Monday, June 23, 2014

Very British Civil War at the Bayou

The game I ran on Saturday morning (June 14) at our regional convention, Bayou Wars, was a scenario from my Very British Civil War "universe."  In that "universe" the Royalist and their British Union of Fascist allies based around Colchester, Essex, are in a constant state of raids and skirmishes against the loose coalition of Anglican forces from Bury St. Edmonds, local defense groups from East Bergholt, and "red" Royal Navy sailors from the Harwich Maritime Defence Force, all in Suffolk.

This particular scenario involved the gathering of supplies from an area of the River Stour valley, including a derailed goods wagon (box car to us Americans) from the London North Eastern Railway.  There was also a farm and a petrol station in the vicinity which must be searched for supplies.

The Royalist/BUF forces consisted of a company of the 2nd Battalion, Essex Regiment; a company of the BUF Colchester Fencibles, a troop of the Essex Yeomanry (light tankette and two armored scout cars); and  BUF Special Assault Section with an armored truck.

The Anglican Coalition consisted of a company of the Cambridge Fencibles, a company of the American volunteer Liberty Bell Legion, a company of local defense forces, and an Anglican Special Combat Section.  Also aiding the Anglicans was a company of the Harwich Maritime Defence Force with a truck mounted naval cannon.

I used a slight modification of The Sword to Adventure variant of Larry Brom's The Sword and the Flame.

So let the action begin!

The scene of the action with the farm house in the foreground, the derailed goods wagon in the middle ground, and the petrol station in the background.  The Anglican Coalition entered from the left while the Royalists/BUF entered from the right.
The Anglican Coalition commanders - Dave, Chris, Mick, Richard, and Josh.

The Royalists/BUF commanders - Bill, Phil, Mark, and Ken.

Anglican Fencibles and Liberty Bell Legion troops advance towards the farmhouse and goods wagon.

Bill, commanding the regular Royalist infantry, watches as his "red" sailor opponent moves against him.  Bill provided the hedges in the foreground through which the BUF Fencibles are moving.

The Anglican Fencibles and Liberty Bell Legion encounter the BUF Fencibles along the stream.

The regular Royalists move towards the petrol station and the house across the road from it.  A ubiquitous call box sits prominently along the roadside.

And at the same time the "red" sailors (center and right) and part of the LDF (left) advance into the petrol station/house complex.  A cache of petrol barrels can be seen in the right corner of the station lot.

On the right, the Royalist trucks and the BUF Special Assault Section with their armored truck advance to contest the goods wagon and its cargo with the Anglican Special Combat Section and the LDF chaps.

But the BUF didn't do too well as a well aimed Boys anti-tank rifle from the Anglican Special Combat Section set it ablaze.

The final scene of action as the "red" sailors and LDF secure the petrol station and house supplies in the background and the Anglicans and LDF overpower the BUF at the goods wagon, securing those supplies as well.  Only at the farmstead were the Royalists and BUF successful, primarily thanks to Ken's tankette and armored scout cars which were too much for the Cambridge Fencibles one heavy machine gun and rifles.
The game, from my perspective as game master, went well.  All of the participants seemed to be having a good time.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Bayou Wars 2014

Last weekend (June 13-15) I attended our regional convention, Bayou Wars.  This year it was held at the Magnusson motel in St. Francisville, Louisiana.  The motel has four different rooms that we used and there appeared to be plenty of room for all the games and the tournament.

I ran one game, a Very British Civil War scenario, about which I will shortly post a report.  This post covers the other three games I played:  Racin' and Rubbin' by Bill Majure on Friday night, a WW2 Bolt Action game by Doug Whittenberg on Saturday afternoon, and a Seven Years War Black Powder game by Dwaine Balius on Saturday night.

Racin' and Rubbin'  Bill Majure's NASCAR racing game ("If you ain't rubbin' you ain't racin'!") is an amalgam of three different auto racing games.  It was a blast to play, especially since Jerome and I are NASCAR fans.  He and I each had three cars and we did five "laps" around the Pocono race track.  The rules are still in development so we were play testing as we raced but had fun nevertheless.  Once he gets the game more perfected, Bill has volunteered to come up to Jackson and run it for us.  On Saturday Bill ran another game, this time using a generic super-speedway track (like at Daytona and Talledega).

Bill getting the game set up.

One of my cars, Mark Martin's Number 8 US Army car.

The 17, 88, and 8 cars complete the first lap.  The lead car is already on the back stretch.

The 11 car (leader) spins out in turn 3 bringing on a caution as three of the other cars slow after passing him.  The +1 marker denotes the difficulty of turn 3 at Pocono.

The remaining five cars approach the start line after the caution.  I didn't pit the 17 car, gambling that my tires would last - they didn't.  But I still had the 29 and 8 cars in contention.
After nudging my 29 car aside in turn 3 of the final lap, Dale Earnhart Junior's 88 car beats my Kevin Harvick 29 car to the green flag.  The "Junior Nation" was ecstatic.

With the winner's "garland" around his neck. Jerome (right) and Bill celebrate his victory.

Bolt Action WW2  Doug ran a three-cornered game pitting the Americans, Russians, and Germans against each other, calling it "Patton's Dream and Hitler's Nightmare."  My friend Jay and I and a third player whose name also started with "J" played the Germans and even though only two command guard soldiers and two medics survived we were the winners with four or five victory points against the Americans and Russians three each.   EDIT:  Two pictures added on 06/23/2014.

The little town over which we fought, dominated by the resin church.  Almost all of the rest of the buildings are from 4Ground, with removable roofs and floors.  [Apologies for the "white out" but I was trying to get rid of some joker's very visible big, flabby gut.]

Jay's PzIV slowly moves forward, sniffing out its prey.

Addison (left) and Richard, two of the three American players, contemplate their action as the game starts.
Jay's PzIV uses a Russian squad to grease his treads.  The hotel to the right held the Russian command element and a sniper which belonged to Doug's daughter who had painted all of her Russians.

My command element (officer and two guards) move up to encourage one of my squads to attack the Americans.
Moving up against the church wall, my commander directs what's left of the squad to rally so they can continue to engage the Americans.

Unfortunately the American Sherman picks this time to rumble out and attack my squad.  They take further losses.
But the Sherman exposed its side to Doug's daughter's T-35/85 which again proved the Sherman is a Ronson, lighting the first time it is struck - by an 85mm high velocity armor piercing shell.  You can get a much better look at the magnificent resin church that dominated the town over which we contested.
And as we started to withdraw our paltry remaining figures after loosing two infantry squads and a mortar team, the T-35/85 also showed that the PzIV can be a Ronson also.
The sniper had been trying all game to put a round in my commander's head.  She finally succeeded, leaving us with just the two headquarters guards and the two medics to escape the carnage.
Black Powder Seven Years War  This game was run by my friend Dwaine Balius, pitting Prussians (commanded by another gamer and me) against Austrians and Russians (commanded by Jay, Bill Majure, and a third gamer).  Jay and I have played Black Powder before with Doc Ord, another friend, but none of us really understood the rules.  Dwaine, and Bill, provided a better explanation so we had a more delightful experience this time.  So here are a few pictures of the action.

The opening of the battle with the Prussian right wing (my command) and center facing the Austrians and Russians, respectively.  The cavalry wings are at the top of the picture, with the Prussian cavalry just out of view.

My Prussians advance against the Austrians.

The big cavalry fight on the Prussian left pitted one regiment of Prussian cuirassiers and three of dragoons against Russians and Austrians, a mix of two regiments of cuirassiers, one of horse grenadiers, and one of dragoons.  The Prussian cavalry finally defeated their opponents and were poised to roll up the Russian center (at right in photo) by the end of the game.

Back to my right-wing Prussians as they closed on the Austrians.  Unfortunately my grenadiers (center left) came unglued and scampered away.  But the line infantry held on doggedly and finally defeated the white coats.

So in the three games in which I played, I was on the winning side in two of them as WW2 Germans and SYW Prussians while I came in second in the NASCAR race.  Hmmm, maybe I should stick to playing Germans.

My VBCW game posting will come soon but I spent part of the day playing Germans (and winning again - is this an omen?) in German East Africa in our club game and then visiting my new granddaughter, Serenity (AKA Firefly).  If you are a sci-fi fan you'll get the reference.

Monday, June 16, 2014

New Recruit at Col Campbell's Barracks

My younger daughter presented our newest recruit this afternoon - Serenity Campbell Ruth.

Proud grand dad and granddaughter
We are all smitten with her!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Paint for Victory - Part 6

Last night I completed my final troops and vehicles for my convention game on Saturday.  Whew!  Now all I need to do is complete some more hedge sections, but I have this evening and all day tomorrow, since I'm taking off from work, to accomplish as much as I can.

The Harwich Maritime Defence Force ("Red" sailors) added a heavy machinegun team (Brigade Games WW1 in East Africa figures) and a cargo truck (metal die cast job):

Harwich Maritime Defence Force machinegun team of three men, plus an already painted rifleman from one of the rifle sections in an overwatch position.

A small cargo truck.  Originally blue but sprayed black while the canvas was sprayed tan.  I added the red star side banner to designate its allegiance.  Rifleman is to give scale.

The Royalists added a command reconnaissance car for their tank officer and final details on their tank and armored scout cars, all of a detachment of the Essex Yeomanry:

Command reconnaissance car on left (was a Ford) that got sprayed drab green then painted in the "apple-ish" green I use for my British military vehicles with leather seats, a "rag top," and side decals.  The tank on the left got a commander in the hatch and side decals.  The officer in the center commands this little detachment of the Essex Yeomanry.

The two armored scout cars with decals on their fronts.  Eventually they'll get vehicle commanders and forward firing machineguns.

And finally, the British Union of Fascists Special Assault Section's armored truck was completed.  Here it is as it was being constructed.  The design was based on a police truck from 1920 Belfast. 
EDIT:  Here is a better description of the Crossley modification upon which I based my vehicle.
The figure, the SAS leftenant, gives some scale to the vehicle.

Hood covered with "metal" plate and "metal" sidewalls with supports added.  It is based on a Crossley carrier.

The cab has now been armored.

After a spray of flat black, roof supports were added.  They are plastic tubing and bent straight pins.

The anti-grenade mesh is a black plastic mesh I rescued from the trash (dust bin) and super-glued over the supports and around the sides.  The decal finishes it off.  To the left is a Crossley carrier as to comes straight from the "factory."

Final view with the "Falcons" banner of the BUF SAS flying proudly.  It is really top heavy so may not be able to go on slopes but it should do OK on roads and across fairly level countryside.

Well, that's it for now.  I hopefully will get some pictures of my additional hedges posted by tomorrow night.  But if not, then definitely on next Monday after I get back from the convention.  I'll also have the convention pictures posted then as well.

Friday, June 6, 2014

More Painting and Hedges

Last night I completed some additional command figures for my Very British Civil War forces.  Please click on the pictures for a bigger image, but be forewarned that the faces are rather plain as I have a very hard time with faces, especially eyes, so normally do not attempt them.

Battalion headquarters, 2nd Battalion, Essex Regiment (Royalist), with (left to right): battalion major, headquarters guard, battalion commander (bought already painted and based), battalion radioman, and battalion sergeant major.  Except for the colonel who is a Renegade figure, these are Artisan Designs WW2 British.

The company medic for Essex Regiment and an already painted company runner.  The medic is from Artisan Designs and the runner is from Brigade Games.

Squadron commander (on foot) and tank commander from the Essex Yeomanry (Royalist).
For right now, these will complete my Royalist forces for my convention game next Saturday.

I also thought I should show what I used for my "civilized" hedges (see Hedges - Part 1 ).  Each pack has three scrubbers.  If you click on the picture you'll see the dimensions.  Folded in half long ways and glued, each will fit on a wide craft stick.  The referenced post explains more about making them.

That's all for now.  Tomorrow we're doing a D+1 scenario where the British landing from the beaches are trying to link up with the paras holding a bridge near Caen.  We'll be using Don Featherstone's rules so it should be an "old school" thrill.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Seizing the Supplies

After a fairly austere winter, the various forces in the Essex/Suffolk border area are looking to replenish their supplies.  News has reached both sides that a goods wagon (box car) from the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) has derailed in the Stour River valley.  There are also rumors that additional supplies, including petrol (gasoline), may be found in the vicinity.  So the race is on to see who can get there the quickest - the Royalists and their BUF allies or the Anglican League coalition.

We fought this battle back on May 17 and I'm just now finding time to post the report.  Pictures were taken by my friend "Electric" Ed and yours truly.

The Royalists had a company of the 2nd Battalion Essex Regiment, a company of BUF fencibles (the Bolton Rifles), a BUF special assault section, a troop of the Essex Yeomanry with a light tank and two armored scout cars, and a number of trucks with which to haul away the loot.  Two players controlled these forces.

The Anglican coalition had a company of the Cambridge Fencibles, a local defense company from the East Bergholt area, a company of American volunteers (Liberty Bell Legion), and a special combat section, plus trucks.  In addition, their erstwhile allies from the Harwich Maritime Defence Force ("red" sailors) had sent a company with a truck mounted gun to get their share.  Three players controlled these forces.

I was the game master.  We used the "Sword to Adventure" variant, with modifications, of Larry Brom's masterpiece "The Sword and the Flame" rules.  This was a play test for the game I will run at our regional convention, Bayou Wars, on June 14.

Now to the action.  Please click on the photos for enlargements.

Col Campbell himself, center, giving introductory remarks to several of the players.  The derailed goods wagon lies in the lower right corner while the buildings in the background are a petrol station and a house.

The initial moves.  On the left are the Royalists (Russ S. - near) and the BUF (Sean P. - back).  On the right are the Harwich sailors (Alex K. - near), Anglicans and American volunteers (Ed S. - middle), and East Bergholt LDF (John M. - back).  In the foreground are the movement card deck (on the right) and the casualty card double deck (on the left) which the game master controls.  TSTA and its daddy, TSATF, use a card deck to govern movement and to distinguish casualties.

Sean, the BUF commander (and my son), advances his forces towards a well-established farm house.  "There should be plenty of supplies there," he thinks.  On the right, the East Bergholt LDF are advancing there as well.  The derailed goods wagon is in the lower left corner.
Led by an armoured scout car, a Royalist section advances up the main road towards the petrol station.

Another view of the BUF advance towards the farm house.  The special assault section in their distinctive red coats are on the road while the Bolton Rifles are advancing over the fields.

The Anglican special combat section (left) and two Cambridge Fencible sections advance towards the derailed goods wagon.

John M., playing the Squire of East Bergholt, contemplates his troops advance towards the farm house.
The Anglicans continue to approach the goods wagon but there appear to be no Royalists troops contesting their advance.

The Harwich Maritime Defence Force advances along and on both sides of the road.  Their steam truck conceals a naval gun dismounted from one of the ships at the Harwich Royal Navy base.
The Anglicans arrive at the goods wagon.  The special combat section, on the left, fords the stream to advance on the farm house from a different axis.  In the distance, the Anglican trucks slowly creep over the fields.

Meanwhile the main Royalist column, led by a tank, enters along a side road with their truck convoy and approaches the petrol station.
The fighting around the farm house intensifies as both sides attempt to gain the upper hand.  A few BUF SAS get into the house and hand supplies out a window since the door is interdicted by LDF fire.

The Harwich "red" sailors unveil their surprise for the Royalists - the naval gun in the back of the steam truck!  The sailors in the middle are carrying cases of supplies from the house and the fuel drums from the petrol station are by the truck.

The Cambridge Fencibles secure the supplies from the derailed goods wagon while the American volunteers advance acroos the stream to the right.

A Royalist section tries to outflank the petrol station but runs into fire from the sailors who are withdrawing.

The Cambridge Fencibles decide they can carry and roll the supplies to the trucks quicker than the trucks can get to them through the soft fields, so away they go.

The East Bergholt LDF and the American volunteers close on the farm house from one direction while the BUF try to hold them off to get what little supplies they could recover away in the other direction.

The game went fairly well.  The Anglicans and "red"sailors were the big winners, getting all of the supplies from the goods wagon and half the petrol and all of the supplies from the station and house.  The Royalists and BUF got the rest of the petrol and a small part of the supplies from the farmhouse.  The BUF had very heavy casualties in their special assault section and their machinegun team, while the East Bergholt LDF took heavy casualties, including the squire's retainers being almost wiped out and the squire himself being wounded.

For the convention game, I will tighten up the terrain so things aren't spread out quite so much.  In addition, I' working on some more hedges to "congest" the terrain a big more.  You can catch my progress on the hedges here in the previous post to this one and in subsequent posts.

See you in St. Francisville on the 14th!