Saturday, December 29, 2012

Combat Commander: Europe, first try out

Had game with my Dad of this rather excellent game.
Despite my reluctance to get this one due to lack of Tanks, or indeed any vehicles, it turned out to be a really super game system (so much so I neglected to take any in game pics of the first scenario we played as simply too engrossed in it !).
It works very well around the low level (units are Squads, Teams and individual Leaders/Commanders) Infantry actions it portrays.
Of course being a card driven game (Fate cards as they are named) with associated chaos factor puts it right into my favourite type bracket.
Really interactive system with lots of possibilities for Orders and Actions for each player and lots of Random Events.
Like the venerable Up Front game this is also a dice-less game with the die-rolls occurring via card play (another aspect I thought less than desirable as I do love rolling those little cubes). The scenarios are all essentially low level skirmishes but none the less exciting games in themselves.
A random counter pick varies the potential Victory Points associated with the 5 possible Victory hexes on each map and these can be Open (ie revealed to both players) or Secret (ie only owner knows so nice variety for replays of the 12 included scenarios).
Counters and maps of usual decent GMT standard and the cards very clear and nicely presented with each nation (Russian, USA and Germans) having its own deck (each slightly different).
Each nationality also has variation in Troop types available and abilities of these units (in regards to firepower, morale , Leader quality and suchlike) and slightly different amounts of cards that they can Discard in a 'Pass' turn (ie take no Orders or Actions) all adding flavour to the game
We did make a couple of rule errors main one being doing fire groups incorrectly but didn't detract from enjoyment to be honest.
As I suspected it plays like a sort of hybrid of Up Front and 'basic' Squad Leader and has that essential fun factor married to a feeling of a decent simulation that both these engendered.
I was warned that I would like this game and end up getting several supplements and I can see why (Mediterranean set with Brits already on my radar).
Highly recommend this one especially if you like chaos style and/or WWII skirmish actions

2nd scenario with Yanks pushing through Bocage country

Pic from end of 1st scenario with Russian and German Recon forces

Storming The Reich boardgame on table

Managed to get this one onto my table at last.
Large (double sized) map but fairly low counter totals.
Played through first couple of turns and quite fun and works quite well for solo play.
Rather odd sequence of play but which is involved rather than overly complex.
Nice combination for Allies of good units and support but hampered by Supply problems.
Germans have less effective units (with exception of Panzer Divisions of course).
Hoping to get a few more turns in to see if Allies can break out from Normandy.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

More Wargaming Christmas goodness

Couple more Wargames made or making their Merry way to Steiners' bunker. Hope you all had a Merry Christmas and will have a Happy New Year.

PC version of the excellent Conflict Of Heroes board wargame (digital download)

A Victory Denied game ordered (expect wont be posted until New Year)

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Incoming for Christmas

Couple of games inbound for Christmas at chez Steiner:

Like the look of this one (despite the lack of AFVs) with what looks to be almost a hybrid of Up Front and Squad Leader. Not hard to pick this one out under the tree as nice deep box !

Got this one already on iPad and jolly nice it is too

And a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all

Friday, December 21, 2012

IABSM rules a proper try out

A day off !!!! so managed to get a game in with Stephen playing IABSM with the scenario I had set up on my table (seems to have been there for ages).
I took German defenders and re-jigged my defensive set up slightly (and mistakenly as it turned out).
Stephen took the British attackers.
Good game with a good try out of the various game mechanisms and systems.
We struggled a bit understanding some of the concepts around use of Blinds and Big Men but once we got it into our tiny brains it all flowed fine.
Neither of us having had time to fully read the rules not the most helpful situation of course !
Couple of minor rules issues need resolved such as whether units under Indirect HE fire count the Dense Target factor if applicable (ie units within 2" of each other) or whether this only applies to Direct Fire (which rules seem to imply).
Also biggest mistake was in how we made defenders deploy in relation to Blinds.
I read rules that a Platoon (of 3 x 8 man sections/squads) can only deploy on Blind and up to 2" from it which basically meant with 3 sections they had to be a maximum of 2 wide with third as 'second rank'. This was fine for deploying the attackers but a major crimp on defenders.
Using this for defense also meant a Spot revealed all three sections even those out of line of sight to rear. We now believe that as defenders in terrain are actually 'Hidden Units' rather than strictly blinds they can be deployed separately if desired (I drew positions on a map anyhow).
This would have made defense much more flexible and provided less targets for the roaming British Armour.
IABSM one of those sets that one really needs to play a few times to get to grips with but one I like  as it has that chaos factor via the card play that I enjoy.
If you don't like the possible frustrations of having a unit not activate every turn or a key card fail to turn up before turn ending 'Tea Break' card appears then not a set for you but I like this as it builds a nice 'narrative' style of play to games.

British advance

German Platoon deploys (note in depth as per Blinds size)

British Platoon caught in Mortar Barrage

Monday, December 17, 2012

Battle of the Bulge board Wargame

It being 16th of December it seemed appropriate to play a Bulge game at my fathers and so I dug out the low complexity Battle of the Bulge from Smithsonian Series by Avalon Hill (RIP).
A jolly good game it turned out to be too. Low complexity but a decent simulation. Only the rather generous Supply tracing paths and risk free Attacks (only defender can suffer hits) detracted from it.
Dad took Germans (just for a change) and done well on his left flank pushing through Bastogne and towards Marche but was stymied on his right and Center and then caught on his left by a deluge of US reserves. He then pulled back once his fuel reserves became depleted (he maybe adopted a strategy of advancing on too broad a front) as rather costly once Germans get across half way point of board.
We finished on 28th December turn with German pushed back almost to start line, holding only two objectives and with mounting losses. A US win but it looked dodgy for a spell.
Nice run out for one of my older and neglected games.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

IABSM a very brief attempt to play game

After a period of truly awful shifts (I have not 'endured' such since mid 90's) here in NI I managed to get a day off and to shoe in a brief (very ie about 1 hour) solo play of the IABSM scenario I have had set up.
Played a few turns getting British onto table via their 'Blinds' (very nice system this) and with a couple of ineffectual opening volleys at each other.
Pak 40 managed to miss Sherman in front of it but has given away its position !
Finding the rules quick intuitive once things get going and of course I like the card based play sequence and its inherent unpredictability.
I do see that I could do with labelling each 'Big Man' as hard to remember who is who in the heat of things.
Same probably desirable for individual Platoons.
I have used several small dice in 'frames' I got awhile back to mark Big Man values.
Hoping to get another go tomorrow and try the Direct and Indirect HE rules as well as the AFV and Close Combat rules.

British advance on the Blinds

And start to be spotted by hidden (ie also technically on Blinds) Germans

British Squadron revealed

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

IABSM German defence set up

Placed German defenders in defensive positions on table tonight ready to do battle at later stage
Nothing fancy simply a forward defence along wood edge with Pak 40 and Mortar Observer fairly central.
British armour cannot enter the forward wooded area (others are orchards).
Several squads dug-in and some Panzershreck teams in support.
One squad in each of the 'mdf' houses.
Brits come on top right corner (on blinds).

Now I just need to read the rules !!

And their British opponents awaiting

Paths Of Glory another game

Had another bash at the excellent Paths Of Glory board wargame with my Dad last night and again a very enjoyable game (with only a couple of minor and easily fixed brain-barfs this time !!)
We managed to play to end of 1916 and had both progressed to Limited and Total War decks.
The Germans on Western Front were in a few diffs with British offensive gaining ground (a sort of successful Somme) and couple of German armies permanently eliminated due to lack of retreat space.
To be fair to the Kaiser (ie my Dad) he did attack relentlessly on this front trying to break through (Verdun and Brussels changed hands several times) no boring pulling back to Rhine forts.
Dastardly Hun played 'French Mutiny' card which hampers offensive French action (-1VP if they attack) until Yanks appear and we were some measure short of that possibility.
On Eastern Front Russians were pretty much holding their own after a couple of poor German and Austro-Hungarian offensives and likelihood of Bolshevik Revolution taking Russia out of game seemed remote.
Italians in the fray and did draw off some Central Powers units but they are pretty weak of themselves.
As with all our plays of this game not much action in Near East or with Turkey or Balkan Powers as there always just seems to be something more important to do in major theaters of the war.
We both really like this game which despite its similarity to other CDG types just has that unfathomable 'something' that makes it stand out from the crowd.
Hard to put finger (or any other anatomical appendage) on just what the 'something' is but its there and in spades.

Initial set-up

Kaiser launches attack in West

Initial Hun gains but the troops in Antwerp were later destroyed (its a dodgy area to try to hold/garrison) in British Offensive in 1916. 

The Eastern Front with no Tannenberg to speak of

Table set-up for IABSM scenario

Set -up table for a test game with 'I Ain't Been Shot Mum' rules the latest version which I have had since publication last year and not yet used !! Using the 'Galamanche' Normandy scenario from within the book.
Hope to report soon on how I found the game/rules (hopefully with a live opponent but if not solo version).
I may time permitting try same set-up with ciuple of other rulesets (Fireball Forward and KG Normandy and ?)
Also its an excuse to use my newly acquired MDF buildings too :-)

Pics of table (some 'glamourized') from German defenders end, with Brits due arrive from top Cornfield area. Mix of orchards. woods, stout buildings and low hedges.