Tuesday, 18 August 2015

WW2 FoF First Playtest

This weekend I was able to do a first run-through of my WW2 adaptation for Force on Force. We didn't play through to the end of the scenario, because the friend with whom I was playing had his own set of rules he wanted to playtest as well, but I did learn some things in the course of running the game. I'll put together another post with my updated rules ideas, but for now, here are some photos from the game.

The first revealed Canadian troops approach St. Lambert through the fields.

The Germans can see several groups of troops and one tank in the fields, but there is a lot of movement elsewhere that hasn't been identified yet.

View from the church steeple on the approaching Canadians.

Three Sherman tanks and a Universal Carrier race across the fields past a wiped-out mortar team, trying to find a weak spot in the German defense.

SS Panzergrenadiers fight through some minor wounds to repel the oncoming Canadians.

A Canadian section approaches the Town Hall, revealing one of the German tokens as a dummy.

One Sherman tries to sneak around the town hall, but a massive Tiger tank crashes through a garden wall and opens fire. Luckily for the Sherman crew, the shot ricochets and does no harm.

After much exchange of fire between the Germans in the town and the Canadians in the field, casualties begin to mount.

A Panzer Mark IV emerges from hiding and heads off the other Shermans at the crossroad, again failing to do any damage.

And that's where we left it. We played for somewhere around 2 hours, and I think that with another 2 hours we probably could have finished off the scenario. My only regret is that I wasn't able to blow up any tanks with the Tiger!

Friday, 14 August 2015

Force On Force in World War 2


This post marks the start of my venture into converting Force on Force to use in WW2 battles. I'll post my thoughts and whatever work I do with converting the rules here, or in follow-on posts, mainly to collect my ideas in one place, but also so that anyone else who is working on the same idea may find it useful.

Why Force On Force? There are a few reasons I prefer these rules: first, and most importantly, it's very interactive. Everybody is making decisions all the time. You are never left sitting there, looking at the pretty pictures in a sourcebook for forty-five minutes while your opponent plays out his entire turn. Second, the rules are entirely scenario-based. There are no points lists, and winning the scenario depends entirely on achieving your (non-abstract) objectives. Third, it just feels right. Firefights are frantic, you have to constantly try to gauge your opponent's strategy and evolve your own, and everything you do matters. It's fine-grained enough that there's room for detailed planning if you want, but it never feels like it's bogging down into minutiae.

House Rules

There are a few particulars in which the WW2 scenarios I want to play were quite different from the sorts of modern fights that FoF typically represents:

Larger Actions: WW2 was (mainly) a war between organized, uniformed armies. I can easily imagine a lot of situations where the insurgency rules from FoF would be useable (partisan actions, Stalingrad, Berlin '45), but not in the battles I'll be fighting.

Command and Control: The impression I get from reading books on the subject is that soldiers were much less independent in WW2 than they are in modern armies. I'll use the command rules for Irregulars in my games for everyone, where a unit that does not have line of sight to a command figure must make a TQ check to activate. Teams will be exempt. Tokens (see below) will make the TQ test at +1 to the roll.

Weapons: The difference in weapons technology is actually the easiest change to deal with. In WW2, a man with a rifle is the basic 1FP unit, and other weapons and organizations will be extrapolated from there. I have come up with some stats for the support weapons in my first scenario (PIAT, panzerfaust, 2" mortar, etc.) which will appear in the unit's stat block when I publish it.

Vehicles and Armor:  I have taken the stats for the tanks I'll be using in this first scenario from a list compiled by a user on the Ambush Alley forums here. (Registration is required to access the .pdf)

Fog Of War: One thing I think is missing from FoF is a proper fog-of-war system. This gets away somewhat from the FoF philosophy that the scenario represents the action once the engagement proper has already begun, ie shooting has started, but I want to have some maneuver/recon component in my game as well.

There are a lot of ways of achieving this, but the one I like best is using unit tokens. I have some color-coded, flocked poker chips I used as blinds in I Ain't Been Shot Mum, and I'll be using them in FoF for the same purpose. With tokens you have to have some sort of spotting system in place, so here's mine:

Spotting may only be done as a reaction, not an action. Identifying a token requires a successful TQ check using the TQ of a standard soldier of the force. Tokens may spot tokens. The following modifiers apply to the spot check:

spotter elevated: +1
spotter under fire: -1

target in cover/obscured: -1
target in building / prepared camo: -2
target within optimum range: +1
low light: -1
target in optimum range and in the open*: automatic
target fires: automatic

*this can be at any point during the target's turn, even if they are only in the open briefly, such as when crossing a road.

Each force will have one token per section, team, or vehicle. Several 'dummy' tokens will be included in each force's setup also.

More To Come

So that's the current state of my rule adjustments for WW2 Force On Force. I'm sure I will have other thoughts, especially after I play my first test game tonight, with a scenario I have created. I will publish a report and the scenario itself here sometime soon.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

A Tiger In Normandy

This coming weekend I plan to run a game of WW2 Force On Force at the Trumpeter club meeting. I have been developing a scenario based on historical actions of the Canadian 4th Armoured Division in St. Lambert Sur Dives, and a key part of the action was the Canadians trying to clear the village while a Tiger tank prowled around inside. Thus, I clearly needed a(nother) Tiger tank. Luckily, I had the Flames of War Michael Wittman set on my shelf, so I just had to assemble, prime, and paint it.

While I was at it, I had a couple of the fantastic TigerTerrain 15mm buildings that were still unpainted in my closet. I pulled them out and I have finished one.

I plan to have a much more thorough write-up regarding my WW2 Force On Force conversion efforts and the scenario I am putting together at a later date. Check this space for future updates.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Perilous Island: The Temple Of Futility

After an unplanned but predictable hiatus, Bryan and I returned to Perilous Island this weekend. We played at Bryan's house and took the game in a slightly different direction than previously: this time, we set up a huge dungeon using Bryan's Dwarven Forge sets and fought it out in there.

We chose the Jungle Trail scenario, which seemed appropriate to appropriate for this setting. The scenario has the leagues chasing "Native Youths" around the table, trying to catch them and question them. It looked like it was going to be easy for us to corner the youths in the dungeon, with the limited paths available, so we decided that the youths knew secret passages and tunnels that let them travel freely. More on this later...

The initial layout. The She-Wolves of the SS entered the table at south center, and The Shadow entered from the northeast. The Native Youths started in the northwest and southeast corners of the temple.

Black Sascha and the She-Wolves approach the entrance with optimism. Native youths? Easy!
A few of the She-Wolves head off to catch the Youth in the northwest. "Hey, I thought this temple was abandoned? What's with the raging fires?"
The Shadow heads for the Youth in the southeast, easily avoiding the perils of the fire. The Youth cowers, Blair-Witch-style, with his head in the corner.
Black Sascha and her lieutenant, meanwhile, head off The Shadow's two lieutenants and some of his mooks at a central doorway. It will soon prove to be a black day for the various junior members of the two leagues...
The Youth in the northwest has just popped through a hidden passage and landed quite close to Emma and Inge. They get ready to leap into action and subdue him!

The Shadow is less lucky, as his quarry actually climbs out of the temple altogether and starts running around on the lawn outside. Damn kids!
Things begin heating up in the center! Black Sascha and Gertie jump on Andre, while two German troopers exchange fire with Mr. Wu and The Shadow's less-glamorous hangers-on. The dead cultist with the dagger was a hostile bystander who suddenly appeared from the shadows and interfered with Mr. Wu just long enough for the She-Wolves to set up a blockade in the doorway.
In the northwest, what looked like a fairly ordinary perilous fire suddenly exploded, thanks to a card played by Bryan, applying the fire's peril to everyone within 3 inches, and rendering that area extremely perilous for the rest of the game. Despite some heroic, escapes and even more heroic returns into the inferno, none of the people you see here ended up surviving. Half of the She-Wolves team, felled with one card!
In the north, the Youth pops through another wall, leaving him just inches as the crow flies from the burning She-Wolves, but several long turns of running through the corridors, even if the She-Wolves still had their skins and eyes and a desire to run. Still, one German trooper gamely runs north, trying to head him off.
When a team catches a Youth, a new one spawns nearby. When one team has caught three Youths, they win the scenario. At this point, maybe six turns in, neither team has even come close to catching one of the Youths.
Mookageddon has come in the center - Andre lies wounded next to a dead German trooper, more mooks are bleeding out in the corridor, while Gertie faces off against a wounded Shadow. Mr. Wu takes off, making a play for one of the Youths, but BS runs him down and begins flogging him mercilessly with her whip.
The Shadow tries to beat up on Gertie, but...
...he is not particularly successful.
Gertie returns the favor, landing a solid blow! When The Shadow tries to shrug it off...
...he is not particularly successful.
Meanwhile, outside the temple to the north, Boy Tarzan (a temporary recruit to The Shadow's team) tries to reason with the Native Youth. This is the first and only time one of the characters manages to make contact! This could be the game winning play!
Unfortunately, he is not particularly successful.
The game ended with everyone on The Shadow's team dead or dying, and just Black Sascha, Gertie, and an irrelevant German trooper left standing on the She-Wolves' side. The leagues managed to capture zero Plot Points between them, and retreated shame-faced from the Temple of Futility.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Another Fury Road -Style Car

I'm presently away on vacation, but I brought enough of my hobby stuff with me that I would be able to work on some hot wheels cars. I found a couple of good ones, and modified this one last night, and painted it this morning.

I added the exhausts out the sides, the front fender, the screens in the windows, and the lances.

Next up is this one, which I modelled on the harpoon trucks with the drag-plows from the movie. Not sure what color I'll paint this one yet.

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Fury Road - Inspired Car

I'm not going to post a review of Mad Max: Fury Road here, but I will say that I saw it twice in the theatre (unheard of for me, I am not a fan of going to the theatre), and I think it's easily one of the best action movies I've ever seen. And the vehicles in the film are, as you would expect, crazy and amazing.

I have played quite a few games of Axles & Alloys, but I only have one modified Hot Wheels car I can call my own. After seeing the cars of Fury Road, I was inspired to get a few more and paint them up to look appropriately post-apocalyptic. Here's the first one.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Saga Irish: Half Way

With all the new excitement at the local club around Saga (hooray!), a bunch of the guys are building Saga forces. Unfortunately, like most other places, the preferred scale at the club is 28mm. So I decided to put together a 28mm Irish force so I have something to play with!

I chose the Irish because they have a few interesting things going for them that other teams don't: first, war dogs. In the game, the dogs count as Warrior units, with the added ability to move through rough terrain without penalty, so they will be very mobile. Second, the Irish can field Curaidh, which are champions or lieutenants to the Warlord. Each Curadh figure counts as a unit unto itself, but with better combat stats than an individual Hearthguard. 

The figures I got are from Gripping Beast, the "official" Saga miniatures line. The figures themselves are a bit of a mixed bag. The casting is good, but the sculpts are sometimes great, sometimes not so great. On a few of the figures, the hair is just a semi-spherical lump with dimples poked in it, and some of the figures' hands are pretty undefined - the thumb might be just a paddle sticking out the side of the hand, and the fingers aren't separated. Also, the poses of some figures are pretty uninspiring - the Warlord that came with the warband is in a really strange pose, with his right arm sticking straight out and up, and his head kind of leaning into his armpit. Not sure what's going on there. I ordered a set of Scots command figs along with the warband, and I used a couple of them for my Warlord instead. Unfortunately, that pose is mirrored in one of the Hearthguard figs.

For these guys, I decided to paint the shields freehand, rather than using transfers. I don't think the result is quite as nice and clean as I would have had with transfers, but I find that miniatures with shield transfers all end up looking a bit samey, and I wanted to do something a bit different with mine.

Anyhoo, here are the pics. I have my dogs and handler out front, the warlord in the centre, and a unit of Hearthguard with an associated Curadh on either side. Still to do: a unit of 8 Warriors and a unit of 12 Levy.

Zoom in to get the full details.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Perilous Island: Blood Sacrifice!

With their feet finally on dry land, the Okkulten Forschungabteilung and The Shadow moved inland, both groups intent on discovering the secret of Perilous Island for themselves. After only a few days of exploring, cries from the jungle brought Black Sascha and The Shadow to a clearing, where a shipwrecked sailor was about to be sacrificed to the dark gods of the islanders! Both teams sprang into action, hoping to snatch the sailor for their own purposes.

Irma, with an okkultentrooper and a friendly native guide, stake out the left flank.

Black Sascha, with two more troopers, gets ready to go ask the witch doctor in the center some questions. Gertie and two of the she-wolves get ready to run up the right flank towards some Perilium they spotted there.

In the middle of the clearing stands the strange altar, with the shipwrecked sailor surrounded by fire!

The Shadow and his men get ready to rush the altar.

One of The Shadow's mooks tries to climb up the roots of a giant jungle tree and get to the crate stowed there, but falls to his death in the attempt.

Irma and her boys rush for the altar, but The Shadow is too quick - he leaps over the flames and grabs the sailor.

Meanwhile, Black Sascha and Emma have words with the witch doctor.

The Okkultentroopers exchange fire with The Shadow and his men, while Gertie and Inge dig Perilium rocks out of the ground.

Irma and the native guide move up to where they can annoy Andre as he wrestles with the mysterious remains, while their trooper runs up to the edge of the fire to shoot at The Shadow.

With the sailor and the mysterious remains in hand, The Shadow's team regroups at the giant tree.

Sascha, Gertie, and the rest of the F.A. move in cautiously, but nothing they do seems to faze The Shadow or his men.

A giant scrum develops around Andre, but he shrugs off every attempt by the three She-Wolves attacking him.

At the end of the day, The Shadow remains in possession of the main prize, turning his back in contempt on everyone who tries to shoot him off his perch!

Another fun session of Pulp Alley. Bryan had terrible dice luck in the first half, but the tables turned in the latter half and I wasn't able to do any damage to his people. I had a card in reserve that would have allowed me to snatch the Mysterious Remains from Andre if I could have just knocked him down, but it wasn't happening. Bryan played well and nabbed the Major Plot Point right away, so fair play to him: dice aside, he had the better strategy!

We didn't end the game with any new pages of the Professor's journal, so we are no closer to moving on to the next stage, but maybe that's best - the scenarios in this section are harder than previous, so more experience wouldn't be amiss!