Monday, August 27, 2012

Shifting Sands another game hits the table.........

Obtained another board wargame from EBay (a very dangerous place for me to frequent !!) entitled 'Shifting Sands The Campaign For North Africa 1940-1943' from MMP.
A clear derivative of Paths Of Glory/Barbarossa To Berlin using essentially the exact same card driven system and point to point map.
Units are still big and small but now Divisions and Battlegroups rather than Armies and Corps.
Besides the usual special rules for various events/locations this makes learning the game rather easy and plying it similarly smooth.
Have played through first two turns (having this Public Holiday off) and enjoyable stuff so far.
Despite being primarily about the Desert War the game also covers Near East and East Africa (as sub-maps) which whilst side-shows as such can influence events in North Africa (mainly affecting reserves).
Cards decks are split into Axis and Allied and into 1940/1941/1942 with all the events one would expect for this theater of war (Rommel appears in 1941 up until then its the Italians only)
Much lower unit density than the other two games should make this one much quicker to play.
Of course I had planned to start a bit of figure painting today after a long hiatus (close to a year) with some Old Glory Prussian Napoleonic Grenadiers calling to me but they were shouted down by this one !


The cards decks 

The Near East and East Africa sub-map areas

Allied 1940 cards 

Axis 1940 counterparts

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Panzer Blitz II Hill Of Death gets an outing

Played a game with my Father of this game which I have had for a bit but not actually played (one of a growing number !!).
Used the Carentan supplement (that I was very generously gifted by a chap from 'Oz'tralia).
Turned out to be a really good scenario and a rather good game system (similar to White Star Rising but with more depth and historical rather than generic scenarios) despite rather negative reviews it garnered.
We liked the chit pill system for Operations and the varied ranges of same.
Movement and shooting systems all fine.
The LOS rules took a bit of reading but fairly easy to work things out anyhow.
Only rules we had any real difficulty with was AA fire (were not sure what values to use but sorted in latest V2 edition of rules).
As per old PanzerBlitz Infantry are slow (1-2 hexes per turn) but most vehicles are not very fast compared to old game.
 Infantry generally only fire 1-2 hexes as well so main use is in Close Assaults (which with hexes being 250m or so is of course accurate).
This scenario had lots of kit with PzGrenadiers, Airborne, MGs. Mortars, Stugs, M10s, Off-board Artillery and Jabos all of which gave is good grounding in various unit types.
Several new rules (some of which were options in PzBlitz/Leader) such as PzBlitz Assault (Tank Desanti type), Reaction Fire (last gasp stuff vs CAT and Overrun attacks), Opportunity Fire, and suchlike.
Anti-personnel shooting is old odds ratio type but anti-tank is now a combat differential.
Biggest drawback to game (just as in WSR and indeed most tactical board wargames) is the counter clutter with lots of Disrupted, Spent, No Move markers on units.
These are smaller than the combat units in this game which can make things a bit fiddly but other than that the combat counters are little works of art with good functional layout, gone are the silhouettes of original game all now full colour graphics.
Overall we liked the game and keen to try some of the historical Hill 112 scenarios of the main game.

Overall view of the Carentan map

Germans pushing forward

Nice looking counters

Will be interesting to see in due course (ie who knows when) how this compares to my other recent, and as yet unused, Normandy tactical acquisition..................

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Normandy 44 play

Normandy 44 up on table again for solo rule learning exercise.
Played Invasion turn and first two full turns thus far. Nice game with fairly intuitive mechanics, a bit more 'old fashioned' as such compared to some games I have been trying lately.
A few special unit types require a bit of memorising (Flak units. Armour, Restricted moves types) and some rule for Replacements/Reserves differ between Allies and Germans. Couple interesting rules such as being in Reserve Status (kind of delayed exploitation) and Determined Defence (attempt to cancel retreat outcomes).
Nothing too onerous. Allied Airbourne units units had fairly rough drop on D-Day with losses and several Scattered but the Germans too weak to fully exploit.
 British Armour also suffered on invasion but all beaches initially secured.
Standard German build up around Caen has started with 12SS Pz having just appeared to back up 21st Pz.
Hoping to get a few more turns in.

Overall view

British beach heads
Overall view at the end of the 7th of June

Friedrich an excellent game

Played this game at Stephens last night as a 4 player bash. Really excellent game with, fast gameplay, good tension in the card based battles, some very clever mechanics and beautiful components.
Whilst in the 'Euro' game mould it still retains a great wargame feel and good historical flavour.
I am tempted to purchase a copy despite it being a 3-4 player game.
We drew nations randomly and I got the French. Prussians have a lot of advantages in numbers of leaders and their card draws but they do need them as a 3 front war develops. The action is fast and furious and battles are a clever combination of card values and suits (only certain suits useable in specific areas of board).
Very very impressed with this game

Really piss poor iPhone pics which do not do the game justice at all.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Storm Over Stalingrad played

Played first proper game of Storm Over Stalingrad with my Dad tonight. Great game very quick and easy to play. Russians took massive losses but held out losing only two Victory Areas (five needed for German win). Only problem we had was with some of the card interactions as not too clear if any precedence of play order but nothing too onerous.

Using iPad app to publish this post so not sure how it will turn out
Postscript: bit limited compared to PC version re pics etc but easy to fix

Overall view of the game

Horrendous Ivan casualties but they held out overall to thwart the Nazis.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Rejects fault

Damn the crossed eyes and gnarly hides of these two aptly named Rejects, Ray and Fran who have posted an 'Interview yourself' post on their blogs that I (and apparently several others already) feel compelled to partake of in my 3rd Blog of today !!

1. Favourite Wargaming period and why ?
Tough call but I guess overall it would have to be my first love WWII in particular anything post D-Day.
I like many grew up with Airfix figures and kits and World At War TV series along with Battle & War Picture Library comics and all war films which seemed to be on constantly throughout my youth.

I mean who cannot me moved to tears and trembling at the sight of one of these ?

2. Next period, money no object ?
American Civil War in either 15mm or 10mm

3. Favourite 5 Films ? 
I have to split this into 5 favourite WW2 types and 5 Other War types and 5 Other types....................

WWII (in no merit order):
Cross Of Iron
Hell Is For Heroes
Saving Private Ryan
A Bridge Too Far
Longest Day

Others Wars:
Kingdom Of Heaven
Last Of The Mohicans

Star Wars
Bourne Identity
Lord Of The Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Damn that was hard so many I had to leave out !!!

4. Favourite 5 TV series ?
Band Of Brothers
The World At War
The Office
The West Wing

5. Favourite book and Author (I missed this out first time round !?)
I want to say the Bible and therefore God, but will go with
A Bridge Too Far by Cornelius Ryan (one of my first 'war books')

6. Greatest General ?

Heinz 'Panzer' Guderian

7. Favourite Wargame Rules
Another tough one hmmmm...........................

Operation Warboard
(maybe not the best in truest sense of word but my first ever rule set and very fond memories of some great games)

8. Favourite Sport and Team
Rugby Union and has to be any All Black side if only for the Hakka alone !

9. If you had a only use only time machine, when and where would you go ?
Garden Of Eden and stop that stupid bint Eve from eating the apple.

10. Last Meal on Death Row
Full Christmas dinner

11. Fantasy relationship and why ?

Cant fathom the why part to this ?

And yes it would be a threesome :-)

12. If your life were a movie who would play you ?

My pick Steve McQueen

In reality a battered Mickey Rourke

13. Favourite Comic Superhero

Rogue Trooper loved his talking 'chips' and taking out Norts

14. Favourite Military Quote

Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys.
Look on them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death!"
- Sun Tzu, the Art of War

15. Historical Destination to visit


16. Biggest Wargame Regret
Not looking after plastic Tank models from my youth as well as I could have.

17. Favourite Fantasy Job

Film Director

18. Favourite Song Top 5 ?

Another tough one and I have included stuff not strictly songs

Tubular Bells: Mike Oldfield
It Must Be Love: Madness
Nobody Does It Better: Carly Simon
Moonlight Shadow: Mike Oldfield
Father & Son: Cat Stevens

19. Favourite Wargaming Moment 

First visit to a UK wargame show ie Derby 1987 and sheer WOW ! factor

Close second would be initial opening of Squad Leader board game

20. The Miserable Git/Grumpy Old Men question, what upsets you ?

An ever growing list but I will go with, Irish Republican Terrorists, Islamic Terrorists in fact any Terrorists, Politicians, Reality TV Shows, X-Factor type Shows, Big Bloody Brother, People 'up their own arses' (eg Politicians again), so called News Reporters who give opinion as fact, mamby pamby footballers, thieves, other drivers, greedy bastard Bankers, unfathomable petrol pricing, Insurance Companies, rising cost of living, work, ill health, cancer..................................................................