Friday 30 October 2015

Orks for Orktober

Having a bit of a break from the WW1 games with one-hour wargaming. I'm really enjoying the rules they work well for the period. After numerous modifications, tweaks and play testing, taking a break from the house rule additions will allow me to view them with a fresh when I return to them in a week or two.
WW1 game in progress using OHW Machine Age rules
So as its October, I'm having a few games using my grid based sci-fi house rules using my Orks. In my first game I had to read the rules a bit to remind myself about the last changes, and in the process spotted quite a few typo's. I'll have to update them with all my scribbles on corrections. Having played quite a few One-Hour Wargames (OHW) I will, as I play, be looking at rule areas I can simplify or streamline.
Space Marines vs. Ork Battle for "Orktober"

Wednesday 28 October 2015

WW1 OHW Battle Report

This game was used to try out some of the recent rule additions for the game clock, barrages and tanks. The setting is an assault in 1918 on two German held towns and overlooking hill by British forces. The assaulting side was set three objectives:

1) Capture the two towns in the centre and on their left flank
2) Take on hold the overlooking hill behind the centre town
3) Capture the bridge on the right flank.

A sketch of the battlefield and objective order
The attack was to commence at 5:40am with dawn at 7am, and provide 1 hour 20 minutes of game time where visibility would be 12". The attack would be proceeded with two barrages, one preliminary barrage at zero hour attacking the entrenched units, and the second box barrage behind enemy lines attacking there communication lines. The result of barrage on the communication lines was to delay all reserves by 1 hour and add +1 to the German resupply difficulty calculation.

Aircraft support is increased between 9am and 11am for the British and will appear to strafe and bomb on a 4+ dice roll.

All German reserves would roll to determine which road they would enter the table on (1-3 at point A and 4-6 at point B).

German defence force

On the table: 2 x infantry, 4 x heavy infantry (additional machine guns), 2 x pillboxes, 1 x field artillery, and 1 x field howitzer.

Reserves within 1 hour (plus any delay due to attacks on communication lines): 2 x heavy infantry, 1 x field artillery and 1 x field howitzer.

Reserves within 3 hours (plus any delay due to attacks on communication lines): 1 x heavy tank detachment and 1 x Strumtroppen unit.

British assault force

Wave 1 arriving at zero hour: 2 x heavy infantry, 4 x infantry, 2 x heavy tank detachments, and 1 x medium tank detachment.

Wave 2 arriving at +1 hour: 2 x heavy infantry, 2 x infantry, 1 x field howitzer, and 1 x field artillery.

Wave 3 arriving at +3 hours: 3 x cavalry, 1 x armoured car, 1 x field howitzer, and 1 x field artillery.

A game clock was made to track game time from zero hour at 5:40am
5:40am (Zero Hour) - The assault began with wave 1 British forces being placed on the table and calculating the effects of barrages on the entrenched units and communication lines.
5:40am wave 1 arrives with tank support
6:30am - The British forces advance on objective 1 the two towns in the centre and left flank. One tank detachment was delayed to to mechanical difficulties (they rolled a 5 on the average dice roll for movement).

7:10am - With dawn lifting German artillery placed on the hill behind the centre town were able to add their firepower to the attacks on the advancing British troops.
Wave 1 assaulting the towns with wave 2 just appearing
7:40am -  The assaults were progressing well and weathering the fire from the defences. Tank units were used to clear a path through the barbed wire and overrun the entrenched German infantry. While behind the British second wave arrived to support the attacks on the towns. The German reserves arrived, delayed by 1 hour from the barrage on communication lines, two infantry and a howitzer arrived at point A and one infantry and field artillery arrived to strengthen defences around the bridge.
The Germans counter attacking on the British left flank
8:10am - The left flank town is captured and German defences retire from centre town after an assault. A counter attack is be prepared on the British left wing as German reserve units move up.
British units force the defenders out of the centre town
8:50am - Germans attempted to recapture the centre town where some of the supporting British units are forced to retire with 13+ hits. (A new rule where units in the open with 13+ hits must retire a  an average dice roll each time they have more hits.) Meanwhile, British artillery moved into position to support their troops against any counter attack in the centre.

British forces push on from the centre town towards the bridge
9:20am - Both sides were starting to lose units in the fighting around both towns. The British were starting to put pressure on the Germans in the centre and towards the bridge, while the two heavy tanks moved on the hill, their second objective.

10:00am - As German unit loses were mounting and the bridge looked like being lost, but last minute reserves arrive in the form of an AV7 heavy tank. On the left flank a battalion of SturmTroppen arrived to support the defence of the hill. British casualties were rising with the loss of a heavy tank and infantry units were being forced back due to accumulated hits.
The bridge is secured for the Germans with the arrival of the AV7 tank
10:40am - The last British tank was destroyed attacking the hill, while on German counter attack on the British left flank was in full swing and forcing them to relinquish control of the town.
The British are forced out of the town by a German counter attack
11:00am - The British were able to reoccupy the left flank town while artillery support helped to nullify the German counter attack.
British regain the town and only one unit made it to the hill
11:20am - While a single British unit advanced to the hill it was countered by the arrival of a Sturmtruppen unit. This marked the end of the game with the British achieving their first objective of the two towns, but failing to take the hill and bridge. Both sides were running out of steam with most  remaining units having accumulated too many hits to carry on with the assault or counter attack.

Thursday 22 October 2015

OHW Machine Age House Rules - Adjustments Continue

While I decide how to paint and base my AWI miniatures. I continue to play a game or two of WW1 using a modified set or Machine Age rules from One Hour Wargames. During these games the opportunity to tinker with the rules is hard to resist. One area which was bothering me was the use of aircraft, and how the rule of having three turns of their use lined up with the game clock. Quite possibly you could have aircraft for two and a half hours. So I've amended the rule for aircraft to arrive just for one turn with greater frequency.

A neutral looking plane used a a marker for the aircraft strafing rule
The other rule I amended is about limiting what units can do when they exceed 12 hits. (Note - the house rule has 18 hits before a unit is eliminated.) Having units hold out to the bitter end in the open without giving up ground didn't seem right. So units with more than 13 or more hits cannot assault, and if in the open will automatically retire each time they acquire any more hits. The number of inches they retire is determined by an average dice (2-3-3-4-4-5) role. Units in cover do not need to retire.

Anyway, the rule details are in the downloads - found top right of page.

Sunday 18 October 2015

AWI project with some old Peter Laing miniatures

I finally managed to dig out my old Peter Laing American War of Independence (AWI) miniatures which haven't seen the light of day for some 30 years. I plan to paint them up as my next project. There seems to be a reasonable spread of figures 300-350 on a rough count and 7 guns, although I may be a bit light on for cavalry.
All the AWI figures

Only 12 cavalry figures

7 Artillery pieces plus 5 complete limbers

Only 10% have been painted so along with deciding how I will paint these, I'm now looking around for some free rules to use of tinker with and amend. The choice will influence how the troops are based along with the available figures.

As I work through finding rules and painting, I'll continue with play testing my house rule additions on the One-Hour Wargaming WW1. Next I'll think about a mini-campaign.

Saturday 17 October 2015

WW1 rules updated

Yesterday I was able to update the WW1 house rules based on One Hour Wargames. The link is on the right hand side of the page if interested. I am finding the rules provide an enjoyable game often over within 40 minutes to an hour, given I've doubled the table size and number of troops from the original One Hour Wargaming rules.

My one (minor) frustration is not with the rules themselves, but with a suitable method for tracking hits on units. At the moment I'm using dice positioned behind the unit to track the hits, which can start to look messy as the game progresses and units accumulate hits.
Use of dice to track hits
So I'm going to use unit labels and a units track their hits on paper to see how that goes.

Labeling units

Thursday 15 October 2015

Continuing to refine WW1 rules

Playing a WW1 game using a 6" gridded table meant I had to drop the variable movement and assault rules. As I quite like those aspects of the rules, after the game I decided not to progress further with migrating the rules to a grid system.
Game in progress using a gridded table

Reflecting on this little foray in to WW1 wargaming, the whole thing started backwards for me. Normally the steps are: 1) being inspired after reading a book, 2) looking for suitable miniatures, 3) paining models, and 4) searching or writing rule sets.

This time I started with finding my 30 year old painted Peter Laing WW1 miniatures and an interesting set of rules ("One Hour Wargames"). So finally, after a visit to the local library, I'm now reading more about the period with "The Western Front" by Richard Holmes. I'm halfway through the book and already I will be trying out rule changes with the introduction of a game clock and weather.

Game Clock
The game clock provides a better narrative to the game when planning and writing up the games in battle reports. A planning example could be:

6:30am - Attack starts with a 30 minute barrage and arrival of the assault's first wave.
7:20am - Wave 2 of the assault arrives
9:30am - Cavalry arrive as wave 3.

For the defence, reserves may be 3 hours away, so would arrive 3 hours after receiving orders.

The way the rule works is at the end of both player's turn an average dice (2,3,3,4,4,5) is rolled and the score multiplied by 10 for the minutes to be added to the game clock. If a 4 is rolled, then 40 minutes is added and the clock moves to 7:10am for turn two.

In turn 1 the defenders would have called for reserves, now due to arrive 10:10am. The assaulting waves cannot arrive until the clock is greater or equal to their expected arrival.

Often with reserves variability is created with rules such as, on 4+ dice roll reserves arrive as planned on turn 4. The game clock creates that variability along with a a more interesting narrative.

I know other rules use this approach. I recall one example the free WW2 rules "Tigers at Minsk".

At the present I'm using three weather types: rain, fog and mist. The likelihood based on the time of year.

Of the three rain lasts all day, and fog and mist last for 3 hours from sunrise on the game clock.

  • Rain effects visibility, movement and supply difficulty
  • Fog effects visibility
  • Mist effect visibility to a lesser extent.

At present both these rules are scribbles on paper which I need to write up and update my rules.

Monday 12 October 2015

Grid Based Machine Age (WW1) Wargame Rules

Having played a few games and modified Machine Age rules (OHW - Neil Thomas) I thought I'd try them with a 6" square grid to see how they played. (No surprise given my choice of blog name.) I'm not sure as the the final grid size and don't want to mark up my playing mat until sure, so I used small felt squares to mark out the table. They seem to adhere well to the mat and don't move about.

Using small felt squares to grid up a Citadel wargaming mat

A gridded table - so far no movement of markers

Key rule changes to movement:
1) Infantry, Artillery and Tanks move 1 square
2) Medium Tanks and cavalry move 2 squares
3) Armoured Cars move 3 squares
4) If starting and finishing on a road add 1 square to move.
All Tanks have to roll 3+ to move and likewise for Armoured Cars when not on a road.

Square Occupancy:
Only 1 large (Infantry or Cavalry) unit per square. Other small (Artillery, Tanks, etc) stands can share a square with a friendly unit. Maximum of 2 units occupying a square.

While playing the game I'll be noting other rule modifications or clarifications relating to the use of squares.

Sunday 11 October 2015

Additional House Rules to OHW Machine Age

Over the last few weeks as I've scratch built a few models to add to my WW1 collection and added new house rules to Neil Thomas's (One Hour Wargames) machine age rules. Here is a quick summary of them.

Armoured Cars

Movement: 9" + score of an average dice. If not on the road, roll a normal dice (D6),  a 1 or 2 means  the armoured car cannot move. This reflects their unreliability.
Shooting: D6-2 hits with 6" range.

Heavy Tanks

Movement: 3" + score of an average dice. Before attempting to move roll a D6, if a 1 or 2 rolled, then tank cannot move. This reflects their unreliability.
Shooting: D6+2 hits with 6" range.

Medium Tanks

Movement: identical to heavy tanks.
Shooting : D6 hits with 6" range.


Must be attach to an infantry unit until used. They take 2 moves to set up a pontoon bridge.


Movement: 3" + score of an average dice.
Shooting: 24" range D6-2 hits with no cover saves allowed, to reflect their shell's high trajectories and steep angle of decent.

Saturday 10 October 2015

15mm WW1 Rolls Royce Armoured Car

Having rebased and painted the few remaining unpainted WW1 (Peter Laing) German miniatures over the last couple of weeks, I've been adding one of two scratch built vehicles. I don't spend too much time on them, I mainly aim to get the look without too much accuracy or detail. This week I added a Rolls Royce Armoured car and some pillboxes.
Scratch Built British Armoured Car
The pillboxes got a tryout in a game using scenario 4, take the high ground, from Neil Thomas's book One Hour Wargames.

Pillboxes help defend a hill

British Forces start their advance on the hill
I may add a few new items to my WW1 models for specific games, but the number of units suits my war-game table size (6'x4'). I am also out of Peter Laing British and German models. There are 3 or 4 French infantry units to paint to add some variety and I need a few more terrain pieces may be required, another bridge comes to mind.

Tuesday 6 October 2015

WW1 Battle Report with One-Hour Wargame rules

In my second go with the modified machine age WW1 rules (Neil Thomas - One Hour Wargaming) for 6'x 4' table and approximately 15 units per side. The game scenario is of a German counter offensive 1918. The British had captured the town of Ville Bois and nearby hill, before their offensive had stalled. The German objective was to occupy either the town or hill.
Town and nearby hill objectives on the right edge of the board
British forces could set up anywhere within 24" of Ville Bois. All their units are to be treated as out of supply at the start of the game to represent them moving ahead of their supply lines.

On the hill and town the British had heavy infantry, howitzer, infantry and supporting cavalry units. Occupying the centre woods, just in front of the town (Ville Bois) two infantry units had taken position supported by a medium tank (Whippet) unit and cavalry both positioned on the road leading to the bridge. On their left flank two infantry units supported by a howitzer unit were occupying the ridge opposite the ford.

In reserves were two heavy infantry, infantry and howitzer units. One unit per turn could arrive in the town of Ville Bois on a dice roll of 4+. They were placed in order of arrival off table.

The Germans started off table. On their right flank arriving on the bridge road were: two cavalry, one heavy infantry, three infantry, howitzer and failed artillery units. On their left flank were one heavy infantry, two infantry, one cavalry, heavy tank (AV7), armoured car, field artillery and Sturmtruppen units.

In reserves, wave two of the counter offensive, were three heavy infantry and a howitzer units. They would arrive on turn 4 on the preferred road leading to the village on a 4+ dice roll. Else, they would  arrive on the bridge road.

The Germans were to start with "control of the skies" rule, which meant they would be able to do three strafing attempts over the first three turns.
German forces arriving
Turns 1 and 2
The Germans advanced along both roads and some cavalry headed for the ford. There where some  long range artillery shooting after most British units were resupplied successfully, and the Whippet tank unit moved up towards the bridge.

Turns 3 and 4
Saw the last of the German aircraft which had had quite a successful sortie scoring a couple of 6's (aircraft hits are the same as howitzers D6-2 with no cover saves).

The second wave of German troops arrived in their preferred area on their left flank.
German 2nd wave arrives while other units attack along the road.

The Germans advanced quickly on their left flank using the roads. While on the right flank two units had forced their way across the bridge under fire from the British in the woods and Whippet tank unit. Attempts to cross the ford were less successful and had stalled with casualties from British infantry and howitzer units on the ridge.
Germans crossing bridge and ford

The British, other than shooting at advancing German units, had secured the woods on their far right flank next to the hill. No British reserves had arrived due to a series of poor dice rolls.

Turns 5 and 6
No sight of British reserves and the German left flank continued to advance. During these turns both sides were starting to have a few units eliminated and accumulating hits. Included in the eliminated units was the German armoured car. The British right flank was looking pretty solid.

Turns 7 and 8
The assault on centre woods and hill started in earnest with British cavalry being moved up to bolster forces on the on both roads either side of the centre wood. A couple of supply issues delayed some effective shooting for the Germans.
End of turn 8 with hits taking their toll on both sides
Turns 9 and 10
Both sides continued to exchanged shots which were now focussing on the tank units, both of which were destroyed by the end of turn 10. The second wave of the German assault was slow in moving up and the British were just beginning to get a steady flow of reserves arriving.
A view from the British field artillery after eliminating a German tank unit

Turns 11 and 12
The German second wave finally started to assault the hill and centre wood and on their right flank a cavalry unit crossed the bridge drawing the attention of British units away from the German main assault. Both sides were losing a couple of unit each turn as hits mounted.

British howitzer unit arrived to support their right flank against the main German assault.

Germans briefly occupy the hill before being seen off in the final turn.
Turn 13, 14 and 15
German units finally occupy part of the hill before being seen off with the remaining artillery and heavy infantry reserves being rushed into position in the final turn.

The lack of pictures shows how much I enjoyed the game. The rules are still working well for me and give a balanced game, so no rule tweaking required. Although I will be adding weather and pioneers as optional house rules.

Friday 2 October 2015

One Hour Wargame Machine Age Battle Report

This battle report is of a WW1 break through situation where a British force is trying to capture two towns before German reserves arrive. In this game I'm trying out supply and aircraft rule additions to Neil Thomas' Machine Age war-game rules (One Hour Wargaming book). See rule link for the house rules (top right of page).

German Deployment
Around the town of St. Jean and the nearby hill 3 infantry units and 1 artillery unit are deployed. 3 infantry units occupy Daville town and surrounding trenches. Between the two towns are deployed 2 howitzer, 1 infantry and 1 cavalry units as support.

Reserves are expected to arrive on turn 5 or 6 and consist of 1 infantry, 1 Sturmtruppen, 1 cavalry and 1 artillery units.

British Deployment
Arriving on the left flank on the road to Daville are 1 heavy tank and medium tank units, supported by 3 infantry and 1 howitzer units. The rest of the first wave are on the right flank consisting of 3 infantry, 1 artillery and 1 cavalry units.

The second wave arrives on turn 4 and is made up on 3 infantry, 1 howitzer, 1 artillery and 1 cavalry units. They can arrive on either the Daville or St. Jean roads. On a dice roll of 3+ they will arrive on the road of the player's preference, otherwise they turn up on the other road.

At the start of the game
Turn 1
The game begun with an off-table artillery bombardment of St. Jean town and overlooking hill. 4 shots were allowed, 1 for each set of field works the Germans had. In addition the British won the roll for "control of the skies" and strafed the entrenched unit outside St. Jean without success.

On the left flank the British quickly advanced on Daville town led by the two tank units. German shooting was aimed at the tank units which started accumulating a few hits.

On the left flank, artillery took up position on the hill providing a good view of St Jean (and hill terrain rules allow units the ability to roll 2 dice and select the highest score when shooting). The remaining units moved up under cover of a nearby wood.
British left flank move up under cover of woods
Turns 2 and 3
The British advance on Daville continued with the medium tank unit flanking the town and infantry moving into the centre wood.

On the left flank the advance continued through the wood in readiness to assault the hill. The aircraft continued with its strafing mission without any hits this time.

German shooting continued to focus on the heavy tank unit. Two units threw 6's which meant while they got a swag of hits, they could not shoot again until resupplied (see the new supply rule).

After 3 turns of strafing by the RFC they left the scene and "control of the skies" passed to the Germans. (New aircraft rule being tried out this game.)

Turn 4
The assault on Daville town saw success and failure for the British. The medium tank unit successfully assaulting flank units, while the heavy tank unit was eliminated. The German occupation of the town was looking rather shaky at this point.
Tanks flank the town and the heavy tank unit is about to be eliminated
Meanwhile on the right flank the second wave successfully arrived with a 3+ roll on the St. Jean road.

British second wave arrives

Turn 5
Daville town was cleared of Germans while the medium tank (Whippet) unit circled around the back to deter and attempts by the Germans to reenter the town. So instead they had regrouped in the woods behind the town.
Daville town is cleared while the tank deters any attempt to reoccupy the town

On the British left flank troops started their assault on the hill overlooking St. Jean town, and the second wave proceeded down the road to the town itself.

Turn 6
The British occupy Daville town and continue to advance slowly down the St. Jean road. Too many 2's and 3's were rolled for the variable movement rule. (A helpful rules when you war-game solo and are trying to introduce a level of unpredictability.)

The German defence was soon to be bolstered with the arrival of their reserves. This included a Sturmtruppen unit mounted in a truck to give them a cavalry move until engaged in combat when they revert to infantry moves for the remainder of the game (the truck model gets removed.)
German reserves arrive while in the foreground the overlooking hill is being assaulted by British right flank
Turn 7
While German reserves started to move up, the British right flank successfully stormed the hill overlooking St Jean town and their artillery started to pound the town and any visible reserves.

On the British left flank Deville town was occupied and the medium tank unit was going on the rampage (able to ignore the zone of control affects on movement as tanks can). For the present the Germans fired upon the occupying troops in the town and the Sturmtruppen moved swiftly to the centre woods.
The Whippet rampages around delaying attempts to recapture town

Turn 8
A German aircraft appears after a 5+ was finally rolled. It will not get another mention in this battle report as for three moves it flew around, waggled its wings, and not one hit!

The fighting was now starting to merge into one battle as the German reserves moved into the centre and the British right flank started to move on St. Jean town. The battle appeared to be going in favour of the British.

In the pictures you will see a lot of dice. I use them to track hits on units. In the rule changes I allow 18 hits before a unit is eliminated. The green triangles show units out of supply from rolling a 6 in combat.

Turn 9
The British continued their bombardment and push on towards St. Jean while sending an infantry unit to support the defence of the centre wood and nearby Daville town.

The Germans eliminated the remaining (whippet) tank unit which had delayed their attempt to retake Daville town.
View from the British right flank as they push on the town of St. Jean

Turn 10
The British advance was bringing to stall as units accumulated hits. Movement was minimal with mainly shooting, particularly around Daville as the Germans prepared for an assault to retake the town.

One highlight for the British was the reappearance of the RFC on another sortie and added to a couple of hits on infantry advancing on Daville.
Things hotting up around Daville town as the RFC chip in with a couple of hits and a tally ho

Turn 11
The desperate fighting around Daville town saw the British defenders having to retreat after an German assault. Fortunately a well positioned support unit was able to move in and hold on to the town. While close by the Germans were forced out of the centre wood.

The British attack continues on the German units in and around St Jean town, but while threatening it was looking unlikely that they would be successful in taking the town.

Turn 12 and 13
The two German Howitzer units shelling Daville were taking a toll on the defending units (while Howitzers have a D6-2 throw they can ignore cover saves). Another assault by the Germans proved to be successful and they took back the town.

Around St Jean town the hard pressed defenders hung on. They were to lose an artillery unit to the British cavalry, but not before the last British infantry unit available on this flank was eliminated.
St Jean Town remained in German control despite the loss of some artillery to British cavalry

End of Game
The British assault came close to taking one, if not both towns, only to see the one town taken reoccupied by the German counter assault. The remaining British units, particularly the infantry, had all taken a good number of hit and were too exhausted and unable to successfully assault again.

From a rule point of view the supply and aircraft rule amendments worked by being a hinderance for each side at times without being a total game changer, which is what I wanted.