Thursday, February 28, 2013

Reaper Kickstarter Vampire Boxes sighted!

So, the minis are starting to arrive! Soon, the shipping begins! I hope they go with alphabetical order otherwise with 18,000+ people this could be a long wait!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Fantascape Bases

Well, my order has been shipped by Fantascape. This is a new company (at least to me) that is in the UK that makes unique bases. I ordered some Artillery bases as I am in need of them and provides a good opportunity to review them.

These are the bases I bought for Artillery. They are 90mm and should do the trick nicely.

They also offer a variety of other "thin bases" including these that are for "prone" figures (yea those cool figures that we find it a bitch to base). They also make two types of bases with a "tab" insert for the integral bases on miniatures. Just file them down and they slip right into the slot.

I plan to review them when they arrive. They just shipped today!

Check them out!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Robotech RPG Tactics Miniatures!

The little nerd and kid in me both cried out YES! This has been one of my favorite cartoon series in my youth and I hope to see this launch! I know this will be my next Kickstarter along with Crossover Miniatures one that is about to launch this spring also. I recall racing into the house from school and cranking up the TV loud to.....

I just hope they bring the Invid and Robotech masters in! Oh man I loved the Cycles and the Invid best, the Southern Cross mecha was amazing with the helicopters and tanks!

Robotech RPG Tactics

Prepare for invasion! Robotech® RPG Tactics™ is a fast paced strategy battle game that brings the epic combat of Robotech to your tabletop. Take command of the fighting forces of the United Earth Defence Force valiantly defending Earth from alien annihilation, or lead the massive clone armies of the Zentradi Empire to recover an alien artifact of immense power and enslave mankind.
Robotech®RPG Tactics™ is designed in partnership with the makers of the popular Robotech®RPG, Palladium Games, and Ninja Division. Ninja Division brings together the design talents of Soda Pop Miniatures and Cipher Studios, makers of Super Dungeon™ Explore, Relic Knights™, Helldorado™, and Anima Tactics™.
Ninja Division is developing an all new, streamlined rules system that allows you to relive the massive battles on your tabletop at home as a stand-alone game or to enhance your Robotech®RPG adventures. This fast-paced, action oriented system is being developed by lead designers: David Freeman designer of the popular Ultimate Fighting System CCG™ and developer on the Lord of the Rings TMG™; and renowned game designer Alessio Cavatore former designer of the Warhammer™ and Warhammer 40k™ systems by Games Workshop, designer of Kings of War™ by Mantic Games, and owner of River Horse Game Studio.
In addition, Ninja Division is bringing their years of miniature design and manufacturing experience to produce an expansive and dynamic range of plastic game pieces, sure to please fans of Robotech and serious collectors alike.
Support our goal to bring you this exciting product and range of game pieces by staying tuned for news about the Robotech®RPG Tactics™ Kickstarter Campaign, coming this spring!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Bolt Action Economics: Unit Costs vs Unit Value


As with all games systems we have a fine line between what is cool and what is practical that we can add to our armies. We all like to win (least once in a while) and have a good time. We all hate the fact when you have something cool on the gaming table and it gets blown to hell before you got to use it. We all have been there and done that! Now some instances you can’t help but there is also some principles you can follow. I call this simply Bolt Action Economics.
What is Bolt Action Economics or BAE? A simple concept, but a hard thing to master as this isn’t about min/maxing but getting the best for your points you spend.  Think of each point you have as money, so a 1000 point game is $1000 bucks. So, you don’t want to just throw away $100o do you? No, you want to get something for it. This is a concept that sometimes people forget in wargaming, getting a return on what you put into your army. You have to consider the cost of the unit and the ability that it can do something in such a way that allows it to earn value or otherwise it should not be in your list.
Here is a good example:
A Regular Tiger I tank is 395pts, a pretty high cost there. Now, you do get two MMGs (one co-axial and one forward facing), a super-heavy anti-tank gun and a 10+ heavy tank defense.
If it goes up against another tank, for example a Russian T-34-85 tank, that is a Regular also costing 235pts. If the tank can kill this tank, it still is in the hole earning another 160 points. Pretty much another tank or a vehicle of some substance in points becomes the only worthwhile target. Otherwise you are wasting your points (or money rather) with something that can’t kill enough to make it worthwhile.
Look at an infantry squad, say we go Veteran here, add 5 men and a LMG to the package, so it is roughly 150points. Could the Tiger kill it to make some points? Let’s look:
  • If it fires the MMGs (both) it could dish out 8 shots, not bad, but now let’s factor in long range, soft cover (at least) and the tank moved. So, I need a 6 to hit. So, unless I am a lucky bastard you will hit maybe twice. As they are Veterans, well you need a 5 to wound with a MMG.
  • If it fires the main gun using HE, you get d3 hits (that is assuming you hit), now the other player can opt to take half that if they go to ground. So, you may get at best 2 hits, with a crappy +1 to wound and a single pin! Yea, feel the excitement! If you fired the hard round, if you hit (bear in mind a 1 in 5 or 6, depending on range and cover (could be better or worse). So, congrats you kill one and get a pin marker. Whooo! Throw in a MMG, so you may or may not get a bonus kill.
  • Now if you shot at a fat target like an Artillery Observer, maybe that gamble will pay off. Net you a few points, but then again the odds are slim to hit him if he is in cover, small unit, range and if you moved are all factors. Again, you could be facing a 5 or 6 on average…a 1 in 3 chance to hit! Sure shoot that AT round, short of a 1 you will kill him.
Yea, that Tiger isn’t looking so great now eh? Not to talk you out of taking a Tiger I tank or anything else, just know what you are getting into. If your opponent shows up with cheap vehicles or infantry heavy, you have some serious work cut out for you. Plus that Tiger sinks a great deal of points that gives you less dice in favor of a stronger tank, one that is harder to hurt but not impossible to beat with someone that is prepared.

Friday, February 22, 2013

The British Army Book - The new Superman of Bolt Action

Well, info is leaking out about the British Army book for Bolt Action and all I can say is the picture above is fitting, very army of Supermen!

The Brits get their usual Bombardment ability and free Artillery Observer, but let's add more cool crap! As an added bonus they can pick one of the 5 options to reflect the diversity of the British Empire:
  • +1 die in shooting for every three men in the squad. (Nine rifles roll twelve dice.)
  • +1 die in cc for every three men as above.
  • Auto pass tests to assault, like Japan.
  • Before taking an order test, if enemies are within 12", take a test to remove one pin, then take the test as normal.
  • opponents can't react to a charge by firing. So you get to charge unordered units without concern.
The first one makes Hitler's Buzzsaw an utter joke. Yay, I get one bonus dice if I pay for a 20 point machine gun, best you can get is two bonus dice to a squad if you can take two LMGS. Now the British can squeeze 3 shots with 9 guys! GAH!
The second is nice if you are a SMG heavy army.
The third is again great for assault armies.
The fourth is just a great general one, reduce those pins! Yes please!
The last, so now you can charge without worry!
I would like to say as a German player: "We is das gut rules fur uz!"
It is cool they get lots of good vehicle options like the Kangaroo and apparently commando options and such (hey wait my FJ didn't get any cool rules but US Airborne and British get them?)
Wow, going to be hell for us Germans for a bit....

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Bolt Action Sunday: First Gathering

On Sunday, I managed to rally some of the Bolt Action gamers scattered around the area to Armada games to what I hope turns into a once a month gaming outing for people to be able to play a variety of players and armies. We gathered about noon when the store opened and started to setup a pair of gaming tables and pair off. We had two German, one British and one Soviet player. We also had a new gent by the name of Doug join us that has played a great deal of FOW and was interested in the game. Herb from the Suncoast Skirmisher event also dropped by to hang out.

Andrew offered to let Doug use his army and I paired him up with Dan since they never played. Mike and I paired off on the city table while the other group took over the river/country table. Herb grabbed some Tai food and sat down with one of the books to read the rules and watch the games.

Mike and I had never played before as he usually organizes and runs events at Darkside when I attend so this was a real treat for us to play. This was my first game against Soviets and this game was a huge learning curve. Plus, I only had three full games prior and I helped run the event at the Suncoast Skirmishers with my first attempt to use vehicles and transports.

I had:
2nd Veteran Lt. with Assault Rifle
2 Squads of 7 Veterans FJ with 7 Assault Rifles
Veteran Pioneer squad with a flamethrower, 5 SMGs and a rifle (asst)
251/1 Transport
Veteran Forward Air Observer (rifle)
Veteran Medium Mortar Team with Spotter (with rifle)
Regular Panzerschreck Team
Veteran MMG Team

Note: The FAO should have been Regular with an extra man but I forgot to put the second figure out and we were rolling vs. a Veteran to wound against the FAO, it was only two points over so not a huge thing. Not that it mattered, when he got hit, a 6 wounded him anyway. Personally, it was my disadvantage to now have the extra man.

I don’t have Mike’s list in total, but here is what I recall:
2 large NKVD Squads, one with SMGs and the other with rifles, both had LMGs.
2 Platoon Lts, 1 had two assistants (I think he was a 1st Lt and the other was a 2nd)
1 Anti-tank Rifle
2 Snipers
2  Light Artillery
1 Free Inexperienced (faction perk) (loaded out with tank hunters, etc)
3 (I think, maybe 4) of Inexperienced infantry squads
T-34 Inexperienced Tank

His army was a mix of some veteran, inexperienced and some regular units typical of how the Russians probably were.

We of course roll Scenario 2: Maximum Attrition! Gah! He wins the table side and picks the heavy building edge.

Game turn 1: We both deploy onto the table only my Panzerschreks opt to outflank. Mike brings everything in the Russian way. Snipers take to two buildings to my right, the ATR to my left with the tank. NKVD to both sides, inexperienced pretty much down the middle with the howitzers on both sides.

The Puma pops out on the left side to take on the tank, the center has the mortar and MMG with the officer in a field. The pair of AR FJ squads and Pioneer defends the right side which is his heavy side for infantry. The FAO hides in the woods to the left.

Lots of running mostly, the Puma did take a shot at the tank but failed to hit.

Turn 2: Soviets advanced, sniped, ATR shot my Lt, artillery did not hit, Tank shot at the Puma that had shot at it again and ran using Reece to get out of sight. Soviets claimed first blood by killing my officer.

Turn 3: Mike put the tank in Ambush (waiting for the Puma) along with the snipers. I had a few bad dice rolls here and the game staggered for me. Mike pushed forward again things was going to get ugly if I didn’t do something.

My anti-tank team failed to show at this point. The Puma shot some infantry with a MMG. Lots of gunfire exchanged on the right side. The Pioneers got out as dice was running low and I chanced a sniper shot, Mike hits and kills my flamethrower! GAH! SMGs spray the NKVD unit. No air support, I move the target to another unit.

Turn 4: This is the swinger turn I think. My Assault Rifles head out of cover against his NKVD. I had 4 more dice than he did to start, law of averages say I should kill 4-5, I get 5. He kills 5 back with better dice rolls. Then we fight again, I lost by 1. POOF! I did take the squad to two men at least. The Pioneers wipe out the inexperienced Soviet squad. MMG in the transport (that I shot by mistake for the rest of the game, forgot transports required a rider to shoot) killed the NCO of the surviving 2 NKVD and the survivor ran. The plane showed and shredded a unit as well as handed out pin markers. The Puma also managed to land a solid shot getting an immobilized result this time. The pin markers were piling up on the tank finally.

Turn 5: The Puma was assaulted and not damaged whew! Then the tank failed an orders test to shoot and the ATR forced the Puma back into cover. Why I did not Reece from the assault is beyond me. I only assume due to the inexperience of using vehicles. At this point units started to die. FAO was gunned down and the Mortar also had died in turn 4. I was cleaning up squads here and there but still behind for a chance to win. My Anti-Tank entered the right side and for a moment I thought about shooting the artillery but opted to assault the snipers in the building. I killed one sniper, he got both! GAH! I should have shot the artillery!

Turn 6: This was a game shift to a draw I think. The Puma taking the tank out on a massive damage result was icing on the cake. A few more Soviet Squads died but I was down to 4 units. The 251/1, MMG, Puma one squad…well that one squad died so I was at three.

Turn 7: MMG died, left me with a 251/1 and Puma, the Puma pulled a surprise slipping around the building and opening the MMG on the other officer killing both him and his assistant. Mike kept tossing pin markers on the 251/1 with the snipers, ATG only to have me rally it and clear all the markers!

Game ends: Both of us had 8 kills each. Soviets had 5 units on the table out of 13 and I had 2 out of 10 left. DRAW! I think the Soviets may could have squeaked a win  out if I did not mess up on the 251/1 shooting about turn 4, it did give me a few turns of shooting (3 I think), but in total, it removed only one squad I think. At that point it would have gone back to “if/then” of gaming, this could have happened.

Our table, Mike is setting up his unit.

Shot of the other table.

The objective of the game,  the bridge! Yea, it was ugly and epic!

  • Should have shot the Anti-Tank at the Artillery battery instead of going after the snipers on the flank.
  • I should have jumped the Pioneers out with the flamethrower a dice pull earlier to prevent the sniper from hitting him when they touched the table. I think that would have been a terrible blow on that side of the table.
  • From now on the officer rides in the 251/1. I think this is the 3rd time he has been gunned down out of 4 games.
  • I should have used Reece to get out of Assault with the Puma, which could have gone badly for me.

Unit thoughts on both sides:

Puma: MVP for my army. Tank kill and got an officer also as well it drew lots of fire. I think Reece is worth its weight in gold.

2nd Lt: What 2nd Lt? Oh the dead one! Yea, put his butt into a 251/1 or hidden out of sight!

7 man FJ squads: This was my first attempt to go smaller, in the past I was using 10, and 7-8 seems to be the right fit for a unit size with 6 being the minimal size. The ARs did ok but also was a costly investment. I also found I did ok without the LMGs, not sure if they would have done any better.

251/1: I drew lots of firepower, survived well and I think that I managed it well in game to avoid it being killed. I just have to keep a unit in it to shoot!

Pioneer Squad: I like the flamethrower in the unit with SMGs with a smaller size. The tests of late have shown this as a good result. I just hate it that I lost the flamethrower to a sniper!

MMG: I am starting to understand the role for this guy, shoot smaller units to kill them off or you at least toss out enough shots to add a pin marker to a unit.

Mortar: Not very useful this game. Died quickly, I have it in mind to try smoke next game. I did the right thing going after this artillery, I just could not hit and Mike killed the threat as quickly as possible.

FAO: I think I like Air firepower over Artillery, namely it is cheaper, plus on artillery you just hand out a bunch of pins but no actual damage unless you roll a 6. At least the plane dishes out pin markers and can pound a target with firepower.

ATR: The poor man’s sniper rifle. It seems short of going after soft skins and 7+ armor this is the idea job, hit and wound a veteran on a 3+.

Artillery: Light wasn’t that impressive, I am curious how my heavy will do. When it did hit, it hurt.

Snipers: These guys are designed to single out a specific model or just add pin markers. Really otherwise they are not that useful as Mike found out later in the game. All he could do was snipe the 251/1.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Reinforcements have arrived!

Reinforcements have arrived in the mail! So, I wanted to show off the new goodies, let you see some early pictures and give you a review of these two new fine additions to my army.

First up, the 150mm SIG 33 Artillery Gun by JTFM Enterprises (aka Die Waffenkammer).

I order this a few weeks back and finally got it in the mail today. When I inquired about my order about a week ago, it was pending to be cast and put in the mail at the end of the week. So, once it got in the mail it was here within a week which is good. The worst complaint is that I had to wait but this is such the life of a one man company, so as a word of warning be ready to wait for product if it isn't cast and waiting to ship already. Next time, I may even email in advance to ensure he has enough time to cast when I place the order so things can go quicker.

What you get.

The packing was solid, well packaged and packed to ensure the model was not damaged. I give JTFM an A+ here on packing. When I unboxed the model, the flash wasn't bad and the resin quality is the typical standard for the industry when it comes to resin. I was able to clean it up while watching some old Star Trek Voyager to entertain me and the model itself went together fairly easy. Of course with resin there is always some warping of the model, some bending and such to get it back into shape. I snapped one wheel peg but was able to glue it back on as it just didn't balance right to me. It still has a bit of a resin wobble but once I base it that will resolve any issue with that.

The quality if the model is well done and had a nice packing slip telling you of the items inside. The gun kit does come with mechanized metal wheels and the old time wooden wagon style wheels for horse drawn weapon packages. I like that they give you that option and the kit also had a couple of rifles and boxes to help fluff up the base when you make it. The crew of 4 are well done sculpts, one guy has a slightly weird pose but I can work with it (he has his arms/hands like he is holding something but there is nothing there). The crew do seem to be a tad smaller than the Black Tree and Warlord figures but then again, once I get them on bases, I should be able to balance them out.

Some of my future thoughts is how to base this 150mm gun and the 40mm PAK I have and if I should add the gun crews to the base or keep them loose on separate bases for easy removal when they take hits.

Finished with everything at this point. Just need to base it and paint!

Overall, I recommend this kit to those looking to add some heavy artillery to your army, but also be ready to get a SDKFZ 7 Half Track or the Land-Wasser Schlepper as they are the only two TOWS that can haul the heavy artillery around. It may be also a good idea to talk with your group about how to deal with artillery and such if it requires a TOW but has to start off the board and you don't have one in your list. In theory, it can't move but for the most part a majority of the Internet feels you should get a basic 6" move on and then that's it, you are stuck there.

The other goodie was a FJ Motorcycle with a sidecar MMG from Black Tree Design

I forgot to take the component shot and started to assemble it as it was getting late. It was simply the motorcycle, sidecar, driver, gunner, rider on back, the MMG, handlebars, a side pouch, cloth roll (perhaps a tent or bedroll) and a spare tire on the back.

The finished model, based and ready for action. The third rider was left off the picture to get a feel for how it looked without him.

Overall, the model is great quality and has lots of detail on it. The mold lines was clean and most of the work was making the join to the bike/sidecar fit and it was off to the races! The rest of the kit went together quick. I am unsure if I will leave the third rider on or not until I have time to think about it.

The worst part of this kit is the driver, the handle bars and his hands don't match up well. I had to resort to bending the arms down to get close to the handlebars to get something that looks decent. I am not 100% happy about it, but it is just the way it is without me having to do something drastic and take more time with it. Personally, I just want it to look decent on the table and have fun with it. It's not going to win any awards and if someone studies it closely yea, the hands and steering kit will be slightly off. Meh!

As usually Black Tree ships via this magic portal via the Postal Elves (actually we both are near hubs so it goes via plane from Texas to Florida)  still, I ordered Thursday night, it was here Sunday. BLAM! That's fast. My only complaint and I plan to write the company about this is that I was charged $5 shipping but it cost less than $2.50 to ship. Yes, I know the Postal Service is increasing their rates, but really? This is a high shipping fee that really should not have been charged.

Well, going to bring both of these with me to the Bolt Action gathering I put into the works about a month ago. Maybe I can slip them into a game and try them out!

Last, here is a shot of my Heer army in the works so I don't have to play the FJ all the time.

The painting tray.

Wish the Germans luck tomorrow! I know the British and Ruskies will be there waiting!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Das Motorbike!

Fallschirmjager Motorcycle and Sidecar (1)

I broke down last night and just did a small order with Black Tree Design (as they was not having one of their good sales at the moment) and snagged the FJ Motorcycle with sidecar with MG. 

Since Warlord Games has added this as an Armored Car option to the list I thought it would be nice to have something else opposite of the Puma that would make a nice filler for the army and still have a purpose.

Only Black Tree Design and Artizan offers FJ based Motorcycles with sidecars. The Artizan ones do not show a MG option so I order this one with the knowledge that BTD has always had great service and fast shipping (I swear they have an overnight portal to my local Post Office). Once I get the notice it ships, I usually have it the same day or the very next.

The new rules for Bolt Action by Warlord Games allows the Reece rules and also allows it to turn unlimited amounts of times making this a very appealing vehicle. Move out from behind cover, shoot a target (at least drop a pin marker if not kill a small unit), then wait to be shot or assaulted. When this happens, use the Reece rules to flee quickly back into safety where it cannot be shot or assaulted. While it does not benefit from "Hitler's Buzzsaw" rule the other benefits more than make up for it with the cheap points cost of 32/40/48 how can you go wrong?

Just a refresher, a motorbike moves 12" with advance and 24" with run. Reece allows them to make an escape move even if they have already been activated. With the ability to turn on the spot, they can make a full speed "reverse" run they can get 24" away from anywhere. If it moves 12" it can change direction to the point to being able to get out of sight. If a motorcycle is assaulted and unable to escape, you need 6's to hit it if it ran and 4-6 if it moved normally. Still, a 24" move should take it out of range of most weapons.

I am looking forward to painting this up and giving it a try for a few games. This option seems to add a few new twists of tactics to the game when it comes to drawing fire, etc....

Saturday, February 9, 2013

DESSEN MEIN FRAU! (That’s My Woman) AAR Multi-player Game

Well, I am back after a long day at the Suncoast Skirmishers Winter Offensive IV. Overall, it seemed to be a huge success the organizer Bill said this is the highest attendance in sometime for the event and it was wall to wall gaming from RPGs, boards games and various historical games of all types from Civil War, Boxer Rebellions, WW2 and much more all under one roof was simply amazing to see together in a nice gaming environment. I forgot that sometimes the best gaming is casual more than tournament, which is nice as you play several games at once but in events like this you can take longer and enjoy the time with the other players in a refreshing way.
I arrived about an hour after everything kicked off as my friend Chris had to make an early morning nursing visit before we could head into Tampa. We loaded up and zipped over to the church where the event is held at. Some of the guys were already there and I saw the list was pretty much full with 6 players signed up on the list to play. Chris and I setup the table and I went to work pulling a few units together. Mind you the points was not 100% dead on but close enough in estimates that it was designed to be easy to run and learn for all the players.  My goal was simply to introduce the concept of Bolt Action to new players, encourage current players to help me build more of a community and just have a good time with a great gaming system.
I have to say thanks to Bill for bringing along a table cover and some extra scenery that was top notch, mixed in what the stuff I had that Chris had donated to me long ago we had a fine assortment of scenery that made for an eye catching table. I would also like to tip my hat to Andrew also for helping with rules and keeping the game on track in game flow. Many times not only was we dealing with the game, but answering questions about the system which can be a daunting task. The FJ are mine and painted by my own hand as the British were painted by Chris and brought to the event for everyone to enjoy!
I opted to stick with the 5th mission called Top Secret with the feature to the game called DESSEN MEIN FRAU! (That’s My Woman).  I had purchased the Frau figure from Warm Acres a few months back when they was having their holiday sale and the figure was a great choice. I wanted to by the German Cameraman from Warlord but time ran short but I have a second figure and I will remake this concept into a nice objective marker.

The mission concept or story was simple; Helga was a famous German movie star and was out on a shoot to create a new film to inspire the German troops with one of their favorite gals as the star. While filming at a farmhouse, she was left behind when the camera crew fled the farm upon hearing that the British Army would be there within a few hours. Word had arrived at high command and the Fallschirmj√§ger war ordered to rescue Helga one of Germany’s great treasures from the British! Would Helga be having a beer with the boys or tea with the British?

I had every player setup with a basic package of a 2nd Lt, two infantry squads and a support weapon of some type. The British infantry units had Bren guns, SMGs and rifles, while the Germans had SMGs, Rifles and Assault Rifles with some LMGs. The British picked a sniper, Vickers MMG and a Mortar as their support weapons, while the Germans opted for a Flamethrower, Mortar and Sniper. Just as the game was starting I opted to slip in an Artillery Observer to the British as it was an army rule and would not be fair to not include it. I at first wanted to avoid things like vehicles and air/artillery strikes as they could make the game drag with a large multi-player environment.

Setting the scene, the abandoned farm was in the middle of the board with the Germans on one side and the British on the other. I modified the building rules and such to make them game run a bit smoother with multiple players. We setup and they were off to the races!

Both sides took to the center with some careful edging down both sides of the board. The early first two turns was movement and then the blood began to flow. One of the most amazing things was on turn 2 a mortar shot took out the German mortar team with a roll of a 6 and then wounding them like crazy as they was vaporized in a single shot before they could fire.

Turn 3-4 was a great deal of back and forth action with the British and Germans making a grab for Helga and then finding she was a bad luck charm, she claimed the lives of many brave men this day as troops died in assaults and firefights. A wayward Artillery strike swerved into the British lines handing out pinning markers likes biscuits during tea time and totally blew one squad to hell and back with a direct hit.

The last two rounds found the Germans in a position to run Helga back to their side finally but at great cost as the unit protecting her was gunned down to a single NCO and LMG gunner with another squad in close support. The left flank of the Germans crashed into the British lines and claimed revenge for not only the early lucky mortar shot but two others that devastated the German forces at three different times. A crazy exchange between a flamethrower and sniper team resulted in the flamethrower team running out of fuel after the second round of exchanges but neither of them had any other major impact in the game other than their own small private war.

As turn six loomed and we rolled to see if we continue and it was a draw. Helga a mere few steps from the table edge and a few order dice could have determined either a clear German win or allowed the British to hold out another turn for the draw.

Overall, everyone had a good time. One guy joked his wife will more than likely divorce him for getting into a new wargame (doubtful but funny, all spouses wonder why we spend money on our toys) .The mission I think was a great choice, it forced the players to think how to get the girl and not get killed giving some sense of tension of the game. It would have been boring to have them sit back and go (dakakakakakakaakka) at one another. Helga was given the name the Black Widow with her kiss of death that again resulted in the direct deaths of two German and two British units, not only that but another unit was just two models away from being added to the death toll and the jinx by her on the Artillery strike really screwed the British on turn 3 which started to swing the game.

Here are a few random shots from the game! Enjoy! Oh, I will post a pic of Helga soon, I want to touch her up slightly before posting her.

The table setup.

Both army's advance onto the table!

Germans firm up their deployment.

Those sneaky Brits trying to grab the girl!

Death in the courtyard
(see Helga with the British towards the top in the green dress?)

How do you like your sniper Hans? Crispy or Original?

The Germans have Helga just beyond the courtyard as the British are hot on their heels!

Helga with the boys at the edge of the board. The Germans was determined to ensure they would get Helga to safety even if it costed them their lives!

The MVP of the game. My friend is going to put some kill marks on his Mortar team, they wiped three units out this game (well they killed one mortar, hit another forced a check and they failed, the last was either another small unit kill or was a hit that depleted the unit to 2 men from 6)! Yes, three direct hits with 6's with painful results every time!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Burn baby! Burn! A look at Flamethrower Vehicles for the Germans

Flammvehicles have an appeal in the game that is better than a Flamethrower unit:
  • Flamethrower teams are only 6” range, a vehicle flamethrower is 18”
  • 2d6 hits vs. 1d6 hits for a flamethrower team.
  • Only run out of fuel on a 1 instead of a 1 or 2.
  • Vehicle is not removed if you roll a 1, just that weapon is dry. Yes, you would roll for both flamethrowers on some vehicles if both are fired.
 The Germans right now have 5 vehicles that I can class as Flamethrower vehicles and they are:

SDKZ 251/16 Flammpanzerwagen (7+ Armored Carrier)
Weapons: Two Flamethrowers (forward) & Pintle MMG (forward also), opt Rear MMG
Merits: Two Flamethrowers and MMG
Flaws: Lightest Armored of the 5, Open topped, forward only flamethrowers, Volatile

Flammpanzer II “Flamingo” (8+ Light Tank)
Weapons: 2 Flamethrowers (both front, 1 each left/right arc. 1 turret MMG
Merits: Two Flamethrowers (better arc than 251/16)
Flaws: Volatile, 2nd lightest armor, no Veteran option,

Flammpanzer III (9+ Medium Tank)
Weapons: Turret Flamethrower, hull MMG (forward), Co-axial MMG
Merits: 360 radius Flamethrower
Flaws: Volatile, no veteran option

Flammpanzer 38(T) Hetzer (9+ Medium Tank)
Weapons: Hull Mounted Flamethrower, MMG with 360 radius
Merits: Cheapest of the 5
Flaws: Volatile, Weak Sides (+2 modifer top/side/rear hits), fixed forward flamethrower

Flammpanzer B2(F) (9+ Medium Tank)
Weapons: Turret Med. ATG, Coaxial MMG, Forward Hull Flamethrower
Merits: Armored All Round (no penalty to side/top/rear shots), mixed weapon options
Flaws: Volatile, Most Expensive of the 5 choices, Slow, One Man Turret rule.

Cheapest FlammVehicle by Category:

1) 38(T) Hetzer
2) 251/16
3) Flammpanzer III
4) Flammpanzer II “Flamingo”
5) Flammpanzer B2(F)

1) 38(T) Hetzer
2) 251/16
3) Flammpanzer III
4) Flammpanzer II “Flamingo”
5) Flammpanzer B2(F)

1) 38(T) Hetzer
2) 251/16
3) Flammpanzer B2(F)

Best Weapon Packages (who can produce the most firepower):
1) Flammpanzer B2(F) (highest output, Med ATG and Flamethrower)
2) Flammpanzer II “Flamingo” (two flamethrowers, turret MMG, best arc)
3) 251/16 (two flamethrowers, MMG, could take extra MMG)
4) Flammpanzer III (360 arc flamethrower, MMG)
5) 38(T) Hetzer (flamethrower and 360 MMG)

What is the best choice? You call it!
It is hard to say hands down that any particular vehicle is worth more than another to me there are several factors:
  • Point Level, lower point games would require a lower point tank or less experienced tank.
  • It will be a target, so can it kill what it is worth at least? This to me is a huge factor as the points you invest in the model should return as much or if anything draw fire from other units keeping them alive.
What do I think I may buy?
·        B2(F) is out, just due to the high point cost unless you go cheap Germans like Heer, elite formations like SS and FJ would just take this a kick in points.
·        While I like the Flammpanzer II due to the dual flamethrowers, it lacks a Veteran option, so reserves and flanking means you roll an 8 or less to bring in, that breaks down to 1 in 3 chance to fail an Orders test. Also, so far only Gas-O-Line makes this vehicle and from a review it was hard to assemble and seemed fragile, not practical for gaming. Maybe later.
·        38(T) Hetzer: A top pick perhaps, cheap in points, one of the best armor and can have Veteran option.
·        Panzer III: I love the look of the tank, but the no Veteran again makes me pause. A 360 turret is appealing and the medium armor is nice as well as points tend to be the median of the 5 options.
·        251/16: Another top choice, cheap in points, two flamethrowers but the light armor makes me a bit nervous, but then again I don’t expect it to live long often. Still if it downs enough with the two flamethrowers this guy can become a superstar in my list. You also get the second flamethrower for 15 points or less depending on what you pick for rating.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Bolt Action Analysis

Well, this is that time to reflect about my game, what I have learned and what I need to change in my list and perhaps purchase in the future.

I admit Flamethrowers are just amazing, but I am now starting to feel that my earlier impression of having two single shot flame throwers are a better deal than just a single one. Simply on the logic that they will die quickly if they done roll that 1 or 2 after they fire the flamethrower and run out of fuel. Thus they are removed from the board anyway. So, to me the two single shots are better than any hope of a single shot over multiple tuns. What sucks is that nobody makes this figure in 28mm.

Next up on my list of thoughts is taking a flame vehicle of some type. My first choice is the Flammpanzerwagen. Simply two flamethrowers and a MMG are just too good to turn down for the points. Sure it is a 7+ vehicle but it makes the points back quickly if it can remove a unit quickly. After that it becomes gravy as to what else it takes down and draws attention from my army. The Flammpanzer II is another nice options with a MMG and a split pair of flamethrowers thus allowing multi shooting and adding value to this light tank, also fairly cheap and early enough in the war to fit most timeline. The 1B is nice but expensive and the Hetzer to me isn't a bad choice but I would rather take the FlammPanzer II or III even....that 360 fire option with the turret is nice. I plan to review flame tanks in more detail later.

Snipers: not really sold on these guys yet...still going to give them a try.

Mortars: meh, again, not impressed,more of a diversion than anything.

Nebelwerfer, cheap and just looks like too much fun to not get. Going to add one to my purchase list.

MMG on a sidecar for a Motorcycle as an Armored Car choice. With the update out now the cheap and fast MMG makes me drool at the prospect of a cheap unit with firepower that can move around.

251/8 Ambulance, this is a medic on steroids, slightly more expensive but also has a better radius to protect plus allows me to put two medics out in the event the bike isn't in use.

Bolt Action Super Bowl Sunday

My friend Chris stopped by today and we had a few Very Berry Shandy Beers and I updated his Army Builder as he has never done import files manually before. Plus I put the Bolt Action files on there as well to make it easier for him to figure out his British list.

We grilled out, had some snacks and pulled out the gaming table to give him a first got at Bolt Action with his British Infantry, my FJ was back for some English blood this time.

I would like to pause to say that my friend and my wife neither like the Superbowl, the commercials if anything is the best thing and can be watched in the internet just hours later. So, like last year my wife and I had tons of nibbles and we had our own Super Bowl party without the Super Bowl. This time around it was the same but with some Bolt Action instead!

Well, we cranked out a quick list for both of us and was almost the same in some respects. My FJ had more ARs and he had a bunch of SMGs  with an extra infantry squad. Otherwise we was even on all points with unit selections and had 10 dice each.

The game went pretty smooth for my third game and the first game for Chris. We missed a few things but small stuff mostly and he seemed to enjoy the game and seemed interested in wanting to play more games in the future as it is a nice break from 40k.

We rolled for the mission and got Point Defence. I picked Attacker to avoid giving him a bonus with the prepatory bombardment. Bad mistake,  as this puts the burden on the attacker and a lack of vehicles makes this an utter bitch to win for the attacker as we build our lists before rolling for the mission, not making them for the mission.

Chris deployed some units, I killed the spotter with the sniper on one strike, added a few pin markers and the game was on. Chris lost a majority of his units just leaving the game with 4 units left on the table, I had about 6-7 left at the end and lost due to the fact I could not really get near any objective.

All in all, we had a great time and I felt much better than I did the day before. I wanted to go to a 40k tournament but I just felt like crap and just didn't want to go to an event feeling sick (may be sick or just allergies) and have a crappy time. Life is too short to deal with crap.

Here are a few shots of the game:

This was about turn 2, the Germans pushing forwad.

Right flank about mid of the game, the British flanked only to get flanked by the Lt and a FJ unit.

FJ ambushed on a flanking move and then later wiped out by the British flanking them! There was lots of flanking!

Friday Night Bolt Action at Arrmada Games

Well, Andrew was able to make it out this Friday as well as Lee to learn about the game and rules concepts before buying anything else other than his buy in Airborne army deal that he grabbed about 6 months back from the 4th of July 1/2 off sale where he grabbed almost $200 in models for under $100 as I did and Chris....

Andrew brought along his well painted British Commandos and Lee had his work in progress American Airborne (just sprayed green with some brown brushed on).  I had my FJ ready to play this time....

I went with no vehicles I wanted to get a good feel for the rules and thus pulled together a 1000 point infantry list...I don't recall everything but it was along the lines like this:
2nd Vet Lt. with Assault Rifle
3 Squads with 1 LMG, 5 ARs and 3 Rifles
1 Med. Mortar Squad
1 Artillery Observer
1 Medic
1 Pioneer Squad with 6 SMGS, 1 Flamethrower, 1 LMG
1 Sniper Team

Most was Veteran but some stuff was adjusted down to accommodate points.

We got Maximum Attrition for the game scenario. I don't recall everything Andrew had but it was a 1st Lt, several squads including several smaller groups with SMGs, a sniper, mortar and a few other things that I don't recall (damm getting old is a bitch sometimes).

I won the roll and setup, then we was off! Well, our first two turns was movement mostly and some odd shooting. It took an early lead pounding his army but about mid game I was in the hole and kept slipping further away each round. My dice was mostly to blame with a few bad choices in the game just after Andrew nailed about half my army with a good artillery strike. I think all in all I got one maybe two units while he had pulped something like 60% or more of my army.

The second game was a 750 point demo for Lee to learn the rules and get an idea about his figures. He took an Air Observer, Lt, 2-3 squads with BARs and some SMGs, a Flamethrower and Sniper (I think that was most everything). The game again was Maximum Attrition.

Again, this was a very cat and mouse game with Lee getting a good shot in with Airstrike giving me a few pin markers that just really bogged me down.  He won the game by at least two more kills than I was able to acheive.

This sent me home to reflect on why I lost and what I can and cannot control. The dice is really beyond my ability to control so I need to look further into my army choices.
Lt: Didn't really do much either game...

Medic: Forgot to use him about half the time. *sigh*

Artillery Observer: Didn't really impress me, sure it gives a few pin markers but if your opponent is quick it really leaves you few targets if you don't get it quickly and is delayed. I am starting to think Air Observers are where it is is important.

Squads: I am wondering if I should add more LMGs or reduce less LMGs, I feel they was a huge point sink and a few more ARs could fill the gap better. In any case I will not max out ARs in my squad as they are cheesy to do that and just a waste of point as you will take losses at some point, thus not making the 5 point investment not worth it.

MMG: Not that impressive to be honest.

Sniper: So far, disappointed, they are very hit or miss on their performance.

Mortars: Pure luck here and best to focus on a unit that is prone to not moving much or unable to move at all.

Flamethrowers: I love them, but also a simple kill point to give away as they are a one hit wonder. flame once, then 1/3 of the time they will disappear due to running out of fuel, the other two times they will more than likely get gunned down by another squad to avoid death by fire.

Pioneer Squads: No LMGs anymore, just SMGS Flamethrowers with some rifles, high rate of fire, assault and just ugly assault options.

Here are some shots from the game:

Game 1: British Commandso VS FJ.

Germans take the center, the British spread out.

Over the top! The British head to the FJ!

Early part of game 2 vs Lee and his Airborne.

Later in the game, Germans pushing up the center.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Old West for the New Year: Gamers Gold Giveaway Winners!

First, I want to thank everyone that entered and I am going to compile the list of links and a few others to a secondary page and post it later on as a great reference point for Old West Materials and inspiration.

I gave everyone a number and hit the random number generator and the winners are!

Rebel  Miniatures Blister: Colgar6

Knuckleduster $16 Voucher: Rob_Jedi

Knuckleduster $16 Voucher 2: WhiskeyRat

Knuckleduster $16 Voucher 3: quix42

Tri-City Laser Building: Black Smoke

Please contact me at patrickballinger(at) if you are a winner and please label the header that you are a contest winner so I don't delete your or if it ends up in the SPAM box I can save it before deleting it. Just identify who you are and I'll get you setup with your prizes!

Congrats to the winners and maybe next time to those that didn't win this time around!

Voucher codes will be forwarded (via email) (Forrest set the amount to cover the cost of one blister and to help with shipping or can be applied to a bigger purchase like one of the new Tri-City Laser buildings) and the MDF building and blister will be mailed (so in your case please provide me your mailing address to ship your winnings). If items are left unclaimed for 2 weeks, I will redraw a new winner from the list of those that didn't win the first time around.

Congrats to the winners! Keep an eye out as I will no doubt be throwing out some other random contests in the future!

Also, a huge thanks to (and in no specific order):
Knuckleduster Miniatures
Tri-City Laser Buildings (ready to purchase at Knuckleduster Miniatures website!)
Rebel Miniatures

Bolt Action German/US Additional Units Review

So, let’s look at each unit and see what the wait was all about:

Goliath Demolition Team (Anti-Tank Team): We have a new AT option now for German armies. On paper it is a cool unit, but when you look at the core rules, it is very unreliable because if you look at the chart it has a 1 in 3 chance of actually making the 18” to its target and going off, otherwise it is a wasted one shot item. So, one in three games it may pay off. I would have been happier with a 50/50 set of odds but still there is some silver lining to the unit. While 3 men, you get rifles and AT grenades (usually costs 2 points each), on average a vet unit costs 65 (78-65=13-6 (ATGs) =7 points for the Goliath. You still have a unit that can shoot rifles (and a SMG for 3 points more) and assault tanks thus making a good flanking unit for the value even if the Goliath fails to produce any results. If anything, it will draw fire like a bitch because people will fear it at first.

FlammPanzer B2(F): Well, let’s look at the negatives: Slow, must  make an order test to make an Advance Command and is volatile with a fixed flamethrower (hull). Now on to the good points: medium tank, no modifiers for shooting the sides, rear or top thus giving full armor value and a flamethrower that shoots 18”, inflicts 2d6 hits and hands out pen markers and causes morale checks. Throw in a medium ATG and MMG and you got a nice package, the price is hefty but IMO worth it if you get a few good hits with it and is a versatile tank. I plan to look at all four flame tanks later.

Flammpanzer 38(T) Hetzer: Negatives: weak sides, volatile and fixed weapon (hull). Perks: flamethrower (see above) and is cheaper with a MMG with a 360 arc. Compare this Regular Option of 150 vs. 255 of the B2(F) above, you can see the value, you can pretty much add in an extra squad if you are willing to trade the firepower.

Motorcycle with MG Sidecar: YES! Um, MMG Veteran Unit is 65, compare against 48 here, is a vehicle so thus not kicked down with the Fixed rule (granted does not benefit Hitler’s Buzzsaw) but does have Recce and a turn on the spot. I can see this as a VERY popular option for many lists in the future.

SD.KFZ 251/8 Ambulance: No weapons and open topped armored transport. Still, want a second medic without a high cost (a little more than double in cost of a Medic) but with a better radius due to the size? Then this is a good choice IMO as long as you have the points to spare and having the Medic option is a focus for your list.

Artillerie Schlepper VA 601(B): Just another TOW that can hold 6 men, ok….so you can add it to your collection if you want some variety in vehicles. Otherwise, nothing to write home to mom about.

A quick look at the US Veteran Infantry: Two BARS, Tough Fighters, slightly more expensive than your regular Veteran unit. Not a bad option but not anything great.