Friday, November 29, 2013

Movie Review: Saints and Soldiers

Bored last night, so I selected a random war movie and got a nice treat...I do advise to turn on the caption (like I did) to be able to understand what they were saying, often things was a bit quiet and hard to hear which is my only complaint. I think that was part of the "art" of the movie.

Saints and soldiers.jpg

The plot is pretty simple, 4 Airborne POWs managed to avoid getting killed when they get captured and things go wrong. They managed to rescue a downed British pilot that has intel that must get back to command. A medic, sarge, sniper and grunt escort the downed British flyboy to safety. There is a small tone of religion to the movie as the sniper is a Mormon and the medic an atheist that has an interesting character development in the movie.  It's not a high action movie, but rather several quiet scenes with a few action/combat elements mixed in.

Two Kickstarters I am watching! Great looking game boards.

Again, I did a bad thing and got near Kickstarter! My wife agreed to allow one for a Christmas gift, I am selling some stuff to make space and get some cash for add on goodies and perhaps the other Kickstarter as well.

The first is this one:

The mats are made from mouse pad material, full color, easy to store (roll up) and high detail printed with a variety of themes. Namely for us the green and alpine should be the two big $95 and free US shipping is always a plus. Plus they are water resistant as well.

They so far have green and barren wasteland, I think the city just opened up and Alpine and Barren Wastelands are on the way, so these are great for any game needs of any genre. I am thinking the Alpine or Green, still a 4x4 may be a sweet option also for smaller games I play.

The other one is a bit more different in options but includes a 10mm (Great for Dropzone commander and Robotech), another city table for 28mm, a demon world, a spaceship (Infinity and Warhammer) and a copplestone one that is great for Steampunk and European WW2 or Victorian games. They are made out of plastic 2x2 tiles...

Nice example of the cobblestone.

This is the city one I am getting for my Christmas gift! Great as this works for Super Hero and Judge Dredd as well as sci fi gaming!

The nice thing about this one is it is plastic, stores in 2x2 sections, configs in different ways, you can get dice and storage trays for paid extras and the price is $101 US on special  now (about 100 or so early birds at 62 british pounds)

In any case, we are seeing evolution of gaming tables, no more MDF toppers and bulky tables. Just unroll or clip your table together!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving wishes!

I figure Vader is a white meat guy based on how he is carving!

Be thankful for everything you have, sometimes we take things for granted or think we are not blessed enough and we always yearn for more. That is human nature, to always go forward and gather all you can. Just don't forget what you have achieved so far.

I hope everyone has a good holiday. While mine has taken two turns, my new job prevented me from traveling up to see my family in Alabama. So, my wife and I was going to make food for her family this holiday. Sadly, her mother is in the hospital. So, we adapted again plan to cook over the next few days and enjoy the harvest of what we have. When you have lemons, make lemonade. Things will work out, we just have to keep focused and positive. 

May the Force be with you! 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

November 23rd Bolt Action Tournament

Chris and I loaded up to head down to play some Bolt Action at the Darkside in Sarasota. Alas, Lee could not play but did make it down to buy a few goodies at the store, hang out and did eat some breakfast with us before we played. Good Amish food is always a good start!

I brought a mixed bag list that had mixed results....fancy that!

2nd Lt with 1 man with Assault Rifles (Reg)
2 Volks Grenadier Squads of 7 with 2 rifles and 5 assault rifles. (Inexp)
1 Pioneer Squad with flamethower, 5 men (Vet)
1 Grenadier Squad x7 w/ SMG NCO, squad rifles and 2 panzerfausts (Reg)
1 Truck (Reg)
1 Sdkfz 7 Halftrack (to tow the heavy howitzer or transport as needed) (Reg)
1 Heavy Howitzer (Reg)
1 Med Mortar (Inexp)
1 Sniper (Reg)
1 Puma (Reg)
1 251/6 (Inexp)
1 Air Observer with 1 man (Rifles) (Regular)

Well, on with the tourney...

4 Warlord Sarges in one spot!

My first round opponent, forgot the gents name but is a local to Darkside and a Japanese player. 

We got the mission Top Secret and we got to play on the nice bombed out hamlet that turned out rather nicely. The Japanese list had no vehicles except for a truck and a few squads all veteran which made for a tough as nails but small list.

The game opened up with a cat and mouse game but then the game slanted quickly in my favor as I was able to take out the Japanese with some focused fire. The game did get tough when the truck took a hit and blew up with the squad with the objective. I had to wait for another two turns to win near the end with the the forward observers grabbing the objective and running it to the snipers to get it off the table. The Volks Grenaider didn't impress me much as I rolled a 1 for one squad and they took a ton of pins and was useless for most of the rest of the game.

The table....turnedout pretty cool...

And another shot!

Volks Genadier deploy behind a hedge to avoid being shot at.

Sniper takes up position in a burned out ruin.

Mortar team sets up near the road behind a hedge and near a house.

Long shot with Grenadiers on both sides of the officer with the Puma flanking the side.

251/16 roars down the road....

They need a bumper sticker <Burn it all down!>

Volks Grenadier run down a walled area with some drain water in it.

My round three table, the desert airfield that I will play on in the last round.

Mike chats with John while his German opponent plots.

Shot of the German vs American game.

John and Tom....Sarges at large! 

Toms....heavy howitzer for his Japanese. Yes, it was a captured gun from the Soviets.

Tom and I setup our armies we had Demolition as the mission.

The Japanese bunker up in a building opposite of mine.

Tom plots and hopes the dice are kind to him again.

The table....both armies are in a standoff. I did manage to crush a few of his units but Tom buttons down like fleas on a dog and waits for me.

Pioneers get the breaking the line award! They burned down a squad before they met their end.
In the end neither of us could touch the other players objective and it was a clear draw.
I go into the third round with 4 people in the lead for possible 1st. I get John and his  Alessio style American list....


Snipers setup in a trench...

Observers hide among some crates.

John proud of his airstrikes. You may notice while he celebrates I was giving him the #1 salute! (all in good fun of course) Let's not bring up those two other airstrikes that both was 1's and I bombed the hell out of two of his infantry units and also nailed his howitzer with  my airstrike. Wow, two observers is VERY brutal. Yea, Alessio packed on the cheese for this list! Double everything!

In the end I lost to John, dice was kinder to him in the end. It would have been a draw if a strange rule was allowed and a howitzer apparently can fire indirect OUTSIDE OF ITS FORWARD ARC! REALLY? I was not aware in WW2 we had guided shells in the war! 

In the end it was three good games with a 1-1-1 record with an untested list for the most part. Never played it before. Chris and I tied for 3rd place and we split the prize. Pretty cool in the end...

Kudos to Tom and  John making it down. Mike did a great job at Darkside. 

December may be an off month to relax and enjoy the holidays with January opening up a new year of Bolt Action gaming! We hope to plan a Wounded Warrior tournament in March perhaps as a nice fundraiser.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Happy 50th Dr Who!

Happy 50th Dr Who!
I have been watching the Sara Jane series to celebrate this event by catching up on stuff I have missed over the years like this and Torchwood on Hulu. Great stuff and I forgot how much I love Dr Who growing up and still do to this day, now if Hulu will post the rest of this season!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Thank a Veteran! Never forget!

Never forget the brave souls that have fought for our country and freedom.
 Pause for those that have fallen so we can be free.
War isn't fun and they were there for anything else but, so take a moment to thank them
They gave their time and sacrificed much to protect that which they love.

My family has had a long history of military service and I would like to thank them for their service and time.
Rex Ballinger  (my farther) US Army - Retired
Richard Ballinger (my brother) US - Navy Lt Cmndr.- Retired
LB Gamble (Grandfather) US Army - 29th Infantry - WW2 - RIP

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Oct. 24th and 26th Bolt Action Pics

Been behind posting these up, no real battle reports but I will give you  quick run down on things...

Thursday, Chris and I headed to Anthem Games where we played  full 1k game of Bolt Action with all the trimmings including vehicles. I felt after a few demos it would be cool to let the guys see a game in progress with vehicles running about and other cool units outside the limited scope of the demo game. Chris brought his desert corps British and I pulled out my Heer for an eve of fun before I would open  up demos later on.

We rolled and got Envelopment. Chris was the defender and go a rare win. I tried something different and frankly it just didn't work. I tried to move up one side and outflank on the other. Chris did reserve some units and planned to plug the flank if I popped in there or on the other side depending on what I was going to do. It was close game at first until I rolled a 1 for my Air Strike and lost the Puma! Damm Japanese exchange pilot program!!!! At that point things went downhill, most of it was just some bad dice luck. I also managed to roll two 1's for fuel checks for my flamethrowers and they really didn't do an awesome amount of damage as I had hoped. In retrospect, I could have went at things a bit different but the dice was the real killer for me in the end. We both had a blast, I busted his chops picking on the Brits and lots of the guys was asking questions about the various armies and options. I hope Steve picks up the game for the store, I think it would be a great thing and really put something out there other than 40k and Warmachine/Hordes for people to play.

Here are a few snaps of the game...

Damm Japanese Exchange Pilot Program!

Germans get hammered with pins!

British fortify the right flank (right side for me)

One of the latest tanks in the British motor pool!

Ever see two ones roll for fuel checks on a flamethrower? 

Battle Royal by the end. Chris had his tank, officer and two Gurkas left. I had a Grenadier and officer left when the dust settled. He got a few early pulls of dice that finished the game in his favor. If I had gotten a few dice earlier, I could have ran a few units off the table for a a draw or a possible win at that point!

On October 26th Chris and I headed to Avon Park to play at the Battlezone at their tournament. The regular Sarge there was unable to run the event so I was there to handle things. Sadly, turnout was 4 people including the guy running the store, myself and two players. It appears the weekend before Halloween is just a bad thing, everyone is off ready for parties and such so that really kicked the attendance in the balls. Plus, Ed the owner was in the hospital due to some heart issues. I figure a few guys my have assumed the tournament was called off if there was medical issues, who knows. A few players showed later to hang out. Despite the setback we had some fun games and I matched Chris and Tom up for a duel to get the prize as the other two of us wasn't able to win it really.

I played Tom in the first game with his Marines making debut at the tournament! Wow, this was a tough list with an air observer, a bunch of Vets and I think one regular unit, a pair of howtizers and a Satan tank! I picked Top Secret because the FAQ just came out and I wanted to see how the game would  play out and get some feedback on the mission. 

A tough game is all I can say, we spent the first two turns moving units about trying to setup to get the objective., Tom had a good field of fire while I had a great deal of cover making it hard to get targeted. He got an early lucky strike on my Heavy Howitzer with his Medium Howitzer...I failed my first test to fire on his and I was lucky the next turn to get an early dice and pass a test that allowed me to pop smoke over the next two turns. I  had never used smoke but wow! Was it good, it blinded a great deal of his shooting, the 251/16 started to wreck the other flank with some supporting fire including taking out one Howitzer and the air observer for me taking out his second. I did loose the 251/16 to an air strike also but it had done it's fair shre of damage. In  daring move with the smoke we had some assaults and point blank shoot outs that allowed the Germans to snare the objective and run into  church courtyard to get the win at the end.

Tom....nuff said...

Germans advance.

Marines advance up!

Marines prepare a plan.

Germans advance using the church courtyard as cover.


Die Americans!

Chris and Tom for the playoffs!

One of another armored cars that Chris has done.

Marines advance!