Tuesday, July 22, 2014

In the Shadow of Shadow Mountain (A Glenpool Strike AAR)

My son spent over two weeks in the hospital recently and missed quite a few good summer days. So take make up for it I let pick two things that he really wanted to do. The first thing he picked was an "army guy battle" at the "gamer' and so off we went. We played our usual campaign, and as usual he pummeled my forces. For this game I had actually managed to get enough forces painted (except for some bases) to play a game of Bolt Action.

The second thing he wanted to do was go see a submarine so we took a little road trip and did that the next day. Lots of good fun.

Another skirmish in the Glenpool Strike campaign. This one pits the communists (Cherry Street Irregulars) and socialist Green Corn rebels against the Boston Avenue Believers, a few local police, National Guardsmen and MAC militia. 

After recent skirmishes and communist victories around the Tulsa area Rev. A. Roberts decided to take matters into his own, and God's hands. He has co-opted several squads of the MAC (MacArthur Anti-Communist) militia, who are also parishioners of the Boston Avenue Methodist Church. Convincing them that they need to do the will of a higher authority. He has conveniently inserted himself as their new leader and then added to their ranks more parishioners eager to do God's and his work.

Not alone in his outrage over the continuing communist victories other churches on Boston Avenue organized armed squads intent on doing the same. Seeing that they were all in it for a common cause, all of the churches decided to join their forces together as a single organization, while maintaining their religious affiliations at the squad level. Each squad choose it's own leader then those squad leaders chose the overall commander. Given the size of Rev. Roberts flock he was easily elected commander. So came into being the Boston Avenue Believers.

After acquiring what weapons they could, some rudimentary training, a Sunday picnic and a sermon, the Reverend considered his forces ready. After all with the Lord on their side, training was really quite irrelevant.

At the aforementioned Sunday picnic the Rev. learned that the MAC militias had received a tip about a possible communist base of operations. This suspected base was the Hooverville located at the base of Shadow Mountain south of Tulsa along the Arkansas river. Incensed at learning the local MAC commander had no intention of acting on this information he formed up his followers, gave his best fire and brimstone sermon, and then led a procession of riled up parishioners to Shadow Mountain. 

Several parishioners belonging to the MAC militias slipped away and to warn Chief Gunderson of what was going down. The Chief sent two officers and two members of the local National Guard to diffuse the situation and turn back the marchers.

On the communist side, they too were tipped off about the march to the Shadow Mountain. They quickly evacuated as many people and supplies that they could. Their new brothers in arms, the Green Corn rebels* who had just arrived from farms in southern Oklahoma were spoiling for a fight and refused to leave. So comrade Little deployed his forces in support but kept several vehicles nearby to make a quick get away should things go south. In addition, he had another surprise up his sleeve.


The commander of the Communist forces setting up his troops. He also insisted on setting up quite a number of barrels as well.

The communists wait for the arrival on the Boston Avenue mob. On the left side of the board a sniper team has set up in the woods and are waiting the arrival of the rest of the parishioners to arrive. They didn't have to wait long as we can see the Boston Avenue women's Bible study group led by Brother Frank Stein marching straight up the road. Meanwhile the rest of the BAB squads have decided to attempt a somewhat less direct approach to the Hooverville. 

The Rev. Roberts climbs the fence and leads his flock into the den of the heathen forces. The attempt at stealth was for naught as the communists were laying in wait. 

The first shot rings out and the Rev. Roberts is hit by a snipers bullet. Then the Green Corn rebels move up and start taking pot shots at the Methodist women's bible study group and they decide to take cover behind a shack, just in case. On the far right of the BAB line a squad tries to quickly maneuver around the communists and come at them from their flank.

The bible study group quickly runs into trouble as they are assaulted by a communist squad led by a battle-hardened feminist wielding a Thompson SMG. Thompson's blaze away on both sides, the communists sustain a few loses. But alas the entire BAB squad is now in the arms of the Lord, as are most of the Method church's favorite pot luck dinner recipes. A very sad day indeed for the Methodists.   

Things do not go quite as planned on the other half of the battlefield as another BAB squad is killed in vicious hand to hand combat. 

On the left flank the police, two National Guardsmen supported by two MAC Lewis guns arrive by car and find they are to late to prevent armed conflict. They immediately come under fire from the Green Corn squad. They return fire with both Lewis guns and a BAR, sending the rebels scurrying for better cover. 

The enemy commander surveys the battlefield planning his next move after the surprise arrival of law enforcement officials and military personnel. 

Not wishing to be captured by the law again comrade Little uses the ace up his sleeve. The P6E Hawk captured earlier in the week swoops out of the sky, machineguns blazing and takes out a MAC LMG team. Then drops a bomb on the police and soldiers killing three. Only Sgt. Hamburg survives through sheer luck. 

Pushing the attack commander Little orders the truck he is in forward and tries to provide supporting fire for the pinned down Green Corn squad and to get them back into the fight before they all flee for the hills. Unfortunately the plan doesn't work, he and his wife get a few bullet wounds for their troubles. The wheelman of the truck gets them out of harms way and back to safety. 

The battle rages on with squads taking shots at one another but by this point most of them have hunkered down behind something to avoid getting shot. Unfortunately for the the BAB squads the P6E returns to break up the brief stalemate. 

Comrade Little gives me an animated demonstration of just how his airplanes machinguns work as they chew up another of my squads. The machinegun sounds were a bit gratuitous, as there is no way that plane could have fired on the target that long. 

The Col.(retired) having lost the rest of squad, soldiers on alone. That is until he is spotted by a communist Lewis gun team. 

The communists route the last BAB squad from the battle. 

Capt. Hamburg is abandoned by the drivers who brought him and his now deceased pals. With no options left he decides to go after the Green Corn squad. His desperate assault pays off and he sends the last of those hillbillies packing. 

He then turns his attention to the Lewis gun team that just mowed down the good Col. 

   Just then the communist air support comes over the top of shack and into sight, it's guns trained on him. Sgt. Hamburg(er) meets his fate BAR blazing. Seven shots out of eight hit our poor would be hero. Who can win against dice rolling like that.

*The Green Corn Rebellion took place during WW1. It started as a protest against the draft by rural Oklahoma farmers who felt that they would have to serve in a war that they had no interest, or business fighting. So to avoid fighting in France they took up arms against their own government. Why travel all the way to France to fight when you can do it right here. Makes perfect sense to me. The plan was to march to Washington D.C. surviving on BBQ beef and Green Corn procured on the way. 

Reality didn't live up to the envisaged plan. A few miles into the march they were intercepted by a group of local townspeople and after a few shots the rebellion was broken up and it's members fled. Several hundred people were later rounded up and sent to prison for their participation in the march.

[url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Corn_Rebellion]Green Corn Rebellion[/url]

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Bolt Action: Squad Level Combat

I like Bolt Action but I don't always want to play a big skirmish game. Sometimes I would rather play something smaller but just reducing the points in BA doesn't really work for me either. I got into WW2 skirmish gaming before I started playing BA. I was really interested in playing two different games in particular. The first game was Disposable Heroes and the second was Operation Squad. I have difficulty ordering things from online vendors, and so prefer to go through a local game store. So this is how I ended up with Bolt Action. That plus I went to the BA Game Day and had a great time and played an excellent 6000 point game.

However, I tend to like games where each model is its own unit, squad level combat. So I have recently been throwing around some ideas of how to alter the rules to work at this smaller skirmish scale. I think I have made a few minor modifications that will make it work i hope. Of course there are probably things I have overlooked so if there is anything you see let me know. 

I hope to be able to try them out this weekend and see how it goes. If I can get my SD card reader to work again I will do a quick AAR and post my thoughts on how it works.

So after I wrote this I decided I wasn't really liking the single d6 roll for shooting, so I changed those too. I haven't included them here as I have tried to make this as close to the original BA rules as possible. Sometime in the next month or so I post up my own set of rules separately. Currently they are still a work in progress and I have been staring at way to many statistics on probabilities trying to make it work the way want. As a result I remember why I took symbolic logic as an advanced math course in college.


Bolt Action: Squad Level Combat

These rules follow the standard Bolt Action rules except those below.

Each model is considered to be its own unit, except for team weapons or squad integral weapons which always activate on the same order die.

Small Units
Since all models are treated as individual units, with the above exceptions. All units all infantry and infantry support units are treated as small units. When a team weapon is hit by exceptional damage, even if caused by sniper fire, only a single model is removed and the weapon can be re-crewed if a morale check is passed first. Optionally, these additional men may abandon the weapon (temporarily or permanently) in which case they are then treated as individual infantry men.

Squad Cohesion
Normally squads are forced to maintain cohesion for ease of play and to keep a squad together. Under these rules a squad is in cohesion if a model is in within 6” of another model and it is in cohesion with (through other models) to the squads NCO. A model that has lost cohesion with the rest of the squad has a -1 morale penalty.

These men are the core of your squad, the driving force that gets things done. With them your squad maintains cohesion and discipline. Though, this may not always be the case, Sarge may send a few guys around the flank of the enemy or have them hang back to provide covering fire. While alive, the NCO provides a +1 moral bonus to all models that maintain cohesion with him and the rest of the squad. When an NCO dies all models in the squad lose a point of morale. Models already out of cohesion do not suffer an additional penalty. Regardless of whether the NCO is an inexperienced, with no combat experience or a grizzled veteran, the morale bonus they give to other troops is the same. The more experienced they become the harder they are to kill.

Mixed Experience
Bolt Action doesn’t allow for members of the same squad to vary in level of experience, but at this level it is okay as each member of the squad is considered its own unit. I would even encourage it. Imagine any war movie you have seen, the grizzled NCO, a couple of regular guys who have been around a while, and then the new guys. Of course, it’s your squad so build it to suit your tastes.

Building a Squad
Since this game is on a smaller scale, force selection is slightly different than normal. First, you need to decide what type of squad you are going to run; US Rangers, Volksgrenadiers, SAS, Paratroopers, Pioneers etc. Your squad then follows the basic set up for that type of squad. Your core force is as usual, an NCO + four men. These men are Inexperienced, Regulars, or Veterans as usual. Any additional men can be added to the squad and they may be chosen at any experience level. Though in order to maintain your squads stated level, there must always at least one more man at the regular experience level for that squad, than the rest of the squad who are not at that experience level.

Force Selection
For a typical squad on squad game the number of points is 100. For a game with a reinforced squad the point total should include another 70 points that go toward buying only support units, additional squad members or squad upgrades. The original 100 points should be allocated first before purchasing support units, and if not used for that purpose may not be spent on support options. Support options can include any type of infantry support, light artillery, or transports. With only 70 points your options are limited somewhat, and hopefully not overpowering in anyway.

Special Rules
Normally purchasing a special rule is an option applied to all members of the squad. Using these rules, it is again, on a per model basis. So every member of the unit may have that special rule, none, or any number between.

To add a bit of fun and variety the following additional rules may be purchased or deducted from the squads point cost, but at double the normal rate if the squad would not normally be allowed this special rule.

Tough Fighter: +4 points per man
Fanatics: +4 points per man
Green: +1 points (Inexperienced only)
Shirker: -4 points per man
AT Tank Grenades: +2 points per man

Weapons Ranges
All weapons ranges are doubled, but anything beyond the normal range incurs an additional -1 penalty to hit. Ideally terrain should limit ranges more than anything else.

HE Damage
HE shells explode in a radius equal to their HE rating. So a HE d2 gets a chance to hit everything within a 2” radius around the point of impact.  A d3, a 3” radius and a d6 will have a 6” radius. Anything larger than this is unlikely to ever see play but would be 12” (2d6) and 18” (3d6) respectively.

Indirect Fire Deviation
Because it might matter, a miss with indirect fire will deviate in a random direction (roll your order dice and move target in the up direction of the showing order die, or however you like). The distance of deviation is based on the minimum range for indirect fire. 12” = d6”, 18” = d6+3”, 24” = d6+6” (though ranges are double for this as well). The greater the range the greater the chance of deviation, at least that’s the working assumption.

Vehicles Damage
Normally vehicles hit by small arms fire are destroyed. When playing at this level, larger vehicles will be rare if not totally non-existent. So in order to add a little detail use the Damage Results for Armored Targets table and apply them to the soft skinned vehicles.

Units Aboard Transports
Models on a transport that is destroyed receive the usual d6 hits per squad, but these hits are distributed between the available models starting with 1 hit per model, then starting over if necessary.

National Rules
The American lose their free Air Strike.
The British lose their free Artillery Observer.
The Soviets do not get a free squad.
The Germans lose nothing.

All other national rules remain in effect as normal.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Rock Outcroppings

 I decided that if I am going to play a Greek Andartes army then I could probably use some rocky terrain. I haven't made any rocky terrain in a good number of years and thought I would give it a try again using rigid foam insulation. I know a lot of people use tree bark to make rocks, but I don't like the look of it all that much. Thus the reason I tried the foam insulation. I don't think it turned out to bad. I tried to vary the size quite a bit and so the outcroppings vary in size from slightly larger than man sized up to around 12 inches or more.

The center piece is made from a single slab of foam and is supposed to be two rock outcroppings with a small saddle between them.

This is actually one of my favorites, though I think that it could use a little rock debris on the ledges to break up the straight lines, and perhaps a little work on the overhanging bits in the first picture.

Again, another one with multiple rocks outcropping. 

The two smaller rocks.

The biggest one of the bunch with a few boulders laying on top of the large exposed rock shelf. Below are a few overview shots of all of the pieces together. A pretty good spread across the table though I would like to do a few more to get a really rock strewn table.

I just bought the Citadel gaming mat as well. I scored it at a local hobby store that doesn't specialize in miniatures, and so I found it on the clearance shelf for half price. A pretty good deal at $15.00 considering these things are out of production now. Though, I am now kinda partial to my $8.00 green blanket from Target.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Mediterranean Barn

Well, it's been one of those months. I worked on quite a bit of stuff done and actually got some of it done. Though it never seems like I dig myself out from under the pile of projects in the works. That's probably because I keep starting things, and never finishing them. So this post is dedicated to a project that I was totally excited about, jumped into without any planing and managed to get everything done, except flocking the base in a couple of days. Then I promptly set it on the shelf where it has sat since that day in early November. There were a few more things I had originally planned, like adding a broken down wagon to the dung pile behind the barn, paint the pigs a little better, but things can always be done later if I get in the mood. Right now, I am going to pronounce this done, even if it kinda isn't really...

Fritz takes a peak around the corner spotting the Greek Andartes who are guarding the tsipuro still.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Foam Tank

So this weekend I got a little tired of painting and decided to take a break and do something else. I have a lot figures for my VACW campaign but I don't have anything armor wise. So I thought, I would see if I could slap something together using some foam. I didn't have any expectation that anything would come of it, but it turned out not to bad. My only concern is that the thing doesn't look very 1930ish in design and might be a bit to advanced looking to be honest.

I just started cutting out pieces until I had a basic shape blocked out then though I would add some pins to make it looked like riveted construction. I don't much care for the pins, they don't look the part very well. I think they are too large and flat and so I will pull them out before I go any farther and cover those areas with card stock like I have done with other areas. So if anyone knows of something good to use as rivets I would love to know.

The front hatch is just another piece of card with two bits of wire added above to act as hinges. Not sure what else if anything I should add to the front. Also I have now idea how to do the tracks and road wheels yet, will have to think about it for a while. Was thinking to have them mostly covered to make it easier.

I built two inter-changeable turrets for the beast. The first one is reminiscent of a Soviet T-26, but not an exact copy. The lower one reminds more of a Early WWII German turret a little bit.

So there  you go. My first attempt at building a vehicle. My second is underway as I found the perfect bits for it this weekend while I was out at the American Science Surplus store. This place is awesome by the way, I used to shop this store online before we moved up here. Yes! this store is nearby, and I go every chance I get, just to much cool stuff to check out.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Bar Mills Tarp-Covered Cargo

A while back I discovered that I now live only a few miles from a large model railroad distributor and that they have walk in service. Well, I had to check it out. I spent a few days looking through the Walthers Model Railroading online catalog and decided to pick up a few O (1/48) scale scenic detail items. One of the better purchases was some crates and tarp covered cargo from Bar Mills Scale Model Works.

Last week I decided to finally paint these up, but had to use brush on primer given the weather (ridiculously cold for the last 3 months) and the fact that I have no where to use my spray primer anymore, as I now have a neighbor downstairs who complains when I spray paint in the shared basement. So I tried to prime the crates but found that I couldn't get into some of the spaces between the crates so they will have to wait until it warms up and I can spray paint out in the garage.

I was able to prime and paint the the the tarp-covered cargo, and they turned out really well and were quite easy to paint. The detail on the tarps is pretty amazing to be honest.

One of my commandos taking cover behind some crates of HE shells?

These things are perfect objective markers, and as general scenery for any war game. I highly recommend these for anyone looking for some cheap ($8.00 for all three) and easy to paint objective markers.

In case you were wondering, the size of the pieces are roughly 30mm square for the two smaller pieces and the longer one is 48mm long. So they would all fit on a 60mm base and the two smaller ones could be based on 40mm bases individually.

Monday, February 17, 2014

British Commandos, The Twins, and Other Madness

First, lets start with the Other Madness.

Earlier this week I received two packages in the mail. The first was from my FLGS back home. It contained a few packs from Musketeer Miniatures VBCW line. Originally I had wanted to order some of the 1920's IRA figures as I thought they would be more versatile for use with VBCW and my own VACW game. Sadly, only the VBCW figures could be ordered from Gripping Beast for some reason, and so I went ahead and ordered those. After ordering, I moved about half way across the country and in all the chaos and disorder, it kind of slipped my mind for a while (a couple of weeks). Then when I did remember, I figured I would wait until this temporary move was over, but after a while... it became apparent that the temporary move was going to be a little longer than anticipated. So I had them mail me these along with the Conquest Miniatures, Woodland Indian War party. I figure if I am going to get into the French and Indian War I would start with my own ancestors.

The second order, that came the same day was from Black Tree Designs. I went ahead and ordered some stuff during their 1/2 off holiday sale, after just looking for the last three years. Total I ordered some 96 miniatures from BTD and two vehicles, so now I really have my work cut out for me. My order consisted of 48 partisans, the Soviet character set (which will be my partisan mortar crew), a couple of German motorcycles, and 40 Boers. The Boers are going to get converted into a militant farm faction for my VACW game. Oh yes, and a four pack of British Commandos. The plan for the commandos is to use each as an NCO for a partisan squad. So that they will be easily identifiable as such is the massive rabble they will be leading. Eventually I will pick up a British radio team as well.

See, utter madness!

I went ahead a based a few figures the first day using what bases I had. Ten total, out of those ten I managed to get six of them painted on Saturday.

Add caption
So looking at these pictures again I realize that I need to go back and paint the spaces between the open stock of the Sten gun to match the uniform. Seems I have forgotten to do this.

I even painted eyes and 12 o'clock shadows, and I almost never do that.

"We always go commando!"

Well there you go, not to bad for an afternoons worth of work. So far I am pretty pleased overall with the BTD miniatures. The commandos and the twins had lots of details and didn't look at all out of proportion as I had been told previously. A few of the miniatures a bit strange looking, very big in the shoulder etc, but overall I am very happy with my purchase and wouldn't hesitate to order from them again (well except for that I don't need anything else to paint right now). Out of the 96 miniatures in my order, only one was a miscast. One partisan was missing a hand and Molotov cocktail, but that can be easily replaced.