Why Jozi's Tin Man? This has caused a little confusion. It is in reference to a Savage Worlds game I played with my wife, Jozi, where she played a flying monkey and I was a Tin Man. Hence Jozi's (possessive) Tin Man.

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Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas to all (or Saturnalia or holiday of your choice) and Trench Hammer is out!

(Apologies to all who commented on my last post, I take forever to get around to moderating the comments, thank you all for your kind feedback and I should be caught up)

I hope all of my wargaming compatriots are enjoying themselves this weekend and will have a good 2018.  I have the family and kids here including the new granddaughter and I must say that my life is very, very good. 

I did clean up for Christmas, here is what the wife got me!

Image result for gandhi and churchill book

Looks to be some good reading and good gaming!  I have played 1812 before and am eager to give it a go again after 20 years, and Combat Infantry may scratch that WW2 tactical itch I am having (I am sure there is a cream for that...)

Meanwhile, instead of playing out the rest of my AWI campaign, I have been doing dumb stuff like working.  But I did have the opportunity of collaborating with Ivan of Nordic Weasel games on an adaptation do Squad Hammer for WW1 tactical games.  If you are interested in the period, give it a spin!  You can cheaply field a platoon cheaply and quickly in scales from 20mm down to 6mm and play in an hour. 

Here are some Pendraken 10mm Germans I mounted on 40mm x 20mm bases, going to use 2 per squad, but any basing will work.  They are supported by a Maxim HMG in a fighting position built out of Sculpey clay.

And here are some Brits waiting to be painted...

Off to enjoy the rest of the holiday with the family, Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 3, 2017

AWI Campaign Game 1

Image result for tarleton attacked by dragoon

Apologies for taking a while to start fighting the campaign, but besides Thanksgiving, we also welcomed our first grandchild into the word! She is healthy and happy and I am of course planning to introduce her to gaming, although this week is probably a little early. Mom and Dad are doing fine and my wife spent the night to give them a night's sleep.Now on to the show...

My lovely and talented wife has pitched in to help with the campaign, and she divided the Patriot forces while I divided the British / Loyalists.

The first battle was between the detachments both armies sent west to the backcountry, the Order of Battle was:


3 Leaders
Lee’s Legion Dragoons
Lee’s Legion light Infantry (Skirmishers)
1st VA Continentals
2nd VA Continental’s
1 x Artillery
5 militia
1 Riflemen

British / Loyalist

3 Leaders
2 x British Legion Dragoons
2 x Combined Light Infantry (Aggressive Elite, Skirmishers)
British Legion Infantry
7th Foot
Jaegers (Elite, Skirmishers, Rifles)

We used the latest incarnation of my OHW House rules found here.

The Battle

I randomly selected a map from Neil Thomas's One Hour Wargames scenarios and rolled up a river crossing.  For narrative purposes, Morgan's plan is not to fight with a river at his back, but to wait on the other side and defeat Tarleton in detail as they crossed.

Here Morgan ponders his / her plans. 

 As Tarleton, my plan was based on shock action, I would personally lead my Dragoons across the bridge and disperse the militia, leaving room for the rest of my troops to cross and deploy.
I managed to steamroller one militia unit, but the beautiful General Morgan reoriented her forces to contain me and I did not have enough space to bring more troops across.

 Here we have the Rebels pouring fire into the brave British Legion dragoons while the British Legion foot prepares to cross and support them.  The lights fire across the river sporadically.

Here we have the climax of the battle.  The Dragoons and Legion infantry that crossed the river are annihilated by concentrated Rebel fire.  Tarleton killed (unknown whether during or after the battle...)  

With reports that Tarleton was hor de combat, Major Newmarsh of the 7th foot takes command and calls off the attack.  The British fall back and prepare to regroup with Cornwallis' main army.

After Action Review

My Take on Events:

From a campaign standpoint, the British have permanently lost half of the British Legion Dragoons and all of the British Legion foot, as well as Tarleton himself.  On the other hand, it was not nearly the disaster of the actual Battle of Cowpens, where Tarleton lost his entire command.

From a rules standpoint, we have not played these in a while and it took a little while for both of us to get back up to speed.  The next game between the main armies will be an open field battle and should be interesting, with more room to maneuver. 

Jozi's Take on Events:

As a relative newbie to the wargaming life, I will have to say that I was a bit frustrated with the whole bridge thing. Not only did the bridge limit strategy, but the troop abilities also limited setup choice.Take, for instance, I had 5 units of really lousy militia with a firing capability of two base widths. Great range, but the troop's firepower was limited by 1/2 when compared to everything else on the table. So, I ended up seeing the militia as war fodder as I immediately lost two entire units to the British Calvary. 

Being a very big poor sport, I got pissy and pulled back all of the "good troops" in my mental attempt to start over again (British set me up). This big baby move actually proved to be a good idea. 

Having cleared the field a bit, I then moved everything that I felt was "fodder" in direct line with that darn bridge. This included the cannon, which I quickly fell in love with. After a few lucky rolls and some aggressive rallying of the troops (to clear up some hits), the British began a running! 

Working with newbies or your wife, keep in mind a few things:
Tip #1 Always be clear when asked a question. When asked if my riflemen were safer in the treeline or pulled back, the British cunningly said "Oh yeah! They are untouchable in the treeline." Not true, if you roll a 6. 
Tip#2 Never set up newbies, or your wife's, men. No need to say more on this.
Tip#3 Keep scenarios simple.
Tip#4 Run through some open field practice games. 
Tip#5 Keep the newbie focused on using the quick reference sheet. That way the seasoned gamer is a bit less responsible for all the other person's bad die rolls and strategy errors.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A simple plan for a 3 Act AWI campaign

Image result for cowpens

Oddly enough, I keep vacillating between modern combined arms at the company level and the American War of Independence.  Variety is the spice of life they say, so here goes!

With the Thanksgiving holiday coming up, I would like to get my 6mm AWI forces back on the table for some action.  Initially I thought about a map campaign in the colony of South Carolina using this amazing period map from the Library of Congress.  While I may still pursue that as the basis for my next Matrix game I run online, I want something to give me a few fast, fun interrelated games.

So here is the plan… utilizing the ever popular 3 act structure, inspired by Lloydian Aspects, one of my favorite wargaming websites for the last 20 years, when I started playing Crossfire

Each General starts with the following forces, each equals one unit in my One Hour Wargames AWI variant.  It is not 100% historically accurate, but assume that some Crown forces are tied up by partisans.

Crown Forces
  •          33rd Regiment of Foot (Aggressive, Elite)
  •          23rd Regiment of Foot (Aggressive, Elite)
  •          71st Highlanders (Aggressive, Elite)
  •          7th Foot
  •          Battalion Guards (Aggressive, Elite)
  •          Von Bose Regiment (Aggressive, Elite)
  •          Combined Grenadiers (Aggressive, Elite)
  •          British Legion Infantry
  •          2 x Combined Light Infantry (Aggressive Elite, Skirmishers)
  •          Jaegers (Elite, Skirmishers, Rifles)
  •          2 x British Legion Dragoons
  •          17th Dragoons
  •          2 x Artillery
  •          8 Leaders

Patriot Forces
  •          1st MD Continentals (Aggressive)
  •          2nd MD Continentals
  •          1st VA Continentals
  •          2nd VA Continental’s
  •          Continental Light Infantry (Skirmishers)
  •          3rd Continental Dragoons
  •          Lee’s Legion Dragoons
  •          Lee’s Legion light Infantry (Skirmishers)
  •          2 x Artillery
  •      6 x Leaders
Militia are special and how many show up for a particular battle is variable
  •      Militia (Poor Discipline): Roll Average Die + 2 for how many show up
  •      Backwoodsmen (Elite, Skirmishers, Rifles, Roll d6: 1-2 = 1, 3-4 = 2, 5-6 = 3

Battle results

I am going to use good old fashioned, Kriegspiel style military judgement to determine when a battle is over and who holds the field at the end of the engagement.

Sequence of Battles

Each side will divide their forces into 2 as Greene sends a detachment under Morgan off to the west towards the Spartan district.  For campaign purposes, I will assume that while this is going on, Cornwallis is able to force Greene into a battle…
The terrain or each battle will be set up based on a randomly generated One Hour Wargames scenario, enhanced with extra woods, etc until it is pleasing to the eye.

Fight #1:

This will notionally be between the detachments in the upcountry.
  • The Patriots will be led by Daniel Morgan and get a +1 for each militia roll and 1 free leader in addition to Morgan
  • The Crown forces will be led by Tarleton and must include at least 1 unit of British Legion dragoons and the British legion infantry

Fight #2:

The Main armies, assuming that Cornwallis sees and opportunity to force Greene into battle

Recovery before the final battle

This is where the weakness of the British forces is really showcased.  Cornwallis had significant issues maintaining his troop numbers in the field as they were constantly being whittled away by battle casualties, sickness, and the need to maintain garrisons across the colony such as Ninety-Six, Camden, and Georgetown.   Losses were very difficult to replace.  So for the British after each battle:
·         British Recovery
o   Units that are broken are recovered on a d6 roll of 1
o   For unaffected units, roll 1d6, on a 1-2 they start the final battle with 1 casualty marker (due to sickness and troops falling out on the brutal march)
o   Fallen leaders are recovered on a roll of 1-2 and are available for the next battle

The Patriot forces on the other hand had several advantages in this area, as Von Steuben was Greene’s quartermaster in VA feeding supplies and replacements to the army.  Plus, Militia performance on the battlefields was variable at best, but it was raised from across SC, NC, and VA for the campaign and new militia could be called up.
·         Patriot Recovery
o   Units that are broken are recovered on a d6 roll of 1-3
o   Militia units do not need to recover, but are randomly generated at the start of the battle.
o   Fallen leaders are recovered on a roll of 1-2 and are available for the next battle

The Final Battle

Utilizing all remaining forces, Cornwallis finally tracks down Greene for a final struggle for control of the Carolina's.  A British victory here can still mean defeat, as historically Cornwallis held the field at Guilford Courthouse, at the cost of veteran troops he could not afford to lose. 

The terrain will be generated as above and the campaign will close with a nice climax.

Now let's see how well I can execute!
Image result for guilford courthouse reenactment

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

SBCT Rifle Company Battle Position Defense #2

I took the old SBCT Rifle Company our for a spin again with 5Core Company Command in another attempt at a Battle Position Defense against elements of a Krasnovian Battalion Tactical Group.

The Krasnovians has a Motor Rifle Company with BMP-3's reinforced with 3 x T-72B3's and 1 x 2S1 122mm SP Gun.

I played this out solo again, took about 30 minutes and 4 turns...

Here are a few bad pictures.

 Initial Dispositions

 Initial SBCT Rifle Company positions.  All 3 platoons on the hill.
The first volley of Javelins was brutal.  Not sure if I overrated them or it was just hot dice...
  • I rate them Kill (2K/1S) against T-72B3 and Overkill (3K/2S) against BMP's, then allow a roll for reactive armor.  Thoughts?

Although I may be worried about nothing.  The Javelin's inability to move and fire and the weight of fire the surviving Krasnovians put on the company's position began to tell. 

After 3 more turns two squads were combat ineffective and most had retreated into the woods.  When they tried to reoccupy the tree line so they could fire missiles again the next turn, they would usually get driven back by BMP fire.

In the end, the Krasnovians lost 2 tanks, 1 SP gun, and 3 BMP's but drove the company off of the position quickly and achieved their objective.

I rated the BMP-3 as 1K/3S against infantry.  On reflection maybe I have it balanced correctly.  The Infantry got off one good volley of missiles, but the weight of fire of the BMP's eventually turned the tide.

Next time I will fight a similar scenario but attach a TOW Platoon to the company.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Stryker Rifle Platoon Hasty Attack, solo game

For full details of my Stryker Brigade Combat Team project can be found here, with details on 5Core Company Command.

I am starting up again, here is a short solo game I played this weekend.  One innovation is I created some sliding firing calculators printed with the basic 5 Core Company Command rules.  Here are some pictures, you can find them at the link above under Play Aids.  Feel free you copy them and modify to your heart's delight.  Click to enlarge, you will also notice I have also incorporated some of my own idiosyncratic rules changes. 

Now on to the game....


2nd Stryker Cavalry Brigade Combat Team (BCT) has deployed to defend The Republic of Ruritania from aggression by Krasnovian backed separatists and Krasnovian regular forces.  The BCT's overall mission is to restore the territorial integrity of Ruritania and expel Krasnovian forces.

2nd Squadron has been tasked with advancing to contact and establishing blocking positions to delay the advance to Krasnovian Battalion Tactical Groups (BTG's) while the rest of the Brigade deploys.

E Troop is the lead element of the Squadron and squadron scouts have identified a platoon sized blocking position of Ruritanian Separatist Militia along Axis of Advance CUSTER.  

You are the platoon leader for 2nd platoon and have been ordered to perform a hasty attack to clear this force and allow the rest of the Squadron to move forward unimpeded.

The Troop commander has provided coverage of the NAI (Named Area of Interest) with the troop's Raven UAV's and identified the following enemy forces:
1 x AGS-30 team and 2 x infantry squads in tree line 

1 x Infantry Squad in treeline on other side of road.

Execution:(Click pictures to enlarge)

Here you can see the initial scheme of maneuver for the platoon.  3rd Squad and Weapons Squad with 2 x M-240 MG's would set up a position on the wooded hilltop to support by fire 1st and 2nd squads.  When the enemy position is suppressed, 1st and 2nd squads will use their mobility to out flank the position and destroy it by close assault.  At least that was the plan.

In the picture you can see the militia have moved to re-position their AGS-30 to cover the new threat.

3rd Squad and Weapons squad dismounted in order to provide suppressive fire, but accurate fire from the militia infantry squads prevent the weapons squad from setting up it's machine guns and a burst of machine gun fire renders 3rd squad combat ineffective (the squad leader, one fire team leader, and a SAW gunner were hit and required MEDIVAC.  The squad would not function effectively for the rest of the battle.

After this the platoon leader decides to leverage the mobility advantage of his Strykers and shift his maneuver element to the other flank, assault the isolated enemy infantry squad, and then roll up the enemy's right flank.

2nd Platoon begins to win fire superiority.  The Maneiver element on the left flank manages to scatter the isolated militia squad with accurate fire from the ICV's .50 cal's.  From the rest of the platoon, weapons squad manages to get it's two M240 Machine Guns into the fight and along with the other two ICV's suppress the enemy elements on the hill.

Intense fire from the hill eliminates another militia squad, while the rest of the enemy elements are forced to stay hunkered down due to the volume of fire they are receiving.  Meanwhile, the maneuver element roll to the rear of the enemy position, dismounts both rifle squads and eliminates or captures the remaining enemy personnel on the objective.

Afterwards, it is time ti call in a MEDIVAC for the wounded and send the EPW's to the rear for processing.  3rd Squad will need to be reorganized.  While 2nd platoon reforms, refuels, and rearms, the rest of 2nd Squadron passes through on the way to making contact with the Krasnovian BTG.

After Action Review (AAR)

What was the plan?

  • Split the platoon into two sections, establish a base of fire on the hill to suppress the enemy on the objective, assault on the right (enemy's left) and roll them up.
What actually happened?
  • Accurate enemy fire slowed the development of a base of fire, and even led to taking 3rd squad out of the fight.  This dislocated the scheme of maneuver.
  • As a result, the platoon leader made good use of his superior mobility and communications system to change the axis of attack on the fly.
What do we want to improve?
  • The entire platoon could have been engaged in providing suppression fire, with the maneuver element then breaking off once suppression had been achieved.
What should be sustained? 
  • The platoon leader's initiative in changing the plan on the fly was crucial to the success of this operation along with leveraging the superior mobility of the platoon compared to the enemy.
  • Use of Raven UAV system to reconnoiter the objective before the attack was able to confirm the lack of heavt ATGM's on the enemy's part, giving the platoon the freedom to maneuver mounted while in contact.

Now breaking out of character...

  • What do you think about the platoon leader's initial plan and execution?
  • What would you have done differently?
  • What would the outcome have been if there had been ATGM's in the position?
Feel free to send me your comments.

We may get to find out soon and 2nd Squadron continues to move towards contact with the BTG proper, stay tuned. 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Back to the Stryker BCT

Image result for stryker NATO

A quick update, I am planning on getting back to the Stryker Brigade Combat team games with 5Core Company Command.

I have done some additional reading, here are three more articles I have been perusing from professional publications:

Tactical Vignette: Russian BTG in the attack against a Stryker Battalion (Good scenario)

  • This tactical vignette show the planning and execution of a Russian BTG attacking and American Stryker Battalion from the Russian point fo view.  Interesting reading and would make for a good scenario.  Pay attention to the thinking and use of COA's (course of action's) in the planning and execution, would be a useful approach for any wargamer in any period.
Defeating the Russian Battalion Tactical Group

  • This article deals with some of the strengths and weaknesses of a Russian BTG and how an ABCT (Armored Brigade Combat Team) can minimize those strengths and exploit those weaknesses.  Very informative.
The American Motor-Rifle Brigade: Issues with the Stryker Brigade Combat Team Concept

  • This article deals with some of the shortcomings of the Stryker Brigade Combat Team and draws striking parallels with the evolution of the old Soviet BTR Motor Rifle Regiment
While I try to get my table cleared off to do a small SBCT Rifle Platoon hasty attack, I have update my static web page of modern resources.  I have added a new folder for scenarios I am scraping from the web, mostly professional education Tactical Decision Exercises and a complete list of all the resources I have used.

Now back to clearing the table, until then, good gaming!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Death Temple of Sarnath, Southern Front Game 2

Just a few quick pictures from the weekend before last. Highlights of the game included:

  • Multiple non-aggression pacts between the Gangsters and British Colonial Troops, that conveniently expired on the British payer's turn!
  • Doc Savage's inability to punch out a cultist for 3 turns in a row!
  • Nazi Sergeant Shutlz runs up and grabs the Eye of Azathoth...
  • ... and then is immediately mesmerized by Shay Lee's feminine wiles and gives the eye to her...
  • ... until Doc Savage quickly builds a magnetic resonator to seize the eye from her!

A close run game, Doc Savage barely made it off the table, but the aircraft he was in was shot down!  We'll play the scenario next year.  Thanks to everyone who participated, you were awesome!

Doctor Fu Manchu's party was attacked by cannibals, but several immediately joined up with him under the influence of his hypnotic powers.

Things heat up at the old temple...

Tom prepares to use his feminine wiles again to seduce more unsuspecting cannibals and nazis.

Doc savage seizes the Mcguffin, err I mean Eye of Azathoth using the power of SCIENCE!!!!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Death Temple of Sarnath: Southern Front Game 1

I traveled to Raleigh, NC last weekend for Southern Front put on by the Triangle Simulation Society. I must say it was a blast, I had the opportunity to meet many fellow gamers and the best part was just sitting around shooting the breeze about military history with like minded fellows.  In particular, I got to meet and talk rules with John of John's Wargaming page. It was a pleasure!  

I encourage anyone who can to attend next year, it is a small but cozy convention, I think they had about 70 participants and all of the people were friendly and the games looked great.  And it was much quieter than Historicon. 

Here are the files I used for the scenario, please feel free to use them.  I will be putting up a Pulp specific page on my website, but this will give you access until then. 

I am going to post my recap of the event in parts, mostly because I am still trying to recover, I stayed up way past my bedtime.

I arrived late Friday night and immediately crashed after stacking up my stuff for my game.

I arose at 7, had a nice breakfast, and set up my table to be ready at 9.

But, I had no players!  I was set up in one of the side rooms and did not get a lot of foot traffic.  No worries, though, I was actually glad.  I needed the time to regroup from driving 5 hours the night before to get there after work.  So, I wandered about and took a few pictures, will share them in a future post. 

Meanwhile, here is what my setup looked like. 

Hercules Poirot and the RCMP ready for action 

 While Arab Slavers look for product for the slave markets of Oman

 The Bugsy and Bunny Gang arrive, seeing revenge on Alexander Crawley, who double crossed them and stole the heiress they kidnapped fair and square!
 Meanwhile, researchers from the German Institute for Theosophical Studies parachute in searching for artifacts...
Doc Savage and crew are intent on saving the world.
Alexander Crawley prepares for blasphemous rites 

Miss Shirley Uoff struggles at her bonds, hoping to avoid a fate worse than death!

Game 1

I had a full house for my 2pm game, 8 players! I did not record the action blow by blow, as I was running about keeping the ball rolling, but some highlights include:
  • The player playing the Germans was actually German, so the accent was spot on!
  • Lots of people sinking in quick sand
  • Dinosaur attack on the RCMP
  • Hercules Poirot cleverly using his telescope to figure things out from afar (this actually was quit clever)
  • Fu Manchu versus the Cannibals
  • Miss Lemon saving the world with a precise shot that shatters the EYE OF AZATHOTH, preventing who knows what evil from fully materializing into our world.
  • Gangsters versus Feral Goats
  • A cultist machine gun that literally could not hit targets 3 inches away while rolling 12 dice...
  • The RCMP, Hercules Poirot, and the heiress taking off in the seaplane, only to have it blow up in a magnificent ball of fire after the Germans shoot it with a flare gun!
  • In the end we voted and the Gangsters won, as they achieved their objective of murdering Crawley in revenge, with the artifact destroyed and the girl toast, everyone else was pretty much out of luck.
The game took right at 2 hours, so met my speed requirements.  Also, I asked for and got great feedback from the players on the scenario, specifically, some factions that had no fire arms needed to start closer in!  I did that for game 2, and I actually think for the next time i run this, I will go with a 4 x 4 table to get everyone in the action a little quicker.  All in all though, everyone seemed to have fun, which is the important part!

Here are some shots from the first game, next time, a recap of game 2!

 Here are my erstwhile players, you never met a finer bunch of near'do wells and lovable rouges.

 The RCMP immediately after the dino attack.  Being Canadian, I am sure there will be a LOT of paperwork for this one. 
 Fu Manchu and company struggle with Cannibals while the gangsters close in.  The colonial authorities can be seen at top, they are busy exchanging shots with slavers. 
An unspeakable horror began to materialize, but fortunately, Miss Lemon put an end to that nonsense!