Saturday, 27 May 2017

Half Term Holidays


It's the half term break so we're off on holiday! I'll be packing some games to play, in case the weather socks in and to occupy the evenings, including X Wing which I haven't played for ages and which the kids really enjoy. I'm also planning to bring along Zombies! which I got back in November last year but haven't had time to play yet. As usual I'm going to pack a couple of 'print and play' games, as well as my copy of Trapdoor, so I can set up some old fashioned, dungeon crawl roleplaying with the kids. I'm sure I'll only scratch the surface of this lot but it will be good to get a few games in for a change!

Friday, 26 May 2017

Ad Mare Bellum


These are a new set of fast play ancient naval rules by David Manley, which I've just found on Wargame Vault and which I'm going to use with the Tiny Tin Troops card ship counters that I originally acquired for use with Osprey Publishing's Poseidon's Warriors. They are based on David's medieval and renaissance naval rules, the first of which I already have but haven't tried out yet, so I'm sure they will be very good. It's half term so I'm planning to get some fast play card counter, classical galley gaming underway over the next few days.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Cavern Crawl


Thanks to Randy, I've got the link to a download of the original free version of Trapdoor which is aptly titled as Cavern Crawl. The rules are virtually identical to the later Trapdoor edition but without some of the extra bits like examples of play, a scenario and aspects of character advancement. Still, it's a pretty tidy set of miniature role playing rules with all the things you need for a bit of a dungeon adventure. And it's free!

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Trapdoor


I have unearthed my digital copy of this cracking little set of dungeon crawl rules and have been reading it through again. It really is a very simple beer and pretzels level system with all the classic features you'd expect in a set of basic dungeoneering RPG-light rules. I particularly like the fact that it's all squeezed into only 36 pages, some of which are illustrated examples of play, tables and charts. The rules themselves probably only occupy about half of that page count again, so very streamlined but not lacking in detail at all. They're not available any more as far as I can tell, having looked in all the usual places, but if you can locate a copy they are well worth grabbing.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Dungeon Crawl


My sprogs love dungeon crawl games, so I've been thinking of doing a little project based around the re-released Pendraken Miniatures 10mm dungeon set, complete with adventurers, monsters, treasure and traps. I toyed with the idea of this a few years ago, when I saw the dungeon terrain starter set on sale at Warfare, but decided to spend my pocket money on something else.

Now, I think it would be a very good way to encourage the sprogs into miniatures gaming and to have a set up that is compact enough to pack away for holidays. There's a set of Beer and Pretzels rules called Trapdoor! that I already have on the hard drive which would be ideal for just this sort of thing. All I need to do is save up my hard earned pocket money again (!) to buy enough corridors, rooms and figures for a decent dungeon adventure.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Ludus Gladiatorius


For various reasons my thoughts have been turning to gladiatorial combat games of late and, as a result, I've dug out a battered old copy of the EM-4 Ludus Gladiatorius 'beer and pretzels' style game, complete with pre-painted gladiator figures. I say figures but a couple are missing from my set, having been converted into dead gladiators for a long abandoned Warhammer Gladiator project that bit the dust a few years ago, after I realised too late that the rules were wonky.


I do have plenty of painted 28mm Foundry and Crusader Miniatures gladiator figures, as you can see, so it will be easy to set up a game or two of Ludus Gladiatorius with substitutes. The EM-4 figures are a bit two dimensional anyway and I'm not keen on the painting style, even if it's a great way to get a game on the table. I've played the game a few times before with my kids and it is easy to pick up, fast and pretty deadly. I'll see if I can get a game or two underway over the weekend.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Tank on Tank: Westfront - Night Action







I played a scenario from the Tank on Tank: Westfront rules booklet yesterday, with my nine year old daughter once again taking command of the Wehrmacht and myself the Yanks. The scenario was a night action with limited range due to low visibility, so it was a bit of a challenge for both sides. In the end I managed to win by stopping the Germans from blocking the North-South roads which ran across the map. It was a good game and the night rules made it really interesting, especially as it neutralised some of the advantages of the Tigers and made it easier for the Shermans to get in some crucial flanking shots.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Tank on Tank: Eastfront - The Hammer









This was another game against my nine year old daughter, who once again took on the role of the German Kampfgruppe commander against my Soviet armoured forces. The scenario involved a massed attack by the Soviets to capture three town hexes, with the dug-in German defenders trying to stop them by the end of turn nine. If either side knocked out all of the enemies forces they would also win but it was really all about taking the towns and having more units in occupation at the end to the game.

Needless to say, it was a close run thing but the girl beat her dad again (!) even though we both held a town each at the end of the game. One thing I did do was to use plastic counters to mark knocked out units, rather than just removing the counters from play, which meant that line of sight and movement was a bit more challenging. This worked well but could make the game less fluid, so I'll only use it as and when the scenario would benefit in the future or just count the destroyed units as not actually being an obstacle.

Atlantic Fleet Battle of the Atlantic Campaign


Over the last couple of months I've been chipping away at the Atlantic Fleet Battle of the Atlantic campaign, playing the Kriegsmarine rather than the Royal Navy. I had tried the latter but came to a sticky end after about twenty turns, so switched sides in an attempt to work out what I  had done wrong. At the moment, I'm about half way through 1941 and things are going well for the U Boats, with an impressive tonnage of merchant ships sunk and the allies reduced to a fleet of destroyers. I'm very wary of the occasional capital ship that pops up out of nowhere and of the odd setback due to allied air power, having lost a light cruiser only a couple of turns ago to a Liberator with depth charges.


It's a good campaign mode, although by it's very nature there are repetitive bits with U Boat attacks on convoys or destroyers being pretty frequent. I've found that organising the submarines into Wolf Packs really works well, especially when combined with surface battle groups of battleships, battlecruisers and light cruisers. My biggest headache is that I've run out of these and can't build any more, so have to rely on destroyers and submarines to replace any losses, even though the German destroyers are pretty powerful as they are. It's a great little game and has an element of historical accuracy that is missing from most other naval themed titles, so well worth playing and definitely good value for money. I just wish there was a WW1 version!

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Tank on Tank: Eastfront - Soviet Smash








I played a follow on Meeting Engagement of Tank on Tank: Eastfront against my daughter this morning, with a German Kampfruppe of Panthers, a Tiger and armoured infantry with artillery support, against a Soviet armoured force of KV85's and a single Katyusha battery. The end result was a total defeat for the Soviets and a virtual walkover for the Germans, who lost a couple of Panthers late in the game but wiped out the Soviets in short order, using a combination of artillery fire and Panthers hidden in the woods and town hexes. I was completely out manoeuvred by a nine year old but will get my own back in the next encounter!

Tank on Tank: Eastfront - Meeting Engagement








I played a game of Tank on Tank: Eastfront against the sprog this morning, with a German Kampfgruppe against an equal points value of Soviet T34 and T34/85's. The scenario was the generic meeting engagement in which the first side to knock out half the enemies points wins, with a game length of ten turns as a cut off point. The Soviets gained an early advantage by destroying several Panzer IV's with some high dice rolls but the Germans counter attacked by the end of turn six by knocked out half the Soviet points value in tanks. This was a draw if the end of Turn Six was the cut off point, although the Soviets did actually win it by achieving the objective first. A good game and one which my daughter, who was chief dice roller for the Soviets, enjoyed a lot especially when her brother's Panzer IV's brewed up!

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Easter Holidays


I have ten days of holiday from tomorrow, so will finally get to open the Tank on Tank East Front box and play through some scenarios. I'm also planning to pack a couple of extra beer and pretzels style games to while away the evenings and the inevitable rainy afternoons. :0)

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Blood, Sweat and Cheers




This looks really good, especially as it's written by Nic Wright, the author of Galleys and Galleons, one of my favourite 'beer and pretzels' style age of sail naval wargame rules. The blurb for Blood, Sweat and Cheers says it all:

Blood, Sweat and Cheers is a tactical, two-player, card and dice game, that recreates single combat between gladiators in the arenas of the Roman world from the mid-third century BC to the start of the fifth century AD.

Cards are used to abstractly represent the different options available to a player’s gladiator during the ebb and flow of a gladiatorial bout, while dice are used to resolve interactions. The watching crowd interacts with the gladiators in the arena by rewarding showy attacks and spilt blood with favourable cheering which may in turn be utilised to buoy up a gladiator’s performance.

Almost everything you need to play the game, including a basic area, is included in the deck. All players need to do is download the free two-page rule sheet and provide their own gladiators, dice, and a few wound tokens or markers.

I've been looking for a decent set of fast but fun gladiatorial combat rules for ages, having been disappointed by Warhammer Historical's Gladiator and put off by the intricacy of other alternatives like Viktus and Jugula. In have a nice selection of gladiators in 28mm too, as you can see from the group photo, so would only need to order the deck of cards to get a game underway.


Apparently, if enough people ask, the cards could be printed in the EU by Ganesha Games, which would solve the postage and/or customs tax issue if you live on this side of the pond.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Table Air Combat Il-2 Shturmovik


A second new addition to Table Air Combat has arrived, this time the iconic tank buster the Il-2 Shturmovik. I read recently that they weren't as tough as they were reported to be, with a very high casualty rate amongst the Shturmovik regiments compared to other branches of the VVS. I'm not surprised given their extremely hazardous ground attack role. This set includes a range of scenarios that are typical of these types of low level, ground pounding efforts:

Air and Bread: Attack a bridge on the Berezina river to slow down the invading German army.  This is a standalone scenario using only the Il-2.

Circle of Death:  Il-2s form a defensive Lufbery circle against  Bf-109 fighters.

Anti-Transport: The Luftwaffe tries to supply by air, but has a shortage of transports.  He-111 bombers are loaded with supplies and used instead. The Il-2 aircraft are assigned to shoot down the lumbering aircraft.. The airfield is defended by Bf-109F fighters.

Zement bomber:  Fight the battle of Kursk by attacking German tanks.  Il-2 are escorted by Yak-7 fighters, but the Luftwaffe defends with Fw-190A fighters and counter-attacks Soviet tanks with Ju-88 bombers.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Table Air Combat B-25J


There's a new addition to the Table Air Combat stable in the shape of the ubiquitous B-25 Mitchell medium bomber, in this case the B-25J variant. This is an excellent choice for a USAAF aircraft to add to the existing fighters and heavy bombers that are already available. The set also includes three scenarios, two of which come with target markers for a bridge and rail marshalling yard, so there's plenty of scope for re-cycling them into other missions. Excellent! I haven't had a game of T.A.C. for ages so this is a good excuse to dig out the rules and set one up, especially as the holidays are only a few weeks away.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Birthday Present


I have been given a brilliant belated birthday present by my dad, a copy of the re-released classic boardgame Escape From Colditz. I've been trying to find a copy for ages but they disappeared from Waterstones really quickly, so I couldn't make the most of my Xmas vouchers. I'm really looking forward to opening the box for a proper rummage and a game or two.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Atlantic Fleet Campaign


I've almost finished playing through the campaign system in Atlantic Fleet, with the Royal Navy pretty much hammering the Kriegsmarine in every game, with one or two exceptions. The British definitely have an advantage in the range and strength of the units they can deploy, although the Germans also have some powerful options.

After a while and particularly toward the end of the fifty scenarios, the gameplay tends to repeat itself a bit, so I've not enjoyed the latter stages of the campaign as much as the first thirty scenarios in the sequence. I think I'll swap sides next time or just embark on the Battle of the Atlantic campaign, which looks a bit more challenging.

It's about time I did some proper board gaming too, with the half term holidays in a couple of weeks being a perfect opportunity to dig out some classics and some new games I haven't got round to playing yet.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

The Great Game of Britain


My kids have been given this classic family board game as a present by a friend, so we'll be trying it out at some point in the not too distant future. I think it will be a great way to get my kids interested in some more board gaming and, hopefully, might lead on to some more board wargaming too. It's been a long while since I've had the time to sit down and play a few games, but there are some free weekends coming up, so I'll try to dig out Tank on Tank, Cry Havoc, Wings of Glory or X Wing and get a game in with the boys.

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Wings of Glory Halberstadt CLII


I was given a couple of Amazon vouchers for Christmas so have spent one of them on a brand new Wings of Glory Halberstadt CLII for use in ground attack scenarios. I have an ulterior motive here, as I am currently working on a Top Secret project, which involves not only the Wings of War / Glory game but also aerial wargaming over the Western Front in general. It's all a bit hush hush at the moment but all will be revealed later on.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Atlantic Fleet: Christmas Convoy


Now, this was a bit more like it, with the Admiral Hipper pounded into wreckage by accurate long range gunfire from HMS Berwick and HMS Bonaventure. I lost only one merchant and saved the rest of the convoy by turning hard to starboard and away from the enemy. Next time I'll switch sides and see if the Kriegsmarine can do any better.