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Friday, April 28, 2017

Cold War Doubles 2017 - Canadian Misfits and British Toy Cars

Kurt Reese, scholar, gentleman, and general man about town was kind enough to bring in the boards and host a farewell to V3 in Midwar.  A period many of us have enjoyed for its balance, slightly more limited or sensible list options, and all around fun play.  The Rules would be standard I95 fare for a doubles tournament, 2000 pts total per side.  1000 per player.  with the ability to swing a few points to one list or the other.  No similar company types, no tank and tank for example. and no fortified lists.  For a while it appeared I would have no partner...but a friendly Canadian came a calling with only a few weeks to go.

I had only played against Dennis Campbell once, and had found him to be a really nice guy and a fun opponent, but I was worried.  I was worried Dennis (Matt Varnish on his dice devil's blog) wouldn't be as on board with the kind of nonsense list I was hoping to run. But then he sent me his list...and he did not disappoint me.  It was garbage.  Beautiful garbage.  every portee gun he had never run more than once or twice.  A masterpiece in what I thought was uncompetitive list building.  I decided to do him one better.

Below - Dennis Campbell's Portee masterpiece a veritable island of misfit toys

...and I brought the armored cars... as a motor infantry company.  We both paid the extra points for trucks...because nothing says go for it like a movable deathbox with a 5+ save.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Cold War Singles 2017 - Last Call for V3

I was foolish enough to sign up for 6 games of FOW in 2 days.  I had a blast, and even squeezed in a team Yankee game in between, but man, was that a lot of standing and measuring and rolling dice.  cheers to the folks with the stamina to do that at nationals, I haven't yet had the pleasure.

When choosing a list for my last major tournament in V3, I wanted ride out on the horse I rode in on.  The 2nd Household Cavalry.  With the new V4 rules, recce isn't quite as fun anymore.  no more disengaging.  no more exposing ambushes.  the recon move itself has less utility than it did.  the special rule these guys have, to disengage after having shot, would be gone.  So i gathered all my dingos for one more crusade.

Kurt Reese was nice enough to lend me his display board, he carries a spare.

9 platoons (when you include the Staghound HQ platoon)

Priority air would also do a lot of work this tournament.  The v4 rules at first had me excited, but after looking that they had nerfed the Typhoons rockets to be AT 3 in a bombardment, I don't really ever see a reason to be taking them in the future.  I would have used them to kill heavy tanks, but now that's not going to happen.  Cannons are AT 8, and on a side armor for a tiger of.....8. what's the point? Live it up while you can I suppose.
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Monday, April 24, 2017

Bolt Action: DAK converted Panzer III SPG

15 cm sIG 33 auf fahrgestell Panzer III ausf. H

The 15 cm sIG 33 auf fahrgestell Panzer III ausf. H is a very interesting and unique vehicle. As far as I have been able to find there was only ever one of these frankensteins ever built. The conversion was done in the field by some resourceful German soldiers during the fighting in North Africa. The DAK's need for mobile artillery was never really met by what it was sent from Germany, as such many diffrent ways were tried in order to make up this shortfall. The  sIG 33 auf fahrgestell Panzer III ausf. H was one such desperate measure, one of Rommels ”funnies”. It is believed that it was used by the German Afrika Korps Schützen-Regiment.200 (90 leichte Infanterie-Division) attached to the s.I.G Kompanie (Sfl.)708 between 1942-1943 and first saw action in September 1942.
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Friday, April 21, 2017

Bolt Action - Why play early war armies in open events?

By Patch,
I am an early war enthusiast. Of all the armies I have built, painted and played my favourite by far are my early war ones. So why is it that for the most part, I see mid or late war forces being predominately played at open events?  I can only think it is a perception that early war forces are weaker and don't appeal to as many players.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Bolt Action - Armata Romana Part 1

By Casey

Normandy, Pegasus Bridge, Iwo Jima, Stalingrad, El Alamein, and...well I could go on and on. These are all famous battles we play or base our forces on. We have seen the movies, documentaries, and painted up the models to reenact scenes from Band of Brothers a dozen times. Looking at my Bolt Action armies I saw USMC, Germans, Soviets, lots of Soviets, DAK, and more Soviets. These were all armies I had played dozens of times and knew them like Patton knew his 2nd Armored Division. I realized I needed and wanted to step out of my comfort zone. I wanted to start from scratch, no models, no color plates, no preconceived notions of the army I was going to build. What started as a whisper from good friend Bryan Cook soon turned into a spark... Armata Romana...The Romanian Army in World War II.

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Bolt Action: Ghost Army Podcast episode 24

The Ghost Army Podcast: Episode 24

Episode 24 of the GAP is bursting with freedom as our American side of the crew rejoin the cast after last episode's break. In segment one, Casey, Patch and Brad discuss the joys of researching little known information about these armies we know and love, Romanians, how good it is to play games and the pros and cons of early war listing. After a short break, Seamus and Brad discuss Brad's Bolt Action World Series run through event, Adepticon and lots of little things we have been inching to discuss. 

Join us for a listen and please let us know what you think on the Bolt Action Alliance Facebook page.

You can find this fine podcast in the iTunes store or you can download directly HERE.
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Version 4 - DAK Panzers vs. the "Honey Swarm" Counterattack AAR


By Tom Burgess

In my efforts to give Flames of War Version 4 an intensive work out, I feel it is important to test "extreme list." One such extreme list that has been noted by noted by many as perhaps overly unbalanced is the "Honey Swarm." With Version 4 allowing multiple formations, it's possible to get well over 40 tanks in this list! Fortunately one of my good gaming friends, Charles, just so happened to have a huge collection of "Axis & Allies" Honeys that he was able to pick up dirt cheap a few years back. A fitting match for my "Axis & Allies" DAK Panzers. So Charles and I meet at Hard Knox Games in Elizabethtown, KY for an epic clash of these historical opponents.

Player skill would be a factor in this playtest game. Charles is not a "competition" player at all. He has been playing Flames of War as long as I have, but not nearly as much. Additionally this was his first game using the Version 4 rules. So our game was a learning/teaching game for Charles as much as it was an experiment to see how our two forces might be expected to perform under the new rules.

Charles' force included three Squadrons (V4 Formations) of Honeys. Two of the Squadrons had a Troop (V4 Unit) of M3 Grants as their 4th troop. His force was as follows:

1st Squadron (Formation)
HQ Troop - 3 x M3 Honey Tanks - 5pts
1st Troop - 3 x M3 Honey Tanks - 5pts
2nd Troop - 3 x M3 Honey Tanks - 5pts
3rd Troop - 3 x M3 Honey Tanks - 5pts
4th Troop - 3 x M3 Grant Tanks - 18pts

2nd Squadron (Formation)
HQ Troop - 3 x M3 Honey Tanks - 5pts
1st Troop - 3 x M3 Honey Tanks - 5pts
2nd Troop - 3 x M3 Honey Tanks - 5pts
3rd Troop - 3 x M3 Honey Tanks - 5pts
4th Troop - 3 x M3 Grant Tanks - 18pts

3rd Squadron (Formation)
HQ Troop - 3 x M3 Honey Tanks - 5pts
1st Troop - 3 x M3 Honey Tanks - 5pts
2nd Troop - 3 x M3 Honey Tanks - 5pts
3rd Troop - 3 x M3 Honey Tanks - 5pts
4th Troop - 3 x M3 Honey Tanks - 5pts

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Bolt Action AAR: Tunisia 1943

By Bryan,

Welcome to a battle report from a huge game of Bolt Action my clubmates and I had recently, set in Tunisia 1943. The armies were 4000pts a side, with green US troops vs the veteran Germans. The mission was Key Positions and the dice bag was indeed heavy, with close to 60 order dice in it!
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On The Road: Episode 8: Cold Wars 2017

Episode 8: Live from Cold Wars 2017

Huge podcast from the "Roadies".... Mitch and Sean head to Lancaster PA for Cold Wars 2017. A very jammed packed episode since we had so much to talk about!

  • We speak to the Flames of War crowd about Version 4 that came out the week before. 
  • Sean and Jesse Sheaffer do a quick AAR after playing V4
  • We speak to the folks who played Secret Hitler with us! 
  • After Friday's FoW doubles event we speak to some of the folks we played
  • In the last segment Sean "Blitz Move" Sarah gets in berzerker mode as we hold a "Live" podcast at Cold Wars featuring the guys from Dice Devils and of course the Best's, the father/son team who are huge friends of the the show

Twitter: @MitchWWPD

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Monday, April 10, 2017

Behind Enemy Lines Episode 34

Download the episode here
The latest episode of the craziest little wargaming podcast is ready for your listening!

Part 1 sees the guys talking about the new news from the gaming world...and tentacles!
Part 2 is all about the local gaming scene here in Auckland, including tournament details and the goings-on at TCOW.
In Part 3, the guys replay their interview with Phil Yates about Version 4 Flames of War.

Crazy will happen!

Want to join the conversation? Please sound off in the comments below, or let us know on our forum!
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Thursday, April 6, 2017

Bolt Action - Thinking Objectively

Hello, everyone!

Seamus, the Weekend General, here with an objective discussion on... well... objectives!

One thing that is often underrated in games of Bolt Action is objective markers. Of the 12 missions in the main rulebook, 5 missions call for objective markers of some sort, in quantity from 1 to 5 in a game. In my nearly four years of Bolt Action I've seen dice used as objective markers, I've seen colored beads used (some crafty ones with an Allied star or Balkenkreuz, too), I've seen flags, I've seen printed objective markers such as those made by Historique, poker chips, and many other variations. The ones that really stick in my mind, though, are ones that fit in with the table and especially those that are themed for the army. It's a great way to add character to your objective games and get your army "into" the table. One of the big events in Chicagoland, Operation Sting, actually goes so far as to require each person have a themed objective marker for one particular mission. How well the marker matches the theme of your army is factored into your overall points for the tournament as well. One year I did the equipment containers from Foundry Miniatures for my Fallschirmjager. This year, I did up this little number for my Commandos... a British officer with a map and some tea. The table was hand made from plasticard and for a first attempt at 28mm furniture wasn't bad, though I know I can do better.

Recently, I was turned on to some generic objective markers being made by a local business called Mercenary Miniatures. I knew these guys from their commission paint work in the past, and have even been lucky enough to roll dice with them at various points. They had brought early prototypes of the objective markers to a game and I was pretty impressed, so pressed them for a set to check out myself. They showed up in the mail a few days later and with kid-at-Christmas interest I set in.

Right off the bat, I noticed that the resin they used was different than what I'm used to with tanks. It's a bright white resin, and very smooth in the flat areas. At first I was somewhat concerned that it would be brittle but even dropping one and trying to break another they held up well. There are a few air bubbles here and there, but nothing that couldn't be fixed with just a little Green Stuff after I had given them the standard bath in warm, soapy water.

A quick prime with some Krylon black, and I was ready to paint. I have to say, they painted up pretty quickly and easily! I waffled on whether to do the tarps in Splittermuster, or perhaps Plane Tree, but in the end I opted for a more generic green color, as may be found in most armies. This, for me, makes the objective markers a little more universal so that they don't look out of place with any of my armies (a real boon, given the glacial pace at which I complete projects). If you're only using them for one army, doing an army-specific pattern such as a nation's unique camouflage would go that extra little bit to really set them off.

I'm on the fence about whether or not to add some tufts of grass to the base, but I figured all the feet trampling around the supply cache would get rid of any grass so I'm not sure. Maybe some static grass? We'll see how I feel as I get them on the table a few times.

All in all, though, I am pretty happy with the results. These objectives run for only $10 US each, or the set for $25 US. That's not bad at all, and for me it's worth the price of admission for something a little more scenic in my Bolt Action games requiring objectives. I suppose that means this was a subjective discussion, then.

Edit: I've since heard from the guys at Mercenary Miniatures. They had sent me prototypes, and for production runs will be using a more standard resin as you can see in this pic. I'll definitely be picking up some of these as well, both to compare and because it'll be nice to have a few more for games that might need them.

Seamus, often going by the nom de guerre “Weekend General,” is a long-time wargamer and sometime contributor to various podcasts and online forums, based in Chicago. Occasionally dabbling in other miniatures games, it is Bolt Action that really captures his interest.

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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Episode 7 On the Road: Warmachine Tournament at the Curio Cavern

In this episode Sean and Mitch head down to the Curio Cavern Springfield, VA on a crisp MLK Monday to check out Warmachine's new edition and the folks who play it. 

Sean even plays in the tournament. We've got an explanation of the game, interviews with players and with the tournament organizer Andrew. 

For those of you who don't know what it is, Warmachine is an "epic" 28mm miniatures game focusing on steam powered machines and fury powered warbeasts fighting it out on a 4x4 gaming table. Most armies sport around 20 or 30 models and rounds last an hour and a half in this highly competitive tournament scene game.

By Privateer Press, Warmachine and it's sister game Hordes (both playable together and interchangeable) have been around since the early 2000's and the game is one of the highest selling build and paint miniatures games on the market. 

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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Bolt Action - Reviewing The New Pacific Australian Range By Eureka Miniatures

With all the excitement of the upcoming new Bolt Action Pacific campaign book later this year it is natural that folks are starting to plan forces around new models, lists and forces enclosed in that book. While we have not seen the exact contents yet, Warlord has made it clear that the Australians will be fully represented and have just released a box of 10 excellent new models for perspective Australian players to collect. Coinciding with release of these exciting new rules Eureka Miniatures has released an entire new range of jungle humping Aussies for us to round out our forces.

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Monday, April 3, 2017

Great War to World War III in a Weekend!

I decided to take a break from all of the articles on Version 4 of Flames of War and write about some of the gaming and painting I have been up to. Plus it would be good to write about something less contentious that will not draw the ire of our readers. In many respects I have made the mental conversion to V4 for FoW already and I am excited for the release so I can play it in public. I know I have two more V3 events coming up at Cold Wars, and plan to use that as a farewell tour and put V3 in the past. So with my lack of interest in V3 I was able to really get into playing some other great games over the last few weeks.

Great War
A few weeks ago I wrote an article that showed off my new GW French and Yanks and since I finished them I have been itching to use them in a game. I will once again shamelessly plug playing GW; it is such a different game than the WWII version and really tests how well you can handle an infantry force.  For those of you who listen to the Why We Fight Podcast know that I was excited to test my new forces at the GW tournament held at Huzzah Hobbies on 11 Feb.

In the weeks before the event I went back and forth over what list I was going to run. It came down to the two I wrote with Wayne Turner and were released via the FoW app; The USMC or the Harlem Hellfighters. I feel both lists have their strong points and would be fun to play, however the New Yorker (and former NY National Guardsman) in me made the Harlem Hellfighters an obvious pick. The best way to think of the Hellfighter’s are as Fearless Trained French troops. In the game the Hellfighters cannot be on a list with any other US troops and use all of the French National rules. They also get to re-roll all Morale Checks which did help me out during the tournament.

Harlem Hellfighters Company
HQ Cmd Rifle Team (25 pts)
HQ Support 2 x 37mm guns (100 pts)
Half Rifle Platoon (200 pts)
Half Rifle Platoon (200 pts)
French Half Rifle Platoon [F/V] (250 pts)
HMG Platoon (3 MGs) (190 pts)
Mortar Platoon 2 x Type 58 Mortars (180 pts)
Light Tank Platoon 3 x FT-17 [C/T] (2x 37mm 1xMG) (345 pts)
Total: 1500

I know, I have stated I was not an advocate of tanks in the game, but I wanted to try to get those funny painted tanks on the table.  If I had to do it over again I would have taken another Hellfighters platoon and a French Flame Section, maybe another HMG.
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Saturday, April 1, 2017

The Best Game You Will Ever Play!

Still unsure about Flames of War Version 4? Shot you bolt in Bolt Action? Not warming up to Star Wars based games? Then I have just the game for you! In a few months we will all playing a great new game and I want to tell you about it before it hits Kickstarter. The folks who developed it provided me with an advanced copy and I have been playing non-stop ever since. The other day they asked me to send it back so another reviewer can play it and I said “no way, it’s mine”. The beauty of this game is how you can use components from other games to augment the core set. So I now have a use for those command and staff teams that will no longer be used in FoW. I may even throw in some unpainted Napoleonic figures I have lying about!

The beauty of the game is how the two players create a lot of the game in real time. The mechanics are very simple; during your turn you can move, take an action, or do nothing at all. The core box that will be offered on Kickstarter features old Dir Cast Metal tanks from Corgi. These were the bomb of toys back in the 1970’s and are now reproduced for this great game. The other playing pieces that come with this set are Yoga-Joe’s, and will offer the most seasoned Grognard a tough time when using or facing these guys. Also included in this box are the rules, which are about 500 pages long (without punctuation) however they explain every situation you can get yourself into when you play. Also included and which is key are the related books Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Persig and The Art of the Deal by Donald Trump, two life changing literary classics.

The Unboxing
The great thing about the game is that it is ready to play right from the box! Well ready to play after you read the rule book. The beauty of the rules is that you retain none of them and if you do not like a rule you can change or ignore it at any time. So after spending a month going over the readings, I was ready for my first game. The models look great and they add so much flavor to the game.

The Key Mechanic
The most important aspect of the game is how the player deals with both the rules and their opponent. It is important to have an opinion on everything, no matter your expertise or sense of importance, and communicate that opinion in the most passive aggressive way possible. This style of play came about during the first turn as my opponent started to move. They went for the tactic to ignore all movement rules and kept looking for me to object. I said “Stop your tank” a few times and they kept going, and crushed my Zen-Lotus Warrior. What I should have said is “don’t you think you have moved far enough?” which would have stopped the tank in its tracks. Same thing happened in the shooting step, but I remembered my lesson from before and said “haven’t you shot up enough stuff?”

For combat, players have the choice of using a dice of any type, a coin flip, pulling cards from a deck, or even rock paper scissors (lizard, Spock for advanced players) with the winner being the player who scores the highest or lowest (as agreed upon) winning. Want a challenge, play this game with D20’s!

Like all other games, it comes down to the tanks. Tanks can shoot any of the opponents pieces, except for a Yoga-Joe, but it can run over the Yoga-Joe by accident thus killing it.  Unused playing pieces brought in from other games cannot attack, but can be attacked at any time. The defender can suggest that a player shoots at a piece like the Mid-Late War German Artillery Staff team by stating “OK fine, how about shooting at this guy?”.

What I love about the game is how during the course of play create an experience which is unique and rewarding. Unlike all other games, the rules state upfront that this game was written for you and you only and it will be perfect, just like yourself.
Another great aspect of the game is that during play your opponent takes notes in a note pad and you do the same when they play. These notes have no bearing on the game, however they are slipped into your game box for you to read later. It is best to wait until 3-4 players have dropped notes in your box so you do not know who wrote it.

Special Characters
The game revolves around using your tanks and special characters. The box comes with its own unique set of special characters; the Yoga-Joe’s. Each Yoga-Joe model has a unique pose witch correlates to a special power. Players can use the special powers as stated in the rule book or make them up as they go. Normally a Yoga-Joe can use their power only once, however they can try to use it again and if your opponent does not say “didn’t you use that model already?” then you are free to use it again.
Other special characters can be brought in as long as they are anthropomorphic and retain the qualities they historically had.
So on turn two I played the Giant Gunny which stopped a tank!

Later on I used the Churchill creamer to persuade a Yoga-Joe to surrender. Being from India and staunchly anti-empire it didn’t work at first; until I found out the Yoga-Joe was lactose intolerant.

The game was tight until we had a huge standoff between two major religions, and following the “agree to disagree” rule the game ended. I learned my lesson and for my next game I used the "Peace is our Profession" rule and called in an Arc-Light strike!

I loved this game and so will you. If you win it’s because you are the best and if you lose it’s because of the fact the opponent cheated or that the game was flawed. I also noticed that when I didn’t play the game for a long time, I became a bigger expert at it.

I recommend this game to everyone and I know it will be a huge hit!

Twitter @MitchWWPD

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