Saturday, October 8, 2016

Platoon Forward! Konflikt 47 Co-op Campaign

Ridolfo and I look to give Platoon Forward! a go as we begin a co-op campaign of Warlord Games' Konflikt 47. Platoon Forward!, published by Too Fat Lardies, is not a ruleset, but a dynamic campaign system that can used in conjunction with any of your existing rulesets. It seems the intended target is the solo gamer, however, it can be used opposed multiplayer games (and there is a paragraph or two covering it).

Since Steven and I have found co-op to be enjoyable in a narrative sense (you can see some of this in posts about our Skirmish Sangin co-op campaign), we will be using this system to enhance our co-op experience. We will both act as NCOs leading a squad in a US Armored Rifle Platoon. Our squad will be an NCO plus 9 others. We'll each also have access to bazooka teams (c/o platoon list in Chain of Command).

We diced off for our characters and our first mission: an ambush! We will lie and wait for the German convoy, along with "unlikely" support from an AFV of our choice as a result of rolling a 1 on a d10. The enemy force uses blinds and we will roll off to see what is headed our way after we set up.

The first campaign game went fairly well... if you weren't in Ridolfo's squad

The enemy German convoy

Rolling for blinds went fairly well and even made sense... we fudged the Hanomag capacity a bit to fit everyone on the enemy side. The German squads were based on Heer infantry out of the CoC book.
View from the advancing Germans side
The "careful" Sgt Ridolfo was maybe a little too aggressive in his deployment. The first Hanomag rolled down the road and my bazooka team popped out of ambush to fire... and set it ablaze. The M10 then fired but missed. The second half track, seeing the lead truck hit, swerved into the field. Ridolfo's squad was blocking his bazooka team's LoF and had to spend next turn moving out of the way. The Hanomag tried to unload, but everyone on board failed morale, so the machine gunner up top opened fire. The inexperienced squad took some casualties and soaked up pins throughout the turns. They eventually hit the deck and spent the latter turns holding ground.

The M10 awaits in ambush
The M10 moved up and wiped out the squad that had bailed from the knocked out 251 (Ridolfo's bazooka team's doing before their ultimate demise). That was about all it did before being scared off by the German MG42.

Lead Hanomag put the fire out - everyone severely pinned
My bazooka team took a few more shots and missed - including a hit that needed all but a '1' to damage and got a '1'. My squad was a bit out of range and did not have LoS to the German squad that was harassing Steven's squad. They did eliminate the German Platoon Leader before ultimately having to break off when the German relief was set to arrive (after Turn 5).

Ridolfo's bazooka team finished off the lead Hanomag
Overall, a successful mission, but we suffered heavy losses. We tried to get Ridolfo up to regular through a "Freeform Event", but to no avail. Our "Fixed" Post Game Event lead to reinforcements which was good given the amount of casualties.

Lead Hanomag destroyed. Second one closes in on Ridolfo.

Heer squad disembarks and puts a hurting on Ridolfo's squad.

We decide to bug out after Turn 5 as we have taken heavy casualties. The Ambush was a costly success.

Our next mission will be a Patrol in No-Man's Land. Patrol seems to be a pretty interesting scenario where we start in one grid and actually have to sweep the rest of the grids, returning back to our starting point. Meanwhile two German blinds will randomly appear and we'll then determine which is real and which is nothing.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Bolt Action: Germans in the Far East

After much discussion about playing Bolt Action again, Steven and I finally coordinated our schedules to get a game in. I wanted to keep it small and relatively simple to try to ease back in and to get more of a tactical, squad on squad level of action since we (myself especially) have been playing a lot more skirmish type games of late. We played with a little more than 500 points each. We also used the Bolt Action Alliance rules. MMGs are so much nicer with 6 shots. If you haven't tried it yet, do so next game.

The scenario ended up being Top Secret which I think worked well with setting up a back story, but it's still Top Secret (the FAQ helps it a bit). In this case, we'll say these were German Kriegsmarine who arrived by U-boat to obtain information on a Japanese super weapon. US Intelligence caught wind of this rendezvous and sent in the Marines.

The USMC took advantage of their movement and fire ability to gain early ground while also putting out some pins. The German bike and MMG (6 and 7 shots, respectively) started dishing out pins of their own. At the start of Turn 3, two USMC squads (one an engineer squad w/FT) were within a few inches of the objective, but had a couple pins each. The initial die pull would be crucial as the engineer flamethrower was within striking distance of the German squad in the rubbled building. The USMC die is drawn, but the unit fails its Morale Test. The second squad eventually lost its NCO and picked up another pin. They weren't moving either. So finally he 2nd Lt decides to lead the way and charges out onto the objective, killing a German in the process. However, the German Leutnant has yet to go and does a move and fire of his own and kills the 2nd Lt... Corpsman!... But he's out of range.

From here it's a lot of exchanging pins and casualties. The Corpsman did save a few which was an added bonus. However, where he shined was on Turn 5. The German squad  had the objective and was within running distance of the board edge. They had one pin on them. Last activation of the turn is the Corpsman. I initially advance him to be between my two squads when Steven stops me and says you need to run him up to shoot next turn. But it's the Corpsman, I say. Well he has a pistol doesn't he, he asks. Well, sure, but... Back and forth a bit and finally I play along. The Corpsman moves up. Turn 6. USMC die is pulled. Corpsman activates and fires at the squad with the objective. He lands a hit at point blank range. 2 pins now. German die is pulled. The German unit fails its Order Test by 1. It's a Draw. Corpsman saves the day!

He did get shot later that turn by a sniper. The Medal of Honor ceremony will be held Friday.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Guild Ball - Season 1 Engineers WIP

The Engineer's Season 1 core team is now assembled. I still need to putty the bases and then paint of course, but overall I'm pretty happy thus far and glad I now have something to field on the local pitch.

The goal is a D&D miniature I stumbled upon while looking for 28mm ballistas.
This is my first experience with slotted bases and figures. Most were okay, except Salvo and Velocity made me a little nervous with how little there seemed to be there to fix them to the base. I actually went with a sliding tackle pose for Velocity... Partly due to the concern and partly to have something a little different. I think that gamble paid off - I like it.
Colossus turned into a tripod... We'll just say that's an action pose wink emoticon
Mainspring was surprisingly annoying during assembly, but partly my fault for not dry fitting first. It had also come with one of its front legs snapped, but I managed to salvage that - at least temporarily. Hopefully it holds.

(Solo) Guild Ball - Engineer's Intrasquad Scrimmage Final Play

Here's the setup - Red (visting/bottom) Engineers are up 8-4. Blue Velocity has the ball nearly 15" away from her own goal and less than 9" to the opposing goal - which there is no one between her and the goal.

On the previous turn, the Red Engineers tried valiantly to strip her of the ball - they even took her down to 0 HP, but she was able to Reanimate and retain possession of the ball.

Meanwhile, at the opposite end, Red Colossus bulldozes into Compound (what goalie interference?) to move him slightly out of position. And later Salvo stands up from a knock down, shoots Compound with two Kick Bolts (hitting on one - he was Pumped Up!), and Swift Strikes an inch to slip a little further from Blue Ballista.

At the end of the turn, Red is up in Momentum, 2-1, and wins the ever so important initiative. Since it's a fresh turn, Blue Velocity loses her Nimble, but also loses the first tackle against her Close Control. Red Engineers load up Velocity with 4 Influence. She moves to within melee range of Blue Velocity and attacks - a momentous tackle. That's one. Attacks again - another momentous tackle - that's two! She successfully has tackled the ball from her counterpart and just as importantly gained two Momentum. But she is too far away to make a pass to anyone in scoring range. One more influence is spent on an attack and she gets a momentous double dodge - just what she needed! She dodges away two inches which puts her within 8" of Salvo. She spends her last influence to boot the ball to Salvo (success) and then spends two Momentum to attempt a Snap Shot on goal. Salvo is a 3/6" kicker, but is Pumped Up to add a Bonus Time die to the dice pool (now 4/6"). He rolls and gets two 4s as needed for a Snap Shot. GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What a great game! There's so much back and forth action, nail biting tension, choke artists, clutch performers, and games within the game. Even playing this game solo is exciting. What are you waiting for? ;)

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Skirmish Sangin Co-op: Rescue SNAFU!

One of my gaming also for 2015 was to campaign something. Really. Anything. Frostgrave started but then fizzled. Since moderns really seem suited to campaigning and a gaming buddy and myself have been trying to work through Skirmish Sangin and build up our modern figures, terrain, etc., it seemed to be a great place to start.

We had also been kicking the idea around of a co-op campaign as opposed to one side taking ISAF and the other insurgents. There is a set of user created solo rules on the Skirmish Sangin forums by user neal5x5 (link). These worked quite well in fact, albeit too well for the insurgents in this case, but that was due to some bad luck on our part (see below).

SirRep: Taliban activity has been on the rise in the region and intelligence agencies have recommended all delegates evacuate the area. Three UN delegates remain in the local hotel. ISAF force in the area have been ordered to clear the hotel and escort the delegates via truck to the local airbase for extraction.

Two USMC fire teams (each with a Veteran fire team leader, Avgerage Grenadier (M4/203), Avg Gunner (M249), and Avg asst. gunner (M4) roll into town - fire support team (Collarin) in the HMMVV (w/.50) and extraction team (Ridolfo) in the Unimog.

Collarin exits the HMMVV and directs Hawkins (M249) to cover the south (across the ditch), while Miller (M203) covers the road leading west and Cabell mans the .50. Ridolfo and his team disembark and breech the first level of the hotel. No contact in the first level. The delegate will run out on his own to the Marines waiting in the street.

Using neal5x5's solo rules, the first of four Unconfirmed Encounters (UE) proved to be nothing. In and out - no big deal, boys. Not so fast. The second UE revealed was a 1/2 Force Confirmed Enemy Group (CEG). As you can see below, you can pack a lot into 550 points of Taliban. The combatants were randomly generated using the table found on page 4 of Free Scenario No. 3 - Hearts & Minds USMC in Afghanistan.

The now confirmed Taliban force is placed, but the USMC will be first to act in Combat Phase 6. Fire Team Leader Collarin uses 2 AP to positively identify the near Taliban - a veteran of the Afghan wars, wielding his trusty AK47. Collarin fires and misses.

It's a miss that nearly costs him his life. In the ensuing Combat Phase the veteran fighter aims and returns fire at Collarin; just grazing him, but enough to cause minor injuries. Miller, seeing the leader drop, suffers a morale test on his next activation. Cabell, manning the .50 on top of the HMMVV, is also targeted. He is not so fortunate. Cabell is shot at by the sniper who critically wounds the rifleman. 

The two SAW gunners return fire and lay down some serious cover fire.

Due to the serious nature of Cabell's injuries, the decision is made for the HMMVV to immediately return him to base. Unfortunately, the driver fails his ability roll trying to navigate along the berm and ends up in the ditch.

FTL Collarin seeing the situation deteriorating fast, hops in the passenger side and jumps up on the turret, only to find that on Cabell's last round misfired and he never had a chance to cleared the round. Instead the driver tries to reverse off of the ditch and get the hell out of Dodge.

The M249s were starting to get things to a manageable situation. Until, the third UE made a move that landed it within 18" of the Marines. A '10' is rolled. A full size CEG appears.

Situation Normal just got all f*cked up!

Hawkins is hit and seriously wounded. Miller tries to provide first aid, but fails. By this time, the Marines inside the hotel had all three delegates in the truck, but were not going to leave any man behind. The Taliban, now with favorable numbers, continued to press.

A rifleman from Ridolfo's team tries to administer first aid to Hawkins. He is also unsuccessful. Shortly after, one of the two new Taliban snipers targets the driver of the Unimog and confirms a kill. Time is running out for the Marines.

By now, the two Marines on the ditch take turns popping up to a knee, just to find two fighters snap firing on them. They take down a couple this way, but they can't stay in this position any longer. Miller tries to drag Hawkins to the truck. The sniper targets him and fires - Miller is critically wounded! Ridolfo, kneeling near the front of the truck is now going to have to drag both of them to cover. Pesci crawls back toward the driver side. He is going to have to climb up and move the driver to get this rig moving.

Unfortunately, this is where we had to call it a night. It was our first time using a combat vehicle and the home brew solo rules, so there was plenty of looking up. Despite the dreadful outcome, a good time was had. We've discussed either picking it up here - or some alternate version... perhaps Ridolfo's team was able to drag Hawkins and Miller back to the hotel where they regroup and attempt to hold down their Alamo while waiting for some air support. The other option is to chalk it up as a loss and move on; perhaps even hitting re-boot since this one was such a cluster from the start and never really closed out. We shall see...

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Solo Intro to Frostgrave

Frostgrave kind of snuck up on me. Thinking back, I even recall seeing it sitting on a table in the Brigade Games booth at Historicon, but I never gave it more than a glance.

Then one day I get an IM from a gaming buddy who knew I was looking at the Reaper Bones KickStarter. It said (paraphrasing) hey, if you're still looking for some fantasy gaming, check out Kings of War or Frostgrave. I had not heard of Kings of War, but had at least seen some mention of Frostrgrave, so I checked it out.

The book is published by Osprey Publishing, so I knew it would be a quality book. But how about the rules? I found some previews and reviews online and it sounded interesting. It was available through Amazon Prime at an attractive price, but one problem - I was about to go on a week plus long road trip and not even one-shipping was going to get it to me in time.

I did manage to have the book sent to my dad who I was meeting later in the week, so I was able to get my hands on it for some late night and car ride reading - while riding shotgun of course.

Fast forward to the Sunday afternoon after arriving back home late Saturday night. I had been looking online all week at existing Reaper figures for possible wizards and creatures. I wan't able to piece anything together that made sense through online game stores (one would have a few pieces, but not all and then paying for shipping at two or three places made little sense). My last option online would have been to just pay retail through Reaper. Well, if I was going to pay retail, I figured I might as well try my FLGS. I was hoping to find one or two things on my list that I could check out (I had no experience with Reaper miniatures). I was pleasantly surprised to find just about everything I had been eyeing online. The biggest drawback was that they did not have the Summoner wizard I was looking for. But I did manage to pick up a Frost Giant, an Ice Troll, a Major Demon, and some animal companions, including a bear, leopard, and wolf. I had also picked up a new female Witch to replace the Apprentice you'll see below. Whether she becomes the Wizard or stays the Apprentice remains to be seen. Also in there is Warg who I felt was going to be too big to be a War Hound and am definitely thinking that afterward. We'll see how that pans out.

Rummaging through some 28mm Viking miniatures that I had been using or working on for SAGA (which was shelved) and then later Lion Rampant (which undeservingly has never gotten off the shelf), I found these eight which made up my initial warband.

Front (R-L): Witch, Barbarian (100gc), Thug (20gc), Thug (20gc).
Rear (R-L): Apprentice (200gc), Infantryman (50gc), Archer (50gc), Archer (50gc).
For a total of 490gc spent. I would later add Warg as a War Hound for another 10gc, spending all 500gc available to my Wizard.

Now that I had a warband assembled, I wanted to give the system a try. I did not want to find some more proxies to face off against another wizard that would then also have to be controlled by me, so I opted instead to just litter the makeshift tabletop with treasures and the available creatures that I had picked up earlier that day (sans Major Demon).

Yes, that is playdough and kid's paints... I got yelled at later by a three year old who had just awoken from a nap to find her father playing with her playdough. Not something I recommend, but in a pinch, it'll do.

So here we are set up. The red stones are representing the treasures. You can see the warband split as they set up on the left side. The Witch and Apprentice each have three soldiers near by and then Warg is splitting them in between.

I had given my Witch the following spells: Brew Potion and Familiar which are both Out of Game spells, and then Curse to round out the three from the Witch school; Steal Health (Necro), Leap (Summoner), and Strength (Enchanter) from the Aligned schools; and then Invisibility (Illusion) and Dispel (Thaumaturge) from the Neutral schools.

My Wizard actually failed his Familiar spell (only costs 8) but was successful on his Brew Potion spell, which he gave an Invulnerability spell to the Barbarian. The Apprentice did just the opposite, so he gained a familiar which granted him +2 health for the game.

The Wizard acts first and moved the three soldiers near him. He then empowered a few health to cast Leap to move the Archer up on to the ruins. However, this also meant that the Archer could take no further actions, so he could not use his second action to fire. It did alarm the bear who would later move toward him in the creature phase.
The Apprentice took his crew toward the wolf which was guarding a treasure. The second Archer fired but missed.

In the creature phase, the wolf moved into combat with the Infantryman who disposed of the beast.

The leopard, Ice Troll, and Frost Giant had no line of sight (LOS) to any warband member, so they all moved randomly for their first action.

The bear initially moved toward the Archer, but in doing so lost sight of him after his first move as he was tucked under the ruins, He then used his second action to move half distance towards the soldiers now in LOS.

Since there was no opposing Wizard, the Witch only moves himself into position to cast Steal Health. He fails, but since he's gaining some health anyway, goes ahead and empowers it through. The bear is dealt some damage, but takes his revenge on the Thug who rolled poorly and lost the combat and then all of his health. The Archer opted not to fire into combat as he did not want to risk hitting the Barbarian.

The Archer was no longer hidden behind the tower and the three creatures with LOS began moving toward him.

That would prove fatal for the leopard as the Archer rolled a Critical Hit and killed it.

The bear was proving problematic and I began to doubt we would be making it out alive as he took off 13 of the Barbarian's 14 health. But, just like the Archer, the Barbarian rolled a Critical Hit and killed off the bear. But the Frost Giant was gaining ground quickly!

The Frost Giant would cut the distance while the Apprentice and his crew worked their way to the first treasure (picked up by the Thug) and then drew the attention of the Ice Troll back toward them. The War Hound whiffed, but another Critical Hit, this time by the Infantryman, would bring the Ice Troll down!

Somewhere around this time, the sleeping beauty awoke and I stopped taking pictures. I did manage to get in a few more activations, but had to ultimately call on account of having to clean up my mess! Her words.

Anyway, the Barbarian drank his Invulnerability potion anticipating the Frost Giant closing in on him. The Archer repositioned while heading toward the treasure near the leopard's starting point. The Wizard began to withdraw. The Apprentice would try to Leap the Thug off the board, but that failed. The Thug then moved toward the table edge with the treasure.

The War Hound ended up moving close enough to the Frost Giant that it distracted him from the Barbarian, but ultimately cost it its health as the Frost Giant clobbered him. The Infantryman moved to and picked up the treasure that was originally guarded by the Ice Troll. I think he would have made it off the board. The Wizard and Barbarian would probably have had to withdraw due to health concerns. The Archer heading for the leopard's treasure would have managed to avoid the Frost Giant long enough to pick it up (he'd be out of sight on the other side of the ruins) and then would have been able to exit the near side with the treasure. I had initially thought he would need to return to my starting table edge, but the rules sa that you may exit the table at any edge except the opposing player's table edge.

I did not roll for the treasure or walk through any of the experience that would be gained for Campaign play, but may do so at some point for practice.

Ultimately, even while playing NPCs. I still had a good time and picked up on the rules pretty quick. I can hardly wait to play this Friday with another Wizard on the table!