Feb 252011

Me and Ruben played a pretty fun game of Troops, Weapons & Tactics (yes.. it abbreviates to a rather rude word. Yes, this is probably intentional) today.

The scene was Italy 1943, the force a platoon of fairly inexperienced Americans, supported by a machine gun team and a 60mm mortar. Opposing them a platoon of somewhat fresh but unsupported Germans.

We had rolled up characters with personalities, using the excellent “Platoon Forward” supplement, likewise available from Toofatlardies. I’ll let Ruben talk about his characters and the story as it unfolded.

The battle ended with 7 or 8 casualties on each side, at which point my Germans conceded the field. While they were still putting up a fight, the flanks were getting worn down, and it didn’t seem reasonable to expend more men on a routine patrol action.

Some general lessons:

As always, TW&T captures the old saying that in battle, even simple things are hard. Troops almost invariably do not move at the pace you expect them to, squads get bogged down or decide to hold their safe spot rather than move up to the firing line, officers find themselves in the wrong spot, and coordinating anything becomes extremely difficult. The “platoon attack” that seems to easy on paper is a lot more difficult in real life.. and in TW&T.

Deciding whether shots counted as “great”, “okay” or “poor” proved no trouble at all. We also generally agreed on target numbers for spotting. I imagine once we involve vehicles, it’ll flow just as easy.

Platoon officers are vitally important if you want to get anything done. Having two big men with an important squad vastly raises their chances of getting to move, directing their fire and keeping them in good shape.

Close range fire is extremely unpleasant. One unfortunate yank rifle team took multiple casualties from close range grenade throwing and MG42 fire. One of my german teams found the same fate as they found themselves on the receiving end of two BAR teams without much cover. Once you are outside 12″ and in some cover, firepower tends to slack off quite a bit.

Grenade throwing worked out extremely well on my end.

I forgot that mortars have a minimum range of 24″. Also forgot about smoke grenades. Maybe next time.

Overall, an enjoyable game with a good historical feel.

Dec 012010

So, Ivan already went nova and posted about our recent Warzone matchup.  Figured I’d jump in and give my own impressions of the game and what we’re planning to do in the future.  I’m also going to ramble on about the design of this site and how I want to change it.  First up is the fun gaming stuff.

Warzone: First Impressions

I have to say that I had a lot of fun playing Warzone.  Ivan did a great job showing me the ropes and even though our terrain setup was very ghetto and ad-hoc it still added a lot to the game.  I was coming into this with very limited wargame experience:  I’d played a few matches of other games and a bunch of D&D Minis back in the day.  I’m not exactly a newbie to the whole thing but I’m not an old grognard, either.  For me this game hit a really, really sweet spot.  I had a wonderfully good time.

I loved troop deployment and the simplicity of the system.  We were using the old 1st edition rules and I was surprised at how fluid and useful they were.  Everyone is rolled on a d20 and the mechanics were simple (roll under target number).  I felt like it was a good mix of player skill, luck, and good models.  So far it’s probably my favorite wargame system I’ve played.

Our setup and the miniatures that we used were very much ad-hoc.  Ivan had a box of miniatures and we just tossed ’em on the table with some blocks of carving foam I keep intending to turn into actual terrain.  It was a little tough keeping track of exactly who was what but we did all right.  Didn’t turn me off and it showed me that if you really just want to wargame you can make do with paper togs and some soda cans.  You don’t have to spend money if you don’t want to do so.

But I want to spend the money.  I’m kind the stereotypical “poor artist” of our bunch, but I still really enjoy my hobby.  Seeing those sad little unpainted guys on the table just instilled in me the burning desire to assemble and paint a really wicked looking army.  Playing with unpainted guys is just bad mojo in my book, plus it’s a betrayal of my artistic integrity.  After all, its the perfect melding of my artistic and nerdy tendencies.

Even beyond the armies is the terrain.  This is where I really start to get excited.  I took a lot of sculpture classes (I can still throw a good pot on the wheel) and I love working in mixed media.  Wargame terrain is like the ultimate in nerdy mixed media.  You take a block of foam, some old bits and bobs from SCRAP and then paint it all to look like some old building.  I’ve been meaning to do some terrain building and I think that Warzone might be the kick in the pants I need.

My Army

Now that I know we’ll be playing some more Warzone I think it’s time I started looking into building a good general purpose army.  After a lot of talk and some research I’ve decided to use the Imperial Guard from Warhammer 40K as my Capitol army stand-ins. Cadian Army Shock Troops will be representing my light infantry and regular grunts. I like the sculpts and the price is definitely right. Plus plastic figures are really easy to model.

Catachan Jungle Fighters will stand in for some of the more special armies. Namely the Sea Lions, Desert Scorpions, and maybe even Free Marines. Again, they’re plastic and cheap on the budget. The real wallet killer is gonna be the Kasrkin Squad standing in for my Free Marines and Heavy Infantry. The sculpts are utterly awesome but I think I’ll be asking Santa for a generous gift this year.

Those will be my base guys. Eventually I plan to add in a few command squads (both Cadian and Kasrkin), a few snipers, and maybe even some Jungle demolition experts. Though in the beginning I’m just going to start with the Cadian Shock Troops and the Catachan Jungle Fighters. I figure early on the jungle fighters will work for light infantry and the Cadian’s can play heavy infantry. The rest I’ll figure out as a I go along.

Website Stuff

So, the site is really red, huh?  While I like the clean simplicity I’ve simply grown tired of the look I have going on.  Part of my long periods of silence has been me trying to figure out a new look.  I’m finally getting close to something I really like and I hope to have a new look for the new year.  I probably won’t get it up right at the new year, but by the end of January I should have something that’s less rage and hunger inducing.  I hope.