Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Combat Commander once more

Played another couple of scenarios of Combat Commander at my Dads last night (he is hooked and cant get enough of the game and in truth neither can I).

First up was a Stalingrad scenario (think it was called Blood and Iron ?) set in a built up area with Russian Guards on defence and Fritzs attacking.
Rather odd set up gives the Ivans all the victory locations but then allows Fritzs to set up into one of the key objectives (VP location 5) claiming it as their own.
This proved even more key as an early event gave this same VP location an extra 10 victory points value (making it worth a whopping 26 !!). Hindsight being a wonderous thing I know I set up much too dispersed making several squads easy pickings for a Fritz juggernaut of a +2 Leader (ie damn good) with a Rifle Squad and a Crew with an HMG.
This group went into the large building on my left and chewed me up.
I did manage to make a fight of it throwing several units in to deny total possession to enemy but again hindsight would advise that this was waste of resources as it was a minor victory location (in fact no actually worth any points !).
The key VP location 5 building was solidly held by Fritzs and I could make no headway gaining only one hex with hero and a squad.
When German reserves appeared on turn 4 they immediately bolstered the already strong defence and game was up for my lot.
I did get my own reserves into fray but had no effect as next turn was a Sudden Death 'opportunity' which of course  ocurred giving Hitlerites the victory.
Both sides had satchel charges in this one and fairly nasty they are too with a 12 effect.
I used one in a Nazi held building hex which rubbled it and thereby suppressed defenders who then duly broke but sodding well recovered.

Second scenario was an entertaining affair as well but of a totally different ilk.
Was titled (I think) 'Road To Grombleux' (or Grimbleux as I soon termed it) I decided (being a glutton for punishment) to try out French forces in the game system.
Scenario (from Mediterranean pack) saw my Elite Moroccan defenders holding a sunken road in France 1940 against Regular Hun invaders.
French units are perfectly fine matching up well one on one against Germans...................BUT.................the French hand is awful as they only get to discard a single card if they do nothing else (compared to Germans who can discard 6 !).
This means in a 4 card defensive hand if you get 4 unusable Order cards it could take 4 turns to rid yourself of them !!
First couple of turns this is exactly what happened as I had a 'hand like a foot' ie 3 Command Confusion and an Unusable Artillery request card and my draws where also poor (ie no bloody Fire cards).
This allowed Germans to advance unhindered and melee a couple of my Squads to death.
After a few turns I was suddenly down to 1 Leader i Squad and a Crew with HMG in a Victory Hex).
But of course this being Combat Commander all was not lost as I managed being defender to 'place' a Pillbox in this hex which put a real crimp in Hun ambitions.
He needed to take this hex and/or kill my remaining units before time ran out.
My chaps were stoic in defence repelling several attacks and recovering from several broken status.
However inevitably the Germans simply discarded massively to get hand they needed before charging in using several Ambush cards (to which I had no reply) and wiping me out.
Great stuff in the end and a close run thing (which certainly was not apparent at beginning) but boy oh boy the French are a tough bunch to handle.
The single discard is a real killer.
Reading the historical outcome of the scenario we seemed to repeat history as the Morcoccans apparently held to last man.

So after last sessions 2 to nil for the Allies this time around Axis acheive the 2 victories and tie the 'series'.
Cant really ask for more balanced play than this.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Rommel In The Desert games hits my table

My first Columbia block game arrived this week and got it set up for a play through (not actually managed this yet).
Looks rather good and rules not too complex.
I like the concept behind the supply cards.

This also arrived and looks very nice indeed but no time for more than a cursory glance thus far.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Field Of Glory Ancients Version 2 game

Played a game against Stephen today at my gaff using FOG Ancients version 2.
I used a Maurikian Byzantine army with Sassanid allies (mainly so I could try Elephants) against a Dailami army.
A very good game it was too and we both find we enjoy FOG much more than we did with initial version.
We put this down to the tweaks which we feel generate a better game and to the fact we are more akin to FOG systems in general now after using the Rennaissance and Napoleonic sets.
Whilst it still feels to be a lower level game than DBMM, and lacks the inertia system of the PIP dice rolls, its nice to have distinct units rather than groupings of elements.
Pretty much happy to play either set now and as they use the same 'toys' this is fine.
My dice rolling today was fairly abysmal throughout as I lost all but one combat (!!!!) and lost numerous bases to death rolls in contrast to Stephens super rolls in all combats and not one lost base to death roll,   how is that even possible !!!!!
The Dailami foot with General fighting in front rank are rather tough as they are superior to begin with and count Elite with Generals.
I had a unit of Sassanid Cataphracts which died to a man against bloody medium foot bowmen aarrrggghhh !!

Oppossing lines arrayed


Byzantine view of the Dailami 

Battle joined

All further pictures have been censored as just way too terrrible to behold the bloody and gory decimation of the  Byzantines !!!
(plus I forgot to take any more)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Combat Commander: Europe a harsh lesson.....

Played an online Vassal game tonight with French chap Daniel (who I played No Retreat with before) and we played a scenario from CC:E I think called 'The Castle' with me as USA against Germans in a very hilly piece of real estate. I found it took awhile to get used to the quirks of the Vassal module (despite having used it once before) but it runs pretty smoothly once you work out options. My Yanks took a real beating in this one with German Opportunity fire proving effective and judicious use of a Mine and Wire card. I failed to move efficently or to use the Smoke capabilities of my two Medium Mortars (they didnt fire once !!) and relied on ineffectual low odds shots at targets higher up and in cover. Daniel by contrast made few if any mistakes and his set up made most of his height advantages.
We did have one tussle in melee wherein my Hero and squad destroyed his Hero and squad. Daniel pointed out one rule I had neglected in previous games in that Leaders add their Ability to the Firing Range of units in their hex. Not a very inituitive rule but I guess its saying that he directs their firing much more efficiently which equates to better range in the game ? I had few LOS queries on this quite complex map with the differeing effects of elevations and blind hexes but Daniel is quite knowledgeable with game so again very educational. Despite drubbing I once again enjoyed the game as there is just so much that happens in the course of a scenario. 

Overall view at end of game

Commanding German posistion on my left

And on my right with my 'redundant' mortars

The graveyard............................

More Combat Commander: Stalingrad

Another couple of scenarios played of this totally addictive and engrossing game with my Dad.
We decided to stick with the Stalingrad theatre.
Both scenarios proved very close run games.

First up was (I can never remember the scenario titles) a game set to the rear of the Barrikady Factory with my Ivans having to defend a key house (Dom 31) whilst awaiting a relief force. Couple of unique units in this one with an SMG and LMG Garrison counters set up with a Sgt in this house with two Bunkers (a two hex building) and the introduction of Sewer Movement (very Stalingradesque). This one looked a tough proposistion for the Fritzs as they do not have greater numbers and need to take several VP locations quickly to reduce the size of the relieving force (1 x Rifle group plus 1 x LMG per VP hex held). However the Germans did manage to take 1 hex of the Dom 31 major VP location before being erradicated (I was lucky with Ambush cards drawn). This one was scheduled for 12 Time Triggers ('turns' as such) and went right to that limit but with Ivans well ahead at that point in victory points acculumated.

Germans approaching the Dom 31 blockhouse.

Red relief force arrives.

Second was a rather different proposistion as action moved outside the city to gullies near Volga banks. Map introduced hills into the system and centered around a Bridge hex at bottom of a fairly steep sided and gully with little else in the way of terrain except some scattered brush and a stream along gully bottom. Soviets set up a crew and a Howitzer in this hex a bunch of Infantry on slopes behind. The Germans set up at top of gully on opposite side with one of their nasty MG42 HMGs (capable of  shooting across whole map) and requisite Infantry. Besides introducing several LOS rules for hills (nothing difficult) the main effect of hills is a +1 for a height advantage and a -1 for a disadvantage to firing. With short ranged Soviets I decided to deploy on lower slopes in two groups and to rush the Germans as soon as possible. As expected the HMG made short work of my crew at the bridge and a Fritz leader and two units subsequently occupied this hex. However my best leader (a +2) was able to bring a mass of units eyeball to eyeball with them and first break them with massed fire and then (eventually as it took ages to get an Advance card especially as I lost one to random event !) Melee them to death. Other German units moved onto my slope threatening my vacated VP locations) but two lucky Infiltration events saw me bring two SMG squads into play to block this. Both sides lost a lot of units in the bare open terrain and on last turn we were both 1 unit from enforced surrender. It was at this point I managed to draw an advance card and an Ambush card and through a section onto the bridge to melee the German section and leader there which I had just managed to break with a high firepower attack. Whoever won the melee would kill opponent and force other side to surrender. So literally down to this one combat. Germans had a 0 factor but he had broken my unit with his own Ambush leaving me with starting 2 factors. He drew a 4 total I drew a 6 with my 2 making 8 and so killing the Huns and forcing their ignominious retreat from the gully !!
So first time we have had a double win in our encounters thus far and it was a close run thing too !! Great stuff once more.

 Ivans rushing the bridge

Surrounding the Fritzs who have captured the bridge

German push up gully sides


Thursday, February 14, 2013


Couple more items winging their way to Steiners Bunker as I type.

However much more of this and I will need to sell a kidney or other body parts !! those that would still function after 'better half' inflicts due justice that is !!

Whilst I got this for iPad I could not resist getting 'proper' version as I really rather like the system now with Version 2 after very lukewarm/lack lustre feel about original. Inbound from Germany it seems from a print on demand company.

Purchased this on EBay and looking forward to its arrival as heard and read nothing but good things about it.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Conflict Of Heroes online PC game tournament game and Shifting Sands Pbem

Played first game in an online tournament of Conflict Of Heroes: Awakening The Bear PC game tonight.
Played a very nice chap called Herve from Luxembourg and a very good game it was too.
We played a scenario called Crossfire which is new to the PC version and was totally new to me as I decided not to view/test the scenario beforehand as more fun that way.
I was Germans in a 1941 setting with a very Infantry few units and a single mortar initially but receiving reserves of more Infantry 2 x 38T and 2 PzIIIH plus a very nasty MG42 HMG unit.
Usual hordes of Russians back by artillery a couple of BT7 and T26 tanks and a beast in a T34A. 
Essentially a fight for a village in a valley and a fairly close run thing it was too.
Artillery on both sides was potent killing 6 units apiece and turning the landscape into moon surface in short order !!
My HMG was top dog in killing stakes with 3 kills followed by the T34 with 2 kills.
I managed to take 1 victory hex but could make no headway against the others.
The Russians ran out 19:16 winners over the 6 turns game.
I had forgotten how slick and enjoyable the COH system is and found the PC version quite well produced and compatible with boardgame experience of course playing a lot quicker.
It was a real time online game and my first with the game and also with Skype for chat/waffling (just as well Herve has perfect English as my French is non exsistant).
I 'borrowed' an old microphone headset from my sons room which worked fine if a little sore on ears as cushioning long gone.
I hope to play second game of my first round match-ups next weekend.
Am playing as part of a team and thankfully the tourney is strictly just for fun and crowing rights and a great way to learn the PC game.

Only one screenshot from post game (as I forget to paste captures as I went along)

 As you can see I prefer the board game style counters to 3D icon options (even though I have take screen shot at lower angle than I would play game). Note the extensive artillery damage on show !

Also started (has been a great weekends wargaming) a new Pbem game via Vassal with Norman of Shifting Sands North African Campaign game. Norman has picked the Allies in the Sonnenblume scenario which starts in Spring 1941 and our first exchange of files just completed. I enjoyed this game solo and expect it to be great versus a real opponent especially as its a derivative of the excellent Paths Of Glory game.

Combat Commander goes to the Volga.........

Had another couple of games at my Dads (and as ever 1 each of victory counts !) of Combat Commander: Europe, this time using my newly aquired Stalingrad module. More really excellent gaming, two scenarios full of excitement, death (cardboard variety only), destruction (ditto), frustration, shouting with glee and with woe, events, re-inforcements, supports, weapon breakages and all the other delights this game has to offer. Stalingrad module has a few new specific rules (again nothing onerous) with Rubble (will use this in all scenarios now), Urban Snipers (an aid to melee rolls), Factories and Urban Melee. Of these the Urban Melee is the biggest change as melee not concluded instantly during player turn but delayed to start of next German turn. Whilst this does not sound much in practice its a major boon for Ivans we found as they can re-inforce a melee, withdraw from a melee, or discard in hopes of getting Ambush cards for the melee and we felt it nicely reflected the tenatious Ivans in the city on the Volga.
First scenario (using map 1 from CC:E) was set during the August 1942 push towards Stalingrad with my Ivans spread out across several victory locations being a mix of decent Line troops and some Militia types both with usual low firing ranges for Ivans. They were backed up with an MMG and couple of LMGs. Huns fielded  several Line units with HMGs and LMGs. They had re-inforcements of a group of Elite Rifles. Terrain fairly wooded. I had loads of Events generating rolls on the Russian Support table for 1942 and managed to get a 82mm Battery support, which I then lost, and then a 122mm Battery support !  I also generated an onboard Medium mortar and crew which preceeded to 'Break' every shot it took !! These all gave Germans a torrid time and forced play of several cards to deny them to me.  Germans seemed to be able to re-generate units from their dead pile at will (Nazi Zombies as I called them) ! However they could make little headway (I think my Dad picked wrong flank to concenrate on) and I won by killing enough Fritzs to force their Surrender.

Second scenario took us to the Grain Elevator in downtown Stalingrad. This introduced the Urban rules along with Rubble and Factories (ie the elevator in center of map). I had several SMG units but fairly widespread victory locations to defend (scenario has several within the Grain Elevator) with couple of MMGs and LMGs and two Stachel Charges and several Wire entanglements. Fritzs had lots of Line troops with MGs and a 75mm Howitzer. It looked like a very tough proposistion for Fritzs and seemed so in early stages, especially as on German right my Dad inexplicably took on a lone SMG squad with a Satchel Charge in a building surrounded by wire (I think he could have easily ignored this but got fixated by the VP location worthless as it was). The SMG squad set off the Charge in adjacent hex, rubbling it and suppressing its Fritz occupants whom he then proceeded to melee and kill (lucky discard replacements yielded two Ambush cards - which break enemy unit prior to melee). He did of course succumb later but Hero Of Soviet Union medals all round for them albeit posthumously. Again I got support from a 122mm Battery but the close nature of combat meant it was bit risky to use at times. Fritzs did manage to break into the Factory and take a key VP location but I meleed them to death here too. However all this hand to hand was not saving my men from superior German firepower and despite my efforts Ivan losses mounted to again force a victory by Surrender . As per previous scenario Fritzs generated 'Zombies' several times with two appearing behind my lines !! Great stuff again and a very close run thing this one.