Monday, July 28, 2014

Welcomes, Plans and Other things

Welcomes

I just noticed that another follower has joined the site - JHaygood. Now if this is the same JHaygood that I think it is, WELCOME! One of my first war gaming opponents with IABSM was Jay Hagood. Glad you could join.

Adsense

Just decided to take a look at where I am with it and low and behold, you my gentle readers have been clicking away. I have taken a giant leap forward and am just a few cents shy of $30. Thanks.

Summer Scenario Sale

To all of you who have helped out, thanks. Hopefully by the end of the week, I can show off what you have helped me get.

Chain of Command

In going through the lists for the early war period, I decided it might be worthwhile to take a picture of each force including the supports. I will try to put these together over the course of the week. I think it will help me organize.

Writers Block

Well, I have lost much of my motivation. I have about four projects in various levels of completion. Yet, I can't even begin to sort out where to continue. I know I want to do another AWI campaign. I have the Zulu stuff going on. Then there is the novel I started. And there is a force list that I want to do for the opening days of Barbarossa. I am just not sure what I want to work on next.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Riding the Rails

Well maybe just painting some. I painted another foot and a half of train tracks to give me a total of two feet of track so far. I have a bit more to go but at least some progress is being made.

Wargamer's Odds and Ends Summer Sale

As its 7am on a sunny Saturday morning, what better time than to run a sale. The sale runs from Saturday July 26th, 2014 till my anniversary on August 8th, 2014. In each of the offers below, you can click the link to get an idea of what each book is and entails.

Here are the details:
1) In the Name of Roma: If you buy this directly from me at cstoesen@corecard.com on PayPal, the price will be $8.00 instead of $11.00.

2) The Coming Thunder: Again, if you purchase directly from me, the price will be $5.00 instead of $10.00.

3) The Falcon and the Gladiator: This is also just $5.00 instead of the its normal $10.00.

Combo Deals:
The bundle deal on the for sale page has all of the scenario books for $30.00. If you buy during the sale (again, PayPal me directly, it can be purchased for just $20.00.

Amazon Special:
Since I have the Kindle version of In the Name of Roma out, I would like to generate more interest for that version. If you post a review on Amazon and e-mail me the link to it (same address as above), I will send you one of the PDF books I have written for free. Now it has to be a legit review. Not just a couple of words, so that means you must have actually have read In the Name of Roma.

Stop on by and take a look.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Operation Battleaxe - A Bag the Hun Campaign using Squadron Forward

I have finally gotten off of my lazy rump and put together an air campaign. I am playing this one solo at home to see how it goes. The campaign will feature four squadrons. An Italian, a German and two British fighter squadrons. Bombers will appear as generated NPCs. The main player is the British Hurricane Squadron. The second is a squadron of Tomahawk equipped fighters.

General Situation - British

We are on the eve of our great offensive code named Operation Battleaxe. The men of the RAF are called upon to clear the skies so that our ground forces can drive the Hun back off the continent of Africa. Your squadrons have received some reinforcements. Specifically men just returned from their adventures on Crete. In the run up to Battleaxe, your squadrons will be called upon to gather intelligence that we need for the ground offensive.

Squadron Headquarters - No 73 Squadron, Egypt. 1953 hours June 8th, 1941

Flight Lieutenant James Edgar, commander of C Flight, was called into the Squadron Commander's tent late in the evening.

"Ah, there you are James, have a seat. Your boys are going to be called to fly a patrol over one of Jerry's air bases. Your primary mission is just to cause mischief. If you encounter any of the enemy, shoot them down. While you are over the airfield, take a look about and see what's what. No need for the whole flight to go. Send a section out. A and B flights are still integrating the new boys and your flight is just what is needed. Any idea of who you will send?"

Thinking for a moment, James decides, "Flying Officer Gould's section sir. He and Pilot Officer Ellison are steady hands and they can take the new boys up and show them the ropes."

"Very well, now that business is out of the way, care for some port?"

The meeting wound on for a while and Edgar asked to be excused to let his men know. He knew that while Elliot Gould was a solid man in the cockpit, he also was a bit too free with the bottle when not on duty. Best to keep him sober tonight before his mission.

Game System Notes

Squadron forward has a really nice scenario generator built into it. Having drawn up my squadron, I head on over to the 2. Scramble section of the doc. I am able to determine the number of aircraft that will be going and what they are to do. Now to keep it interesting, there are pre-mission things that can happen. For my first mission, I have a result that one of my men has engine trouble. I roll and it is one of my Sprogs. So he can either stay in the game but be in a damaged aircraft or return to base. Being that the pilot was a Sprog, he returns to base due to the manifold problem.

Next I can determine who has the advantage in the fight. Do my guys surprise the enemy or do they get the jump on me. Well in this case, I got the jump on the bad guys and it tells me how the game should be set up. For Bag the Hun, this means that the whole bogey/blind system is ignored and you are thrust directly into the thick of things.

It plenty of other features that keep things from getting static. So my initial game will reflect all of this.

1st Mission - 0500 hours, June 9th, 1941

Reflections of Flying Officer Elliot Gould following actions on the morning of June 9th, 1941.
"After we took off, Pilot Officer reported engine problems and returned to base. We continued over enemy territory until Brian Ellison pointed out some enemy planes below us. We maneuvered behind them and began to engage. The enemy was a group of three Macchis (Mc200).

"Despite being in good position, the Macchis were slippery customers and managed to pull away. In the dog fight that ensued, I managed to fire into one of the enemy and caused him to briefly loose control. Sergeant Hirshorn also managed to place shots into an enemy. But was unable to achieve a kill.

"We noticed that we had drawn some undo attention to ourselves as a flight of four German Bf109s came hurtling towards us. I ordered my men to retreat and we quickly dove for the deck at full speed to make our getaway. As far as we can tell, the Germans did not fire a shot during the encounter and only one of the Italians managed to get off a shot.

"Pilot Officer Brian was the last to break off the engagement and manage to slip away without being fired upon."

Wrap up

Using the Event card and the Combat events table in the Squadron forward rules, I managed to roll for enemy reinforcements. The Germans would have put a hurting on the British had they not chosen to break and run. As it was the maneuver cards for the British came up at the right points and a clean getaway was made. The Italians had two planes hit but no lasting damage. All in all, a decent result.

Consulting the after action logs, I find that Plot Officer Barnes has had his aircraft fixed. Also Flying Officer Elliot Gould was noticed by the Wing Commander (Neutral View), the squadron rating remains favorable (glory rating of 0) and Pilot Officer Ellison has just been detached off for duty with a reconnaissance squadron.

It took less time to work all of this out than it did to write it up. The post game events are worded a bit tricky and can take a bit to understand but all in all, Squadron Forward works as a campaign system. Making this work for multi-player campaigns will be interesting.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Gigabytes Game Day - 7/19/2014

A great day all around. There were a number of games going on including one rather large pirate game that seemed to last a long time. At some point I realized that they had changed terrain and begun play of a second scenario. Seems like they were having fun.

I was told that there was a Saga game going on somewhere and on the table next to us there was an ancients game but I know nothing about how those fared.

A quick note about the new Gigabytes. It is fantastic. There is plenty more space for games and most importantly, there is much more light to take pictures.

Game One

For myself, I joined James' WWI Check Your 6 game. It was great fun. Mark and Steve were the German players.

Piloting the Belgians were myself, Jeremy and Bill. James would also pickup Bill's aircraft after he had to leave for a short time. I managed to not get a picture of Jeremy. (Sorry about that.)

The scenario was a balloon busting scenario on the Western Front. The Germans had a balloon and four albatross fighters. They were engaged by several groups of Belgians. I commanded a group of two Belgian Handriots. Mine are the blue fighters on the table. One pilot was a veteran pilot and the other was a complete new boy. We had six (I think) Belgians to run. My fellow Belgian players made a beeline for the balloon while I drove straight at two of the Albatrosses.

The plan worked as the Balloon was quickly shot down by turn 4. This left one of the most unusual dogfights that I have ever participated in. In turn 3, my Veteran pilot fired upon an Albatross and instantly jammed its guns.

It took some four attempts before I managed to get the guns unjammed. Meanwhile my sprog pilot took a long and slow circular route around almost the entire table before finding a target at turn 12 and shot down a German pilot. My sprog had better luck than my veteran.

The Germans managed to fail maneuver after maneuver roll. I think each of their aircraft were out of control at one point or another. One of the other Belgians managed to get a kill in and another had a great shot lined up but could not complete the kill.

In the end, it was a fantastic Belgian victory. But most importantly, it was a fun game. We had five players and James supervised then took over aircraft as a player had to leave for a bit. I also had to take over a second flight as another player had to run for a bit.

The WWI mods seemed to work well. It would be interesting to compare these to Algy one day.

Game 2

First up was a quick detour out for lunch and then back to Gigabytes for another game. I would have eaten there but the owner does not have the license yet for serving food yet so Arby's was the order of the day. The second game I played in was Rob's Spanish Civil War Chain of Command game.

I played Nationalists with Nathaniel. Across from us were Steve who commanded the anarchists. He was supported by Steve S who commanded the Communists. The Communists were ordered to keep the anarchists in place and would fire on them if they fled.

Nathaniel laid out a simple enough plan. We would drive bulk of our forces and take the church. Once that was done we would move across and flank the enemy. We each had a platoon of Foreign Legion troops supported by an armored car with a squad of Guardia Civil as supports.

Nathaniel had the left and I the right. I positioned my men behind the rocks and moved my light machine gun to the far right and a squad up on the rocks to engage and keep the anarchists still. Nathaniel's men were in the rocks across from the church and one squad on the rocks to the left flank. That squad would get beaten up a bit from some Communists in the large building.

With the support of the two armored cars (which I think had way too many fire dice) the two squads holding that small wall were eliminated to a man. This decimated the anarchists morale. Their big men kept getting wounded or killed with alarming frequency.

Once the walls were cleared, Nathaniel rushed his men forward. The armored cars still pounded away on the barricade and eliminated the squad there to a man. Somewhere in this pounding, the anarchist morale broke and they fled. I ran my men forward and climbed into the positions just abandoned by the anarchists.

A few more turns were played and the command of the communists in the large building took a pounding that caused them to break and flee. This took the senior big man with them. That made the communists break as well, giving us the field. I had lost a total of 2 men. Nathaniel took something like six men killed. It was a solid victory.

The Republican players were unfamiliar with Chain of Command and at a bit of a disadvantage. They also were not supporting one another very well. Our coordination was probably the key to the victory.

Wrap up

All in all, it was a great day. The only sad point for me was that Brian was not able to join in and that I could not get in Mark's Chain of Command game. It looked like it was going to be a fantastic game but I had run out of time and had to leave. I would like us to plan large events like this on a quarterly basis. I think it would be great fun.

By the way, Mark has much better pictures than I do of the day on his site: https://www.flickr.com/photos/6mmgaming/sets/72157645846521223/

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

This Years Painting in Review

The first quarter of the year started off with a bang. Having Robert Avery's painting challenge has proven to be a big help. In the first quarter, 194.5 points of work. But in the second quarter, I managed a mere 60 points of painting. (Actually I did a bit more but since the work did not get finished to the point of completed basing, it did not count.

Third quarter is chugging along. I am not sure about the points Rob awarded for 1/600th scale aircraft. It almost seems too much as I already have 126 points for this quarter. My goal, is to paint a total of 1000 points or more for the year. I will see what happens. The airplanes were enough fun to paint that I may just end up finishing the remaining ones off. That and I have some base work to do on a whole platoon of DAK as well.

Next up is the Gigabytes Games day on the 19th. I am looking forward to a fun day of gaming. Lots of interesting games going on there.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Comparing Air Games

My local gaming group prefers the Check Your Six aircraft rules. They work well and provide a great game. I have enjoyed the TFL Bag the Hun rules. They also are fun and provide a good game. What I have never done is play the two side by side. I thought it would make an interesting comparison.

I started with just a simple scenario, a pair of Bf109es and a pair of Hawker Hurricanes. Both sides are regular pilots with nothing extra. The first run through was with Bag the Hun. It took four short turns. The first turn had the aircraft close. The second turn had aircraft turn and the card system ended up with the British Hurricanes in a vulnerable position. The third turn gave the initial cards to the German's favor and the first of the British Hurricanes exploded in the air. The remaining British aircraft attempted to run for it. The fourth and final turn had the Germans on the tail of the final British aircraft which netted in the British pilot being killed.

The result was it proved to be an excellent solo play system that resolved combat quickly and was deadly. Maneuvering to contact was easy and allowed to get to grips with the enemy.

The second game reset the pieces and Check Your 6 was given a roll out. This was a different kettle of fish. I like the preset turn determination. But doing this is not as easy for solo play in my opinion. It also took longer for the aircraft to come to grips. For a multi-player game, this is actually not a problem at all. The firing mechanism as slightly more cumbersome but mostly because I am less familiar with it than with Bag the Hun. In the end, I had one exploded Hurricane and one that was able to run for his life.

This was also a good and plausible result. And it was a fun game. I really enjoyed both of these rules. For solo play, I think I will stick with Bag the Hun. For multi-player games, I will probably keep going with CY6.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Paint Table Saturday - New Aircraft

I managed to get some painting in. I finished off quite a few 1/600 scale aircraft for North Africa. Some of them I went with a very basic paint job while others I actually attempted some camouflage.

I managed to finish off three Ju87s, three Fiat Cr42s, six Mc200s, six Bf109s and a single Sm79.

Ultimately, I intend to have 2 full staffelin (not sure if that is the right plural) of Bf109s of 12 aircraft each. I also want some heavier bombers than the Stukas. I have five more of them and three just need some markings to be finished. I was thinking of picking up some Bf110s and some Ju88s to round out my Germans for North Africa.

My Italians are in pretty good shape. I am planning for a Squadriglia of 9 aircraft each of both the Mc200 and the Fiat Cr42s. I should be able to knock out the Mc200s quickly. I will finish up the remaining five Sm79s at some point. I have another six Cr42s but they are not even assembled. I would really like to add a few Br20s and an Ro37 to the Italians at some point to round out the force.

For the Allies, I currently have 8 Tomahawks and 8 Hurricanes finished with another eight of each in bags untouched. I would like some Gladiators and some Maryland and Blenheim bombers to round the British. But that is for another day.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Bag the Hun and Check Your 6 - Messing with Scenarios

I have been looking into my air campaigns again. Not enough to do another scenario book again but just tinkering with things.

So just to keep things fun, I am posting up a couple of scenarios for all of you to tinker around with. Please let me know if the links work.

The first is a scenario set in the Spanish Civil War. It covers one of the first Combat Air Patrols of the Italian CTV air contingent. This is the scenario that covers the first victory achieved by the Italians over the skies of Spain. You can get it here.

Next up is a scenario that takes place days before the launch of Operation Battleaxe. It features pilots of the 1./JG27 encountering some Hurricanes of the Number 73 Squadron over the airfield at Ain-el-Gazala South. You can download this here.

Anyway, take a look and let me know what you think. This is the first time I have used dropbox as a means of hosting files so let me know if you can access the files. Thanks.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

100K Hits and Other Things

Thanks folks for sticking with me. 100K hits is something I just did not even imagine just a year ago. Thanks again everyone including Russian spam bots who I am sure helped. :)

Interesting Things

The most popular post so far has been the one for the launch of the ACW scenario pack The Coming Thunder. It has received over 1900 hits compared to just over 900 hits for the launch of my WWII Scenario pack In the Name of Roma. Yet, In the Name of Roma had 35 comments while The Coming Thunder received just 10. Granted half of each of those comments were me answering something back.

Now Jon over at Basement Games recently had a recent post that went over his posting history for the past year. I actually have never looked at what my posting habbits were before. I was actually surprised. Last year I managed an all time high of 148 posts. The first half of 2014 I managed 75. Of those, 50 were from the first quarter of the year. The second quarter of the year dropped off considerably. That coincidentally matched my painting output as well.

Painting... Sort of

I managed to start rebasing my DAK last night. I feel guilty about it since the original owner did a great job. Here is what they originally looked like.

I have added no paint to this yet. I am just gluing the riflemen to US Pennies and using medium rail road ballast for basing. So plenty more work to do. Here is what they look like currently.

I think that I will be able to get these completed rather quickly. What I am most needing are defensive positions for the desert plus the engineers to have something useful for support list one items.

Anyway, thank you all again.