Sunday, April 16, 2017

And now for something completely different

Yesterday we all gathered at Wendel's home to play a game that is completely outside our comfort zone. This was a modern game using the Osprey 'Black Ops' rules. I have to say that I like the uncertainty of the card activated play. It makes the game move along as well as being exciting and uncertain.
The scenario was a rescue attempt by three separate groups trying to save a person of importance being held by a Somali like warlord and his minions.
The players were our host Wendel, who ran the Warlord and his minions, Bill who was U.S Special Forces, Jamie who was members of the standing army for this war torn country and myself as an Italian counter terrorist force. Wow that was a long sentence.
Her are a couple of pictures of the playing area. I did not take any others a s the game was very engrossing and exciting.
You can see that Wendel has been engaged in a very large project having built all of the buildings from scratch. Well done!
Each player entered from a different side of the table and none of us knew where the hostage was being held or where any troops were in the area. It was night time and everyone needed to roll for spotting. Noise played a big factor in being spotted and alerting the camp. If the hostage holders were successful in hearing us or spotting us they could the raise the alarm.
The game play was great as it had a very Hollywood feel at the beginning where we could move about in the dark taking out sentries without raising the alarm yet we were not assured that this would not happen. For most of us shooting was very risky due to the great noise factor but my band were equipped with silencers and suppressors for our weapons giving my team a large advantage or so I thought.
As you look at the second picture, my team entered on the right side across the river. Bill entered from the side by the bottom of the picture and Jamie came in by the upper left corner.
We had to move about searching the buildings that were marked by poker chips that were numbered. Wendel had corresponding chips that indicated what was in the building if anything.
So each group went about searching for the hostage and eliminating guards as we went from house to house. My group had a devil of a time trying to kill the terrorists even when we surprised them in their sleep at point blank range. My die rolls were terrible while Wendel displayed an amazing ability to roll 5's and 6's all day! The only thing that saved us was our near silent weapons.
While I searched my area and found a few sleeping minions Bill working in his area found the main barracks and a large group of minions sleeping inside. To get into the building he went up on the roof area and entered through a second story tower. You can see this building in the lower right hand corner of the compound in the second picture.
Meanwhile Jamie's team was working it's way into the center of the compound searching houses and eliminating guards. At this time a fortuitous event took place. While I was searching a building near the center of town I found the hostage, killed his guard and was ready to get him off the board to victory.
Then all hell broke loose!
While entering the barracks Bill's team opened fire on a couple of terrorists creating enough noise to set off the general alarm. The compound became a beehive of activity and none of it productive to my cause. All I wanted to do was sneak off the table!
A general firefight broke out all over the compound with everyone's teams taking hits. I started looking like my team was in the shower room from the movie 'The Rock' and we were not the guys on the second floor.
This was another likable part of the rules as now in an open fight everything moved quickly and it became very hazardous to anyone involved.
Well to make a long story short I did not get the hostage out of the complex. I did manage to kill the
Warlord but it would have been up to Bill or Jamie to get the hostage out. Sorry Jamie but my money would have been on Bill if the game went a bit longer as he had more team members left and was in a good position, but real life called and we decided to call the game at this point.
So in conclusion I have to say I would recommend these rules for modern combat on a one to one level. We did not get bogged down in too much detail but there was more than enough to provide suspense and action.
Take care and as always thanks for stopping by.
Oh yes I left out the part where I made a dastardly attempt to take out a couple of Jamie's team members who were in the path of my escape route. Sorry Jamie.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Our first Mike Adams Memorial game

Hello to my friends and guests.
This is my first posting since our long time friend and fellow gamer Mike Adams has passed away. We never realized how much Mike has been missed. This untimely loss has left a huge whole in our group that will take a long time to close.
So in memory of Mike we will from time to time play Ancient games in his memory. To this purpose we played the first game yesterday at Bill's house. The cast of characters was Bill and Wendel as the evil Persian empire and me as Alexander the Great. We have been gaming with Mike for over 35 years and thought it fitting for our first game to be just us, hoping that Mike was there in spirit.

So Bill put together a game using Tactica rules that he made some special changes to. Most of these changes were not explained to the poor Alexander player until they unfolded or were stumbled upon.

Here are some pictures of the initial set up.
After the set up was complete came the first surprise. Bill says - Greg roll a die. I do this and get a 5. Ok he says, remove to medium infantry units from your army. So I think to myself will these come in as reinforcements or what? After I grudgingly remove the two units Bill says now roll another die. This time a 4 is rolled. Ok says Bill now remove one cavalry unit. Good grief! The Macedonians are outnumbered as it is and now we are removing all of these needed troops. So again I comply and choose a cavalry unit to remove. Well this damned strange but hay I want to roll dice and kick butt.

The four pictures above show the first move from a couple of angles and each end. Both sides were being aggressive at this point. The Macedonians rushing to close into melee and the Persians trying to get into bow range.

As you can see from above the cavalry is heavily engaged on each flank. In the center the Macedonians start to take some heavy losses to the archers. On the other hand the Macedonians are succeeding in the fight on the left flank and holding their own on the right.

Above you can see that the cavalry on the Macedonian left is making inroads against the Persian right eventually taking out the cavalry and chariots clearing the way for a sweep and turning of the Persian right side. At the same time the Macedonians are still keeping the Persians at bay on their right flank.
But the middle keeps getting shellacked in the middle from those endless swarms of arrows. Time now for another of the unpleasant surprises. Bill has modeled four units of Persian heavy infantry to represent them as they should be. A row of heavy infantry in front with 2 rows or archers behind them. Very pretty. So the new rule he created is that they get to fire over their intervening troops to fire salvos of arrows at the enemy 24 shots for 6's per unit - four units times 24 is 96 dice a turn for 6's. Good grief Mike show some mercy here and flip a die or two!

Well the end is not pretty. Macedonian pike unis are fleeing the field having had enough of the stinging Persian arrows leaving in such numbers that victory was not possible for Alexander this day.
Win to the Persians and congratulations to Wendel and Bill.
In all fairness Bill did try to balance the game by weakening the Persian heavy infantry once the front rank was destroyed and there was a rule that if the Macedonians could kill Darius the Macedonians would win no matter the number of losses they suffered. Sadly this rule was not made clear until after we had called the game. Oh yes, I never did find out why I had to remove those troops.
Here are a couple of pictures of the troops.

 And the cast of players.
So anyway we all had a great time getting together and remembering the fallen as old warriors tend to do along with bemoaning the state of the world and how much better it would be if we ran things.
Mike I hope you enjoyed watching.Laughing at our crude attempts to match your humor and certainly matching your die rolls!
Good gaming,

Monday, November 14, 2016

The passing of a friend and fellow gamer

Mike Adams passed away this morning from complications of a surgery he recently underwent.
Mike was a great friend to many, myself included. His passion was 25/28mm Ancients. Specifically early to middle Roman armies and Greek and Macedonian armies.
Mike was always ready with a joke or quick comeback and had a heart that was larger than life for his friends. We have gamed in Mikes basement every summer for the past few years and have enjoyed every game.
Mike is survived by his wife who has wholeheartedly supported his hobby and passion. He also leaves behind a group of gaming friends and acquaintances far too large to name. He will be missed by many, especially by our little band of dice rollers who will never find another like Mike.
Mike, I hope that you are rolling 6's in Heaven and if you think about it, send a few our way.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Juba I vs. The Legions of Rome

My honored followers we had a very special game day at Mike's house yesterday. Mike and his wife Mary served us cake to celebrate Mike's birthday and the announcement of his well deserved retirement from the railroad. Mike has had a life long involvement with trains starting with building them and lately, repairing them. On top of all of this it was the last game our this years campaign season.

Our cast of characters was, Mike, Wendel, Ken, Bill, Phil and myself. Unfortunately Phil was called away and could not participate. So we had Wendel, Bill and Ken as the Generals of Rome and Mike and I commanded Juba's warriors of North Africa.

So here are some pictures of our initial set up.
Below we have the army of Juba I.
 And below we have the army of Rome.

The Africans gained the initiative and decided to move first.
 Where they promptly received some casualties from a Roman balista and a unit of archers.
The second turn saw the initiative move to Rome but they allowed Juba's army to move first. So we advanced again taking still more annoying missile hits.

Finally we get to close for some good old hack and slash! and a mighty blood bath it was.

Juba's troops moved steadily towards the Roman main line while the Romans were using a wait and see tactic. This allowed the Romans to inflict as many casualties as possible with their formidable missile units before closing into melee. In addition, this also cuts down the amount of room on the table preventing any troops that would be able to flank their line from having much space to work in while also buying more time to inflict casualties.
Way up at the top of the above picture you can see Mike and Ken having at it with Mike trying to thrash Ken's cavalry so as to obtain a clear shot at the Roman left flank. Meanwhile Wendel and I are having at it on the Roman right flank as  Iattempt do gain an advantage also.
The picture below shows Mikes success at crushing Ken's cavalry wetting up the chance to move on the Roman flank. Go Mike!!
 Below on my flank I was having less success against Wendel and he was able to get some light cavalry and infantry past me. All this time Bill was directing traffic and annoying us with those damned missiles.
 Another shot of Mike's advantage on this flank.
 Finally the battle line collide and the butchering begins.
 For four turns we traded blows but the Romans had the upper hand having bloodied us with the missile attacks while we were advancing.
 And eventually Bill's tactic won the day for Rome.
I have to say that Bill has used this ploy on many occasions and has won a number of games with it. Very clever Bill.
So Rome has won another battle and has added North Africa to the Empire. 
Congratulations to Bill, Ken and Wendel!
Even though we took it on the chin Mike and I had a great time also.
Here again are some pictures of Mike's toys. I apologize for the quality of the pictures as my camera fu was off.

The figure below was painted by the very talented Paul Innes. Unfortunately my picture does this no justice. This figure is stunning in the flesh so to say.

 So thanks s always for stopping by and I hope to have more in the near future. Good gaming,

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Thanks to my loving wife!

Well I have recently celebrated my 65th birthday. My dear wife Helen, who has not only tolerated my obsession with little toy soldiers but has also encouraged it, purchased a most wonderful gift.
She has given me a very large statue of one of my favorite Hollywood heroes, John Wayne.

We will be celebrating our 43rd wedding anniversary soon and I can honestly say I have enjoyed every year! Thank you dear, love Greg.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Carthage invades Sicily

Welcome to another report on the campaign season at Mike's house.
Yesterday we gathered to have Carthage face off against a Syracuse army in defense of Sicily.
The gamers were - Mike our host, Bill, Ken, Jake (Bill's son), myself and special guest Mike Cosentino.
Carthage was commanded by Bill, Mike C. and Ken while Syracuse was commanded by Mike A., Jake and myself.
After a bit of our usual banter and patting ourselves on the back we set up our troops into their starting positions. For Carthage Bill commanded their right flank, Mike C. their center and Ken their left flank. For Syracuse Jake commanded the left flank opposite hid Dad, Mike A. had our center and I had the right flank. So we had Bill facing off against his son Jake, both Mikes facing off in the center and Ken and I having at it on our end.
Here is how we looked at the start.
Carthage below.
 Syracuse below.
We had Jake roll our initiative dice throughout the game for as we all know the youngsters roll much better than their elders. Must be because they have not used u all their luck yet!
So we won the initiative and started to put our strategy into play.
Overall we were planning to sweep the Carthaginian left flank and the roll up their battle line. To do this takes a bit of time as we need to completely defeat their cavalry defense in that area thus allowing us to swing to our left and flank their troops.Our center made a modest advance and our left flank was intending to use our light troops to sting the heavy infantry facing them. Carthage had other plans as can be seen below.
It seems that Carthage was desperate to close with their heavy infantry and begin slugging it out. This tactic denies us the time required to defeat their cavalry  and sweep their battle line.
So turn 2 sees us winning the initiative again (go Jake) and we continue to develop our attack.
Jake deploys his archers as best he can to maximize the number of dice he can roll.More dice means more chances to hit.

 Carthage continues their rapid advance.
And Ken and I engage our cavalry in what would be costly to Carthage but time consuming to Syracuse.
We lost our third initiative roll but the odds of keeping the initiative rapidly declines as each turn goes by. Spoiler alert - Jake had a 3 to 1 success rate on gaining the initiative! Woo Hoo!!
Turns 3 and 4 find the light troops on our left flank gone but having inflicted a fair amount of damage before being driven off the field. Also the Carthaginians have charged into the waiting Syracuse line. Now the fight is on and a desperate one it became.
Above we can see Jake and his dad Bill going to it. Seems that Jake had the drop on his father and was rolling more dice per turn thus averaging more hits.
 In the center Mike and Mike were toe to toe and exchanging hits left and right.

And darn if I wasn't still trying to defeat Ken on my right! A tremendous defense was fought by Ken tying up my troops all game!
So turns 5 and 6 find everything depending on the fight in the middle. As both Mikes duke it out the tension kept rising but to no avail for Carthage. Mike A. made 2 critical saves and kept units on the table while Mike C. was having trouble convincing his troops to stay.
Hooray for Mike A. our gracious and high rolling host!
All in all another great game at Mikes. Sadly our last game for this season will be next month. Maybe we can get a few in at my place over the Winter.
Special thanks to Mike Cosentino for gaming with us and all of our regular participants. And a hearty welcome to Jake who we hope can attend many more games in the future.
So thanks to all who make this possible and especially Mike Adams our gracious host. As always here we have some Mike eye candy!

Thanks for reading and good gaming!