This Week


Nissin i40 flash unit.

I am presently using a Sony camera and was looking for a small flash unit the would help with photographing both family situations in a domestic setting and the gaming table. In my local camera shop, I happened to fall upon a good condition second hand Nissin i40 flash. What a little gem!

I have tested this in a number of situations and am really pleased with its ability to cope with the two extremes of my gaming, that is throw ‘even light’ down a 6’ table and not blowing out close ups. It should also be a useful unit for wargame shows.

For the close up work, I use the heavy diffuser (Softbox) with the flash set to the automatic TTL setting and the manual EV setting dialled down to -1 EV.

It has tilt and swivel features and two diffused LED’s under the head for video lighting, though I doubt I would use that, it is useful for emergency close up work, with its 9 levels of adjustment, where lighting might need supplementing. The hot shoe is metal and there is a fast release button, all features that elevate this unit to just being something nice to use.


Kursk battles

Midday Counterattack.

I decided to use these X-maps for the bigger scenario, the one that covers the fighting on 12th July near Prokhorovka. The Order-of -Battle isn’t particularly large in terms of infantry or their support weapons, but the scenario gives us 19 armoured vehicles - which is a considerable uplift for this system, but the streamlined rules cope with this number of vehicles on the table admirably.

The game gave an interesting account of swirling tank battles and the swarming tactics of the T-34 against the formidable Tiger tanks, plus the handling of artillery against the heavy tanks also felt realistic.

There is a blog post that covers this particular game in some detail, plus it has links to the other games that have been played in the themed ‘Kursk month.



Kursk Battles a Scenario from Tigers at Minsk

Taking a break from the Dark July boardgame scenarios, I set up my 10mm Pendraken forces on Kallistra hex terrain tiles.

Using the ‘Breaking the Line’ scenario from the rulebook, we are looking at a slice of action occuring on 7th July. The day began with 20th Panzer Division pressing into the 3 km gap between the villages of Samodurovka and Kashara, to open the way for an assault on the strategically important town of Teploye that lay beyond. The fighting was tough and repeated assaults had to be made against the determined defence. 

This scenario represents one of those assaults following a short lull. By noon, they eventually broke through and advanced towards the high ground to the south of Samadurovka, while 2nd Panzer Division on their left shoulder, exploited the gap and moved against Teploye.

This was just one of those games in which the dice were so one sided that the attack was stopped dead in its tracks rather early. The play felt right and authentic, but as a game, it was stopped all rather too soon.

EDIT - There is an Observational / AAR post over on the blog.



Road to Prokhorovka

This is the 4th scenario (out of six) from the Dark July expansion.

The Germans are pushing down the Prokhorovka Road and the Soviets are putting up a last ditch defence to block the way.

The Soviets have a couple of tanks, an emplaced T-34, a KV-1 and an entrenched 75mm anti-tank gun, but the Germans have 4 armoured vehicles at the start, two more arrive on turn 3, includinng a Tiger, so any gun duel is going to look a bit one sided.

With most German tanks having been significantly upgunned by this stage of the war, the KV-1 is not the pillbox of 1941 -‘42. Can the Soviets hold the road?

The game has been played and commented upon over at the blog. LINK


Battle for the Oktiabrskii State Farm

In the ongoing Kursk battles, this is scenario 3 from the Dark July module.

This is an interesting scenario, which is all about assaulting buildings, so the wide open spaces are less relevant here. There is a superb special rule that requires all defenders of a fortified building to be shaken before the attackers can advance to melee.

it gives a very Stalingrad feel to the nature of desperate fighting over individual buildings in which the defender can potentially hold out for a long time.

Full write up on the blog.


Julius Caesar by Columbia Games

A face-to-face game at Mike’s last Friday with an old favourite that is easy to pull of the shelf and get straight into. 

As a strategic game based around the lands adjacent to the Mediterranean, I am always surprised by what appears to be limited ways the game can go, mostly delivers a fresh gaming experience each time we play.

Covering the  Roman Civil War 49 - 45 BC and with each side getting five turns per year, this game moves along at a good pace and easily fits into a short evening session.

Within the hand of activation cards that each player gets, there are some special event cards, but if both players play an event card at the same time, they are cancelled and play moves on to the next round. Twice this happened to us, each time I was really thrown as I had planned the turn to revolve around the feature of the card. All told an enjoyable game .... again. 


Kursk Battles

The second game from the Dark July module - Clearing the Ditches has been played and an AAR is up on the blog



Kursk Battles

The Kursk Battles Month continues with first scenario, the assault on hill 252.2 has been played and is up. 

It is a longish post and further posts will be shorter as there will be less to explain.


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