The unit of Para Inf with the HQ also Op-fired at another tank, but failed to get any hits.

The units coming from the south (a Tiger, a STUG-III, and a unit of Infantry) advanced into the forest right next to the 507th. The 57mm ATG fired at the Tiger, but had no result, but the mortar hit the STUG-III and disrupted it.

The 2nd End of Turn counter, just added back to the cup, was drawn, ending the turn.

Turn 3:
507th start the turn by activating, and with plenty of targets, they unload.

57mm ATG fires at the STUG for no result.

The Para Inf and HQ fired at the Panther nearby, resulting in 3 hits (using 2 Fate Points to enhance the rolls), which kills it. The other Para Inf deployed towards the front retreats some.

The M18 fired at a Panzer IV, disrupting it, then moved back. The 60mm mortar tried adding its fire to the Panzer IV, but did no damage.

Not a terrible round of shooting- losing a tank this early is bad news.

CCA activated next, but did nothing but reposition to prepare for the German advance.

Two consecutive End of Turn chits end the turn, and with the Germans out in the open- they definitely had to be concerned about getting their activation (so they could rally from their disruption) before taking more fire.

Turn 4:
End Turn marker is drawn. The second one won't be added until the KG Beck activate, however.

Luckily for them, they get the first activation. Unfortunately, both the STUG III and a PzIV fail to rally (although the PzIV with the HQ does), meaning they would be unable to shoot or move closer to enemies they could see.

The Tiger takes a point blank shot at the ATG, rolling 4 dice and needing 3s to cause hits, he manages to get only a single hit, which disrupts the ATG. The PzIV and the HQ take a shot at the ParaInf (w/HQ) in front of them causing 3 hits and killing it. I have two of the German Infantry units unload from their APCs, and try to have the Panther assault the Mortar, hoping to clear it out of the forest. The Panther, sadly, deals 0 hits, and takes 1 in return, disrupting it. The other transports wait, hoping that next activation the tanks can clear enough of a hole for them to make a move towards the town.

And the second End Turn chit is drawn ending the turn. Halfway through the game, the Germans aren't making very good progress, although the 507th isn't looking very good at the moment.

Turn 5:
At the start of this turn, a Chaos Marker is added to the cup. If it's drawn, a random event occurs.

The 507th activated, and with the HQ being moved way back after his death (and his reduced command range), the formation had to start checking for being Out of Command. The ATG and the mortar both failed the test, meaning they wouldn't be allowed to shoot or move, except as Opportunity Fire. The ATG did rally, however. The HQ moved onto the hill, to bring the southern elements back into command.

The Chaos chit was drawn, and the roll resulted in a Comms Breakdown- the next activation to activate would have to roll for being Out of Command, regardless of where their HQ is!

CCA got the pleasure of suffering the effects, and it was pretty painful, with an M4A1, and Armored Infantry, and the M4A3E8 going OOC. A different Sherman with the HQ fired at a Panther, causing a hit, but was negated by the armor.

The 81mm Mortar was more successful, however, firing at the Sd.Kfz.521, causing 2 hits (using 1 Fate Point), reducing and disrupting the half-track.

The first End Turn chit was drawn, bad news for the German...

But again, are lucky to be activated in time. The STUG and Sd.Kfz.521 all rally, starting things off great.

The sHQ and a Tiger assault into the ATG, causing a single hit (and taking none in return), knocking it into the open. The STUG III and the Arm Inf did the same to the 60mm mortar, but caused two hits, reducing it before knocking it into the open.

The reduced half-track overran the mortar, causing a single hit and killing it, but takes 2 hits (and negating one) from the M5A1's OpFire, disrupting it. The other Sd.Kfz.521's infantry disembarks. The HQ and PzIV moved up to the M18, which OpFired, causing 3 hits (using another Fate Point to increase the die roll), only one of which gets negated, reducing and disrupting the PzIV.

The second End Turn chit is drawn, ending the turn.

Turn 6:
The first two chit draws were End Turn chits. A VERY quick turn.

Turn 7:
Every formation would have to activate this turn, since none activated last turn. The first End Turn chit was drawn immediately, for all that it matters.

The 507th activated first. The ATG in the open failed to rally. The M18 fired at the PzIV next to him, hoping for the kill, and caused a hit, but the armor negated it, and the M18 moved away. The 507th end their activation, since they didn't really have much else to contribute.

Combat Command Alpha activated next, and started by shooting their M4A1 with the HQ at the STUG III, causing 3 hits (with none negated), killing it. The M5 fired at the reduced Sd.Kfz.521 in the open, and gets a hit, but the armor roll negated it. However, the 81mm mortar took a shot at the unit, and caused two hits, killing it.

KG Beck finally activated, and managed to rally everything, but by now they were pretty severely weakened, and needed to get to that town as soon as possible. They advanced up, with the sHQ and Tiger overrunning the ATG, killing it.

Turn 8:
Well, it's not looking good for the Germans. They need to take all three town hexes, and don't really have a lot of forces in range. Plus, they needed to actually be activated this turn. Going to be tough!

The 507th was activated first. The HQ and the Para Inf moved up, hoping to assault the Tiger, but the OpFire from the Tiger deals 3 hits (with the terrain negating 1), disrupting and reducing the Infantry.

KG Beck gets their activation, and prepare for the final push. The sHQ and Tiger fire at the CCA HQ w/ the M4A1. They cause 2 hits, and although 1 hit is negated by the armor, it's enough to disrupt the unit, preventing it from shooting.

An Arm Inf moved to Assault the M5 and the reduced Para Inf, and deals 2 hits, taking 2 in return, but manages to kill the 507th HQ, and again, prevents the M5 from shooting.

Finally ready for the push, the KG Beck HQ moves with the PzIV towards the town, and are fired upon by the M18, who causes 3 hits, killing the PzIV and HQ.

Unable to achieve their objectives, the Panther tries to go in anyway, and takes a shot from a Sherman, disrupting it.

Game ends with no hexes of the city under German control. Pretty solid defeat.

This scenario is tough on the Germans, who really have no choice but to go straight at the city, right through the prepared defender's lines of fire. There isn't enough time to go around to either the north or south, though I suppose they could take a shot at going through the southern forest some, to protect against some fire, but I'm not sure it would help tremendously. However, it's a fairly good introduction to the series, and hopefully I'll get some more games in soon!