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!.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Little Wars 2014

I spent this last Saturday out at Little Wars 2014 in St Charles IL, an HMGS- Midwest society production it draws a great crowd from pure historical side of the hobby. While there is small cross pollination of new games they're all mainly historical or quasi historically based..there were some exceptions:  a smattering of various Sci Fi games, mostly home brew rules but some well done Battletech type games and really great weird war looking board, that I turned out to be Dust Tactics.  However outside a  small warmachine tournament, and home brew "Battle of the Five Armies" (it is this season for this anyway) I found very little similarities between what goes on here and Adepticon
that wasnt pure historical games.

I'd say the majority of the games going on were large Black Powder type games, Napoleonics or American Civil War is various scales, a couple Flames of Wars games and Bolt Action game. all of these being big games, the traditional tournament of the Games Workshop ethos doesnt happen here
I find I am really enjoying these "big game" type of community events more and more as time goes onthey just tend to be more fun, when veil of direct competition isnt a intense and there is no prize hierarchy to worry about, as a comparison if you've been following the local debate on the fate of the Adepticon swagbag, the swagbag at Little Wars is filled with candy/ snacks, including on hell of a brownie..which was quite the treat at 9am Saturday after a 45 min drive with my coffee.

One of the conspicuous things I saw lacking was Medievals which probably led to the popularity of the event I was helping out with. Rich's Battle of Arsuf  Crusades game. Which had both session totally full with people asking for extra tickets and but we had no extra spots. I had fun helping my end of the 14 foot table out helping the guys with the rules, walking them thru the turns. 90% of the players never having played Hail Caesar before but several had played Black Powder so the basic familiarity was rare. both games played a bit differently and in my opinion everyone really enjoyed it.
Rich has more detailed write and photos HERE. I'll leave you with his take on it was his event, I just made the Banner Cart.

The Banner remained uncaptured both games..flying high you could see it many tables away which means I made it big enough

One my favorite things about Little Wars last time was the Vendor Hall it pretty large and has alot of obscure stuff. While not as prolific at the last time around I was here (2012) This year Old Glory was here with literally, every single thing they make. I am not kidding. Part of the problem with buying Old Glory (at least in my opinion) is the website is very mid 90's with poor photographs and it tough to tell what your buying or how there 25mm scale with work with whatever you are aiming for. Well I got to see it all here close up, and it was awesome. I ended up walking out with their fully crew Viking Longboat..which is just a project I want to do one day..with a firm opinion that as soon as hobby budget allows it I am picking up a table full of their Chicago buildings for a Victorian style table. Unfortunately my day here was short due an engagement that evening. Next year I'll definitely be back..its a fun place to run a game or play in we will see what I get myself into. I'll it with some random photos from the event.

at least three really great looking Napoleanic games going one, many with a crazy amount of figures.

an elborate martian theme table for what I gather was a home brewed rules game

Nice Bolt Action table from some WI guys I know..nice use of loose foliage and carpet..I'll borrow that idea for sure.

Black Powder, Black Powder everywhere

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Richards Banner Wagon

Here is my Richard the Lionheart's banner wagon for our Little Wars big game taking place this Saturday. The game is a retelling of the Battle of Arsuf which took place in September of 1191 between Richard's Crusading Armies and Saladin forces. We are using Hail Caesar Rules with 100 point divisions, with 4 divisions a side its a huge game. The event is set up for 8 players, each player taking control of one division.  Rich owns the majority of the models and Mike is bringing the rest. My contribution was the Richards Cart which serves as the Crusaders center piece and Saladins prime objective. (to destroy or capture it.)

The planning for this started way back in December hunting down the models and figuring out the proper size,  but accounts the flag was I made it real life numbers it's 12.5 feet high by  22.5 feet long, the beam being a ship mast at about 25 feet.or so

Intinerarium regis ricardi is a latin prose narrative of the Third Crusade, and is supposedly a surviving first hand account written in 1220's. The bit on Richards Banner reads:

"..The Normans defended the was formed of a long beam, like the mast of the ship: made of most solid ceiled work, on four wheels. Bound with iron, and to all appearance no sword or axe could cut or fire injure it. A chosen body of soldiers was generally appointed to guard it..lest it should be broken or thrown down; for if it fell the army would be dispersed and put into confusion"

Unfortunately, I came across the narrative a little late in my plans, as it seem the wagon was enclosed and encased in iron as well as part of the shaft. my version here is much more susceptible to damage and very period looking, medievaly speaking which  was the point. the wagon is from Lead Adventure miniatures and  the horse team are Perry Brothers and the 4 men a Norman command pack from Gripping Beast. while I had the miniatures for sometime this project was started for scratch right after Adepticon, so its taken me all of hobby time since to get this far...some touch ups might still be in order.

The most challenging about the build was of course the Flag, the final version was iteration Three.
The first being a failed all green stuff banner which looked cool but had poor texture to paint on and a very tough surface to free hand paint the lion on. I spent three nights on the GS banner before deciding it looked like crap and realizing it would take far too long to free hand both sides of the banner. and said "let try something else"  I moved over to a paper banner by itself, wasnt liking that either, then I remembered I have used foil banners before but wasnt happy with the there appearance. Then I came up with what will be the way I do all my banners forever .  I set up my banner in photoshop after finding an appropriate image and printed it out on sticker paper, I then put a piece of folded foil inside the sticker paper but cut it short so the edges of the sticker paper would seal on all sides. this way the interior foil would give it a nice bend. The next issue was the printed red on the flag was not robust enought and looked fake, so I hand painted the paper careful avoiding the lion and then touched up the lion itself with some highlights as the paper absorbed the paint its took on very nice texture and foil became even more ply able for bending., in the end I was really happy with this method and that is way I will be making historical banners from now on of any size. the flag and mast are attached to the cart with a heavy magnet so it can be removed and this piece can be used a standard baggage cart in other Hail Caesar games.

The cart made it first appearance on the table last night at Rich's place where demo'd the game once again and you can see the banner wagon makes an impressive piece among the hundreds of models on the table. it must have motivated the Crusaders because they sent Saladin running for the hills this time in a clear victory (last time it was draw only by failure of objective, in terms of casualties, we were decimated)

Looking forward to Saturday and pictures of the event, I missed Little Wars last year but last went in 2012 and thought it was great, hope to see more of the same look for a follow up early next week!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Adepticon 2014 part 4

Jeremy's kick ass German Air Field stole the show as far as tables go.

My last Adepticon post covers Sundays Bolt Action Tournament. The was first time Bolt Action has had an event, this year featured a combat patrol event and this tournament. Bolt Action has been the main game I have playing since last summer so I was looking forward to event as it was something I actually played regularly. Although I have only played Aaron and Jeremy and probably played slightly over a dozen games, I felt I had enough of handle of the game not to get creamed, man was I wrong.

Tim's Warlord Ruins he shipped out , a great box set you get alot of terrain for $60 box, I have two boxes and its giving 8 full buildings and two decent small pieces, almost enough for a full 4x 6 table.

I ended up going 0-3 with my British. my first game was against Chris who came in from Louisiana.
He was running a pretty standard Fallschirmjager list with a 222 Armored car as I am accustomed too..abet he also had  Hetzer heavy tank but that did not have too much impact. The scenario was Maximum Attrition which is just a straight up assault, of which I just came out on the losing end of
I killed plenty of his guys but couldnt eliminate full unit which is was doing to me, at certain point
you reach the tipping point where it all goes downhill, by turn 6 I was nearly tabled. Chris hadn't played much and was very soft on the rules...being it was 8am, if was still a bit foggy and was forgetting alot of basic rules (small team, defensive fire etc) which led to my demise quicker than it should have.

Brents US troops are modeled after his Grandfathers regiment they look really really good, tough to tell from this shot but check them out on his blog.

Game 2 was the real eye opener. One of the cool things about Bolt Action you can played it casually and thematically as we do, or its very open to Min/Max competitive game of which my second opponent also Chris (but from Maryland) was well versed in. He had a nasty Soviet List including a Heavy tank with 2 MMGs and 1 HMG, a Flamethrower tank that also had a  ATG  gun a well in adition to couple Anti Tank rifles and Mortar...and Transport Truck with his free inexperienced platoon, that all Soviet armies get and which he had a special use for.

My second round opponent Chris's Soviets
The problem in this game was I was outmatched from the get go...I had little response to the flamethrower tank which started kicking my ass right off the bat frying my PIAT team  which I really needed from 18 inches away  He had one tank on each flank and the board had decent lanes of fire so my ATG got wiped out early with a lucky shot leaving no response for the big tank....My Humber could have taken out the Flamethrower tank and man I tried but missed on the few shots I had and the Recce move could not get completely out of the line of fire of the certain things and eventually it got popper, leaving me with zero response to his tanks..I had a decent Artillery strike but struck out when it came to the Heavy Tank and he even had Fubar from one his Anti Tank Rifles which I shot at his own tank but it missed.

The scenario was Top Secret, and while my remaining guys hit in heavy cover getting pounded and flammed, (except for my Commandos who outflanked and wiped out  a  Soviet vet squad but the real action was all the way on the other side of board) Chris had his Truck and Rookie Squad outflank in the truck disembark and overrun my mortar easily, once he had the objective he fanned his two squads out in a conga line so one squad could pass the objective to the other, (which you can only do once a turn) the rookie squard could them board the truck and then the truck could drive off the board
all in one turn!...and in this tournament scenario you add to escape via the opponent edge, as opposed to the book scenario which is exiting via your edge. I was pretty impressed you could get the thing off the board in one turn. If you've played Top Secret without a transport you know how had that is.

Chris was great fun opponent, who gave me some great advice on tweaking my list to make it more competitive and still keep the theme, I have already taken into account and look forward try it out.
so while although I was totally shellacked, this was still a great game...0-2

Aaron and Jeremy throw down Germany vs Japan, unfortunately we couldnt keep it Axis vs Allies

Game 3 was against Aaron, I had asked Tim not to pair us up because we've played the majority of our games against each other but considering we were both 0-2 there wasnt much choice
considering the event had some drops (being Sunday) and there were only 14 players. We said what
the hell and just played out usual basement game at a tourament. The scenario was Envelopment and one Aaron and I have played probably the most. My British kill at this as the attacked because of their rules I get and extra die on the Prepatory Bombardment chart which usually kicks out a ton of pins to my opponent first turn. Aaron won the roll, took Attacker and got some hot dice hurting me bad, on the second turn I call in my Artillery and I roll a "1" which allows Aaron to move it 12 inches were ever he wants and that was right into a bunch of my pinned to hell troops, it was game over right there..I gave it good try my left side was crushed, my outflanking commandos again came in on the Right, which was again the wrong side..Aaron got alot of stuff off the board and while I may have eventually killed 4 units..for 8 points, he picked up 16 for the easy win.  0-3

With Aaron and I being at the last table, I found it somewhat ironic that  He won Best Sportsman, and I and won Best Appearance, my Pal Kyle won best overall with his Germans...all victories for the home team here. Glad I pulled it off as there were some good looking armies there (Aaron, Brent, Jeremy, my second round opponent Chris)  I've been working on my guys for awhile now so I was glad people noticed as Best Appearance here was 100% player voted. -so thanks guys.

The award certificate, but I hear we are actually getting the Adepticon hard plaques that have gotten very popular as the preferred award even over the swag.
 The only downer on this event was Warlord Games lack of showing up this year and supporting this event. If you are the US rep for Warlord Games, the one event you want to be sure to make it to is Adepticon. This game has legs as it appeals to a wide genre of gaming types, not having it on Sunday and some press this could easily draw 30 players next year.  That's it for me for Adepticon 2014, we've got Little Wars coming up in a couple weeks and I will be there helping run some Historicals. If you were disappointed by the vendor hall at Adepticon and are local do yourself a favor and check out Little Wars.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Adepticon 2014 Part 3

Friday evening was the return of my Legends of the High Seas game which last washed ashore in 2011.  I knew the gang which only featured two returning players still had high expectations based on the previous events success, so I aimed to not disappoint.

It was somewhat odd seeing this whole set up transplanted here from my basement shocking things were moved to and from with very little minor damage
We had the full compliment of 10 players with average crew size of 12, meant 120 skirmishing figures all trying to outscore each other by capturing treasure tokens and objectives during each of the games three stages. I threw curveball in of having live 12 and 8 pound guns on the table that could be fired and could destroy buildings. The players wasted no time in jumping on this we had several buildings leveled as well as the Pirate ship being sunk as one crew valiantly tried to sail her to the other side of the board for the big points in round 2. An overshot cannonball did some damage to hull in stage one, leading to her early sinking.

I was concerned about about rules and turn protocol in a "big game" such as this. While although you were rolling initiative against the person across or nearest you, the game was really a big free for all. Anyone crew could attack anyone in the effort to score as many points as possible. The two Royal Navy players initially aimed to capture Pirates, I dont think the Privateers had the same restraint.
Thankfully, even with the rulebooks author Tim, on hand for the festivities the game played seemed very smooth, but that could also be a result of the mass quantities of rum on hand being consumed by many of the players.

With 10 players admittedly the board was crowded, this just added to excitement I think however if I added two more players, I would add at least full four feet of table space maybe more.
At the end of stage 3 we only had 2 or 3 of the 10 crews completely knocked out of the game. Newcomer to the event and game David was the high scorer with returning winner from 2011 coming in just 2 points behind. In very close match in the appearance category Jeremy's converted Perry bros Prussians proxying British Marines won the Appearance award. Prizes were of course not the usual Adepticon swag but small treasure chests filled with Pirate Coins and extra Foundry Pirate figures I had from back when we ran the campaign, everyone walked aways with something including Tim
getting awesome laser cut initiative(priority) tokens made commemorating the event.

The gang in action, Thanks to  Tim for bringing the Pirate Flag!

Feedback already has been great, its always satisfying when you put some much time into something and it goes according to plan. If my life lets me well be back again next year with some minor changes and even opening a couple spots, figure we had quite the audience watching the game which is always a good sign to increase attendance in the future. No idea on format yet but its great to see the interest in such fringe genre of gaming.. Thanks mates for all your support!

In my next and final say on Adepticon 2014, I will recount my Sunday, where I took part in Adepticon's first Bolt Action tournament.


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