Monday, December 27, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like D-Day

Christmas Gifts
Originally uploaded by The Gonk
I hope everybody had a great Christmas! Ours was great. With three kids and a dog, it was quite a spectacle around our house. But, now all the kids' toys have been played with, the Christmas turkey has been finally devoured, and it's back to work for me. I did manage to receive a nice little hobby-related Christmas this year. Mostly because I ordered it myself! I got some of the new Flames of War Battle for France items-- the D-Day slipcase books, the 29th Assault Company, and the LCVP set. Kind of special purpose, but I've been considering getting D-Day landing stuff for a while, and when the 29th was re-released, I thought there probably wasn't a better way to do it. My wife also got a few books off my Amazon wish list-- Company Commander, a book I've considered an oversight not to have read yet for some time, and the controversial yet popular Forgotten Soldier. I'm already about halfway through Company Commander.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Gaming Tip

Originally uploaded by The Gonk
I stumbled across a nifty little gaming tip the other day. When we play the great air combat game Check Your 6!, the guys running the game usually hand out clipboards to the guys running the planes, who clip their planes' roster on it and plot their actions each turn. Most of us will usually clip the quick reference sheet underneath for easy access. Well, the other day I received a clipboard with a clear plastic back. It wasn't intended, but I realized I could put the most useful side of the QRS facing backwards and just flip my clipboard over to take a look at it! Simple, and useful.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

On the Road to Sainte-Mère-Église

FoW Objective Vandervoort
FoW Objective Vandervoort
Originally uploaded by The Gonk
I finally got my Vandervoort objective finished up and photographed. I'm not much of a scratch builder, so I'm pretty pleased with how my creation came out. Here we see Lt. Colonel Vandervoort being hauled down a side road after injuring his leg upon landing during the 82nd's D-Day drop. He's passing a sign post showing that he's headed for Sainte-Mère-Église, one of the 505th PIR's objectives, and-- well, would you look at that! I misspelled Eglise!!!!!!!!!!! Argh!!!! I quit this stupid hobby!!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Roadblock on Hell's Highway

Originally uploaded by The Gonk
We had a fun Flames of War game on Friday. We almost didn't, though! As we were determining the specifics of the scenario, I turned to the player that I had thought was bringing the Germans and asked, "How many platoons do you have?" At which point, he said, "I thought you said you had everything!" Well, that was a bit of a surprise, to say the least! Rather than punt to a board game, though, I whipped up as much as I could of my Gepanzerte Panzergrenadiers, and we had a 2,500 point game. That's not much less than the 3,000 point game I was expecting, so the evening turned out fine, despite the organizational hiccup.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Paratrooper Objective

FoW Objective Vandervoort
FoW Objective Vandervoort
Originally uploaded by The Gonk
I've been threatening to do a Flames of War paratrooper objective of the officer being hauled around in a supply cart a la John Wayne in the Longest Day. Well, I finally got around to doing it! John Wayne played Lt. Col. Benjamin Vandervoort, commander of the 2nd Battalion of the 505th on D-Day when he broke his ankle landing. However, a similar incident occurred with the CO of the 502nd, Colonel George Van Horn Moseley-- in fact, that claims that John Wayne played a "composite character" in the Longest Day! Whoever he is, though, he's finally done. Looking at pictures of the M3A4 Utility Cart, I decided the FoW ones were too large. And since I was going to have to scratch build one anyway, as that appeared easier than removing the equipment bag, I made it smaller. I kept the wheels, though-- too tough to scratch build.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Setting up for Flames of War

Flames of War table
Originally uploaded by The Gonk
We're prepping for a 3,000 point game of Flames of War this weekend. I went ahead and got the table ready. It's looking like we'll have five, maybe even six players. We'll be doing the Roadblock mission with Mik's Guards Armoured squadron reinforced by some of my US 101st paratroopers heading down the highway and getting cut off by some Germans of yet-to-be-discovered origin.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Used Books

Used Books
Originally uploaded by The Gonk
Scored some interesting used books over the Thanksgiving holiday. The local book store there sells both new and used books, which I thought was a pretty clever way of cutting down on the competition. Anyway, I found these and got them at less than half the Amazon price. Combat Jump and Beyond the Beachhead both had very high reviews. I thought Combat Jump might be useful reading as I already had WW2 US Paratroopers, and didn't know a lot of the detail of their jumps into Sicily. I was particularly interested in Beyond the Beachhead, the story of the 29th Division in Normandy. I'm about halfway through it right now. It's very readable and I'm enjoying it. I never caught on that their blue and grey insignia was a reference to the American Civil War. The more you know...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Taking Stock of my German Forces

German Forces
German Forces
Originally uploaded by The Gonk

I wanted to take stock of my Flames of War Germans, much as I had my Paratroopers. Ostensibly Gepanzerte Panzergrenadiers, I haven't quite built as closely to the list with them as I have the Americans. Along the right hand side, I have the GPzG Company HQ with Panzerfausts and Anti-Tank Section (135 pts) and two Combat Platoons with Panzerfausts and three squads each and the Sd Kfz 251/10 (285 pts each). I have a third platoon I still haven't painted...they weren't much fun and I'm not looking forward to it. But I will do it soon. Ish.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Memoir '44 Online Open Beta

Memoir '44

I have credible intel that a certain out-of-shape jolly commando will be airdropped on my position sometime near the end of December in an attempt to deliver a medium game box sized device of unknown origin to a reasonably well-behaved child. In entirely unrelated news, Days of Wonder has a free beta testing program for Memoir '44 Online! I downloaded it-- for freakin' Linux, no less-- and have played several games of it. It's my first experience with the game, and I have to say I've found it a little addictive. I've played Pegasus Bridge, Ste.-Mere-Eglisse and Pointe-du-Hoc scenarios so far, and there's a lot more of them. I've only played Solo so far, but it also includes head to head. Fun and easy!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dirstside 2 Vehicle Generator Restored

Random Giant Sci-Fi Tank!

It's taken...awhile, but my Dirtside 2 Vehicle builder is active again. I know several people have been waiting. Sorry to be such a slacker. You'd think I wasn't a technology professional, but the cobbler's children have no shoes...

Monday, November 29, 2010

Burn, baby, burn!

Wool Roving
Originally uploaded by The Gonk

So I picked up some Felt Works Roving at a Hobby Lobby while on vacation. It's apparently used for some sort of needle felt whatever. Being actual wool, it's obviously not the same stuff as Battlefront's Smoke and Flames, but it's pretty close. I balled up some red and orange roving and piled some black on top, stuck a flasher underneath it, and got a pretty cool little burning vehicle marker!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Dinner has been eaten, wine drunk and now we're watching the Saints murderize the Cowboys. Here's a link to the only 25mm turkey I know of, by Mega Miniatures. Scenario suggestion: your World War I game starts with Sergeant York at a Tennessee Turkey shoot. How well he does there determines how much of bonus he gets in the main game!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Progress on my idea of flickering LED fire markers. I had originally purchased a number of LED tea lights. I had planned to rework them onto smaller battery holders, which seemed like time consuming work, but doable. However, Santa Clarita Wargamer has convinced me otherwise, and I just received 25 red/yellow blinking pins. I was afraid they would be too aggressive in their blinking, but I tossed one on a tank and covered it with white acrylic stuffing, and it looked pretty darn sweet.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Take It From a Professional

Face First into Legos
Face First into Legos
Originally uploaded by The Gonk

You don't want to fall face first into anything. But if you have to fall face first into something, you don't want that something to be a Lego creation. Those precised edges can be painfully sharp with just a little force behind them! Number Two Son fell onto Number One Son's Lego boat. It was a pretty minor fall, so I wasn't to concerned at first, but the blood just kept coming! Not visible are a busted lower lip and a torn upper gum! At least he kept his teeth-- unlike Number One Son who knocked one out at about this age...

Monday, November 22, 2010

An Interesting Data Point About Stripping Miniatures

It's Alive! IT'S ALIVE!
Originally uploaded by The Gonk

So, a long while back, I picked up some Wargames Foundry pirates and the Treasure Island characters. They were primed and painted pretty roughly, so I dropped them in a Mason jar full of Pine-Sol to strip the paint off. Not too much later, I decided to strip some Tau Pathfinders and Kryomek Talos units I had bouncing around, and dropped them in a Mason jar of Simple Green. Then I pretty much forgot about them. For, near as I can guess, two or three years.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Flames of War Battle Report

Paratroopers Hold the Line
Originally uploaded by The Gonk

Friday night we played a fairly large game of Flames of War. I put 2,500 points of US Parachute Company out vs. 2,500 point of German Grenadiers. I already detailed the paratrooper forces, bringing all of that thanks to a very few proxies for the rest of the Cavalry Recon platoon and an off-board M2A1 105mm battery. I'm not sure the breakdown of the Grenadier platoon, but it contained approximately eleventy billion Tiger tanks.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

First Game of Tusk

Intro game of Tusk
Intro Game of Tusk
Originally uploaded by The Gonk

The Number One Son and I sat down this last weekend and finished up our Neanderthals! Ten Primaeval Designs Neanderthal warriors, two Wooly Mammoths and a too large Reaper wolf/dog to serve as a hunting dog. As we sat at the dining room table, with the figures painted, I looked at their white unfinished bases and the white table covering and thought, "Hey. Snow!" So we threw down with a quick solo game of Tusk, my son pushing a band of Neanderthal hunters while I managed the rules and ran the Mammoth (whose actions are determined by a reaction table).

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Solo Theatre of War Campaign: the Aftermath

Map after first battle
Map After First Battle
Originally uploaded by The Gonk

So, what exactly happens to these poor Deutschen Volk after losing this battle? We need to figure out the Battle Points for both the American and the German sides. This is done by a formula using the Army Morale Points (see discussion below) and the Victory Points won during this battle.

Victory Points are only scored for the Objectives held when the battle ended. Obviously, since the poor Germans had NO TROOPS LEFT when the battle ended, they get a big fat goose egg. The Americans, however, held a 10 point hill, a 7 point hill (both on the German right, by American companies that hardly moved from set up), and the hard won 26 point bocage. Left on the table were the 8 point rough hill in the German left flank area, the 8 point crossroads, and the 3 point hill the Shermans left to finish off the last PaK 40 battery.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Solo Theatre of War Campaign: The Battle of Le Petite Bocageville

The Battle Commences
Originally uploaded by The Gonk

With the forces laid out on the table, I now went ahead and rolled randomly for unit quality. There's no reason I couldn't have done it before, although populating stats for fourteen American units and eighteen German units in up to ten different battlegroups is a bit much-- better to do it once they are needed. The paratroopers got a veteran bonus and rolled up very nicely, even discounting the temporary hindrance of being out of supply. The Germans had a mix a green, regular and experienced infantry, although in general, they rolled fairly poorly for quality.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Solo Theatre of War Campaign: Eve of First Battle

The Upcoming Battle
Originally uploaded by The Gonk

So now we move from the campaign map to the tabletop. Since both battlegroups used the Attack action, the battle will be a standard Encounter fight, as opposed to something like a Flank Attack vs. Defend. A Retire action would have avoided the fight altogether.

Theatre of War includes rules for setting up the tabletop based on the campaign map and forces involved. The tabletop is divided equally into sixteen sections, in a four by four grid. Cards from the force sequence decks are drawn for the eight grid sections on each side's half of the table, which gets translated to terrain. Since this battle took place in a Heavy terrain square, with movement cost five, it risked some pretty dense terrain. It wound up with some open areas in the end, though. Here is the battlefiend I drew:

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Solo Theatre of War Campaign

The Campaign Map
The Campaign Map
Originally uploaded by The Gonk

I'm finally getting enough WW2 stuff painted to play with. Ideally, I'll play mostly with my favorite rules system, Piquet. I've been reading through the Theatre of War campaign book, and decided to sit down and play a solo campaign using my new troops.

Originally, I started browsing maps around Utah beach, trying to find something that showed enough geography to provide movement info yet not enough writing on it to make it difficult to use. I finally decided I was making it way too hard on myself and just made a random map. This is one row taller than the default map size suggested in ToW. Each map square has a large number in the middle indicating the movement cost to move into that square. Square with cost 6 have a random edge that is impassible. Each square has a smaller number which is the victory points for that square.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Flames of War US Parachute Rifle Company

Flames of War US Airborne
Originally uploaded by The Gonk
I'm taking stock of my completed US Parachute Rifle Company for a possible game of Flames of War next week. At the bottom, left to right, I have a Pathfinder marker, a Company HQ with three bazooka teams (95 pts), and three sniper teams (150 pts). In the middle are three Parachute Rifle Platoons with three rifle squads (Rifle/MG teams) each (365 pts each, for 1095 pts altogether). Behind them, I have a Parachute Machine-Gun Platoon with two sections and two bazooka teams (240 pts) and an M4 tank platoon (450 pts). In the rear is a Glider Anti-Tank Platoon with 57mm guns (85 pts). That's 2,115 points total, if my math is correct. I'm pretty close to having a Cavalry Recon Platoon completed-- just need three stands of 60mm mortars, which are on order.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Bugs, Mr. Rico!

Bugs, Mr. Rico!

One hundred of 'em! As Nick Hawkins has noted, rubber cockroaches look surprisingly effective on the table, and are extremely cheap. I finally got around to ordering 100 of them off eBay, I really have no idea what I'll do with them, maybe 5150 with Nick's modifications. They just looked too cool not to have.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

5150 40k game

Coming out of playing an FNG game at Fall-In! and not having anything planned for gaming this week, I threw together a quick 5150 game using 40k figures last night. I found some QRSs online that looked reasonable, and had about 65 Tau infantry of various stripes up against 10 Space Marines. The Marines were all Rep 5. The Tau squad leaders were all Rep 5 and the troopers Rep 4. About halfway through the game, we decided that was too high given the odds I was going for, and dropped everybody on the Tau side by 1. Otherwise, I thought it played well. I thought the table looked pretty good, too. My trees are falling apart, though. I need to figure out what I'm going to do with them...

5150 40k game 5150 40k game 5150 40k game 5150 40k game 5150 40k game 5150 40k game 5150 40k game 5150 40k game 5150 40k game 5150 40k game 5150 40k game 5150 40k game 5150 40k game 5150 40k game 5150 40k game 5150 40k game 5150 40k game 5150 40k game 5150 40k game 5150 40k game 5150 40k game 5150 40k game 5150 40k game 5150 40k game 5150 40k game 5150 40k game