Buck's Blog

The Stream-of-Consciousness Journal of a Wargamer
  • .: Welcome to my blog :.

    I'm John R. "Buck" Surdu. I have two Web pages that contain relatively static information about my professional life (including papers I've written) and my hobby life (including information about rules I've written and my wargaming projects). This blog is where I plan to post personal tidbits, like vacation pictures, wargaming projects, etc. Enjoy!
  • Some Stuff I Got at Historicon

    Posted By on July 17, 2018

    Rust scatter terrain from Impudent Mortal.

    The other side of the Rust scatter terrain from Impudent Mortal.

    In the Historicon dealer hall, there was a vendor called Impudent Mortal.  I have purchased things from them before.  The Rust line included MDF buildings and terrain pieces that come with photo textured, self adhesive covers.  I picked up this set of terrain pieces from them and assembled them yesterday and today.

    Some sort of generator thingy from Things from the Basement

    Another outfit I like is Things from the Basement.  Their MDF products are very reasonably priced, and they are very creative.  I saw this piece and had to have it.

    Blood and Swash / Thunder and Plunder Available Again

    Posted By on July 16, 2018

    Blood and Swash / Thunder and Plunder has been out of print for a couple of years.  I have just loaded it to War-games Vault for purchase as a pdf download.  There were a couple of games using these rules at Historicon, and before I even got home Chris had received in a inquiry how to get them.  These remain a very fun set of rules despite their age.  We have used them for their intended purpose (pirates) and also ancient skirmished to WWII.  Enjoy!

    Other Historicon 2018 Games

    Posted By on July 16, 2018

    Tank ran a Bear Yourselves Valiantly game featuring Carthaginians versus Romans.

    Tank also ran two iterations of his immensely popular brawl on a train using Blood and Swash.  I just love this game!

    Dave ran two iterations of his Zulu ambush scenario using Combat Patrol(TM): WWII.  Dave is working on a British colonial supplement.

    Chris ran a fantasy game using the under-development feudal version of Combat Patrol.

    Star Wars with Combat Patrol

    Posted By on July 16, 2018

    Title:  Rear Guard at Outpost Priebe

    Rules: Star Wars Supplement for Combat Patrol™: WWII

    Period: Science Fiction – Star Wars

    Description:  Clones are advancing toward the Republic base camp on the planet of Christophsis.  Supplies are running low and the Trade Federation is refusing to let any through to the Clone troopers.  Droid forces advance steadily.  Lieutenant Boomer and his Clone platoon conduct a delaying action at Outpost Preibe to give time for supplies and reinforcements to arrive.  Can Boomer hold long enough?

    Greg and I ran our sixth game of Historicon Saturday evening.  We used a modification of the France 1940 scenarios we had run in the morning and afternoon.  We swapped out the terrain a bit and replaced the Germans with Droids and the British/French with clones.


    Starting deployment for the Clone Wars game

    I don’t have enough droid tanks to exactly replicate the earlier scenarios, so the droids had two tanks, and the clones had shoulder-fired AT rockets.

    Droids advancing

    Clones take up defensive positions atop buildings

    This was probably our least successful game of the weekend.  We are still struggling to get the balance right in these Clone Wars games.  Sometimes the clones just shred the droids and people complain.  Other times the droids don’t die fast enough, and the clone players complain.  We had a critical clone player who didn’t quite understand the activation sequence, and as a result the anti-tank rockets never really played a role.  The droid tanks shelled the clone positions with impunity.

    Cones defend the roofs despite heavy casualties. You can see a rocket launcher in the center of this picture. You can also see Obi Wan Kenobi has jumped on a droid tank to destroy it.

    The clones needed to draw in the droids.  Instead they sat on the roofs of the buildings and just got shelled over and over.  Lots of lessons experienced, but no lessons learned.  Had the clones dropped down behind the buildings out of sight, the droids would have been forced to advance to where the shoulder-fired rockets could have taken out the tanks and where the high rate of fire and accuracy of the clone small arms fire would have been decisive.

    Despite taking cover properly, the clones were torn up by HE fire from the droid tank.


    France 1940 with Combat Patrol at Historicon 2018

    Posted By on July 16, 2018

    Saturday Morning

    Title:  The BEF in France

    Rules:  Combat Patrol™: WWII

    Period: WWII

    Description:  The Germans have swept through France and Belgium with dizzying speed.  Lieutenant Fotheringay and his stalwart platoon form the BEF have been assigned the unenviable task to holding a small rural crossroads to delay the German juggernaut.  Can they hold long enough for their battalion to take up defensive positions, or will they be overwhelmed?

    Saturday Afternoon

    Title:  A Skirmish in France

    Rules:  Combat Patrol™: WWII

    Period: WWII

    Description:  The Maginot Line has been outflanked and bypassed. The Germans are dashing through France to the coast.  Lieutenant Carnot and his small platoon have been tasked to hold a small rural crossroads to buy time for his battalion to form a new defensive line to the West.   Can the small band of Frenchmen hold back the German juggernaut long enough?

    Notes:  Rules will be taught.  Younger gamers welcome with a participating adult.

    On Saturday, Greg and I ran two games on the same terrain.  The setting was a small French town in 1940.  The German forces were tasked to seize the town and eliminate resistance in preparation for the battalion following them.  The two scenarios were the same, but in the morning the defenders were British, and in the afternoon they were French.

    German deployment for both scenarios

    The German forces were the same for both scenarios.  Two squads (dividing into two half squads) were forward ready to cross the stream.  Behind them were four Czech 38(t) tanks and two more squads in trucks.  It is subtle, but you can see that the table with the river bed is slightly shorter than the other tables to provide a look of flood plane.

    The lead German squad

    The British (and French) deployment

    The British (and French) deployment had one squad in the village (but outside the buildings), a machine-gun team in a corner of woods to cover the avenue of approach for German infantry, two Matilda II tanks, and two more half squads just to the left of this picture.  The Germans had twice as many tanks and twice as many infantrymen as the defenders.

    A Matilda’s eye view of the battlefield

    The Germans got three unanswered shots from their 38(t)s on one of the Matilda’s, failing to penetrate with every shot.  Then the Matilda opened fire and quickly brewed up both of the 38(t)s it was facing.

    The Germans begin to move forward

    First dead 38(t)

    Third dead 38(t)

    British infantry caught in the bowling alley taking HE fire from the Germans

    The Germans suppress the British machine-gun with HE fire

    The Germans advance to storm the town (top) while their infantry establish a base of fire on their left

    After losing a tank on the German left, they advanced to the cover of a ruined building and established a support-by-fire position.  They traded fire with the British machine-gun and a half squad of infantry for several turns.

    Last dead 38(t)

    The Germans to to the town and began to close assault the defenders.  The Brits had an ATR in the second story of a building, but it bounced off the 38(t).  A Matilda finished off the last German tank.  The German infantry seized two of the four village buildings.  With the loss of their last tank, the Matilda’s could maneuver with impunity.  They backed off and began shelling the towns.  At this point, we determined that while the Germans held the town, with now support, they couldn’t hold it.  We called the game a British victory.

    In the second running, with the French defenders, the Germans won.  The French lost one H-35, and the Germans lost two 38(t)s.  The Germans were able to seize all four buildings through close assault.

    Both games were a lot of fun for the players, and we enjoyed running them.

    Helm’s Deep and Napoleonics with Combat Patrol

    Posted By on July 16, 2018

    Bill Acheson ran a Helm’s Deep game using the under-development feudal version of Combat Patrol.  This game uses 4″ tall figures.  he scratch-built the defenses.

    Duncan Adams ran a Portuguese ambush on a French convoy in the Peninsula game using the Napoleonic supplement to Combat Patrol.

    Border Rievers with Combat Patrol at Historicon 2018

    Posted By on July 16, 2018

    Title:  A Rieving We Will Go

    Rules:  Feudal Patrol™

    Period: WWII

    Description:  Why work for a living when you can just take it from the farmers on the other side of the border?  Using the under-development mediaeval version of Combat Patrol™: WWII players command small bands of rievers as they clash along the English and Scottish borders to rustle cattle and sheep.

    Notes:  Rules will be taught.  Younger gamers welcome with a participating adult.

    Border Rievers rush to retrieve the relics of St. McGuffin from the church

    Friday afternoon Greg and I ran a Border Riever game using the under-development feudal version of Combat Patrol(TM): WWII.

    The Vicar prepares to defend the church (from Sally 4th)

    This game was incredibly bloody.  We started with 68 figures on the table.  The game was scheduled for four hours.  In two hours only 7 figures were left, and most of them were wounded.  The Scottish had succeeded in obtaining the relics and pushed them out of the church.

    Though the game was short, I think all the players had fun, and the rules seem to be working okay.  I am still not 100% happy with the way I am representing armor.  Still, it was a fun game to play and GM.  We had a very good group of players for this game.

    Sea Lion Begins

    Posted By on July 16, 2018

    Title:  Sea Lion Begins

    Rules:  Combat Patrol™: WWII

    Period: WWII

    Description:  France has fallen.  Though invasion is expected, the people of Little Basely by the Sea are nonetheless surprised when a barge full of Germans appears on the beach. The Home Guard and other auxiliaries take up arms and rush to repel them.  Will they be able to throw the Germans back into the sea, or will the Germans secure their first foothold in England?

    Germans land on the coast of Little Basely by the Sea

    In a continuation of our Thursday night scenario, Greg and I ran a Combat Patrol(TM): WWII game Friday morning in which the Germans landed on the coast.  We used the ending situation (with minor adjustments) as the starting point for this scenario.  The Home Guard had been badly mauled in the Thursday nigh game as had the Land Girls and the church ladies.  We reset some things a little and then had the Germans hit the beach.

    German landing forces were supported by two Czech 38(t) tanks.

    The German bomber crew and few remaining Fallschirmjaegers occupied the town.  A platoon of British regulars arrived to throw them back into the sea.  The remaining Home Guard and ladies of town with improvised weapons pitched in.  The Land Girls had been wiped out Thursday night and so didn’t participate in Friday morning’s action.

    The church ladies pinched the vicar’s car and headed off to “fight them on the beaches.”

    The few remaining Home Guard troopers are flanked by Germans in a copse near town

    The Germans destroyed the British Rolls Royce armored car with a lucky shot from one of the 38(t)s

    The game was a lot of fun and came down to the last couple of card flips.  Unfortunately when Greg and I were resetting the scenario we forgot to remove a machine-gun from the German side, and we were part way through the scenario before we realized we had done so.  The German player took full advantage of the extra gun and really tore up the advancing British.  This skewed our play balance a bit, but the game still went well.

    This game won an award from the Historicon convention staff.

    Title:  HE-111 at Little Basely by the Sea

    Posted By on July 13, 2018

    Title:  HE-111 at Little Basely by the Sea

    Rules:  Combat Patrol™: WWII

    Period: WWII

    Description:  France has fallen.  The Germans are blitzing London.  Invasion is expected any day.  Rumors of parachutists and fifth columnists are rampant.  An HE-111 has crashed at the outskirts of Little Basely by the Sea.  The Home Guard and townspeople rush to capture the crew.  The crewmen gather up their weapons and prepare to fight their way to safety.  But are the crewmen alone?

    Notes:  Rules will be taught.  No booze, please.

    After the bomber drops its passengers and crashes in the field near town, the crew unloads and heads for the safety of one of the buildings in the town.

    Greg and I ran our first game of Historicon 2018, and it was a success.  The HE-111 crew crashes into a field outside Little Basely by the Sea after dropping Fallschirmjaegers nearby in preparation for the upcoming invasion.  A squad of Home Guardsmen were out on maneuvers with a squad of Regulars.  The Land Girls were out working in the fields.  The ladies of the town grab improvised weapons and have at the Germans.

    The Vicar is having tea with the ladies of the church when the kerfuffle begins.

    At first the Fallschirmjaegers took some casualties at the hands of the ladies from the town.  First blood was spilled by a woman with a pitchfork testing to see if her “Hun roast” was done.  The Fallschirmjaegers and the bomber crew headed for the line of buildings that constitute Little Basely by the Sea’s High Street.

    Three German scouts land on the beaches where they are immediately taken under fire by an alert Regular squad.

    At this point the vanguard of the upcoming amphibious invasion hits the beaches.  An alert lady coast watcher in a bunker (blurry at the top of the image) sounds the alarm, and the squad of Regulars turns from the Fallschirmjaegers and heads for the beaches where they incapacitated about half of the squad.

    The Land Girls turn from quail hunting to German hunting. (Figures from Bad Squiddo)

    The Home Guard performed valiantly.  One team headed for town and engaged in hand-to-hand combat in the Frog and Firkin pub with the Germans.  The Germans got the better end of the engagement.  The only casualty to the bomber crew was from friendly fire from one of the Fallschrimjaegers.  Captain Mainwaring lead his small headquarters forward to stop a group of Fallschirmjaegers from getting to their equipment pod, but he and his men were cut down in a tomato patch.  The final Home Guard unit boarded the small truck and maneuvered around the Germans at the beach.

    Home Guardsmen load a lorry to advance on the Germans

    It was a splendid afternoon and welcome break from drill, drill, drill for the the people of Little Basely by the Sea.  In the end, the game was determined to be a German victory as the bomber crew (and their sensitive information) remained at large.  Their only casualty came at the hands of friendly fire.

    Today’s game starts where this left off.  A German landing barge will hit the beach with two Pz 38(t)’s and the rest of the infantry platoon.  More British regulars will arrive with some support weapons and a re-commissioned Rolls Royce armored car.

    Then players all grasped the rules very quickly, relegating Greg and me to calling cards and answering occasional questions.  All the players seemed to grasp the “feel” of the scenario and have fun with it.  We had one player who thought “no booze please” in the event description didn’t apply to him and got wet rings on my ground cloth with his cup, but otherwise all went well, and we are looking forward to the second game this morning (Friday).  (I am no prude, but gamers who are drinking during convention games are not nearly as funny as they think they are, and they tend to disrupt the games.)  It was a good first game of the convention.

    Combat Patrol(TM) at Historicon 2018

    Posted By on July 8, 2018

    Here is a listing of the games that will be run at Historicon 2018 with Combat Patrol(TM): WWII and some of its variants.  Get into one of these games to learn more about this terrific set of rules and see how intuitive it is to play.