Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Operation Sting AAR

Operation Sting went down last weekend at the Chicago Northbrook Hilton, and like its predecessor the now retired Bilbo's Birthday Bash, its immediately become my favorite fall event. We ended up with 17 players, I know small in comparison to Adepticon numbers but pretty standard turnout for this event over the years regardless of the game system moving from Lord of the Rings to Bolt Action. I did get to meet a bunch of great new people playing this game whom I hope to get game with again soon. While I came away empty handed in the awards categories, I manage to win games 1, 3 and 5 for a 3-2 record. After my terrible 0-3 performance at Adepticon winning some games and figuring out how to play my army felt pretty good.

The overall Army spread was :
3 Russian
1 Japanese
1 Italian
3 US
2 British
7 German

I was fortunate enough to face 4 German players and 1 Japanese player, normally my Red Devils face off against Germans so playing two Fallschimjager lists, a German Heer Infantry list and a Waffen SS list was nothing new to me. Game 2 which I lost to my boy Kyle was really neck and neck till turn 4 when he broke it open by nailing my Humber with a immobilizing lucky mortar hit as it was moving to take out his 105mm Howitzer team that was keeping me at bay. This game was particularly fun because I got to play Kyle on my board and after knowing each for years we finally got to play as we have never managed to get together outside of tournament, it was a great game in the end the British just came up short.

From my basement to the Hilton.
There isnt much to mention about my game against the Japanese, it was the worst game of Bolt Action I have played and it little to do with army being Japanese, all to do with my opponents win at all cost attitude at the expense of having a fun game, his selective interpretation of the rules at various times was also a bummer. I dont get into it with people about this kind of stuff, it so rarely happens to me that I just let people do what they are going to do and roll with it. I know some of my pals disagree with my laid back attitude on this, but I just dont care. We do this to have fun, and if I play someone who insists on winning at the expense of that because that is what they need to get thru the day, I'm ok with that every now and then.

Tyler's Russians looking fantastic!
One the flip side my other three games again German Armies, were against great guys, and were great games and alot of fun, Mark, Duane and Seamus, hats to these guys for rolling into a tournament they've never been to and having the right attitude and a good time.

 Ill share a couple quick anecdotes;

Game 1 against Duane who I just met 10 secs before we rolled dice was "Hold until Relieved". Having played this one a bunch being the defender is real ballbuster, so winning the opening die roll, I choose to attack. The table  setup was pretty advantageous to me I  had multiple flanking positions and clear lanes of fire on the objective. The mission also allows me to deploy deep into the table. I then got lucky with big artillery strike the put pins and kills on at least a half dozen units at the top of turn three. by turn 4 Duane had taken enough losses, I was assaulting from 3 directions with support from all sides, he knew it was a seriously uphill climb. Still he played out the last two turns having a good time and just rolling with it, Obviously Duane carried this attitude throughout the weekend as I was not surprised as his name was called as "Best Sportsman", during the awards.

After my terrible game 4, Game 5 turned out to be single handedly the best game of Bolt Action I have played to date,  Against another new player whom I just met -Mark, he was playing next to me during my game 4 debacle. Mark had a well rounded Waffen SS force, and this game was neck and neck all the way till turn 6. The scenario was "Maximum Attrition", having played that one the most I always go after small teams first to try to knock order dice out of the bag, so even though I was up by two dice in turn was another fluke artillery strike, that really only damaged one squad Ill rolled stupid good and it took the squad off the board right at the top of turn two.
Jeremy's Italians
Turn 6, we are both setup with squad just barely hanging on when the dice start breaking my way, I hit his 3 man HQ team with mortar on the first try as they tried to support a heavily pinned squad the needed a desperate order check. I end up taking the whole HQ squad out, which caused the pinned squad which get shot again and knocked below half, to fail it morale check...putting me up by 4 dice we do roll the 7th turn and I am still in danger of losing at least three dice if Mark can catch a break. He doesnt, we each add a order die with one kill each on. turn 7 and I still win by 4 dice..but it was alot closer than it sounded really until the very end of turn 6,  I know how frustrating that can be to see victory so close but you just can roll higher than a "2"  Mark laughed it off as "shit happens"
like you are supposed to.
Overall a great weekend, final scores are not posted yet but I feel I did the British Army right and they placed well as one of the two Armies there that weekend. There is ton of Bolt Action going on at Adepticon this year and Aaron and I are going to play in the team tourney so we are already talking about that. Not much else to add other than a great weekend with some great folks. Congrats to the winners, especially Jeremy for pulling of the appearance award the guy is really working his tail off with two totally converted and wonderfully painted new armies in the past year, his Japanese and Italians. It's well deserved.

In non gaming news I played hooky this afternoon and went to see FURY. Its not for the squeamish, but if you are WW2 history fan or war movie far, its an awesome character study of the bleakness at  the end of that war. We often forget when we play these games that they are based on realities that had incredible human cost. See it for its intense action sequences, and grim reality of war but be reverent to the message, Brad Pitts character sums the film up well with a six word statement early in its running time,  "Ideals are peaceful. History is violent."

Airstrikes are super powerful in Bolt Action..thankfully I only saw one plane in 5 games but they were certainly there.

Tyler D's Russian were quite slick, I really like these.

My Stuart bogged down against advancing infantry, there is 105mm Howitzer out of frame bombing me and eventually the panzerfausts his there mark

Friday, October 17, 2014

The New Table

 Finally completed and played a game on the new table, a generic crossroads with a dirt road, I designed it for Bolt Action, but changing the terrain easily makes it usable for lots of other games.
Aaron Germans roasted me last night in the Demolition scenario, I should have guessed thing were not off to a good start when both my phone and camera batteries died within 5 minutes of each other.
There were of course no pictures from my end and snap these this afternoon just before I took the whole thing down a boxed it up to take to the Tournament in  wee hours of the morning.
I'll spare you details other then on of my vehicles failed it reserve entry roll of a "9" four turns in a row to finally show up turn 6, I'll botched my artillery strike calling in on myself and my Flamer Crew defending my Command Post ran out of fuel on the first shot, Yeah ,one of those games

As for the table here, I feel like I have working on it forever, the bridge section was constructed back in January and the original plan was to have it in this shape for Adepticon which didnt happen , so here it finally is -in October! I still have the liquid resin to do on the resin and I am going to get some more appropriate buildings- but this about it, I wasnt to move on to some other projects.
 I tell myself if I build three more sections I will have options for a ton of different layouts we will see how that goes, right now I am contest with it as is..we will see how people like playing on it this weekend.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Operation Sting , a Yank brings his Brits

In effort to keep on posting, given my long absence, I set up my Army Display for the weekend and took a few shots. Not much different than my Adepticon list with exception that I dropped my QF 6-PDR and replaced with a Stuart M5A1. some adjustment to my veterancy levels allowed me to squeeze in a Flame Thrower team. Considering how much abuse I took from Flame Throwers last event I figured I return the favor. This list plays well against a like minded opponent who want to cover all the bases at 1000 points with a little of everything in one platoon. Planes or Heavy Tanks
I dont really have an answer for. Even against a medium tank, I have my work cut out for me but at least now all my Anti Tank stuff is mobile. Aaron and I are playing tomorrow night so I'll have some pics of all our stuff on the new completed table and you can see where my hobby time has gone.
really looking forward to the weekend, we will see if can win a game at tournament for Bolt Action which has so far eluded me. Excuse the photos my lighting wasnt the best some are a bit washed out.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Crescent and Cross

My call of being "back from the void" seemed to be a bit premature as here I am 6 weeks later just getting to talking about some gaming. I have actually been playing some games of late, Saga and just last week some Empire of the Dead.  Its the former I am going to talk about here. Crescent and Cross is the newest release under the "SAGA" moniker from Gripping Beast. Having like the original Saga quite alot, I was sure I was I going to like C&C so when Rich asked to give me the demo I was like, of course!!. We used all his excellent figures as he is well on his way to having  gigantic Saracen and Crusader fully painted armies at 3000+ Hail Caesar level, what this means at smaller figure counts of  Saga, is you have a ton of figures to choose from. There is something to be said about picking a genre and sticking with it as a hobbyist as Rich has done. His historical only focus the last 5 years or so, shows its wisdom in having fully completed armies of early Romans, figures that work as almost a 1000 year span of Arabic forces,  and 300 years of Crusaders give him alot of gaming power across several different systems, that opposed to my gamer ADD where I have countless unfinished miniatures for various systems and havent been able to field an finished army for a non skirmish level games since I basically finished my Empire Army for Warhammer in 2009 or so.

On the actual game itself, if you have played SAGA you can play Crescent and Cross but there are new rules including a unique system where in order to get some of abilities, the "Virtue" that enables that power must be rolled for in game. Meaning your army has to work its way up to gaining all those killer special abilities. Arabs and Crusaders play completely different and since I was getting spanked playing the Crusaders, I can't tell you much about the Saracen mechanics other than they are very devious and deadly.

SAGA the game is quite popular in these parts and Adepticon 2015 is hosting the official SAGA grand melee here in the US as well as numerous other SAGA events. the game has some legs, not to mention for house rules as if you can make a battle board you use these rules for about any genre of gaming, flexible rule systems like that usually stand the test of time.  I've got my own Viking army I am working on since I has alot of figures from my Saxon/Viking Hail Caesar Army. total crap shoot I have anything done by Adepticon, as I for the first time ever its the middle of October and I dont have plan on what I am actually doing yet.

It is a big week around here however as our local Bolt Action tournament  Operation Sting takes place this weekend and I am in with my British Airborne. ( Bolt Action being the other game that seems to have alot of interest this season)  I should have a couple posts coming up this week on my retooled army, a practice game on Thursday with full painted armies on a full completed table ( finally!!)  and then event itself. After this weekend I can start thinking about what unfinished stuff I want to try to get on the table for Adepticon, unless I slip back in the void, who knows!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Back From the Void

My Stuart M5 (Stuart VI)  for my 1000 point Bolt Action British Force.

 Well no excuses really, I fell of the cliff this summer, work, vacations, the kids, two basement floods (nothing major) and some painful dental work had resulted in extremely little hobby time. I have recently got back to getting my hands on couple things. One being finishing a couple units for my Bolt Action Army for the Operation Sting tournament taking place the weekend of Oct 18th. The Stuart here was one of my two additions after the Adepticon Tournament last spring. Finally I buckled down and finished this guy, and am quite happy with the way he came out.
 The other thing being my actual table for Bolt Action which I am helping out bringing to the tournament. If you look at the photo from my last post in late June you can see the table in it raw state. This pics should give you an idea of the finished look. It 9 pieces that fit together in a couple of configurations with the tons of other stuff we have should make for couple decent setups. I wanted a table that would work for all of the rulebook scenarios with slightly different setups and  I think will accomplished when its all said and done...
 Work on the table will progress all the way up to the tournament, there are a zillion little details but even its being rebuilt state it will playable in probably a week or so.  The Stuart here was good "first tank" project for me...I took an the Humber AC first., next I move onto Warlords new plastic Sherman M4 which I picked up awhile ago, while not using in the upcoming tournament, Aaron and I have talking some 1500 point games, so with the Sherman, and a few other loose teams (Flamer team) and another squad...My British are done for this game, next I'll moving on to my Germans..
 I'll leave this post here with and almost pornographic spam of  pics of my new tank. I've got Saga and some generic Sci Fi and Fantasy gaming to talk about coming up thru the fall so hopefully, now that I am back posting I can do so  alot more frequently, its not like I dont have enough miniatures
or games to talk about.

Scratch building by Aaron Schmidt

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Point Defense and Operation Sting

Our makeshift Bolt Action setup. that one day, sooner than later will give our figures the setting they deserve

Currently my hobbytime is on the backburner but that doesnt mean I havent found time to get some games in. Aaron and I got together for our semi regular Bolt Action meetup I believe our third since Adepticon. Since Adepticon we've both tweaked our German and British lists and added more firepower making a better use of our points. He's added at Stug III and more infantry to his list. I've added a Stuart M5 in place of my Static 6pd AT gun and also added a Flamethrower team.

Aaron's reserve squad that ambushes my commandos from off the table.

The mission was Point Defense. I was playing my British Recon and Paratroop forces and we were the attackers on a German force held up in the town , the thee objectives were left, right and center on Aarons board edge. As usual the games are always close. Despite my putting alot of pins on Aaron's forces with game starting preparatory bombardment (where the British have the best game rule) I took heavy casualties on my left flank losing a squad and my Flamethrower team early. I managed to edge my guy ups and keep them engaged, pressure on. We were both being really careful with our vehicles each having on in the end mine won me the game, however vehicle and AT where pretty boring in the game all we did was put a bunch of pins on vehicles as despite alot of hits neither of us could make a penetration roll to save our lives. ( the best illustration of which is when Aaron rolled a friendly fire FUBAR with his Puma against his Stug III I thought it was toast with the direct hit and added PEN + 1 for the side hit but he rolled a "1" )  I had numerous "1's or 2's" on my PEN rolls after scoring juicy hits with my Vehicles.

I did have a couple of boons thoughout the game, one my Sniper usually does pretty well and he certainly softened up squads and caused some down orders in the guys in buildings and the kept Aarons guys on defensive as I assaulted. My Mortar runs hot or cold, today it was smoking hot
I kept rolling 6's to hit even after I was zero'd in and needed a "2" on the one building that was directly in front of the center objective and covering the access to the objective my right flank. After my Mortar pounded a German squad into oblivion and I hammered that smaller building across the road from the field with Mortars putting so many pins on them they were ineffective by turn 6. .I had my Stuart grab the center objective while my Humber AC covered its rear. a lone squad of Vet Paratroopers grab the objective on the far side of the bridge, losing two men to desperate German fire but still strong enough to capture the objective and win the match.

My Humber covering the rear of my Stuart M5 from the Puma AC, lots of fire exchanged but no vehicles knocked out on either side.
Tactically, the game was very touch and go until the last turn, (one of the reasons I like this game alot) my Commandos that are always my best infantry proved totally ineffective. Aaron wise to my turn 4 outflanking strategy, where they normally raise hell with pinned vehicles and softened up infantry, now had an extra squad in reserve in his new list exactly for countering these guys..I had overlooked this in the moment and unwisely brought them in early in turn 4. where they hid behind a building hoping to ambush either the Stug or the Puma (ideally) with there Anti Tank Grenades.

However the next die that game out of the bag was Aarons his reserve squad came totally in short range of my Commandos and opened up, a reserve ambush if you will, I lost 3 of my 8 guys and took 3 pins, by the next time they got to go, they failed their order check went Down and got wiped out in an open ground assault,  Thats how you deal with Pesky commandos in your backfield.

Anyway great game, Kudos to Aaron for always being an awesome opponent. This game and I am sure others over the next few months are in Preparation for Operation Sting which is going to be a great Bolt Action tournament here in Chicagoland in October. Operation Sting, and please note the pun here- is run by the guys who ran Bilbos Birthday Bash which was the areas great LotR tournament from 2009-2013..although I missed the final 2013 event, I look forward to getting back with gang for this years event as now a Bolt Action event, just as  Phoenix's AZ "Gathering in the Desert" morphed into Bolt Action as the LotR scene faded there so it goes here. It seems both games have a strong cross pollination of players.

The only other game I have played since April, besides Bolt Action is SAGA...which I am also really liking alot as fantastic tactical game with lots of uses for other setting and seems to scale well to get a faster Historical fix then Hail Caesar can offer..while I still really like Hail Caesar..playing Saga with smaller forces will really help get my figures painted for Hail Caesar. While I of course have way too many figures on the paint bench...right now Bolt Action and Saga are getting my attention. I do have a few odds and ends I working on with my kids as well. Once work slows down. should be able to get a good hobby project going later this summer.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

May 2014, I blinked and I missed it.

Ok wow, its June already, I had some hobby plans in May but they went up in smoke pretty quick with this wretched thing called work. I have been pretty busy of late and most I can say for my hobby efforts is the hobby fund is growing due to ebay sales and working like a madman.

What did I accomplish in May, Well SAGA seems to be the new game of the moment, fresh off my favorite TV show of the moment History Channels "Vikings' SAGA was bound to get it due from me and the gang. We had great night experimenting with rules and quickly found the game scales up quite well to larger engagement, and even other eras. Rich's gigantic Crusades era armies has plenty of players if he wants to break it down to SAGA sized warbands for Tomahawks upcoming Crusades book. I think some of guys are playing tomorrow night even, as I prepare to head off to North Carolina for a week on Wednesday.  I've been polishing up my languishing Viking /Saxon horde
into a respectable 6 pt SAGA warband. I hope to get into finishing some paint on it this summer
as we get some games in and Im looking forward to the next meet up that I host mid month.

In other game news Bolt Action is still fresh in my mind, our local fall tournament that was once
Bilbos Birthday Bash for Lord of the Rings has morphed into a Bolt Action event as GW strangled the life out of the game and it left on the side of road along with many decade old players. Most LotR guys I know here locally are now playing BA  and while well all still play the game, the thrill is certainly gone event wise with little to look forward to as far as anything new.  I look forward to some type of organized theme event as that is where that games shines maybe I'll even run that Five Armies game I was talking about 3 years ago

When it comes to current head to head play Bolt Action seems much more palpable despite some of its shortcomings its still a very fun game. I recently retooled my British list after getting schooled at the Adepticon tournament. not sinking so many points  (unecessarily I'll add) into all Veterans gave me a surprising amount of extra points and I was able to a Stuart M51A light tank to my force..I did actually build prime and base coat it this month as well.. so the month wasnt a total wash, just looking forward to getting it on the table and trying it out. Post my east coast expedition my Freelance work will slowdown a bit and  I'll get back in the swing of things..looking for forward to fun and productive summer!.


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