Friday, 19 February 2016

546 - Playing Catch-up: A Cornucopia of Posts (Pt 3: X-Wing)

Again, this'll be in reverse order, but fewer pics this time (it wasn't me taking them!). In this post, two games, from last week.
My stalwart Imperial opponent - DS - wanted to try out some new toys, so he cobbled together a fab little narrative mission which would enable us to do just that. 

New toys:

  • HW-290
  • Imperial Raider
  • My scratchbuilt Moonbase
Our off-the-cuff scenario went essentially thus:

An imperial raider has stumbled upon a rebel outpost moonbase which appears to have the trace signal of a stolen imperial shuttle emanating from it. The raider steers a course to investigate but is spotted by one of two flights of clapped-out Z-95s guarding the place. The second flight is scrambled, as is Jan Ors in her HWK - her mission has suddenly changed, and she now needs to escape with the (inevitable) stolen imperial plans. It's not that easy though: she'll have to brave swooping past the raider for two turns first, so that her on-board intelligence agent can scan the enemy vessel to find out just how much the Imperials know...
Forces and Objectives:

To achieve a victory, I had to either destroy the raider(!) or keep the HWK within range 1-2 for two turns then fly off the board; For his part, DS had to either destroy my HWK or get destroy the moonbase. DS created a great little stat card for the moonbase and came up with the rather clever special rule that his raider could target only the nearest ship in each of its arcs (otherwise he'd just immediately blast the HWK out of existence). 
I had the moonbase, two flights of three Z-95s (with the second flight being more up-gunned 'Tala' pilots led by Airen Cracken) and the HWK. DS had just the raider.
Why does blogger still do this?

What a cracking game! The moonbase didn't get a look-in to the action, but the scramble round the raider gave both of us a nice additional chance to explore the mechanics of fightier huge ships, and DS's scenario worked an absolute treat! In the end, it was very very close, but Jan Ors in the HWK escaped by the skin of her teeth with just one hull point remaining, as the brave, brave Z-95 pilot behind him sold his life very dearly indeed. He also flew his little Headhunter brilliantly well around the raider, even whilst it rammed four of his comrades into futile smithereens. 
Jan Ors makes her escape with the plans...or blueprints...or whatever.
Great fun!

In our second game of the evening, of which - sadly - there are no pictures, we tried three other 'firsts': (1) DS played rebels for a change, (2) I fielded my new Scum and Villainy, and (3) we actually played a straight, non-narrative 100 point face-down. 

Forces-wise, DS took three Y-Wings and a B-Wing (with one of the cool named Y-Wing pilots) and I took a Scummy Y-Wing, a Firspray and N'Dru Suhlak in his Z-95. Long story short, after a fairly close start I pulled ahead and stayed ahead. 

DS is a more tactical player than me, but for once I actually manoeuvred well during the course of these two games, and either way it was wonderful to get a couple of games in. I suspect we'll stick to narrative games in future...


- Drax.

Monday, 15 February 2016

545 - Playing Catch-up: A Cornucopia of Posts (Pt 2: Bolt Action Practice Game 2)

Hullo again!

Here are a few more shots from the second of my practice games at my new club. It was a brilliant game: 2 German players against a combined British force of three players; my 4 KSLI platoon, 1000pts of Commandos and 1000pts of paras, for 3000pts per team.
It was close-close-close-close-close until the last turn we played (turn 4), but in the end, the Commandos soaked up the fire on the right whilst the Paras my third section advanced up the middle and the rest of my force swept up from the left flank. In the end, the crossroads objective was taken by 3 Section and a smattering of paras after my AEC rolled along the road and gunned down those Germans still clinging to it (pic above).

A very cinematic ending.
(and an cinematically lush setting to boot!)
Lessons learnt included the following: 

  • the optional aeroplane rules can be brutal, but they re expensive...and not for me.
  • Incoming artillery strikes can really change players' manoeuvring...including me!
  • Cromwells cannot drive through rock-based hedges. Fair enough!
  • Leaving two vehicles, a PIAT and a 6pdr to guard a flank against two outflanking large German tanks is probably a bit much...especially when they rock-up on the opposite flank! Oops.
  • Don't be scared of units with six pin markers. Even if they pass an order test to shoot, they'll still be at a -5 penalty!
  • Vaping makes for some absolutley brilliant smoke effects in photos!

...and here - predictably enough - are some more photos...:
My lot
The first outing for my AEC III
The heroic 3 Section, my PIAT and the eternally useless (but beautiful) 6pdr.
Some of the veteran SS opposing us.
In addition to these, we also faced inexperienced Volkssturm.
SS? Volkssturm? Can't remember. 
Definitely SS. Definitely nasty. Definitely not arriving on my flank.
The left flank. Paras in the foreground;
4KSLI at the road; Arty FOO lurking in the trees!
The objective: the central crossroads
More smokey fun
My Subaltern urges 2 Sect forward from the left flank
Red Devils!
My allies pop the third (and very camouflaged) German tank
Endgame: the AEC III makes it to the road...
...whilst the Cromwell loiters behind a heavy hedge-line and rakes away a sniper. 
Thanks, Recce Troop!
Slightly incongruous air support from a Hurricane MkIIC;
in the house and walled yard are the brave lads of 3 Sect.
Higher up. There's a Spitfire there, too.
We found out later that we shouldn't have had two...
A cracking second game at my new club. Yay!

Next up...X-Wing! 

- Drax.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

544 - Playing Catch-up: A Cornucopia of Posts (Pt 1: Bolt Action Tourney)

Well then - time to catch up on some of the hobby fun I've been having since the start of 2016 in a series of short blasts (with pics where possible)...

Most importantly, I played in 'The UK Gathering' - a very friendly one-day Bolt Action tournament and had an absolute blast! Three great opponents; three great games - and I even got to play against the one and only Col Corbane: these days far better known as the increasingly famous Mel the Terrain Tutor, on YouTube. Here'e Mel talking about the event (and I get a nice shout-out, too!): [link here]. Go on - subscribe to him. Dare you.

Three things made the tourney even better: firstly, the organisers. Everything was organised by a great bloke in Birmingham called Kieran - and he did a smashing job - but it was all done under the banner of (and initially for the benefit of) tabletopbattlecom, and two of the four Norwegian lunatics who run the site - Svein and Damon - were there. Like Kieran: top, top, top guys, and absolute gents.
The ttb crew and some of their top patrons. I'm not one of them.

Secondly, the armies and the tables there were - just like the players - fantastic! Some pics below will help illustrate this point. 

And thirdly, I won some stuff! I won 'The Monty' for Best Allied General, and 'The Barnes Wallis' for Best Table. You have no idea how much of a surprise these were to me and how very, very proud (and humbled) I was by the wins. Nice goodies too!
Just a selection of pics, then...
My 'Polders' table. Happy me. There'll be more on this anon...

Glad it all came together!
"I saw a mouse!
There on the stairs!
Where on the stairs?
Right there! - A little mouse with clogs on.
Well I declare!
Going clip-clippity-clop on the stairs!"
Game One:a desert table. Great game, and a fun draw.
I put my 6pdr in the floor of a place of worship, thinking no-one would target it.
They blew up my tank instead. Bloody airstrikes.
The contested flank objective. If my artillery hadn't dropped short, I might've won!
Game Two, against Mel. He looks far less like Fagin in real life, I promise!
Mel's brilliantly characterful Chindits and Gurkhas. They're holding a trench. I have to take it.
"Platoon! Platoon will advance slowly toward the entrenched the right...advance!!"
My fearless Cromwell takes the right flank fearlessly on its own...
...and fearlessly gets blown up by a PIAT!
The jumping-off point for the assault on the trenches
...And the assault worked! 11th Armoured Div carry the day! 
A brief interlude to show a few of the tables I didn't get to play on.
This one was called 'October', but I know not why.
Another nice table 
Matt's 'Factory' table, under construction. 
And this table was far and away the most stunning there: dolls' house levels of detail. Insane.
THIS is the table I played my final game on.
I was attacking to win this road junction - at the bottom of the right edge...
...against the US Army, but they were both unlucky and out-manoeuvred.
At this point, my PIAT team (left) hopped out of the carrier and popped his Greyhound :(
The endgame. Gorgeos table, but painful for my opponent.

And I couldn't resist that last pic, could I?!

More to follow...

- Drax