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Saturday, June 27, 2020

Short Solo playtest of Guards Tank Brigade

Still keeping busy, my wife and I are trying to read some fo the classics and are currently halfway through The Picture of Dorian Gray.  Not exactly what I was expecting, the writing is superb.  Quite a bit of ennui sloshing around, though, but there are some deeper themes if you can get past that.  It helps that my wife was an English teacher. 

I am now down to ONE more class before I am done with my Master's degree, and it is my capstone project. I am taking a breather this weekend before diving in again, but I plan on buckling down and getting this thing done.

I did get a very quick playtest of my Guards Tank Brigade rules. They are designed to be a fast play set for conventions (if we ever get to have those again) to be used double-blind, with two identical tables separated by a divider with the players only able to see what their units can see / report.

I won't go into mechanics because they are still so fluid I changed some of the rules while in the middle of the game!  In a nutshell, each hex is ~500 meters across and each unit is company strength or an artillery battalion.  Units can be fresh, spent, or worn (0 ,1, or 2 hits respectively) before becoming combat ineffective aka knocked out.  It is very abstract, focused on being fast for multi-player games with me running between the tables. 

Click photos to enlarge

Here is the table, with some unpainted experimental 3d printed roads and buildings from Forward March Studios.  Lead elements of a Soviet Tank Corps are attacking town at a road junction circa 1944.  Two Tank Brigades are deployed with the general scheme of maneuver being each will attack the flanks in a pincer movement.

Each Tank Brigade has 4 x T-34/76 companies and 2 x SMG companies with 2 field artillery battalions in direct support.  They also have 2 x armored car platoons, for reconnaissance

The defending Kampgruppe from a Panzer division has 2 x companies of Panthers, 2 x Armored Panzer Grenadier companies, 2 x motorized Panzer Grenadier Companies, 1 x PaK-40 AT Company, and 1 battalion of field artillery along with 2 x heavy armored car platoons.

Panthers in hull-down positions await the onslaught

On the Soviet left Recon elements clash.  I am tweaking the recon rules, but in essence, the German armored cars were screening the main defensive positions and prevented them from being sussed out by Ivan.  I am still working on the exact mechanics.

On the Soviet right, the leading tank companies take damage from the Panthers at long range.  Units that are unspotted may not be targeted until they fire or are spotted, otherwise, all combat is considered simultaneous.  So, previous unspotted units firing basically get a free shot and are considered to have a tactical advantage, a catch-all I use to give attackers bonuses.  So, it is very important to use to your recon units to prevent this.

Later on the right, the Panthers are knocking out T-34's but taking damage in return by the weight fo fire coming from the Soviets.

The Panthers on the hill pack it in (combat ineffective), but the field is littered with burning T-34's.  An SMG company of tank riders tries to clear the wood of Germans but it taking damage.  

On the left the Soviets run into the Pak-40's dug in on their flank, and start taking damage on their way to do an end-run and cut off the town.  The rest of the Brigade gets bogged down by more Panzer Grenadiers.

Here is the end game.  The Soviets almost push into the town and the Germans are up against the wall, with effective use of artillery by the Soviets.  But they just don't quite have enough combat power left to finish the job.

I learned quite a lot, and am following the maxim (from Bob Cordery I think) to eliminate any rules you forget to use.  There were a few...  I am going to simplify recon, add simple close assault rules, tweak Infantry overall, and next game try my ideas for some simple logistics rules that allow units to halt an advance or pull back and regroup, 

Until next time, stay safe and good gaming!

Saturday, June 13, 2020

A little Pulp Alley

It has been about 2 months since I posted, and like many of you, I have been busy with life.  Besides the normal pandemic stress, transitioning o working from home, the rush at work, and graduate school, I have had scant time for gaming.  Things have settled won the last few weeks, though, and I must admit, I love working from home.  It has taken a while to figure out how to draw a line and balance work and home (and I am still working on it) but I get to spend more time with my favorite person, my lovely wife,

I would also like to apologize to the players in my play by email Matrix game.  I overextended myself and had to call it off after 2 turns.  I feel like a heel and I humbly apologize, I just could not juggle it with all of my other responsibilities I had going at the time.  I may give it another stab here in a few months, I have successfully run one before and would like to give it another shot.

Meanwhile, after owning it for years, I have finally gotten Pulp Alley on the table.  After a few run-throughs, I finally get the mechanics and I have to say I love them!  My wife's nephew has been staying with us and he has been helping me out.

For our first couple of games, he played a 3 member league from Miskatonic University while I played the Nazis from the German Institute for Theosophical Studies (GITS) I have posted highlights below.

Here, our nephew ponders his cards

The scenario was both sides were trying to obtain an experimental radio receiver that was being transported through rural England.  I used only 1 major and 2 minor plot points as we were just trying out the rules.  The truck carrying the receiver has had a minor traffic accident near a local garage with a bus full of Costwolds tourists.  So the 2 minor plot points were the truck driver who was drunk in the garage and could tell you which box had the receiver and an investor that was driving in his own car with the delivery truck.

Perilous areas included the stand of trees, the cows, Crossing the stone fence, and of course the mob of angry tourists.

The Nazis lurk around in their usual thuggish way.

Professor Armitage questions the investor.

One of the Nazis is accosted by the hot, sweaty, angry tour bus riders.  Peril !!!

A short-range gunfight over the crate with the receiver.

My leader (Major Shutlz) spent 3 turns interrogating the truck driver before he could get him to spill the beans.  That cost me the game and I was foiled in my attempt to steal the receiver.
And here it is, a little prop I 3d printed and now need to paint.

We next embarked on the Perilous Island Campaign, with our nephew using a league he created himself (The Cult of Everlasting Life) and I took the team from Miskatonic University.

We played through the first scenario, but I did not capture any pictures. I managed to win Lady Elaine's help to help locate her father, Lord Darrow, while she was at an excavation in Egypt.  Then we moved on to the second scenario, Final Flight.

Here is the table.  The pile of cargo towards the top had the package that could be used to bribe the mechanic to sabotage the plane.  Meanwhile, I was to meet a corrupt customs official between the two vehicles by the terminal in order to obtain tickets.  You can see the crowd desperate to get on the plane and escape the local rebellion.

This scenario is interesting because if any character uses a combat skill, they immediately become WANTED and they have to treat the entire table as extremely perilous for the rest of the game.  We actually wound up with no shooting the entire game. 

Dr. Griffin Rose, the founder of the Cult of Everlasting Life goes hunting for the package,
The crowd grows restless,
My first attempt to deal with the shady customs officer ended with me being punched in the stomach by him (I failed the peril before the plot point)  The hit marker is one I 3d printed and am experimenting with.  When I did pass the plot point, it turned out to be a red herring, this joker never had the tickets at all and was trying to shake me down for some money!
Dr Rose has his own issues trying to grab the package from the guarded cargo pile.

Eventually, the cult succeeded in getting the package and bribing the mechanic, while I finally got the tickets from yet another corrupt officer, but I could not convince Lady Elaine to come with me to get on the plane (she is stubborn!)

The cults second in command managed to make it to the plan with the info the mechanic gave him, and when he tried to board the plan to do his nefarious sabotage... the pilot was drunk and di not even see him!
Here is the challenge our nephew drew for the last plot point...

All in all a lot of fun and I will be playing more Pulp Alley.  Until next time, everyone stay safe and keep gaming!

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Matrix Game in progress

Not much gaming stuff to report as I am spending a lot of time working from home and working on my graduate degree.  I am getting closer to being done painting my 3mm Eastern Front project for my double-blind game project.  Nothing worth posting yet though.

Meanwhile, I am running a Matrix Game over at my other blog, check it out!

Sunday, March 29, 2020

I have posted 3D Print files for 10mm / 6mm trees

I have posted the files I used for the 3d printed trees in yesterday's post, they are on Thingieverse here:

I have not painted mine up yet.  Today was the task of adding decals to a couple of T-34/85's.  I have to let the set, seal them, then I will share.

Enjoy and good gaming!