Saturday, 27 May 2017

Next Project

Now I have almost completed my target number of units for the 19th Century Imagi-Nations armies. Two infantry units were completed this week and the final cavalry unit is on the painting table (Lancers one of my favourite miniatures). I am pondering what my next project should be.

The final two infantry units completed
Final cavalry unit on the painting table
One project I do want to start this year is to finally paint my old English Civil War Hinchcliffe miniatures. I started to collect these when I was about 13 years old until I was 15. It is not a huge collection (maybe 250 in all) but they will be a bit of an undertaking to prepare. I need to strip off a layer of two of paint from my previous attempts at painting them.

I have a number of Spencer Smith plastic Seven Years War figures obtained in a swap of figures earlier this year. They also include some Indians and frontiersmen. Just over 200 figures all together.

As I have really enjoyed painting my 19th Century Imagi-Nations Spencer Smith armies. I though this would be a good sized project to paint these up as French-Indian Wars armies. So after Friday night after spreading out all the available miniatures, it looks like I should be able to field per side:
  • 6 line infantry units
  • 1 grenadier units
  • 2-3 frontiersmen units
  • 1-2 indian scout units
  • 2 artillery units
  • 1 howitzer unit
Two tidy armies for some large skirmish style games.

Planning how to organise and base forces
Plastic Indians (Spencer Smith?)
Frontiersmen
Artillery


Friday, 26 May 2017

6x6 Challenge - WW2 Naval Battle Game 2

In the last game Grey's force 2 suffer badly at the hands of two of Blue's forces. As a consequence of their defeat they were required to retire towards the coast. Meanwhile, Grey's force 2 containing the pocket battleship was able to successfully slip into the convoy lane.


Aware of the pocket battleship, Blue moved the majority of its forces in a screen to locate and hopefully destroy it. A small force of destroyers was sent off to shadow Grey force 2.


A quick reminder - this is a soo campaign and all of Grey's moves are based on the roll of a dice as they attempt to move towards the top of the map disrupting the convoy lanes. On a:

  • 1 or 2 they move diagonally to the left
  • 3 or 4 straight ahead
  • 5 or 6 move diagonally to the right. 

They continue to do this unless they suffer a defeat, then the same rule applies except the heading for one move is towards the coast (bottom of the map).

Anyway, on turn 9 of the campaign the pocket battleship moved into a zone containing Blue's cruiser and light cruiser part of force 1. The weather was average and would have no impact on the ships guns as they fire salvos at each other. The engagement started at 14:00 which all ship converging on each other.
A cruiser and light cruiser in the foreground and pocket battleship in appearing in the distance.
With neither side was hitting their targets, the pocket battleship appeared to be retiring undercover of a smokescreen. Only to later turn and show its broadside.

Pocket battleship
Between 14:30 and 15:00 both sides fired salvos at each other. The two cruisers having the better of the engagement were able to cause critical damage to the pocket battleship. So much so, that it could not move and one more successful hit would have seen it sunk.

Blue's cruiser did suffering a fair bit of damage in the engagement as it was the target of all the returned fire.


Gunnery exchanges continued between ships as both sides frantically undertook repairs. At 16:15 the heavier guns of the pocket battleship were beginning to take their toll and Blue's cruiser was sunk.


Shortly after at 16:15 the action ended with the sinking of Blue's light cruiser. Final messages to the rest of Blue's fleet were they had severely damaged Grey's pocket battleship.

Under normal circumstances with a victory, Grey's force would automatically continue to move on the campaign map towards the top of the convoy lanes. But with the pocket battleship having sustained critical damage I will be turning to the dice to decide the next move.

  • On a roll of 1-3 temporary repairs are made and the ship heads for home port. 
  • On a roll of 4-6 the damage is repairable and the ship can continue with its mission. 
So far in this 6x6 challenge the Panzer8 rules are providing me with a quick and enjoyable campaign game. Taking roughly 30 minutes a game once the forces are set up on the tabletop.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

6x6 Challenge - WW2 Naval Game

Yesterday I started my WW2 naval 6x6 challenge using Panzer8 WW2 naval Rules. Before getting my scratch built ships on to the wargaming table, I first had to kick off with some moves on the campaign map.

Using a suggestion from Norm (Thank you) to help create some fog or war. The first 4 moves were completed in a block of moves by Blue force who are attempting to defend the convoy lanes, while at the same time attempting to destroy Grey's forces. Once Blue's moves were complete, then 4 dice generated moves are made by Grey.

The campaign position after 4 moves
I made sure to record the weather for each campaign turn so I could apply their effects to Grey's block of 4 moves. Each side can move their forces one square (including diagonally).

The first engagement at sea as Grey's ships head for the convoy lanes
The first engagement occurred 7th February 1943 at 15:00 in stormy weather. Grey's force #2 consisting of a cruiser and two destroyers was spotted by both Blue's forces #3 and #4. A total of 5 ships consisting of a battleship, cruiser, destroyer and 2 corvettes.

The tabletop was quickly set up and the ships deployed on it. All movement of Grey's force was to be dice generated, while I was to play as Blue.

Ready for action
The engagement saw both forces begin by closing on each other, pushing the lighter destroyers ahead looking for the opportunity to send some torpedoes off towards enemy ships.

First blood was to go to Blue force at 15:15 with their battleship straddling one of the destroyers and inflicting critical damage from a salvo from their big guns. The destroyer was soon to be sunk from some secondary fire from its supporting cruiser.

A failed torpedo run saw one of Grey's destroyers crippled and sunk
The response from Grey was quick. At 15:30 one on Blue's destroyers was crippled by accurate shooting from Grey's cruiser.
Blue force was soon to suffer some damage from some accurate shooting
At 15:45 Grey's ships turn to disengage and smoke to cover they getaway. However, combined salvos from the battleship and cruiser was to see Grey's second destroyer crippled. Attempted repairs were ineffective and the destroyer was a sitting duck and easily finished off with torpedoes.

Grey's second destroyer is sunk
The engagement ended at 16:00 as the cruiser moved out of range.


Monday, 22 May 2017

WW2 Naval Campaign for 6x6 Challenge

Planning for my next 6x6 challenge has progressed and is ready to start. I am using the WW2 Naval rules by Panzer8 which I originally downloaded a while back. The site has sadly since disappeared, but the rules can still be found in an archive here. The rules come with a solo mechanism which I intend to try out.

The campaign is loosely based upon the destruction the German battlecruiser Scharnhorst. In the campaign we have Blue force trying to protect the convoy lanes from surface attacks by Grey force's battlecruiser supported by three destroyers.

Grey Force 1 - battlecruiser
Grey Force 2 - light cruiser and two destroyers
The campaign is set up for solo play with the raiding (Grey) force's movement being determined by dice. The aim is for the player of blue force (me) to stop any raids on the convoy lanes and sink the raiding force.

The weather will play a significant part in the campaign and any engagements that occur on the tabletop.

Grey force ships move towards convoy lines. Roll dice on a 1,2 move left diagonally, 3,4 straight ahead, and 5,6 right diagonally. Once they reach the top of the map they start their return journey towards the coast using the same approach with dice rolling, instead just going in the opposite direction.

Grey force moves as one until stormy weather, then they roll separately for their moves. When the weather is not stormy the destroyers will move to rejoin their battlecruiser if in an adjacent square. If not adjacent, they continue to roll separately for movement.

If grey disengage after an engagement, they roll for movement as before, but the direction they head is towards the coast. If they are not reengaged, then they will continue to move back towards the  convoy lanes.

If there is a sea battle in the air cover zones near the coast. Grey forces get the benefit of 3 air plane sorties from the coast.

Blue Force 3 - battleship and cruiser
Blue Force 4 - destroyer and two corvettes
Blue Force 1 - cruiser and light cruiser
Blue Force 2 - destroyer and two corvettes

Blue ships movement is controlled by the player. However, there are two constraints on Blue's movement.

  1. When the weather is stormy, Blue force's ships must roll a dice to move. On a 5 or 6 they may move, otherwise they remain in position searching for a target.
  2. When any Grey ships of any kind are in the convoy lanes, Blue ships must move towards and engage the closest Grey ships.

Steps for a campaign move:

  1. Roll for weather. 1=Clear Conditions, 2,3,4=Poor Conditions, and 5,6=Stormy Conditions
  2. Blue force movement
  3. Grey force movement
  4. If opposing forces are in the same square they do battle

Campaign starting positions
Determining victory - Grey gets 1 point for each force they get to the top of the map and Blue gets 1 point for each of the Grey forces they eliminate.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Grid-Based SciFi Rules

This last week I have spent in Wellington (NZ) to see my son's graduation and catch up with family and friends. The hours spent flying between Melbourne and Wellington has allowed me to work through some grid-based Sci-Fi rules I have been messing around with over the last month or two.

One of the earlier test games
The rules include the activation mechanism I started to play around with back in early April. (Post link here.) Writing up the combat/shooting mechanism was the last part of the rules puzzle required and the time on a plane allowed me to pull together all my notes and scribbles.

Yesterday and today I have spent taking photos to support the rules, which are now on a tab above or click here.

Also, while away I was also able to come up with a solo approach for a WW2 naval campaign based upon the book "Destroy the Scharnhorst" which I mentioned in my last post. I will be using some of my scratch built generic WW2 fleet. They are all made from balsa wood, tacks, and plastic dowels.

All models together
Very basic approach to scratch building with guns stuck flat
The different model heights achieved through layering balsa wood
A few years back I needed a few ships to play Panzer8 WW2 naval rules and just go carried away making the models until my stock of balsa wood ran out.


Sunday, 14 May 2017

Planning, painting and rules

One of the 6x6 challenge games I am planning to play uses WW2 naval rules by Panzer8 (which were based upon some free Minden WW1 naval rules). I had originally picked these rules as they would provide quick games if I was struggling to get sufficient games in.

To make the 6 games a bit more interesting I am thinking a mini-campaign should help. To help me get some ideas for the campaign I am about to read "Destroy the Scharnhorst" an adaptation from "The Battle of the North Cape" by Lt-Commander Michael Ogden, R.N.. I picked this little book up  in a secondhand book store some time ago and it was tucked away in the corner of a bookshelf waiting to be read.

Old and battered secondhand with yellowing pages
On the painting front I was able to complete another 19th century imagi-nations cavalry unit. Green stuff was used to help form the hats and disguise the fact that they are ACW cavalry. The rest of the figure remains unmodified other than painting.



My remaining time over the weekend was spent doing what I thought would be some final tweaks to the Sci-Fi rules I have been working on. Except as I progressed through a couple of trials games, I soon found the tweaking became a reworking of the combat rules. Both frustrating and interesting at the same time.

Sci-Fi game testing out new rule mechanisms


Thursday, 11 May 2017

Scratch building Gabions

To add some defence works to my 19th Century armies I decided I would have a go at scratch building some Gabions. Here are the photos of the steps.

Materials used - dowel and a flyscreen repair kit
Cut the flyscreen repair material to size (which has a sticky side) and wrap around the dowel.
Cut off the end bit which has been wrapped
First Gabion completed 
Once a few Gabions have been made they are glued together on a stand
Add some small stones to the tops of the Gabions
Cover with PVA glue
Once the PVA glue is dry they are painted with a dark brown 
Dry brush the Gabions with a light grey and a mid-brown on the tops
Ready for a varnish
In use
Meanwhile in the background while the glue and paint dries I have been playing one or two 19th Century games. The shape-eyed will notice I am trying to game using a grid tabletop. I am presently I flip-flopping between liking the grid for its speed of play and the aesthetics of free movement and measuring and not having a very regimented looking tabletop.

A game in progress


Sunday, 7 May 2017

19th Century Rules Written Up

I continue with painting the final units of my 19th century imagi-nation armies. By the end of this weekend I will have completed a couple of additional artillery units to add to the infantry unit completed during the week. This will leave only two infantry and two cavalry unit to finish.

Painting continues
I was able to salvage to artillery pieces from the various bit I had left over which have not broken over the years (brittle plastic has been an issue with these old miniatures). They are in the photo with a combination of grey, red and brown pieces.

To complete the 19th century project, I have continued to work on some home grown rules very much based and inspired on One-Hour Wargaming and 19th Century Wargaming both by Neil Thomas.

Initially I started with the rules using a 6" gridded tabletop, but have since switched to measuring movement and shooting. I cannot put my finger on why I prefer pushing around these miniatures with a measuring stick rather than using a grid, but I do.

So for those of you who are interested in the rule variations, I have written up the rules on a page link above.

Monday, 1 May 2017

6x6 Gaming Challenge - Progress in April


As we have reached the end of another month. My progress in the six-by-six wargaming challenge (setup by Kaptain Kobold) slowed to only two games. The aim of the challenge is to play, and record in a post, at least six individual games of each of your chosen six rules or boardgames over 12 months.

6x6 challenge progress to date:
  • One Hour Wargames (Tank-on-Tank) SciFi Variant - 6 games completed in February
  • Dark Ages with Dux Bellorum (Osprey) - 6 games completed in January using paper armies
  • WW2 Naval (Pz8 rules) - not yet started.
  • WW1 OHW - not yet started.
  • Galleys and Galleons (Ganesha Games) - purchased "Wargame the Spanish Armada 1588" by Peter Dennis for the paper models. 2 games played.
  • Hundred Years War using Lion Rampant (Osprey) - 6 games completed as part of a series of campaign games. While the challenge was completed, I continued with the campaign which ended with game 10.
Part of the slowdown in April was due to working through some Sci-Fi rules and the resulting test games. These rules are now written up and just need some example photos added before being posted.
Sci-Fi Game in progress
A second distraction was the on-going painting of my 19th Century armies. Two-thirds of the units are painted, enough to start with some gaming.

Imagi-Nations game in progress