Battle on the Mississippi 2017.4

On behalf of the Screaming Eagles, we would like to invite Flames of War Players in the Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa or further(!) area for the  next edition of Battle on the Mississippi. This Flames of War Tournament will be held October 28th, 2017 at D6 Games in Rochester Minnesota. (http://www.d6gamesmn.com)  (3160 Wellner Dr. NE Ste. 200 Rochester Minnesota.)

Doors open at 10am and first round starts at 11am.

It is a 80 point mid-war tournament featuring 3 rounds using v4.  With the release of the American book, as well as new players building mid-war forces, we thought it best to schedule for this time period and point amount.

If you have questions, by all means ask. Only able to assemble a partial list or don’t have the lead?  Please talk to us ahead of time we might be able to pull something together for you! We do encourage new players!

There is a $10 entry fee and a limit to a total of ~24 players.

There will be prizes. Please fill in the following form. If you have questions, feel free to email tom_gall@mac.com directly or give him a ring at 507-396-3641.

Players will need to send a copy of their army list no later than Oct 21st. We do prefer that players participate with painted lead but it’s not essential. Results will be reported to the national board of ranked players at wwpd.net.

Hope to see you there!

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Battlegroup : First Playtest

Eric, Raymond and I got together at D6 in Rochester last night and finally gave Battlegroup a go. I’d had some time to read the rules and the more I’d read the more I was hoping to get in a trial game sooner than later.

Battlegroup is put out by the Plastic Solider Company. From the core rules there are several source books for various parts of WWII. Within each source book there are contained lists that are point costed. I’ve not asked on the Facebook page how translatable those lists are across source books. Kinda hard to not have the EW/MW/LW mentality from flames of war to try and group things up a bit.

That’s where as a player you need to yank your head back because Battlegroup isn’t about tournament play. It really is more on the historical side of gaming that goes from squad to battalion level actions. Bigger takes long and you’ll need a larger table but it’s totally possible.

For our game I picked an action from the Overlord book that’s modeled on an Aug 44 battle that involved the Polish and the Germans. The Poles were itching to get into combat after D-Day to do their part and this was one of their first actions against the 12th SS.

Eric setup his infantry force with PAK40s on the edge of town overlooking some rolling fields.

Ray came in from the north playing his first platoon closer to town and the second further out, to go for one of the objectives. With Eric on essentially 3 of the objectives from the top of the game Ray is down about 7 or so in his Battle Rating.

So when you assemble a force in Battlegroup, you have your list of a certain number of points and a certain number of officers teams etc. You also have a battle rating number. For many things that happen (like the loss of a unit, loss of an objective) you take a chit and this counts against your battle rating. Some chits have specials like get an extra action or be able to call in an airstrike or run low on ammo, so it’s not all bad. Once your battle rating goes to zero, you’re leaving the field. The chits are kept secret so your opponent doesn’t know how close you are to breaking.

Raymond’s first and then 3rd troop of shermans with a firefly decided to concentrate on the town. The main gun fire on the PAK 40 wasn’t super effective on turn one. Given attacker moved and the PAK hadn’t opened up yet it made seeing harder.

HE rounds into the buildings likewise scored some casualties. A couple of riflemen and the loader on a MG team being the victims.

In Battlegroup you roll a certain number of die at the top of your turn. The number of die depends on the size of the scenario. 1 to 4D6. This added with the number of officers you have and that’s the number of orders you can issue.

It’s the usual move, move and shoot, shoot and move, kinds of things you’d expect. The order selection also includes overwatch! So you can use that in your opponents turn to shoot if something presents itself. Likewise there’s an anticipatory move with the same idea, you do it in your opponent’s turn not in your own.

The German Pz IVs arrived and the “long” distance tank battle ensued. What’s fun is that Battlegroup harkens to games of yore where the distance determines the shell effectiveness. Longer range, less change for an AP round to penetrate. The orientation of the tanks is on a 45, so front, side, read hull armor sure matters quite a bit more as compared to other games.

With the -1 for attacker and target moving, long range fire is difficult. Makes sense, it should be when on the move.

Raymond having taken the crossroads sat back. Off in the distance towards the south, reports of a couple of 88s meant he didn’t want to get too crazy.

There was a PAK40 there.. it sorta got machine gunned to death.

We played about 4 turns, lots of looking up rules and going slow to get with the mechanics. We had an air attack. We had some artillery come down. A few burning Shermans to top it off. It was way too many forces for an intro game with time limits due to the store closing at 10pm.

While I didn’t play and just ref’d, I liked what I saw. It’s still a back and forth type game when shooting, (aimed fire is roll to see, roll to hit, etc) For armor resolution on penetration for AP rounds, that’s well done using 2D6. Likewise having actual ammo limits for tanks is refreshing.

There’s a lot of flavor in the game tho there are a few odd spots.

Artillery is kind of weird in that it’s a universal 10″ radius area of effect for all types of artillery. On the face of it that shouldn’t be the case, but where it makes up for it is you have to roll hits based on the effects of the HE, so higher HE more hits, less HE less dice and thus less effect. Hits are applied from the center on out so it’s not a case where ALL units in the AoE are in peril.

The game does need a list builder. I’m not sure if there is one so I’ve some googling to do on that. People just don’t want to have to manual put that all together because we don’t all have hours and hours to put into prep time tho we’d sure enjoy it if we did.

Will be playing more in the future!

 

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Stalingrad

Sunday Bill Wojahn put together a very special Stalingrad game using Flames of War v3. We had 5 all total, 2 of us playing German and 3 playing Russian. There were 6 2000 pt lists so you can imagine there were lots and lots of toys out.

Here is the view looking towards the Volga from the German side of the lines.

The Russian reinforcements have to follow the historical path across the Volga.

Chuck, Bill and Matt played the Russians and the Bernt and I handled the Germans. I ran two of the lists so had to pull a little double duty.

The really fun part of this game was we all constructed historical lists. Things built for street fighting from the East Front book which really gave the whole experience a great flavor. The Russians had lots of conscript stuff so hoards and hoards of stuff coming at you was pretty accurate. The feeling of wait didn’t we just take care of that building followed by having to take it again while being worn down was in the air.

Looking down the line at the start of the game. We had some engineering supplies and placed a little wire and some mines. We started about 18″ apart and we knew we needed to push the Russians back to the water as quickly as possible.

Platoons drew up and readied their first push, deciding on how they wanted to pick their way going through the rubble.

Snipers and observers sized up their sight lines in hope of being able to get some meaningful targets early on.

The first waves of Russians drew up on the beaches ready to roll inland. The early artillery bombardments where effective at pinning for a bit until the artillery themselves started to get pinned from air attacks.

We have a couple of 88s which covered the major roads. One thing about this game, there weren’t that many tanks. Mostly assault guns on the side of the Germans and some KV1s and KV2s for the Russians.

Kicking it off I pushed my Pioneers into the first building. Taking it easily. I had two Pioneer platoons bringing up Goliaths with them. Still Pioneers just bringing along rifles … That’s some brave fellows.

The German luftwaffe wasn’t out in too much force. We immediately tried to focus on the Russian armor. Those bunker buster guns would be deadly if shooting at anyone in buildings.

Think you have that building secure? How about a wave of Russian conscripts to mess up your day? Wave after wave after wave of those guys. Just holding a rifle? Too bad about that rate of fire… Chuck close assaulted me and thankfully the first time after one round Chuck’s forces fell back not making their motivation test after taking some hits. Given the numbers not much of a scratch while I’d lost nearly 33% of that platoon. Luck only goes so far.

For reinforcements we have left our armor off leaving that for later. Those specialty sig33bs were a welcome sight as our left flank started to crumble after early initial successes. The 88 guns for getting lots of attention from the Russian 152s thankfully kept making their saves but in doing so kept away from their guns.

An HMG platoon heading for the building where a platoon of German pioneers had gone into but didn’t come out.

While out on the beaches more waves of Russian reinforcements started to land. At one point my German plane had 18 stands under the template….

The beaches were just full of men and material towards the end of the game. We needed more air. We needed more artillery. We needed more men.

Thankfully due to a  turn 1 bailout of the KV1s and KV2s on our right flank were delayed a bit while their commander was changing his pants after being attacked from the air. A couple of Ferdinands showed up so that was going keep the armor at bay. However not before getting in a few shots at some buildings wth their bunker busters killing quite a number.

 

Part of the high water mark of the German advance. I was able to push into this line of buildings only to be pushed out by the Russian hoard.

Likewise on the opposite side, all the gains for the day were whipped out and in the hands of the Russians by the end of the day.

All in all a very very fun day. v3 in these kinds of conditions, using historical lists blended together really yields a great experience. It’s a commitment to a day of action but it’s a mighty fun one and I’ve no doubt we’re brew up something overly large again with lots of tables.

 

 

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Blood and Plunder, first play test

Ian and I played Blood and Plunder at D6 last night. This was the first we’d played it since AdeptiCon where we had picked up the rules and some starter stuff.

Firelock games makes the rules and they have a number of intro, goodies, quick reference charts and other useful stuff on their web site : http://www.firelockgames.com

For any game they really seem to have the right mix of materials to make for a good game experience.  Now the figs that Firelock sells are 28s, for our game we used 15s because, well I have gobs of that. I am painting 28s, just they aren’t ready yet I’m sad to say.

Easyarmy the force builder has a for blood and plunder too. It’s at http://easyarmy.bloodandplunder.com One of the great things about this as well as the game in general is you can put together a point costed force for land, sea or a mixture really fast, print and you’ve got yourself a game with stats. In these days of having limited time to pull together game and wanting it to be reasonably historical, this is a huge win for me. It’s gotten to be a characteristic I look for in modern games.

So we setup a little coastal village. I took French and Ian took Spanish. He was in control of the town and I was coming down the road with plunder on my mind.

We kept this purely a land battle because I haven’t fully read the rules yet and the ship portion of the rules are in the back of the book.

We each had ~150 points of stuff.

For me that translated into a set of 3 trained units and a leader. 8 Boucaniers, 8 Milicers des Caraibes and 7 Flibustiers. My Leader was a French Militia Commander, experienced all for 153 points

Ian had a Guards Costa Commander, 8 Marineros, two groups of 8 Milicianos, and last 8 Lanceros. A bit of a larger force at 151 points.

If you look at it from a stats perspective the French seem to be better at shooting. The Spanish generally better in a melee.

Both side have units with various special abilities and we kinda ignored that. In retrospect I can definitely see where it adds to the flavor of a force. Not everyone can run cannons, not everyone is handy with a matchlock, completely makes sense.

Activation is with decks of cards. You draw a certain number of cards equal to the number of units you have in your force. You choose a card, compare that card to what your opponent has selected and that decides who gets to activate a unit first. Each side gets to activate a unit per round, once per turn. All units activated, end of the turn.  The commanding officer can spend command points so he can essentially hand out free actions to units within his command distance. The card tells you how many actions you have. Spring for the Blood and Plunder printed decks because they have all the info on them. But normal cards will work too. So for instance a spade will generally go first, but you’ll only have one action. A club will probably go last, but you’ll get 3 actions. What’s most important to you me-bucco?

My little force moved forward. I had my boucaniers start to open up at ~15″, looking for 8s to hit. The game is d10 based. Hal-a-frikkin-loo-ja a game not based on d6s. When you fire with a unit, you can let lose as full volley or a 1/2 volley. That gets you either 1 or 2 reloads. To get rid of a reload, that costs an action. Note the special black die on the table, that’s signifies the reload.

If you get hits, the opposite side roles for saves, depending cover etc. Fail and well somebody is pushing up the daisies. After that, the target of the attack rolls fatigue, 1 die + additional die per kills that round. Lose 3 guys, you’re rolling 4 die. You roll against your resolve, each failure gets you a fatigue point. Too many fatigues and your unit will run away or lose actions. At 3 fatigue the unit is shaken and -1 action.

The Flibustiers setup on the wall and Ian pulled in a unit of Milicianos to get ready for a charge. My volley downed 3 and pushed them back.

Then Ian pulled in the Lanceros. You can see them in green off in the distance. Great little unit, they don’t carry matchlocks, they’re coming in with basically spears. You know what they’re good at … yup you guessed it. Come out and fight like a man!

Meanwhile out on the road a unit of marineros came forward and were nearly blown to pieces with a good volley by the boucaniers. They immediately went shaken and very nearly routed.

So while activation allowed for the great results on the road for me, it also allowed Ian to get his Lanceros into melee with my Flibustiers. Since I hadn’t been able to reload, no defensive fire. We went back and forth in melee but Ian ended up winning that and my Milices des Caraibes needed to rush in to help their friends.

At this point we played enough and picked up.

This is a very fun game. It’s a great time period. The rules thus far seem really well thought out with just the mechanics you want for a 2×2 or 1×1 kind of game environment. Card activations for say a 5×5… well that’s where I think things will probably break down with people standing around.

None the less, I’m eager to get into the ship side of things. When Ian and I had played it at AdeptiCon with the creators we had done a ship on ship game which was what really hooked us.

 

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Team Yankee : West Germans vs Russians (101pts)

Ray and I were able to gather on Thursday night and get in a game of Team Yankee. He picked the number of points, and I brought my West Germans along so he could augment his force if he wanted based on what he wanted to run.

He put together a force of 7 Leopard IIs, 7 Leopard Is, and some AA.

For my force I decided to go with a Mech formation, basically 2 large BMP2 infantry formations, 4 Shiklas, and then 10 T-72s.

We rolled up a counterattack with Ray on the defensive.

I set up for my initial attack and pushed forward. The first wave of infantry into town towards one of the objects, one set of BMPs uncommitted and the T72s after the Leopard IIs on the flank. My other formation of BMPs I sent down the road at breakneck speed to go over the objective. I wondered about sending them over fully loaded with infantry to take the objective but I figured I’d hold both my infantry companies to go after the one on this side of the table.

The other objective would get the force of Ray’s reserves so I figured I’d keep things here.

Shooting for the top of the turn went horrible but to be expected with things under cover. I did manage to bail two of the Leos but nothing else.

On the opposite side of the table, Ray managed to inflict lots of damaged to my poor BMPs that were cruising down the highway. They returned fire with missiles but nothing happened, completely ineffective fire.  With the road blocked with wrecks this side of the table was nearly decided. I had put 2 BMPs hiding and 1 bailed and not going anywhere left.

Meanwhile on the other side of the table. My infantry had taken the town and RPGs the AA that was holding the objective. They decided to retreat. Now just needed to sit tight till turn 6 when the objective goes live.

The raging tank battle wasn’t going very well as T72s were going up in flames at a pretty bad kill ratio. I did have 2 Leos destroyed. I pulled in some BMPs to fire missiles which was a little bit of an error on my part positioning them since there is a minimum range for them.

I had my other company of infantry hustle into the town and get ready to provide flanking fire. Tho RPGs vs Leos is a complete waste a time. Close assaulting however… that’s different.

The BMPs on this side I pointed in two directions. One to get ready for Ray’s reinforcements as well as if the other group of Leo IIs would come back to the objective on the attack.

Attack they did. They came crashing into town. My infantry on the objective quickly went into attack attacking the tanks with everything they had. I managed to bail two in quick succession. Ray retreated and then failed his morale roll.

Now the reinforcements started to show. The Leo Is then finished off my remaining holding force on this flank and I started to try to plink one off from long range.

Thankfully the tank battle on my left flank ended so I was able to pull in a couple of the remaining T72s.

The town was fully secured and awaiting the Leo Is.

And covering as well as holding the objective.

At that point it was game with a Russian victory. A mighty fun and dramatic one!

We’ll be doing a Team Yankee campaign fairly soon so be prepared to see more of these action reports as that picks up. And with that … back to the painting table.

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AAR Battle on the Mississippi 2017.3

July 29th was the latest edition of Battle on the Mississippi, 2017.3.  Once again the Screaming Eagles were assembled to put on yet another Flames of War tournament. This time a bit of a send off, our last v3 based tournament.

We were super excited to be holding the event at a new location, D6 Games in Rochester Minnesota. Alas the submarine at Deaf Ear Records wasn’t available and the best part of being at D6 games is being involved with a gaming store that actually stocks the game, supports the game and has lots of space to play.

Our prize table once again deserves a call out to Chuck Hiner and his amazingly great trophies, D6 Games for the crazy good swag and donations from our community of players.

We did try one interesting experiment and setup one table to be streaming on Twitch. We didn’t have any announcers or really do anything special. I did post about it on the forums though throughout the day it didn’t seem like many viewed. O well, was easy to setup and something we’ll probably experiment more with in the future.

Table-wise we have an amble amount of options with 5 tables from various locals for Mid-war.

The desert table was a challenge and a might fun location to be playing on. Jacob and I faced each other, his tiger list was mighty mighty tough as I didn’t have much to be able to deal with them. Literally it came down to who was on the objective first.

Patrick and I squared off on this Russian themed table. His Russian horde played well. A bazillion KV-1s will sure roll over you.

Another Russian themed table…

A runed city scape.

Another sort of wide open spaces of Russia but with just enough terrain to keep it interesting and challenging.

Rounds

Round 1 – Pincer

Round 2 – Dust Up

Round 3 – Breakthrough

Results

  1. Chris Novak – 15
  2. Jason Hobbs – 14- (Best Allied, Best Painted)
  3. Patrick Barkuloo – 12 – (Best Axis)
  4. Tom Gall – 10
  5. Jacob Markson – 10
  6. Matt Vach – 8
  7. Bill Wojahn – 7 – (Best Sportsman)
  8. Ian Gall – 5 – (Dinosaur winner)

Till next time!

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