Monthly Archives: February 2011

Blitzkrieg Commander II 20/02/2011 (Nick)

Troop of Grant tanks

We had played BKC in its first incarnation quite a few times, but haven’t got around to the new edition. This game was set in the Western Desert in May 1942 and was the first outing for my newly (ish) painted Stuarts, Grants and Panzers. The scenario was a simple meeting engagement around a town at a crossroads, with 2500 points a side and the Germans fielding an 88mm.

Battle rages around the town

The army lists were as follows:-

British & Commonwealth Army, North Africa (May 1942)

Quantity Troops Arm Move AT AP Assault Hits Save Cost Notes
1 CO (CV8) CMD 60 3/30 6 6 90 [90]  
3 HQ (CV7) CMD 40 2/30 4 6 30 [90]  
1 FAO (CV7) CMD 40 4 6 30 [30]  
1 Recce Unit (Humber, MG) REC 20 1/40 2 3 6 60 [60]  
12 Infantry Unit (Regulars) INF 10 3/30 4 6 40 [480]  
4 Infantry Upgrade (Anti-Tank Rifle) INF 1/20 10 [40]  
3 Support Unit (MG, Vickers) INF 10 3/60 2 5 40 [120]  
1 Support Unit (Mortar, 3-inch) INF 10 3/80 3/80 2 5 65 [65]  
3 Tank Unit (Crusader, 2-pdr) ARM 25 2/50 1/40 3 4 6 80 [240]  
4 Tank Unit (Honey) ARM 25 2/40 1/40 2 3 6 65 [260]  
6 Tank Unit (Grant) ARM 20 3/50 3/80 3 4 5 115 [690] R
1 Anti-Tank Unit (ATG, 6-pdr) AT 5 3/60 2 4 45 [45]  
3 Field Artillery Unit (25-pdr, 8-gun) ART 6 6 4 90 [270]  
1 Transport Unit (Universal Carrier) TRN 20 1/20 2 3 6 30 [30] #1 O
AT: Anti-Tank, AP: Anti-Personnel, R: Restricted, O: Open
Tactical Doctrine
  • Normal tactical doctrine (20cm initiative distance; HQs may issue orders to units in other formations, but will be subject to a -1 command penalty)
Special Rules
  • +2 modifier to die roll for air superiority from October 1942
  • Artillery Stockpile: Double the number of artillery assets are available from October 1942
  • Accurate Gunnery: Deduct one die when rolling for artillery deviation
  • Dispersed Artillery: FAOs suffer a -1 command penalty for each additional artillery unit requested beyond the first one until June 1942
  • Counter-Battery: Field artillery units may not be used for counter-battery fire
  • Uncle Target: One FAO may request any number of artillery units without the -1 modifier once during the game from January 1943
 
Note 1. Transport Unit (Universal Carrier)
  • May transport one mortar unit or tow one anti-tank unit
Summary
  • Breakpoint 16
  • 2510 points spent of 2500 points available (2500 points selected)
  • Add 10 to your casualty points at the end of the game
 

Panzer III

German Afrika Korps, North Africa (May 1942)

Quantity Troops Arm Move AT AP Assault Hits Save Cost Notes
1 CO (CV10) CMD 60 3/30 6 6 150 [150]  
3 HQ (CV9) CMD 40 2/30 4 6 90 [270]  
1 FAO (CV8) CMD 40 4 6 45 [45]  
1 Recce Unit (Sdkfz 222) REC 20 1/30 1/60 2 3 6 70 [70] O
9 Infantry Unit (Afrika Korps Regulars) INF 10 3/30 4 6 40 [360]  
3 Support Unit (MG, MG-34/42) INF 10 3/60 2 5 40 [120]  
1 Support Unit (Mortar, 81mm) INF 10 3/120 3/120 2 5 75 [75]  
3 Panzer Unit (Pzkpfw II) ARM 20 1/30 1/60 2 3 6 60 [180]  
6 Panzer Unit (Pzkpfw III, 50mm kurz) ARM 20 2/50 2/60 3 4 5 100 [600]  
3 Panzer Unit (Pzkpfw IV, 75mm kurz) ARM 20 2/40 3/80 3 4 5 110 [330]  
1 Anti-Tank Unit (ATG, 88mm, Flak-36) AT 5/100 3/100 2 3 120 [120] #1
3 Artillery Unit (150mm, s.FH-18/36) ART 4 4 2 60 [180]  
1 Transport Unit (Half-Tracks) TRN 20 3 15 [15] #2
AT: Anti-Tank, AP: Anti-Personnel, R: Restricted, O: Open
Tactical Doctrine
  • Flexible tactical doctrine (25cm initiative distance; HQs may issue orders to units in other formations without penalty)
Special Rules
  • -1 modifier to die roll for air superiority from October 1942
  • Infiltration: +1 to command value for flank deployment
 
Note 1. Anti-Tank Unit (ATG, 88mm, Flak-36)
  • May pivot 180° per action
Note 2. Transport Unit (Half-Tracks)
  • May tow one gun
Summary
  • Breakpoint 12
  • 2515 points spent of 2500 points available (2500 points selected)
  • Add 15 to your casualty points at the end of the game
 

 

 I need to get some more desert terrain like wadis & ridges, as with only the town on the left and a large area of flat ground on the rest of the board, the 88mm might well have ruled the day.

We rolled for sides, and Nick got the Germans with me as the British. As it was an encounter battle, we used what BKC terms “mobile” deployment – basically, you plonk down your command units, and you have to make a command roll to bring their commanded units on. We both tried an outflanking movement on the same flank and true to form (even though I had the first turn) my outflanking command failed its command roll, allowing Nick to win the outflanking battle and bring on his 3 Panzer IVs and some infantry halfway up the board. My command with 4 Honeys and some infantry had to re-locate to my baseline. Luckily, my tank command of Grants and Crusaders did well on command rolls, and managed to take out the flanking Panzer IVs over the first couple of turns.

Nick’s tank commander kept failing his command rolls to bring on his Panzer IIIs, but my infantry commands trying to get to the town kept failing theirs, while Nick’s infantry were soon in the town. I had two chances of laying down a huge barrage on them while they were in the open, but my FAO was as blind as a bat, and couldn’t roll a 7 or under in 2 attempts. In the end, it was Nick’s FAO who called in a barrage on my infantry, and 6 or 7 infantry stands and a 6pdr bit the dust. Never mind the losses, this left my right flank open to being rolled up by Nick’s Panzer IIs, and we called it a day with my army nearly at their breakpoint, while Nick’s was a way away from theirs. That, and the Bratwurst we were having for dinner was nearly ready.

So what did we think of the new edition of BKC? Well, artillery against infantry in the open is still as deadly as ever, while the new distinction between AP & AT for tanks has made infantry a lot less vunerable to AP fire from tanks. Add to this that infantry in buildings are only hit on 5 or 6 and get a 5 or 6 save and have 6 hits per stand, then 3 Crusaders firing 2 dice each at them isn’t going to make too much of an impact. We like Cold War Commander, the modern version of these rules, and a lot of the rule changes  (such as close assault) bring BKC into line with CWC – not a bad thing. This was our first Western Desert game, and the downgrading of the weapons from Normandy and the Eastern Front meant that tanks were a lot more durable – one Grant survived numerous hits and rolled many saving throws when it seemed every tank in the German Army was lobbing shells at it. It also thumbed its nose at all those German infantry who were annoyed that the Panzerfaust hadn’t been invented and that they had left their anti-tank rifles at home (1 attack at 20cms – not worth the effort of carrying them).

The fight for the town

And the 88? Well, it did take out 2 Grants before I noticed that the AP range was 80cms, not the 50cms I first thought, so a barrage from the Grant squadron’s 76mm guns firing HE soon took the 88’s 3 hits away, and that was that – lucky we were playing a date where the British had tanks that could fire HE really!

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Dystopian Wars 19/02/2011 (Tom)

A try out for the rules and some initial thoughts. We are big fans of Uncharted Seas, and these rules take the complexity up a notch, but will it be worth the effort? I took the Empire of the Blazing Sun fleet against Tom’s Kingdom of Britannia – I’m not sure being familiar with Uncharted Seas was a good or bad thing, as there are subtle differences. These rules see the addition of rockets which can be shot down by ship’s intrinsic AA and torpedoes which can be saved by concussion charges effectively give saving throws against non-gunnery attacks. Also gunnery attacks can now be saved by shield generators, but not all models have these, and in our game only the battleships had.

Bombers seem quite difficult to shoot down with weapons systems or with fighters. I sent in 6 EoBS fighters against 2 KoB Doncaster bombers after the bombers were climbing out a torpedo attack where they had badly damaged 2 of my cruisers – when my fighters bounced them I thought I had them, but no – my fighters were driven off with 1 casualty before I could even get an attack in. Tom tried shooting down my bombers with his battleship’s weapons, but again they weathered the flak and carried on.

I wanted to try out the tiny flyer rules, so sent a wave of unsupported dive bombers against Tom’s carrier which had fighters on CAP. After the AA and CAP had down their job, the dive bombers were either destroyed or driven off. In the future, I’m thinking I need to send in some fighters first to draw off the CAP, then soften up the carrier’s AA with some rockets, so there are some tactical combinations making sense already.

Morale tests are introduced in the rules, but we’re not yet sure if these are worth the effort. We dealt out the cards to play with, but were so caught up in the rules that we kept forgetting to play the cards, so ditched them after the first turn – we’ll try them again when we’ve mastered the rules. First impressions are very positive – lots more tactical option than Uncharted Seas, but more rules to remember – we didn’t even try out boarding actions, as in Uncharted Seas, ships have to be in contact, but in Dystopian Wars, the boarders have jet packs, so can jump from ship-to-ship to board, and we forgot this.

No pictures of this as nothing’s painted yet…

Command & Colours Napoleonics 30/01/2011 (Nick)

For our second try at C&C Napoleonics, we used the 2nd Rolica scenario. Nick took the French first, defending what looked like an unassailable position on a ridge, with the impassable terrain in front only allowing me as the British to attack along narrow fronts, and providing restricted fields of fire for my artillery. I got lucky with my cards after several piecemeal attacks were repulsed (Nick had BOTH Bombard cards in his hand at the start), and managed to get established on the left hand edge of the ridge. I repulsed the counter-attacks by drawing and using the 2 First Strike cards, got lucky with some dice rolls, and managed to scrape to 5 banners first by killing a leader.

For the second game, I decided that sitting on the ridge as the French was probably a bad idea, and in using the Portuguese in the first game, I noticed how weak they were, so when I drew my hand and saw that I had a run of cards for my left flank, I knew what my strategy would be – a banner in C&C is a banner after all, British or Portuguese.

Nick had also drawn a lot of left flank cards, so we both attacked on opposite flanks – I thought he had me when he played the strat move card, and managed to get behind my flank with a sizeable force, but the killing blow never came, as I later found out he couldn’t draw the right card to finish me off. When I had polished off the Portuguese on my left, I was able to counter-attack on my right against his standed units, and just got to 5 banners first again.  

An exciting and close couple of plays of the second scenario. We both had learnt a lot from the first game last week, and our tactics reflected this, in that we were a lot more cautious about exposing our troops to fire. Also, we didn’t expect too much from our leaders, as they are a lot weaker compared to C&C Ancients (though they still cost you a banner when they die – rolling sabres against a leader whose unit had been wiped out won me the first game just in time, as Nick would have made it to 5 banners on his next turn by killing one of my units).