Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Tanks Surprise!

I did mention in my Summer Update that it was possible that a new game can suddenly catch fire and gain my attention. And that is exactly what happen with Tanks. Tanks is a World War 2 tank skirmish game by Gale Fore Nine which is the same/sister/parent company to Battlefront whom makes Flames of War and Team Yankee.

I first notice Tanks early in the year when on the podcast we discuss BattleFront's plans for this year. Tanks was on the list but it wasn't a big deal for me. I thought it was going to similar to Tank Ace which wasn't a great game in my opinion. I was also transiting from Flames of War to Team Yankee and it didn't make sense for me to go backwards. I next hear about Tanks in May after Tracy seen reviews of it and was now excited by it. Personally I was still not that interested but I was willing to give it a shot now. Plus the price point of the basic game is a really good deal. When you factor in a Battlefront tank usually cost between $8 to $12 for one, the basic game gives you a rule book, all the components to play the game, stat cards for all the tanks (or at least all the tanks in the first wave) and 3 tanks for $25! I had mix feeling on it after my first game. I found the rules simple and easy to understand but I was worried that they might be too simple. Also losing a game I was up 2 tanks to 1 simply because my tanks had lower initial so I got out maneuvered without there being anything I could do about it almost ruined the game for me. The thought of using different tanks with different upgrades intrigue me enough to give the game another chance. That chance came the following Saturday and demo day for me. Tracy told me there was a lot of local interest in Tanks so he wanted to demo Tanks instead of Team Yankee that week. I wasn't crazy about this as I thought the only way to build up Team Yankee support was to be at the store every week demoing it. Plus I still didn't think the Tanks was going to popular for a logistics reason I will get into in a bit. That Saturday the store was packed and it was nearly an hour before we were able to get access to a table. While we were waiting Tracy was at the front picking up paints. Someone walked passed us and out of the corner of my eye I thought I saw the Tanks's box. I brought this up with Tracy and he mention he didn't think anyone else at the store would have the game. At this point the store clerk told us the HAD copies of Tanks but they were now all sold out.

To say we were shock doesn't give the event justice. Our LGS is notoriously bad at getting Battlefront products in. When I first got into Flames of War I ordered a single Panther pack from our store. To this day that order has NEVER came in. They got the Team Yankee box sets 2 months after they were release and beside the token set, our game store doesn't have anything else from Team Yankee on the shelf. So with how bad the store has historically been getting Battlefront stuff in we were really really surprise that they had Tanks on release. They didn't get much but what they did get sold out before we got there. By the time a table opened up we were having conversations with 3 - 5 people about Tanks. At that point it made complete sense to me to demo Tanks. There was a lot of enthusiasm for the game I didn't realize was there. By the time we left I had play another game with British (I didn't like the German national rule) and for the first time I was excited for Tanks. After talking about it all week, I expected to demo Tanks again the following Saturday. Nevertheless, when we got there we found the appetite for Tanks was greater than we could have imagine. The store has a table in front with new merchandise display on it. That week had a lot of Tanks stuff on it. 2 box sets of the base game, several expansion packs for the Panther, StuG G and Sherman. There was also a single expansion pack for the Pershing which Tracy immediately brought ... damn him. Apparently the store got 5 starters in and probably the same amount of expansions for everything available.

The fact that when we setup the demo table, we weren't the only table in the store playing Tanks is when it finally hit me that this game will be huge locally. There was at least 3 other people whom had already invested in the game and the expansion packs were disappearing fast. With so much interest my willpower to resist failed and I pick up the base game and the Panther and Sherman expansions. A slight issue with the game was that Tracy and myself keep wanting to take some of the same upgrade cards and one basic set didn't have enough for us both. Me having my own copy would mean this would no longer be an issue. In retrospect I wish I either got the Pershing pack instead of the Sherman or I just waited a week for it. With the Starter having 2 Sherman in it, I really didn't need a third at this time. Especially since the unique card that comes with the Sherman pack isn't very good. Oh well, at least I'm building up my collection. The base set does give me my first batch of terrain. It is only 2d cutouts but I now have the option to do my own battle reports.

The biggest thing I realize about getting into Tanks is that I miss Flames of War. I quit playing mainly because Tracy no longer had any interest in it. Also I own very little Flames of War stuff. Tracy had a lot of Germans but not really the stuff I wanted to play with. I picked up a few of my favorite German choices but FoW list are fairly large and I had a long way to go before I could get close to owning my own army. A big reason for this is that infantry is extremely important in Flames as well as more troublesome to put together model wise. It sadden me that I put a fair amount of work developing my fictional WW2 German army and then quit Flames of War before I finish a single model for it. The surge of Tanks is great for me in that I can bring back my Himmlisch Drachen Stamm as well as build up my World War 2 tank collection for when I decide to get back into Flames of War. I don't plan on this happening anytime soon but it will be nice when it does to have parts of my army already done. At least playing Flames of War proper. Adapting Team Yankee's rules to Flames of War is probably something I will get to sooner rather than later. And if I can get something done that is playable I could probably get Tracy to try it.

Lots of prospects for interesting projects. Even just sticking to Tanks the sky is the limit on what to do. Locally there will be enough players to do any tournament, league or campaign that is well put together. Just need to decide what I want to do. Before I choose, I will make an effort to put together and paint the 5 tanks I currently own (and find my unfinished box of FoW Panzer IV Hs). I got advice from Vince Venturella on my priming issues so that will no longer be a road block for me. I will need to get a new can of primer. Think I will go with a red primer to use on Germany and Britain. Grey should work well as a secondary color for my Germans. I have time to think of something different to do for Britain as they are not out yet. Tanks is pushing me to experiment with the hobby. Good times!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Defense of Mittelaschenbach

This is a battle report of my second game of the Fulda Gap Campaign. As before this game has several special rules unique to the campaign. These rules are detailed on Fulda Gap Campaign page. Warning, this game does use a lot of proxies. Between me still working on my models and the campaign giving out additional units we weren't planning on getting, proxies are unavoidable.

This was the battlefield and it was quite interesting. The western part of the map is completely opening making it really dangerous. There is a small patch of trees in the south just left in the picture. In the middle of the map moving towards the east is a giant hill. The hill has an east-west road that is flank rows of trees on both sides, which really made line of sight a headache. On the far east there is a larger patch of trees with a small clearing inside the forest.

Here is a picture of the entire Soviet force. The Soviet did receive an additional 25 points which was used to purchase new units. The following has the components of the main list as well as what the extra points were spent on:

Main Force

HQ T-72 x1
T-72 x3 w/ mine clearing devices
T-72 x3 w/ mine clearing devices
T-72 x3 w/ mine clearing devices
BMP-2 motor rifle company (AK-74 x4, RPG-7 x3, BMP-2 x4)
2S1 Carnation x3
2S1 Carnation x3
BMP-1 OP x1
ZSU-23-4 Shilka x4
SA-13 Gopher x4
MI-24 Hind x6
Frogfoot x4

25 extra points

Hind x6
Shilka x4
Shilka x2
Gopher x4

In addition to this the Soviets Campaign assets are a BMP-1 OP x1, MI-24 Hind x3 on Turn 1, Frogfoot x3 on Turns 2, 4, 5, 6, and the Off-Board Artillery is 2S1 Carnation x6.

Here is a picture of the US force. The US also receive an additional 25 which was used to boost the HQ and purchase new units. The following has the components of the main list as well as what the extra points were spent on:

Main Force

HQ M1 Abram
M1 Abrams x3
M1 Abrams x3
M113 Mech Platoon x3
M901 ITV x2
M163 VADS x4
M109 x6 w/ Copperheads
A-10 Warthog x2

25 extra points

HQ M1 Abram (essentially the second in command)
ITV x2
ITV x2
Mech Platoon x3 w/ extra dragon missile team

In addition to this the US Campaign assets are a FIST x1, AH-1 Cobra x3 on Turn 1, A-10 x 2 on Turn 1, A-10 x 1 on Turn 2 and the Off-Board Artillery is M109 x3 w/Copperheads and Bomblets.


The campaign pick our mission for us: Free-For-All. The Soviets is attacking from the north while the US is defending from the south. The key elements of this battle is that everything starts on the board and the person with first turn is decided by a die off after deployment. The person with first turn can not use artillery or aircraft. If that person has campaign assets that come in on Turn 1, all their campaign assets get pushed back a turn. Both players place two objectives in their opponent's deployment zone (within 8 inches of the long edge).

Most of the US lightly armored unit deployed on the eastern objective, surrounded by trees. That made the objective easily defended and dangerous to take. As such, the Soviet practically didn't try. Instead all the action centered on western objective which was out in the open. The hill protected the Soviets very long line of Anti-Air and artillery. The Abrams were out in the open to face enemies coming around the hill. I was hoping the hill along with the double forest on top would help protect the Abrams flank but there is no spot safe from Soviet Aircraft!

Turn 1

The US won first turn which is a mix blessing as now most their units can not shoot, campaign assets are now pushed back, unable to use aircraft and the lost of the Off-Board artillery. Trying to make the most of it, the Abrams moved forward and the VADS that were behind them moved north to shoot at Hinds. A Mech platoon and ITV unit dash towards the clearing on the western side. Almost half of those vehicle got bogged down in the woods. The VADS were only in range of 2 Hinds and took one out. One unit of Abrams fired and wiped out the visible Carnations. The remaining Abrams combine their fire at the T-72s but only manage to bail out 2 tanks. This did force a morale check which the T-72s failed and ran off.

Soviets did manage to get in their Strike Aircraft on their turn as well as the Off-Board artillery. Two rounds of artillery fail to achieve anything as one failed to range in while the other range in on the ITV and Mech Platoons. Hits were made but the vehicles made their armor save. A unit of T-72s moved up the hill and shot at the VADS, destroying one. On western side, BMPs shoot at the HQ which destroyed the second in command. Frogfoot unit fired on some Abrams destroying one. That shot cost the Frogfoot half their numbers as 2 were shot down by 2 VADS. Of the 3 units of Hinds, one loiter off by mistake, the campaign hinds fired and missed while 5 copter fire on Abrams. The AA fire cost the Hinds another member and in turn got 2 hits, which the Abrams made their saves so no damage got through.

Turn 2

US failed to get Off-Board Artillery but got both campaign and normal strike aircraft in. I put the campaign A-10s in the northeast of the map to thin out the AA there but instead the A-10s got shot down. My M109s fire Copperheads at 4 Hinds but one hit land and the Hind made it save. The unit of 3 Abrams move under the Hinds so they could fire on shilkas hiding behind the hill. The volley destroyed 3 Shilkas, but the remaining one made the morale check to stay. The unit of 2 Abrams move on top of the hill and fired on AA vehicles, wiping out the unit of 2 Shilkas and destroying a single Gopher. My HQ moved into the woods to get cover but got bogged down, leaving its rear to the enemy. The ITVs in those woods shot at the BMPs, destroying 1. On the east side the men dismounted and moved forward. Their transports move up and fire machine guns at the Shikas in the woods but did no damage. The Cobras flew in and drop the salvo on Soviet soldiers, killing 2 and pinning the unit. My own A-10s fired on the T-72s on the hill but rolled snake eyes.

Soviets failed to get their strike aircraft and Off-Board Artillery in but the campaign gave him 3 Frogfoots. The BMPs shot at Abram HQ stuck in the woods. HQ failed two saves and got destroyed. I also failed my commander save to jump into another vehicle. The commander and an unit of T-72s shot at the Abrams on the hill, destroying one of them. The remaining Abram failed its morale check and fled the battlefield. The Hinds shot at the full strength Abrams and destroyed 2. The campaign Frogfoots destroyed the FIST that was out in the open. The T-72s that were parked on top of the hill continue shooting at the VADS and destroyed 2 more. The remaining VADS and Abram passed their morale check. Artillery rain down on eastern side, covering an ITV and most of the Mech platoon. It bailed out a transport and pinned the men.

Turn 3

The US got no aircraft and no artillery this turn. The campaign assets gave me one lone A-10 which got shot down. The last Abram move up to shoot at Gophers but completely missed. The ITVs in the woods kill all but one BMP. The Cobras tried to take out some T-72s but AA fire shoot them all down. It is at this point I soon realize I had a problem with my camera during this and last turn. I lost my audio notes for this phase and I don't remember what else happen on my turn. I do know either on this turn or on Soviets Turn 2, one Hind in each unit were destroyed bring their totals to 3 and 2. I have no idea what brought them down. I do believe the Mech Platoon on eastern side failed to rally.

As it is becoming quite common for both players, the Soviets got no artillery and no strike aircraft this turn. It is at this point Tracy remembered he had another unit of 6 Hinds that he had remove from the table turn 1 and completely forgot about them. He brought them in on the east side and they along with the Shilkas destroyed the 3 M113 transports. On the west side the Hinds fired at the lone Abram and destroyed him. The unit of two Hinds used it Gatling gun on the ITVs in the woods, but ITVs are very hard to hit. I had a lot of AA fire and it all missed. The Soviet troops finally rallied and moved up towards the objective.

Turn 4

US Off-Board artillery finally comes in but their A-10s refuse to return to the field. The VADS on the east side move up and shoot at the new 6 Hinds and did nothing. The 2 ITVs over there fire 2 deadly shots taking out a Carnation and a Hind. The M109s fired at the remaining 5 Hinds with Copperheads and destroyed 3 copters. ITV leader in the woods called in the Off-Board artillery on the motor rifle company, killing another soldier and pinning the rest. There was more firing but nothing else landed.

The Soviets normal strike aircraft is still on vocation like my own A-10s. But Tracy did roll to get his artillery in and his campaign assets gave him another 3 Frogfoots. The motor rifle company did rally and move onto the objective. The Off-Board artillery drop a smoke bombardment to screen the motor rifle company. All three units of Hinds move next to the ITVs trying to, but failing to do any damage to them. The T-72s on the hill finished off the last VADS on the western side. The range in artillery on the eastern side fired another bombardment, killing a single soldier. All 3 campaign Frogfoots were shot down by the eastern VADS.

Turn 5

Luck is running out for the US. I got no strike aircraft and no Off-Board artillery. The Mech platoon refuse to rally. The ITVs in the wood attempt to move so they could contest the objective. One bogged down while the other pass and could contest. That ITV machine the motor rifle company and manage to kill a man. All other ITVs fired at targets but nothing landed. Copperheads were fired at the unit of 3 Hinds, 2 were downed. The remaining Hind passed it morale.

The Soviets manage to get everything this turn. Artillery, normal strike aircraft and campaign aircraft! The 2 Carnations that was ranged in on the east side redirect it fire to place a smoke bombardment to screen the motor rifle company again. Said motor company tried to dig in but failed. Shilkas fired 18 shots into the Mech Platoon and miss every one. A second unit of T-72s moved on top of the hill. Lots of fire was pour into the ITVs on the eastern objective, eventually destroying them because I thought they loss their gone-to-ground when they hadn't. The new unit of T-72s shot at the 2 M109s that were in the woods, destroying them both. All the remaining Hinds fired at the bogged down ITV, eventually destroying it. The Frogfoots destroy the active ITV, nearly securing absolute victory for the Soviets.

Turn 6

Because of the smoke screen the only hope US has to prevent the Soviets from winning next turn is to get strike aircraft and take out the last 4 motor rifle company. I got nothing! No artillery, no strike aircraft and now no way to target the Soviet infantry. Given that I had lost my only purpose this turn was to do as much damage as possible. The Mech platoon finally rallied. They moved up because the Shilkas were just slight out of range of their weapons. Pouring their LAWs into the Shilkas, two were turned into burning husk. The remaining Shilka passed its morale to avoid the unit being lost. The VADS moved towards the Hinds, crossing the woods. One VADS bogged down and only one other was in range. Its fire did nothing. The remaining M109s return fire by copperheads into the T-72s and destroyed 2. Again the Soviets passed it morale. My turn ends and the Soviets starts their turn 6 by winning 4-3!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Topic of the Week: Favorite Army

On his channel Vince Venturella promotes something he calls the Topic of the Week to the war gaming community. The idea is that he will toss out a topic every Friday to give the community something to think about. Content creators interested in the topic can make a video response to that topic and Vince will link those videos in the Topic of the Week description. He also encourages others whom don't want to make a video to post their thoughts in the comments section. In this way he helps bring the community closer together. Seeing various ideas discuss among the community is great and I've wanted to join in on the conversation for a while now.

Last week Topic was on your favorite army. I spend some time thinking about it and I finally gather my thoughts together to make this video:

Here is the link to Vince Venturella channel:

Also episode 26 of the War Journal: Flames of War podcast is out:

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Battle of Thermopylae Teufelsberg-Pietzeistein Forest

Captain Jack, as he was known to his men, was uneasy. He had the feeling something big was going to happen that day and with the current tensions, that something would probably mean World War 3, with him being on the front line. He was lying down in the grass at the edge of the tree line. His tank was several hundred yards behind him, hidden in the forest. Scanning the horizon for the enemy, Jack heard someone running towards his position. Jack lowered his binoculars and got to his feet, confident that enemy wasn't THAT close to them yet. Lieutenant Dawley ran up to Jack with concern written across his face. "The Russians are advance here! Its an attack!" he said. "How many are we looking at?" Jack asked the Lieutenant. "Probably all of them!" Captain Jack was about to admonish the lieutenant until something on the horizon caught his eye. Captain Jack could see dust clouds no matter where he look north. He could also now hear the roaring of jet engine in the distance. He wasn't sure what they were, but he knew they weren't American! "Get to your track!" he screamed at his lieutenant as he made a mad dash to his own. Once in his chair Captain Jack radio the battalion to let them know his position was about to be overrun with Soviets and he was planning to make a strategic withdrawal. He was told to delay the Russian as much as possible before withdrawing. "Sure, no problem," he sarcastically thought. He switch the radio to the local net and began barking orders as he thought them up for the retreat. Second Lieutenant Maxwell Short, the fire support office realize the situation must be dire judging from Jack's orders and tone. He switch his radio from the local net to call for air support. He knew they were going to need it if there were to survive the Soviet Offensive. It was just a matter if the air support would arrive in time..."

This is a campaign battle report of my first game in the Fulda Gap Campaign. Since I don't have a page for the Fulda Gap Campaign up yet, there are some things I need to explain about this battle report before I go on. First this battle report uses a lot of proxies. Most of my force is still not assemble and painted and even if it were, the campaign adds addition units neither had plan on buying. Next, the campaign has three unique rules that changes the normal game. While a default game is 100 points per side, the campaign maybe give either player an additional 25 points to expand their force. The opponent will not know about this bonus ahead of time. For this report the Soviet receive the addition 25 points while the US did not. Second, both sides have the use of off the table artillery. The artillery count as having unlimited range but will need a spotter to fire. To get this artillery a check needs to be passed after rolling for strike aircraft. The Soviets artillery count as a 6 gun carnation battery and will fire on a 4+ roll. The US get a 3 gun M109 battery with the copperhead upgrade and will fire on a 5+ roll. Both forces gets an additional observer. Lastly, both sides have a secret list of when addition aircraft will reinforce their army. The opponent has no idea when or how many aircraft will show up until it is announce. When helicopters show up, they stay for the rest of the game and count as apart of the rest of the force. Strike aircraft are automatic but are only available for that turn. If a player get strike aircraft in multiple turns, any destruction of aircraft does not carry over. That means if a player is getting 2 strike aircraft in turn 1, 3 and 4, that player will get 2 strike aircraft in turns 3 and 4 even if they were destroyed in turn 1. Now lets get into the battle report proper starting with the board

We got a map of where our battle was suppose to take place so we tried to make the battlefield resemble that map. What we got was very interesting. We didn't have much terrain overall but we did get 2 thin tree lines that bisected the board. The hill on the west side is actually a forest. We added trees to it later. The three hills on the top right were hills and also help sub-divide the board. Since tanks couldn't fit on top of the tree lines, we had the rule that if you were next to a tree line, you were counted as being in the forest and required a cross check. We both had the same idea of who would get the most benefit from the map. Who actually DID get the most big for their buck is a different story, which I will get into shortly.

Here is a picture of the entire Soviet force. I'm not sure what's what so I'm just going to list what is in it:

HQ T-72
T-72 x3 w/ mine clearing devices
T-72 x3 w/ mine clearing devices
T-72 x3 w/ mine clearing devices
BMP-2 motor rifle company (4x AK-74, 3x RPG-7, 4x BMP-2, 1x SA-14 Gremlin AA)
BMP-2 Scout x2
BMP-2 Scout x2
2S1 Carnation x3
2S1 Carnation x3
BMP-1 OP (bonus from the campaign)
ZSU-23-4 Shilka x4
SA-13 Gopher x4
BM-21 Hail Rocket Launcher Battery x3
MI-24 Hind x6
Assault Landing Company (AK-74 x6, RPG-7 x4)
Frogfoot x6

In addition to this, Soviets got MI-24 Hind x3 to come in on Turn 1 from the secret list.

Here is a picture of the US force. It includes:

HQ M1 Abram (its the black one in front)
M1 Abrams x3 (right behind the HQ)
M1 Abrams x3 (right behind the HQ)
M106 x3 (proxies right behind the Abrams)
M901 ITV x2 (StuG proxies right behind the M106)
M113 FIST x2 (includes bonus one from campaign, next to the StuG)
M163 VADS x4 (the 4 M113 chassis)
A-10 Warthog x2
M109 x6 w/ Copperheads and Bomblets (the 6 vehicles in back, the black one is the actual model)


The rules of the campaign said we had to play a defensive battle with the Soviets attacking from the north/top of the map and the US defending from the south/bottom. The die roll was 4, which gave us Fighting Withdrawal. The key elements of this mission is that both side start with everything on the table with the defender getting to put one unit in ambush. I pick one of my Abrams unit place in ambush. If the Soviets control any of the three objectives at any time, they win. If the US can not lose by Turn 8, they win. One last point, starting on Turn 3 and every turn afterwards the US adds a "delay counter" or removes a unit depending on how many are left. The US gets to remove an objective on Turns 6 and 7.

Because my deployment zone was half the board and there is not much concerning terrain beside the tree lines, the Soviet scout's spearhead special rule was render useless. The Soviets only had an 8 inch deployment zone and the scouts could only extend that 4 inches behind the hills. Even then other Soviet units couldn't much beyond that because they were in clear view of my deployment zone (which counts as my teams for the spearhead rule). Nevertheless the Soviets greatly outnumbered me and had first turn.

Turn 1

The Soviets failed to get in their strike aircraft and off board artillery. Since none of his spotters were in a good position, Tracy move all of his artillery and observers up to get a better view along with most of his force. Some vehicles failed a cross check and bog down, which will be a running theme for the rest of the game. On the west side an unit of T-72 move up and shoot at the Abrams in the woods, destroying one. The six hinds had move behind those Abrams and finish the Abrams off. The ant-air fire from the Abrams, HQ and the ITVs took out a single before they shot. On the east side, the BMP-2 transports move up to near the tree line close the M109s. Three T-72s move up and fire on a FIST hiding in the woods. Tracy got a lucky 6 and blew the FIST up. The 3 hinds had moved behind those T-72s and would have also fired on the FIST if the tanks had miss.

Bottom of Turn 1, US failed to get in their strike aircraft but did get the off the table artillery. The secret list did give the US 2 A-10s to use on turn 1 so it was like it made its strike aircraft roll. The VADS moved up to put the 3 hinds into range and shoot them up, destroying 2. The FIST spotted for the 6 M109 to fire copperheads at the 5 hinds and knock two of those out the air. The heavy mortar leader spotted for the off-board artillery to drop a bombardment on the Shilka on the hill. Range in on them but only manage to bailed out a single Shilka. In retrospect, that was as good as destroyed since that Shilka never remount for the rest of the game. The A-10s avenged the FIST by destroying one of the T-72s that shot at it. More things fired this turn but nothing else landed.

Turn 2

Soviets got everything this turn. Strike aircraft, off board artillery and even the campaign gave Tracy an additional 2 Frogfoots this turn. Tracy loitered single Hind off the table to prevent him from losing the unit. The Soviets poured a lot of firepower into the ITVs and my HQ on the west side. 6 Frogfoots, 3 remaining Hinds (both of which stay out of range of the VADS), T-72s and more all fired. Only a single ITV got destroyed. It forced a morale checked but the remaining ITV passed. On the east side the infantry disembark and prepared to assault the M109s. The T-72s (and maybe something else) shot at the VADS, one got destroyed and a second was bailed out. A spotter for the off board artillery tried to range in on the M109s but rolled 2,2 and 1. The 2 Frogfoots fired on the remaining VADS but their anti-aircraft fire blew them out of the air. This made Tracy happy for now he can assault the M109s with his infantry. I think since .50 cal machine-guns is really only used to shoot at aircraft in our games, he forgot their normal rate of fire is 3. His men didn't fair well running into 18 shots. Half of the infantry was killed forcing the remaining men to fall back. At this point I'm thinking while the US held, things looks really bleak.

At this point I should say while I'm describing most of what the US did, I'm just highlighting the Soviet turn. The reason is that the Soviet just have so much stuff and most of what I'm leaving out is moving, failing cross checks or both. On the US turn the strike aircraft came in but the off board artillery did not. Since I was losing the west flank badly I brought my Abrams out of ambush to help protect the objective. Moving through the tree line, all three Abrams had to take a cross check and they all passed. Being face to face with the T-72s, the ambushing Abrams fired and destroyed enough tanks to force a check and caused that unit of T-72s to flee. The 6 M109 fired copperheads into the Hinds again but did no damage this time. So the ITV shot at them and took a Hind out. My HQ shot at the Shilkas, destroying 2 to force a morale check. A check they passed. The heavy mortals moved up to support the M109 from the infantry by giving them covering fire. Since some of the infantry was hiding behind the trees, they could sneak up on the M109s, preventing some their defensive fire. Of course I didn't moved the heavy mortal far enough so they couldn't help out anyways. One VADS moved up to contested the eastern objective. One M109 was right on the line to being able to contest so I wanted to make sure another vehicle was clearly within 4 inches. The A-10s was going to clean house on the eastern flank, but anti-aircraft fire got the best of them and they were shot down.

Turn 3

For Soviets turn 3 they got their strike aircraft in but not their off board artillery. The campaign gave the Soviets another set of 2 Frogfoots whom come in despite the previous set were destroyed. That gave Soviets back-to-back turns of having 8 Frogfoots in play. Everything on the west front shot at the Abrams platoon, including all 8 Frogfoots, and it was just barely enough to destroy them all. On the east coast the VADS got wiped out by tag team shots from a T-72 and Carnations' straight shot. Everything else over there shot at the M109s and bailed out half of them. I believe the infantry assaulted again and again got stopped by the .50 cal machine guns. Tracy decided to shoot his men so none of them were able to deny defensive fire.

For US they failed to get their off board artillery. Soviets now have infantry in the forest on the western front near the objective. This forces the US to get something over there to stay in the game. The HQ tries to move other there but fails its cross check and bogs now. Now the ITV has to move and it passes its check so it can now contest. On the east 2 M109 remounted while the third failed the check. Having 5 guns I split my shooting to do 3 copperhead shots into the T-72s over there, blowing them up, 2 straight shots into the Carnations and destroying 2 as well. This force a check on the Carnation but they made it. On the drive home I began to wonder if this was a legal move. I forgot artillery has a rule that if any gun fires a bombardment, the other guns either has to join the bombardment or they don't fire. Then again, copperheads is not a normal bombardment. Something I need to check out on the forums but in any case it didn't change anything in the game. I will explain why at the end.

Turn 4

Soviets did not get their 6 Frogfoot strike aircraft but they did make their off board artillery roll and over the screams of Captain Jack and myself, the campaign gave them another pair of Frogfoots this turn. On the east the M109 were essentially surrounded and was fired upon from all sides plus the off board artillery. The few that survived failed their morale check and fled. On board artillery bombardment ranged in and destroyed the remaining FIST and one of the heavy mortars. In the west, several shots fired into the HQ, with the Frogfoots delivering the killing blow. Captain Jack's final words as he heard jet engine toward his position were "Oh COME ON!" The Hinds sealed the deal by destroying the ITV.

The Soviets turn is now over but at this point nothing US can do to stop the game from ending. Tracy is controlling 2 objectives on both sides of the board and the only thing the US have left is 2 M106 heavy mortals. The campaign would have given me 3 Cobras on Turn 4 but it was too little too late. Even with the Cobras I thought there was nothing I could have done to change the result of the battle (I was wrong) and I was tried of getting my teeth kicked in. The only units the Soviets lost were 2 units of T-72s. The Soviets force was large enough to ignore one of those lost units for victory points, which means the Soviets won 5 - 2.


Let's start with the ending. I was quickly put in a bad place and had so many ways to lose. I was really close to being tabled and because of the mission would have eventually been force to remove at least one of my remaining units before turn 8. The reason M109 mistake, if it does turns out to be one, wouldn't have change anything was that I was going to shoot the T-72s no matter what and the Carnations made their morale check. Now if they failed their morale check then it would have change the game because that would make the Carnations the third unit destroyed which would change the final score to a 4 - 3. That also means that I should have played out Turn 4 because if the Cobra could have wiped out one unit, it would have affect the score. We almost never use victory points before so I was unaware how it work until after we quit and looked it up. By the end of the game I was emotionally drained. While Tracy had some really good rolls at key moments, his dice rolling was overall below average and down right sad at times. I think this gave me false hope in thinking of turning the game around. He just had too much stuff for me to overcome.

The terrain was extremely interesting as we would never setup a board like this on our own. We both thought it gave the US a stronger advantage but by the end of the game there is a debate to say the Soviets benefited more. You can say the US benefited more from Terrain in the east while the Soviets benefited in the west. Tracy had to us so much overwhelming firepower to remove the few models I had in the western woods. Then again, it was nearly 60 points worth of US so it probably should have been hard to remove them. With the lost of my first FIST, Soviets could use the tree line in the east to block all line of sight to them, allowing them to move up to the objective without being shot at.

I won't comment on the campaign rules until the campaign ends. I will go into more details about the system when I make the Fulda Campaign page. Despite the long odd I did enjoy playing most of this game. Coming into the game I had the feeling I was going to get creamed but the actual battle was closer than what the score says. One thing I did forget to mention in the report was that I got 4 minefields and they did play a minor role in the game. They are hard to see in the pictures but I put 2 on the road which I don't think help very much. The other 2 above the forest on the western edge. This greatly slowed down the Soviets infantry by making them go around the minefield. They probably could have gotten to the objective in a turn or 2 sooner than they did. In any case this was nearly an overwhelming victory for the Soviets.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Summer Update 2016

I have many plans for this summer. I will probably not reach all of them but I will work hard to see as many of them in action as possible. One thing I have learn about this hobby is that interest can change astonishingly fast. A new game can suddenly attract attention while local interest in another game I had planned on playing can instantly vanish. That all said, here are my current plans for the summer:

Team Yankee - Team Yankee is what I've put most of my energy in to. I've done a video on the current progress of my Team Yankee force as well as explain the reasons why I am not as far as I probably should be. You can watch that video here. Beside my army, there are two things going on with me related to Team Yankee. The first is that I'm doing weekly demos at my local gaming store. For about 2 months now Tracy and myself have been at Hero Complex every Saturday from 2 pm. to 5 pm. Because of the demos we have generated a lot of interest locally and hopefully that will soon turn into more active players to join the community.

The second is that I'm apart of a Team Yankee campaign that started this week. I'm not running it and there are some elements of it I don't completely understand. However I do know what my part in the campaign is and I will be setting up a page to chronicle the events of the campaign. The campaign should run about 6 weeks and has some interest ideas that should generate a few topics worth discussing here. More on the campaign will be coming very soon.

Battletech - Both my friend and myself want to get some Battletech action going on this summer. My friend is working on a 2 player Battletech multi scenario campaign. We are still working on the details. The general idea is that we both will have a large force to command. It will start with each of us purchasing our force at a set BV total. Somewhere around 15,000 BV to 120,000 BV. I'm lending toward the 120k value but its still something we have work out yet. I'm not sure if I will have a page dedicate to it but I will cover all aspects of it in normal posts. We are looking at having some of the battles being recorded on Tracy's youtube channel as battle reports. Once we finalist the rules and pick our force, I will post a summary here and the space battles can begin. I would like to also write fiction for our campaign but that may be too ambitious for me with so much else going on. We will see.

Relic Knights - Relic Knights is the game I'm most excited about that I've never played. Its the only game I ever develop an interest for without having someone trying to get me into it. I brought one of the six starter boxes last year and had planned to do a video series about my hobby with Relic Knights. That project got delayed and then I notice no one was playing Relic Knights at my local gaming store anymore. If there was no local interest in it, I didn't see the point in putting in any effect into a game I still haven't played yet. But then last month I ran into one of the people I knew was into Relic Knights and asked him about it. He told me people stopping showing up and the game died. He still loves the game and would be interested in playing again. So knowing there is interest out there I'm going to do my Relic Knight video series. I expect the first episode to be out later this month. Outside of just getting the models together and playing some games, I have no plans for Relic Knights from a story point. I suppose I should find out if I like the game first, which I can do later in the summer.

Frostgrave - I talk a little about Frostgrave last summer. It was a game I was looking at that I though would be fun and have a lot of story telling potential, which is a big plus for my blog. However I never manage to invest in the book. Last month while demoing Team Yankee, another group was demoing Frostgrave at a table next to us. They were also the same group that played Relic Knights and one of them was the person I mention above. I didn't get to play, but I did get to see Frostgrave in action. It had some quirks but I really need to play it myself to know how I feel about it. Their plan is to get a local community of Frostgrave players to have pick up games as well as a full campaign. I told them if they did run a campaign I would be happy to join it. There is a slight problem in that I have no way of contacting them. Next time I see them I need to make sure we trade contact info so we can setup some Frostgrave or Relic Knight games.

Civil War - This is the least likely to happen but I wanted to give it a mention in case something becomes of it. We have generated a fair amount of interest in Team Yankee. Two people whom display strong interest in Team Yankee is apart of the local historical group. They usually play Bolt Action but recently it looks like they are trying out a miniature game of the American Civil War. The last time I've seen them, they were still waiting on getting their models. I watch them play with cardboard strips which I assume were the size of the movement trays. I'm not sure why I am even interested in this but watching them I had a nagging urge to try it out. Not really sure how they would feel about a non-historical accurate painted army, which would be what I would want to do. On the other hand, thinking about the long term if I eventually expand my story telling to a western setting, having Civil War models, even historical accurate ones could come in handy. Deadlands and Malifaux are popular games that uses the wild west as its setting, an alternate fantastical wild west but a west that Civil War models would fit in. There is also a new dungeon crawl boardgame that uses a Cthulhu wild west as its setting and its a game Tracy and myself have been eyeing. The temptation is strong but I don't think I will invest in the game anytime soon. However if they allow me to play with their models, my interest in investing may change in the future. The fact that my local gaming store has a single box of Civil War cavalry for sell is taunting me enough as it.

Shieldmaiden Knights - Last week at my local gaming store I was in a situation where I need to make change. Reaper's Bone miniature are really cheap so I scan the shelves for something I would be interested in. I settled on the Aviriel model to use in my Shieldmaiden Knights project I discuss in my previous post. She is suppose to be an elf but that is hard to see from the package. I will probably just treat her as a human and paint her as such. My Shieldmaiden Knights' history is still unwritten so how Aviriel will fit in is still up in the air. But now that I have an actual model, I need to design what their paint scheme will be.