|Posted by BrianW on October 16, 2013 at 4:10 PM||comments (0)|
A couple of months ago, I was approached by Greg Burns, a librarian with the Harris County Library System. He wants to set up a display with wargame miniatures in the Seabrook branch of the library during the months of November and December. The library has a locking display case that measures 57" H x 134" W x 17" D. The idea is to set up a display called "From History to Hobby" and showcase miniatures and books that compliment them. So, if anyone has some minis that they would like to show off to someone other than ourselves, here is your chance! To give you a idea of this display case, here's a picture:
Also, he would like to try and get some miniatures gaming going at the library. He wants to get area kids to do something more than just stare at computers all day, and thought this might be a good way of going about it. He has offered the use of a conference room that is almost large enough to hold a mini-convention in and has over 100 chairs available along with quite a few 3x8 tables. The idea would be to hold regular meetings there, and use it as a way to generate interest in our hobby. It would also be a far better place to game in the summertime than my garage is. My current plan is to try and hold a meeting there either once a month or once every other month.
If anyone has minis they would like to have displayed, please bring them to the October B&P meeting, and I will pick them up from you there. Also, if you'd like to assist in one of the upcoming game days, please let me know.
|Posted by Rob on September 29, 2013 at 11:45 AM||comments (0)|
From: 1st Squad, 1st Platoon Co B 1/7
To: C.O. B Co. 1/7
Enemy Main Line of Resistance spotted and marked. Friendly casualties KIA, WIA, and MIA. Full report ASAP. Enemy casualties: KIA 5 squads. No enemy prisoners.
|Posted by Rob on July 19, 2013 at 7:25 PM||comments (0)|
Personal Blog entry of Manuel Exposure - WWF Photojournalist
June 24, 2013
Living in Elbonia for the last 20 years, I have seen the outlook on the wildlife here go from rather hopeful to incredibly dismal.
By the mid-2000s—shortly after Elbonia fell into despotic rule under General Wubaqi—wildlife numbers of lions were of typical sub-saharan levels in many communal areas. But since the Elbonian government began state sponsored lion hunts, the depletion of these animals has been amazing. Elbonia now has the smallest population of indigenous lions in the world.
This deplorable condition has all been possible due to Elbonia’s lack of vision for conservation and total disregard for the importance of engaging communities in conservation. The government has ignored multiple non-governmental organizations’, including WWF, call to create a national community-based natural resource management program. In fact, efforts to jointly assist communities in forming conservation areas to manage and benefit from their wildlife have been thwarted at every turn by bureaucratic harassment and continued demands for extra ‘permits’ and payments for non-judicial administrative judgments. Finding it impossible to meet this legal criteria, it becomes necessary to appeal to the world community to recognized all branches of government in Elbonia as a public enemy of conservancy.
With government owned game reserves covering 38 million acres, Elbonia has become a conservation disaster that motivates countries and communities around the globe to cry out on behalf of the lions. Twenty different countries have sent delegations to come and protest Elbonia’s practices and failures.
One of the most abyssmal visits was a high-ranking delegation from Garlamistan. It was remarkable to sit in the constitution room at parliament and hear our Elbonian hosts so proudly tell their guests about how important it is to create a constitution that incorporates sustainable game management of the environment and proactive engagement with communities. “After all, if we didn’t hunt the lions, they would just in turn hunt us. It’s a quid-pro-quo you see” stated the Under-minister of Ministries Kidd Rockus. When the Garlamistani delegation pointed out that the lions in Elbonia were on the verge of extinction, the Under-Minister commented “We will just breed or buy some more, what do they take, a few months/years before we can hunt them? There are plenty of Zoos who will sell their lions for a good price. Besides, what do you berry gatherers know anyway? Gunga ga loonga, isn’t that a word in your language?”.
It’s very depressing to watch the transformation in how people value wildlife in Elbonia. Wildlife, once perceived as a valuable asset to peoples’ livelihoods to be used for tourism, is increasingly being viewed as a detriment useful only to attract big game hunters. One can see peoples’ mindsets incrementally shift; they start to think that wildlife is not worth something and that it’s ok to be hunted for sport by the state.
An example of this is the recent secret Great Lion Hunt where over 20 lions were slaughtered for pleasure by international hunters on motorcycles, offroad land cruisers, and even an armoured vehicle with helicopter gunship support in northwest Elbonia. If you approached the game reserve, Elbonian Army units would not let you pass stating the reserve was closed for “Executive Training Maneuvers”.
We offered to provide half the money to buy the lions’ lives and secure their release before the hunt. After two hours of discussion, the Army’s representatives took our money told us to leave. That was a huge demonstration of their attitude shift. Not only did they condone killing the lions for sport, they now were willing to confiscate NGO money with total disregard to the lives of the lions.
Working for WWF and being involved in this kind of work is incredibly dangerous. I doubt there's any other place in the world where I could have so little impact or satisfaction from a job. This place is hopeless from a conservationist view. I’m packing my things and leaving on the next boat or flight out, back to Sevilla.
|Posted by Rob on June 2, 2013 at 3:55 PM||comments (1)|
ATTENTION TO ORDERS: THE PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL, ACTING UPON THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE MINISTER OF DEFENSE, HAS PLACED SPECIAL TRUST AND CONFIDENCE IN THE PATRIOTISM, INTEGRITY, AND ABILITIES OF LIEUTENANT FIRST CLASS REUVAN ROZEN. IN VIEW OF THESE SPECIAL QUALITIES, AND HIS DEMONSTRATED POTENTIAL TO SERVE IN THE HIGHER GRADE, LIEUTENANT FIRST CLASS ROZEN IS PROMOTED TO THE GRADE OF CAPTAIN, ISRAELI AIR FORCE, EFFECTIVE THE 8TH DAY OF JUNE, NINETEEN HUNDRED SIXTY-SEVEN, BY ORDER OF THE COMMANDER IAF.
As I heard these words, I thought back on the mission that I had narrowly survived. What a cluster... There were 8 of us that went in. It was supposed to be a 'milk run' to hit some of the Egytian troops near Refidim. This was the third day of Operation Moked and we were winning! What happened? I never saw such good flying by the Egyptians.
Everything was going fine. Giora said this would be a great day to get some more kills. Oh Giora, what happend? It must have been the shrapnel wound he had only two days ago. Made him a little crazy. The Commanders loved him, we all loved him. A true natural pilot and oh how he could fly.
105 Squadron's Super Mystere's went in first, dropped their bombs and got some hits. One of the Super Mysteres got dropped by some AAA right away. That should have told us this was not going to be our day. Then some MiGs popped up, perfectly bracketing 105 Squadron to the front and rear. One of the 105 squadron pilots shouted out that he recognized them as the newer MiG-19 types right before he fire-balled from a deflection shot. No chute.
Giora led our section of Mirages into a power dive to assist our attack pilot brothers. He said to ignore the ground targets and to get some MiGs roundels painted onto our aircraft. Oh he was so confident yesterday. I pulled in behind him and was shocked when suddenly, a fireball from his aircraft and then he was gone.... The MiG that got Giora immediately fireballed too when Giora's wingman took him out with a savage scream over the radio. We were all stunned at that point.
But there were still MiGs all over, and the Super Mysteres were running for home with MiG calls cluttering the radio. One by one I saw the rest of 105 Squadron go down. Avi and I pulled Immelmans over the top of Giora's smoking grave and ran for home using all our afterburners and diving to the deck. Two MiG-17s came after us with similar moves and took shots until they probably ran out of ammunition. I was upset that we were running but silently agreed with Avi this was the time to egress and fight another day. Avi did not make it. The MiGs choose to concentrate on him. No chute. I mourn for you Avraham. Why you and not me? Giora... 105 Squadron friends... As the triple silver Captain bars are pinned on, I wonder what is the next mission for me? Will I meet those same Egyptians the next time up? Who were they? How were they so well trained?
We had a great crowd out last month for a continuation of the Six Day War mini-campaign from the CY6 book Star and Pyramid. Nine pilots took to the skies and Andy's buddy, Andrew, took some amazing photos with the best lighting equipment and camera we have ever seen. All pilots quickly mastered the mechanics and we got down to it. Scenario was Giora's Shahak from the S&P book. It's a cool scenario, basically an egress game with the attack pilots dropping bombs on Turn 1 and then trying to escape with escort fighters coming in to help. I doubled the ground targets, defenses, attack, escort, and intercepting pilots as we basically had twice the number of players as the original scenario calls for. AAA fire was incredibly accurate, getting a quick kill, and then started shooting solely at Egyptian aircraft but luckly for them missing from then on. The MiG dice were hot as witnessed by a green MiG-19 flaming veteran Giora Ram in a head-to-head shot. If you play this game enough you will eventually see almost anything possible happen. Unfortunately the victorous Egyptian MiG pilot did not live to celebrate his kill.
Score of the game was 44-8 in Egypt's favor, mainly due to the high points for aircraft kills (Giora's alone was worth 12 points). Current campaign score after 4 games is 74-31 in Egypts favor again. This Six Day War may have a shorter duration.
Another bonus discovery during our game is that Steven H. has an amazing painted aircraft collection. He said his best paintbrush is his credit card! We decided to try Yom Kippur War or Iran/Iraq in our next Jets outing with his aircraft to move the weapons technology forward and try out some radar missiles and ECM.
Looking forward to the next modern-Africa outing in the Wubaqi Chronicles later in June.
|Posted by Andy on May 17, 2013 at 1:00 AM||comments (1)|
That's right, all you wargamers and beer aficionados out there, its our third annual year-in-review. We've recently celebrated the third anniversary of what Rob first conceived of three years ago, back when we started meeting occasionally in Asgard's back room, to drink beer and play a multiplayer, simple, fast, and fun wargame, and have a good laugh or three while doing it.
Some of our 2012/2013 gaming has been light hearted, some has been more serious. We've explored the what-ifs of managing a modern urban and industrial crisis, the frozen fjords of WWII Norway, tongue-firmly-in-cheek modern war-torn Africa, and a fair bit of far future science fiction gaming as well, plus a whole lot more.
So here it is, a brief recap of what we played over the last 12 months, with links to the full after-action reports and photos if you are interested in seeing more.
April 2012 - We're Not in Good Shape Anymore
Stephen provided us a rare treat back in April. A chance to use a model of a real Texas port and surrounding industrial and residential areas, to run through the kinds of exercises real emergency management and homeland security officials run through. Stephen created some threats and disasters, provided the players (who had each assumed typical roles) limited intelligence and an evolving situation, and watched with glee as we muddled and mangled our way through, unwittingly, in trying to deal with the challenges and always insufficient resources and information at hand. Not to mention the politicing and finger pointing. All good fun.
May 2012 - First Battle of Narvik
In May Daniel treated us to an operational recreation of the first battle of Narvik, when the British Admiralty sent a destroyer flotilla and small invasion force to recapture Narvik. Without benefit of having read up on the real battle, those of us commanding the British ships weren't fully informed as to what to expect. A German U-Boat and a mix of international shipping later, not to mention stronger German naval forces than expected, didn't result in too much success for us Brits. Still, quite a bit of German shipping was hit and sunk or damaged in Narvik's harbor.
June 2012 - Return to Elbonia
In June I brought the group back to fictitious modern-day west Africa, with Force on Force, where a very public meeting in the cosatal town of Kamsar, between Elbonian President Wubaqi and officials from B'Eano and the US engineering firm Bellihurton, quickly led to bloodshed. Quick thinking by Daniel Wubaqi, son of the President and commander of the Elbonian Army unit securing the coastal town of Kamsar, saved the day, in fiery and explosive fashion. Needless to say new enemies and new friends were made in the streets of this Elbonian town. We'll continue the tradition of celebratng Rob's birthday every June with an ongoing story arc in his adopted "home country".
July 2012 - WWII Wings Over The Desert
Eagles flew over the sand in Check Your Six! action, hosted by Rob and Sandy, but no after-action report was ever filed, funny enough. Shame on you Robert!.
More photos can be found here.
August 2012 - They Have Another Plan
Having gone to Millenniumcon in the Fall of 2011, Rob came back with a new passion, and a lighter wallet. Battlestar Galactica. With he and Sandy launching a new "subsidiary" (Space Junk), what better way to advertize their new products than by running a game for a bunch of friends. I'm personally sorry I missed this one, but it looked and sounded like a lot of fun, While Galactica bit the big fiery dust ball in space, that gorgeous Commander Cain and her Pegasus are still out there...and so are the Cylons...
September 2012 - No Game
While Labor Day and other obstacles prevented us from gaming in September, our second annual convention, Texas BROADSIDE! 2012, did take place over a three day period aboard USS TEXAS in early October, and it was very successful!
More photos of the convention are here.
October 2012 - See What You Can Do, R2
Rob returned us to a science fiction theme when he brought out another recently acquired game, the new Star Wars space combat miniature game. Simple, fast, and fun pretty much sums this one up and it makes another great Beer and Pretzels style game. Rob and a couple of others spent the evening playing through two pretty basic games, but in so doing learned the rules well which paved the way for what happened in January...
The full blog post is here.
November 2012 - HG-84 Keeps Sailing (and Sinking)
Begun by me way back in May 2010, the saga of British convoy HG-84, which historically sailed from Gibraltar to Liverpool way back in May 1942, has been an ongoing campaign, featuring six sessions now over the last few years as the convoy makes its way across the eastern Atlantic. Episode six of this adventure was held this past November, using a slightly tweaked version of Mal Wright's Convoy tactical rules. The u-boats of wolf pack Endrass continued to plague the convoy, as they sent MV EMPIRE CONRAD to the bottom and a sailing accident claimed the life of MV SHETLAND too.
December 2012 - Buchholz Station
Another recurrng theme during the year is to hold a winter battle in... wait for it... winter! That theme was revisited in December as we continued to move through the early hours and days of the Battle of the Bulge. This year I hosted a recreation of the action around Buchholz Station, when German volksgrenadiers unexpectedly encountered some breakfast eating GIs and all hell broke loose. This action seemed to center around killing or protecting a single M3 halftrack. We used the increasingly popular Bolt Action rules to play this game, in 28mm, and the whole Christmas party was very well attended.
January 2013 - Deposit Confirmed
In January Rob brought us back to a galaxy far far away. Apparently short on Imperial Credits, Boba Fett was on a mission to deliver valuable intelligence to Imperial authorities in exchange for a huge payout. In this Star Wars miniatures battle, Boba chose the oddest of places to make this transaction, the edge ot a remote asteroid field. Needless to say, asteroids and TIE fighters don't really mix, however in this case apparently the Force was truly with the Dark Side as the Imperial players well and truly bested the Rebels. No doubt we'll see plenty more Star Wars action in 2013, now that a certain Correlion transport, TIE interceptors, and TIE bombers have been released as new toys.
February 2013 - Operation Menace
Daniel brought us back to the taffeta with a recreation of the 1940 battle for Dakar. Using his own rules to guide us, we were presented with a British force of warships and support ships with orders to call for and then accept the surrender of the French fleet in the North African port of Dakar. A rather proud French commander was going to have none of it. With some British envoys held prisoner and the subsequent Brtish reprisal air strikes on the harbor only serving to embolden the French, the game pretty much followed historic lines with the British being unsuccessful in being able to carry out their orders and, in the end, sailing away pretty much unsatisfied.
March 2013 - Rome is Not Burning
We followed a trip to WWII Africa in February with a visit to Rome in the far future in March. Ogre miniatures is a system we visited in the first few months of our club's existence, so revisitng the system was long overdue. This time it was Ed, who in his debut as club GM ran a futuristic battle, of ogreish proportions, which saw the Vatican Guard in action, defending the Eternal City against Combine aggresion. After much carnage and a little bit of glory, the game was called a Pan European victory, for despite an absence of white smoke from the Vatican chimney, it was clear that Rome was safe for yet another day.
What's On The Horizon?
So there you have it. Another year in the proverbial can, with new faces as well as old. What do we have to look forward to? Here is what's coming up in the next few months...
|Posted by Andy on May 1, 2013 at 1:20 AM||comments (0)|
"This is Gerd Maloins, reporting from Pearl Hafen, Neu Wien. I am using a new wonder device, a vox recorder, to capture my voice so it can be played back to audiences later."
"Today is April 22nd, 1893, and this morning a beautiful dawn broke over the port city of Pearl Hafen. The accompanying peacefullness was shattered, however, when shocking news reached us that hostile landings had taken place this morning on the north side of the island."
"We understand that a landing by United States ground forces began just before dawn. We have unconfirmed reports that the invading force is spearheaded by the United States 7th Cavalry (Mechanized). We have also had unconfirmed reports that United States aeronef forces are also supporting the invasion. We are still trying to confirm all these reports."
"The local armed forces here on Neu Wien have not traditionally guarded the entire coast of the island. The Austro-Hungarian backed colonial government has instead put its efforts and resources into"strengthening" the ground defenses of Pearl Hefen, with the recent completion of a series of stongpoints and fortresses to defend the landward approaches to the city."
"We'll switch off this device now and come back to it a bit later when we have more news to record...........Werner, how do you turn this damn thing off?......... <click>."
"Gerd Maloins here, recording from Pearl Hafen. We can now confirm that United States ground forces HAVE landed on the island of Neu Wien and military units have begun marching on this capital city. Any assault on this island would be expected to attack the capital as a requisite to full conquest, so we expect that in the forthcoming hours the growing conflict will move towards us."
"We have not yet seen evidence of the United States aeronef squadron, believed to be under the command of Admiral Jorge Cussler, however there have been confirmed reports that United States aeronef forces did accompany the United States invasion force. Admiral Cussler played such a major role in last year's incident surrounding Vice President Morton's assasination. His threat to return to the island would normally lead one to believe that he would be a part of this sudden assault."
"We'll bring you more as it develops. For now, this is Gerd Maloins for the Grosse Austrian Gazette....<click>"
"....This is Gerd Maloins...........Austro-Hungarian aeronef ships are moving...........I can see our English allies in their aeronef craft mov.................French air forces are also in the area............turning toward coast...........still no signs of the United States aeronef fleet...................................................................................................<click>."
[We recently received the previous vox recordings here in Vienna, by way of aeronef courier, and have decided to publish their transcripts. We have not heard from Gerd Maloins for several weeks now. We've had reports that the United States aeronef forces never did make an appearance over Pearl Hafen and that, despite local forces putting up a heroic defense, a paucity of Austro-Hungarian land forces on Neu Wien meant it would only be a matter of time before the city was occupied by United States army units. We've also had reports that the cowardly, untrustworthy, French aeronef forces over Neu Wien took advantage of the escalating conflict to strike at and destroy two of the valuable early-warning Austro-Hungarian/English R-Matter mirrors along the island's north coast. Filling in or Gerd's normal column, in his absence, we are reprinting an earlier article, below, written by him some weeks ago. --Ed].
Road to the Precipice
by Gerd Maloins, Gross Austrian Gazette (GAG)
Success in the Crimean War and the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 helped lead to a strong and healthy Austro-Hungarian Empire. Shrewd negotiating with Britain, culminating in the Grenadine Purchase of 1889, has given Austria-Hungary a significant colonial presence in the Caribbean. Szent Katerina was acquired from Britian through the Grenadine Purchase and Austro-Hungarian presence and influence has built up in the area ever since, primarily around the island's capital of Pearl Hafen.
After many years of political and military strife in the region, a side-effect of European national tensions, a relative peace had settled over Pearl Hafen until last year. During a royal visit by HRH Prince of Wales, United States Vice President Morton was assasinated aboard RMS MAJESTIC. That event precipitated immediate and hosile action by United States Admiral Jorge Cussler, which has led to much United States rehetoric and a year of economic sanctions and an American led naval blockade of the islands.
Last week we obtained information, from a reliable but neccesarily discreet source, that elements of the United States 7th Cavalry (Mechanized) had mobilized from their home base of Fort Hood, Texas. Given the fervor and sabre rattling lately occuring in Washington DC, there is some concern here in the Carribbean that the United States may soon back up its words with a show of military force.
On Monday night, April 22nd, we met at the Stag's Head to run the next chapter in our annual tale of alternative Victorian steam punk warfare, using Wessex Games' Aeronef and Land Ironclad rules, Brigade Models 1:1200 Aeronef ships, and scratch built Land Ironclad ground forces that I recently put together. We also used Brigade's new Western European 2mm urban/village terrain to model the built up areas of the canvas of our warfare, the island of Neu Wien.
Present for this third Houston Beer and Pretzel Wargaming birthday party were Stephen and Barry who commanded the US land forces, Daniel and Joe who commanded the English aeronef squadron, Steve and Grant who commanded the Austro-Hungarian defenses and aeronef squadron, and Rob, Andrew, and Thattaya who commanded the French aeronef squadron.
US land forces consisted of nine scratch built land ironclads and three sections of "contraptions". This force started on one short end of the table and had as its main objective the occupying of Pearl Hafen, on the other end of the table. No US aeronefs were in support as our US player and his fleet didn't show. Still, the robustness of the larger land ironclads allowed them to withstand repeated bombing and strafing from the Austro-Hungarian aeronef force, with the batteship Erzherzog Ferdinand Max in the lead.
A line, a partial ring, of fortifications (strongpoints and four-turret fortresses) were the only land-based AH impediments to American overland progress. A duel between a couple of fortified positions and the US land ironclads led to some damage against the Americans but the destruction of two strongpoints. AH flak towers and aeronef vessels destroyed a couple of smaller US units through bombardment and strafing. One larger LI was badly damaged from the accumulation of hits.
The British aeronef fleet, under the lead of HMS Islandlwana, was happy to support the Austro-Hungarian defenders as they were under good relations and united in their distrust of US and Germano-French motives in Europe. They began the conflict by helping in the bombardment and strafing of US Land Ironclad forces but responded in earnest when the French fleet made aggresive moves towards the coastal R-matter detectors.
The French fleet began the battle circling like a pack of wolves, not siding with the US or AH, waiting for orders from a clearly lethargic higher command, but in the process providing practice for the inexperienced French navigators and helmsmen. When orders finally came through they were pretty clear. Use the confusion to take out as many of the coastal early warning R-matter detectors as they could, special lenses designed to detect the unique wavelength of light given off my energized R-matter, jointly built and maintained by the British and AH to guard against surprise aeronef attacks from the south. The French, led by Charlamagne and L'Epee, trailed by a carrier, launched waves of bombers and were able to take out two detectors before turning out to sea and making a break for the safety of home.
Everyone had a great time and one can only end this by wondering what ever did happen to Admiral Cussler and his US fleet. Only time and Gerd Maloins will tell...
|Posted by Rob on March 30, 2013 at 5:55 PM||comments (0)|
In March, our game host Ed Jablonski put on a great game of Ogre/GEV from back in the day.
Scenario involved a selection of a new Pope in Rome with the PanEuropean force holding onto Rome and a Combine force mounting an assault. Victory conditions were all about having the most infantry in Rome.
Each force had 2 Ogres to start and variable reinforcements that could be selected from a short-list.
The Combine opened up the attack with an Ogre Mk. III escorting a heavy and super-heavy tank force and GEV APCs. The Ogre led the attack on Rome and was met by the PanEuro Ogre. On the outskirts of Rome, a lighter force of GEV APCs and infantry pushed out a small speed-bump PanEuro infantry force.
The PanEuro first reinforcements were heavy tanks followed by mixed GEV and Lt. GEVs light force operating in three squadrons. The PanEuro tank force advanced to Rome w/ riding infantry with a mission to drop them off and then join the Ogre Mk. IV in the defense of Rome.
The GEVs scooted by Rome just before the Combine force closed and went off to engage the lighter Combine forces.
Two separate fronts then played out. The Combine main attack was constricted by terrain and the GEV APCs and Ogre pushed ahead of the heavy & super-heavy tanks. The PanEuro heavy tanks engaged the GEV APCs with significant results. The PanEuro GEV force eliminated several Combine GEV APCs and were able to shoot 'n scoot to good effect and never faced any return fire.
After preliminary missile fire from both Ogres which resulted in the destruction of several outlying areas of Rome and one of the laser tower fixed defenses; the two Ogres began a slug-fest for several turns. After scoring much destruction on the Combine GEV APCs, the PanEuro Hvy tank squadron was engaged and largely destroyed by the Combine tank forces; but they had done their job of eliminating the GEV APCs.
The Combine tank forced advanced to the edge of Rome, but a PanEuro Mark III Ogre had arrived and a battery of PanEuro mobile howitzers was in supporting range to engage the Combine forces. PanEuro infantry units had been shuttling into Rome from the rear areas on a small PanEuro GEV APC force and were not about to be dislodged by the relatively few Combine infantry units advancing on Rome from the light forces area and would be harrassed by PanEuro GEVs the entire way in.
We called the game at this point as a PanEuro victory. Rome was not going to fall to the Combine forces on this attack. A new Pope had not been selected yet and the Vatican cruise missile was not a factor in the game. We all caught on to the old Ogre/GEV rules like riding a bicycle and enjoyed playing with Ed's substantial collection. Thanks Ed!
|Posted by Andy on March 17, 2013 at 11:20 PM||comments (0)|
[Game designed and umpired by Daniel T SHAW at Stag’s Head - Beer & Pretzels Club - 25 February 2013]
My name is Jean du Pont and I’m an able seaman of the French “Aviso” le Commandant Duroc. Aviso is the equivalent of what you English call a sloop, but it can also serve as a mine-sweeper. We’d escaped from France when the Germans invaded and I’d volunteered to continue the fight alongside our friends of the Royal Navy.
On 31st August 1940, we were in the Clyde military dockyards and to a man we cheered General de Gaulle (Andrew) as he boarded the SS Westernland, which we had orders to escort. We sailed in the evening and under the orders of Admiral Cunningham (Andy Bouffard) formed convoy in the Irish Sea. The passage around the North of Ireland was uneventful. It was a beautiful sight, six grand liners, several cargo ships with an escort of a battleship, cruisers and destroyers. Then one morning as we steamed south in the Atlantic, I realised something was amiss as the leading destroyers veered violently: surely a sign that they had detected a submarine. The light signals down the convoy confirmed my suspicions and our captain called us to action stations.
To our astonishment, a huge explosion ripped up on the starboard bow of the Westernland. Perhaps de Gaulle had been unwise to be so public about which ship he had boarded. We could see smoke and another Aviso, the Domine, moved in to assist. Another liner, the Ettrick I think, was also hit by a torpedo and she burst into flames. We were ordered to assist and I really wondered how we could as the fire was spreading rapidly. As we closed, I was sent to man the boats. Over my shoulder I heard the sound of depth charges exploding. Later I would gather the good news that HMS Fortune had sunk an enemy U-Boat right in the middle of the convoy. Sadly, the score was soon to be one a piece as the Ettrick reared up and sank stern first. Few hands and even fewer of the soldiers aboard were saved.
Fortunately, the Westernland had not been seriously damaged and was able to proceed at reasonable speed, certainly enough to keep station in the convoy. Miraculously, on that ship, no one was killed and only a few seamen had suffered minor injuries.
We were joined by reinforcements of the Royal Navy, that had sailed from Gibraltar, including the Arc Royal. After nearly three weeks at sea, we arrived in Freetown. We were given 8 hour passes to explore the town and I was fortunate in the lottery to draw an evening pass, so along with my mates we had good knees up touring several of the bars.
The next day we sailed again and I learnt that our destination was Dakar. It was a misty morning, but I was near enough to the Arc Royal to have a good view of her aircraft taking off. First was a flight of four Caudron C.270 Lucioles. Those little French bi-planes are so unmistakable. Then many Skuas took off.
After the war, I heard the story of what happened to those Lucioles. They landed at an airfield near to Dakar and requested a diplomatic audience with the Governor (Keith Bellman). In fact, the Vichy French were not welcoming and threw them in prison, along with the French Admiral in command of Dakar, Contre Amiral Bourragué (Bill Brenneman) who it seems had been too outspoken with his views to side with us. A similar fate fell to another diplomatic party that had sailed in a small launch under white flag into the harbour.
In the evening, we were briefed that Cunningham and de Gaulle had resolved to take a hard line. During the day, a stern dog fight had taken place over Dakar and, for the loss of 4 Skuas, all of the Vichy aircraft known to be in Dakar had been destroyed. The plan was that an air attack would be launched with Swordfish on the Battleship Richelieu, which was moored in the harbour as a demonstration of strength.
Dawn broke and the battle took many surprising turns. The Swordfish made their runs, but did not score any significant hits. Meanwhile, we were surprised to be attacked by American Glenn Martin 167F bombers, which scored a hit on the aft deck of the Arc Royal, but that hole was quickly patched and the Skuas made amends shooting down or badly damaging all the Vichy bombers. The shock however was a series of torpedo attacks from unidentified submarines. The Arc Royal took two torpedo hits and the Westernland was sunk. Fortunately de Gaulle was on the HMS Barnham at the time, but these losses were enough to convince the Royal Navy that Dakar was not worth a fight and we were ordered to withdraw.
It turns out that the Vichy had sent Amiral Émile Lacroix (Played as a second role for Bill), whose flagship was severely damaged at Mers-el-Kebir and whose nephew died there under the British shelling. It was his determined command that had put the Vichy submarines to the task of disrupting the British fleet.
|Posted by Rob on February 1, 2013 at 5:20 PM||comments (1)|
Banking Guild Transmission Processing Station (TPS) Report
Deposit Made to Account THX-1138
Account Holder: Fett, Boba
Account Status: Active
Routing: Deposit Received from Imperial Treasury Coruscant Core via Banking Guild HoloNet TPS Report 8675309 to Holder Account
Conditions for Transfer: Successful Transmission of Intelligence information of value to the Imperial Intelligence Service (IIS) via rendezvous with elements of Black Squadron from Imperial Frigate DOWAGER in the Outer Rim Genosis Sector Asteroid Belt.
Status of Conditions: Fulfilled per order Grand Moff Wubb
Joe, John, Andy, Barry, and Rob were all at Stag's Head in January to play the highly entertaining X-Wing Miniatures game by Fantasy of Flight games. It's great to have everything you need in the box w/ no painting or preparation required. I worked out a scenario where Boba Fett has discovered the location of the Rebel Alliance base on Dantooine sometime before the events in Episode IV.
Barry took Slave 1 as Boba Fett, while John and I each took 3 Tie fighters. Joe and Andy split up the 3 X-Wings and 1 Y-Wing I own to round out the forces. It was 130 points per side by the X-Wing squad building system.
We flew around a little in a kind of flight academy training to learn maneuvers, shooting, and the turn sequence before jumping in to the mission.
The Rebels started in the middle, just outside an asteroid field that was occupied by Slave 1. The Imperials entered opposite the asteroids trying to meet up with Slave 1. The Rebels decided to go after the Imperials and Boba Fett piloted out of the asteroids to make the transfer. Dogfights ensued, but the Imperials were mission focused and charged right past the Rebels to make the meeting with Slave 1 while the Rebels were turning around. 4 Tie fighters were in range to receive the transmission and now the Rebels were challenged to stop them all from exiting. Boba Fett hung around and bagged an X-Wing before his shielding was knocked down and Barry decided to retreat into the asteroid field having fulfilled his contract. The Imperials raced for home and 2 of the 4 Tie fighters with the information made it off the table. A Rebel Y-Wing piloted by Dutch Vander was destroyed by a Tie fighter in the final turn.
It was a fun game, the Rebels decided they would do it differently next time and take on Boba Fett in the asteroids before the Imperials reach the scene. The great thing about miniature games is we can always try it again.
This is a great game and I look forward to our next outing in the Outer Rim.
May the Force be with You....always.
|Posted by Andy on December 29, 2012 at 2:15 AM||comments (0)|
Happy holidays to all our Houston Beer and Pretzel Wargaming members and all you visitors to these pages!!
On December 17th a very large group of us gathered at the Stag's Head, for a little Christmas cheer, good beer, and wargaming. The game on this occasion was a continuation of our Battle of the Bulge theme, started last December with a game based on Lanzerath Ridge, using Flames of War.
This year I raced to paint eighty new 28mm Victory Force WWII soldiers (40 German and 40 US) so we could try out the new Bolt Action rules, in a scenario based very loosely on the old Squad Leader scenario Buchholz Station.
"BUCHHOLZ, German border, December 16th, 1944: The original German opening for the Battle of the Bulge was somewhat subdued. German infantry, with little armor, was to seize key road junctions early so the armored formations could quickly pass through and exploit a breakthrough. One sucjh key place was the town of Buchholz, which sat alongside an abandoned railroad. It was held by a company of American infantry who were lined up for chow outside the town when a company of the German 27th Fusilier Regiment came down the road. Neither side had expected to find the other here and there was a moment of mutual surprise as both sides scrambled to deploy. The fighting opened about 7 a.m. with neither side able to gain a decisive advantage. Losses were given and taken and the battle would probably go to the first side to receive reinforcements."
I used the 28mm winter terrain I had, borrowing some scale buildings from Kurt, and set about fashioning a winter scene for the two sides to fight over. Rob, Rob's dad, Sandy, Brian, and Joe were among the guys commanding the German attackers, while Daniel, Tatya, Chris, and Barry were among those defending. The Americans had five squads, an HMG team, a bazooka team, commander, and halftrack on the table at start, defending three objectives on their back third of the table. They had a Sherman in reserve, also borrowed from Kurt together with the M3 halftrack which became the focal point of the game. The Americans started with one pin marker each to reflect their unpreparedness.
The Germans had four squads and an HMG team with which to attack and began the game off table. They began the game by moving on table across a reasonably broad front, centered on the road that connected the two sides' long table edges. Brian came in on the German left flank, Sandy next to him, Rob came in near the road, just to the right of it. Joe and Rob's dad to the right flank of the German line.
With their early actions the Americans pushed their HMG armed M3 halftrack down the road and into the central crossroads, and into the crosshairs of the German center and proceeded to shoot up Rob's infantry. Other American first turn movement saw them recover from pin status fairly quickly and begin heading for or setting up in the buildings they could reach.
The second turn saw the Sherman arrive on the right flank of the Allied front but its machinegun was not initially as effective as feared. German attention remained focused on the halftrack, which was eventually destroyed after several panzerfaust attacks and an assault over the course of the third and fourth game turns. Despite destroying the halftrack the Germans were never able to secure an objective in the five turns we played and we called the game at that point, Brian's German squad having gotten pinned down and chewn up and most of the other German squads also taking a beating. We witnessed a couple of bloddy assaults over the buildings in town as well as the halftrack as both sides gave as good as they got.
I think all of us enjoyed the Bolt Action rules and they seemed to work well for Beer and Pretzels. We had nominated one overall commander for each side and assigned various squad/vehicle commands to the individual players. The commanders would take each order dice drawn by me from the festive Santa's Hat "bag" and assign each dice to one of his subbordinate players, or he could choose to use it to command his own officer figure and his staff/escort. It was up to the player receiving the order dice to decide, given the circumstances, how to use it.
Many of us found the assault rules a bit harsh. One expects an assault to be a one side wins and one side loses affair, but in Bolt Action, if one side takes more casualties than the other in hand to hand combat, the rest of that losing side is removed from the table and considered defeated. Thus you could have six fighting six and if one man dies on one side and no man dies on the other, the surviving five soldiers throw up their hands and are defeated and the six soldiers win.
I was running this game as a playtest because I plan to run it at OwlCon in February. We realized there were some real flaws in my choice of forces and scenario. With the balanced forces I was using, the Germans had too hard a time tryng to take objectives. I needed to have fewer Americans or more Germans to give the Germans a fighting chance. The Sherman was also too much for the Americans to have, although funny enough it really never played much of a factor in the game.
For OwlCon I plan to have more troops painted up and will drop the Sherman and add the US jeep with .50 caliber found in the original Squad Leader Buchholz Station scenario. The unit count will be kept at a ratio of 1:2 to that of the original Squad Leader scenario. So half as many squads as in the Squad Leader version. This is to keep the game manageable and because I won't have an entire company for each side painted before OwlCon. I'll also be changing the scenario from the Point Defense one in Bolt Action to Maximum Attrition. The sides will still remain balanced, as they are in the Squad Leader scenario, whose victory conditions were also largely attritional, not objective based. Finally, both sides will start with one squad on table and the remaining units off table. All units will receive two pin markers to reflect their mutual unpreparedness at encountering one another and while the US troops will all be regular, the German troops will have the Green trait as well as the Volksgrenadier special rule. So look for this game to appear in the OwlCon game listings shortly.
"Aftermath: Surprisingly, it was the Americans who reinforced first, when both Co K and a section of M-10 TDs arrived to bolster the position. The Germans promptly withdrew. Tactically, it was a draw with moderate casualties taken by both sides. Strategically, it was another of the small American victories that would add up to German frustration in the early hours of the Battle of the Bulge."