Sunday, 19 February 2017

Rome versus Carthage

Our last game we played saw me try my hand at commanding the Republican Roman army against the might of Hannibals Carthaginians using our rule choice of Hail Caesar. I had my troops in three divisions with my cavalry as a single division which was hidden behind the hills on the flank. My dad using the Carthaginians had three divisions of infantry with war elephants and a division of cavalry.

Using the Republican Roman army proved to be a real challenge as the army is predominantly small units, something which I have had little experience of using. I didn't really use my Velite troops to well or in the correct way to be honest but this was more down to miss understanding the correct use of role they played in battles and I over looked the fact that they counted towards your break point, as a result of this I used them way to rashly. However if you can coordinate your attack in close combat, getting a couple of these small units especially the tough fighting Hastati who are dispensable not counting towards your break point, in against the Lybian Spearmen proved to be a serious handful for the Carthaginians to handle, although abit of 'rule rust' saw us over look a few rules such as no combat bonus for charging in against long spears to the front.
Not where your Velites need to find themselves!

My Dad announces a charge against the flank of my Hastari, no chance I reply your going to need to roll a double one... Typically my dad rolls a double one...Charge!!!

Routing the Carthaginians skirmishes seemed like a good idea for the Spanish Caetrati, well for a brief moment anyhow....

The Gauls took their time getting involved in the fighting, deciding to to just stand and watch for most of the game to see how the Carthaginians faired, but when they did decide to join in the fight they did so ferociously as the poor old Spainsh Scutarii were to find out first hand.

I just about hung on for a draw, my left flank had been smashed by the Gauls with the Spainsh allies of the Romans had been broken, however a heroic last stand by a unit of Scutarii stopped the Gauls turning the Roman flank when their was still enough time in the game to have a major impact on the outcome. My cavalry faired reasonably well when they decided to move after failing every command throw for the entire game and were on the verge of breaking the Carthaginian cavalry. In the centre both our armies were still in a strong fighting condition to continue. Plenty of food for thought to take from this game and how to handle the Romans tactically, great game again though!

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

The Walking Dead and a good bit of spending at York VAPNARTAK

Last year in November I purchased the walking dead starter set while at the battleground wargames show and since then I have been busy painting the models and adding some scenery to the game. The game itself is excellent and really good fun, the few games I have ran have all played different although I was using the same characters and scenario, things can get pretty hairy quickly, non more so than my latest game last week when early in the game a turn of a card signalled Pandemonium which escalated the walkers and the threat level alarmingly, if that wasn't enough the following event card signalled the same thing turning the game on its head! 

Rick Grimmes and his son Carl out foraging for supplies. Notice the billboard on the side of the bus stand 😉
Derek (centre) and his side kicks Sandra and Patrick outside the local take away shop. The buildings are all from TT scenics and are really good value for money and are ideal for the purpose of this kind of game
The two gangs set out in search of the loot as the walkers roam the street
All the cars have supplies in them although they may reveal unexpected surprises once searched
A bus stop I purchased, once again from TT scenics 
Derek quickly starts to attract the attention of the walkers as he searches the car
A walker attacks Rick but on their own walkers are not usually to much of a problem to deal with.
Patrick finds himself in a spot of bother as he tries to fend off two walkers with his baseball bat
More walkers enter play as Pandemonium event cards are revealed, Sandra finds herself in a very uncomfortable position  
Rick is swarmed by the walkers and is badly wounded from a bite which has infected him
Patrick is overwhelmed and finds himself returning as a walker
Sandra used her ability to escape from combat and made a dash for the supply box only to attract the attention of a walker who managed to bite Sandra, this bite caused another wound at the end of the turn, turning Sandra into one of the living dead.
By this stage of the game Carl was now testing for his nerve which he kept failing with dramatic effect, he fled into the abandoned building followed by a bunch of walkers, however Rick was just about hanging on in there and after shrugging off the effects of the bite for another turn he was able to move and protect Carl from the attacking walkers. This final move saw the threat level reach maximum ending the game, with Rick and Carl victorious this time as the had scavenged the most supply items, Derek was going home empty handed and without his gang members already plotting his revenge.

I have since added the Days gone bye Atlanta expansion set while at York VAPNARTAK
Wargames Show on Sunday gone which sees the inclusion of a few more characters from the Comic (and tv series) to the game which are already on the painting desk and while I was there I bought a box of the warlord games Zombies as the referenced excellent value for money compared to the mantic zombie booster set which contained the models I already have. I saw the Warlord zombies been used in a excellent participation game of the Walking dead while at the York show, I have copied a picture of the game as I was unsure who it was who displayed the game so if any of my readers attended the show or know which club put the game on could you please let me know as I have a couple of questions about the scenery they used (especially the road system) I didn't get round to asking them on the day. Also at the show I picked up my pre order for my next historical project in the form of 10mm Vikings and Saxons from magister Militum, along with some 10mm Fantsy figures and also from Kalistra some undead cavalry and a unit of knights which I will be using for my blood knights for my Vampires. I also picked up my customary X wing miniture in the form of  the Sabrine tie fighter, I picked up a couple of second hand items for my terminator game, the models were from the Gamesworkshop 40k range, a imperial mortar team which will be ideal for my resistance troops and a necron flying machine which I will use as a terminator flying drone and I also picked up a Humvee vehicle to use for the resistance fighters from Urban Combat. I purchased some 28mm trees for use in the walking dead games and I picked up a new paint brush and a gaming mag, unbelievably I returned home with money in my wallet despite having a really good spend. I thought the show as great, my time there flew by, if I had hung around a little longer I'm sure I would have spent the rest of my money without to many problems 😄
Monday see's the return of the walking dead on Sky fox for the second half of the current series so no doubt I will be influenced into having some more Zombie gamimg fun!

The participation game at York Wargames show, but which club put it on??

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Last weeks WSS battle

As the post title suggests my dad and I had a WSS game last week using the very enjoyable rule set Volley and Bayonet, unfortunately I have been pre occupied and unable to blog the game before now so this post is only a brief of the game (still with plenty of pictures). Last time using this period I was victorious with the British so this time we changed roles so I was in command of the French and Austrains and Irish.

Our deployment revealed my Large Brigade of French cavalry opposite the British cavalry which would ensure a massive cavalry engagement.
I deployed two French brigades in the centre compromising of six regiments in each
The British centre looked strong with the Guard regiment positioned right in the centre
My Bavarians were tasked with holding the right flank and along with a brigade of French Dragoons and a nice 'block' of Bavarian Currasiers.
My dad grabbed the initive early in the game and managed to grab the defensive hedgerows across the centre of the table, my task was now very clear, I was going to have to take the attack to the British and hope that first volley or two didn't do to much damage to my troops.
The cavalry engagement was set underway as the British cavalry charged the first line of French cavalry. However the Two French guard cavalry units proved their status as elite cavalry and smashed the first wave of the Britsh cavalry attack.
The Austrian Currasiers move in support of the French right of centre as the 2nd French brigade starts to falter under the fire of the British.
My small Irish brigade surprised me in their performance as they attacked the British right flank, I had expected this brigade to become broken as they were outnumbered by the Britsh  facing them, however they were (just) to survive the game and after a couple of rounds of hard close quarter fighting they managed to help exhaust the British infantry brigade
The fighting in the centre wasn't going to well for my French, none more so than when I was a little over enthusiastic in the movement of a French regiment into short range of the British musket and canister of the artilley, one round of shooting saw the French quickly turn tail and RUN!!
However the same could not be said of the cavalry fight, my dad demonstrated on a number of occasions how not to roll melee dice as his cavalry brigades were broken almost by the 'exceptional' French Guard cavalry. The second line of French cavalry comfortably repelled the last desperate attack by the British cavalry, with all the the British cavalry exhausted my French cavalry now could turn onto the flank of the British centre.
Over on the French right flank my Dragoons were unopposed by any cavalry and quickly they were able to flank the Austrain infantry position. Although the Dragoons were all but exhausted by their repeated attacks against Austrain infantry, their persistent attacks payed dividend as the Austrain brigade was to be become exhausted before they could be re-enforced by the late arriving Austrain reserve Currasiers.
With the French Dragoons doing the donkey work the Bavarians pushed foward managed to drive the defending Austrians back exhausted, before reorganising to face the threat of the Austrain Currasiers whom had arrived from their position in reserve.
With both the flanks secured the remains of my French central brigades fall back away from musket fire range, however the British artillery still manages to cause enough casualties to exhaust the 1st infantry brigade, although I had taken quite a battering in the centre my two French brigades had just about held on long enough to allow the French cavalry to start to turn onto the British flank.
The French cavalry finally starts to attack the flank of the centre of the British centre sweeping away a couple of infantry regiments and exhausting the British brigade on the right centre, with this new threat now on their flank any advantage my dad had in the centre was now lost.
With time almost up my dad conceded defeat, ultimately the very poor showing from his cavalry brigade(s)had cost him dearly, and the fact that my cavalry remained almost unscathed from the cavalry combat was a bitter blow to my dads efforts. 
Another cracking game using volley and bayonet and if I'm not mistaken I have a 100% win ratio fighting WSS, maybe this is my lucky period 😉

Friday, 20 January 2017

The Red hammer pushes on..WW2 AAR

The battlefield is set in the outer regions of Germany 1944 as the Russians push towards Berlin, the radar station,ruined town houses and bombed factory across the middle of the table are the objectives, these will be needed to be claimed by the end of turn 7 to win the game with the possibility of a extra turn, if either side would reach 2/3rds of their Break point total they would be forced to retreat and the engagement would be lost 

As I stated in my last post we decided to have another game of Iron cross this week after we found ourselves rather rusty with the rules in our last game. This time out I decided to give the Russians a run out for the first time using these rules and my dad used the Germans. We used the 1944 lists and picked 700 points aside. I decided to go for Weight of numbers and brought plenty of T34/76 tanks (backed up by a couple of T34/85) which are inferior to the German armour but I was hoping the extra numbers would count. Supporting these tanks was a SU-76mm tank hunter and a T70 light tank and a 76mm A/T gun. My dad took a Tiger 1 backed up by some Panzer IV's and a 88mm just for good measure, we both had roughly the same amount of infantry squads and support teams although I had a extra flamethrower team and sniper, both sides had a quarter of their force off in reserve which could arrive from the start of turn 3.

Onto the action..........

T34/76. Tanks advance towards to town buildings objective supported by the infantry mounted in the transport trucks. I find that the the transport in Ironcross can be very useful for getting your infantry squads to objectives with speed, once you disembark you don't have to worry to much about having to get the transport off the table (wasting valuable command tokens) as they don't contribute to your Break point (BT). 
The German infantry squads take the inititive and take control of the ruined town houses early in the game
The Russian left flank was to see heavy fighting throughout the game, the 76mm A/T gun engages in a fire fight with the distant Panzer IV's, this fire fight was to last the entire game with both sides coming desperately close on a number of occasions to surpassing their morale limit, only for some timely company command orders/rolls to save them. The supporting Russian infantry engaged in a fire fight with the German infantry in the wood, eventual destroying the Germans.
The 88mm waits quietly in the wood for a target, naturally i was very reluctant to give it one, the tiger and infantry support the squads holding the town houses.
A Russian spotting plane on a recon mission surveys the German position (the model was only on for show and wasn't actually playing any part but you have to use as many of your miniatures/models as possible as, well it looks nice and adds to the visual effects of the game 😄
As the Russian tank column advances towards the town houses the tiger clunks into gear and moves from the concealment of the wood to meet the threat head on down the narrow road way
The sound of the tiger coming into view was enough to get my advance T34's attention and I tried to react to this with a reverse move ASAP, however it proved unsuccessful unlike the 88m shell from the tiger which found its target with a Kaboom result!
As my Russian armour advanced to take control of the radar station a sneaky German infantry squad tried for a flank position for a panzerfaust shot onto the unsuspecting Russian tanks. However I had support from a couple of squads of infantry and they advanced into the wood to pin the attack from happening. This was another fire fight which would continue throughout the game. It's very important in iron cross to keep your tanks supported by infantry as it gets hard to react to the enemy infantry with your tanks if you are not supported. I do like this rule as it gives your infantry a good role to play in supporting your armour in attacks,which I have not always found the Case in other rule sets where infantry would be at times neglected.
My flamethrower squad once in position quickly cleared out the German infantry from the town house objective, after this attack the flamethrower squad attracted a lot of German fire as a result of the effectiveness of the close range flame attack, the squad was eventually broken but it had cleared the way for my supporting Russian infantry to take the objective. 
As our reserves entered the table most of our armour was becoming involved in a long range fire fight on the Russian left flank around the factory objective. My poor Russian tank drivers were proving no match for the Panzer IV's as two quick reaction shots saw two T34's blow up, one with a Kaboom effect which saw the supporting infantry squads take morale damage. One of these squads I issued a fall back order as they had become the target of a 80mm mortar team and once these are ranged in they start to become dangerous as you don't get any benefit for cover and each mortar shot gets one easier on the dice to hit each time it fires, the down side to this with the mortars is it can eat into your command tokens quickly. I made a bad error around this time as I forgot to activate a transport truck carrying a infantry squad from reserve when they became available, this ment they had been lost on route to the battle, oops!
The Panzer IV's which accounted for the loss of my T34's arriving from reserve. However my dad was using a lot of command tokens to keep these tanks in the game as he was regularly having to take company command checks to rally hits from the morale, mostly these were been caused by tne 76mm anti tank gun defending the factory objective
The Russian infantry squads secure the radar station as the T34's engage the remains of the German infantry squads in the area.
A bitter fight had broke out over the ruined town houses but despite taking heavy fire the Russian infantry squad was hanging onto the objective, even trying a pot shot or two at the panzer III which had appeared out the wood from reserve with their PTRD which shock the morale of the German tank. All though I wasn't destroying the tank, the fact that I was inflicting morale hits ment the Panzer III was becoming hard to activate and when it did it was suffering penalties to its shooting.
After constantly targeting the 88 in the wood the Russian mortar team finally managed to destroy it, this opened the way for my T34's to adavance into the open central area of The table, a shot from one of these quickly destroyed the Panzer III
In reaction to my T34 advancing to shoot the panzer III, my dad reacted with a panzer IV which was lurking round the back of the house, it moved around the corner of the house as my T34 engaged the Panzer III, a flank shot saw the T34 destroyed (note to readers, when my dad rolls on the damage table  for a tank it's as rare as a Sunderland win that he rolls any other result than a destroyed one!)
The game was just about to enter turn 7 when we were coming towards the time limit for our game. My dad conceaded that he was only a few points shy from his force been broken where i was still 20+ points away, most likely I would have managed to break his Germans in the final turn. I was also holding the three objectives but only after some fierce fire fighting. Both the town houses and factory area had really been a hard fought to take and then hold.
The Russian command team was called upon late in the game to lend a hand to hold the factory objective, on a couple of occasions I was called upon using his  ability to reroll a failed activation roll to keep the anti tank gun firing.
My Russian tanks after securing the radar station start to advance onto the flank of The German position after clearing the area of German infantry 
The final position as the Russains gain a victory and another foothold into German territory 
These last couple of games using Ironcross rules has really set alight my passion for gaming world war 2 after a absence of over 5-6months. I really do like his these rules work as at all times during the game you get to be involved, it almost feels like your not actually playing turns. I love the rules for the sniper teams, definetly the best idea for them I have played, and the ease of tne transports is excellent.  I know the rules don't have aeroplane attacks and in game artillery bombardments but if does not suffer at all for this, actually both myself and my dad think it's better without them as in the past they have slowed the game down and proven to be a to much of a dominate force in a game. What I have learned so far in my games of iron cross is to be careful with your command tokens. It is so easy to just keep spending them activating or reacting that before you know if you have next to non left and your opponent has a handful. During this game my dad suffered from this when he failed 5-6 reaction rolls in a row to interrupt my move, meaning when I did pass the initiative back to him he was limited to what he could do. Also, although very important that they are, company command rolls can eat into your command tokens if your not careful, sometimes I think you just have to leave troops to there fate and concentrate your efforts elsewhere. Finding that balance between been aggressive with the initiative and been to passive and cautious is a fine line, I think I got it right during this game, on a couple of occasions I took the game to my dad by been very aggressive in attacking the objective inthe  ruined town houses area, using a fair amount of my command tokens but at the same time I was managing to draw my dad into trying to react to this expending his command tokens on actions he probably could have done without doing. If you haven't played Ironcross before they are definetly worth  having a go 👍
I have loads of models which had a purpose in my previous set of WW2 rules which I am now finding a new use for in Ironcross. My old communication truck base makes a nice place to put my discarded command tokens from company command rolls... (Any excuse to get these cool looking models onto the table 😀)