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Friday, July 3, 2015

Chain of Command German Infantry vs US Infantry

 By Eric Lauterbach

Bob Rossi and I found time recently to get in game of Chain of Command with Bob's new American army.

The forces were a standard US Infantry force vs a German Infantry force since Bob and I were rather new to the game, so we did not add a lot of extras.

The table was set and away we went, thanks to the fabulous buildings Joe Moore left at Bob's house we had some good buildings to fight over.

The Germans moved out first on the patrol phase coming from the board edge.  I wanted to get to the middle wood but Bob beat me to it. I had a good jump off points on both flanks.  Bob had jump off points in the courtyard of one house, in the large field. and one in the alleyway.  With that set we moved out....

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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Review: The New KV-1e KV-1 and the KV-2

 By Eric Lauterbach

Battlefront has updated their KV series of models and I wanted to see how they compare to the old sculpts.

I love the KV tank in the game. The Kliment Voroshilov, named after the Soviet Defense minster, first made its appearance in the Winter War versus the Finns.

The performance, with its almost impervious armor, made it superior to almost everything on the battlefield. Battlefront updated the KV-1 obr 1939/1940 and the KV-1e plus while they were at it the super heavy and somewhat silly KV-2.

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Monday, June 29, 2015

Symbols in Miniature Wargames

By Dirty Jon Baber

As miniature wargamers, most of us have the desire to realistically represent past events on the battlefield.  Many of us pick historical games specifically to re-enact battles and wars we have read about or seen in movies.  There is even a subset of us who always strive for very realistic unit construction and representation of specific battles in startlingly exact detail.  I am not personally hyper-focused on this aspect of the hobby, but I am amazed at some of the awesome detail and hard work that people put in to these projects.  Many times, these projects include accurate unit and national symbols.  Some of these symbols can be considered offensive.  In thinking about the armies and conflicts that my friends and I use for wargaming, I can easily find reasons that non-gamers might be disturbed when looking casually at our hobby.  

The swastika is outlawed in parts of Europe.  This symbol is highly offensive to many people, and is still used as a symbol of hate and violence by neo-Nazis.  Outside of our hobby, I feel a bit of disgust every time I see it, but I have put it on my own tanks and airplanes when historically accurate.

The Arab-Israeli War is still weighing heavily on the Middle-East today.  People are routinely killed over some of the same things that drove this war.  The Star of David can inspire some very strong reactions from people in the area, and even spark violence.  This symbol is highly offensive to some peoples and revered by others.  These flags are all over the place when we play an AIW game.

When strolling through Historicon, I see my friends running an American Civil War game, full of troops.  Battle flags are everywhere, historically represented.  The GMs of this ACW game are some of the most liberal people I know, yet here is this symbol that in a different context is very, very offensive to some people.
Image from Perry Miniatures

This can go on and on.  The British burned down the White House.  Do Americans think of that when seeing the Union Jack?  The United States of America did horrible things to the Native American population under our own flag.  Do Americans - native and otherwise - think of that when they see it? Probably not enough. How about the Mai Lai Massacre?

In all my years of wargaming, I have only met one person who acted and spoke in an overtly racist way.  I immediately called this person on it, and never heard another word along these lines from this person again.  I still see this person around, but I never “hang out” with them - a polite greeting and I am on my way.  I point this out to illustrate that I do not think that this hobby is overrun with a bunch of crazies celebrating “bad guys” or glorifying horrible acts of human cruelty.  To me, the miniature wargamer is mostly interested in the game, the history and the miniatures and has a kind of necessary disconnect from what the game pieces and results actually represent - people being maimed and killed on the battlefield, sometimes to advance an abhorrent ideology.  

I think that this disconnect is also present when choosing armies, conflicts and battles.  The miniature wargamer is usually not evaluating the politics, ambitions and prejudices behind the units being represented. Some are, but many are not.  While I think that most miniature wargamers inherently (and likely unconsciously) understand this disconnect, many outside the hobby do not.  With recent events and national discussion, I think it would be a good exercise for our community to do some self-reflection.  Here are a few questions that are worth exploring:

  1. Why are you playing “the bad guys”?
  2. Why did you paint that symbol on there?  Isn’t that offensive?
  3. Do you want the “bad guys” to win?

For me, miniature wargaming is a special case.  I cannot recall being offended or even considering symbols for any reason other than historical accuracy - was this on that tank/flag/etc.?  Perhaps I should think more about this. As I reflect now, I have not had any problem with any scenarios I have seen actually played.  In thinking about it further, I would probably not want to game something like the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.  I cannot sufficiently articulate my aversion to this, but I just feel like it would be wrong.  To me, gaming anything too directly related to the Holocaust just seems too horrible to participate in.  Yet, I put a swastika on a tank.  Strange rules, indeed.

Having grown up in the South, one would think that I would be interested in the ACW.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Sure, I played a little Johnny Reb back in the day, but I really have no interest at all in the war or the gaming of the war.  To me, that conflict was so embarrassing to the nation, that I have stayed completely away from the entire thing.  I have met many, many, many people (NOT wargamers) that are just a little too much “in to” the Civil War to make it a very uncomfortable topic for me.  I grew up in the city and went to mostly minority-majority schools that were still impacted by Massive Resistance.  I think that the experience of having mostly minority friends gave me a strong appreciation for their thoughts and feelings about the ACW and the symbols of that war.  I have no interest.

Now, I have a TON of friends who are ACW game fans.  I have absolutely no problem with this at all.  None of them are crazies and many of them I consider my best wargaming friends. These folks also make some of the most detailed and beautiful models and scenery I have ever laid eyes on. I see their hobby shared enthusiastically with many happy hobbyists at conventions.

I'm ok with this.
I am SUPER not ok with this.
It is interesting that symbols in other contexts affect me in different ways.  For instance, I’ll put a swastika flag on a tank.  I’ll take a picture with the flag at a reenactment event - duplicating a picture of soldiers taking the flag as a trophy after defeating the Germans.  However, when I see that flag used by German reenactors, I feel like I could never do that.  Could I reenact Germans?  Maybe.  If I did, it would have to be Heer troops.  SS?  Not a chance.  This is especially true after being at an event and hearing the conversations - in German - between a group of SS Reenactors.  Let’s just say that they were getting WAY too in to the role.

So, what’s the point of this article?  Well, I wrote it to help me explore some of my own thoughts about the symbols we use in our hobby.  I clearly have no answers and “rules” for everyone to follow.  Everyone will have their own feelings influenced by their life experiences.  I would ask you all to take a moment and think about these topics and your thoughts about them.  We regularly use symbols that are highly charged and can provoke some really strong reactions and I think that it would do us well to reflect on how we feel about that.

Now, a bit of a caution.  There will be discussion on this topic in the WWPD Forums.  Please be VERY mindful of what you write.  This is a hot topic and can spark some strong feelings.  Please be respectful to everyone.  We will be watching closely.  

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Friday, June 26, 2015

Review of Nachjager (Digital)

By Mitch Reed

When I did my first article on Nachtjager I promised you a review of the digital only content after it was released. In two’s and three’s over a six week period, the digital only lists for Nachtjager appeared on Forces of War (Forces) and Flames of War Digital (FOW-D) and I checked them out as the dropped.

Billed as a release of 14 lists, the total really comes to 16, since you can field two types (veteran or ersatz) Fallshirmjäger or (British or Canadian) Parachute companies.

The lists:
  • German Grenadierkompanie
  • German Ausbuldungskompanie
  • German Fallshirmjägerkompanie (Veteran and Ersatz)
  • British Commando
  • British SAS Squadron
  • British Motor Company
  • British Lorried Rifle Company
  • U.S. Parachute Rifle Company
  • U.S. Glider Rifle Company
  • British Airborne Armoured Recce Squadron
  • British Parachute Company (British and Canadian)
  • British Airlanding Company
  • British Armoured Car Squadron
  • British Guards Tank Squadron
 This is an impressive list, even more so when you realize that the Nachtjager book only had six lists.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

EW 1390 Tournament - German List

By "Dirty Jon" Baber

Early War seems to be my jam this past year. With another tournament coming up at the awesome Huzzah Hobbies, I had to take a look at what I might play. The tournament will be 1390 Early War and open to everything. I decide pretty quickly that I will play Germans - my only other option is the Finns, and I am a bit tired of them.  Plus, why change something that is working!
I have a ton of options for lists, but at a low point total and taking into account that ANYTHING could show up, I go for a list that has all the options - Czech Panzers from Blitzkreig. I considered a couple of other lists, but at this low point total, I think this is the best at handling all comers.

HQ & 1st Platoon

Two Panzer 38(t)Bs in the HQ and five more in a platoon  I did not even consider the 35(t).  First of all, I don't have the models. Second, I don't want to pick up Unreliable for only a savings of 5pts per tank. The 38(t) is a great EW tank at a cost of ~88pts each.

In EW, this tank is likely to stick around and be pretty effective. First of all, it is Veteran and this makes it both hard to hit (especially at range) and also gives me a good chance to make Stormtrooper checks. The FA of 2 is not fantastic, but it makes me immune to MGs and gives a good chance to bounce AT 5 and 6, which is fairly common in EW. The platoon is 5-strong, which means it can take a ton of abuse and still stick around. Last - and certainly not least - having Protected Ammo is just fantastic because there is a TON of 5+ Firepower out there.  Three quarters of the time, my tanks are re-mounting. This is a huge advantage in the relatively low lethality of EW.
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Monday, June 22, 2015

WWPD Villers-Bretonneux Firestorm Campaign - 2015

By Tom Burgess,

Last year Jökull Gislason created another great Firestorm Campaign packet for Villers-Bretonneux. This year well run this campaign on the WWPD forums as a global effort. Our plan is to run the campaign using the historical format suggestions from Jökull.

With just seventeen battles played over four turns this will be a relatively quick and easy campaign. To make this happen we’d need only a few clubs to get these battles fought and reported on the WWPD forums. http://forum.wwpd.net/viewforum.php?f=22

I.  General Concept

There will be a German and British C-in-C who will issue the orders for each side that determine where battles will be fought and with which troops. As a battles are generated they will be posted in the WWPD forum and clubs can then request to fight them. When the battle has been fought, the club must post an AAR for that battle on the WWPD forum to count.

All required dice rolls will be done on-line via http://www.pbegames.com/roller/ , The C-in-C’s will be on the email line to receive the results and the results will be posted on the campaign log in the WWPD forums for all to see.

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Friday, June 19, 2015

Berlin Part Two: The Soviets!

See Part One for our introduction and coverage of the Germans!
Special Rules
Heroes of the Soviet Union
As in desperate measures the “Heros of the Soviet Union” have the same rules representing  battle worn and experienced troops who have seen combat and learned a thing or two.   The following units get these special rules

When a CiC or 2iC Warrior team is destroyed, your opponent must roll a 5+ instead of 4+ up to eliminate the leader.

Hero companies pass skill tests on 3+ instead of 4+ - this goes for bombarding artillery as well.

Hero companies do not use Hen and Chicks……..(Massive win!!!) death to hated Hen and chicks!

Smoke Pots
During an Assault, a platoon with these can make any number of teams non-assaulting teams and makes skill check.  If any team passes this check, the assaulting platoon (company) is considered Concealed.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Berlin Part One: The Germans!

Berlin looks like the final statement on the Eastern Front for Flames of War (until new, interesting battles are explored or Version 4 drops!).  Though the book has only a few lists in it, the options are immense and really add some neat flavor to your Late War game.  Get ready for some new units and some new concepts - may your wallet and painting queue survive!

Special Rules
Notice that in this book there are no restrictions at all on force selection.  Pick any HQ, then pick any unit in any box, regardless of symbol present.  This makes for a very interesting set of options!  This could be missed, as the only indicator is the lack of usual language around the force organization chart that is easy to skip.  To verify that this was indeed the case, we asked Wayne Turner, who confirmed.

Battlegroup Berlin - No Kampfgruppe German special rule for these guys.  Also, there is no Reich Divided.

Enjoy the War-  Instead of rolling a Platoon Morale check, roll for each team -  Confident teams fight on with a 3+, and Fearless teams fight on with a 2+.  If you get down to a Sole Survivor check, you fail automatically.  No re-rolls allowed for EtW, and Reluctant teams do not use this special rule.

Click to read on!

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Monday, June 15, 2015

Yoo-who, Uhu?!?!? (Review of Uhu Boxed Set GBX82)

By Jeff "SonBae" Flint

I'm baaaaAAAAaaaack....The recently released Nachtjager for Flames of War by Battlefront covering the battles in Northern Germany and the British crossing of the Rhine (March-May 1945) during Operation Varisty and Plunder added a new deadly combat multiplier to the Germans arsenal...Night Vision! I will be doing a series of reviews on these new toys and we start with the Uhu!

The Uhu (GBX82) was based on the versatile Sdkfz 251 Haftrack chassis where a big ole honkin' Infra Red Searchlight was added in the crew compartment. The IR Searchlight was used to illuminate a target with IR so other IR night vision equipped units could see it with their passive devices. Just like spotlighting deer....never mind, I didn't say that.

Now, this set uses the new plastic half track Sdkfz 251 with metal searchlight and drivers IR sights. This review will cover just the Uhu unique parts. There will be a forthcoming review of the Sdkfz 251 Transport Platoon plastic set (GBX85) and the Sdkfz 251 Night vision set (GSO206). As a disclaimer, I also wanted to add that these models were purchased by me and not furnished by any company for review.

Assembly:  Very straight forward and quite similar to the Plastic Soldier Company Sdkfz 251 Auf C plastic set which I have also built. Battlefront in their great wisdom (all praise be unto them) have a very nice on line assembly guide. The only real trick is to dry fit the search light compartment before you glue it down and assemble the rest of the half track. You will most likely have some trimming to do on the metal base to make it fit snugly and have it ride low. I learned the hard way... 

Without trimming and sits too high is on the left

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Friday, June 12, 2015

Showcase UBER Late War Tournament.

By Sean "Throckmorton" Sarah

Showcase Comics is a gem of a store. Located near that City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia, Kurt Reese and his band of nere' do wells have been hosting tournaments at the shop for a good long while now.

This time around Kurt cooked up a 1900 point extra extra late war tournament comprising only Desperate Measures, Nachtjager and Remagen along with their digital companions.

This is a tricky little meta to find a list I like. At first I felt like some Reluctant Vet Chaffees would be the way to go but I felt the lure of the Jagdtiger so decided to man up, enjoy the war, and run some Panzerbrigade Westfalen.

Mmmm... Tasty Tasty Jagdtiger
After some intense hemming and hawing I came up with the following list.

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