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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Sunday, February 26, 2017

Escape from Skull Island: The Other Son of Kong!!!!

I ran a game of Astounding Tales! at Borderlands on Saturday and had a blast.  Here is the scenario and a few pictures I managed to snap.  Enjoy!

Points of possible interest:

On with our story...


It is 1935, and the notorious captain of the SS Misadventure, Captain Ahab (no relation), has managed to discover the location of Skull Island by kidnaping the wealthy daughter of a Canadian Industrialist.  They have managed to capture another son of Kong from Skull Island with the intention of selling him to the highest bidder (and ransoming the Canadian heiress.)  But their plans go awry as they attempt to leave the island and suddenly run aground on a hitherto unnoticed sand bar.

The "sand bar" is actually a cleverly disguised NAZI U-BOAT under the command of the infamous Colonel Sturm of the Teutonic Knights (a wholly owned subsidiary of the SS)  His goal is to seize the ape for the greater glory of the Reich.

Pursuing the SS Misadventure and the Nazi's is a suspiciously looking Russian whaling ship, actually commanded by dreaded NKVD Commissar Olga.  She and her band of proletarian revolutionaries are going to stop the Fascists!

Meanwhile a red seaplane is spotted on the horizon, it is Sergeant Preston of the Yukon!  His mission is to rescue the heiress and prevent environmental disaster by returning the other son fo Kong back to Skull Island.

Finally, the low thrumming of war drums is heard from Skull Island itself, as native dugouts led by Princess Khalua swarm towards the SS Misadventure in order to rescue their god!

Chaos ensues, here are a few pictures I snapped: (Click to enlarge)

Here is the initial setup.  Note the salt water crocodiles sunning themselves on the sand, I am certain they will play no part in this game...

Here are the intrepid players
The Nazis had trouble just getting everyone to climb the ladder to exit the U-Boat, apparently the ladder was well oiled with usual Teutonic efficiency.

Here we have the Canadians landing, as the Natives set to against the Nazi's and you can barely see the Bolshi's sneaking onto the stern of the ship.

Highlights of the game:

  • The Nazi's constantly failing their STUNTS roll to get guys out of the hatch hidden in the Palm Tree
  • The Bolshevik's indiscriminate use of a harpoon gun in direct violation of the Hauge Convention (and their tendency to fall in the water and attract crocodiles)
  • The most potent figures on the table was the hero of Canadian Children, the husky Yukon King, who was shot twice, but managed to rip the throats out of 3 sailors and scare oe so badly he jumped into the ocean!
  • The Skull Islander's use of Native Magic to put Colonel Sturm to sleep at an inopportune time.
  • Captain Ahab's insistence that one of his crew attempt to ride the Son of Kong and use him as a weapon, the result being Son of Kong pulling him off of his back and hurling the sailor into the hungry maw of a croc...
The final tally was:
  • Skull Islanders: a win, as Other Son of Kong was freed
  • Bolshiviks: a win, as the Nazis did not get Other Son of Kong and they managed to kidnap the Canadian Heiress themselves
  • Nazis: A loss, as they did not obtain Kong, but were still able to escape in the U-Boat
  • RCMP: A pretty bad day as they failed to rescue the girl and Sergeant Preston was killed (or was he? Tune in next week!)  Yukon King gets honorable mention for feasting well on sailors.
  • Captain Ahab: Managed to get all of his crew killed and loses the ape and the girls, but gets kudos for hs single minded focus on trying to have one of his crew ride Other Son of Kong.

 A great, fun game as usual, thanks to all who played!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Problem of Hills - a Review of Cigar Box Battle Mats and Kallistra Non-Hex Hills

When I started miniature wargaming in 1994, I was spoiled.  My local gaming store and the group I played DBM with twice a week at Ft. Hood were both equipped with Geo Hex terrain.  It was beautiful, and the you could create great looking contours easily. The slopes of the hills looked nice and were not too steep to put troops on without sliding off.

Fast forward 20-ish years, and I have struggled with the problem pf playing surface and contours ever since.  I have tried blue board with a hot wire cutter, plywood, neoprene rubber,and who knows what else.  I need something that looks decent, is storable, lightweight and durable.  Well... I may have cracked it finally.  

I am combining two great products:
I just received the hexes in the mail today, here are my first impressions.  Click photos to enlarge.

Here are the hills when I first pulled them out of the box.  This is two sets of hills, six total, and as you can see, they nest inside each other nicely.

And unstacked.  I ordered two sets, so I have 2 sma, 2 medium, and 2 large hills.

What is this?  A plush blanket?, No, it is a plush Cigar Box battle mat!  They are now offering the option for plush mats which have a bit more texture, but it reminds me of the micro-fleece blanket my wife uses when I am too cheap to run the heat. 

But when spread out it looks like anything but a blanket!  I really like the colors, this picture is not that great (I must get better lights) and it looks better in person.  The colors look exactly like the website depicts them

Here is a closeup of the plush texture.

Here are some 1/600 scale West German Leopard 2's maneuvering among the hills.  The road is cut out from their cut out roads and rivers mat. (Forests are homemade sponge and floor matt forests)

To give you an idea of the size of the hills, here is a comparison shot of each with 6mm and 28mm figures at the top, on the slope, and at the base of the hill.  The 6mm figures are Baccus on 60mm wide bases, the 28mm figures are a Gripping Beast Viking, a Wargames Factory Viking, and a Conquest Miniatures Norman

Small Hill:

Medium Hill:

Large Hill:

All in all, I think I am going to be very happy with this combination of products.  The Cigar Box Battle Mat is amazing.  It drapes nicely over the hills, and my pictures do not do the colors justice.  I really need to get more light in the game room.  I will be buying more of these.

The Kallistra hills are highly recommended as well. Even if you don't put hills underneath a ground cloth, they would terrain up nicely.  They are very rugged, won't chip like foam hills, and save the hassle of trying t get the angles just right with a hot wire cutter.  They are pretty affordable too, I ordered them and it took me only a week and a half to get them in the US from the UK.

Happy gaming!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

One Hour Wargames Scenario 27: Disordered Defense

Looks like I am getting in one OHW game per weekend, which makes me feel pretty good.

Below are some quick photos of my replay of OHW Scenario 27, Disordered Defense.  The British force attempts to seize a crossroad before American reinforcements arrive.

I am playing on my new Cigar Box plush battle mat.  I will write up a full review later, but it is AWESOME!  I am also waiting for a deliver from Kallistra for some of their hills, I will post picture of how they mix.  I am also ordering some better lights, which should improve my pictures, enjoy!

Initial setup


Opening moves, the British try to aggressively size the crossroads.

American reinforcements arrive and counter attack!

Firefight around the crossroads (The Hessians are getting the worst for it!  Even though I classed them as elite)

Final positions

I called the game at this point, as the British only had 2 units left, with the Volunteers of Ireland pretty beat up and the British Legion Dragoons not much better off.

I am still engaged with these rules and am going to keep fiddling with my modifications.  I did find some anomalies I need to think about, such as each unit is activated individually, which means an enemy unit can be the target of a shooting attack and then a cavalry charge in the same turn, unlike in the original rules.  Not sure what I think about this, shall consider.

Good gaming!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

One Hour Wargames Scenario 18, AWI

I played a quick solo game of One Hour Wargames last night with my one modifications for the AWI.  Still experimenting with them, I have leveraged Henry Hyde's Shot, Steel, and Stone command and control rules.  I will continue to fiddle with them, they worked pretty well and gave some nail biting moments, such as when a British Regiment kept rolling "Hesitant" and making half moves trying to cross the bridge, which tied up traffic for a couple of turns.

Here is a draft of the rules, click to enlarge:

I randomly selected Scenario 18: Counterattack.  The Patriots were holding a bridge with a single regiment, but expecting a counter attack force to arrive on turn 3. The Crown Forces were tasked with securing the bridge, but unbeknownst to them there was a fod nearby that only the Patriots coule use to cross the river.

Here we have the British Legion about to charge across the bridge to clear the defenders after they have been softened up by artillery and several musket volleys

The British Legion clears the rebel scum and plows into the arriving Patriot counter attack force in order to buy time for the following infantry to cross.  it took a few turns for the foot to get their act together. 

Finally, the foot begin to deploy and the 7st Highlanders shift to the left flank to trade volleys with Patriot Light Infantry across the river.

Here we have the denouement.  The British Legion is barely in the field, only 1 hit away from breaking, but has survived the Patriot close range musketry and ridden down and scattered the 1st Maryland. Another Patriot Regiment falls to volley fire and artillery supporting from across the river as well.

At this point I called the game, as the British Legion dragoons were about to charge into the rear of the last remaining Continental Line regiment.  All in all, a decisive local victory for the forces of the Crown!

Next time my pictures should be better, I have gotten some great advice on the Miniatures Page and will be experimenting this week.  Enjoy!