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Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Chain of Command. - in 15mm

After still not feeling the love from Chain of Command in 28mm, both Ed and I had a rethink. The scenery just didn't feel right in the two games which we had already played. There was certainly a good game to be had lurking in the rule book, we just hadn't found it.

As I had already a large collection of 15mm WWII kit ready to go, we decided to try the game in the smaller scale. Ed had suggested that the rules were designed in 15mm to be 'true scale' when viewed on the tabletop. For a small fee, Ed bought some Flames of War plastic panzergrenadiers (very nicely posed), and I used my Christmas bought Brits...apologies for the unfinished figures. Here's my standard list, supplemented with a M5 Stauart light tank.

I have to say, the game played much better in this scale. Just by looking at the terrain layout alone, we felt it was 'right'.

In terms of the game, the British patrolled up to the centre of the board (just shy of the green houses), with a slight flanking to the left. Ed's panzergrenadiers prepared their attack from behind the two houses.

From the Brits perspective the battle unfolded with the Stuart entering the central road, with a section to it's left. The Germans took a central position and set up their MG34s ready to stop any forward momentum. The Brits matched this move by placing a section behind the Green houses. A contest between the opposing MGs began, with the Germans getting the better of the fight.

To try and gain some momentum, the Brits deployed their last section on the forward left flank, with the tank switching flanks to lay down some fire on the central German MG strongpoint. The Germans rapidly responded by moving a section into opposing woods, bringing forward the jump off point, and deploying a panzerschreck team...a single shot...which missed the tank. The tank began to exchange fire with this group and the MGs.

The finale to the game came with a German close assault on the British left flank. A decisive engagement which sapped the will power of the troops to carry on..a wiped out section and two wounded leaders which routed from the table.

All told, a fun and interesting game. On reflection, it struck me that Chain of Command, whilst close, is not a true skirmish game; but rather a small action game of little 'groups' of troops. Therefore the use of the terrain in a slightly less cluttered fashion still provided enough opportunities and challenges to make the game interesting. What is certain is that it has provided the incentive to finish painting the British company, build some universal carriers and construct an anti-tank gun!


Monday, 20 June 2016

Loos battle using 'The Great War'

It's been a while since I made a posting, yet it feels like I have been busy with other things. More particularly I have been doing some thinking work on my own fantasy rules; I've been trying to include some of the fantastic time clock mechanics from 'Alter of Freedom' into the command structure of the game. I did play a game/ photograph the action of Daz and Ed with my newly finished WWI figures. Here's the results:

What I enjoyed the most about the game is that it provided some simple dilemmas in what is normally perceived as an unimaginative, flat tactical piece of military history. Whilst 'going over the top' signifies an overall approach, the ability to choose where to place the most pressure on a trench line, using the best supporting elements to achieve this, comes out in the flavour of the game. Likewise, it was not an even slugging match between two evenly distributed opponents. The provision of multiple trench lines, with rushed in reserves, produced an ebb and flow to the gameplay. All of this wrapped in the usual 'command colours' framework. The thing that makes this WWI system is the addition of combat cards and HQ points, providing some variety to what could be a linear experience. Looking forward to another game...



Wednesday, 8 June 2016

First play of Chain of Command

I seem to really like games with the word 'command' in...Command and Colours for instance, and I think these rules will be added to that gaming treasure chest. As ever, I'm sure myself and Ed got some things wrong in our first game, but impressions were very positive.

We kept things simple, with nothing special for the list choices (snipers and leaders). The patrol phase made more sense in practically doing it than reading it in the rules. We quickly had our jump off points decided and we're ready to start to deploy troops for action.

After a little confusion between the difference of a squad and a section, the command rules made some sense, and I feel that there are some subtleties to be had in how they are used and interact.

Combat is fairly straight forward, and it feels like the creative energy of the game has gone into the control of the troops, rather than pointing their weapons for them; I certainly enjoy this approach, as other rules cater for those who prefer the mechanics of different weapon systems over the men using them.

Whilst I enjoy the gaming experience of boardgames such as 'Combat Commander' by GMT, these rules certainly strike the balance between visual appeal and playability. Once we began to understand the rules, it became clear that there was too much scenery on the table, as engagement ranges were very short. Consideration for terrain density needs thought to ensure an interesting game with several tactical options.

Thanks Ed for doing the hard graft of learning the majority of the rules, it has certainly helped me to engage with the game; my capacity to absorb new rules seems to get less and less as time moves forward. We will try a different scenario next time, but keep the forces simple again so as to learn the nuances of the rules.


Tuesday, 7 June 2016

A new despatch from our Italian correspondent - I ain't been shot mum

I have been posted, through the electronic ether, a gaming campaign update from Phil in Italy. A lot of beautiful 6mm scenery building, a some initial playing inroads into 'I Ain't Been Shot Mum' by the Two Fat Lardies. Here are his thoughts so far, written in a far more interesting prose than I can write:

"Played the 'South of Cherbourg' scenario twice, and a mini session on my own to test out the armour rules. I love the it! They really do play with a feel for the theatre, and reward historical deployment and tactics. In both times through the scenario, the US attack failed, each time through the exploitation of a US mistake. Not a big one. Just an opportunity. Historical platoon formations are necessary, as is fire and movement, defence in depth, well-placed support weapons and attempting to infiltrate. And the classic German aggressive counterattack at the right moment is what won both games, although the second one was much harder for the Germans. It also highlighted the need to plan an attack or defence before the game. Armour seems nicely effective, but very vulnerable if not working in conjunction with infantry, again very in keeping with, for example, the British experience around Caen. With an umpire, there's also an excellently masochistic sense of paranoia.

Also, it didn't really take long, maybe three hours playing time, with a good 45 mins planning stage at the beginning (multi-player sides). Some players (those who think one move at a time) could get frustrated with the card-driven activation system, but I really like it, as it reflects battlefield friction very well, spotlights the necessity of leaders to keep things moving, and (when considered in a longer-term perspective of several moves) doesn't really decide a game and creates a narrative very similar to a lot of AARs.

Thanks Phil for those thoughts...

Here's some more piccies of the 6mm set-up




Sunday, 5 June 2016

The Great War Boardgame - 15mm Allies

These have taken a 'big push' to finish. Illness hit the trenches with some painter sickness, cold - all aggravated by hay fever. But that stiff upper lip attitude has seen these figures leave base camp ready for the front.

I've still got the Kickstarter artillery to do, and I have replaced the HQ tokens with something else (more on that in another post. The figures painted nicely with several steps of paints and washes. Here are some close ups

Thoughts on the some ways, they are a bit of a compromise to meet the needs of a boardgame. Whilst the sculpts are quite nice, with clear detail, the number of poses feels somewhat limited and a little static. Maybe it's because the average boardgamer is less intense about the quality of the 'playing pieces', therefore the miniatures are of a very high standard when compared to the average in this category.

Well, it feels good to have nearly completed the whole contents of a project/game. In some ways, having other kickstarters I'm involved with being late is not necessarily a problem - painting the approaching Conan and the Hyborean host is on the storm clouded horizon!