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a plan for 2017?

I haven't really done too much gaming these last couple of years, so I want to try an implement a plan or a guideline for 2017.

What I hope to do for 2017 is focus on what I already have and only add to what I can or actually will use with either the figures already in my collection, or for the rules I already own.

15mm Scale games 

Modern Conflicts/SciFi:
                                      My Australian Platoon vs. an invading force (Chinese/Russian/?)
                                                                            vs. the zombie apocalypse
                                                                            vs. an Alien invasion (not Falling Skies)
                                                                            vs. an enemy on overseas deployment (unsure of who)

SciFi: "Not" a TV show game, but inspired by: Some kind of warp gate game.

Napoleonic Skirmish: playing a large skirmish game using 15mm figures.

I also have some 15mm WW2 Australians, and I am tempted to get enough to play some big skirmishes, but I also have 20mm for this. The good thing about the 15mm is I can easily get tanks and specialist equipment that I can't get for 20mm games.

20mm Games

 WW2 - I have German Paras, Australian and Japanese, so I just really need to get a force to go up against the Germans and scenery for all theatre settings.

28mm Games

 WW2 - I have invested enough in WW2 28mm that I don't want to abandon this, so I will play some skirmish level games with what I have, and add some extra figures if and when needed.

 Napoleonic - I will play some smaller skirmish games to ties in with my 15mm plans.

 French and Indian War - This might be one of my bigger focuses for 2017. I need to get more troops for the game, and work on some scenery, but it is something that really interests me and might get some focus in the coming year.

Zombies - I have the figures, I just need more scenery to play a campaign.

Vietnam - one of the few armies I have lots painted up and ready to go. And I do enjoy using my LRRPs from time to time.

Various - I probably wont stray too far from the above, although I would like to get a lot more of some air battles in, notably modern and WW2. And some trials of different settings using figures I already have: Samurai and Pulp being the notable ones - both in 28mm.

Rules - I intend to try and stick two a main set of rules for the year - notably the FiveCore rules from Nordic Weasel games. I intend to play all the skimrish games mentioned above with the FiveCore rules - from French and Indian wars, right through to the Sci-fi games.

 The only exception to this is the dog fight games.

 I wonder how much of my play would have survived by this time next year?

Target Locked On! - New modern air combat wargame rules by Rory Crabb

Well, 2016 was not really the wargaming haven I was looking for, but with any luck I can turn that around in 2017.

One of the things I actually hope to do a bit more of is modern air combat games.

 It must have been 2011 when I last played a game of this nature, for I remember showing my Wife's family in Japan the blog post I made on the painted planes, as wargaming is not a common hobby in Japan.

 Back then I was playing Airwar C21, and I liked the rules, but I never really did much about them.

 Fast track to 2016, and in September a new set of rules called 'Target Locked On! was released, and I asked a question about the rules on TMP, but never did much about it.

image a direct link from the authors blog: https://rorycrabb.wordpress.com/target-locked-on/

 I also recently asked Mr Crabb a question on Facebook about the rules, but ended up buying the rules before a reply came in.

I was surprised at how simple the rules were, yet how much 'flavour' for modern combat came out in the rules.

 So, here is my initial review of the game, with hopefully a simple game play review to follow:

The game is designed for 1/300 or 1/600 miniatures, and can be played in a 4' x 4' area. As my planes have magnets on them for use on flight stands, I am thinking of using a white board as the playing surface so that I can save a bit of room.

The game uses d6, and this includes using some as altitude markers to help with game play.

There are only a few stats/characteristics for each aircraft which cover how they handle. One thing I do like is that each plane has a Fuel rating, which means games will be limited in how long combatants can remain during a game.

Game play is easy, and divided in to three phases: Reaction; which determines who moves first, Activation; each plane performs actions or actions in order according to the Reaction, and Morale:
rather than letting players fight to the bitter end, this phase determines if a pilot will continue the battle or not.

When activated, each pilot is allowed one manoeuvre without needing to make a pilot skill check. A player can then attempt to push the pilot by making pilot skill checks. Once a check has failed, then that particular pilot's turn ends and the next pilot is activated.

Manoeuvres in the game are limited to a handful compared to modern fighter combat, but it wouldn't be too hard to add extra manoeuvres, or treat the ones in the rules as some of those employed by today's pilots.

Combat is a d6 roll with modifiers vs a target number, and includes the used of countermeansures.

Included in the game are also rules for ground attacks and weather conditions, as well as a number of scenarios.

Pilots are ranked from Rookie to Ace, and have a point system for game purposes accordingly, as do the planes themselves.  Normally I am against point systems for games, but this one isn't the type you would be able to min-max as it actually works to have players using less planes rather than put together a massive unbeatable force.

For example, an F-16 with an Ace pilot will cost a player 140 points, which could be half of your points for a game. This seems fair enough to me, as it lets players put a lead plane and wingman for smaller games, and Flights for slightly larger point value games.

The initial number of planes covered in the rule book might be seem a bit limited -  there are US, UK, Russian and French planes listed, but there is already a free download on the Author's web side that includes more planes.

 And... if you ask very nicely, Mr Crabb may even come up with some stats for the planes you need stats for. I am hoping for some Chinese and Japanese stats for the 'what if' game I came up with back in 2011.

At the back of the rules are the record sheets for your planes, and the quick reference sheet. With both of these being used during game play, I feel confident that you wouldn't need to look in the rule book too much after a game or two.

What the game doesn't include are rules for solo or campaign play.

This isn't too much of a problem, as the reaction and morale rules are perfect for solo play - one just needs to play each plane one at a time and work out the results.

As for campaign play, it wouldn't be too hard to come up with a promotion system for Rookies to advance to Aces, or a system for resting pilots and making repairs for damage aircraft.

This concludes my initial review of the rules.

I intend to play a patrol scenario with two planes aside as a secondary review very soon.

           Buy the rules on Wargames Vault

           The Author's web site with downloads

          A page on Air to Air tactics

         A page on fighter formations

         And this page lets you view each Nation's order of battle, plane stats and markings: link

Operation Unthinkable - a Two Hour Wargames NUTS! campaign

I am currently playing a NUTS! campaign, with each player (two of us) contolling a section as part of a whole platoon.

The setting is a 'what if' Soviet invasion of West Europe towards the end of WW2.

This 'what if' has always interested me and I know both Churchill and Patton contemplated this scenario, with Churchill going so far as to have "Operation Unthinkable" drawn up: Operation Unthinkable wiki link

Author Colin Gee has also written a number of novels on a Soviet attack on the West at the end of WW2, so this is great inspiration for the campaign setting: Red Gambit novels link

With this in mind, we are playing a low level operations campaign with British vs Soviets.

We have a British platoon as the basis, and support units to help out.

Each player has a Star to control, and we each take control of our own section, and the third section and HQ come in to play as needed, as do the support troops. 

The map below is the basis for troop deployments, with our platoon being a small cog in the machine that is the British 2nd Army: Second army link

The enemy units will primarily come from the Soviet 49th Army. Historically the end of the war found the 49th army on the Elbe River in the vicinity of Ludwigslust where it encountered Second Army (United Kingdom). List of Soviet armies from WW2

This sets things up perfectly for my campaign.

As we are only playing a Platoon level game, the campaign map is small, and I have drawn one up using the campaign system from the Great Escape games book "Operations and Objectives".

I have also created some cards depicting each member of the platoon, and skills or attributes they have and equipment cards to use a reminder of what each one can do.

The red and blue magnets on the white board are being used for British postions and for Soviet blinds on the map.

Each hex equates roughly to the playing area for each game.

Star Wars X-wing Co-Op campaign rules

Again this is something I found else where and had no hand in creating it at all.

Someone has come up with some Star Wars X-wing solo/co-op campaign rules, and I like them so much I feel they should be shared:

X-wing co-op rules link

A lot of work has gone in to making the rules, and I think it will help rejuvenate my interest in the game.

video on making trees

I get a hobby email sent to me each week, and this tutorial was in this week's email.

I didn't make the video, I am just letting others know of it's existence.

There is a bit of work needed to make the trees, but I get the feeling once you have made some it would be much faster to make lots in one go.

I really like how the tree trunk is made too.

I might have a crack at using some of the ideas for making some trees, but only not so tall.