Sunday 29 November 2015

Machine Age wargaming and AWI with Peter Laing Miniatures

While messing around with trailing some one-hour wargaming rules for science fiction. I found one of the rule mechanisms of allowing veteran unit re-roll their "hit" dice gave me the solution for representing shock troops in my WW1 1918 house rules based on OHW Machine Age. I'm using shock troop units to represent: 1) German Strumtruppe units trained for infiltration, and 2) Canadian and ANZAC units which gained a reputation for aggressive and innovative tactics. Shock troops when shooting or assaulting can re-roll their dice if not satisfied with the score rolled. However, any re-rolled score must be used even if worse than the original score rolled. The rules are now at the point where I expect few changes (hmmm - we'll see) and I will now think about running a little campaign based around the Hundred Days offensive, which I am currently reading about.

My current reading
In the background I'm still chipping away with painting my old Peter Laing miniatures. In the next couple of weeks I hope to complete enough to play a quick game using the horse and musket rules from the One Hour Wargame book.

AWI units painted and based so far for OHW

Friday 27 November 2015

One Hour Wargaming and Science Fiction

Having played a number of WW1 Machine Age games using house rules based upon the One Hour Wargaming (OHW) book. I got to thinking about applying the OHW rule approach to science fiction, or more specifically the Warhammer 40K universe as I have quite a few miniatures. While I already use my own grid based house rules, I thought it would be fun to try out some simpler rules. So armed with a pencil and paper I sketched out some rules and modified them as I played.
Sci-Fi with OHW
After a couple of games the key unit characteristics identified were: experience, personal armour, weaponry and movement. The variety troop types and weapons does not map neatly to any period and seems to be a mash-up of ancient and WW2. Anyway, here is where I am up to with the rules so far...

There are two levels of experience - regular troops and veteran troops. Regular troops roll dice as normal, while veteran troops are allowed to re-roll a dice if they don't like the score and must accept the second dice role.

Personal Armour
I needed to separate armour from weaponry due to the variety of troops. As I played a couple of games and tried different troop types and ended up with the three below. Units could be of variable size, but could not exceed 20 hit points.

Armour Type Hit Points Examples
Light armour
Ork, imperial guard, termagant
Medium armour
Space marine, genestealer
Heavy armour
Terminator, Tyranid warrior, ork warbike

So what does this mean? If 5 hits was rolled, then: a lightly armoured unit would suffer the loss of 5 models; a medium armoured unit would suffer the loss of 4 models; and a heavily armoured unit would suffer the loss of 1 model. Any remaining hits are discarded. This does give an advantage to better armoured units.

For vehicles and monstrous creatures, which were always single models, they had multiple armour points similar to heavy armour each being 3 hit points. A heavy tank (eg, Landraider or Lemun Russ tank) would have 6 armoured points. So similar to the above example, if 5 hits were rolled, a heavy tank would lose 1 of its armoured points and a hit marker placed with the model.

Units are eliminated once they lose all their models or armour points. The most points a unit can have is 20 points, but units can be of any size up to the limit.

A unit's weaponry reflects its primary weapons and tactical use. The difference between a small arms unit and a tactical unit is, the tactical units has one or two support weapons. Support weapons are heavy bolters, assault cannons, auto cannons, etc. Whereas, heavy weapons are really there to target anti-vehicle weapons such as lascannons.

Armour Type Troop Units Non-Troop Units Examples
Hormagaunt, Orks, Marine Assault Squad
Heavy Assault*
Terminators, Tyranid Warriors
Small Arms
Termagant, Imperial Guard, Tau Fire Warriors
Marine Tactical Squad
Heavy Weapons
Marine Devastator Squad, Tanks, Imperial Heavy Weapons Squad (lascannons)
Support Weapons
Razorback (Heavy Bolters), Chimeras
Basilisk, Whirlwind
* cannot attack flyer units unless they have landed.

To use Assault weapons a unit must be within 6" of another unit to attempt attack with an assault.

All ranges are 18" except for ordinance which is unlimited and can attack any enemy units within view (18") of a friendly unit.

Foot troops and walkers - 3" + average dice score (2,3,3,4,4,5)
Vehicles - 6" + average dice score
Fast Vehicles and troops - 9" + average dice score
Skimmers - 15" + average dice score
Flyers - 20" + average dice score
All measurement is from the unit leader
Unit Basing
Having no wish to rebase my W40K models, each unit has an identified leader from which all measures are taken and is the last model removed. All other figures in  the unit must be within 4" of their leader. If they cannot all fit, in the case of large units, the are placed behind the unit in a "tail". I treat this 4" as a zone of control which other units except for friendly vehicles cannot enter.
All models are placed within 4" of leader or behind
Lots of missing bits which I'll flesh out with a few more trial games.

Tuesday 24 November 2015

WW1 battle report

This WW1 1918 war-game has German forces counter attacking British lines. A 6'x4' table is used longways to allow for some defence in depth. There are seven objectives worth different points, three first line objectives worth 1 point each, two second line objectives worth two points each and finally two third line objectives worth 3 points. The game uses WW1 house rules (link on the right) that are a variation of the OHW rules by Neil Thomas.
Table layout and objectives
British defending force
On the first half of the board defending first line objectives are 1 x heavy infantry, 2 x infantry and 1 x field howitzer.

On the second half of the board defending second and third line objectives are 1 x heavy infantry, 2 x infantry and 1 x field artillery.

Reserves are 1 x armoured car 2 hours away and 1 x heavy infantry and 2 x infantry all 3 hours away. A dice roll will determine their re-enforment arrival area (a 50/50 dice roll).

German attacking force
Wave 1 arriving at 6:00am - 1 x strumtruppen, 1 x AV7 tank, 1 x infantry and 2 x heavy infantry.

Wave 2 arriving 6:30am - 1 x armoured car, 1 x field howitzer, 1 x field artillery, 2 x heavy infantry and 1 x infantry.

Wave 3 arriving 7:00am -1 x infantry, 2 x heavy infantry, 1 x engineers with pontoon bridge, 1 x field howitzer and 1 x field artillery.

The Germans have 6 zero hour barrages and 2 box barrages to delay reserve arrival. The box barrages can be all be used on either reserve entry point or split between them.

Pre dawn is prior to 6:30am with 12" visibility and 24" visibility until dawn at 7:30am. Aircraft can appear after 8:30am when normal aircraft rules apply.
Table set up with British units in place
Game report
6:00am - The Germans used their zero hour barrages to attack each of the objectives containing British units, and split the 2 box barrage between each reenforcement point causing a 30min delay for  any British re-enforcements. The German attack plan is to advance along their left flank and the centre road, then move on the centre town and bridge. The British called up their re-enforcements which after a dice roll are due to arrive on the flank road.
Wave 1 advancing as wave 2 arrive
6:40am - Wave 1 continues its advance on the left flank town and wave 2 arrives on the road. Minimal casualties so far due to the limited dawn visibility. Although wave 1 was soon under fire from the occupants of the town.

7:30am - Waves 1 and 2 continue to advance slowly on the town and entrenched positions (due to some high average dice rolls on the game clock) so the German wave 3 arrives and its all looking very congested.

7:50am - German attacks with artillery support clear the entrenchment positioned on the road and town. Their armoured car moves through a gap in the wire and looks menacing, causing the British howitzer to up sticks and retire towards the centre town area.
German advance moves on the first two objectives
8:40am - Remaining British units retire to the area around the centre town as German units continue to advance.

9:00am - The first of British re-enforcements arrive, an armoured car which quickly breaks down. The Germans also had no luck with their armoured car either which is destroyed.

9:40am - The remaining British re-enforcements arrive and move along the road towards the centre town. The British armoured car engages advancing German units which are taking hits, sufficient to lose a forward infantry unit. Meanwhile, German aircraft strafe British defenders with little impact.
British defence consolidates around the centre town and nearby woods
10:00am - German attacks eliminate British resistance on the hill opening up their right flank to advance on the bridge and centre town. British defence consolidates around the centre town and woods on either side of the town.

10:20am - The German advance is slowing with the help of British aircraft which attack an advancing strumtruppen unit which had been making rapid progress towards the bridge.

10:50am - Germans advance on centre town and the surrounding woods eliminating a British unit.  However, the defenders are starting to take their toll on the advancing Germans who are hampered by a lack of available artillery which has not kept up with the advance.
German assault around centre town
11:30am - The British armoured car is destroyed as German units intensify their attacks on the town while moving up their artillery for a final assault. British reserve units help bolster the centre town defence as they lose units.

12:00am - The German tank advances on British artillery positions which are being very effective at causing losses on the assaulting German units.

12:50pm - British defenders destroy the German tank and repulse assaulting units with rolling successive 6's with the dice (four 6's in all!). On the left flank Germans engineers successfully deploy a pontoon bridge and advance across.

1:30pm - The German assaults are now faltering with most of their infantry units sustaining more than 12 hits which cause them to retire when further hits are taken.
Final positions with British hanging on to the centre town
2:00pm - Germans successfully occupy the left flank town having crossed the river via the pontoon bridge. So while their artillery arrive, all bar one of their infantry has sustained 12 or more hits so any further advances will be impossible.

After adding up points for the objectives occupied, the Germans have 8 points of a total 13 points available. A German minor victory, 1 point away from a major victory.

I will be making a couple of updates to the rules to clean them up, but no actual rule changes per se.

Saturday 21 November 2015

Trying out new tree purchases and Samurai by Minifigs

This is a short post having very recently returned from a two week trip to Japan, and feeling the effects of three connecting plane flights with many hours waiting in airports.
Statue of the great samurai Kusunoki Masashige outside Tokyo's imperial palace
On the trip I saw a model railway shop and popped in and picked up some "N" gauge trees for $15 AUD. At $1.50 per tree it seemed a good buy and importantly - no worries for luggage weight travelling home. I'll be using them more for individual trees along roads with no influence on the games, just to provide a bit of variety to my homemade trees and add to the look of the table.
With no wargaming for two weeks I thought I'd start with a WW1 game (and obviously using my tree purchases). This time I thought I'd try a OHW game using the length of the table to allow for defence in depth.
New tree purchases for a WW1 game
While I am in the very early stages of painting up my AWI miniatures, I was thinking about painting up a few Minifigs samurai I found to play a skirmish game. I plan to use the Song of Blades and Heroes rules by Ganesha Games. which I bought awhile back and have yet to use. The idea came about as I was travelling through Japan (no surprises there) and I should have enough Samurai and Ashigaru to create a couple of 10-15 strong warbands. Generally, I try and stick with one project at a time, but this time I'm thinking it could be quite fun (and quick) to paint 20 figures and add to them gradually to provide a break now and again to the planned painting of some 400 AWI figures.
A selection of some Minifig Samurai

Sunday 8 November 2015

AWI armies and grid-based sci-fi rules

I'm starting to organise to begin the painting journey for my AWI miniatures. I'm short of cavalry, grenadiers, and standards and have a few ideas to address these shortfalls with the use of green-stuff (or some other modelling material).  I'm hoping to get some time in a few weeks to sit down and really give the project a kick-start.

This week I've started to update my existing grid-based sci-fi house rules, and have been playing a couple of games to test out the changes.  I still need to sit down to proof read the changes, make clarifications, and provide some examples.
A game in progress using updates to the grid-based sci-fi rules
I really enjoyed playing One-Hour Wargaming based rules for my WW1 games. They worked well for that period and when changing periods and using another set of rules, there is always the temptation to replicate aspects of them in other rulesets. The Sci-Fi games I play are large scale skirmish, so need to reflect a much more chaotic and fast moving game. To create uncertainty the house rules I use have variable number of actions, units making multiple actions, reactions and interventions.

Thursday 5 November 2015

AWI Unit and Orks

This week I have been able to paint up some figures and decide upon the basing of my AWI armies. The figures are Peter Laing miniatures which I purchased some 30 years ago. They are finally getting painted after all this time. I'm going with 18 figure units based on 4" by 2" stands so I can use them on a 6" grid.

Peter Laing - British AWI figures
I found my old copy of "Wargamers Handbook of the American War of Independence" by Donald Featherstone, and published 1977. In a 100 or so pages it provides information on the armies, their uniforms, battle reference charts and details for re-fighting 10 battles from the war. There are some rules in the back, but I suspect I will end up creating some house rules based around Neil Thomas's Napoleonic rules from One-Hour Wargames or Introduction to Wargaming.
My current reading
This last week I've been playing a few sci-fi games and introducing out some new game mechanics like a game clock. Most of the other house rules seem to be working ok and give an enjoyable solo game.
Pre-battle orders to space marines before going planet side