Tag: Wargaming

Into The Crucible…

This past weekend I did something that I had never done before. I took part in a competitive wargames tournament. That’s right…my first. I have been a historical miniatures gamer since 1972 (actually earlier if you count playing with plastic soldiers out in the backyard as a kid). Since then, I have hosted and played in any number of games at events ranging from local game days to large conventions but I had never taken part in a competitive tournament. That is until this past weekend.
The problem was that I really wasn’t interested in the games that were played at these tournaments. Warhammer did nothing for me. It’s a visually beautiful game and I’ve seen some incredibly well painted armies. However, I wasn’t interested in the game itself especially when Games Workshop put out the edict that players could only use their miniatures in the Official Tournaments. I did buy the Mordheim setting book because I got it at a discount. It wasn’t a bad game but apparently not using the Official Miniatures was a big no-no.
When Warhammer 40K came out, I decided to give that a try. It was at least somewhat science fiction/fantasy. I bought a small contingent of Cadian Imperial Guard which I painted up in WWII German Wehrmacht colors. I also added a Space Marine Space Wolves Squad and a small contingent of Sisters of Battle which I thought looked pretty cool. I started playing in the local game stores. It was there that I ran into the WAAC (Win At All Cost) Adolescent Geekpunk. After a month or so of having to stifle my urge to pop their pimples with a two by four, I bailed on the whole scene. It was getting massively expensive any way and I just couldn’t see investing any more time and money into a game that I no longer enjoyed. That was about 15 years ago.
In 2012, Warlord Games in England brought out a WWII game called Bolt Action. I’d already gotten several of their rules and supplements and liked them so I got Bolt Action about a year or so ago. It mostly sat on the shelf while I played and ran Disposable Heroes/Coffin for Seven Brothers from Iron Ivan Games. Once I completed my move to Gainesville, I set up my wargames table. I took a look at Bolt Action but had little playing time with. When the opportunity came up to play in a Bolt Action Tournament, I drew up a couple of US Army lists, packed my toy soldiers and off I went to Orlando.
My tournament experience was interesting to say the least. First of all, all the other players were some of the best people I have ever gamed with. I only knew two of them from previous conventions. The rest were very welcoming and congenial. They are a great bunch of guys and I look forward to gaming with them again.
As for the results of my battles, of the eight games that I took part in I drew twice and lost the rest. As a result of this performance, I came in last and had a ball doing so. My prize was a bag of plastic Army Men. It symbolized the player who had the most fun playing with his toy soldiers.
I will most definitely be back again next year…as for my analysis of the Bolt Action Rules…that will be my next post.
Play Games and Have Fun!

Well, It’s Done!

Okay, after much moving of boxes and stuff. I have finally got my wargames table set up. It is 6′ long by 5′ wide. I would like to go into exquisite detail about all of the work I put into building it but in truth it is just a couple of heavy duty folding tables laid out side by side with an old green drop cloth over them. I have other drop cloths and a bunch of scenery and of course many soldiers and vehicles.
So here it is.
Gaming Table 001

The case under the table is one of my figure cases that I use to tote my stuff. I plan on ultimately storing my scenery under the table.

Gaming Table 002
Another view…I still can’t get over the fact that I now actually have a garage…first one I’ve ever owned in my life.

Gaming Table 003

And of course next to scenery, soldiers, rules, and such the most important gaming accessory…The Refrigerator!

Gaming Table 004

I’m hoping that this will be the scene of many different and exciting battles.

Standing On the “Brink of Battle” Part II :Building the Battleforce/The Germans

In the last entry, I gave an overview of Bob Faust’s “Brink of Battle” Skirmish rules. In this entry I’ll go through the steps of building two battle forces. In Part III, I’ll send these forces into battle.
As I mentioned earlier, the first thing is to pick a time period. In this case, I’m going with early 20th Century (Period 3). Next is the theme/specific year. Since I’ve always been a fan of Alternate History, I pick “Invasion America: 1905”. This features Imperial Germany invading the US. It was a favorite subject of popular literature back then. The next step is to decide the amount of Supply Points (SP’s) available to both sides.
There are three levels of SP’s depending on how large a game you wish to have. The first, 500 SP’s, will give you a small quick game that could be finished in under an hour. The next level, 750 SP’s, will give a larger game that will take more time while the final level, 1000 SP’s will give a large game that could take up to four hours to finish. For our example, we’ll use 500 points. Another interesting rule is that if you paint and name your figures to go along with the Theme as well as properly base them then you can get an extra 25 SP’s to build with. So now, each side will have 525 SP’s with which to build the battle force.
The Imperial German Force is from the 73rd Infantry Regiment (the Hannoverian Fusiliers). We’ll build them as a Standard Unit. A Standard Unit has 1 x Commander who be built with up to 20% of the available points (105). We can have up to 3 Veterans who will share a maximum of 30% of the SP’s between them (157) and 4 or more Troopers who are built with at least 50% of the SP’s (262). We need to have a minimum of 5 soldiers and can have up to a maximum of 15.
We’ll start by creating the Commander. Since a standard German infantry squad consisted of 8 Pvts led by a Lance Corporal, this is a good character to start with.
LCPL (Obergefreiter) Rupprecht Faust (87 SP’s) Commander
Ratings:Combat : 4/ Command: 6/Constiturion 5
Traits: Command, Tactician, Marksman +1 (Note that the Command trait is free)
Gear: Mauser Gew. 98 (Rifle), Bayonet, Helmet, Rucksack, Tactical Harness, Extra Ammo +3
LCPL Faust is a tough, competent, young NCO. I gave him the Extra Ammo Gear at +3. Since it helps with clearing weapon malfunctions this represents skill in weapons handling as mush as any extra ammo carried.

PVT Klaus Wehmeyer ( 86 SP’s) Veteran
Ratings: Combat: 4, Command: 5, Constitution: 5
Traits: Command, Marksman +1 (In this case, the Command Trait has been purchased)
Gear: Same as LCPL Faust
PVT Wehmeyer is capable of taking over command of the squad should anything happen to LCPL Faust.

PVTS, Gruenwald, Wernicke, Aderholdt, Lippmann, Bockdorf (68 SP’s each) (Troopers)
Ratings: Combat: 3, Command:4, Constitution: 5
Traits: Marksman +1
Gear: Same as Faust and Wehmeyer .

This Battle Force reflects a professional army. Most of the troops are trained (Combat 3) but probably haven’t seen any real action. Their Morale (Command:4) is good and they’re in very good shape (Constitution: 5)
The total cost of the Battle Force is 513 SP’s which is also its’ valor rating for campaign purposes. Next time, we’ll create the opposition…a detachment of United States Marines. They’ll also be built as a Standard Force but with a different emphasis.
Until then Play Games and Have Fun

Standing on the “Brink of Battle” Part I

This is the first of a series of reviews of wargames rules. The emphasis will be on skirmish level gaming although there will be the occasional sidetrip into others as well.
“Brink of Battle” (hereafter referred as BoB) is designed by Bob Faust and was published last year by his Strategic Elite Publishing company.
Basically, the game is about one to one small level combat. According to the rules, the maximum number of figures per side is 20 while the minimum is five. You can use a number of different scales up to and including 54mm. The recommended table size is 4′ x 4′ although I use a 4’x6′.
The rules define three different periods of play. Period 1 is Ancient/Medieval covering the period from 3000 BC to 1450 AD. Period 2 is Early Modern that covers the period from 1450 to 1880 AD and Period 3 covers 1880 to Present Day. As you can see, this is quite a time span but BoB handles all of it very well. There is a Sci-Fi addition that covers various future settings but these are still in the playtest stage as are the rules and setting for Fantasy.
Once you’ve selected a period, the next step is to decide from what year within that period you wish to build your force. For example, I wish to create a Period 1 force. Since I have a number of Viking/Saxon figures available, I choose the year 1000. It is quite possible to have two units meet on the battlefield that are centuries apart. For instance, the aforementioned Vikings going up against Late Republican Roman Legionaries. The rules are written in such a way as to make this not only possible but playable as well.
So how do you create a unit? Well, first off, let me say this. There are no pre-genned units in the game so you will spend some time doing this. It’s a point buying system that is easy to learn mechanically. The challenge comes in the actual designing of your forces. In this aspect, BoB is similar to a number of RPG’s that are currently on the market.
You begin with 500 Supply Points (SP’s) that you can spend on Ratings, Traits, and Equipment. If you a follow a theme i.e. a Viking Warband or a Union Army Patrol complete with appropriate names, you get an extra 25 points…on yea…don’t forget to flock the bases either.
There are three different types of Battleforce Organizations; Horde, Standard, and Elite. Each type has it’s own unique makeup. There are also three types of soldiers, Commanders (only 1 per force), Veterans, and Troopers. The type of force determines the maximum percentage of points that can be spent on each type of figure. There is also a minimum and maximum number of troops of each type allowed. The highest total being the Horde at a maximum of 20 figures and the lowest being the Elite Battleforce at 3. In practical experience, given the standard 500+25 SP build, I cane up with about half of the maximum figures allowed.
There are three ratings for each figure. Combat (CBT), Command, (CMD), and Constitution (CON). Combat is how well the individual figure can fight in either Close or Ranged Combat. Command is how well their morale holds up on the battlefield while Constitution measures the physical ability of the individual. Each type of figure has a maximum level that it can have.
Commanders have 7, Veterans 6 and Troopers 5.
The next step is to select Traits. These are various individual characteristics that can add to the individuals Ratings to make them more effective in battle. Commanders get thee Traits (actually two as the Commander Trait while free does count against the total.) Veterans get two and troopers get one. All of which is paid for out of the Supply Points allotment. These should be chosen carefully so as to reflect the character of the individual soldier. I personally found it fun and challenging to create a force this way.
Finally, each figure has equipment purchased for it out of the Supply Points. Although the rules make it plain that WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) i.e. the figure can only have what it is cast with. I tend to ignore this rule simply because I have a whole lot of figures that I’ve painted and mounted long before I got my hands on BoB. I figure as long as I have paid the points and make sure that my opponent knows that Einar has a spear as well as that big ass axe that he’s wielding then no problem.
Another step that I take is to make up “Standard Kits”. I put these on a 3″ x 5″ index card. They include wpns, armor, and shield with the SP costs already figured out. It’s a great help and I highly recommend it.
All in all, while it may take a bit of prep time, the payoff is IMO well worth it.

Next Up: In Part 2, I’ll go through the design process in more detail using the Invasion America 1905 as a background.

The Sword and the Flame/The Sword and Secession

Things are settling down here in Gainesville. I’ve already got one project in the final stages of completion. It is 28mm American Civil War skirmishing. I’ve got a copy of “The Sword and Secession” which is the ACW variant of “The Sword and the Flame”.
For those of you not familiar with TSATF, it is a set of rules for Colonial era skirmish gaming. It first came out in 1979 and has been going strong ever since. I have used the basic rules for everything from French and Indian Wars to the German Invasion of Florida in 1905. It is probably the closest thing that the wargaming hobby has to a universal language. So it was with great delight that I read that a Civil War variant was coming out. I received my copy a few weeks ago and found that it was just what I was looking for.
Now don’t get me wrong…I have several other sets of skirmish rules that I like as well but TSATF has always been my “go to” set especially for convention games. It is easy to learn and easy to modify for various periods. These rules are available at http://www.sergeants3.com .
In terms of forces, I have the following:
4 x 18-20 figure Infantry units for each side
2 x Gun sections for each side.
I hope to be able to have a 12 figure cavalry unit for each side completed by the time the convention season comes along. I also have plenty of scenery and buildings…provided I can remember which boxes they’re packed in.
Should be a lot of fun to game.

A New Headquarters!

I know that it has been a while since I last posted anything. Well, I’ve had other things happening in my life. Very wonderful and important things.
On August 25th, Mame Wood and I were married. That’s right…this old soldier got married. Mame is the most wonderful woman I have ever met . Marrying her is the smartest thing I have ever done.
Secondly, we closed on a beautiful house in Gainesville yesterday. We’ll be spending the next couple of months or so moving all of our stuff in. Plenty of room for gaming!
Now you may ask what does this have to do with gaming? Well…everything! I have been blessed with a companion/wife who is really interested in my hobby. So much so that she is having me teach her how to paint miniatures. Mame has also played DnD and has already regaled me with stories of her female half-orc cleric. She is looking forward to playing in my RPG adventures.
In short, my friends, I’m not married to a “Gaming Widow” but rather a beautiful, intelligent woman who games!
Gonna be a whole lot of fun!