Monday, April 30, 2018

Iron Cross at Ralph's

Last Friday, a group of us got together at my uncle Ralph's house to play Iron Cross. Ralph set up a gorgeous table with his fake fur table cover and beautiful Miniature Building Authority town. The table also featured his recently painted up Quonset huts and a scratch built farm using my laser-cut parts. The Quonset huts were set in a compound surrounded by home made barbed wire barricades and a scratch built sentry gate.

The scenario was for the Americans to capture impressed Polish scientists in the compound. Of course the scientists were present in model form, nice touch there. The Germans were to protect the compound and escort the scientists to safety if the Americans attacked any of the Scientists. There were other zones of the table that were also in play as far as scenario objectives are concerned. I was on the German side with Ralph. Rob, Earl and Bob were the American liberating force.

The research compound was flanked by a pillbox. I put a squad of my volksgrenadiers in it. I also stationed a prime mover near the gate for a hasty exit should the compound come under fire. In the stone tower in the town I set up an MG-42 as an overwatch asset. The rest of my teams took up positions behind the stone walls further from the town.

The Americans: Bob, Rob and Earl plan their attack.

A German SdKfz 251/5 engineer command half track with a Panzerbüchse 41 AT gun looks over the open field hoping to stop the American half tracks. During the battle it would redeploy on the left flank to try to counter an American Priest SP gun.

The American force bivouacked overnight on the rear of this large hill after encountering resistance from a pillbox left of the farm (not pictured). The scenario starts at dawn as American reinforcements arrive. To kick off the battle, the Americans brought up a Priest SP gun to neutralize the MG bunker near the farm. Accurate HE fire from the priest did its job very effectively.

Soon after that, Earl gets aggressive with one of his half tracks to try to put some more effective .50 cal fire onto the farmhouse to destroy the remaining defending infantry. Ralph aggressively moved forward and blew up the half track with a panzerfaust.

Mid game. One of Ralph's squads hold behind the hedge row on the road, as my command squad defends the crossroads. The Prime Mover and scientists are on their way back to Berlin after Bob's American infantry killed one of the scientists. Intent follows the bullet Bob!

Late in the game Rob made a great aggressive play on the Farmhouse with two of his squads bringing Ralph's volksgrenadiers in the farmhouse near their break point. Fortune favored the young Germans as rousing words from their commander brought them back into the fight. A fortunate turn of events that stopped an otherwise perfectly executed assault by Rob.

This was an excellent evening of gaming. Good company, beautiful table and easy to play fun rules.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Monmouth Courthouse Lee Attacks! scenario - Electronic Brigadier

Next month at the upcoming Huzzah! 2018 convention I will be running a Monmouth Courthouse AWI scenario I've titled 'Lee Attacks!'. The scenario is a hypothetical re-match of the historical forces asking the question, 'What if General Lee had convinced Washington to allow him to attack with volunteer regiments instead of limiting him to only volunteer soldiers?'. The battle uses the historical order of battle, but when soldiers from a particular regiment were present, I instead give Lee the entire regiment (or brigade as the case may be). To make this a fair fight, I've brought an appropriate amount of the British column back to aid in the rear guard.

This and the Huzzah! game use my computer moderated rules, The Electronic Brigadier. While I've been happy with the system for AWI for about a year now, I'm always looking to improve thing as I work on the other periods. In order to give the convention gamers the best experience possible, I prefer to play test my scenarios with friends from my club when possible. This game was the dress rehearsal for the upcoming Huzzah! game. With a good mix of Electronic Brigadier veterans as well as less experienced players, I'm pretty sure this game gave the rules a good run through. I had my video camera running, so there are some short videos of the game interspersed in this report. Below, a quick view of the table.

Below left photo left to right the Americans: Earl, George, Mike and Rob. Right photo left to right the Britsh: Bob, Ralph, Kevin and Byron. In the background you can see I've only managed to get part of my collections into my new cabinets featured in the previous blog post.

This scenario is a meeting engagement with the British strung out in column of march on the road past the Courthouse (represented by the shabby shack in the middle of the table). The British rear guard has just managed to react to Lee's approaching attack from table left (south west). The British column is under the most pressure from the rear by Scott's, Grayson's and Wane's detachments, but further up the local New Jersey brigade bolstered by local militia approaches through the west ravine.

Both sides chose to attack on their respective right flanks. The photos above show Scott's detachment commanded by Earl, pressing Byron's rear guard ad-hoc brigade on the southern end of the battle. Earl's continentals took early advantage of Byrone's over-aggressive Hessian grenadiers, focusing fire on them eventually pushing them out of the British line. Byron's elite light infantry held the flank from collapsing while Kevin filled the void with fresh British grenadiers.

On the north flank, seen in the distance of this photo, Bob and Ralphs' troops pressed Rob's New Jersey brigade hoping to drive off Rob's two militia brigades. The British failed to close due to very effective fire from the militia on several attempts thanks to support from the New Jersey battery and a bad case of the jitters from one British regiment. The one British attack that did close with the militia sent the bayonet-less locals running to the rear.

As the battle continued the British suffered higher losses than the Americans, and as we called the game, the state of morale for the American army had a slight edge over the British.

The end of battle statistics were as follows:

British Rear Guard
Army cohesion: 83.3%
Total Casualties: 389 / 6240 (6.2%)
3 units shaken, 1 battery abandoned guns

Honors to: 123 - 64th Foot
American Advance Guard
Army cohesion: 84.3%
Total Casualties: 309 / 7420 (4.2%)
2 units shaken, 1 battery abandoned guns

Honors to: 233 - 3rd & 4th New Jersey

Both sides played competently. Although there were successes and failures on both sides, I think most were 'in the dice' that Electronic Brigadier rolls during combat and morale. Well fought game by all. I had great fun hosting it. Thanks to everyone for helping me play test the game.

Electronic Brigadier Extras

For those interested in the Electronic Brigadier rules in general, I was also able to get a nice video of Byron's move while Earl entered his information into one of the tablets. This gives a neat window into what goes on during a typical Electronic Brigadier turn for two opposing players. For more videos on Electronic Brigadier, you can view my YouTube playlist for Electronic brigadier. If you're interested in following the progress of Electronic Brigadier, you can join or view The Electronic Brigadier Google Community.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

New Figure Storage

I've never had a way to store my figure collection that could be easily viewed while gaming. My uncle uses some store display cabinets in his game space that I've always been very envious of. They can be seen in the background of this photo.  I've been looking for something similar, but to date have been unable to put my hands on any similar store displays. My solution - go with some off-the-shelf glass front book cases from Ikea. These are their REGISSÖR glass front cabinets. I picked them up on sale, but they were still a significant investment of money and took about five hours to assemble and install.

I'm still trying to decide if I need to put some lighting inside them. Before I received and installed these I was considering LED strip lighting on the underside of the shelves. After seeing them with my room's daylight spectrum fluorescent lighting they may have just enough ambient light to not necessitate the additional lighting. Until I decide I'm going to hold off on filling these with figures. If I decide to add the lighting I'll need to empty them. I'm trying to not have to do that.