Back to normality (sort of)

After a gap of exactly 17 months the Society resumed meetings last weekend. For the time being meetings will be members-only, no visitors or prospective new members are allowed. That is being kept under review.

For the first meeting we had five games in progress; Ancients (6mm, Fields of Glory), Dark Ages (28mm, SAGA), WW2 (3mm, Rommel), Modern / Post Apocalypse (28mm, Zona Alfa) and Fantasy (28mm, Lord of the Rings).

Fields of Glory, by Mark.

This was the first outing for the Pontic army, who took on a late Republican Roman army, basically pike and cavalry vs well trained legionaries.
Game 1. Republican Roman vs Pontics
The first battle was a close run thing, the Pontic cavalry chased the Roman cavalry around the left flank before taking out two units, alas this was too little too late as the Romans swept around the right flank destroying all in their path, a close battle but the Romans won the day.
The second battle saw the Pontic forces consolidate their pike into one large block (24 bases) with two generals attached and rear support in the shape of offensive spearman. The intent was to take out two elite legions, however the Romans had other ideas and deftly avoided a full on battle taking out the supporting spearmen and eventually surrounding the pike block which spelt the end of things for the Pontic army.
Game 2. The end of the massive Pontic pike block?
A heavy defeat for the Pontics this time as the Romans showed that well drilled troops and some great tactics can win the day. Great to be back at the club, as for the Pontic army, there’s always next time!
 

SAGA, by Andy & Jeremey

We staged two games, both with 6 point armies. In the first game Jeremey had a Viking warband, comprising his Warlord,  two units of six Hearthguard (3 pts) and three units of 8 Warriors (3pts). Against that Andy fielded an Anglo-Danish warband, comprising his Warlord,  two units of six Hearthguard (3 pts), two units of 8 Warriors (2pts) and a unit of bow armed levy (1 pt).

Both sides deployed across a diagonal centreline, with each sides right flank extending past the opponents left flank.

As the warbands advanced Andy brought the units of Warriors and Hearthguard on his right flank round to try and out flank Jeremey’s left, and also pushed his levy forward taking a second activation (and a fatigue marker) in order to loose arrows at some Viking Warriors, to little effect. Jeremey responded by using the Viking Battle board ability Odin to exhaust the Levy, and promptly charged the Warriors in decimating the Archers.

Jeremey’s warriors crash into Andy’s exhausted Levy archers. Spare shields used as Fatigue markers.

That set the tone for the first game, with Andy dishing out Fatigue when he could, and Jeremey removing it and several of Andy’s warband in response. The battle culminated in Andy’s Warlord with a couple of Hearthguard taking a stand against the last of Jeremey’s Hearthguard, only to fall in ignominy.

Andy’s Warlord surveys the remnants of his Warband and braces himself for the onslaught.

In the second game both players changed their warbands.

Jeremey changed his army completely, going for a Anglo Saxon warband with three units of 16 Warriors* (2 pts each) in addition to his Warlord.

* (Ed: We got that wrong, maximum unit size is 12 figures, so it should have been 4 units of 12 Warriors).

The Anglo-Saxon battle board is markedly different from most to others, with abilities dependent more on the number of figures in a unit rather than their quality.

Jeremey’s Anglo Saxons (and his Spear of Destiny measuring stick).

Andy retired his Levy archers and took an additional point of Warriors, splitting them between the two units to make 2 units of 12.

The Anglo Saxons (far side) and Anglo Danes (near side) in their starting positions

The armies advanced, clashing in a range of hills. Jeremey made good use of the abilities that reduce the number of attack dice available to their opponents. (Ed: Which would have been less effective with units of 12 rather than 16).

The battle lines draw near. Jeremey’s Left flank unit has been slowed down through the use of fatigue.

The battle raged back and forth with the Saxons keeping the upper hand while their unit sizes remained large. But similar to the first game the battle was hard fought, coming down to a fight with the Warlord. Although in the second battle Andy sent his Warlord to his doom against the last of Jeremey’s Saxon Fyrd, cutting down several before being overcome.

Andy’s Warlord bites the dust as Jeremey’s victorious warriors march past.

Rommel

Counterattack at Deir el Tarfa, by Alan

The battlefield. Each square of the grid is 1 km

In the summer of 1942, following its victory at Gazala, Panzerarmee Afrika pursued the British 8th army into Egypt. Rommel’s first attempt to break 8th Army’s lines failed in July, but by the end of August he was prepared to mount one last major offensive. German and Italian armor turned the Allied left flank almost 90 degrees and drove deep into Allied positions. On the evening of 31 August the 15th Panzer division began an assault on Alam-el-Halfa Ridge while the 21st Panzer division protected its exposed left flank.

Italian and German forces

The latter, however, suddenly found itself under counterattack by the British 22nd and 23rd armoured brigades. Eighth Army’s new commander, Bernard Montgomery, had held these units in reserve for precisely this contingency.

Elements of the 22nd Armoured Brigade

Our game focussed on the fight between the two British armoured brigades and 21st Panzer which was supported by elements of the Italian Littorio Division.

An initial advance by the British held most of 21st Panzer between the Deir el Tarfa and Deir el Agram ridges and an intense tank battle ensued.  But the Italians swept around the British right flank and managed to seize one of the objectives. With the tank battle see-sawing between the British and German forces the Italian held objective became the key to the engagement.  Despite several British counterattacks on the position the Italians held on.

Clash of Armour

The last British infantry assault almost succeeded but couldn’t quite take the position. So as night fell the engagement went to the Axis but with supplies running low they were forced to pull out overnight.

The game was played using the Rommel rule set by Sam Mustafa and using 3mm models from Oddzial Osmy.

PzIIIs of the 21 Panzer Division

Zona Alfa, by John and Tony

I decided to run a 4 mission mini campaign to introduce a new player (Tony) to the rules. Tony would have to recover salvage to generate funds to enable retirement from the zone whilst achieving the objectives from the mission. This is done by searching Hotspots of which there are five and the objective. A triggered Hotspot is guarded by Zone Hostiles, these can be of 6 types, the type and distance from the Hotspot being determine by Dice. Those Zone Hostiles with Melee capability head for the nearest member of the crew, those with ranged combat capability will head for cover then shoot at the nearest member of the crew. The missions were linked so that achieving an objective allows the player to proceed with the following mission.

Tony’s first job was to pick a 4 person Veteran crew from my collection and kit them out ready for action.

Mission 1. Disaster at Kovgorod.

The village of Kovgorod

A patrol has been lost in the Exclusion Zone. The last signal has been tracked from their APC to Kovgorod so that’s where the crew are headed. As they approach the village, they spot the disabled APC but a pack of Zombies has beaten them to it attracted by the smell of Blood.

Tony did well in this game and was well on his way to the retirement fund target after just one game. What could possibly go wrong?

Mission 2. The Prisoner at Bunker C13

Leader and scrounger gang up to take out a mutant

After completing the mission, the crew recover a map with a bunker highlighted. There were four dead bodies in the APC, the map revealed the location of the fifth member of the patrol. Here Tony got into trouble with Bandits. One party of Bandits had been triggered before the start of the mission and a second entered on table as Tony triggered a hotspot. Caught in a crossfire his Leader was killed early on the mission and when deciding to head for the objective, he found that these were also guarded by Bandits. Using smoke to blindside this group of Bandits, the crew were able to move out of Line of Sight, rescue the prisoner and make it out. The objective had been achieved but at a high price.

Mission 3. Road Block at Strabants Crossing

The Prisoner from the bunker had recovered and told the crew about a Laboratory hidden deep in the forest so after reequipping that’s where they were headed until they found the track blocked with a party of bandits lying in wait. This time they were dealt with clinically, as were a swarm of zombies headed for them.

Support trooper is taken out by some zombies

A satchel charge was laid and the roadblock cleared at the second attempt. Another hotspot was triggered and a gaggle of ghouls were stopped in the nick of time. Things were heating up as another hotspot was triggered and a pack of wild mutant dogs clambered over the APC to attack one of the crew members stationed on its roof.

A pack of mad mutant dogs attack

A desperate fight saw all dogs killed and as the PC was refuelled from the diesel tank, the crew were able to make good their escape.

Mission 4. The Hidden laboratory.

With no time to replenish the supplies, Tony’s crew appeared in good shape. The retirement fund had almost been achieved and now all that was needed was a top up and recovery of the drugs caches hidden in the lab – piece of cake, except at the start of each turn a D10 was rolled. If this result added to the turn number was more than 10 a zone event would occur the following move. The crew moved quickly to the lab and whilst the first zone event, a swarm of irradiated insects was easily avoided, the second – a zone security patrol was a different proposition and two of the crew were wounded in a protracted fire fight whilst the lab was being searched. With the security patrol eliminated and the drugs collected, it was time to head back to the APC, just as a terrifying Alpha Mutant entered the arena.

Enter the Alpha Mutant – time to run

Unable to take on this monster one crew member bravely fought it as the rest of the crew fled. Finally succumbing to the vicious attacks of the Mutant, she had bought vital time for the rest of the crew as they just made it back to the APC before another Zone Patrol entered the area.

It had been a rollercoaster Zone Run with plenty of tactical decisions to make, with some jeopardy and the result hanging in the balance until the final stages of the final mission.

Lord of the Rings

Tony and Phil staged this game, they each sent reports, Tony’s first:

We played two Lord of the Rings games, both involving Mumaks. The first involved a group of Knights of Dol Amroth supported by some Gondorian archers attempting to take down a single beast. This all went horribly wrong for the good guys early on when Phil started shooting my knights from their saddles with archers from the howdah, much against the odds – he is not renowned for rolling sixes when it matters !

The knights of Dol Amroth charge one of the Mumaks
Gondorian Archer’s view of the Mumak

Prince Imrahil did his best to tackle the beast single-handedly but in the end was only ever one failed priority roll from being trampled, as he duly was…

Close up of the Mumak at the start of the second game.

The second game didn’t show any improvement (Ed.: If you can’t kill one Mumak in the first game then of course you should have two in the second game!)- this time we played a scenario in Ithilien (similar to a scene in the films) with Faramir’s Rangers ambushing an advancing group of Haradrim.

Ithilien Rangers lay their Ambush

My plan was to wound the Mumaks, hope it panicked them (as happened on screen) and defeat them that way – trying to just pick them off with arrows was never going to work.

The ill fated Faramir points the way

I managed to inflict some wounds on Eric’s overgrown pachyderm but it simply shrugged them off, and they simply marched on by, killing Denethor’s second son on the way.

If we hide behind the rocks the Mumak might not see us!

Finally, Phil’s somewhat shorter report:

“Phil in shock double LOTR victories”

It should be noted that Phil deliberately stomped on a couple of his own spearman to get to the Dol Amroth chaps.

Having a Blast!

Jeremey takes us through some home made blast markers.

Having recently started repainting my old 6mm Sci-Fi forces my thoughts turned to the different types of blast markers used in various wargames, you know the ones, they are often made of hard translucent plastic in the shape of a flame. Wargamers use them for marking the spot they are calling artillery down on or even to show destroyed and burnt out vehicles.

The first thing I thought of was could I make my own? Having made many things out of EVA foam for my gaming I turned to that first as a very simple material to work with. I knew you could get the foam in thin sheets and in bright colours. As luck would have it I popped into a local Poundland store to pick up some things for a bit of DIY I had to do, and discovered in the crafts section a packet of foam rocket shapes.

The packet had 5 foam rockets shapes for each colour

So I bought a packet at the predictable price, thinking I could make blast markers out of the red and yellow rockets.

Blast marker templates cut from a piece of cardboard

I made myself two flame shaped templates out of cardboard. One smaller than the other and made sure the smaller one fitted inside the silhouette of the larger one.
It was then just a matter of drawing round the templates, trying to fit in as many of the markers as I could. To make 3 blaster markers I would need 3 of the bigger flames in red and 6 of the smaller yellow flames to go on either side.

The first cut out flames, bit short on the yellow bits though

of course at first I completely forgot I’d need twice as many of the smaller yellow flames as the red, which is why there are only 3 of each in the picture!

A smaller blast created during assembly

Rather than waste the foam I experimented with a smaller blast marker cutting out from the red foam using the smaller of the two templates I’d made. I used standard PVA glue to stick the yellow smaller flame to the red foam and then repeated the process for the other side of the marker.

Incoming!

The final (sort of) stage involved me supergluing the marker to a thin wooden base that I had, which I then just painted to blend in a bit better. There we have it, very cheap, simple and quick blast markers for games.

However as you can see from the picture I took it a stage further. I added or rather smudged on some black miniature paint in that way explosions are often depicted. Nice simple effect that stops the blast marker looking too cartoonish. I also turned to the blue foam from the packet and wondered if I could make a splash marker. I don’t often play naval wargames but fellow club members do. I cut out a more splash like shape and as with the black on the blast marker I dabbed white paint on the edges of both the main shape and the smaller splash shapes, and of course I painted the base blue.

Now all I need to do is think up a way of using the green foam from the packet. Hmmm alien weapon blast effect …

Work in Progress Wednesday

The club is definitely slowing down production as we approach the Christmas Holidays. And quite right given this year, although I suspect a few hobby related presents might see a resurgence in the new year.

First up Mark has made more progress with his Panzers.

More panzers get the camouflage treatment

And out of the blue mark also mentioned starting to slap some paint on a hundred years war project.

The English start to assemble

Steve shared this picture of a dwarven force on the painting table, but there was no mention of last weeks 6mm sci-fi force. After saying he had nothing to paint it seems Steve is queuing the projects up.

New Dwarvern Force on the Way

Steve got these Dwarves from Conqueror Models.

Meanwhile I’ve been busy using some old rock style clay I had for rubble piles. After using the hot glue gun to stick them together I coated the whole thing with PVA glue.

Air Drying Clay, left to dry and broken up for industrial style rubble

I’ve also resurrected my old 10mm dungeon to finally finish the project.

One half of the 10mm Dungeon

Slightly embarrassing that this project was started 17 years ago! Still made some progress at last.

Virtual Pulp Alley

Marcus reports (virtually) over a recent (virtual) game.

I have probably played Pulp Alley more than any other game in the last couple of years. Narrative, fun, good for solo games or multiple players, it is a skirmish game with a figure count per player typically ranging between around 4 and 12. A scenario can be completed in around two to three hours depending significantly on the number of players involved.

Did I say skirmish? Well, more or less. There is plenty of scope for pulp action fisticuffs and spraying bullets around. What is less typical of skirmish type games is the influence of fortune cards, which players can use to challenge their opponents with perils, or indeed, perils will also occur as players try to resolve a series of plot points on the table. A game can sometimes focus a little less on combat and more on the plot. Scenarios are can veer very much toward mystery or crime investigation and even social situations. Imagine James Bond trying to provoke a villain, gather clues and be generally charming in a Casino and you will have the idea, only you have a group of characters working together to accomplish this. The characters have various skills set at a combination of levels. The required characteristics and skills are: Health, Brawl, Shoot, Dodge, Might, Finesse and Cunning. Depending on the quality of the character these skills will have dice numbering from one to four and dice types ranging between D4 and D12. A roll of 4 or more is a success, but sometimes multiple successes are required, including difficult tasks.

The initiative changes over the course of the game. The last person to win a plot point or a combat steals the initiative from the previous holder. This keeps the game constantly interactive.

What can you play with Pulp Alley and what miniatures do you use? Well, almost anything you can imagine! The rules are remarkably adaptable. If it forms part of the pulp genre; 30’s archaeologists versus Nazi’s, fantasy, science fiction, westerns or lost worlds, anything in between and more. The list just goes on…Figures are widely available and in particular I like Copplestone Castings and Pulp Miniatures, Hydra Miniatures and Sally 4th, the UK home of Pulp Alley.

Fellow club member Alan set up this game over Zoom. While a degree of social interaction is lost over Zoom, it certainly played smoothly. I would have no hesitation in recommending Zoom as a tool for playing games like this. Perhaps the more limited social interaction actually sped up the game.
Alan set up two scenarios set in the late 30’s in the arctic. He deployed a team of Nazi’s (“I hate these guy’s…”) under Dr. Stalhelm, a dastardly figure in uniform and a fully enclosed face mask. I fielded a team of “stiff upper lip” Brits from the Long Range Arctic Survey Group (LRASG). This group had the perk of specialists 3 of the leaders skills were reduced by a die level to improve the other members of the party in one skill by one dice type. I had a couple of unusually tough academics, the Leader, Professor MacInnes accompanied by Dr. Kennedy with two military types and a couple of Inuit guides.

The Crash Site
Some unusual rumours of strange lights in the sky have been emanating from sources in the arctic circle. The LRASG have been dispatched to investigate. Aided by two local guides, Kallik and Allatok, the team approach a site of possible significance…

The table is difficult going, meaning that characters cannot move more than six inches without taking a challenge. There are four separate groups of wreckage distributed around the centre of the table. Due to some seismic activity, the wreckage is perilous and requires an automatic challenge. During the first couple of turns, the figures approach the wreckage from opposite directions in the swirling snow which limits visibility. MacInnes reaches one wreckage site but Alan plays a challenge card and MacInnes cannot manage the 3 Cunning or Finesse required and tumbles into a crevasse. However, he passed the resulting health check, so no damage done. Meanwhile the first Nazi minions reach some wreckage, but can’t seem to explore without experiencing serious hazards which prevent the search.

On turn three, MacInnes successfully negotiates the wreckage and locates a plot point a short distance away. The Inuit’s move toward the Nazi’s while the rest of the LRASG spread out between the two closest wreckage sites. The Nazi’s continue a very unsuccessful search and Stalhelm has to jump away from a peril. The Inuit’s move in on them. One of the Nazi’s, Weber exchanges fire with Allatok.

MacInnes keeps working on the plot point on turn four. He successfully negotiates the treacherous ground and shifting visibility. With one success in recovering some clue from the snows. He is loosening it from the ice… At another site, Dr. Kennedy gets a bit disorientated in the swirling snow. Nearby while the Nazi’s continue with a frustrating search, Allatok and Webber exchange fire again and both are hit. They fail health checks and are out of the scenario injured. Another Nazi, Schneider, opens fire on one of the LRASG’s military types, Lt. Baylis.

Turn 5 and MacInnes keeps working to free the clue from the ice. Suddenly, he takes a hit from Nazi gunfire and is stunned. Baylis fires back to no effect. Meanwhile Dr. Kennedy finds his way back to the wreckage, makes a search and finds a perilous area: the ice shifts under the wreckage which is in danger of falling through into a lake below. However, Lt. Booth, (the Brits other military type) successfully locates a plot point himself. Muller shoots Kallik who fires back, but he goes down too. Baylis shoots Schneider, but he dodges.

On turn 6 MacInnes gets the final successes and frees the clue from the ice. A cache of “Top Secret” documents! Schmidt now attempts a plot point and successfully discovers an injured crewman. With that first success, Alan becomes Director (initiative), deciding the turn order. Booth and Fischer exchange fire. Baylis brings down Schneider who is out of the game, after failing a recovery roll, while MacInnes and Stahlhelm exchange fire. Elsewhere, Kennedy successfully deals with the plot point and discovers: an experimental bomb sight. Booth closes with Muller and gets into a punch up, but Booth gets knocked out cold (quite literally).

At this point the two sides disengage as the wreckage shifts and slips below the icy surface of a frozen lake. A success for the Brits who recover two plot points to the Nazi’s one. They collect two Gear points as a result: Some smoke grenades which Dr. Kennedy carries and Gadget X, carried by Mac Innes, which automatically allows passing one plot point instead of rolling.

A Secret Nazi Base…Where Else?

Scenario 2 saw the LRASG tasked with recovering the aircraft’s inventor and destroying the Nazi base. Approaching from some woods the Brits use the trees to mask their approach and their smoke grenades in turn two to reach the gate, despatching the sentry. The base remains oblivious. However, it all kicks off in turn three when MacInnes is forced to shoot a guard dog which attacks them and Baylis shoots his sentry/handler. They move toward a group of huts while Booth and Dr. Kennedy move along the fence to discover a plot point. The alerted Nazi’s get out of a truck and move toward the huts in turn 4.

Kennedy and Booth successfully locate a plot point and pass it: a wire cut hole in the perimeter fence. Someone else has already broken in! both teams converge on a stack of supply crates. Fischer and Muller push toward a plane on the airfield while Schmidt and Booth exchange fire in the location of the huts and crates. Both shrug off hits.

MacInnes discovers explosives already on the crates and lighting the fuse, sprints away. A new plot point appears in a hut near the gate. Stalhelm. Fischer attempts to deal with a bomb on the fuel drums near the plane, but fails.

Fischer suffers a peril on turn 7, possibly electrocuted as he tries, inexpertly, to deal with the booby-trapped explosives on the plane. Fischer goes down! Meanwhile MacInnes and the Nazi scum exchange furious fire, but the Nazi’s pass 3 hits! Muller is trying to disarm another bomb in the corner of the far corner of the airfield, at a fuel dump. About to attempt it he suffers misfortune as Marcus plays a fortune card and Muller falls, failing his health check.

Fischer recovers in turn 8 to disarm the bomb on the plane, but unfortunately for the Nazi’s Muller again fails a peril and a health check. Fischer however gets up and removes the explosives from the plane. MacInnes blazes away at Schmidt, who goes down and joins Bush and Kennedy in cover close to the gate. Kennedy moves to the plot point near the gate and passes it; the inventor! Dr. Stalhelm lurks in the proximity…but Booth engages him in fisticuffs.

In the final turn, Booth manages to land a blow on Dr. Stalhelm and rushes to the gate. Both MacInnes and Dr. Kennedy both open-up on Dr. Stalhelm and also escape. While the Nazi’s try to deal with the explosives, they detonate, destroying most of the Nazi’s secret lair.

So, as the credits roll the Brits return from a successful mission, with the Nazi’s vanquished again; which is how it should be. Inevitably since Alan rolled some appalling dice and Lt. Booth passed more recovery checks than he had any right to. An enjoyable mini campaign all organized by Alan with some great scenery and miniatures, all played very entertainingly via this new-fangled thingy; Zoom…Bang! Bang!

Air War Germany 1944 – Session 4

Me 110G-4s scramble

Our Treasurer has just realised that he had omitted to write up the fourth session of our campaign from the end of last year – still better late than never!

This session began with an attack by the Me110s of 3.NJG5, which had just infiltrated the tail of the bomber stream as it left Berlin.  The Me110s weaved backwards and forwards across the bomber stream using their on-board radar to detect and attack targets.  John La was first onto the score sheet, detecting ‘Q for Queenie’.  He missed the target on the first pass, but sent the bomber down on his second.

As the bombers headed off to the northwest, 3.NJG5 stuck with them and continued their attack. Three bombers went down in quick succession, the first, ‘O for Oboe’ to John, then ‘P for Peter’ to Andy and finally ‘N for Nab’ by Marcus in his first combat.  However, the bombers then struck back, as first Steve took damage and was forced to break off in an attack on ‘M for Mother’, then worse still Marcus was shot down by ‘L for Love’.

Lancaster MkI/IIIs of B Flight, 460 Squadron RAAF. Letters ‘J Jig’ to ‘Q Queen’

Now another Me-110 unit, 4.NJG3 of Steve’s 2.Jagddivision was able to infiltrate the bomber stream.  However, their attack got off to a poor start as the alert gunners of ‘K for King’ shot down John’s attacking fighter.

The bombers were now re-crossing the German defensive radar line and the Me-110s of 3.NJG3 were successfully vectored in to attack from their overwatch positions.

At this point we ran out of time for the day, leaving the raid to be concluded in a fifth and final session, which will be a catch up to bring all players up to 2 sessions played.

At the end of session 4 the points scored were as follows:

Andy (4JD)                        +1             +1 for Lancaster shot down

Steve (2JD)                        +1            +1 for GCI Intercept, +1 for tame boar                                                                                  infitration, -1 for fighter damaged

John La (7JD)                       0             +2 for Lancasters shot down, -2 for fighter                                                                     shot down

Marcus (3JD)                     -1             +1 for Lancaster shot down. -2 for fighter                                                                        shot down

Tony (1JD)                             –           Unable to fly

That leaves the individual League table so far as follows, with Steve just passing Dave at the top of league table, as he has shot down more bombers (4 to Dave’s 3).  1 JD keep their lead in the team competition with 11 points:

Steve (2JD)                      +6         2 sessions played (4 bombers downed)

Dave (1JD)                        +6         2 sessions played (3 bombers downed)

Tony (1JD)                       +5        1 session played

Mike (2JD)                       +3           2 sessions played

Chairman John (3JD)  +2.5        2 sessions played

John L (7JD)                      +1           2 sessions played

Marcus (3JD)                     -1           1 session played

Andy (4JD)                        -1.5       2 sessions played

Bob (4JD)                          -2             1 session played

Chris (7JD)                       -3.5           2 sessions played

Virtually Meeting

Last Saturday, at Stephen’s suggestion, some club members held a ‘virtual’ club meeting; some played solo games or with family members at home, and three even managed to play a board game over Zoom. Here’s a round up of what went on.

Mark H, Mark J and Seán – Nightfighter
Mark H ran a three-player game over Zoom – he’s written it up fully in a separate report.

Marcus – Air Combat in the Gulf War
Marcus played a solo game of modern air combat using Wings at War; this will also be getting its own write-up soon.

Phil – Space Hulk
Phil broke out the new (ish) re-issue of Games Workshop’s Space Hulk with his eldest son; unpainted figures, really!

Stephen – Full Thrust
Stephen, whose idea this all was, went for some solo Full Thrust. Which just sounds all wrong…

Mark J – Kobolds and Cobblestones
Mark.2 played out a Fantasy rumble at the docks.

Tony F – Lord of the Rings
And finally, the webmaster played out a simple Lord of the Rings scenario (the one where Sean Bean/Boromir gets shot full of arrows defending Merry and Pippin).

Wargaming in the Pandemic – Playing Nightfighter over Zoom

As we currently have no meetings and gathering indoors is not possible, we have been starved of our wargames for 2 months!

We tried a game of GMT’s Nightfighter over Zoom.  The game uses some house scenarios that allow multiple players on the German side.  The main game map is enlarged and uses miniatures to substitute for counters.

There were four Ju88C-6 night fighters patrolling to intercept bombers over the targets.  These could be coned by the searchlights on the ground, spotted by the onboard radar, or spotted visually.

Here is the hidden umpire map showing the Lancaster position at close of play:

We played until a Lancaster was shot down.  Mark shot down ‘E for East’ after a four move duel.  The bomber spotted him before he attacked and got two rounds of fire, but failed to score a hit.

The Ju88 missed on the first pass from a poor position, then scored heavy damage on the second pass.

The Ju-88 mis-timed the third pass, but finished the target off on the final pass.

Sean had meanwhile homed in on a bomber with one of his Ju-88s, but ran out of time to shoot it down.

This was the game board at close of play:

A scan of the battle map was shared on Zoom with the players and annotated with the fighter positions, radar sightings and searchlight spots.

Game play is slowed, as moves have to be described sequentially, so the game would have worked faster with less planes controlled by one player with hindsight, but the board game hex playing surface does make a game over Zoom possible!  We may give it another go having worked out the snags.

Armoured Bears

Mark J (also known as Mark2), who recently joined the club after being away from the hobby for a while, paints some Germans.

Latest addition to my 20mm early/mid Russian Front 3rd Panzer Division army. Back in the 90s I played a lot of Rapid Fire and I have a fairly large collection of tanks and vehicles, mainly Matchbox and and SHQ, with a couple of aircraft, assault boats and a pontoon bridge thrown in for good measure. Recently recovered this collection from an old mate up north, however the infantry were missing, probably KIA!

Planning to adapt this collection to use Chain of Command rules, and have started to paint some 20mm Eureka miniatures. They are a little on the tall side, but nicely cast with plenty of detail. These guys are Panzer Grenadiers in great coat, there’s one rifle section and a command section with a radio operator.

I used the Vallejo Flames of War German infantry paint set and GW Nuln Oil wash and Adminstratum Grey for the uniform highlights and general battle field look. For the bases I used small gage grey gravel
and dry brushed light grey to white with a Nuln Oil wash for the snow effect.

I’ve recently been reading about the 3rd Panzer Division and their exploits around Kharkov during 1942. These guys are part of Kampfgruppe de Beaulieu, this group was formed around March 1942 and consisted of 12 Panzer IIIs and a panzer grenadier battalion, its orders were to push back the Russian advance to the east of Kharkov and to take back the Babka River line which they did, despite freezing temperatures and poor supplies. I have another 5 rifle sections to do and a couple of heavy support sections, if anyone has some Russians it would be good to take them on some point in the future.

AGM 2020

The first meeting of the year is when we hold our AGM – we try to keep it brief, and no more formal than is absolutely necessary. It’s generally a good meeting since we get more attendees than normal and this more games are put on. So rather than dwell on the thrills of the treasurer’s report on the club’s finances (healthy, by the way), here’s a gallery of the gaming highlights of the day.

Photos by Tony Francis and Andy King

During the AGM, John Legg collected the trophy for last year’s Field of Glory tournament from Paul Lymath, the 2018 winner.

Alan Kirk hosted a large 1940 Chain of Command game.

Tony Francis and Jeremey Claridge put on a Celtos game (but didn’t play in it themselves…)

Instead, they both took part in some aerial combat over the Sinai desert in 1956

As always, there was a Field of Glory game going on – the first of the 2020 tournament

And Jon Roche and John Lambert took to the seas in some ancient galleys

Air War Germany 1944 – Session 3

De Havilland Mosquito Mk IV bombers of 692 Squadron, part of the Light Night Striking Force. These delivered small high level raids as diversions from Main Force raids. They were unarmed and relied on their speed to escape interception.

The results for our third session are in.  This was to be a session dominated by Wild Boar attack over the city of Berlin,as fighters sought to attack bomber caught in the glare of the clouds illuminated by the searchlights below.  One of the JG commanders was absent due to sickness and another had temporarily lost use of his headquarters (aka house) so we were down to three players on the day .  Two players babysat for the missing players JagdGeschwader for their map moves.  Absent players do not affect the tactical combat results, as each player simply flies one plane.

The day began with the Me110s of NJG engaging the bomber stream over Berlin.  This unit was depleted, so the number of tactics was reduced.  3.NJG5 was also handicapped by having some relatively slow Me110F-4s among its Me110G-4s; these struggled to match the speed of the Lancaster at high altitude.  The action was something of a damp squib with no Lancasters engaged and the Me110F of Chris damaged by fire from the defending Berlin flak batteries.

After another map turn the bomber steam continued to move through the city and the German players now had a final chance for their units to engage the tail end of the bomber stream over the city searchlights.

First in were the Me109G-6s of 1.JG302 belonging to Tony’s JagdDivision 1.  Things looked up for Chris as he was first off the scoreboard the day, downing C for Charlie.  However, he did a bit too good a job as his fire detonated the bomb bay and his own fighter was consumed in the explosion!  Things took an even worse turn for the Germans as Tony’s 109 was shot down by an alert gunner on E for Easy.

Next up was Tony’s 3.NJG5 coming round for another go. Michael got involved in a running fight with, funnily enough M for Mike.  His first pass winged the Lancaster, but the defending gunners in turn damaged the attacking Me110.  However, Mike hung on and made another pass, sending the Lancaster down.  Tony now got into his stride with his pilot bagging first N for Nab, then K for King.

As the last of the bomber stream came in over the searchlights the Me110G-4s  of 1.NJG5 also belonging to Tony’s JagdDivision1 arrived over the city.  Tony continued on his combat roll by adding J2 for Jig squared to his total for the day.

The ever persistent 3.NJG5 now succeeded in infiltrating itself into the bomber stream as it left the city, becoming the first night fighter unit to do so.

With time up for the day and four tactical combats played out, the resolution of the Tame Boar attack was left for the next session.

At the end of session 3 the points scored were as follows:

Tony (1JD)                        +5             +3 for Lancasters shot down, +3 for Wild Boar attacks, +1 for Tame Boar infiltration, -2 for fighter shot down

Michael (2JD)                   0            +1 for Lancaster shot down, -1 for fighter damaged

Chris (7JD)                        -2             +1 for Lancaster shot down, -2 for fighter downed, -1 for fighter damaged by flak

Marcus (3JD)                     –             On leave

Bob (4JD)                             –           Unable to fly

That leaves the individual League table so far as follows (with 1JD going into the team lead with 11 points):

Dave (1JD)                        +6         2 sessions played

Steve (2JD)                      +5         1 session played

Tony (1JD)                       +5        1 session played

Mike (2JD)                       +3           2 sessions played

Chairman John (3JD)  +2.5        2 sessions played

John L (7JD)                      +1           1 session played

Bob (4JD)                          -2             1 session played

Andy (4JD)                        -2.5       1 session played

Chris (7JD)                       -3.5           2 sessions played

Worth saying that you score as follows:
Map points:
1 point for each successful interception on the map by a unit, doubled if done before raid passes through own division area
1 point for identifying a main force raid or mosquito raid before air picture is clarified, doubled if done before raid passes through own division area
Air to air combat points:
1 point for shooting down a four engined bomber
2 points for shooting down a Mosquito2 points lost if own nightfighter shot down
Damaged aircraft score half points, for and against.  Ties decided by number of bomber shot down.