Sunday, 26 June 2016

A small detour....

1/72 that is!

With my pocket money the other week I picked up a Zvezda Flak 38 gun and crew.  I bought it because I liked it. I have assembled it and painted it for Normandy as I may do a version of "Song of...Bullets and Bombs" in 1/72.

My painting is very poor but I was pleased with how these came out. Just for the record, I have decided to use Vallejo 830 German Uniform for the er... uniforms. This was after trying Russian Uniform as had been suggested somewhere in the interweb. It looked plain wrong. I have also discovered my favourite Dunkelgelb. I used 914 Green Ochre. It looked great especially with a wash of Gryphone Sepia. A really good base colour for 15mm tanks.

By the way, I got some great feedback from Brian Train on the Ramadi game (see the game page and Brian's own blog). Remember, this is THE Brian Train of "A Distant Plain" fame! I'm very encouraged so I'm now off to Fallujah!

Thursday, 23 June 2016

The Battle for Ramadi...

Game components now up (mainly!)

For me this has been a long project (six months at least) so I'm very pleased to be getting to the point where I can release it into the wild at least in a very draft form. 

Here is the new page with the key components of the game. I still have to finalise the operations board where the action takes place and the victory point/casualty tracks. A very demanding work week has put these back a little to the weekend but they will be there by Sunday. Feedback welcome, as usual!

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Journey's end?

Not quite!

My solo simulation dealing with the Battle for Ramadi in December 2015 has taken me nearly six months to get to playtest status. Longer than it has taken the Iraqi Security Forces to repeat the Ramadi operation in Fallujah. Nevertheless I am just about there and am looking forward to actually playing it through from start to finish.

Game reference map
The background and rules booklet is complete, even if not finalised. Playtest counters and map are also in the bag.

Play test map and counters, not yet deployed
My to do list now includes only the victory point and casualty tracks and the operations board where most of the action takes place. I'm aiming to do those this week.

For those of you not too sure what I am banging on about, here is the game outline:
In this simulation the player acts as commander of ISF forces tasked with taking key objectives within Ramadi city centre. ISF forces are represented as units on a map of the city which has a hex grid superimposed on it to regulate the positioning and movement of ISF units. ISIS forces do not appear on the map. The game system reflects their activities by opposing the combat operations conducted by ISF units.
The ISF player has ten turns to achieve their goals. In each turn the ISF player plans and executes a number of operations designed to extend their control over the city and move their forces closer to the six key objectives (Justice Compound, Government Centre, Hospital, Grand Mosque, Stadium and Ramadi East station). Occupying each objective scores 5 victory points for ISF.
The outcome of each operation is based on the ISF forces and assets committed to battle and a randomised response from ISIS. Each operation results in either a win for ISF, with occupation of territory but the potential for incurring casualties, or a win for ISIS resulting in the accumulation of victory points for ISIS. If ISF incurs casualties the pace of their operations will be degraded. Other outcomes of operations will also result in victory points for either side (e.g. civilian losses or the capture of ISIS leaders).
At the end of turn 10 the ISF player tallies their victory points and determines whether they have won. The ISF player must score more victory points than the ISIS player and must occupy the Government Complex.

I feel more comfortable dealing with historical subjects than current events. However, over Christmas I was very struck by the immediacy of the fighting and its importance in the unfolding situation in the middle east. This was the first successful ISF offensive against ISIS. The key point for me is not necessarily how successful this is as a simulation but rather the learning that comes from simply engaging with it. 

Enough naval gazing, I'll get a page set up for this later in the week. Feedback and comments are, as usual, very welcome.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

An interesting list...

a really interesting one!

I am working on too many things at once and have been really busy so this is a bumper interesting list update with some brilliant stuff in it.

Airfix Battles

It has arrived, super cool!

Sturdy box and it smells nice too!

NT Napoleonic OHW in action

Check out the Blackhawkhet blog, where Jack is turning his attention from FiveCore to NT OHW. Very cool blog, second AAR now up.

Songs of....

There are some great blogs around turning rules into real productions worthy of the movies. In the Miniature Addiction blog there is a great Songs of... campaign set during the siege of Badajoz. You really really do need to see this, trust me.


A new Daniel Mersey game to be produced by PSC. Based on his Scottorum Malleus rules (see Miniature Wargames 387, July 2015), it deals with medieval warfare. Agincourt looks like this...

Brilliant, check out Dan's blog here.

Franco-Prussian war in 28mm

As you will have gathered, I don't do 28mm. I like 19C stuff so imagine my surprise when I found a 28mm tactical game with small units (small enough for me to be interested anyway) and featuring Bavarians.

These are to be used with Eagle of Empire rules, these aren't out yet but their website is up and running and can be found here. Hmmmh, £23 for two squads, would probably cost very little in 1/72 plastics. Time for a think when we know more about the rules.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Song of...


Following helpful comments from Norm (thanks Norm!), I have made some revisions to the AT gun rules in v3 of the Songs of...Bullets and Bombs that you can find here.

Highly evocative photo of the Welsh Guards moving up in Normandy
Essentially, the changes introduce rules for limbering and unlimbering. This means you can't use them as assault guns (as if you would!).

Although this sounds like a pretty standard sort of approach, I have given this some real thought (honest). A while ago I read a case from Normandy of a static German tank being spotted by an enterprising 6 pdr crew who then limbered up their gun to their carrier and stalked the tank. They ultimately managed to get in a successful shot. If I recall correctly, this is from 49th Division's action at Rauray. I think the rules as they now stand would allow you to replicate this, but over two turns. I'll have to give it a try!

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Song of...

with extra theme!

My one page rule adaptation "Song of...Bullets and Bombs" has got slightly out of hand. It started off as three bullet points on a post-it and now its nine pages long.

6pdr in Normandy
The Bullets and Bombs page now has v2 of the adaptation. I have spent some time trying to theme the units to be used in the game, this has been really interesting. What I wanted to do was to make it easier to use the scenarios to describe a narrative. That is, after all, what we seek to create in a game, a great story to tell afterwards! Although this sounds bit FoW or Bolt Action, I think it also makes things more “realistic”.

I’m using these rules to play some British/German scenarios in Normandy in the period June/July 1944. So let’s look at what a German 6 unit force from One-Hour Wargames might look like if we model it on a real life prototype like a static division such as the 716th. Please excuse the artistic licence!

First you roll on the OHW table to get your unit types. I'm substituting HMG units for Mortars (for various reasons) in this particular adaptation. Once you know how many you have of each, you roll for each unit to see what it is and what characteristics it has. 

Cool. There are six German themed units and five British/Canadian. I think these deserve a good play testing so I have dusted off some PSC German Grenadiers and will get some painting done this week among the usual chores. It is quite exciting!

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Song of...

Bullets and Bombs!

Have Firefly...will travel!

I'm a real fan of simple systems. The "Song of..." series of rules from Ganesha Games was very attractive, especially the Song of Drums and Shakos, featuring as they do specific rules for Wurttemburgers!

Ganesha brought out Flying Lead, a version for modern warfare, with a really interesting adaptation for Afghanistan called "Hearts and Minds". As far as I know, they have not produced a WW2 source book. This was one of my projects before I got caught up with the FiveCore view of the world. As a minor diversion over the bank holiday I have finally written up my notes on using "Song of..." for WW2. And here it is in all of its unfinished glory.

This uses hexes (no surprise there then!) and the Neil Thomas One-Hour Wargames scenarios (another nil surprise!). 

What I found really interesting is that the system is very very amenable to tweaking. Also, I have had a great idea for theming the Neil Thomas army lists which I'm still working on. Perhaps tomorrow!

And if that wasn't enough, Bob Cordery has come up with a great hex grid Napoleonic game. Check it out on his blog here.