This Week

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Panzer by GMT (scenario 1)

Another go at Panzer, bringing more of the advanced rules into play. The Germans have edged forward cautiously, using the terrain as cover. 1st Platoon is climbing the reserve slope of Hill A.14 that will overlook the woodland that the Soviets have occupied.


2nd Platoon have nestled amongst the Alleyways of the town, while the Company commander, rather carelessly has skirted the town into an exposed position.


The Soviets are still getting into position and at as the next turn opens up, it becomes clear that the Germans have outmanoeuvered their enemy and managed to bring all of their vehicle guns into firing positions. The first round of fire cuts into the Soviet positions. 


In the next turn, the Soviets get the initiative, getting the chance to fire first, but their dice rolling is appauling and in the German part of the turn, once again, accurate fire knocks out two vehicles, while two of their number are lost to having crew bailing, another takes a track hit.


In short order, there are suddenly five other burning Soviet tank hulls, and the Soviets are left totally out-numbered and start to pull back to disengage. With the Soviets in retreat, the German tankers move out to occupy the two bridges and the ford.

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Wargames Soldiers & Strategy No 98

is out on the shelves at WH Smith UK and is simply a lovely issue. It is themed around the Wars of the Roses and has a feature on the Battle of Stoke Field using Lion Rampant rules, that will no doubt appeal to fans of the system.


There is a nice article on creating a WoR campaign that includes things such as recruitment and I have bought another box of the Perry Wars of Roses infantry box (to add to the plastic mountain) on the strength of it - more to come on that one.


By chance, there is a nice two page tutiorial on painting a Panzer IV by hand (specifically not by air-brush), which is a handy article since I got the Plastic Soldier Company Pz IV set a couple of days ago - one more for the queue!

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The 28mm ACW Battle in a Box by Perry

is getting some new attention (for the third time!). This starter set is ideal in getting some larger scale figures into a relatively small gaming area. In an effort for this project to stay on the rails this time, I have glued up the entire contents of the box, so that it is more likely to get painted without those interuptions for prep work, that usually see things stall.


I am also going to put everything to temporary bases to get some gaming done, regardless of where a unit is painted or not. Hopefully this will be a more sure way of keeping enthusiasm going to get the painting done and will allow rules, basing systems  and scenarios to be explored along the way.


Anyway, I have been here before, I we shall see!

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Panzer by GMT

Getting this back up on the table after spending a year with two other tactical systems, so I am going through a reboot of the rules to get the game back under my belt. I am enjoying the 100 metres to the hex scale of the game, which is conveying a sense of seeing the battlefield from the perspective of a company / battalion commander, despite handling individual vehicles.


It has a reputation of being a complicated game, sort of being to tanks what ASL is to infantry, but I think that is over-emphasising the level of complexity here.


I have put up a blog post that may interest anyone sitting on the fence and thinking of having a dabble with this system 


http://battlefieldswarriors.blogspot.com/2018/09/panzer-by-gmt.html



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Victory in the Pacific published by Avalon Hill.

Our face-to-face game this week was an oldie but goodie title going way back to my early wargame years. 


We only got half way through the game, when we called it due to time, so in that regard it fails our gaming criteria for single session games, but we had played enough to see which way things were going and for me to have some reservations.


I took the Japanese side and decided from the outset that I would pursue a policy of destroying the more poweful gun armed elements of the enemy fleet in single minded fashion, so that by the time their significant numbers of carriers came on line (just after mid-game), I would be in a position to try and get night battles to negate their carrier aircraft and use my own superior gunnery to defeat the carrier groups, who by this time would be denuded of their battleships etc.


And that was working as an objective, however two things cause the Japanese significant problems (wrongly in my humble opinion). Firstly, the Allies start to get a significant number of land based air units, these can take on carrier groups at equal odds and the ‘fighter’ capacity of the carrier groups does not seem to be adequately taken into account. The result is that when the carrier groups go head-to-head with the Allied air assets, they will find their carriers disappearing to the ocean bed pretty quickly.


Secondly, the Japanese player moves first and for the most part, this does not fix an enemy in place. So you could launch an attack in over-whelming numbers, to find the enemy has slipped away, while the Allied forces could then in their movement concentrate against smaller Japanese fleets and shred them. Also the numerically larger Allied land based aircraft will also be able to deploy most of their units last, so they can just concentrate on specific areas to pretty much guarantee a result.


Perhaps a more modern approach to this game would go for turns weighted by an initiative system, so that it would be possible for a Japanese player to actually surprise the Americans every now and then. In a two player Pacific naval game, I would have thought that the potential for surprise would be a desirable key element of the design. We do get the surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour - but that’s because the game sets this up to start with and in effect enforces that the surprise attack will happen..... so not really a surprise then!


Historically at Midway, a turning point in the war, the Allies did have intelligence on the Japanese manoeuvres, but the Japanese did not know this and went into battle with at least some confidence of pulling a rabbit out of the hat, but in this game, that ‘feel’ is never given to the Japanese player.


There are quite a few elements of the game that I did like, but I’m not completely sure where the fun part of the game is for the Japanese player. It is as though the ULTRA advantage that Allies had due to their code-breaking success is being excessively used by the Allied forces and that the excessive power of the air force just adds to this Allied might. Mike, who has some good knowledge of the game did highlight some play options that the Japanese should pursue, so I think this is a game that probably shines for people who play it regularly and know its ways. It probably falls too far into the realm of game over simulation for my taste - though that is my limitation rather than the games’.

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I saw issue one of a Games Workshop Part Works magazine in WH Smiths (UK high street stationer) this morning for £1.99 with goodies worth much more than that on the front cover (including 3 full pots of paint).


Full details on my blog


http://battlefieldswarriors.blogspot.com/2018/08/part-works-magazine-with-cheap-gw-paint.html


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Last Battle - Ie Shima 1945

This is Michael Rinella’s (Take Aim Designs) coverage of the battle for the Japanese island of Ie Shima towards the wars end and is published in association with Revolution Games.


The design is in the classic Area Movement style. It is a small format game, with a 22" x 17" map, 88 large counters and a 12 page rulebook. The map is very distinctive, being a lift from an intelligence map of the island and known Japanese positions, giving an interesting and unusual period feel to the look of the game.

 

On the opening of each of the first two turns, I launched a Kamikaze attack on Mike’s naval group, each time being successful and forcing the naval asset counter to be flipped to its ‘used’ side. At the start of turn three, I got distracted and did something else instead, Mike was not about to lose that opportunity and he struck ‘Bloody Ridge’ (3 VP’s) with a naval bombardment. He rolled ‘12’ which would have been bad enough, but I rolled ‘2’ as part of my defence value, which just ensured that the attack shredded my defence and cost me three full strength units, leaving the area vacant.


The whole naval story for these first three turns could easily be woven into an engaging narrative and essentially, the game is filled with similar little twists, that hold interest throughout play. The two armies play quite differently, with the Japanese forces having some abilities that help counter the powerful Amnerican forces and make for a more balanced game.


I have re-set the game for a solo run at it today and then do a fuller write up for the blog.


EDIT - link to blogged post

http://battlefieldswarriors.blogspot.com/2018/08/last-battle-ie-shima-1945.html


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Saratoga by GMT.

This is the new reprint that is part of the Tri-Pack that also includes Brandywine and Guilford. Given a bit of a deluxe update, it has thicker counters and a mounted game board.


Yesterday, I replayed the 12 turn scenario (Campaign Scenario), which again yields a tight and tense fight at Bemis Heights. The tactical detail on the map is very nice and the way this starts to have a relationship with unit types such as rifle or light troops brings about plenty of nuance, making the game replayable.


The course of the game and a few observational notes have gone up over on the blog at the below link.


http://battlefieldswarriors.blogspot.com/2018/08/saratoga-by-gmt.html


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