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Monday, September 30, 2013

Beyond the Foxholes Episode 4

WWPD presents Episode 4 of Beyond the Foxholes!

Welcome to Episode 4 of Beyond The Foxholes. 

Ben, Winner Dave and Podcast first timer Alex chat on the way to Colours 2013, the guys talk about their lists, expectations and how Adam is winning 6-1 in life.

In Part 2 the guys talk about their first two games, the food and the convention as a whole as well as the dangers of letting animals roam around a village and Cylon Animals!

In Part 3 the guys round out the cast with games three and four and look ahead to the next few weeks of Flames of Waring.

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Adventures of Action Jackson, Part 3

It's been a while since I've gotten in a game of Infinity and put up pictures - almost a year, actually. That's a long time Action Jackson has been waiting to come out and dance, and he's ready to roll!

But first, a super-quick mini review - or, what sparked my interest to play some more Infinity. I received the second half of my Sedition Wars kickstarter purchase last week, and with it was the main reason I did that kickstarter - the terrain kit.

The kit includes a bunch of injection molded plastic corridor doors, computer terminals, gun mounts, barriers, crates, and other goodies. It comes in bare plastic, so painted is required, and some cleanup of the pieces is advisable too.

 They do have pretty bad mold-lines that are not the easiest to clean up. I started trying to remove them, but gave up and just painted over them. It's only scenery, anyway.

Anyhoo, on to the Infinity game! I played my Haqqislam vs Alex's PanOceania. We played somewhere around 180ish points with hastily built lists on the spot.

The board - first time utilizing the DZC board as the base, placing 28mm terrain on top. It works pretty well - better than a gray mat.

The board from the other side

Alex has some dudes run up the right flank

While keeping some guys in overwatch with some HMGs

Can't stop Action Jackson from dancin' about.

A Naffatun moves up to flame two guys, roasting one, but the after several attempts, the second just won't burn!

So she moves up to engage in close combat, which was a futile, ill-advised task.

Djanbazan sniper peers over the ledge to take some pot-shots at the HMG across the board, but gets mowed down in reaction fire.

Time for a new ride!

Some basic Haqqislam grunts hiding behind the newly painted barriers.

Odalisque prepares her shot for the advancing PanO grunt (hiding behind these awesome barriers)

And takes him down as he runs across the open

Another PanO grunt hiding behind the new barriers. The mold line is pretty apparently on that one.

Why look at the lady on the billboard when you can check it with AJ?

HaqqI grunt vs PanO grunt. PanO grunt emerges victorious with Alex rolling a crit!

Odaliqsue moves out to take some long range fire an a PanO trooper leaning out from behind a corner, but dies to another crit. Alex is on fire!

Janissary attempts to take shots on the same PanO trooper from another angle...but takes yet another crit shot from Alex! At least he has two wounds and still stands.

AJ planning where on the map he wants to travel next - this battlefield is getting stale!

More basic grunts vs basic grunts

The PanO trooper charges out of cover with a torrent of fire from his spitfire gun, downing the Janissary.

Then turns the next corner and finishes off the back line...

...ending the battle for in a massive victory for PanO.
Well, that brings this chapter of The Adventures of Action Jackson to a close. It was a massacre against the Haqqislam, with Alex rolling a shocking 4-5 crits in a row. Keep in mind, a crit is rolling the exact number required on a D20, so that's no easy feat!

I do enjoy playing Infinity, and hope to bust it out again soon!

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Bolt Action - Review: Hobby Armor Depot Lend Lease M3 Scout Car

As many of you know, the Soviets were the recipients of thousands of pieces of equipment and vehicles from the Western Allies through the Lend Lease program.   While many of the items the Soviets received were despised by their recipients, or airbrushed out of Soviet history, the M3 Scout Car was popular and well loved by the Russian troops.   Primarily used by Soviet reconnaissance troops, the M3 Scout car's speed and armor made it a valuable asset for probing German positions. 

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Friday, September 27, 2013

Nomonhan Dust Up

Ron and I had a chance to try our first Flames of War game using Rising Sun. Ron was eager to use his Japanese collection he had for years and I was able to borrow some T-26s and BA-10s so my MW/LW Soviets could oppose his Japanese troops in a Nomonhan themed Early War game using forces from "Rising Sun."

Ron ran a Hohei Company (Fearless Trained) with: 

HQ: CO Sword, 2IC Sword, w/ Regimental Banner – 110pts
Hohei Platoon: Cmd Sword, 9 x Rifle, 3 x Lt Mortar, w/ Banners– 280pts
Hohei Platoon: Cmd Sword, 9 x Rifle, 3 x Lt Mortar, w/ Banners– 280pts
Hohei Machinegun Plt: Cmd Sword, 4 x HMG -125pts
Hohei Machinegun Plt: Cmd Sword, 4 x HMG -125pts
Hohei Battalion Gun Plt: Cmd Sword, 2 x 70mm Guns – 55pts
Hohei Regimental Gun Plt: Cmd Sword, 2 x 75mm Guns, Observer – 130pts
Engineer Platoon: Cmd Sword, 9 x Pioneer Rifle, w/ Banner – 275pts
Sensha Company:
HQ Plt - Cmd Type 97 Chi-Ha, Type 97 Chi-Ha, 2 x Type 94 TK - 190pts
Sensha Plt – Cmd Type 89 Chi-Ro, 3 x Type 89 Chi-Ro - 180pts

Ron's force: Total - 1750pts, nine platoons
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Bolt Action - AAR: 29th On The Move

29th On the Move
June 1944
Normandy Front

The breakout from the Normandy beach landings has begun.  Elements of the 29thInfantry Division find themselves in the thick of the fight.  As they push their way through the bocage they find themselves held up by tenacious German defenders.   

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

LGS Spotlight: The Dragon's Den

by Luke Melia

We recently checked out the new gaming store in Short Pump, Virginia, The Dragon's Den.  I have never written a spotlight article for a gaming store in Richmond because none have ever given me the friendly, professional feeling.  In many cases, the owners or folks behind the counter couldn't give a damn if you were in there or not.  So I would like to share our experience in The Dragon's Den on a pretty busy Sunday afternoon.

I walked in with my son, Alex, and we were greeted by the guy behind the counter immediately with "Hello, how are you doing today?  Welcome to the Dragon's Den"  Good start so far.  I ask if they carry Flames of War to which sadly he tells me "no, but if you are interested in something we can special order just about anything and have it here in a few days."  He then tells me some of the other games they have including Games Workshop and Yugioh cards, to my son's delight.  After about 10 minutes of looking around in the board game section, we are approached by another associate, whom we find out is Scott, one of the owners who offers to help us.  I asked him some questions about some board games and he starts giving recommendations of different games and offers some good insight into making our purchase. 
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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

P-38 & FW190 Spotlight

by Maurice Kent

For my first WWPD post, I wanted to share some glam shots of a couple of aircraft I really enjoyed painting up for Flames of War: the P-38 Lightning and the Focke-Wulf 190.  Both of these figs are from Battlefront and can be used in mid- and late-war.

First up, the Lightning:

Many gamers may recognize the 'Fork-Tailed Devil' from the classic arcade game 1942.  One of the first overhead plane games, 1942 was definitely the first time I'd seen the cool double-fuselage silhouette.  The Lightning was and remains the coolest WW2 plane.  This is not up for debate.

So cool he gets sidekicks.
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Bolt Action - Review: The Assault Group German MG42 & Special Edition Command

by Dirty Jon

The Assault Group sent us some Germans to review, so naturally Jud used this opportunity to kick me in the pants about getting my Germans done for Bolt Action.  The models include a Panzergrenadier MG-42 with crew and a special edition officer.  I was pretty excited to get another MG42 into my German force, so I tore into these guys immediately!

You get an MG 42 with two crewmen, an ammo bearer and a spotter with binocs.

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

PSC Spray Paint Review

by Dirty Jon

I went up to Huzzah Hobbies to meet my buddy Jasper from WSS Magazine and found Chris unpacking the PSC Army Sprays.  I had been looking for these things in the US, but had yet to see them - SCORE!  I quickly grabbed some cans I needed desperately - US and German Armor.  Let's take a look!

The cans are standard size spray cans, but have this neat ring around the top that shows the actual color.  This is different that the colored tops you usually see.  I found this pretty useful, as it is easy to keep the cans straight.
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Monday, September 23, 2013

Review: Force on Force

by Alex Perez

A contemporary warfare rule set has the daunting task of distinguishing itself from the myriad of other choices available. On the one hand, you have the challenge of how to include the fact that most modern conflicts had a large component of asymmetrical fighting - the inclusion of irregular troops, civilian participation (as by standers or as hostile or friendly mobs), subversion, counter-insurgency, and a great deal of fog of war. On the other, you have the difficulty of meaningfully representing an innumerable and complicated set of combat units originating from as diverse places as Angola and South Africa during their Border wars, to Somalia, modern day Iraq and Afghanistan or the re-imagining of an actual 1986’s cold war conflict between NATO and the Warsaw pact forces.

Much of the book is laid out with photographs mixed in the artwork, rules, and flavor.

Force on Force: Modern Wargaming Rules (FOF), by Ambush Alley Games and published by Osprey Publishing, attempts to do this. FOF goes straight to the core of the problem and uses a rather clever approach - Kinetic Engagements. FOF defines Kinetic Engagements as: “an active engagement in which opposing forces rely on their ability to damage or destroy their opponents in order to accomplish their missions” and explains that these engagements are roughly traditional warfare and symmetrical in nature.

But how do they manage to turn a battle between let’s say, the U.S. Marines and Somali war bands into a symmetrical fight? How they quantify the “ability to damage or destroy their opponents”? FOF's answer is by relying on the quality of the individuals and not in the weapons and equipment themselves. Individuals, according to FOF, are more important than weapons, and all weapons are considered basically analogous (however they do allow bonuses by the type of support that some weapons provide e.g. heavy, medium, etc.), so the emphasis is in the quality of the troops and what they can accomplish as a unit and not the size of the gun.

Another very commendable inclusion on the rules set is that of the asymmetrical nature of certain conflicts in which non-kinetic operations have as their objective political gain rather than actual control of ground. They include rules for insurgency levels, irregular reinforcements and other elements that allow for such encounters, making this rule set a truly modern warfare set.

The addition of "Fog of War" cards keeps the game from getting too predictable

FOF pays a careful attention to the hobby and instructional side of the subject. A wealth of information is available in the book in regards to where miniatures, terrain and information can be acquired to start or enlarge a modern warfare collection.

There is a whole section on Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTPS) for the small units leader.

The rules are very well researched and complete, with a progressive approach to their learning - an infantry section first, followed by a mechanized combat section, followed by a section about air mobile operations, air support, and finally artillery. At the end of each section a “putting it all together” scenario is included to show you how these elements are included, which I think it is a great way train you little by little and making you aware of the vast possibilities within the game.

"Putting It All Together" learning scenario

There is an advanced rules section, and I particularly liked the campaign section and the four scenarios included in the book. They do really give you a feel on how the game can be developed further and how it has a high level of replayability. The book closes with a rather large sample of weapons, units, and vehicles attributes, sample organizations (unit lists) for the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Russia, and Australia (besides those provided in the scenarios which include Chechens, Argentinians, NVA, Israel, and Syria).

So, now that you've talked about the book, how about the actual game?

The mechanics of the game are simple. The game is based on operational units, which are basically squads. It is scenario based, with the objectives, set up, and initiative dictated by the scenario. The golden rule is to roll a 4+ for most actions. All combat, morale and other chance elements are determined by the number of dice that you are allowed to roll, adding or subtracting dice according to circumstances like being in cover, in the open at optimum range of fire, having body armor etc. The quality of the troops determines the type of die that you will use - untrained troops use D6’s, Experienced troops D8’s, Veterans D10’s and Elites D12’s, again emphasizing that the quality of the troops is what gives you the advantage, and the weaponry only provides support.

In all, Shawn and Robby Carpenter, the lead authors of the rule set, did a great job in trying to harness the complexity of the theme and indeed succeeding in creating a true modern warfare system that not only feels modern but rather pulls you in and makes you want to play. However, there are a few points that (perhaps) subtract from an otherwise excellent tome that I believe are worth mentioning.

To begin with the system is very much in spirit like Black Powder or Hail Caesar in the sense that there is no point-system measure at all involved in the suggested lists. Because the game is entirely scenario driven, which makes scenario design all-important and army lists almost irrelevant, you play with the troops and weapons that the scenario gives you. This works very well for many people, including myself, but many others, am sure, will feel uneasy about the lack of a system (relevant or not) that would “balance out” two forces. I understand that due to the game design this points system is not really necessary, nevertheless I am sure that there will be some who will see this as a problem.

The next point is that the game is very lax in its approach to its game mechanics. This is no game for inch-bean counters. Movement, as an example, is suggested to be done as moving the leader of the unit the required length and simply moving the rest of the unit’s elements simply within command range of the leader. Most weapons ranges are multiple times the size of the suggested table sizes, so being in range of fire or not is not an issue, and measuring in general seems to be rather relaxed and an afterthought (for example, I re-read the book at least 3 times and I still have not found out if pre-measuring is allowed in the game, which I assume by context that it is). Basing is stated to be irrelevant, although they do not mention if one should measure form the body or the base to find distances. The scale also seems to be irrelevant, although they do mention that the scenarios and the terrain size for these are built with 15mm-20mm figures in mind and that one simply has to “compensate” table sizes and distances if bigger or smaller scales are to be used, as not to take away from those scenarios that have turn limits and in which distances would make a difference in the outcome of the scenario.

All in all I do believe that this is a very good system considering the complexity of the subject and I believe the authors succeeded in writing a true modern warfare set. The mechanics are simple and the gameplay is quick, yet it does not feel hurried and it has a great deal of tactics involved. FOF has also come up with a series of expansions, which in fact are books that contain scenarios for specific conflicts and they also enjoy the support of a great online community through their forums. The combination of all factors; these scenario books, the rules set and the playing community, makes FOF, in my opinion, a good system to try.

Rulebook provided by Osprey.

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US Late War Nationals 2013 Statistics and Conclusions

US Late War Nationals 2013 Statistics and Conclusions

by Eric Riha and Steven MacLauchlan

Both Eric and I were eager to dive into the dataset provided by the LW Nationals tournament at Historicon. Being nerds to the nth power, we wanted to see what information we could glean from the round by round results of the event, and see if we could prove or disprove any of the prevailing theories on Nationality/List Choice and Player Skill. Since Eric is the real Mathemagician and I am just a lowly mathemagician’s apprentice, I will leave the heavy analysis to Eric. Right up front, I will just get some of the raw data out of the way with some simple slicing and dicing.

Well this doesn't look good for the Russians....then again, what does now-a-days?

Disclaimer: Please remember that this is a relatively small dataset, and dimensions and relationships within the data are not present. So take my analysis with a grain of salt- Eric’s is much more scientific!

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