Saturday, 29 October 2016
It's been about thirty years since I last played BattleTech with the chaps in Mansfield, But, chum Drew is running an arena at the local GameHoleCon and I decided to download a copy of the rules, buy a Mech and dive in.
Dive in I did, fired up eBay and made a purchase. Damn! I brought the wrong mech! This Dragon II is a 3099 model we are playing in 3067 - whoops, shall pay more attention to the fluff next time.
I must say these things are a beast to put together, so many fiddly components but a couple of hours with pin-vise, scalpel, files and mitre-bond I think I got quite a dynamic pose with the beast thundering along at near its capacity 64km/h.
I also initially mounted on a 30mm hex base but it was way too unstable so replaced with a 40mm circle of MDF.
As we have house guests my painting time is limited and my hobby area out of bounds - it is the guest room - so as I am currently painting WWII Soviets I utilised the same palette on this with a base-coat of US Field Drab, Russian Green and Dark Red followed by a Sepia wash and then highlighting up. After painting the windows and doing the brown-lining the model was weathered with Tamiya powders and the base was painted black and highlighted to hopefully match Drew's' arena.
I also took a few images from above.
Last week I travelled the short distance - just over an hour - over the Illinois border to Rockford for What Khan.
Following on from my games with the chaps at Brown Deer I would be attending my first US convention and running a game of To The Strongest! to boot. I arrived just after 0800 to find Mike standing outside the door of the convention centre, and a good job too, there was bugger all signage for the venue and I would not have guessed I had the right place otherwise.
Mikes a veteran of my last game at Brown Deer and a keen proponent of To The Strongest! he had kindly offered to help out with this game. We were soon in and found our table and was very pleased to see that all six available spaces had been booked. As I had been on business in Europe I was unable to make the Saturday of the show when every table had been in full swing, Sunday was much quieter with maybe only about eight games in progress.
We soon had the table set up and all the units out and by the time we had finished all the players had arrived. This time I had decided to use playing cards rather than the order chits and due to the lack of markers last time was instead using counters, red and green for ammo, white for a hero and purple for a lance.
Also to assist the players each command was denoted with a unique coloured spot on the corner of each base.
Now it's time to introduce our players, Bob, Michael and Ron would play the Almoravids while Terry, Kevin and Chester took the Spanish. On a cut of the cards the Spanish were the active player.
I gave a quick rundown on the armies and the rule mechanisms and then we were into action. For the first couple of turns the armies were closing and getting to grips, the first casualties being a couple of units of Almoravid skirmishers - I don't know why, despite their superiority in ranged missile fire the Spanish always seem to get the upper hand during this stage of the game.
As the armies closed the combats were to and fro in the centre with neither side getting the upper hand. The swarms of Berber light horse on their left harassed the Caballeros and soon a unit of Christian Knights were wiped out!
I took off for a short while to check out the traders while Mike took sole responsibility for the game - my wallet was untroubled though, I did not really need anything. I did have a good chat with the chaps at I-94 Enterprises though who did like my Battle of Britain t-shirt.
Getting back to the game things were going quite well for the Spanish, the Almoravids were down to their last 5 Victory Medals but it was not all going Spains way, every General of their was either dead or wounded and the next hit would kill! Alphonse had committed his cavalry reserve, the Hildagos had burst through a gap in the centre of the Almoravids and were facing Ben Yusufs Hasham Guard. In the ensuing combat Alphonse fell and the Victory Medals were exchanged.
However, it all fell apart on the Almoravid right, the African mercenary spearmen charged to drive off a unit of Caballeros, made a complete mess of the ensuing combat and the Moors were out of Victory Medals, the Spanish had carried the day.
A well played game that could have swung either way and hopefully some new converts to the rules.
After about four hours play Mike and I got all the figures back in the boxes and had loaded the car. By just after 1300 I had done another lap of the traders and was in my car on the way home and settled down with a cuppa by 1430.
It;s my second US convention next week when I go to the local GameHoleCon in Madison, this one is only 20 minutes from home.
One last thing to add, the convention is in a sports centre and we were set up on the indoor soccer pitches, you cannot imagine how nice the astro-turf was on your feet when standing for hours on end!
A few more pictures from the game.
Tuesday, 11 October 2016
Since arriving in Wisconsin I've painted enough troops to field an International Brigade platoon for the Republicans and a Foreign Legion platoon for the Nationalists. Yesterday was a good opportunity to play a game before the den is temporarily re-imagined as a bedroom for the next couple of weeks.
I set up the gaming table with the village of Gran Salaicias dominant, a large wood was placed in one sector and south of the village was an area of broken ground.
La Legion are a Regular +10 platoon, aggressive with six command dice while the International Brigade are a Regular +1 platoon with five command dice 5. I balanced the forces by making the Brigadiers Anti-Facista (also making them aggressive), two 5cm Mortars, two LMG and two Machine-rifles.
Rolling for Force Morale the Nationalists were starting at FM8 while the Republicans a very respectful FM11. Randomising the mission I would be playing a Delaying Action with the Republicans attacking out of the sun (or the table edge nearest the window as it is more commonly known).
Rolling for Force Support the Republicans would have five points which was spent on an Adjutant and a T-26B, the Nationalists spent their two on an Adjutant of their own and a Road Block.
Only having three scouts the Patrol Phase was very aggressive for the Nationalists and they managed to peg the Republicans well back in front of the town..
Early phases of the battle involves the scouts from both sides getting into position, the Republicans deployed their mortars in the grounds of the substantial house, while the Nationalists countered with their own positioned behind the small hillock in the wasteland on the far side of the village. The T-26B started to roam across to the right. With their scout in position early and a good number of fives rolled, the Republicans use a Chain of Command dice to deploy jump-off point into the vineyard on the right with easy access into the woods.
To counter this the Nationalists deploy a section of Legionaries in and around the taberna, but the Republican secure a double phase, deploy a section into the vineyard via the moved jump-off point and start to move towards the woods. In response the Nationalists in taberna open fire with little effect.
Things start to go well for the Republicans who throw four sixes, then a three, the taberna being the closest building to the centre of the table catches fire forcing evacuation, the Nationalist Sargento Primero rushes to the scene to calm the situation. The Republicans double six again and push on slowly towards the woods while confusion reigns in the Nationalist ranks as the Legionaries rush to exit the building. However, maintaining the initiative the Legionaries get their LMG set up and the first casualties of the game occur as two International Brigade fall. One of the squads that evacuated the building made use of the smoke to advance on the Republican lines.
Two of the observer-scouts set up in the church tower and the Teniete arrives at the mortar battery to coordinate the fall of shot, shock starts to mount on the Republicans own mortar battery. With two Chain of Command dice already the vulnerable jump-off point is pulled back from the free-ranging T-26B. The recently evacuated LMG squad concentrates its fire on the Republican tank forcing it to withdraw.
A new squad deploys on the recently moved jump-off point to counter the Republicans flanking move through the woodland. The Sargento leading the Nationalist squad pushes them on towards the vulnerable jump-off point, maintaining the initiative it is captured and they also add their fire to the shells falling amidst the Republican mortar teams.
With a poor run of dice and seeing the need to protect the mortars and the jump-off point they are holding the Republican Commander steps in and starts to rally the troops. The Nationalists roll a triple six to end the turn and push their troops towards the courtyard. Maintaining the initiative again the Legionaries press on and charge through the side gate, in the initial brawl the Nationalist lose four men to the Republicans six so both leaders steel their troops for the fight, this time it's damned conclusive, amidst the bodies of the Legionaries and his mortar crew the Teniete remains. Both sides suffer a loss of three Force Morale points.
The Nationalists still hold the initiative and the mortar shells begin to fall around the rather exposed Republican Teniete who calls up his remaining troops and orders them to clear the Observer-Scouts in the bell-tower who are responsible for his predicament. While the first Republican section push through the unexpectedly dense undergrowth in the woods the second section accompanied by the Teniete push into the village causing more Observer-Scouts deployed there to skedaddle back to their own lines.
After a hard push through the woods the Republicans finally form a firing line at the woods edge only to come under mortar and concerted small-arms fire from the Legionaries deployed opposite, the casualties are nominal but the Junior Leader suffers quite a severe wound. Return fire is desultory, but would be much boosted if the mortars of their own would have been around to provide support.
In the village the Republicans push on, but a random shot from the rapidly retreating scouts creases the Tenietes skull and knocking him out cold. Fortunately in the next phase the Republicans triple-six and he is back in the action. The Sargento at the woods edge is less fortunate, another bullet whips through the trees and he is carried to the rear loosing blood. Things look bad for the Republican right now, leaderless the troops are stuck in a firefight that they cannot hope to win and are carrying too much shock to effect a retreat deeper into the woods.
Shaking his head to clear it the Teniete gathers his force, with the LMG squad providing covering fire from the building he launches an assault onto one of the Legionary rifle squads and the observer-scout wiping the nationalists out to a man but with nil effect on their Force Morale.
Hoping to press the advantage things go disastrous for the Republicans, the Nationalists double-six for five phases in a row and the concerted fire from a well handled LMG squad sees the attack that was progressing so well reduced to the Teniete, a Sargento and a couple of their men running for cover.
With only three Command die, few troops left of his own, an un-commanded section on the right in the woods and the Nationalists sitting on three Chain of Command dice the Republicans withdraw.
More pictures from the game
Sunday, 9 October 2016
Another productive week with the paint brushes sees another 15 comrades join the Soviet forces for the Fall Blau project.
Quite a lot of automatic weapons this time, a Crusader Miniatures Maxim Model 1910, two more DP LMG teams and four chaps with PPSh are rounded out with four more riflemen with their trusty Mosin–Nagants, all but the Maxim are from The Assault Group.
Like the previous batches I mixed up the uniform colours to give an 'on campaign' feel for the troops and this batch have a lot of the Russian Uniform greens on them. They are painted using the previous recipe.
A few more shots of that Maxim model 1910 from a range of different angles.
Riflemen with Mosin–Nagants.
Riflemen with PPSh
DP LMG teams