|Posted by Andy on July 25, 2014 at 6:25 PM|
Here we are, then, another year in the life of Houston Beer and Pretzel Wargaming. While my annual recap may be real late this year, at least it’s not “never”.
We’ve had a good wargaming year, only missing one game night as a club (although those who attended that night still enjoyed each other’s company and the food and beverage on offer). We also enjoyed no less than four different GMs hosting games (five were it not for Houston public transportation). As always, a huge thanks to Rob, Brian, and Chris for helping me out by sharing in the GM load.
Unfortunately, we weren’t as good, collectively, at posting after-action reports for our games (and I'm the biggest culprit), but I would have to say that the ones that did get posted make for pretty fun reading. We also enjoyed some cracking photos again this year, thanks to our official but unofficial club photographer, Andrew.
A few other numbers for you to think about.
4 – The number of years we’ve been meeting.
63 – The number of members currently registered on this site.
88 – The number of blog posts, including this one.
128 – The number of megabytes of photos, blogs, and other goodness on the site.
Here is it then, the recap of the year that was, April 2013 to March of 2014.
April 2013 - Dual of Iron – Aeronef – by Andy
We kicked off our fourth year in style, returning to our roots, by way of Aeronef. This time by throwing in Wessex Games’ rules for Land Ironclads, using scratch built steam driven ground machines that posed the main forces of an enraged America, landing on the Austro-Hungarian Caribbean island of Neu Wien, in enforcement of the Monroe Doctrine.
Alas, Admiral Cussler’s supporting Amercian Aeronef fleet failed to arrive overhead in support of the US invasion force, leaving the Austrian land defenses and Aeronef fleet and their English allies able to keep the Americans and nearby French Aeronef forces at bay.
May 2013 - Six Day War in the Air - CY6! Jet Age – by Rob
Rob brought us back to familiar skies as we jetted across the Sinai for some more Six Day War action. This time eight Israeli jets were sent in on a supposed milk run, against Egyptian ground targets, only to learn the hard way that the MIG defenders weren’t messing around.
Israeli planes fell early and often, to Egyptian pilots and AAA. The early demise of ace Israeli pilot Giora, to a head-on shot by a green Egyptian, was enough to shake everyone up. The lopsided victory point results (an Egyptian landslide) coupled with Andrew’s first foray as our star photographer, made for one of our best and most memorable wargame outings.
June 2013 - The Great Royal Elbonian Lion Hunt – Force on Force – by Andy
Then came June, hot, hot June. Rob’s birthday month and what has become our second annual theme night of the year. It was our return to Elbonia and the lands, women, and wild life of General President Robert Wubaqi.
This time President Wubaqi hosted an invitation-only lion safari, in the protected confines of his own private reserve. You can better believe it wasn’t just lions being hunted that day, as motorcycles, jeeps, and armored cars raced across the desert in pursuit of mane and each other, and helicopters whirled overhead. The crazed lions weren’t defenseless, mauling a few hunters in the process.
We were again treated to the fantastic photographic work of Andrew and those of us who were there still recount with fondness the whole over-the-top, tongue-in-cheek, absurdity of the whole affair.
July 2013 - Bag the East Front Hun – Bag the Hun – by Brian
July brought with it more heat and, at Stag’s Head, more air-to-air action, as we turned our attention to the skies of the East Front in WWII. Without the benefits of a detailed after-action post, I’ll let some of our photographs from that night do the talking.
More photos are here.
August 2013 - Hill 400 – Bolt Action – by Andy
Bolt Action has grown in popularity, replacing Flames of War in my own wargaming stable when it comes to WWII infantry and tank action. In August I ran my Hill 400 (Bergstein) semi-historic scenario, to playtest it for October’s Texas BROADSIDE! I also ran this scenario at Heat of Battle VII.
It featured the actions of elements of the 2nd Ranger Battalion, famous for its storming of Pointe du Hoc, but this time they were storming up Hill 400 in the Hurtgen Forest. Specifically, the Rangers were ordered to take a hill that overlooked the Ruhr valley and, from the hill’s vantage point, would have afforded US forces a view of the German build up for Wacht am Rhein.
We had a great time with the scenario and the challenges of charging up a hill against well dug in defenders, and this led to several tweaks to the scenario that were later put to good use in replaying this game two more times.
More photos are here.
September 2013 - Guadalcanal Jungle Patrol – Bolt Action – by Rob
In September we returned to Bolt Action, but this time Rob took us to the jungles of Guadalcanal, as his reinforced US marine patrol ran up against a relatively equal number of Japanese soldiers.
Again, we were playtesting this scenario for use at Texas BROADSIDE! and Rob’s unique use of “moving” terrain and “displacing” infantry made it suspenseful and hard to make plans in the dense and unforgiving jungles. A good simulation of the unknown and the fog of jungle warfare.
October 2013 - Zombies!! - by Rob
In a nod to the season and a departure from the seriousness of gritty warfare, we turned to the latest craze, and a fitting one for October, the zombie apocalypse.
Keeping it light and easy, Rob had recently invested in the Zombies!! board/miniature game and brought that along. Thus, we were able to get a couple of games in and enjoy a more relaxed, humorous, or was that humerus, evening.
More photos are here.
November 2013 - Holding Pointe du Hoc – IABSM – by Chris
Second in our “guest” GMs for the year, and ironically the second outing of the year for the boys from the 2nd Ranger Battalion, Chris brought in his own 15mm WWII infantry forces and we used Two Fat Lardies’ I Ain’t Been Shot Mum to simulate the US defense of Pointe du Hoc, from a determined counterattack launched by nearby German forces. Again, we’ll let the pictures do the telling, but I generally recall that in this and other playing’s of Chris’ scenario it seemed the Germans always had the tougher time of it.
More photos are here.
December 2013 - Grieving Over Blown Bridges – Bolt Action – by Andy
Another in our theme nights, and our third session of Bolt Action in the year, we enjoyed a festive holiday party playing yet another engagement set in the snows of Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge.
This time the scenario was set during that iconic scene in The Battle of the Bulge, when Skorzeny’s disguised commandos are caught out near a bridge, and a firefight with US armored troops and Peiper’s tanks ensues.
The results were predictable as the German Panthers made for the far table edge, to keep the offensive rolling, while the Americans just tried to survive and kill what they could of the German menace.
January 2014 - Crisis in the Kashmir – CY6! Jet Age - by Brian
For January, the club took part in the India-Pakistan War of 1965, thanks to the Crisis in Kashmir scenario book for CY6 Jet age, and Brian’s jets.
The scenario was entitled, “Breaking the Sabre,” and recreated a fighter sweep by Folland Gnats of the Indian Air Force (IAF) against missile-carrying F-86 Sabres and F-104 Starfighters of the Pakistani Air Force (PAF).
The game turned into a twisting fur ball almost immediately, and any idea of aircraft staying in pairs for maneuver went right out the window. Even though the PAF Sabres had Sidewinder missiles, none were fired during the game.
The final score was close, 14 IAF victory points to 13 PAF victory points.
February 2014 - Sails of Glory – by Andy
Kickstarter has sucked many of my funds away over the last few years. Most of my investments have been great ones, but occasionally I’ve gotten burned. Sails of Glory, designed and published by the guys who brought us Wings of Glory and Wings of War, is one of my most successful Kickstarter investments.
We brought this system out and fought a large battle between six British and seven French ships. The scenario itself was just a line up, sail close, and fire type of affair, and we were bold in using the more advanced rules, which we didn’t find all too difficult.
Everyone had a great time learning the rules and bringing each other to battle and we’ll surely see this one on the table again in 2014-2015.
March 2014 – No Game
Unfortunately, we had several of the regular guys show up to play in March but our GM was stuck struggling with Houston public transportation. We look forward to John’s wind and sail wargame and will find a way to reschedule it for later this year or early next year.
Sometimes we have a GM but not enough players and occasionally we have enough players but no GM. Life happens and our hobby sometimes suffers for it.
We’re already a quarter of the way into our 5th year, having come back to VSF (Aeronef) and Elbonia (modified AK-47) for two theme nights. Unfortunately, we’ve also managed to strike out one month, but still had some guys at the pub to share some food and drink and great discussion.
Coming up in the next few months we have X-Wing this month (this coming Monday in fact), a long-awaited return to the Atlantic and the painfully slow progress of British convoy HG-84 (using Mal Wright’s Convoy tactical rules), and in October we’ll return to an undead theme, with Force on Force and its variant Ambush Z. I’ll also return as GM in December with another multiplayer Bolt Action game set in 1944, this time exploring the action along Elsenborn ridge.
September and November remain unclaimed, so if you want to be a guest GM, why not step up for one of those months, or early 2015?
We’ve also got the following wargame conventions to look forward to:
Heat of Battle VIII, NOLA, August 8-10, 2014
Texas BROADSIDE! 2014, USS TEXAS, October 10-12, 2014
MillenniumCon 17, Round Rock, November 7-9, 2014
That’s it for this year. Happy wargaming and beer enjoying, boys.
Categories: Yearly Recaps