Monday, December 9, 2013

The Hunters - The hunter becomes the hunted (Type IXA, Part 3)

I hadn't planned on reporting again so soon, but after moving into the next British Isle Patrol Box, I rolled snake-eyes - a Capital Ship!

Capital Ships are always under escort, but first we must roll to see which one. A '7' is rolled - the 31,100t BB Barham! Sink her and a Knight's Cross will be awarded upon return.

Unfortunately, we have to approach her during the day and there is no re-roll attempt on a Capital Ship. Either take it or leave it. Our Kmdt. Lehmann feeling confident after his early success, dives and floods all four torpedo tubes.


And then this... a terrible stretch of die rolls:

* G7a Steam Torpedo, G7a Steam Torpedo, G7a Steam Torpedo, G7a Steam Torpedo moves Target 1 -> Target 1 *

*** 2d6 = [6] [5]*** <Michael Collarin>
*** 2d6 = [2] [4]*** <Michael Collarin>
*** 2d6 = [4] [1]*** <Michael Collarin>
*** 2d6 = [4] [4]*** <Michael Collarin>
*** 1d6 = [1] *** <Michael Collarin>
*** 1d6 = [2] *** <Michael Collarin>

The first line of the Vassal log shows the four torpedoes being assigned a target. The next four lines are the To Hit rolls - two hits (needing '7's or less when firing G7a steam torpedoes submerged at medium range). The next two lines are the dud check rolls for the two hits... both duds! No damage inflicted on the battleship.

And then the hunter became the hunted!

A brief aside - knowing I would be playing The Hunters soon, I wanted to watch a U-boat movie. I browsed Netflix and the only worthwhile option was The Hunt for Red October. A movie I enjoy, no doubt, but it was not what I was looking for. I wanted something WWII related. Really, anything WWII related...
U-571, anything! But no such luck. I looked through another XBox app, Crackle, but no joy there either. I then tried Amazon Prime movies. And bam! Das Boot. Oh, Das Boot. A proper movie to set the mood! I tell you about this, not only because it's a great submarine movie, but if you recall the depth charge scenes, you will understand the seemingly relentless pounding you will take once the escorts have honed in on you. If you don't recall or haven't seen it or just want to recapture that feeling - watch this (same as below). It's a trailer, but it actually does a better job portraying that feeling than any of the clips I could find on YouTube.


The following is the Vassal log, starting with the escort detection rolls:

*** 2d6 = [6] [1]*** <Michael Collarin>
*** 2d6 = [4] [4]*** <Michael Collarin>
* Incoming Hits moves offboard -> 2 Hits on U-Boat *
*** 2d6 = [3] [2]*** <Michael Collarin>
*** 2d6 = [5] [1]*** <Michael Collarin>
*** 1d6 = [6] *** <Michael Collarin>
* Flooding moves Fooding -> Fooding *
* Hull Damage moves Hull Damage -> Hull Damage *
*** 2d6 = [6] [1]*** <Michael Collarin>
*** 2d6 = [1] [4]*** <Michael Collarin>
* Incoming Hits moves 2 Hits on U-Boat -> 1 Hit on U-Boat *
*** 2d6 = [2] [6]*** <Michael Collarin>
*  Damage created in Deck Gun and Flak
* Hull Damage moves Hull Damage -> Hull Damage *
*** 2d6 = [1] [5]*** <Michael Collarin>
*** 2d6 = [6] [2]*** <Michael Collarin>
*** 2d6 = [2] [1]*** <Michael Collarin>
* Incoming Hits moves 1 Hit on U-Boat -> offboard *
* Hull Damage moves Hull Damage -> Hull Damage *
*** 2d6 = [1] [4]*** <Michael Collarin>
*** 2d6 = [2] [1]*** <Michael Collarin>

The initial detection lead to two hits - one Minor Damage (no effect) and the other caused Flooding... followed by a die roll of '6' causing additional flooding.

The Hull Damage in the log was me attempting to Exceed Test Depth. This evasive maneuver causes one hull damage and requires a 2d6 die roll. However, since this was my first hull damage inflicted and it's impossible to roll a '1' on 2d6, I continued with the detection phase. A '7'. Normally, that would avoid detection (8 or less), however, there are several modifiers in play here - +1 for Capital Ship, +1 for being Previously Detected, and +1 for firing G7a Steam Torpedoes during the Day. Exceeding Test Depth provides a -1 modifier. The '7' becomes a '9' and we are detected once again.
One new hit is inflicted - the 3.7cm Flak is damaged. Hardly of any consequence at this stage. We're just hoping to evade the pigs on the surface.
We take another hull damage by Exceeding Test Depth, but this time roll to check as well now have a possible '2'. Nothing more serious due to the depth, but we are detected a third time! But with a roll of '3' and no modifiers on the hit table, the depth charges are ineffective.
We must evade soon as each time we Exceed Test Depth we take an additional hull damage and increase our chances of catastrophe. The roll of '5' causes no problems for the depth and the finally a '3'! We evade!
Unfortunately, since we did not damage the Capital Ship, we are unable to follow her and we can attempt to lick our wounds - rolling to see whether we can repair some of the damages or if they will be inoperable for the remainder of the patrol.

The Hunters - The hunting begins (Type IXA, Part 2)

The Type IXA has an impressive Torpedo Load of 22. Of those, 12 are designated to be G7a (steam) torpedoes and 10 are designated to be G7e (electric) torpedoes. However, as noted just below, that mix may be adjusted by 4. Therefore, I will equip (16) G7a steam torpedoes and (6) G7e electric torpedoes. I have also opted for the historical option, pre-loading only steam torpedoes into the tubes upon leaving port (the electric torpedoes required more maintenance and would not be pre-loaded).

We are now ready to set course for the British Isles!

The first Transit box roll is a '7' - no aircraft in sight.
The second Transit box roll is another '7' and again we have clear seas and clear skies.

"CONTACT!!! Bearing 3-3-6!"


Possible ship with escort. (Rolled a '6' on the British Isles table for patrol box three - 'British Isles')

"Take us to periscope depth."

Hmm... Looks like a large freighter. The Berganger (T2-83), perhaps. She's a modest 6,800t. You've got to start somewhere.

With the cover of night (rolled a '5'), we shall commence our attack from the surface at medium range.

"Flood tubes 1 and 3."

Plotting a solution...


Both torpedoes have struck the Berganger! (Note the '8' hits due to the -1 DRM for Night Surface Torpedo)
Turns out one is a dud... And the one that did hit only caused one damage (rolled a '5' on the damage chart). 
"Damned torpedoes!"

Her escort has not detected us (rolled a '6' on Escort Detection Chart [E2]).

"Reload tubes 1 and 3!" (Reload with steam torpedoes)
We will follow the damaged vessel and attack again under the cloak of night. 

"Sir, it appears the escort has abandoned the damaged ship!" (Rolled a '5')

"Bring us to the surface! We will finish her off with the deck gun." 
{Night; close range; surface attack vs. an unescorted target}

Two salvos of 10.5cm rounds are fired at the damaged ship. Two hits!
An unmodified '6' and '2' are rolled for damage, but become a '5' and '1' for the 105mm. Three more points of damage! (Only two were required)

The 6,800t Berganger has been sunk! A fine start for our young Kmdt. Lehmann.

The Hunters - The hunting begins (Type IXA, Part 1)

"Hostilities with England effective immediately."
the time is: 1256 hours, 3 September 1939

The Hunters (German U-Boats at War, 1939-43) is a solitaire tactical level game placing you in command of a German U-boat during WWII. Your mission is to destroy as much Allied Shipping and as many Capital ships as possible while advancing your crew quality and increasing your commander rank culminating in special decoration ‒ all while remembering you have to make it home.

The game, designed by Gregory M. Smith, is published by Consim Press and was recently released via P-500 by GMT Games. It saw a remarkable amount of pre-orders and I decided to jump aboard. I've been reading the rules via PDF posted to the Consim Press downloads website for the game -

There are also some great video tutorials by John Kranz on Screencast -

Between reading the rules on a couple recent flights and watching the videos, I feel I have a pretty good grasp on the game play without even opening the box (still waiting on delivery anyway at the time of writing this). But the Vassal Module is already out and I want to see how well I'm grasping things. So that's the next item to download (also available at the ConsimPress website - they really make it easy for you!).

Among other things available on the download site is a Kommandant name generator to help you begin - if you want a little more detail for you AARs and aren't necessarily the most creative or up to snuff on your German.

So here we are, September 1939...

I've selected the Type IXA U-boat (it has a pretty hefty payload!) and using the Kommandant naming generator, I am sailing as Kapit√§nleutnant Reiner Lehmann. My trained crew are ready to embark.

A die roll of 8 (2+6) sends us to the shipping lanes of the British Isles. As there is not an (M) after the 8's British Isles, this will be a standard mission. Had a 9 been rolled, I would be performing a mine laying mission. But alas, we are on a seek and destroy mission requiring that we sink at least one Allied vessel to be considered a Success. 

Before leaving port, I will need to refit my U-boat with torpedoes and deck gun ammo (notice the 10.5 cm on this bad boy!). Fortunately, we will not be heading through the Bay of Biscay just yet - not until July 1940 - unless of course we are assigned to the Mediterranean in the near future... assuming we make it back ;)

Friday, November 29, 2013

Unboxing: Ruined Village Box Set by Precision Model Design

First order through was a success - quick turn around and even included a free extra! Nice!
First Precision Design Model building kits as well - they look good!More Precision Design Model kits can be found on the website:

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

No Retreat! 2: Scenario 1 - Operation Compass - Turn 2a

Turn 2

Pretty sure the first turn went as expected. Unless they hit a bad streak of luck on the die rolls, the Allies will probably roll over the Italians on Map 4. Let's see if things change on Map 3...

There are three possible routes of supply for the Allies (to the brown hex edges) - one road and two trails. The road and trail in the north meet near Halfaya Pass (see below) which provides for a decent place to hold a defensive position. The southern trail needs to be watched so that the Allies can't outflank the defenses at Halfaya Pass.

File:Halfaya Pass WWII.jpg

After seeing Italian setup, the Allies begin their set up.

With thoughts of divide and conquer, the Allies send two mechanized units south and a pair to the east. If they can break through on one of the flanks, they could cut off the other Italian outpost. But, the Italians still have their mines and boxes to place. 

After the final mine is laid, we begin with the Allies first offensive.

The Allies attempt to focus their attention on the Babini armored division, but out of the Axis hand is a Tactical Feint card, placing a Counterblow on the Mines. Note, mines have a black attack value versus the white attack value of the boxes. Units with a white value are not able to voluntarily attack or participate in counterblows. Black attack value units are able to do so.

The split attack only results in a Counterblow (CB).

The Italians move the 21 Corps south to join in on the Counterblow and roll well. Bad news for the Allies as they are forced to retreat.

O'Connor has seen enough and orders the units in the south to join up with him in the north to spearhead an attack at Halfaya Pass.

The Italians from the southern flank move up to make an attack of their own. O'Connor uses his ability (flips his counter) to force a counterblow.

The Italian counter was unsuccessful and the Allied units take Halfaya Pass and force the Italian armor further south.

The Allies keep the pressure on

...and force the Italians to retreat even further. The Babini unit tries to get clever after his retreat and moves in between the two Allied forces.  He hopes to cut off the northern Allied supply...

But the Allies close in on him and try to lay the hammer down. Things aren't looking so good for Babini's boys...

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

No Retreat! 2: Scenario 1 - Operation Compass - Turn 1

The latest edition to the No Retreat! Deluxe Edition family by GMT Games - No Retreat! 2: The North African Front has arrived! Here's my initial (solo) play through. 

Turn 1

The first turn of Operation Compass (or the Campaign game for that matter) setup as such:

Be sure to remember those Italian reinforcements coming in on Turn 2 (not shown in the Scenario Book). There's also been an Errata by Carl Paradis on BGG - link here - regarding the 7th Armored unit. It should setup on its 1-step side (the side with Turn 1 indicated on it)

The Allies have the initiative and begin with their first offensive! Combe's mechanized infantry move beyond the Italian infantry while the heavy tanks of the 32nd Tank and the 4th Indian move in from the south and easily destroy the lone Italian unit.

The Maletti mechanized unit held out after a few counter-blows but eventually gave way to the British armored units.

The 21 Corpo infantry pulled back to Map 3 to regroup with the Italian reinforcements entering on Turn 2. Stay tuned for Turn 2/Map 3...

Saturday, November 23, 2013

That was a Crazy Game of Bolt Action

Ohh myyy

The Charlotte Area Bolt Action Group has been involved in an Escalation League for the past couple months. Today we held our closing event. Unfortunately, due to some last minute scheduling conflicts, only two of us were able to attend. This is not to say there was a lack of nail biting tension! Au contraire!

Sean and I have been battling it out at the top of the list since Round 1. We met earlier in the week and played a 750-point round of Top Secret to a draw. Today, for the final 750-point bouts, we rolled a '5' - Maximum Attrition. Perhaps the only scenario I like less than Top Secret is Maximum Attrition. 

There was some conversation over on the Bolt Action Facebook Group about transports this past week and with that fresh in my mind - I opted to give the Hanomag another try. 

Overall, it worked out well. There was an instance in the next match where it failed two consecutive order tests to arrive from reserves (holding three other units back), but unsuccessfully rolling a '9' or less on 2d6 two consecutive turns isn't exactly normal. Chances are the half-track will be in my list again - probably greater than the odds of rolling a couple 10's on back to back turns.

Of course, having that 30 point anti-tank rifle knock out my 89 point armored carrier did not have me feeling all warm and fuzzy about it. Luckily, everyone had already bailed out.

Who's up for game two

It then dawned on us that we had played our second consecutive game - one on Tuesday and then the one today. One of the rules in the league was that two players could not play each other more than twice before playing another opponent. So, we went ahead and played a 1,000-point exhibition game. The scenario this time - Demolition. And wow! Was this one intense!! Anything but an empty transport can demo the objective if it is in contact with the objective at end of turn.

His tank needed to adjust its bearing before making its final approach. My tank did as well. (My target objective is the figure on top of the die near the river)

However, before we get to the objectives, there was some serious close quarter combat action going on over to the left board edge. His Commandos enter from the flank and immediately assault a 6-man Veteran Grenadier unit. Next order die (German), one of my 8-man Veteran Grenadier units comes in from the same flank and assaults the Commandos. Last man standing!

And then it really got crazy!

His tank, now in line, runs to the objective. But remember, he has to hold it until the end of the turn. No problem, right? My half track has failed two order tests to come out of reserve. I have no AT on this side of the board. The Nebel can hit a nearby squad, but the tank is no longer within 6". 

But wait!

The 251 passes its order test! Next order die, the 8-man Vet Gren squad (w/ PanzerFaust) disembark and assault the tank. They gain 4 hits against the 8+ light tank. They need at least a 5 on a 1d6 roll to even have a chance to knock the tank out. And roll a 6.

Now for the damage roll. 4, 5, or 6 to knock it out.


But wait, there's another Commando team to run up and assault the 8-man Vet Gren squad. Since they're in open ground the attackers have the advantage. 

The Commandos take the ground. 

Okay, now it's definitely over!!


The Veteran 2nd Lt and soldier disembark the 251 and assault the Commandos. They manage to knock out a couple of Brits before being eliminated. 

Next the German ATR team jumps out and takes out another Commando but also dies in the assault. 

Remember the 8-man Vet Gren from the flanking assaults on the other side of the board? They advance towards the mayhem and fire their assault rifles. 

They take out 3 of the remaining 5 Commandos! 

A morale check! 

But they pass! The Commandos still hold their ground.

Well there's only one thing left - the proverbial kitchen sink. An MMG team rushes out of the building to assault the 2 remaining Commandos. And they pull it off!

But even after that it wasn't a done deal. The StuH 42 runs 18" toward the British object that turned out to be 18-1/2" away!! The British light howitzer fires and pins the German medium tank but can not penetrate it enough to cause any damage. 

Turn 6! 

With 1 pin, the tank still must pass its morale check...

It does! 

The Germans hold and win! Probably the best game of Bolt Action I've played yet!

I say Bolt Action, and you say jah

Sunday, November 17, 2013

LNL: A Day of Heroes AAR - Ambush

It looked like a daunting task for the Pakistani contingent of the UNITAF Peacekeeping Force - and that it was. 
After Turn 1, the Pakistani forces were already down 1 counter (start with 6; must survive three turns with at least 4 counters, including the MG-3 counter). They did fight off three Somali squads/half-squads. But the number were too overwhelming. On Turn 2, a Pakistani squad, firing a captured RPG at an adjacent building, gave the militia a taste of their own medicine. The HEAT round wounded Ahmad, a militia leader, and killed another Somali squad. Another Somali squad sitting in a building across the street noticed the smoke trail and open fire with their RPD (MG) causing casualties to the two Pakistani squads in the building, including the MG-3 team. Knowing his men were shaken, Lt. Abbas, risked facing opportunity fire and rushed toward the building. But the OF did not come as he dashed across the street. He entered the building and the shots rang out. A Somali squad and half-squad fired from their fortified position within the rubble at the most opportune time. Lt. Abbas, while trying to save his men from an impending melee, was left shaken himself. A lone Somali squad moved into the adjacent building and then entered the target building with the three shaken Pakistanis (four counters) after passing his modified Morale Check. The shaken Pakistanis surrendered and the Somalis were victorious. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Scour the Hedges

Scour the web and I'm sure you'll find an article or twenty on making hedges for your 28mm (or other) miniatures. Well, make that 21. 

In hindsight, it may have helped if I had read two or three more, as there may be a more efficient option - but this one isn't bad either. 

Start with some heavy duty scouring pads - I picked up a 4-pack of generic ones at Target for a little over a buck. These I cut in half along the long edge so that I have eight long pieces. These will be folded in half and glued together. This provides some girth and a solid base.

The bases themselves are 1/8" hardboard cut about 1-1/2" wide and slightly longer than the pads. If you want to create long continuous rows you'll want to cut to length or slightly shorter. 

There's a couple insulation board walls in there as well. 

After the scour pads are glued to the hardboard, it's time to paint. I simply spray the base brown - using a piece of cardboard to shield the green pad, though a little brown up the bottom is good for color modulation. 

After the brown, I spray the tops with Army Painter Army Green. Again, some color modulation is a good thing. 

I then add some basing material - although I may need to go back and just do all of the board on te initial one. 

Another option is to add some clump foliage to the hedge for added depth and detail. 

I was also recently turned on to some moss rolls or moss rope at craft stores. This has some potential for "wild" growth or other hedgerow type terrain. 

Comparison shot:

Friday, August 30, 2013

Mixing Business with Bolt Action - Part 1: Tennessee

A recent project at work has had me on the road for the better part of August. It started in Knoxville, TN and wrapped up near LA. Along the way I was seeking out local games stores to see who had some Bolt Action goodies stocked. 

Knoxville, TN
I found an LGS in "Olde City" and a few others in surrounding areas, but unfortunately, no Bolt Action. 

Nashville, TN
A 10-20 minute drive from the airport landed me at The Game Keep. After having a look around at several miniatures, I asked the shopkeep about BA. He mentioned they have had a few people inquire about it and even had a few people order some of the books. They actually had an Armies of Japan book on the shelf. Wanting to support the local game store scene, I made a small purchase - some Army Painter Quickshade Inks.

 Man these thing do wonders things for these minis.

Unfortunately, their historical miniatures crowd gathered the following night and I would be on the road to Memphis...

Memphis, TN
Ah, Memphis. You delicious dry rubbed ribs... 

Oh, right, Bolt Action...
Even without the ribs, I was in for a treat. I asked some folks on the Bolt Action FaceBook group if there were any shops in Nashville an Memphis. The response was that I needed to check out Mid-South Hobbies. And I'm glad that I did. When I walked into Mid-South Hobbies, my mouth dropped. This place is huge and it's filled with R/C you name it, model trains, Boardgames, miniatures, and of course Bolt Action. So, after my 30 or so minute tour around the place I settled in - standing in front of the Warlord Games display (yes, they had other Warlord Games miniatures as well).

It wasn't long before (well, it may have been - I probably lost track of time) another gentlemen approached and began to inspect the wall of Bolt Action goodness. I'm not usually one to strike up a conversation with someone standing in any typical store, but this was no typical store. So I began to ask about the his interest in Bolt Action and the BA scene in general here in Memphis. That led to some discussion of a possible game later that night. I checked in to the hotel, ate dinner, an returned to find him assembling his latest purchase - some Wargames Factory Germans. It turns out that many of the Bolt Action regulars were up in Indy for GenCon2013, so we ended up playing some BattleTech - my first time playing it and it was also enjoyable.

I ended up leaving Mid-South Hobbies with some new recruits: a Bolt Action US Army Command blister pack and a US box of the Wargames Factory minis.

The next night, while i was in Memphis, a couple guys from out local gaming group were playing some Bolt Action back home. Through the marvels of modern technology, I was right there on the battle board with them. 

Spent the weekend at home and then it was off to the southwest! Next stop: El Paso, TX... (To be continued...)