Friday, October 12, 2018

Bobby Lee Game 2

Lawrence and I played our second game of Bobby Lee, the Civil War in the east.

End of Turn 1

The early fighting goes pretty normally.  CSA holds to the west while the USA manuevers the CSA out of Manassas.  The CSA called for a draft which is why the VP space is on 2.

End of turn 2

The USA is kicked out of Mannassas but manuevers to take Aquia Station and the adjacent area.  The CSA was out of activations to take it back.

End of game on Turn 3 (Forgot to take a picture, reused the last turn one with notes added to show moves) .  The CSA took back the VP in the west but lost a general's pip in the battle (lucky USA roll, 2 hits out of 3 shots with a 1 in 6 chance for each shot to hit).  This runs the CSA units out of steam.  Near DC the CSA moved out of Mannassas to the spot where the USA army currently is (forgot to draw it in).  The USA retreated (routed) and moved units from the west in.  The CSA did not have enough activations left to take DC or the space next to it since they would have had to take the space next to THAT in order to get enough troops in the area since it was mud they could only get two units directly into the battle space and the USA had three, barring really bad luck the CSA would lose any battle for the space.  The USA naval assaults in Norfolk taking it and send a lone unit to take the VP space in the middle of the map.  The Emancipation Decleration is made and the Civil War ends in less then one year.
Made a couple of mistakes, combined a naval assualt with a land attack - NO NO.  Without that taking the space next to Fort Monroe would be much harder.  Only two units can go from Fort Monroe to the adjacent space by land and only two by sea and in order to win a skirmish you have to have more blocks in the space after one battle round - only hitting on a 1.  Second mistake is using units other than infantry to invade but that was minor, could have moved other units around.

We really wanted to like the game but the lack of chrome with regard to leaders is a problem for us.  McClellan can have up to 4 pips - in effect making him just as good as Grant when it comes to manuever  - add in that a unit in a port space can get 6 reinforcement points it means that McClellan can activate 3 times and still be back at full next turn where no CSA leader can do so.  As the USA commander I certainly had no qualms with having him on the board.  I think Grant has a longer command range which can certainly be handy and a better combat rating (I think) but putting a leader in the front line is a desperation move.  When it comes to operational Tempo the little Napoleon really IS the little Napoleon. 

After seeing the oops on the naval assault I'm thinking of playing it again, yesterday we had decided to give the first version a try (Lawrence owns both).  Units are not named in that version and perhaps that will make the early movement not seem strange.

Across Five Aprils: Bentonville

Having extra time after our game of Bobby Lee Lawrence and I setup and played the Bentonville scenario from Across Five Aprils.  A perfect game to fill in some time since the game is simple and the scenario a small on.  To win the CSA has to capture at least 1 stared space on the map or do better in casualty tracking at the end of the game.

Setup for the game.  The stars to the left are the VC locations.  Capturing at least one is a CSA victory.  The USA gets a number of reinforcements and the game lasts six turns.

The chit draws for the CSA go perfectly on turn 1.  At least I think they did, all of their forces got to move and then the combat chit came up, perhaps getting a bit of them to move, then combat, then moving some others would have been better since that could blow a whole in the line that could be exploited.  Besides the point at any rate, though the chit draws were perfect the combat rolls were abysmal for the CSA and near perfect for the USA.  I think in every case the USA got the better of the deal with both sides being forced to retreat from the battle or even just the CSA being forced to retreat.

At the end of turn 2 the chits did not go well for the CSA.  I don't remember the exact sequence but it appears that the USA attack chit came up before the CSA OR that the CSA got move chits and then the USA got move chits.  In either case the USA pulled back without losses and the CSA could not advance at all this turn.

Turn 3, the sun is setting and the CSA has to hurry (in other words sorry about the lighting...).  The CSA gets some good positioning for the attack this turn.  The CSA cavalry was in position to interdict the USA forces getting beat in battle which caused the USA cannon to lose a step in the retreat.  Or it could be the USA attack chit came up and I took the retreat (yes that was it).  The CSA attack blew the whole in the US line at the top allowing the CSA cavalry to get into interdiction position.

Turn 4 and the USA pulls back.  More reinforcements come on board and the line is solid - not much chance of another retreat through a ZOC but if the chits come up badly it could still happen.

Turn 5 and the chits came up favoring the USA.  Can't remember much else.  At this point the USA is slightly ahead in casualties.

End of turn 6 and the game.  It all boils down to chit draw this turn, if the CSA can get forces in position and then draw they could take a VP space and win or perhaps improve the casualty situation for a draw.  The chit draws come up with USA moves, and single CSA move, and then the CSA combat.  The combat forces the CSA unit to retreat but it can not so it loses a step instead.  Since the CSA can not get a VP space we call the game and count up points.  It appears the USA won but a minor victory but the VC are hard to interpret when we dug into them.  It is loss ratio based but the ratio we ended up at was not covered.  It was not at 1 to 1.5 for the union but it was not 1 to 1 either.  The table goes 1 to 1 is a draw, 1 to 1.5 is a union victory.  In no case does it say what to do between 1 and 1.5 
It is an easy to play fun game and we intend to give a larger scenario a try.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Lock N Load Tactical: Heroes of the Motherland: Rattenkrieg

Played my second game of Lock 'N Load tactical with Bill, this time Arty is added into the mix.

A simple scenario when it comes to VC, the Russians must control both of the circled building hexes at the end of the game.  The game is six turns and in a big twist on the normal procedure initiative is rolled for EVERY impulse so it is very possible that one side never gets to act in a turn.

First Blood!  Lt Koch (the decisive guy) shakes the Russian first move units.

End of turn 1.  I think the 12.7mm MG also fired at Lt. Koch's stake to no effect.

End of Turn 2.  Lt Koch keeps pouring fire onto the Guards stack.  
Turn 3 and the Russian Artillery falls!  Luckily for the Russians it is right on target, luckily for the Germans it has very little effect (in what should have been a disaster for the German defense).  The turn also ended with not much else happening.

End of turn 4.  Lt. Koch keeps up the fire on the wounded Russian leader and his stack, he is fired upon by the 12.7mm MG to no effect.  The Germans get initiative enough times in a fow to finish off the turn without the Russians getting any other moves.

End of turn 5.  The Germans move two squads back to the VC building and then get the initiative 3 times in a row to end the turn.  Since the Russians now have no chance of even getting to the VC building the game ends there.  As the German I was extremely lucky this game, suffering only one shaken unit the entire game and getting the initiative three times in a row on a couple of game turns - allowing me to end the turn before the Russian could move all his troops and they NEED to move in order to win. 
As I mentioned this is my second time playing the game and I really like it (besides being a lucky bastard to boot).  The turns flow nicely, each player has choices to make, there are multiple tactics that can work (I hate "puzzle" games or games where there is obviously one best way to handle each situation), and the rules are easy to read and understand without being simplistic.  Looking forward to my next game on Monday - this time featuring tanks!  Speaking of easy to read and understand rules, I read the tank/vehicle rules and understood them the first time through.  I'm looking forward to moving onto the Pacific and Desert (not to mention modern and Vietnam) titles.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Bobby Lee

Lawrence and I played Bobby Lee as a learning game and we are not sure of this one.  We made some mistakes (first game) that favored the Union but it seems like it would be harder on the CSA.   We still have to play it again now that we looked up the items we missed the first time however.

The setup for the game.  We are playing the full campaign so it is Summer 1861.

End of the first turn.

The CSA fell back from the city near the top of the picture.  Near DC (bottom middle of picture) the CSA stayed south of the river the USA stayed north.  The only fighting was the skirmish along the Potomac where the CSA fell back.
End of Autumn 1861  (Johnston was defeated in battle and removed but can come back)

The USA flanks the CSA army with a naval landing, fearing the loss of Richmond if they don't react the main CSA army crushes the landing forces.  The CSA also takes back the VP city.  With the CSA army forced out of position the USA crosses the Potomac, they also lost a unit or two in battles after crossing the river. 
Winter 1862

Mud slows things down but a large battle is fought between the main CSA and USA armies and the USA comes out the winner.  The USA also retakes the VP city near the top of the picture.

End of Spring 1862 and the game.

Forgot to take a picture before post game talk began - which is why the counters are showing all the leaders at the bottom.  Yorktown fell to a combined naval and land attack while the main CSA army was beaten again (down to just a couple of blocks anyway now).  The CSA player conceeded since the USA could skirmish to Richmond this turn and that would net the VP needed to win the game.
On the plus side - unlike other Civil War games the CSA has no real chance of taking DC if the USA defends it and the CSA ability to raid into the north is very limited since they can not supply themselves up there.  On the negative side the USA was quite content with McClellan in command since the game gives him no negatives (slow he is not) and the ability for the USA to supply Lincoln (the supreme commander which allows strategic movement) and McClellan (by putting him in a port) by 6 points each turn gives them the ability to outmanuever the CSA which can only bring 4 supply to each of their generals.  The CSA can make their units stronger (4 steps per infantry vs 3 for the USA usually) but the USA can easily counter that with more units and a larger build total each turn.

We are going to give this another playing in October with some rules that we got incorrect before and hopefully find it a more challenging contest for the USA.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Lock N Load Tactical Starter Kit Scenario 1: Assault on Vierville

Played my first Lock N Load Tactical game back on the September 8th but only got round to blogging it till now (lazy and busy, bad combination).  Tomorrow night Bill and I will be playing again.

The setup.  The winner is whichever side controls 4+ buildings at the end of turn 6.  The US starts in control of them.

First Blood!  a US MMG fires on moving Germans shaking them (which in ASL speak - I'm an old ASLer - is equivalent to breaking)

End of turn 1.  The US sniper does very little and then is eliminated in Melee.  I'll know better next time.  Major Tom comes on board (we made a mistake, reinforcements were placed onboard instead of entering - will take care of that next time too)

End of Turn 2.  A little bit of movement and Major Tom fires again.

First Melee!  Although the Germans were eliminated they kept Major Tom occupied.

End of turn 3.  Not much else happening for the turn.  The Germans want to rally before moving forward.

End of Turn 4.  Still not a lot of movement as the Germans are trying to recover and Major Tom did not want to move in the open.

Another Melee!  This time things go Jerry's way.  The victory is now in site for Germany.

End of turn 5.  We called the game after this, both players thinking the other had it won.  The Germans needed one more VP building but had 4 squads left while the US only had 3 left.  The Germans could activate 4 in sequence and the US would have run out of shots.  On the other hand the US could have help off, and reinforced a melee or perhaps retaken a building via melee and won that way.  
Had a lot of fun with the system and the ease of reading the rules.  I've played ASL since it came out and this system captures a lot of the tactical feel that ASL does with much less rules overhead.  There are some things I miss like MG firelanes and Residual Fire but the clean system easily makes up for those items.  Looking forward to tomorrow's game (the 24th as I am writing this on the 23rd) where we add in Artillery.  The game after that is armored combat.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Fireball Forward: Brigade Box Tiger Variant

Fourth time playing or Umpiring this scenario and every time has been a UK win.  Each time the German Tigers were too aggresive and paid the price.

The setup.  All of the chits are hidden UK units, most of them are dummies.  I do this instead of hidden units since hidden units are a pain and the end result is almost exactly the same.  I forgot my orchards so blue tape filled in.  There is also a bit of blue tape for a stream that can be crossed (it is labeled).  the trees denote wooded areas and the brush is hedgerow.  The Germans have to capture the command post (top of map) or get 12vp to win.  The Germans get 1vp for each UK unit destroyed or 2vp for each tank or squad exited off the far side of the map.
End of turn 1!  (out of 8 possible turns)

The highlight is the Tigers moving forward and getting side shotted by the 17lber AT gun.  The first shot was the 17lber reaction fire and the second was when the 17lber activated.  Two Tigers down.  The Morale roll caused the other tigers to become broken and one of them (above) had to run off the board.

And the rest of the table.  Even though there are 6 German squads (or leaders) that broke for awhile it seemed like the German player would never fail a Morale Check.  In response the UK troops failed at a high rate.

End of Turn 2!

Highlights.  Two German 251/9 halftracks (with 75mm guns) tried to rush forward and were destroyed by the Sextons in the back line.  The Tiger had run for the hills and been destroyed by another 17lber hiding on the road.

The end of the Game.  German infantry fire did fairly well up top, forcing two UK squads to fall back but the middle to bottom was mostly a UK shooting gallery.  It had taken a few hours to get to this point so we called it a game since the German player was out of vehicles and his infantry was getting chewed up badly.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Commands and Colors

Played Command and Color Napoleonics.  Sadly I had to leave early due to work the next morning.  I was the center dudes attacking the Brits and Portuguese with my second rate (Napoleon was not there) French.  My guys on the left made a sweep through the British lines while the cavalry and others held back due to cards.  Still iffy at that point but I had to go...