Monday 30 November 2020

Making event cards

Over the past few months I have been increasingly using event cards in my games. These cards are also known as chance cards from Donald Featherstone’s Solo Wargaming. I am finding they add a bit of unpredictability and fun to my games. As I generally use rules from One-Hour Wargames, or more commonly variants to these rules, for most of my wargaming. I have adopted the card structure used from One-Hour Wargames (OHW) where event cards are divided into three types of cards:

  • Cards which have no effect on the game
  • Cards which benefit the current player
  • Cards which are detrimental to the current player.

The cards are split into thirds, 5 cards of each type if playing a 15 turn game as in OHW, or as close as possible if playing other games. In my WW2 Western Desert games where the maximum game length is 12 turns, I use 4 of each event type.

The use of event cards in the games is proving most enjoyable

The other aspect I like about using event cards is that you can create card decks for a specific period or even army. The example below is for my ACW games. For some of the cards I have used ideas borrowed from other games, such as the “Sharpshooter” card from the ACW board-game Battlecry.

ACW cards

Where there are specific events in a battle, such as weather changes or the arrival of reserves. I make up one or two cards for the event and add them to the army’s cards replacing a No Effect card,. For example, to increase the likelihood of a sandstorm occring earlier in a game with my WW2 Western Desert games, two sandstorm cards are added one for each army’s card deck. The first sandstorm card drawn takes effect and the second is ignored, unless you want two sandstorms. 

A similar approach could apply in horse and musket games with rain. Rain comes into effect with the first rain card drawn reducing the effectiveness of shooting. The rain ceases when the second card is drawn. I use this approach with some of my Jacobite games when the weather is deemed as changeable for a battle.

Another fun thing I have been doing for some of the card decks is to name events for a particular army theme (example Space Marine army cards below). This theming also goes as far as including more of certain events to reflect the nature of an army. For example, with a Space Marine army I may reduce the no effect cards by one and add an additional move and shoot to reflect their veteran status. 

(Note - I am currently messing around with OHW sci-fi variant for the umpteenth time and trying to have standard rules for all armies and use the event cards to distinguish between styles of armies)

Space Marine themed cards

For a Warhammer 40000 Necron army (slow moving robots that regenerate) I have replaced one or more move and shoot cards with a regenerate card.

Necron themed cards

Anyway, my next post is a WW2 Western Desert game report. If I write it here it increases the likelihood of me getting around to do it.

Friday 27 November 2020

Sci-Fi terrain made from old light-fittings

We recently replaced some old light-fittings. I think they were probably from the 1980 era and their shapes were quite interesting and the wargaming side of my mind was thinking how can I use this for my sci-fi terrain. The lights were dismantled, cleaned and prepared with a coat of PVA glue. They were then painted in a series of metallic looking paints

The various bits prepared ready for painting.

The finished items with some figures for scale.

Then setup on the gaming table for a game.

Tuesday 24 November 2020

WW2 Western Desert campaign turn 9 - game 2

Hurray! I have finally got around to writing the battle report for game 2 of my WW2 Western Desert campaign turn 9. Axis forces having successfully driven back Allied armoured forces previously were now looking to capitalise on their momentum as the 21st Panzer division launches an attack on the New Zealand infantry division. The 21st Panzer division has been supplied whereas the New Zealand division was not supplied to replace previous losses, but had been able to dig-in and lay a minefield for defence.

Campaign map activity

Both divisions had lost units from the wear and tear of operating in the harsh desert conditions. The orders of battle are:

New Zealand Infantry Division:

  • 3 x tank units (Matildas and Valentines)
  • 1 x armoured car unit
  • 1 x Bren gun carrier unit
  • 3 x Infantry units
  • 2 x AT units (2 Pounder Portee and towed 6 Pounder)
  • 2 x Artillery units (25 Pounder and 5.5 Inch)

21st Panzer:

  • 5 x tank units (PzII, PzIII, and PzIV)
  • 1 x armoured car unit
  • 2 x armoured infantry units
  • 1 x mobile artillery (Wespe)
  • 2 x AT units (Marder and towed 50mm)
  • 1 x 88mm unit
The dice decided the 21st Panzer would be able to undertake a flanking attack as they tried to secure 2 of the 3 possible objectives. Their flanking move would appear on their right as the New Zealanders had setup the minefield on the opposite flank which would limit movement. Additionally, three units were dug-in an attempt to bolster the defensive line.

Opening positions and objectives

Both forces would benefit from air support on two occasions during the game. Their arrival would be determined by event (chance) cards which are drawn each turn. I have been using the cards in games during this campaign turn. In attrition for this game I am testing some rule modifications to distinguish the effectiveness of anti-tank and artillery against armoured and personnel units. Anti-tank being less effective against personnel units and artillery less effective against armour. There will be more on these rule changes in later posts.

Axis forces push forward along their lines of attack. The flanking force is yet to arrive.

An early air attack failed to halt the advance

As Panzer forces pushed froward the Allied defensive line was holding until flanking units started to arrive with air support. As the defensive line began to buckle under the pressure an event card "repairs" was drawn and allowed an Allied frontline workshop repair a tank unit and return it to the battle.

Flanking forces begin to arrive

Air support aids the flank attack

A repaired tank unit returns back into the defensive line

Gaps start to appear in the defensive line

With time running out a last push by the Panzer forces supported by a second air attack was able to secure two of the three objectives and a victory.

A final push attempts to grab the two hill objectives.

Air support helps to seal an Axis victory

This is the second victory for the Axis forces. A third victory this campaign term will mean they will advance two map zones pushing the Allies back to El Alamein. The rule modifications and event cards are working well and will be used again the next game.

Saturday 21 November 2020

Ancient project and view of units completed to date

I am being a bit lazy today from a blogging perspective anyway. I should be doing the game report from the WW2 Western Desert campaign, but game reports always take a bit of time to do, and after the usual weekend shopping and gardening activities I lack the motivation. Instead here is a quick post on recent my ancient unit painting progress and a view of the Carthaginian army completed to date.

Three more unit painted since my last post.

As I had cleared the tabletop of a WW2 Western Desert game it was a good opportunity to see how all the completed Carthaginians look setup. I have yet to paint three more Carthaginian cavalry units, three Celtic infantry, three skirmish units, and one more elephant unit. 

A view of the Carthaginian army. All units are on 3x4 inch bases.

All the Ancient models are HaT figures which are working out really well and have a good range of units for this period. 

Saturday 14 November 2020

Ancients project progress and desert terrain

This weekend the tabletop is ready for hopefully two WW2 Western Desert games. There are a couple of new terrain features I have added during the week. First was a desert fort to add a little bit or variety to the tabletop and second items were desert tracks which will aid movement, particularly for slow infantry units and towed artillery.

Fort with some defending Italian units

Desert tracks a recent addition to the games

Painting of Carthaginian units continues with another 3 units completed. In total 17 units have been painted since the start of October when the order of HaT figures arrived. Using a simple block paining approach for these 20mm plastic figures has made the painting both quick and for the most part enjoyable. There is something pleasing seeing these units move off the paining table at a reasonable rate.

Looking at the remaining figures I have, I recon there are the following to complete: 2 cavalry units, 1 heavy infantry, 2 elephant units, 2 skirmish units, and 1 medium infantry unit. Once all done, I can move onto the Roman units.

Latest Carthaginian units to leave the painting table.

A front on view

Tuesday 10 November 2020

WW2 Western Desert Campaign Turn 9 - Game 1

I have finally managed to write up this battle report for the first game of WW2 Western Desert campaign turn nine. In the previous campaign turn an Allied counterattack turned out to be short lived, failing to gain sufficient wins to continue with the advance. This handed back the initiative to the Axis forces with an opportunity to attack. The overall supply situation meant Axis forces had replenished one of their divisions, but their Pavia Infantry Division remains understrength still requiring replacement equipment from supplies. The Allied situation was fairly similar, with their South African infantry division in need of resupply, and some limited supplies had been be directed to provide additional defences to the NZ Infantry division.

Opening moves of campaign turn 9

This turn, the first of 2 to 3 games, begins with the 21st Panzer attacking the Allied 3rd Armoured Division. A roll of the dice decided this game was to involve a surprise attack by the attacking Axis forces. A third of their forces can arrive on one of the tabletop edges during the game. From the defending Allied view any attack was going to be met with a strong defensive position of hills and an escarpment. This terrain arrangement was determined by a terrain card selection process.

Just as a note, I am planning to write up the campaign rules over the next few weeks as there have been a few clarifications and modifications from when I began the campaign.

Starting positions with the three objectives identified.

The Axis plan was to push forward on the right flank while using their flanking force to create a surprise attack on the left flank. The opening moves had the Axis advancing as planned when a sandstorm arrived limiting both movement and visibility.

Visibility is compromised as a sandstorm arrives.

In this game I was using event cards (or chance cards if you prefer) and had included a sandstorm card in each forces card set. The two sandstorm cards came up on turn 2 and turn 4 and as a consequence all moves and visibility were limited early on in the game.

Event cards were used during the game.

Axis flanking forces arrive under cover of the sandstorm.

During the sandstorm the Axis advance continued on their right flank and on the left flank elements of their flanking force began to arrive. As the sandstorm eventually cleared, units found themselves engaged in close quarters on both flanks. The Allied Grant tanks on the Axis left flank had put up a good defence eventually forcing attacking units to retire, then one unit boldly pushing forward into the centre to harass Axis units preparing to push forward.

Attacks occurring on both flanks

An Allied Grant tank pushes forward into the centre.

Axis air support arrived soon after, but made no effect on the Allied forces defending their right flank, shortly thereafter and the left flank surprise attack was called off by the Axis. All their efforts were now to be directed towards making a breakthrough on the other flank.

An ineffective air attack

Progress on the right flank, but Allied units are hanging on grimly.

The left flank attack retires and all efforts are directed to making progress on the other flank.

The Axis made little further progress on the right flank and after some determined defence and a moderately successful Allied air attack. With little progress Axis forces called off their attack. A victory to the Allies which held on to all three objectives and had certainly benefited from this strong defensive position. I am not sure if the sandstorm had a big influence, but it had slowed down the initial advances made by Axis units.

Wednesday 4 November 2020

Event cards, gaming and painting

While I have been able to play a couple of WW2 Western Desert campaign games, I have one more game to play to complete the campaign turn and before writing up the battle reports. In the games I have been testing out event cards to help create some level of uncertainty within the games. A card is drawn for each side at the start of their turn. I am finding these cards are really helpful in tracking the game turn. As you can see from the picture below (and the corrections) I am trying to sort out the balance of the events and correcting various typos (I am a terrible best proofreader). Ultimately I am trying to achieve is a series of smallish events which are either favourable or unfavourable "nudges" to complicate matters for one side or the other. Additionally I add cards replacing no event cards with unpredictable events were one side has air support arriving during the game, or there is the likelihood of a sandstorm.

Event cards

On the painting side of the hobby I am continuing to work on my Ancients project and have painted and based another 5 units, all of which are cavalry for the Carthaginians. We had a holiday here for the Melbourne Cup horse race hence the increase in the previous 3 units per week output I have been achieving. Still I felt it was a good effort given the amount of time I was out in the garden clearing up the invading weeds.

Now that lockdown restrictions are being lifted here in Melbourne. I was able to visit the local hardware store and buy some new containers to house the growing number of Ancient units, now a total of 14 units.

Gallic cavalry

Numidian light cavalry