Sunday, 3 December 2017

KLUTZ'S FLEISCHWOLF.


 Eastfront September 1943.

The Eastfront II Campaign continues.

The rains came early and both sides closed down active operations, using the respite to rest and refit.(The Germans had done just about enough to stay in the campaign but it was a close call.) Spring saw large scale Russian probes launched against army group center. These attacks were uncoordinated and repulsed by well positioned German defenses and rapid counter attacks by fast responding battle groups. The Russians did manage to stem the tide to the South of Moscow defeating German attempts to take Taluva. A stalemate had developed in Moscow and the city of Kaluga with only sporadic fighting breaking out, both sides content to hold what they had and not force the issue.

The Battle Board.

The initiative had started to turn in favor of the Reds, the Germans beginning to sense this change made an all out attempt to once more wrestle the initiative back and stay on the front foot. Launching Operation Carthage Army Group North made an all out attack to take Leningrad with elements attacking the marshes surrounding Volkhov to prevent Russian reinforcements from entering the city. A fierce battle developed with the Germans pouring in fresh troops to relieve the battle weary first wave infantry corps who in turn were fed back into what the poor bloody infantry on the ground knew as Klutz's fleischwolf or Klutz's meat grinder in english. A study of the operation afterwards by analysis estimated German loses at 4-1, the highest in any operation to date.

Leningrad Front

The situation as of 1st September sees the massing of Russians infantry, artillery and tank armies in the center and south. The Russian air force is growing in numbers and influence with much improved attack capabilities. Now High Command must make a decision with regards to the Leningrad front and only one decision seems possible. The cancellation of its operation to take Leningrad and going over to the defensive in the heavily wooded and marshy land to the south and east of the city. Hitler is likely to recalled General Von Klutz to Berlin to have what could well be a frank, open and rather loud interview.

Winter is a mere matter of weeks away and the Russian bear is unlikely to have any plans for hibernation. It was now commonly accepted if never spoken by all ranks within the Wehrmacht that the initiative was no longer with Germany on the eastern front. On the wireless Goebbels speech's began to talk of wonder weapons, in the west German troops pour into Italy to take over defenses and have evacuated Sicily.

It would appear that it is not only in the east where the initiative has been lost.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

OPERATION BLUE.


October 42.

Our East Front Campaign game continues, it is October 42 and the winter chills are just weeks away. The summer has seen advances for the Germans in the south, with a realignment along the banks of the Dnieper river. The Germans giving up ground for a superior defensive position, Hitler needless to say was not informed. No movement has been made around Moscow with stalemate in the ongoing battles to the south of the capital.

East Front.

With two months to the end of the scenario my Germans forces face a dilemma. There can't be much in the game, it is finely balanced. I need a few more victory points to be able to bring the campaign into the next winter scenario. I will have to go on the attack using valuable command and control resources to achieve this. Much needed full strength armor and infantry units will be striped from other sections of the front and committed to this attempt. Having studied the front the attack will go in at an existing battle, location B. According to intelligence reports the Russians have weakened armor, mechanized and shock troops at this location. A blitz attack is planned with air support in the hope of destroying many of the defenders, drawing in other defenders or best case scenario achieving a breakthrough striking at Russian army command and control in rear areas.

Location B.

This attack can only go in if the weather remains dry. Meteorologists predict that their is a 50/50 chance that the rains will come and with it mud, slowing all movement and thus rendering an attack impossible. The conditions will only get worse according to the experts with snow or rain forecast for November. The only window available to allow for the successful coordination and organisation of sufficient forces requirement for this operation is the second week in October. All now depends on the weather and mother nature.

Production and weather track.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

OPERATION BARBAROSSA.

The Gomel Pocket.

Al and I have been biting into EastFront II  "Columbia Games" excellent block wargame. We played the Barbarossa scenario and will continue with Operation Typhoon in the near future. I have been playing the Germans and Al the Reds. Both of us have made many mistakes, Al leaving his HQ's exposed while I have over extended and ran out of supply, but both of us have thoroughly enjoyed the experience with supply and rail lines the key to success in this game.

The above photograph shows the situation in September 1941. The German "Army Group Centre" has broken through the Russian lines isolating Russian "Western Military District" armies in what was to become known as the "Gomel Pocket". In attempting to break through and release these trapped troops further Russian units were to become isolated and trapped them selves. However the exhausted Germans having been going full throttle since July have over extended their supply lines and with the on set of winter made limited progress in the next couple of months. The exception a trust for Moscow which resulted in heavy casualties for the German "7th Corp", the decimated units been removed from the city and sent back to German to be rebuilt so heavy were their losses in the vicious house to house fighting. 

December 41.

The photograph above shows the situation at the start of December 1941. Hexes with blue dice show German friendly control and red dice those friendly to the Russians. The large letters signify ongoing battles with "F" the battle for Moscow. With Russian command and control having been severely hampered as a result of eliminated HQ's and with the Germans unprepared for the sudden onset of the harsh Russian winter the next few months may see both sides trying to regroup and refit in preparation for the spring thaw.

This classic rewards repeated play and we both have committed to a regular hookup. A wonderful game both challenging and unforgiving. Can't wait for the next session. 

Sunday, 20 August 2017

ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS MUSEUM.



Above is a photograph of a WW1 diagram taken at the Royal Irish Fusilier museum in Armagh. I popped in with my son and nephew, after visiting the planetarium. The staff were wonderful and the venue passed an enjoyable hour as we viewed the collection, which contains the uniforms, medals, regalia and the two Victoria Crosses won by the Regiment. The two kids particularly enjoyed the opportunity to try on some modern day British military gear.

 A WW1 scene.

Red coat.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

HANDS IN THE SEA

Hands in the Sea.

"Hands in the Sea" a game on the first Punic War between Rome and Carthage 264 - 241 BC, by designer Daniel Berger and Knight Works. I have been following this game for quite a while and was very much temped by the first kick starter two years ago. I'm glad I held off as there were a few issue with the game board and cards, these are to be fixed in the second edition which is now live on kick starter.

The game has blocks, is card driven and uses hand management. It was inspired by Martin Wallace's "A Few Acres Of Snow". This was another game I had been temped by but lost interest once it became clear that it was broken with the "Halifax Hammer strategy". "Hands in the Sea" has a good reputation and is a solid 8.0 on "Board Game Geeks "ratings. The wooden components look top notch, playing time is a very manageable two hours and the price is reasonable (compared to some off my recent purchases) coming in at under £50, which includes postage.  "Hands in the Sea" is the first kick starter I will have backed and very much look forward to its potential arrival next May, hopefully it makes its funding target of £20.000.

Check out Judd and the Chiefs review.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Q-CON XXIV (2017) - DAY THREE.


Final installment of the Q-Con XXIV (2017) adventure. A session report on "Fields of Despair: France 1914 - 1918.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Q-CON XXIV - DAY TWO.



Q-Con XXIV Day Two. The further adventures of "The Dice is Cast" at Q-Con 2017. Load the cannons, to the front quick march.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

SUN TZU

With Qcon only a couple of days away, I have begun preparations for the excursion to Belfast. Rules are being read, player aids printed, play through videos watched and a few games acquired. Oh and a bit of contemplating whether to create a vlog on my experiences at the event, more possibly later.

Having sold "No peace without Spain" a game sadly I never got to play, I reinvested the profit into what else but more games, to do anything else would be silly really. First up, I acquired a game I have been after for about two years, "Condottiere". 



The game has been out of print for some time and I didn't want to pay the prices been charged on the secondary market, waiting instead on the reprint, which is not that far off. But I spotted the game on BGG's market place for a good price and I couldn't resist it. Condottiere is one of my favorite area control games, along side the wonderful "El Grande". It only has a BGG rating of 6.7, which I find rather strange. Usually I tend to only purchase games over 7.0 but having played it at Qcon last year I knew it was one for the collection

From BGG

"The object of Condottiere is to acquire four connected provinces in renaissance Italy. To do this players auction off different provinces on the board and bid on these provinces with a hand of cards representing mercenaries, seasons, scarecrows, and political figures. However, unlike standard auctions in which only the highest bidder loses their bid, in Condottiere every player loses their bid. Players are, in effect, bidding the number of troops they are willing to lose in order to win a province. However, several special effect cards shake the contests up and keep the players guessing.

Check out Marco's  " video " on the game, excellent as always.

The other purchase was "Sun Tzu" another area control game.



I happened to be out for lunch with the family last weekend and nipped into my local "The Works" store which can often have interesting board games for sale and I stumbled across "Sun Tzu". For only seven quid the game has been a steal, it fits into the half hour filler category. The components are top noch , the rules are only two pages, it plays in 30 minutes and already my nine year old and I have had many battles across China's provinces. It will be added to the game bag for Qcon.


Sun Tzu game during play.

Belfast awaits and a three day gaming marathon, tallyho. 

Sunday, 4 June 2017

POPULAR FRONT.


A brief, very brief chat about the board game Popular Front . Recorded one Friday evening in May.

Monday, 29 May 2017

WHATS ON THE TABLE JUNE 2017.


 

I have been playing around with the video editor to try and make these videos a little bit more professional. Hope you enjoy.

SPRING CLEAN.

Fog of War.

I have had a spring clear out of the game shelf recently. Out when "Formula D" in exchange for the above game "The Fog of War". "The Fog of War" is the first wargame design by Geoff Engelstein and the first wargame released by the publisher Stronghold games. You maybe familiar with Geoff Engelstein if you follow the "Ludology" podcast, worth a listen.  The game plays in two hours and is a grand strategic wargame covering the European theater of World War II from 1940 to 1944. One player plays the Axis forces, and the other the Allies. I have introduced miniatures from Memoir 44 to replace the army and navy tokens in this game as they tend to get lost on what is a very colorful map. I would recommend watching the "How to Play" video by the "Board Game Network" if you are interested in this title, as it has proven a great help in learning the rules.

I have sold "Hammer of the Scots" a game which got many many plays and one which I have only good memories off, see a previous post "Spare no one" on one such play. It has been sold because we have worked the game out and there is no more morrow to be sucked from its gaming bone, its replacement is -

Quartermaster General 1914.

I have been following the "Quartermaster General" series of games for a while now. The funds provided by HOTS enable me to purchase "Quartermaster General 1914" the world war one version. Reviews and comments on the geek have been positive so I look forward to breaking this one out at "Qcon" next month. 

Continuing the world War One theme, I also purchased -

                                                                    Fields of Despair.

Fields of Despair: 1914-1918 is a 2-player hex-based strategic level block war game set on the Western Front of the First World War. Players take control of the Allies or Central Powers fighting the war on land, at sea, and in the air all the while making tough economic and technological decisions at home. The component quality for this game is outstanding and some interesting mechanisms for artillery, air spotting, abstracted naval and eastern front warfare make this a game I can't wait to bring to the table.

Finally I should mention "Battle Line"

 Battle Line.

the go to filler game we play at the minute. I traded "Hive" for this Reiner Knizia classic, which is one of GMT's all time best sellers. In "Battle Line" two opponents face off across a 'battle line' and attempt to win the battle by taking 5 of 9 flags or 3 adjacent flags. Flags are wooden meeples. Flags are decided by placing cards into 3 card poker-type hands on either side of the flag The side with the highest 'formation' of cards wins the flag. Simple but addictive, the ideal filler.

Monday, 15 May 2017

CHIMERA CON ROAD TRIP.

Recently, Arthur and I spent a most enjoyable weekend on a grognard road trip. We travelled to Dublin to attend Chimera Con. Chimera con is a day long board war-game convention, with a focus on the larger, longer and more complex war games. This event is designed to create the critical mass of players, time and table space, to make these games happen. The convention included experienced game facilitators, tutorials for new players and a free play area for pickup or shorter games.

The trip started on the Friday when we hooked up with gaming buddy Al, who happened to be in Dublin for the weekend, for a game of Triumph and Tragedy. This game went the full term, with a Western Allied hegemony victory eked out in a very tight affair. The Allies (played by moi) remained at peace while the Russians (played by Arthur) and Germans (played by Al) got involved in a costly war in the Balkans, triggered by the ever aggressive "Reds", who got over zealous following early military success’s. Will he never learn? .The night was finished off with a few beers and the excellent card game "Battle Line" as the perfect filler, a new version has been developed with a medieval theme.
On the Saturday we started early and made the short trip to the Teachers Club in Parnell Square where Chimera con was being held. We joined thirty eight fellow grognards for a day’s gaming, attendees were mostly Irish with a few brothers in attendance from Poland and Italy. A range of war games were played on the day including …..
 ASL.

 The Longest Day.

 The Longest Day.

Here I Stand

 Here I Stand.

 It Never Snows.

 It Never Snows.

Triumph and Tragedy.

Struggle of Empires.
The day was closed out with a few well needed pints in the clubs bar with organiser Rob and fellow attendees. This was a chance to do a little post game analysis and talk all things wargaming.  A BIG thank you to Rob, who organised the event and was the driving force behind the whole endeavour. All in all it was a wonderful opportunity to network with fellow hobbyists from across the island of Ireland. Hopefully this is the first of what will become an annual event in the Irish wargame calendar.
On the way home on Sunday we visited Glasnevin cemetery. The cemetery contains historically notable monuments and the graves of many of Ireland's most prominent national figures. These include Michael Collins, Daniel O’Connell, Parnell, De Valera, O’Donovan Rossa, Kevin Barry and Roger Casement, to name but a few. Arthur remarked how ironic it was that some of those who were bitter rivals and enemies in life now lay a few feet apart united, neighbours in death.

Tower, Glasnevin Cemetery.

Tree lined avenue Glasnevin Cemetery.
The final event on the trip was a visit to the Irish Military Museum outside Ardee in County Meath. The site covers 5000 square feet of floor space and recreates examples of trenches from the First World War. The Museum also houses a large collection of WW2 Allied and Axis vehicles and deactivated weapons. By good fortune we happened to visit the museum on its annual open day weekend so found a large number of military vehicle enthusiast’s and reenactors in attendance.
 Comrades pass the vodka.

Pak 40. 

Weapons and uniforms.

 Armoured Car-Desert Rats, last seen service in First Gulf War.

WWII reenactors.
 Wild Geese - Vietnam reenactors.

Bray opens up with the Vickers.

A most enjoyable excursion. Now it's time for a good sleep, a welcome return to some proper food and planning how to inform the wife that the Qcon road trip takes place next month. Ear plugs any one!

Monday, 20 February 2017

OHHH YES.

Out of the box.

Ohhh yes indeed. At long last the deluxe version of  "Triumph and Tragedy" has become available and Mr Postman left it with me this weekend. Triumph and Tragedy now sits at number five in board game geeks wargame list, having had a rapid rise through the ranks. I sold my first edition copy a while ago because I wanted the upgraded version. The upgrade includes a mounted map, improved chits, a larger box and updated rules with minor changes and errata update. All I need to do now is round up the usual suspects and roll a few dice.

Mounted map.

 Chits, old above new below.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

WHATS ON THE TABLE FEB 2017.


Whats on the gaming table for February. 

I am playing around with some of the functionality within YouTube, trying to edit video etc. Coppola, Tarantino watch your back.