For several months I have been working on these three Litko buildings that I bought almost a year ago. I had assembled them and prepared them for my daughter to paint — she likes to paint terrain pieces — but then they languished for several months. Finally in the last three weeks I finished them off.
These buildings will supplement my pulp city that has been featured in previous postings to my blog.
I know that MDF buildings are all the rage these days. Litko began making them before they became popular. Unlike 4Ground and some of the other manufacturers, the Litko buildings are not pre-painted. They also don’t feature the tab and slot construction. For pulp games they are excellent, and I enjoy painting them.
This latest batch of 6 buildings from Litko (the three pictured in this post and three others in a previous post) have laser cut clear plastic pieces to be glued behind the window and door frames. You wouldn’t think that the clear plastic would make a difference compared to simple openings for the windows, but they have a really nice look on the table.
The shape of this pediment was crying out for something more ornate than simple painting. I used a variety of images I found on the Web to assemble this pediment. I think the effect is pretty good.
Yesterday I hosted a GASLIGHT game in my basement / war room. One of the cadets who was in the wargaming club when I was teaching at West Point, Chase, is now in the State Department and getting ready to head to his first posting in Venezuela. I wanted to have him over one last time before he deploys, and I invited a number of the HAWKs who would have met Chase when I was helping out with their gaming convention, PointCon. I also invited another of the cadets from that same period, Colin. Both Chase and Colin left the army as combat decorated captains. I also invited Nick, who is the son of one of my high school buddies, and is near Ft. Meade on a co-op from school. Finally, many of the HAWKs attended: Dave, Greg, Eric, and Chris on the Brit side and Bill, Rob, and Duncan on the Pathan side.
In a previous convention scenario, a British punitive expedition had succeeded in reducing Wee Willie Winkie from the clutches of the evil Pasha Chrismajadeen. In this scenario, the expedition is taking her back to their fort when they are ambushed by the Pasha’s men. Typical in my Northwest Frontier by GASLIGHT games is that the Russians supply some “advisors” in the form of two units of infantry and several steam-powered vehicles.
Dave had a couple good volleys with the British infantry that neutralized the Russian steam lorry, but Borris “the Bear” re-manned the battling gun, inflicting some damage on the British and eventually shooting down the Female Hussars’ helicopter. Dave charged forward with his light tank, running over a couple of Chase’s Russian infantrymen, but the Russians climbed aboard the vehicle and eventually subdued it. Meanwhile Colin’s slow-footed Pathans took their time joining the battle, eventually occupying a couple of hills.
The British plan was to create a perimeter defense and keep Winkie far from the fight. They anchored their defense on this central hill, where several groups of Sikhs and the Female Hussars held against repeated assaults. In the picture above you can see three infantrymen near a timber-clad Russian / Pathan tank. They had once been the crew of a tricycle mounting a cannon. When the chain broke, Eric spiked the gun and ran these three men forward. They eventually close assaulted that timber-clad near them in the picture, but were eventually cleaned off by supporting Pathans.
Brigadier Smythe rode in and out of the Pathans, bravely holding them off, but eventually he succumbed to numbers. Victoria Hawkes on horseback rode out ahead of her unit of Female Hussars to engage in melee herself. She rolled a 20 and fell off her horse. When she regained her footing, she rolled another 20 and fell again. (We decided that she was not expecting a battle today and was wearing high-heeled shoes, which don’t work well in desert combat.) By the end of the fight, Victoria Hawkes had been killed.
While I didn’t get any pictures of that side of the table, on the British left, Chris and his Punjab units fought bravely against Duncan’s and Rob’s Pathans. Chris also close-assaulted a timber-clad tank. There was lots of carnage on that side of the table.
The safety of Winkie was never in question. By the end he was not only being protected by Captain Caruthers, but a unit of Highlanders was posted nearby. While the Pathans had most of their timer-clad tanks, most of their infantry had been wiped out. The British took many casualties themselves, but it was a clear British victory.
I think everyone had a good time — even Eric who failed his player morale and spiked his own cannon on the second turn of the game. We followed this harrowing battle with chili dogs and post-game kibitzing. All in all, it was a good time, and it was good to see Chase, Colin, Greg, and Nick again.
This makes my tenth miniatures game of the year. I am on track to meet my fifty game goal.
This past weekend we played two games using my under-development G.A.M.E.R. system. Those games gave me a chance to try out some ideas I’ve been kicking around regarding moving fire. As the game is currently written, figures may either move or fire when they activate, but there is no moving fire. I have been struggling with the best way to represent the increased firepower afforded to US squads by the M-1 Garand vs. every other army’s bolt-action rifles.
When I was a cadet at West Point, one of the history instructors showed us a film he made as part of his master’s thesis. It involved him dressing up a full US and German squad with their organic weapons (including BARs and MG-42). He then took them onto a known distance range and had them engage targets for a fixed period of time. As I recall he even used the same guys for both squads to control for the possibility of better marksmen in one group or the other. The result of this experiment was that a US squad had significantly more firepower than a German squad. Since the BAR is not really comparable to the MG-42, you have to assign the credit to the M-1 Garand. That has stuck with me for many years.
In Bolt Action, soldiers with Garands are allowed to conduct moving fire, but not soldiers with bolt action rifles. I have tried to account for the differences in firepower in GAMER by enabling some weapons to fire more than one shot during an activation. For instance, a submachine gun can fire 3 times at close range, twice at medium range, and just once at long range. This reflects both the rate of fire and the poor likelihood of hitting multiple times with a submachine gun at long range.
This mechanism of multiple shots still didn’t address the moving fire issue. While I like the shoot OR move mechanism for cleanness, simplicity, and speed, I understand why players of modern periods want moving fire. The experiment at JJ CON was only partially successful, because I took away multiple shots from the Garand but allowed moving fire with a full move.
After that experiment, here is what I think I am going to do. First, I realized that the penalty for moving fire (one column shift) was not punitive enough. I have been thinking about making it a two-column shift for some time as a result of vehicle play tests. A figure with a weapon that can fire more than once at the range to the target may instead conduct moving fire. The number of shots will be reduced by one. Movement distance will be reduced by two inches. Moving fire is always conducted as move, then fire at the end point of the move. Moving fire can be interrupted during the movement, not the firing, by a reaction roll. I think this will give the right feel.
In 1981 my buddy JJ had a sleepover wargaming birthday party when he turned 16. A bunch of us got together this past weekend to celebrate with 50th birthday with a weekend of gaming. We managed to fit in 7 miniatures games and a couple of card games in two days of non-stop gaming.
(In the picture from 1981, most of the faces are hidden, but I will identify the faces you can see. Most of the faces won’t be familiar to the group, and many of the faces are hidden. Standing at the left is Mike Janes. He was quite a bit older than us but often hosted games at his house, and he took us to our first gaming convention. I have been trying to link up with Mike, but he has no Web presence. Standing (and waving) in the center is me. Seated below me is Matt Stone. We have all lost touch with Matt. To the left of Matt, seated, is Mark Lauzon. Standing at the top right, with just half his face visible and the other half behind the Elton John glasses, is JJ. Other folks who are probably in the picture but I cannot identify are John Bice, David Dziadziola, Jeff Dziadziola, and Steve Jarosz.)
From left to right, Nick, Dave, Jimmy, Rick, Mark, JJ (the birthday boy), Duncan, Eric, and David (aka Ook). I took the picture.
We began the weekend, according to time-honored tradition, with a large Beer and Pretzels Ironclads game. The Rebs got spanked by the Yanks, having lost most of our larger ships.
Our second game was a 2-1/2 lap chariot race using the rules Roman Circus. Nick won the game easily, having come from behind.
While I was setting up the next game, most of the guys played Red Dragon Inn.
I ran a WWII GAMER scenario, which involved the heavily outnumbered Germans attempting to delay the advancing Americans. The Americans had to get at least 10 figures off the table by the end of the 15th turn.
Retrograde missions are hard, but the Germans eeked out a victory, because the Americans only got five figures off the table by the end of turn 15. Another five figures were close — but no cigar.
We set up Duncan’s game for the next morning and then went to bed. Early Saturday morning we played a reprise of Duncan’s War of 1812 GAMER scenario from Christmas. The Americans raided a British encampment. Initially the Brits were outnumbered two to now, but Duncan and I each had a squad of reinforcements that arrived in time to turn the tide of the battle. It was declared a clear British victory.
The game was quite fun. Playing a second game with the same rules (GAMER) was good, because it was easier for many of the folks who only game once a year (or even less frequently) during JJ CON.
After Duncan’s War of 1812 game, Eric ran his Orc’s Drift fantasy game using GASLIGHT. It was a tense, hard-fought battle, but in the end the good guys were able to withstand the assaults of the misunderstood bad guys.
We cleaned up Orc’s Drift and played another chariot race.
I was set to win the second chariot race, but my last movement roll was dismal and I barely made it across the finish line. Dave came from second place to win.
Our final miniatures game of the weekend was a thrown-together X-Wing scenario.
The rebels were attacking to knock out the three laser turrets on the surface of an Imperial station. This was the first time I had used the laser turrets, and I think they worked well.
The rebels knocked out one turret and damaged the other two, but they did not achieve their objective of knocking out all three.
After we cleaned up, it was about 10:30, so we elected to start a “short” game of Nuclear War (by Flying Buffalo). The game dragged on until after 1:30 in the morning, so none of us got much sleep.
All in all, it was a good weekend of gaming, laughing, and fun.