The Reckoning: The Day Australia Fell (Unforseen Book 1)

I recently finished reading the electronic copy of "The Reckoning: The Day Australia Fell" by Keith McArdle.

The story is about the Indonesian invasion of Australia, and the activities of various groups of Aussies that resist the occupation.

" Australia has been invaded. While the outnumbered Australian Defence Force fights on the ground, in the air and at sea, this quickly becomes a war involving ordinary people. Ben, an IT consultant has never fought a day in his life. Will he survive? Grant, a security guard at Sydney's International Airport, finds himself captured and living in the filth and squalor of one of the concentration camps dotted around Australia. Knowing death awaits him if he stays, he plans a daring escape. This is a dark day in Australia's history. This is terror, loneliness, starvation and adrenaline all mixed together in a sour cocktail. This is the day Australia fell."

The book was a great read - I finished it in a day, which is something very rare for me these days. It was action packed and fast paced reading, and a whole lot of fun.

I did feel the ending was a bit rushed, but I won't go in to that here in case someone is wanting to read the book themselves.

Given the ending to the story, I was surprised to see that this is book one in a series, so I will be waiting for the new book with anticipation. According to Mr McArdle's web site, he has written 36% of the second book, as at the time I have made this blog post.



I think part of what makes the story so good is that Keith McArdle is ex Australian Military - from what I can tell via a search on the web he was a Rifleman in the Australian army before transferring to  the RAAF. He is currently a paramedic in Queensland.

This gives him a bit on an insight to base the characters on, as well as his own background to draw upon, including having served in Afghanistan.

I liked the book enough that I am tempted to buy a physical copy to go with my electronic copy, as I do prefer actual books to ones stored on a device.. besides, they look better on the book shelf.

Anyone wanted to visit Keith McArdle's web site can do so here: http://www.keithmcardle.com/

Those wanting the book can buy it from Amazon (paper back and kindle) if they can't find it anywhere else: http://www.amazon.com/the Reckoning


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Interestingly enough, I planned to do a wargame about ten years ago for Australia vs Indonesia, but the lack of miniatures put an end to it.  At the time I was able to get 28mm Australians, but no one makes Indonesians.
Eureka, who makes the Aussies, makes "Musorians", but they look more like African rebels than Indonesians.

 Reading this novel has sparked up the interest again.

With the demise of the Eureka 100/300 clubs I can no longer submit miniature requests to try and get some made, but I could always look at other countries to invade Australia to play out this war.

  I could use China as the enemy (Rebel Miniatures make some, as do QRF) but at this stage no one seems to make command figures for them.

Given that Mr Putin recently came to Australia with some of the Russian Navy in tow in case he was 'shirt fronted', I could feasibly use Russia as the invading nation. Eureka makes enough Modern Russians to play out this scenario.

It is something worth thinking about, especially as Khurasan doesn't look like adding to their North Korean range due to lack of sales. Maybe if they made some command figures they would sell more?

QRF 15mm Vehicles

I made up the QRF vehicles a few weeks ago, and didn't get around to posting the photos until now.

The vehicles are all unpainted, and the minis look taller than they should against them, but that is probably due to the 2mm thick bases they are on.


Since taking these photos I have almost finished painting the BTR-60 and under coated the tanks, as well as having only the bases to finish on my North Korean support weapons.

QRF M1 Abrams and T-55 Tanks

Hot on the heels of the BTR-60, the order for an M1 Abrams and a T-55 arrived two days after the BTR-60 did.

 Here are photos right out of the zip lock bags.  Yet again my camera is letting me down, as the flash has deleted much of the detail in the hulls.

M1A1 Abrams





T-55

The M1A1 will be painted up in Australian colours (provided I can make it look ok) and the T-55 will be your standard boring North Korean colour, but at least that will let me use it for other nations should I decide to fight out other conflicts.

Now to clean them up and glue them together.

QRF BTR-60

My 15mm QRF BTR-60 that I ordered a few weeks ago arrived on Monday, and I a quite happy with it.

 Being my first modern vehicle, and the first I have ordered from QRF, I wasn't too sure what to expect with the miniature, and I am rather happy.


The model is in five parts - the hull, two rows of wheels, the turret and the turret gun.

 I had all kinds of images in my mind that I would have to glue on each wheel, so I was really happy when I learnt that the wheels are basically one piece per side.

The wheels were a little bent from the handling in the post*, they they straighten out easily enough. 

Hopefully I can prep the model this week for painting and make quick work on painting it soon.

More photos once I have done some prep.


*the post which was very slow - apparently Australia has a huge back load of parcels at the moment, and the posties are working on Sundays to try and make it manageable.

Refreshing cup of tea

A few weeks ago I ordered some Artizan Designs Pulp figures in preparation for a Pulp Alley game/campaign I am planning.

As orders from Atizan go through North Star I was pleasantly surprised to receive a tea bag included with my minis, as shown below.


I have in the past received lollies (candy or sweets depending on what part of the world you live in) from other companies, but I must say, I really appreciated having a cup of tea on North Star very much.

 I think it might have been my first time to drink Tetley tea, but I enjoyed it enough that I went out and bought a box.

Thanks North Star, I really enjoyed the tea!

 I am half tempted to send a tea bag in return of one of my ultimate favourite teas for the guys at North Star to try:


Finished 15mm Modern Aussies

I finished off my Eureka Miniatures 15mm Modern Australians today:




These figures make up a complete Infantry platoon, with the following:

Rear Rank: Manoeuvre support section, made up of three Manoeuvre Support Teams, each of four diggers.

Middle Rank: Three Rifle sections, each of two four man fire teams

Front Rank:
                  Left: Explosive Detection Dog with Handler, EOD/IEDD - one disposal operative, and one with a mine detector. A sniper team in is front of them.
                  Centre: Platoon HQ
                  Right: Joint Fires Team (forward observers) of six men

The structure of the platoon allows for flexibility of using four sections, or three sections with additional fire power.

The JFT can be broken down in to three two-man teams, with two embedded in sections and one two-man team (the Officer & a sig) being attached to the Platoon HQ. Or I can just have a large FO party doing their own thing if needed.

The EDD/EOD/IEDD will be used for scenarios/mission background, and the sniper is an additional bit of support as needed.

I have an M1A1 Abrams on order from QRF, which I will (hopefully) paint up in the Australian army colours:



I intend to order two more M1s at a later date, and live in hope that someone will make the ASLAV-25 that I can use. 

 I could use the LAV-25, but there are enough differences between the two that I don't want to use the LAV-25 itself.



 I will work on getting myself from Bushmasters from Eureka Miniatures for transport for my infantry. Given the size of the platoon, I will need about five of them.



But all of that is in the future, as I need to paint my North Koreans, and then paint the QRF vehicles I have on order: the M1, a T-55 and a BRT-60.

 The BTR-60 should arrive any day, with the M1 & T-55 a few weeks behind, as I ordered them separately after QFR had a 15% discount sale that I took advantage of.

For the NKs I have two squads and some heavy weapons on the paint desk, so depending on real life, I might have them ready in a few weeks.

A forums rant (boo) and The Wargames Website (yay)

 The Rant

It seems that a few of the forums I visit are getting 'silly' as it were.

Not mentioning names, but one of them has been going down hill (in my opinion) for a while now, with some post bordering on excessive spam and a bit of mudslinging going on. More than a few members have voiced their displeasure with this forum and left, or limited their posting there.

And now I learn that one of my favourite forums has now banned any topic post 1989 when it comes to modern warfare. Like - WTF? 

It appears that this descission stops any forum members from posting topics or images from anything post 1989. This means I can't show off my 15mm Modern Aussies, or my Modern North Koreans... or ....  yeah, you get the idea.

This sucks for gamers and traders alike, for it seems they can't display anything with a modern context.

No longer are modern 'imaginations' or 'what-ifs' allowed there, because it seems it will offend someone.  Again, like - WTF?

It seems that the world needs to eat a few spoons of cement and harden the F**K UP.

rant over. Now on to the good part:

A good few weeks ago now I found a link in a fellow blogger's web site for a new forum for wargaming called 'The Wargames Website'.

So far this have been a very friendly forum, with most members enjoying things to do with war gaming (shock gasp!).

I have been making some posts there in relation to my 15mm Modern project, and the creator of the "No End In Sight" rules frequents there, so it has been useful to visit to ask questions or pimp projects.

For those that haven't heard of this new forum, please click on the link below.


The Wargames Website

15mm Aussies 2

I have finished painting the first section of two fire teams, as well as the sniper & spotter.



 My apologies for the really dodgy photo. When my Mrs returns from Japan, I will borrow her camera and try to get a better photo.

I now have enough Aussies and North Koreans painted up for a "clash of clearing patrols" for want of a better term.

 I have the second section well on the way to being finished, with the third section being prepared.

 
 Depending on how time goes this coming week I will try to kick off my 'No End In Sight" campaign with a section vs squad game if the forests of  "Primorsky" after the North Koreans invaded the former Russian area following the departure of Primorshy Krai from Russian control*.


* see my previous post for more information on the back ground idea for this campaign:
http://shelldrakewargames.blogspot.com.au/2014/09/no-end-in-sight-modern-campaign.html 


15mm Eureka Miniatures Modern Australian infantry

Yesterday I visited Eureka Miniatures and purchased some 15mm Aussies for my 'No End In Sight' campaign that I am planning.

 I purchased a whole platoon, plus some extras, like a sniper team, an IED disposal team and a six man Joint Fires Team (Forward Observer party).




The platoon TO&E is based on up to date lines: three sections of two four-man fire teams, and three four-man manoeuvre support teams (MST).  This allows for flexible deployment, and I can either have three heavy sections of three fire-teams, or a platoon of four sections, one of which had three four-man fire-teams with heavy weapons.

Each normal section has a Team leader with rifle, a Grenadier with Rifle/GLA, a LSW Gunner and a Marksman, although I gave the marksman a SRAAW for extra fire power.

Each MST has a Team leader, a GMPG gunner, a Sharpshooter and a "Grenadier" with a 84mm Carl Gustav.

If Eureka made a figure manning an automatic grenade launcher, I would have purchased three of them for the MST - the idea being the grenadier can exchange the 84mm with the AGL depending on what the mission is.

I would love to have some mortars with crew and a few other bits and pieces too.

I want to get three or four Bushmasters from Eureka as well; I intended to get them, but my budget wasn't able to cater for them as well on the day.



 Above is my Platoon HQ: Left to right, rear to front are: Platoon Commander, Sig, Medic and Platoon SGT.

 I am very happy with the way they have come out, and they are surprisingly easy to paint. The platoon HQ is waiting for a few coats of varnish, and I will post more photos when they have been completely finished.


Can you help?

I am after a couple of figures, but don't really need to buy the whole pack the figures come in.

 So, I thought I would appeal to my handful of readers to see if anyone can help out.

I am after the following figure from the Artizan Designs "SWW201 - Italian Command"







And these two figures from the Copplestone Castings BC19 Female Archaeologists pack:



If anyone is able to help, I am happy to negotiate a price, or even swap for something from my lead pile: please leave a comment in the comments section and a way for me to get in touch with you.

Thanks for taking the time to read this community announcement.





Tengu!

I have a number of Samurai/Ninja/Warrior Monk figures and I have always wanted to play games in set in the Edo period with some mythological elements thrown in.

 I was able to get some Kappa from the UK, but I have really wanted a Tengu figure.

 Well, a company called Footsore Miniatures is releasing a 32mm Tengu:







 I haven't found any reference to what size tengu are meant to be, but I am happy to have a tengu that is slightly taller than any human figures to reflect the monstrous properties of it.


 I actually saw a tengu when in the Nikko area of Japan a few years ago... well a statue of one.  It was on a twisting and winding mountain road, and I didn't have the opportunity to get a photo of it, but I hope to go back one day to get a photo.



The Duel

I was searching my book shelf for a reference book and came across an old set of rules I used to play a lot in the early 1990's.

 To my knowledge the game is long out of production, and the company that produced it was taken over and dropped the game from its inventory... or so the interweb leads me to believe.

The game is 'The Duel' by Alternative Armies, and it is a set of rules that allows players to fight out duels of honour in the Alternative Armies fantasy world of Valon.



 As I have always been a huge fan of The Three Musketeers and the writings of Dumas, who is my all time favourite author, I re-read the rules and wondered if I can convert them to a historical game instead of a fantasy one.

 Simply put, Yes.

 With this in mind I started looking for historical duellist type figures to use for the game and set my heart on the Brigade Games range of swashbucklers.

 Maybe I am fated to play this game again, for whilst looking through my lead pile that is contained in boxes in a cupboard, I found I actually owned some of the Brigade Games swashbucklers already!

I am missing the two on the right: I need to check my lead pile


I must have bought them years ago and forgotten I had them.  I only found three of the five figures that came in the pack, but it is enough to kick the game off the ground whilst I search out the others.

Playing a game might be a bit harder though.  I am not sure if my mate would play a duelling game, which he might do, as we have played with the Eureka 40mm Musketeers before and enjoyed it.

I also have two Wargames Foundry 'Duelling Hussars' somewhere that I could use for games set in the mid 1700's... at least I think the figures were part of their Seven Years War range.

 Failing that, I will need to come up with a solo system for the game - probably through the use of a flow chart to determine the opponent's actions.

 The final option is to try a play by email/blog game on the minuscule chance that I actually come across someone in the world that is actually interested in playing a game, and is familiar with the rules.

Whilst waiting for option #3, I might have a crack at option #2 to see how it could work.

I also had a thought of using Roll20 to play the games online in real time... but I think I am pushing smelly squishy brown stuff uphill with a stick on that idea.

More on this as I figure things out.


No End In Sight - a modern campaign

Thanks to the new rules I purchased, I have been drawn in to the game in a big way and want to play games set now or in the near future.

Rather than spend a fortune on buying completely new armies, I decided to go with 15mm - this way I can buy a whole platoon for around $30 - $40 plus the cost of any vehicles I want to use.

As Eureka Miniatures makes some awesome looking 15mm Modern Australians, I looked for an enemy to put them up against and found Khurasan's 15mm Modern North Koreans.

Sweeeeeet - now I have the forces for the game lined up, but how to get them in to a war involving them?

After dismissing a NK invasion involving naval forces as unlikely, I decided to have them invade parts of Russia - the Vladivostok region to be precise.

This is the background for a possible near future for setting my game up:

following the defeat of Russian forces in the Ukraine, and the weakening of the Russian state as a whole by World sanctions, many Russian states cede from the CIS and declare themselves nations in their own right.

If I do this, I can have the Country of “Primorsky Krai” (Vladivostok) as the battle ground, which would be perfect for an invasion by NK as it is on its boarders. Given this area is a food producer, it is a worthy target for a starving nation.

Digging around I found reference to ‘Green Ukraine’ on wikipedia, which  would make my plan even easier: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Ukraine

With US forces based in Japan and Korea, it would be easy for them to come to the assistance of this new Nation. Rather than deplete the US presence in South Korea, I would have troops shipped in for the campaign.  Australia would get involved due to treaty obligations.

This leads to
twothree questions:
1) would NK invade SK  (Or US/SK invade NK) when this happens?
2) Does NK fire missiles at Japan, targeting US forces there and bring Japan in to the conflict?  (If so, would I get away with using 15mm US army figure for Japanese? The weapons are slightly different, but does that matter at 15mm scale?)
3) Does China and Russia get involved?


 A map showing areas taken by NK. The red is NK held areas the green is National held area:








This indicates where the invasion has developed by the time Coalition forces make unopposed landings to the North East of the country. By unopposed I mean no land forces to stop the landings. Air and naval battles operations conducted/ongoing leading up to this point.

The way the campaign will be conducted is to fight a battle with my platoon and tally the victory points after each battle.  I will match the points to the campaign chart on p51 of the rules to determine if the Coalition forces have captured the area and can move on to the next one etc.
I have decided to use victory points rather than dice rolling results. This might make for a very long campaign, but I can cope with that. It will keep me off street corners



 Game Notes:

 The Platoon LT, SGT and the section/squad commanders will be characters, and if any soldier within the platoons does anything heroic, they will earn the right to be written up as a character.




Things to do:

Create the nation: name, flag, background information/data & map

Buy: A platoon of NK, support weapons and vehicles/aircraft

A platoon of US troops, support weaons, UVA and vehicles/aircraft

A platoon of Australian troops, support weapons (not a big option at the moment) and vehicles/aircraft.

Write up the Unit data (game stats) for all troops, and create my personalities.

Decide on the campaign type: not sure which one to use as yet, but I am thinking of playing the ‘Military Progression’ campaign, and maybe develop it in to the ‘Escalation’ campaign if it has the legs to carry it.

Make/buy scenery: most of the games I play are 28mm or 20mm, so I will need to see what scenery will be appropriate, and what I can make.

New rules "No End In Sight"

I am not sure why I did it, but I purchased a new set of rules to other week called "No End In Sight".

This is on top of buying "Chain of Command" not so long ago too.

I am glad I did though, as the rules are very simple to learn and play, and creates some very tense games when the bullets start flying.

I played a Vietnam game the other weekend to get the hang of the rules:

I dug out my Vietnam war game cards I created and randomly drew a mission for the LRRPS: they need to place four sensors along a train. I will treat each sensor placed as a objective that earns them victory points.

The type of mission helped determine what terrain I should place out, and I placed four American flags along the path to represent the objective locations.

Next I placed my LRRPs, place my VC figures, ‘VC blip flags’, dice, counters and game cards to the side of the playing area.

Each turn I will roll two different d6.

One die is for ‘VC blips’. On a ‘6’ a blip will appear on the table and move randomly each phase. If it comes in to line of sight, I draw a card form the enemy deck to see what, if anything, the blip represents. If it is a VC, I place the figures indicated by the card on to the table and it is time to ‘rock n roll’.

The other die is for random events. These can be useful, a hindrance, or something very nasty.

The set up for the game







The LRRPs I  treated as ‘Professional’ and the VC ‘Irregular’.


The LRRPs are being treated as ‘Self Motivated Individuals’ to reflect the way a LRRP team worked in the field. They also have the ‘Scouts’ and ‘Specialist – Artillery Observer’ skills.

The LRRPs deploy


The LRRPs deployed in to the jungle and headed for their first objective. Each turn I rolled for the appearance of enemy blips and for events, and for the three first turns every thing was quiet in the boonies.


After three activations for each turn I declared them exhausted rather than risk rolling the dice, and the phase ends.

At the start of the next phase an enemy blip appears rather too close to the first objective than I would like. I roll for a direction of travel for the blip, and it will move through the jungle to the river ford.
It is at this stage that things start to go wrong for the LRRPs.  They reach the each of the trail close to the first objective, and I start rolling 1’s for activation rolls. In fact I rolled three 1’s for this turn. The remain three LRRPs move in to position closer to the trail and I declare them exhausted.




 Whilst this was going on, the enemy blip was moving, and when they were within 12″ of the LRRPs I made a spotting roll* for the blip to determine if they could spot the LRRPs. Sure enough the blip sees the LRRPs and opens fire**


*As the game is set in the Jungle I reduced visibility as if it was night time.

** Once a blip has been spotted by the LRRPs I draw an enemy card to determine what, if anything, it is. Until then, the blip has two fire power dice and one kill die.







Due to the declared exhaustion, the blip manages to fire a second burst at the LRRPs – fortunately both attacks missed.
As a fire fight has begun, I add +1 to all rolls to determine is an enemy blip comes on to the table from now on.
The next phase starts and the a LRRP passes a spotting roll and I draw an enemy card and determine I am up against a VC LMG team consisting of an LMG gunner, an assistant and a team leader.







 As I used two LRRP activations to spot the VC (one failed test, one passed) I decide to use the right most LRRP, the Team Leader, who is partially exposed next to the trail to rush across the other side of the path to flank the VC team. I rolled high on his die roll and he makes it in to cover without getting a burst from the LMG.




The Senior Scout goes for an activation and I roll a 1. As he as already been activated, this means he is now exhausted! The VC open up on him and the Junior RTO near him. They miss the Scout, but pin the RTO.

The last two LRRPs to be activated push out to the left flank and in to rear security respectively.

After a short lunch break I returned to my game…

The LRRP that rushed across the road is activated and fires at the closest figure, being the VC leader, pinning him.

Another LRRP fires at the LMG assistant, and I get a good result and wounds him.

Having fired all the weapons I can at the VC they now check for morale. This time luck with with the LRRPs – I roll a 1.  The VC morale falters  and I removed one from play. I remove the wounded VC.

The VC commander activates and removes his pinned marker, and orders the RPD to open fire again. One LRRP is pinned.

I try to activate the first pinned LRRP and roll a 1. This means his is exhausted – I now have two exhausted LRRPs at the moment.

The VC commander activates the LMG again, but has no effect. I make a status check for the LRRPs, which they pass by the skin of their teeth.

I declare all the LRRPs exhausted, as does the VC commander. This ends the phase and a new one begins. I roll for “Change of Plans” for the VC, and they will go on the defensive.

The Team Leader out on the right flank fires at the VC commander and pins him.

Rolling for the VC status they pass easily and can continue the fight. The activation roll is low, allowing the commander to remove his pin and nothing else.

I unpin one of the LRRPs, but a follow up activation from the VC pins him again, as will as forcing another LRRP to keep his head down.

I now have three pinned and one wounded LRRP, which gives me a -4 to the status check. I roll a 4, failing the check and forcing my LRRPs back 4″. I also draw some reaction shots from the VC gunner, but it was only a parting gift for the LRRPs with no consequences.










This brings all but the Team Leader out of range of the RPD, so I make an activation roll for the TL and get a 1, causing him to be exhausted.

As the team leader is still on the path, the VC commander uses two activations to fire at him. Lucky for the TL, he is only pinned.

I fail the status test for the LRRPs by rolling a 1 – the LRRPs fall back again. The Team Leader makes it off the path in to cover, but is now pinned.

I must need another lunch break, as the next LRRP rolls a 1 for activation and is also exhausted due to being pinned, as are the next two activation die rolls for the next two pinned LRRPs.

The VC commander declares exhausted as he has three stress and doesn’t want to push his luck and have a permanent stress marker.

I have two LRRPs I can still activate, one of them being the LRRP with the radio on the Artillery net: “Four, this is five-one, Fire Mission, Danger Close,over”.  I activate the RTO and roll a 6 to start comms: “Five-one, this is Four, Fire Mission, Danger Close, out.”

As I have a few actions up my sleeve for the Assistant Team Leader, I activate him and unpin a LRRP.

The RTO continues with his first mission with his next actiation, and the ATL uses another to unpin another LRRP.  “Four, this is five-one, VC support weapon, At my command,  two rounds fire for effect, over”.

I push the situation and continue the fire mission and try to get the ATL to unpin the Team Leader. The ATL fails and is exhausted, but my luck is in with the fire mission: “Five-one this is four, ready over”. 

“Five-one, Ready. Fire, Over”  and I declare the RTO to be exhausted, thus ending the turn. I place three target points on the table in a linear pattern and end the phase.




With the new phase the VC have no change to being on the defensive, no more enemy blips appear, and there is no event.

As the VC are out of line of sight, they waste any activations waiting to see what the LRRPs do, blissfully unaware that some rounds have been called down on them.

I use the LRRP activations to get the remainder of the team unpinned, which I manage to do. I exhaust the Team Leader in doing so though, but sucessfully manage to move the remainder of the team further away from the expected artillery point of impact. I declare every one exhausted and the artillery rounds land.

I get lucky and the rounds only deviate a little, two of them landing so close to the VC that they are going to have a bad day regardless of what I roll for the blast affect.

The first round kills the gunner, and the second round catches the VC commander with full effect sending him all over the jungle (I rolled two hits, and two 6’s for damage effect).







With any enemy on the table I consider completing the mission, but with one wounded LRRP, I decide to call in a medevac and extract the team.

The mission was a minor victory for the LRRPs, with 7 VPs in total. They did fail to plant any sensors along the trail, but did engage the enemy and get a body count.

 


 The game was very tense, and the three VC figures back up by communist dice rolls were able to stop the LRRPs from their main mission!


Feedback and feelings – In a nut shell, I love the game. It is very easy to learn, and I only had to refer to the actual rules when I needed to add a new component to what I was doing, such as calling in the artillery.

The 3″ movement worked well for the type of game I was playing – a recon team sneaking through the jungle. I also created a ‘movement stick’ (seen in the first photo at the top of the image of the actual AAR). This sped things up a whole lot.  I suggest anyone playing the game make one of these. I intend to make one for different ranges for other uses in the game.

The dice were the real enemy for the LRRPs in this game. They rolled more 1’s than anything else, and the VC had a lot of 5’s and 6’s. This is what broke the mission.

It is very important to have lots of scenery that breaks line of sight, and this is mentioned in the rules. If you have an enemy hunkered down in cover and you need to cross an open ground, it is really going to ruin your day.

I honestly wouldn’t change the rules in anyway. Normally I get a set of rules and make ‘house rules’. Not for this one. Except for having an index.

The rules allowed for me to do what I needed; For example I could make the team a scout team that was highly motivated. I used night rules to reduce vision in the jungle.

Any changes to my game would be on my behalf – the enemy blips and the chances of if a blip in an enemy or not and clearly mark out what areas are ‘open’ and what is cover. I would also make it harder for the enemy to spot the LRRPs – they would often hide metres away from the enemy without being seen.

I also let the VC declare exhausted rather than push their luck with activations. I think I will add to the ‘Leader Dispositions’ chart how many activation rolls they will make before declaring exhausted. This a ‘Reckless’ leader will go for 6 activations a turn and a ‘Passive’ leader will only use one. This might have given the LRRPs a bit more of a chance, especially if I had encountered more enemy during the game.  (OK – so I have one house rule in mind)

Lessons learnt:
as mentioned, have lots of cover.

Use ‘fire and movement’. Try to expose as few soldiers as you can when moving and provide plenty of covering fire – basically use fire and movement.

Get better dice. I was enjoying myself too much to launch my dice across the room in frustration

Do your best to keep pins to a minimum. If this means taking your time to get troops into position with fire and movement, then so be it.

Playing aids – create some. I made the movement stick, and this sped things up a whole lot. I knew exactly how far I could move with out the tape measure knocking my scenery over, and it just made moving faster.

I also want to create a number of fire team reference cards so that I have a list of what skills, if any, the soldiers have, and include a place to record stress and wounds etc.  This will remove the use of counters on the table that you can see in the photos.


Summary:
“No End In Sight” is a very easy set of rules to learn, has very simple game mechanics, but don’t let that fool you. You have to make important tactical decisions that can make or break a game. Game play is fast and fun, and makes for a thrilling and tense game.

The game works perfectly for solo play.

I highly recommend these rules to anyone wanting to play a modern platoon level game.

WW1 in 10mm - trenches

I am toying with how to make the trenches for the 10mm WW1 project, and I might have come up with something that will a) be cost effective, and b) look the part.

As I want to play a Brigade/Divisional style game with lots of troops I will need to cut down on base sizes and have something that will look the part.

 At this stage I am thinking of using "Flanders Fields" for the rules. Each infantry base represents a platoon and is represented by three figures on a 30mm x 15mm base.

 To accommodate my trench idea, I have changed the base size to 20 x 20 mm, which is the same size as a command base for the game.

 This will actually allow me to use foam card to make the trenches, and keep them looking aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

 I will wait to get a variety of different miniatures before making the final decision, as I need to ensure all the figures that need to go in the trench will be able to do so, but I am fairly confidant that most things will work out.

 My intention is to make a 30 x 30 cm base tile, and glue two layers of foam card on top that have been cut out to make the trenches.  I can carve into the foam in no man's land to make shell holes, or build up if I so desire.



sample of trench concept





 I can make communication trenches etc without having to do anything too drastic, and it will still conform with the base sizes so as not to make the trenches look empty.

 By the time I add some sand bags and wire, I think the playing area will be quite acceptable.



WW1 in 10mm

Last year some time I purchased some Pendraken 10mm WW1 figures, painted a few up and then promptly did nothing more with them.

It seems I have been caught up in the WW1 spirit of things again, a good part of which could come from the fact I commanded the gun crew firing the commemorating the 'First Shot' of WW1 made by the allies 100 years ago:

You can't see me in this photo as I was in the No.1's position which has be hidden by the second gun.

What I am looking for is a set of rules to play games from Brigade to Division level.

I have 'Over the top', 'Trench' & 'World War 1 Wargame Rules' all of which I don't have much of an opinion, except for 'they are not for me'.

The Two Fat Lardies rules and the GW rules don't appear to be a the level of units I want to play, so I have dismissed those out of hand.

I was looking at "Crush the Kaiser" but any lack of review on the actual game mechanics is making me hesitate at spending $55+ on the rules in the hope I will like them.



 If anyone reading this has played them, or better still, owns them, could they please offer up a review on the mechanics and the basing etc.

I do have a copy of "Flanders Fields" that was a free download found in the Pendraken Forum. These seem to be the main contender for the rules I will use, but I want to do my research on rules available before making my mind up 100%.

In the mean time, I will plod away at painting my miniatures and plan my trenches - I have an idea for using two layers of foam card to make my playing area. I just need to base some figures first to see if it is feasible.

And help or suggestions on rules and scenery greatly appreciated.

Gutshot - a quick review

In my previous post about 'Gutshot' wild west gaming, Zabadak requested a bit of a review on the rules, so here goes.

Image used from the EM4 web site


'Gutshot' might look complicated and appear to have so much detail that one could mistakenly think it is a role playing game, but that couldn't be further from the truth.

 Quite the opposite - it is dead easy to play.

The rules books comes with a table of contents and an index, something a lot of other rules don't have.

 It is also laid out like a technical manual / military pamphlet, which to those familiar with this type of book, makes it easy to find things.  Looks like my 20+ years in the army are finally good for something ;-)

The first section of the book is the introduction, and section two is the quick start guide.  Experienced war gamers can pick up the basics in the ten pages of section two and pretty much get a game started, if only just the basics.

Section three covers some very basic information for the 'Game Marshal' or 'GM'. This is the person who sets the story and referees the game.  It is important to know that a GM is not essential to play the game, but isn't a bad idea when teaching new players to the game how to play.

The remaining ten sections of the rules goes in to greater depth on the actual rules, and includes a lot of detail, including stats for horses and wagons, pre-generated Non-player characters (NPCs are a familiar concept to anyone who has ever played a role playing game), as well as rules for campaign play.

Each player controls one or more 'character' and has a character sheet to use for each one. It is at this point that I imagine your average war gamer starts to worry and think they have a role playing game on their hands, and not a war game.

 All the character sheet does is act as an easy reference for the player.  It has the name of the character on it, as well as what weapons, including ammo carried, any skills  known (skills provide modifiers for the game, and should not be though at something from an RPG), and an area for recording damage and other important numbers.

 The remainder of the character sheet is just useful information to remove the need to look up information in the rule book; things like movement rates, combat modifiers and weapon data.

 Once you know now to play the game, most players would never need to stick their nose in to the rule book at all.

 Game play is so simple you could be excused for wondering if you are leaving something out.

 Initiative is a random draw kind of thing. Each character has a number of 'chits' that are drawn from a hat, and this chit allows them to perform an action or more. Once all the chits are drawn a new turn starts.

Any action, including combat, that needs dice to resolve is done by rolling two dice and comparing it to a target number on the activated character's sheet.  Rolling low is not good, whilst rolling high is good.

That is all there is to playing the game. Draw chits, make a simple dice roll to determine the results of any actions, apply the results and draw a new chit. Done. Very fast and simple to play, and second nature once you have played a few games and know what you are doing.

Campaign play is part of the rules, and for anyone that has followed my blog(s) will know, I love campaign play.

 The rules for campaign play are very simple too - with each game you play you earn victory points. Once you have saved up enough victory points you can either buy new skills, or improve your character's all important stat that determines the success or failure of an action.
  
About my only complaint about the rules is a lack of character types such as Native Americans, Banditos and Mountain Men for example, but that is easy to fix by making your own.

  A serious complaint I have is the Hawgleg forum seems to be broken - I have signed up but can not access the site.  The email address provided doesn't seem to work either. But the Hawgleg Guys mosey in to TMP all the time should you need to ask some questions.

A lot of review I have seen harp on about the game being a RPG type of thing, including Meeples and Miniatures, but having been a war gamer and a role player for a long time now, I can honestly say the Gutshot is not an RPG, but you could make it so if you wanted to.


Interested in the rules? Why not visit the Hawgleg site and download the rule sample they offer to wet your appetite: gutshot downloads   You can find the aforementioned rule sample, as well as character sheets to download.

How much are they? The rule book, which is around 180 pages long  is $25US plus postage.

 You can buy it from Hawgleg direct, or a variety of other stores in the US (I purchased mine from Rattlehead games as they had the best postage on offer when I bought them back in 2008 [not 2009 as mentioned in my previous post]), or from EM4 Games for those in the UK for around twenty quid.


All in all Gutshot is a fun game. I like it even more than 'The Rules with no name' if simply because 'TRWNN' always left us questioning a few things.



On an end note, Hawgleg mention a lot on their web site/blog "Gutshot: Night of the Living Deadwood".  I think this is an expansion for Wild West with Zombies, but I have no idea if or when it will be released. I hope it will be soon.

Hopefully this review was useful to someone, and if you are in to Wild West war gaming, I urge you to take a look at the game as they are a lot of fun and very easy to learn and play.

Gutshot!

It has been a while since my last post. I have been very busy, including a period of over five weeks without a day off, but I have been 'chipping away' at the hobby.

A few months ago I dusted off the Wild West rules "The Rules With No Name" and played a few games with my friend.

 We decided a Wild West campaign would be a great way to go for the year as it would be one of the easiest to maintain momentum.

 After a few games, I took a set of Wild West rules off the shelf that I have had since 2009, but never actually played.

 This set of rules are "Gutshot" by Hawgleg publishing.



 I suggested trying them to see what they were like. 

 I am very glad we did. They are VERY easy to play, and dare I say it, even BETTER than "The Rules With No Name".

 A lot of reviews of the rules say that "Gutshot" is closer to a Role Playing Game than a Wargame, but I don't believe they are.  Yes, you have characters and character sheets, but it is not a RPG.

 The game does encourage interaction between players/characters to a certain degree, but it is far from a "dungeons and dragons' kind of game.

 I am in the process of finishing off some scenery and figures, but I am thinking a lot of my wargaming this year will be a Gutshot campaign set in the county of Rio Diablo, located somewhere in the wild west of America.

Bag the Hun - a bit of inspiration


As I am intending to play a few Bag the Hun games soon I decided to do a bit of reading on WW2 air combat and borrowed a book from the library called "Whispering Death" by Mark Johnston.



 The book is about the RAAF airmen of WW2 in the Pacific, but also covers a bit of history leading up to start of the Pacific war too.

 I am still in the process of reading it, but what I have read so far is very interesting; I was amazed to learn that by the end of the war, Australia had the fourth largest air force in the world, only surpassed by the UK, the US and USSR.

 It is staggering to learn this fact, especially as almost every set of air combat wargame rules hardly even mentions the RAAF.  CY6! does have a scenario in the main rule book with RAAF vs Vichy French forces, but that is the only one I can think of.

If I had the time and ability, I would love to 'knock' together a scenario/source book covering the RAAF for WW2.  It would most likely be just for myself though as, judging by the lacklustre mention in rules, the RAAF might not be 'sexy' enough for most wargamers.

The Rules With No Name - Comanche War Party

One of my all time favourite games is the Wild West rules "The Rules With No Name".

This is one project I will not be selling off, as westerns are a whole lot of fun to play.

 So I was happy to see the Warlord Games are releasing some mins for Black Powder that are perfect for a Wild West setting: Plains Wars.

I have no idea if these are new releases or something that has been around for a while, but  hopefully there will be a lot more release than the Comanche War Party on show below:


I also hope they will release the figures in smaller backs as $120AUD+ for a couple of figures is a bit on the hard to justify buying side of things.

IHMN - new figure to buy

Whilst checking the web for my daily wargame news I saw that Artizan Designs have released some new figures, one of which is perfect for a character with Mystic Powers:






The figure can be found as part of a new range known as the "Midnight Workshop" here.

I still have a few funds in my pay pal account from a recent sale, so I might buy this figure to add to my Company for the game.

*                 *                 *                 *              *

I was able to play an introductory game of IHMN last night with my friend, and we found that if figures move that it is almost impossible to shoot and hit any target.

 In the end we adjusted the movement 'to hit' penalties very slightly, and this allowed for  a better chance to actually hit something and still give a sporting chance to the target.

Bag the Hun - a campaign?

I still don't have an answer to my spotting question in regards to playing 'Bag the Hun' - players of BTH in forums and the BTH yahoo group must be on holidays, as no one has given me an answer.

 So I have decided to make an on the spot rule - both sides make a single spotting attempt at the start of the game, and if only one side passes the spotting roll then that player gets to 'come out of the sun' for the game.
 Any other result and the situation is even.


I splurged and purchased the "Finest Hour" supplement for BTH, and it was worth the $ I paid for it - it has a system for creating a squadron, battles and events, so is very useful for any WW2 BoB
setting, not just Bag the Hun.



I have a number of 1/600 scale Tumbling Dice planes already in my collection, and it will be enough to get some games going, but I will need to purchase extra planes to play the full campaign game.

I currently have (the majority still needing to be painted):

12 x RAF Hurricanes
12 x RAF Spitfires
12 x Luftwaffe Bf109s
4 x Luftwaffe Bf110s
4 x Luftwaffe Ju 87s
3 x Luftwaffe Do 17s

To complete minis needed for a full campaign potential I need to get extra Luftwaffe (Bf110s, Ju87s, Do17s, He111 and Ju88s), and I could even get some Italians to join the party if the game takes off (CR42s, G50s and BR20s).

 I don't really need them, but I could make an excuse to get some Defiants and Blenheims for the RAF.


I also created a spreadsheet for the daily squadron roster in excel: one sheet is an electronic sheet, and the other is a printable sheet.

I would offer to share it, but it seems I don't have any BTH players as followers. Still, if someone that plays BTH reads this I am happy to share it with them.

Mad Dog WIth Guns - meddlesome reporter and dog

As part of my offensive on the lead pile I have finished a meddlesome reporter and his dog for my Mad Dog with Guns game:

why did image shack crop my photo?

Whilst there are no actual rules for a not Tintin for the the game, I am thinking of modifying the Public Outrage system to include various levels of crime fighting; Instead of just the Feds being called in, a Meddlesome reporter, a shadowy avenger, a ghost that walks or Feds could show up.

 As I have a not tintin, not shadow and not phantom already, it will be easy to include them in the game.  I still need to paint up the not phantom, and I am seriously thinking of sending the figure off to be painted to do it justice... that and I don't have the right colours needed.

Bag the Hun - spotting and bogeys

I cleared the area I use for my gaming table and even vacuumed it so that my nice blue felt mat wont get all dirty.

I did this so I could play a game of Bag the Hun in order to learn the rules.

 So far I am not overly impressed. This is mainly due to the spotting and bogey rules.

The shear number of bogeys needed for a game doesn't work on my small playing area to start off with, and the spotting rules seem a bit half arsed and could do with a lot more information.

It is clear when spotting takes place and who can do the spotting, but what isn't clear is  can you spot only one bogey at a time, or do you attempt to spot all bogeys within a certain range and so on.

Due to this I am going to play without spotting or bogeys for my game, at least until I can get some answers to my questions.

I wasted a bit of time looking for answers on the net. TMP was closed for maintenance for what seemed like an awfully long time, the Yahoo groups suck arse big time, and no where could I find a BTH FAQ.

I will give the rules another crack over the weekend without the spotting and bogey element and see how it goes.

arrrrgh the heat

It is ridiculously hot in my part of the world this week - 40+ degrees Celsius for every day this week, and being in the plant nursery business it is even hotter in the green houses the plants are in.

 One of the green houses has reached 50 Celsius today, and as we don't have automatic watering for the nursery I get to enter this heat to water the plants every few hours or so. 

 In between fighting off heat exhaustion I have been going over some of my rules and minis and deciding what I want to do with the lead pile.



 WW2 Dogfights

I have two sets of WW2 plane combat games: CY6! and Bag the Hun, and a good handful of  1/600 planes to go with them.  I intend to keep both sets of rules and slowly work up the number of planes to what I want.

At the moment I have enough planes to play small games with a bit of variation on the plane types, but I would like to get some more to allow for a lot of variation.

 I intend to focus more on Bag the Hun, as I think I can come up with a simple solo variation on the game that wont involve me having to plot the enemy movement.

 If I can do this, I will post my idea on the blog for others to try out.

 Expect a photo of my planes soonish.



 On the Net
I also revisited a site I learnt about a few weeks ago called MiniWars.  This site has a map showing players from around the world that have registered with the site and what games they play.

 I was taking another look at it today, and either there is a glitch in the map, or a number of people have deleted their profile from the site.  A week ago there were about eight+ Aussies registered on the site, now there are only two, including myself.

I don't even live the part of Australia the number indicates!

 For some reason Europe is only showing four players, and not from anywhere else in the world. I am hoping it is a glitch.

For those interested in checking out the site, you can follow this link: Wargame Player Finder


Items for Sale

I have some Defiance games Marines and Bugs for sale if anyone is interested. The price is $60AUD plus postage for both - given that one box is $40AUD from the only place I can find selling them, I figure this is a reasonable price for figures that are almost New In Box:






 I have started making one bug, but didn't finish it, and the marines haven't been touched at all - all neatly packed in the box the way they arrived.
 I did get some extras as well that will be include in any sale.

If anyone is interested in them please let me know - I am happy to accept paypal for payment or even some swaps if you have something I am after.

More items up for sale soon...

SAGA - my first Viking

I had been thinking about getting SAGA for a long time now, but the price vs my budget was just out of the should I / shouldn't I area.

 In October (I think) someone offered an unopened / unused copy of SAGA for sale here in Australia, so I took advantage of it to buy the rules.

 Whilst waiting for the rules I purchased a Viking Warlord figure, knowing that I could use it for the game and not go wrong with the purchase; i.e. I wouldn't be buying a figure the game didn't use.

This was my first attempt at painting a Dark Ages figure, and I am rather pleased with the results:






I also purchased some blank dice from EM4 so that I could make two sets of SAGA dice needed (but not 100% needed) to play the game:


I know I want a Viking army, but I am umming and ahing about either a Saxon or Norman army to go with it.  I am leaning towards the Saxons, as I think I can get more use form them scenario wise.

I intend to start out with a smallish Viking army and then add to it as time goes by.

The Gripping Beast Viking Hirdmen box should (from what I have read) allow me to build a basic army without the need to buy too much else.



 I do want a unit of archers, so I will need to buy those sometime.

 Ultimately I am thinking of having a unit of Berserkers (four figures), a unit of Hearthguard (eight figures),  two units of warriors (2 x eight figures) and a unit of levies (12 x figures).  This will be a six point army in total.

 This of course is option to change depending on how well my intended army works out for me.


Gripping beast also make a box of Saxons, so the two boxes would let me have two opposing armies:




As one or two of my blog readers might not know too much about SAGA, I have included a youtube video that helped inform myself a great deal about the game:


 This video is part one - if you watch the video through youtube you can get the links to the other parts should you be interested enough.



As I intend to fund this project via sale of my lead pile I am not sure how soon I will have it up and running.

 In the mean time I will me playing the game using unit bases to represent my armies so I can learn the rules.