Thursday, December 31, 2009

Have a happy and safe New Year !

Sorry for the enforced hiatus, but since a basement flood, I've not been doing much wargaming lately. That is something I want to get back into in the new year when I hope to get back to regular posting again.

Take care, and see you in the New Year !

Friday, October 2, 2009

A discussion about random terrain generation

I've recieved a request to discuss some ideas about random terrain generation.

I'm in the process of collating the ideas etc for some posts on the subject (along with some pics for descriptive purposes).

Stay tuned....

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A word about unit counters..

I've had a few requests about the unit counters I am using, so here's a sample of them.

These are all double-sided counters.

The front is the full strength side, while the back is a partial strength. It has all the numbers needed to play the miniatures game on the counters.

To create a unit counter, I take a picture of the figure type, modify the picture to make it easier to print out (take out background, etc) and use that for the main picture of the counter.

I print them out on full sheet labels, then cut and put that on cardboard.

It is easy to make double-sided counters, you just have to be sure that the back-side is a mirror image of the front (so when you past the back sheet on, it matches the units on the front).

Here is an example of a 1/2" sheet, both front and back. I cut the two halves out and mount on appropriately thick cardboard and Voila ! Double sided counters.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Campaign Moves... an example

So. I've got the army lists, the strategic tiles, the miniatures and the tactical rules all set. Here's an example of a "Roma Victo" campaign of Romans vs Gauls in a non-historical environment.

The Strategic tile is used to help add some flavor and maneuvering before getting to a miniature battle. I randomly determine a start point where the Romans are (denoted by the Red counter) and then determine where the Gauls are (denoted by the Green counter).

A key to the strategic moves is that the Romans (the attackers) must always move adjacent to the Gauls (the defenders). After each Roman move, the Gauls can attempt to react- that is move away and delay the inevitable battle or into better (e.g. non-clear or river) terrain.

The Romans have 6 Movement Points (MPs) to use per strategic turn. Turns here are bi-monthly, with weather effected by Month of the year (see weather system described before).

When 6 MPs are used up, the Gauls have successfully avoided combat for a complete turn (something that delays their conquest, which is a good thing). When a battle occurs, this also ends the turn after the battle if fought.

All weather was clear for this turn.
Move 1: The Romans move from A0506 to A0406 as indicated by the red arrow (1 MP). The Gauls make their reaction roll, and move to A0305, skulking behind a river.
Move 2: The Romans, not wishing to attack across a River, will attempt to outflank it to the North by moving to A0306 (1 MP). The Gauls fail to react. if they had succeded,they could have reacted to A0206 or even into the Roman hex, initiating combat, albeit without a River bonus.
Move 3: The Romans attempt to outflank the River position held by the Gauls by moving to A0206 (2 MP). Note that it cost 2 MP to move across the River , and weather can increase this cost of 1 for clear terrain, 1 for crossing the River.

Roman luck appears to be holding (weather wound up being clear for this Strategic Turn). The Gauls are caught still in camp, and fail to react again, allowing the Romans to steal a march and outflanking what would have been a good defensive River position.
Move 4: The Romans, with 2 MP left, move into the Gauls in A0305 (1 MP), and Roman luck finally runs out, as the Gauls finally pass a reaction roll and duck into the woods at A0304. Wascally Wabbit !
Move 5: The Romans do not have the MP to enter the woods (2mp) , but don't want to end the turn. So they have the ability to force march (which can hurt them in the tactical battle). They succeed with their roll, albeit a few of their cohorts are exhausted in doing so.

The Romans move into the woods, and the Gauls decide this is as good a place as any to offer battle to a tired foe. The terrain is wooded with a level 2 hill concentration (2 hexesides in A0304 have hills on them).

The battle is fought, and the Romans win a hard-won victory in a wooded, hilly environment with their exhausted cohorts (they lost 3 cohorts and an auxillary Light unit, while the Gauls lost several Warbands.) However, enough Gauls survived the battle to withdraw, which the Gauls do to A0404.

More importantly, the conquest track is advanced 1 box (this mythical "country" has 3 conquest boxes- so three successful battles need to be fought to conquer it).
This is the start of another strategic turn. Reinforcements/events occur now, and weather is determined again. A much diminished Gaulish force will be running for its life this turn, delaying and hoping to gain more reinforcements for the next turn.

All in all, its an easy system to generate tactical battles and give some "flavor" to a generic campaign game.

Monday, August 17, 2009

First Step- The Army lists

Some more ideas on DSR RV ("Roma Victo") campaign ruleset for my Ancients/Medieval rules.

I composed Army lists for all the figures types I had, varying their army stats as I felt appropriate.

For example, this is the Imperial Roman army stats:

OR: 5
This is the operational rating (usually 1-6). It is used to determine how far you move on the conquest track. You compare opposing army's ORs, roll dice and the difference is moved on the track, upward if you won, downward if you lost. The higher OR, the better strategic or long term planning for a campaign that army has. Horse Barbarians would have a very low OR, as they usually were not out for conquest but mostly plunder.

This is the Logistical rating (A-F). A is best, F is worst. An army that had a logistical setup, as opposed to "living off the land" has some advantages for a long conquest campaign. This influences attrition and reinforcement rolls.

Init: 6
This is the Army's initiative. This influences movement on the Maneuver Board (more of that in a later post). It also influences tactical battle setup. (Yeah, I said mapless campaign but I should've said NEARLY mapless campaign ! :D)

BP:D Mor 7 H6 L3
These stats are used for the tactical battle, These are Army Breakpoint, Morale, Heavy Divisions and Light Divisions. These can be effected by conditions that occur on the campaign board.

And of course I have the stats for individual units that compose the army (Cohorts, Auxilia etc.) I use with my Ancients rules.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A few ideas.....

I just had a few good ideas for a solo/semi-solo map-less campaign system for my ancients rules. As I firm these up I'll post them in more detail.

I'm also mulling over a few requests by some folks to post a detailed battle using my ancients rules, and as it would be easier to understand some of the things I'm doing with my campaign systems, I might just oblige.

Stay tuned !

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Back From Historicon and parts unknown....

I'm back from Historicon and hope to have a post or two up soon. Stay tuned....

Monday, July 13, 2009

Off to Historicon !

I'm heading off to Historicon ! I hope to see you there !

Monday, June 29, 2009

A simple weather system

For any campaign, I've always felt that a weather system to gives it a real lived-in feel as well as adding a little bit of chrome for a game for very little effort. For my Rampage on the Rhine and Destruction on the Danube Roman/Barbarian campaigns, I devised a useful system I will describe below.
First of all, the turns are bi-weekly. This allows me to break up the months into an even amount of turns (more or less). It also works for the movement rates on the campaign map.
Of course, I have the months along the top (with their Roman equivalent names for a little added chrome) with the 8 turns per month below that track box.
Below those are the two areas I keep track of the weather on a turn by turn basis. The blue months use the Winter track box, while the white boxes use the Summer track box. March and November on their 1st turn have a chance to be either winter or summer, based on a D6 roll.
Weather ranges from Clear, Cloudy, Rainy/Snowy, Storm/Blizzard in effect of intensity. Cloudy is really clear but with more of a chance for bad weather in the future. This allows you in the campaign to get a feel for what the next turn's weather might be (if its clear, the next turn will at worst be cloudy, which is as good as clear). Weather of course effects movement rates (including forced marches), reaction moves, and of course the battlefield weather if any battles are to be fought.
To get a feel of how it works, we'll assume its the 1st turn of the campaign and its June, so we'll use the Summer Weather chart. The weather on turn 1 starts as clear.
At the start of each turn, a 2d6 roll is made to determine the status of the weather. Following the arrows in the appropriate box, lets assume I roll an 8. For turn one, the weather is cloudy. On turn 2, I roll a 9. The weather for turn two is Rain. On turn 3, I roll a 7. No change. Another rainy turn. On turn 4, I roll a 3, so the weather reverts to cloudy. And so on and so forth.
Also, note that in Arpil and November boxes there is a +1 to the 2d6 die roll to account for the chance of more inclement weather.
All in all, the system works fine and is easy to modify to meet any needs. Now if only I can finally get another full Rampage on the Rhine or Destuction on the Danube campaign going !

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A base map for my ancients rules

This is a map of 3" hexes, measuring about 42x72 inches, used for my for my DSRAA (DSR Advanced Ancients) rules. These rules were designed for campaign battles.
There are setup zones for each side, broken down into Flank/Center/Flank areas (Light infantry, Skirmishers, Light cav can set up in Any zone, Heavies only in center zone).

There are also terrain points on the map for potential hill and woods terrain templates that can be laid down (These are clear acetate printed templates) before the battle begins. It leads to some very non-repetitive maps.
Terrain can be generated either randomly (based upon what type of terrain in the fighting is in) or placed tactically during the setup process by the two players (also based upoin what type of terrain the fighting is in).

The rules take into account the side with less scouting points deploying more often and allowing the side with more to have an advantage during setup. They also take into account possible flanking actions, as well as pursuit once the battle is over.

This map rolls up easily, as do the templates for the terrain. The biggest/heaviest items to be transported to a convention are the figures themselves.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

WW2 After Action.... and the screwup...

I'm sorry to not have pictures down on the after-action for the previous scenario- I managed to delete them by accident (don't ask me how). I'll give the scenario a try sometime later, meanwhile, on to pastures anew....

I've been using clear forest templates for my woods- they are easy to transport and use. But they do lack that 3D effect that makes miniatures so nice. So I did something about it.

My solution ? Tree clusters. But I also wanted them to be easy to transport, so I made some plaster (actually dental plaster- its much more solid and less crumbly) bases that fit the trees I had available. I made a mold so I could mass produce them (2 types- one with 2 trees, one with 3). The holes in the finished casted product were 4/16" and were drilled in with a Dremel.

After I flocked them (base coat of green, flocked, then followed by a dullcoat) they came out as the pictures show. I think they look nice and are very functional. And the trees fit snug, allowing me to remove some if neccesary for transport or to make room for figures vehicles.

All in all, not a very hard project and very rewarding besides. Now if I could just figure out how to do real hills like that template in the 1st photo.......

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

WW2 AFV Action- the setup

Eastern Front, July 1941, North of Staraia Russa:

Soviet Brief:
The Facists who are attempting to take Leningrad must be stopped ! To that end, all front armored reserves have been mobilized and ordered to counterattack behind the salient formed by the 4th Panzer Army whose reckless thrust has put them in a position of danger. You are to take your tanks and breakthrough into into the rear areas, relentlessly bypassing infantry concentrations but engaging and destroying all tank and/or AT defenses encountered. You will be followed up by infantry formations who will complete the destruction of the Facist invaders. For Mother Russia !

German Brief:
The thrust toward Leningrad continues to gather momentum that must not be stopped. As a result, the southern flank lengthens in the face of considerable enemy forces who have been bypassed. Enemy counter-attacks are inetivable. To that end, small mobile "containment forces" have been mobilized to contain any breakthroughs. It behooves the front line forces to hold their ground, regardless of cost, and keep the breakthroughs to a minimum. It is imperative that you cut off any penetration so that it can be dealt with by the containment forces in isolation. Remember, you are not alone ! The will and faith of the German People is behind you ! For the Fatherland !

The scenario is about a Soviet armored column (6 early model T-34s) that have broken through to a containment force (maybe a 37mm "doorknocker" and/or a PzKw38(t) tank). A definite mismatch for the Germans. Or is it really ?
The Germans are set up hidden and waiting to spring an ambush and get the first shot. The Russians, sans infantry support, are confidently hurtling down the road looking to cause havoc amongst unprepared rear-area personel.

The early model T-34, although a great peice of military hardware for 1941 and in almost all ways better than any German equivalent at the time, had some major defects. Russian tank gunnery (both sights and training) were inferior to the German practice and principle. Also the tank leader was also the gunner. This slowed the rate of fire considerably. It would be worse if he exposed himself out the turret to get a better line of sight on any valuable targets. So the Soviet tanks will operate as buttoned up, which will hurt their already poor targeting.

The Germans will operate with their commanders exposed in the hatches, a little more dangerous, but increasing the chance to acquire and hit the target that is being shot and as a result also be able to better react to Soviet moves and hit targets while they themselves are on the move.

So the German advantages will be in firing more often (and on the move) and having their commanders exposed (increasing to hit and reaction fire chances). Their disadvantage is their weak 37mm armament and their weak armor. The Russians will fire slower, hit hit less, react less, but be very tough to knock out due to their armor vs the weak 37mm weaponry of their foes.

Here is the scenario as set up. The column is about to be fired on by a PzKw38(t) in the northern woods. To prevent spoilers to any of my players who may be reading this, I've kept the German forces vague so as to increase the fun and unexpectedness of the scenario. I'll post the results when we finally get to play it.

I've played it several times solo (a good way to quickly test rules to see if they 'feel right' etc. I am using a homebrew set (DSR World War Two Fire Team or DSRWW2FT) and the Germans, with a little finesse, should "win" about 1/2 the time. A little luck never hurts either (some critical hits and/or special damage to tracks/guns is nice as well).

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Two Six-Sided dice.

Those of us who have been wargaming for a long time remember when Six Sided Dice (or simply "D6") where all we had to work with. Then the fantasy gamers (yes wargamers do have a debt of gratitude for that) brought us a bunch of different types (D4, D8, D10, D12,D20). Of course, if you have been wargaming a long time, you probably also built up quite a collection of 6 sided dice :D

Now I've always been a fan of changing up the Dice number and types (for purposes of variety if nothing else), but I always seem to come back to the good 'ole D6 time after time for certain things. Currently, I tend to use a mixture of dice types in my games, as it makes it easier to remember, say '2d6 for Morale' and '1d10' for combat, etc.

In my 15mm World War 2 ruleset, I use the 2d6 to determine ordinance To Hit results. If a hit occurs, I use 2d6 also for penetration, but also a D30 (yes a wierd die but useful on occasion) to determine if any extra damage is incurred (say hitting a gun, or hatch, or whatever based on the target facing).

The 2d6 I use for the To Hit process is actually one colored (red) die and one white die. Not only does it determine if a hit is made, it determines where on the vehicle it his (if the colored die > white die, it is a turret hit otherwise it is a hull hit). This "two for one" deal speeds things up (as if you get too many die rolls you wind up with old Avalon Hill's almost unplayable Tobruk). If the to hit roll is snake-eyes, it is a critical hit. If it is Box-cars, it is a miss and may break the gun. This same roll can also cause a loss of a particular sort of ammo (AP/HE/APCR./HEAT etc) if stowage is limited with that particular piece of ordinance.

I also use 2d6 for determining Morale checks. You roll 2d6 + modifiers <= that unit's morale to be ok. This tends to work out well, since the average roll is 7, so the average morale is 7 also. It works out well and allows things such as Heroism (rolling snake eyes) or Cowardice (rolling Boxcars).

Now a lot of this I owe to AH's old Squad Leader of which I was (and still am) a big fan. Still, a good idea never dies, they just keep coming back again and again.......

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

South Stalingrad map

Having my interest re-kindled in Stalingrad from Jason Mark's Angriff, I decided to do some more Stalingrad map work. Some of the recon photos are terrific for map makers !

This is the 1st of a one hex = 100 meters Stalingrad map (the scale I use for my microarmor rules). I started with South Stalingrad this time and will work my way North. This area covers from the Leather Factory to most of Minina south of Stalingrad.

As with any map that has to conform to a hex-grid and a rule set, some design considerations had to be taken into account:

1. I rotated the hex grid 90 degrees, so that the hex grain is left/right instead of up/down.

2. I tried to capture the feel of the terrain, using the images I had available, but obviously at 1 hex = 100 meters, it is not possible to include every road and building. All images are stylized- a factory hex is actually composed of many such buildings, etc.

3. For the Factories (which in my game are victory locations), I tried to make them stand out a little more. Obviously a wall (such as around the Leather Factory) that long is silly, but it adds to the look and feel of the map for game purposes.

As a side note, I found out that the scale I was using for my Stalingrad 250 (1 hex = 250 meters) is about 5% too small- not much of a difference, really, at that scale, but frustrating nonetheless. I'll keep that same scale and map size for the other parts of that map series (Central and South Stalingrad), but they are currently on hold at the moment.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Doing some reading....

I've come back, after a hiatus, to World War 2 Eastern front. I think I'll be working some more on my Stalingrad maps

(About half-way down.)

In the mail: Angriff: The German Attack on Stalingrad in Photos from Leaping Horsemen Books

These folks do some of the BEST Stalingrad material around (translated personal accounts, photos, etc). Pricey, but worth every penny for any Stalingrad officianado.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Slow posting

Sorry for the lack of postings as of late. I hope to get some in some good, reportable gaming in the next week or two.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The payoff is the battle.....

I modified the scenario a little to take into account the hexes (making the woods a little more close-in) and modifying the initial setup (the Slavs are a little closer to the road).

Essentially, a column of Teutonic Knights on a road is ambushed coming into a clearing in the woods that lines the road. The knights themselves have hurried onward, leaving their infantry supports behind (never a good thing for cavalry to do in close-in country)

The first inclination that there would be a battle was a shower of arrows which managed a few casualties amongst the unprepared Knights.

But though lacking in road discipline, they managed to come on line and charge the main line of Slavs in the clearing next to the road. A fierce melee ensued, with the Knights. The infantry supports came hurrying up to lend their hand, but were hampered by the arrows of the ambushers on the wooded side of the road.

The Heavier Knights managed to break the Slav lines after a brisk but fierce melee. The Slav noble cavalry, unlike in previous times, stayed on the field and made a desperate charge against their old foe.

Unfortunately, the infantry had managed to come up, so although the Knights were fatigued and the cavalry melee was a push, the fresh infantry ensured that the Slav cavalry were surrounded and killed. They fought well and died well. Though battered, the Teutonic Knights are victorious again !

The Teutons took the most casualties it had ever taken, mostly from among the irreplaceable heavy cavalry. Now it seems apparent why the Slav noble cavalry fled from the field each time before- they were slaughtered almost to a man.

All in all, the battle went well and rather quickly- the hexes really sped up the whole process a lot. The transparencies made set up and board generation easy, and would be very easy to pack up and take along with the game mat.

Friday, January 9, 2009

A Brainstorm... of sorts....

After using the new game mat for a few scenarios, I realized that I missed my hexes (it makes the game move so much faster). How to do that on a gaming mat with no grid printed on it ?

So I decided to print 2 hex grids on clear acetate (33" wide by 48" long)and overlay that on the terrain mat. This is the result.

In addition, I created some woods and hill templates to lay over those.

I figure I will run the same scenario (it may be modified a little) with the hex system that I ran with the non-hex system. It Should be interesting. Stay tuned.....

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

After a lengthy hiatus.... WARGAMING AGAIN !

After observing a lengthy hiatus, I returned from Christmas and New Years festivities with renewed vigour, powered by a package I had waiting for me.

I had ordered a flocked game mat from, and it is a beauty. I set it up with a quick scenario straight from taking it out of the box (Crusaders vs an Slavic ambush). The folds (such as they were) are almost gone now, and when I roll it up for storage should be minimal if still at all. The material is very lightweight and seemingly durable. Time will tell as I use it more how durable the flocking is, but so far shedding has been minimal.

Along with the mat I had ordered some woods,roads and streams (unfortunately, you can only see part of the stream in the top left of one of the pictures). The roads are a very lightweight material, not quite a cloth but very flexible, while the woods and streams are on a light platic stock, flocked and very nice as well. I didn't have any trees immediately available, so the dark brown patches are what are the woods in the pictures. Everything is textured appropriately, and looks very nice.

As for the scenario, it was a Slavic ambush on a group of Teutonic Knights. The Slavs had much more bowmen and the cover of the woods as, while the Knights had the advantage of 3 units of heavy horse. Forces were as follows:

Teutonic Knights:
3 Heavy Horse
2 Heavy Spearmen
1 Skirmish Crossbow unit (set up as 2 skirmish units)
3 Spearmen
2 Axe/Swordmen
2 Bowmen (set up as 8 skirmish units)
1 Noble Cavalry

On coming down the road, the Slavs sprung their ambush- the bowmen were in the woods on both sides of the road, while the main ambush was on the side where there was some maneuver room (to the top of the 1st picture).

The Teutons, quickly ordered themselves from the hail of arrows that clanged off their heavy armor. One of the skirmish crossbow skirmishers was routed from the field, but no signifigant losses were suffered elsewhere.

With a rumble, the Teutonic cavalry thundered down on the waiting Slav spear infantry (which were set up in front just for that with the Axe/Swordmen back in support for when/if the spearmen stopped the charge).

This the spearmen did, and a fierce melee ensued. The narrowness of the gap worked in the Slav's favor, and the supporting Axe/Swordmen came up and lent their weight to the fray. The Teuton infantry came up in support, but were taking casualties from the skirmishers. The knights were taking hits from the skirmishers as well and, despite almost rolling through the Slav line, were on the point of breaking.

The Slav noble cavalry, held back as a reserve could not contribute to the main fight due to the press to their front. The whole gap between the two woods was clogged, creating one giant melee.

Then, the inevitable happened. The Slavs, being lighter armored, finally began to break, even though they managed to rout one of the Teutonic Cavalry units. Now was the time for the proud Noble Cavalry to show its worth !

It came proudly into the fight, charging one of the heavily engaged Teutonic Cavalry units through the gap vacated by the routing unit. Despite a signifigant advantage in numbers and momentum, the Nobles quickly turned tail and ran from the field after only 1 round of combat where they suffered a few casualties. The Slav force crumbled.

All in all, it was a fun scenario, one which I had to modify my hex-based rules to a more standard move/wheel miniature system (as well as convert distances from hexes to inches with the appropriate scaling). There are still some "bugs" in the system (I think I was a little to liberal with how much spacing is needed) but it was fun and fast.

And with a very nice terrain mat, it looked even better !