Saturday, 18 January 2020

Thursday, 19 December 2019

Saturday, 19 October 2019

KONIGSBERG.

Konigsberg rules and player aids.

I spent yesterday prepping for this weekends game of "Konigsberg" by Revolution games. We (Al and Arthur) are going to play a three player game with one person taking the Germans Army group centre and the other two playing the Russian 2nd and 3rd Belorussian Fronts. 

The game depicts the East Prussian Offensive planned by the Soviet Stavka in early January 45 to prevent flank attacks on the Russian armies heading towards Berlin. For the Germans it is a dogged retreat showing tenacity and grim persistence with the occasional counter punch against the ever advancing Red Army. 

KonigsbergThe Soviet Attack on East Prussia, 1945 is very similar to "A Victory Lost" but with added chrome. It uses a chit draw activation system which I love as a mechnicism. As you can see from the photograph below I have replaced the chits with cards for easy of play and because I just enjoy the tactile nature of cards.

Card replacements for the activation chits.

Rules overhead is low as there are only twelve pages of rules, stacking is only two units per hex with HQ's. Air support is available to both sides but heavily favouring the Russians and naval ground support is provided late in the game from the Admiral Hipper heavy cruiser for the Germans. This ia a battle the Germans can't win but a game they can.

All setup.

So with the chits punched clipped and placed, additional rules and player aids printed, how to videos watched, rules read and blog updated all that's left is to roll some dice.

Saturday, 28 September 2019

SLEEVE OR NOT TO SLEEVE?

Standard card sleeves.

To sleeves or not to sleeve that is the question. What category do you fall into. I tend to be a sleever. In the case of the below game "Hearts and Minds" sleeving is a necessity as there are a number of cards with errata which require printing. "Hearts and Minds" is a card driven game on Vietnam and the American intervention in the country. It has joined my conveyor belt of games purchased and yet to hit the table. This is an ever growing list, which is a great problem to have.

We gotta get outta this place. Hearts and Minds.

Sleeved, locked and loaded ready to play.

Friday, 27 September 2019

AVL CARD HQ's.

Selection of German HQ's.

I have been doing a little card crafting. I spent this evening creating some cards to replace the HQ chits used in "A Victory Lost". Instead of drawing the cardboard chits from a bag these cards will act as replacements being shuffled instead. Makes one want to break out this great game again.


Russian HQ's.


AVL.

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Bitter Woods Designer Edition.


A short, very short session report on Compass Games Bitter Wood Designer Edition. Sorry about the quality towards the end.

Sunday, 11 August 2019

EAGLES OF FRANCE.


Inspired by the views while on holiday in Heidelberg I decided to invest in some wargame goodness.

Box of delights.

Austerlitz 1805 by Hexasim.

I have been interested in the " Eagles of France "  games by French company Hexasim for some time. Other games in the system include Waterloo, Ligny and recently released Quatre Bra. I decided  to go for Austerlitz  as I already have a number of products covering  Napoleon's hundred days campaign.

Campaign map.

So with the game purchased it's time to read the rules, watch the videos, get out the tools of the trade .... plexiglass, glasses and tweezers.

Glasses for my old man eyes.

Tweezers.

Friday, 18 January 2019

STORM OVER STALINGRAD.


Having recently listened to Antony Beevors audio book "Stalingrad", my interest in this topic was tweaked and I accepted the timely trade offer from Patrick on the geek for "Storm over Stalingrad". This 2008 classic, area impulse game by MMP is streamlined with only seven pages of rules. It uses cards to enable air and artillery support for attacks or the ability to move and attack.

The game has been set up and a learner solo session is planned for the weekend.

A few staggering and chilling stats on the battle.

Historians estimate 1,100,000 Russian military casualties either dead , wounded, missing or captured. In addition an estimated 40,000 Russia civilians were to perish. Germany and its allies lost 800,000 during the Stalingrad campaign. This number includes 91,000 capture of which only 5000/6000 survived captivity to return home.








Sunday, 2 December 2018

VASSAL - AVL.

Following on from my face to face game of "A Victory Lost" with Al, we have gone online and started playing AVL on vassal, using "Skype" for communication. It will be quite had to return to the physical copy of the game as the vassal implementation is a joy. Features such as HQ command range, units automatically marked as moved, reinforcement line identification and in/out of supply shading makes the online version much easier and less awkward to play. So a big thank you to the creative geniuses and designers of the module Brent Easton and Dominik Derwinski.


Sunday, 11 November 2018

A VICTORY LOST REVISITED.

It's been quite a while since I last posted on the blog, a case of blog fade - well almost. I have decided to create some fresh content as the tec savvy, digital age modern kids would say.  The game that sparked this mini resurgence, only time will tell whether its a last kick of the old goat or a phoenix like rebirth, is "A Victory Lost".

A description from "Board Game Geek" gives the background to the game.

 "A Victory Lost" is a simulation of the intense mobile fighting between the Axis and Soviet forces in the southwestern USSR, from the completion of the Soviet encirclement in December 1942 to German Field Marshall von Manstein's famous "Backhand Blow" counterattack. The Soviet forces aims to trap and eliminate the Axis forces that are in full retreat from the Caucasus, while the Axis forces must successfully withdraw and attempt to restore the front line by launching a desperate counterattack. The slightest mistake might turn victory into a rout."




I acquired this game three years ago and even made an unboxing video for it, a video which the wife teases me mercilessly for, calling me a weirdo for making a video about the contents of  a box, the cheek!





Shortly afterwards I promptly sold the game as I couldn't see my fellow afflicted grognards buying into this traditional hex and counter wargame and become followers, in the way of the tweezer. Picking up the a fore mentioned  item in order to move the counters, as large fingers and thumbs make playing the game almost impossible. Mental note- purchase large medical tweezers on ebay. But I always had a yearning to return to this classic, a bugle call in the deep recess of my mind calling me to return to arms, you will tell me if I am been a tad over dramatic won't you. 

So last week I repurchased AVL and retired to "Valhalla" the war room, to break it out. Two days later I resurfaced having read the rules and played a couple of solo game, it was wonderful. Well the game was wonderful, the wife's wrath less so! The chit pull mechanism which activates command HQ's was strangely addictive and created a real sense of tension in the game play. The timing of each chit pull and HQ activation can be vital, in either creating breakthrough's for the Russians or plugging gaps in the line if Axis. The rules are simple and elegant and come in at only sixteen pages. While the rules may be simple the tactics and strategy are compelling and engaging. I invited Al, my fellow warrior in crime, over and taught him the basics for a learning game. Thankfully he took to it like a panzer commander to a Tiger (a tank to the uninitiated) as I had hoped he would, despite my concern over the off putting small and fiddly counters. 

I love when a game leaves behind memorable in game stories, like on this occasion when the German 4th Panzer Army managing to break out of what had became known as the "Kotelnikovo pocket" by securing a vital bridge over the Don as the red hordes were closing in for the kill. Or the Russian armored division holding a vital town and tying down much needed Axis troops and armor for a turn, which were desperately needed elsewhere on the front.

All in all a wonderful game which will see much table time in the weeks ahead. Much to Al's relief, as he is tiring of the seemly endless new games having to be learned in recent times. The curse of the shiny, as the Magpie would say or weirdo as the wife would say.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

WARRIORS OF GOD.

                                                                      Warriors of God.

The prep for "Warriors of God" has started, I have placed the paper map in an old picture frame which was laying around and it can now be hung in the games room. A couple of copies of Steve McDougall's rules summaries from BGG's file section have been printed. Steve has produced numerous rules summaries for various games on the "Geek" and has made learning  new games a less onerous task than otherwise would have been the case, very much appreciated Steve. The final task is to watch FushigiTV's excellent youtube videos on the topic and then it is once more unto ........

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
                                                                                                              (Shakespeare's Henry V, spoken by King Henry)
“You, men of England, who have no right to this Kingdom of France, the King of Heaven orders and notifies you through me, Joan the Maiden, to leave your fortresses and go back to your own country; or I will produce a clash of arms to be eternally remembered. And this is the third and last time I have written to you; I shall not write anything further.”                                                                                                                    (Joan of Arc)

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

NEW YEAR AND ALL THAT.

The pile.

Yes indeed, it's a new year and all that, time for a resolution. The above titles have sat unplayed on my games shelf, I gotta change that. The aim for 2018 is to get them to the table. I will need to get one played every two months, quicker in fact as "Hands in the Sea" kickstarter is due out in May. What a great problem to have.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

SEK IT TO ME.

SEKIGAHARA.

With the completion of our EASTFRONT II campaign Al and I broke out Sekigahara. This is our go to game when we want to get something to the table which requires no prep and can be finished in a sitting. Like ones favourite armchair it is both comfortable and familiar. Like a look over the cliffs edge it is anxiety inducing and dread arousing, with the ever present threat of the loyalty cards.

I made a stab to take Osaka during the early stages in an attempt to steal a win early doors. While I was victorious in the battle outside the city Als survivors scarpered to the castle and a siege got me to within one block of victory. All was in vain however and a counter attack by my opponent resulted in a defeat for the rebellion. With over twenty plays this title has proven to be worth ever penny of its cost. 

Next up a learning game of either "Warriors of God" or "Friedrich". The backlog of unplayed games sitting on the shelf has to be tackled.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

DREAM JOB.

Inline image

Oh the dream job. You mean they actually pay you to play wargames. If only I were a much younger man and fancy free.  Job description.

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.