Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Part 2 of the Williamsburg Muster Report

Well, here we get to the good stuff...the photos and games I played! I got into three games over the course of the con. I wish I had done more, but it seemed that as the con wore on, a lot of my events well...canceled. Was that due to the depressed attendance? I dunno. I hope not, as the Muster is a good, fun smaller con that deserves to flourish, it's just had some bad luck lately. I am hoping it comes back from this.

Anyhow, on to the games and pics.

On Friday, I got into a SCW Bolt Action game..Yes, that's right, SCW in 20mm as run by Bob Watts. There was 3 Bolt Action games that Friday, even if the Bolt Action tournament was cancelled due to the organizer being unable to attend the con. The game was simple, the Republicans and Nationalists shot it out for control of a vital crossroads, and well, Dave Luff, my fellow attendee and good friend and I lost, we lost bad to a pair of players new to Bolt Action. We lost one of our two armored cars early, with our only real AT capability, and the rest of the Republican armor pretty much moved at will, gunning us down and making it very difficult to get much of anything started. But the troops looked pretty!

A Republican Whippet charges some Veteran Nationalist troops, (this Whippet survived quite a bit)

Republican troops advancing towards the crossroads

A burning Nationalist BA-6, hit by a lucky shot from a Republican Armored Car.

Nationalist troops at game start

I then played a 28mm Bolt Action game that evening, it was set in 1945 "somewhere in Germany" with a scratch force of Germans holding off a veritable horde of Russians. There was 3 players per side and Dave ran the game quite ably. The Russian goal was to take and hold the three bridges spanning the canal that bisected the middle of the board. they eaked out a minor victory as they managed to take 1, but their efforts began to peter out due to casualties that began to pile up. That's not to say the Germans got off scott free, as they lost quite a bit, including the only dead armored vehicle of the game. (A burning Marder). The terrain was well executed by Dave, all scratchbuilt except for the smaller items.

The board before game start

A view from the German Lines

The soon to be ill-fated center

A pair of German AFV hold off the Soviet horde.

There was so much Bolt Action going on, I broke down and bought a copy. I don't think it will be my primary go-to rules, but it will be a fun "beer and pretzels" game I can put together rapidly. These are some photos from a breathtaking Africa game that was also Bolt Action.

On Saturday, I was disappointed to find that  a Fistful of Tows 3 game didn't go off, I tried to get into a starship game, which turned out to be running that night, rather than the time the GM had seemed to indicate. Oh well, it allowed me time to get some pictures.

After that, and casting about for a game with Dave, we happened upon a 28mm 7TV game which was set in a 70s British Crime Drama (think Dixon of Dock Green). The scenario was simple. The crooks were robbing an armored car, with an assassin in overwatch. What they didn't know? It was a setup by the cops...I played the cops, Dave played the crooks. It was, to say the least, a very wild and woolly game.

First, the crooks pulled up and very quickly took the money, which lead me to pull up and seal off both ends of the main street bisecting the board. This did not go well for me, as the sniper in the pub had me moving a bit slower than I should have, and the two armed detectives split up, with the co-star being punched out by a crook extra! With one dead cop extra (one of the two armored car guards) and the crooks having all the plot points, things were looking grim for the cops.

Then things turned,..dramatically. First, the van exploded on a random event card. This led to it, the driver and another extra catching fire....the van's fire subsequently went out due to plot points spent by Dave, but the driver burned to death, and the other extra, after running after the boss's Jag, (who had so helpfully abandoned him and two other thugs, as well as the assassin), ran to the cops and let himself be arrested rather than burn to death.

Meanwhile, one of the extra cops went after the assassin, in an inexplicable bit of dice luck...he managed to beat down the assassin with his nightstick and make the arrest. (Yeah, this guy needs to be a series regular!) Then, another card random event led to one of the two remaining extras turning out to be a police informant..and guess what he had? A plot point, add in another arrest, and I managed to tie the game up by the time the episode finale rolled around. In all it was a great scenario and the terrain looked awesome...but I found 7TV a bit clunky and Dave agreed.

I mentioned to the GM that he had some great looking terrain that had a Winter of '79 thing going. He agreed and had a good laugh. Some of the terrain (from Sally4th as it turns out) isn't complete, but it looks great, and when complete, will be nothing short of awesome...and it broke down quickly!

He also ran a spy game on the same terrain, which I did not play, but it looked great as well.

One of my last purchases at the con was some French Telegraph Poles from Sally4th, and some hills from the Flea Market.

In short, three pretty solid games. Now, on to part 3, which will be on the Alpha Strike Blog!

UPDATE: I just realized this was our 5th post! I will keep on writing as you keep on reading!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

FJ Duck Shooting, or adventures on Crete

Ah Crete, that sunny island in the Mediterranean where 76 years ago, two very different but motivated armies, faced each other in a fight that was nothing short of brutal.

I played a game at Tom's house last night, as he is experimenting with Bolt Action, 2nd Ed. We used a scenario from Skirmish Campaign's book on Crete, it was based on the fight for the northern end of Herklion Airfield, which historically, ended badly for the Germans, with an entire FJ Regiment being slaughtered in and around the airfield.

I played British, one, because I loved the idea of using a 40mm Bofors in a game, and two? I didn't fancy the German chances at all. They were dropping onto a wide open runway surrounded by low hills, where a dug in British infantry platoon (from the 2nd Bn, Black Watch) awaited.

Boy was I wrong.

My co-players, John, who was an experienced wargamer, but new to Bolt Action, and Glen, who is new to wargaming, were a good mix of players, and the good thing about Bolt Action is that it is beginner freindly. Now I had an opportunity through variable attachment rolls to get some armor, or perhaps more infantry, or maybe a FO team...nope, I got a 3" mortar that did little during the game but miss a lot.

The Germans took some flak on the way in from the Bofors and some Bren guns, but little damage was done due to our collective bad dice luck, and only one German squad suffered the fate of most accounts of the battle, where they were cut down scrambling to get to the weapons containers. Instead, most German squads landed easily and proceeded to grab their weapons with little trouble, then hightailed it for the nearest cover, daring the British to come after them.

So, of course, we did, but with only 10 turns, and the Germans having a hell of a head start on us, it proved to be a task too far for us to kill all the Germans. The one assault the Germans launched on British positions was broken up with some casualties on our side, but all in all, it soon became a cat and mouse game with the Germans, one that they played to run out the clock and win the game.

I liked the scenario, but the game illustrated my concerns about Bolt Action. It's kinda gimmicky and it seems that actually killing anyone as opposed to endless pins is more likely. Not that I am objecting, but it in this case, served to slow the game down.

I would probably have to play it again, but hey, I have another shot at another Crete game next week!

And wouldn't you know it, but I didn't get any photos! AARGH!!!