Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year! Battle Reports & Next Games Day

Happy New Year to you all! One last post for 2010.

January 2011 will mark the first anniversary of having our club hold its games at OPA at Seiseki-sakuragaoka, so here's to another successful year ahead!

January 23rd will see the following games;
  • Napoleonics with myself, Matt and Achilleas- if anyone else wants to join they are most welcome.
  • D&D with Giovanni, Marco, Brian, Ayu and others I may have missed
If someone wants to put on another, different game, let us know so we can post it here and recruit some recruits!

Giovanni and I thought that it was about time that we held a "bring 'n buy" at the clubSo if you have any old stuff that you would be interesting in trading or selling, this coming games day is your chance to liquidate some gaming assets.  If you do have something, it may be a good idea to post a comment here letting people know what you are thinking of flogging off, so that you may be able to find a buyer in advance (and not have to drag it all back home if you don't find any takers!).

Next, some reports from December's games.  The Napoleonic game was our second using Black Powder, and we are giving it a big thumbs up so far.  Some really nice brushwork fn evidence from Matt and Achilleas.

Rather than use up space here, I posted a lengthy-  and picture heavy- AAR to my Serrez les Rangs blog, where you can read how the minions of Napoleon had their come-uppance at the hands of the Allies.

The WW2 game was hard fought, and marked the debut of Giovanni's half tracks as well as some nice mortar crews for the British from Brian.  Some pictures from the game here.

 The approaching horde...
 Der Grosse Kase...
" I say, old man, King Tigers.  Jolly rum show, hey?"
 "We can't ALL hide behind here!"
 Half-track racing! Giovanni's pack of panzergrenadiers.
 Brian did a great job on the bases of these mortar stands.

 Sorry, Giovanni- I don't care what dice roll you need, "He" doesn't take sides.
 Someone really needs to do a Robert Shaw miniature for that Konigstiger.

And here is Brian's (totally unbiased) account of the BKC II game.
"A heavily armed German panzer force, complete with 2 Tigers and a Sturmtiger are minding there own business, trying to pass through some farmhouses and a road when... all of a sudden... a ridiculously flimsy British tank group, (filled with the best anti-infantry weapons available) tries to ambush them!

The British Commander was so exited to get into battle he didn't realize that Mobile Deployment means you don't come on to the table until your turn. Therefore he was left out into the open as the Germans took their first turn to close in on his lonely and scared Sherman tanks waiting helplessly on the edges of the battlefield. As the battle progressed the brand new shiny mortars recently acquired by the naive British officer succeeded in doing absolutely nothing to the German Tiger Tanks.... go figure.
As command roles failed the British waited impotently in the corners while the German horde strolled toward the objective. In a last ditch effort to actually blow something up, Three Sherman tanks took three turns to finally destroy the German Sturmtiger. News of this great victory must have reached the other Sherman tanks hiding in the woods because they immediately ployed into the open... where they were summarily executed by an onslaught of panzer fire. All in all we called it a tie."
When Sturmtigers- and dice rolls- go bad...

Finally, just a reminder that Brian and Achilleas have new blogs- I've added links to the sidebar.  Be sure to check them out.

See you all in January!  Don't eat too much osechi-riori!


Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays!

A very Merry Christmas and 明けましておめでとう ございます to all!

Next year on January 23rd sees the gaming calendar start off with a D&D game using Marco's amazing dungeon tiles, and yet another Napoleonics game using Black Powder.   Meanwhile, here is a little bit of a teaser as to who will be making their debut on the Field of Honour...

I will post a quick AAR of December's games- once people send me the pictures, hint, hint!


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Next session 19th December/23rd January


We are going to have another exciting games day on the 19th of December.

Followed by another Session in the new year on the 23rd of January.

We are looking to see many of you! if you are unsure of how to get here, check the how to get here section of the blog or as usual drop us a line, we will assist you.

The West Tokyo Wargamers

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Video Report: Games Day on November 14th

A crushing Soviet victory, and what better way to celebrate than by giving the Soviet Union's top film directors a few days break from their residences in the Gulag Archipelago so that they can work on a suitable celebration of the nation's triumph?  Move over, Eisenstein.

With due acknowledgement and apologies to the 'Beeb...

After the big turnout last month, we expected that this time there would be a lot fewer attendees due to various commitments.  Still, five of us were able to turn up; more than enough to put together a late war, German vs. Soviet game using Blitzkrieg Commander II.   Both Giovanni and myself had managed to paint up some more models for our respective collections, so we were anxious to have them see their first action.

We had intended to run two WW2 games, but at the eleventh hour it turned out that Peter couldn't make it.  That also meant that we wouldn't have his magnificent collection of buildings to game over, so Giovanni gave me a call and implored me to bring over the trenchworks I had built for our first BKC game way back last January.  A nice terrain piece, but a pain in the posterior to have to carry back and forth from club games.

So this was a hurried scenario!  As his force had a lot of armour and vehicles, and my Popovs are still short on wheeled transport (sorely missed the last time my Soviets took the field), we decided to have the Germans try to take a Russian defensive position- an attempted counterattack against the Soviet juggernaut invading Brandenburg in early 1945. 

It was Giovanni, Marco and Matt as the Germans, with Darren and I playing the Soviets.  We used Scenario #4 (Deliberate Attack) from the BKC II rulebook, with the Soviet defenders (veterans) having 2410 points against a German force of about 3600 points, which included elite Fallshirmjagers and a Konigstiger as well as some evil SS.

This was to be a testosterone-fuelled game using the Steel Titans of the time, including the fearsome King Tiger.  Roll out the Ubertanks, and bring 'em on!  Giovanni introduced his latest finished masterpiece- a 1/72 Sturmtiger from Trumpeter Models.  He did an excellent job modelling and painting it- the chipping on the paintwork in particular was very well done.  But a fat lot of good it did for him in the game!

The German attack was launched with motorized infantry aiming to take the Soviet right and centre, and a whole bunch of well-armoured nastiness heading towards the Soviet left to outflank the line.

The Soviets responded to the initial German advance with immediate air support.  The attack had been preregistered, and it ended up being in the right place at the right time.  Luckily for the Reich, however, it turned in a most lacklustre performance- basically because I had read the rules incorrectly and failed to realize that I could attack all units within the attack zone.

Actually air support on both sides was less than impressive.  Having filled it up with all six litres of aviation fuel that were available to Nazi Germany at this stage of the war, Giovanni's lone Me-109 made several determined, but utterly useless, attacks on the Soviet trench line.  Once the pilot had been shaken awake from his slumbers by his orderly, that is;  Giovanni several times forgot to make his scheduled air attacks.

More fortunately, and rather unusually for me given my past record, I had correctly surmised the kind of devilment the panzers would get up to.  So it turned out that they went for a right hook, only to eventually run smack straight into my whole battalion of T34/85's.  I had even stationed a 45mm A/T gun on the flank for good measure; but as it turned out, the crew had nothing better to do for the whole game than to read "liberated" pornography while knocking back bottles of vodka and captured aftershave.

Early in the game, Russian support artillery and assault guns all took a toll on Marco's German advance on the left, and Darren managed to fortuitously knock out a ATG that had just deployed on a small hill overlooking the Soviet defences. This was a good move, as it could really have given us some headaches as the game progressed.

We soon learned that it is tough- really tough- to take out entrenched infantry.  This was Marco's first WW2 game, so he did the unexpected- he sent a Wirbelwind right up to the trench.  This is when the Soviets discovered to their horror that while they were well protected, they did not in fact have a lot of firepower to deal with any armour that got in close.  They would first had to leave the protection of the trench if they were to close assault with their flamethrowers, and given all the hate the Germans had at hand to throw against them during opportunity fire, life expectancy could have been measured in seconds.

Fortunately for the cause of International Socialism and the imminent Workers' & Peasants' Paradise, Giovanni had massed all his tanks on the flank, and the basically unsupported Wirbelwind was forced to fall back, while the slightly scathed Soviet flamethrower team raced thankfully back down the other side of the hill.  Suppressed, but alive, and  they would be able to come back and enter the fray again later.

On the Soviet's left, the Russki tank commander had many games ago learned the value of concentrated fire.  Having managed to avoid being seriously hit by the Stugs and the King Tiger, the Dice Gods- clearly fully paid-up Party members all-  smiled on the Reds and in a number of consecutive actions the Russian tanks tore the German armour to pieces.

This has been really one extremely lucky and experienced T-34 battalion; they did the same to a British force in the last game.  I am seriously thinking of promoting them to Guards status, and adding Guards insignia to the turrets.

While the T-34's were sending the German tankers to Valhalla, the infantry in the centre - elite Fallschirmjagers- debussed and advanced to the attack.  It turned out I couldn't hit the infantry behind the trucks they had just leapt out of.  Fair enough.  But Matt (being the clever Brummy he is) realized this and proceeded to try and advance his infantry safely behind the advancing softskins.

To be fair to Matt, this was also his first WW2 game; Napoleonics is his thing.  And he is certainly no rules lawyer.  But while there seemed nothing in the rules expressly forbidding it, this tactic had a good, strong whiff of rotting Gorgonzola about it, so I screamed foul.  No truck driver with one iota of sanity would have done such a thing, even assuming the transmission and suspension could take the trip uphill anyway.  While I have nothing against anyone extracting the best advantage from the rules, I  feel that actions should be within the bounds of plausibility.  This manoeuvre clearly wasn't, and it would have established a bad precedent. 

Everyone seemed to agree with me,  so I put away the hobnailed baseball bat and my can of pepper spray, and the game went merrily on. But I understood the dilemma- unprotected infantry assaulting the trench would have been (and as it turned out, was to be) decimated.  Had the infantry been advancing behind tanks or even half-tracks I could have lived with the consequences- which would have been nasty as I had so little A/T capability on the ridge itself.  Combined arms are always the way to go.

Once the Fallshirmjagers had been bloodily repulsed, the last act was one in true Gottendammerung style- the Waffen SS made a close assault on the trench.  Under the BKC II stats, these Baddest-of-Bad-B-tards are tough pretzels to chew on indeed, and can take a lot of punishment.  One stand did in fact almost make it into the trench, but in the end numbers told and they were thrown back.  Hopefully into a very well-used latrine hole.

As for the Sturmtiger, for most of the game it sat in the rear and managed only to lob off one ineffective round at the end of the game.  I was just so thankful it wasn't used to lead the attack on the trench line.  With a massive twelve-dice attack, and being as heavily armoured as it gets in the rules, I just couldn't have replied to it.  It would have ripped the Soviet defences apart, especially if it had been supported by advancing infantry and screened by smoke rounds.

So, lessons learnt:
  • Make better use of reconnaissance units.
  • Entrenched infantry are hard to winkle out.  Use combined arms and smoke to mask the advance, as well as scheduled artillery.  Neither side paid the points for that, and we both could have used it.
  • I should have kept troops behind the trench as a reserve, to shore up any breaches.  While tough to hit, entrenched infantry tend to get nailed when they do.  With no reserves, it was all-or-nothing at some points in the line.  The lack of any significant A/T weapons in the centre was also a real weakness, had it been exploited.
  • Heavy tanks are sexy, but the law of averages is even sexier.  Given any reasonable luck with the command rolls, I'll take quantity over quality any day.  I'd rather have six Pz-III's than one Tiger.  
  • As with the Elephant and other vehicles armed with the excellent long-ranged 88mm gun, the King Tiger should have been kept in the rear where it could snipe at the T-34's from a distance and take them out one at a time.  Either that, or launch it straight at the trenches where the Popovs would have found themselves suffering from sudden gastro-intestinal ailments the minute it appeared out of the gloom.
  • We need to be sure to check for air superiority at the beginning of the game, and to apply the rules correctly!
And last, but not least:
  • More terrain, especially woods, roads, and buildings! My project during the winter vacation is to get that Russian village finished.
Thanks, guys, a great game.  I'd like to do a rematch one day to see if the Germans could do better.  I really think they could win it, given better luck and a different deployment.

But be warned- by then I'll have made up barbed wire emplacements and minefields!


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Games Day Photos

Here are some shots of the last games day. I decided not to add any comments, since I hope to get a nice battle report from Robert! Thanks mate.

Monday, November 8, 2010

November 14th Games Day

Hi Everyone,

we are going to have a games Day on the 14th in a large room!

Anyone is invited, if you plan any big games, please mail us, or post a comment on this blog.

warm your dies.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Photo Report: Games Day on October 24th

And what a day it was- a great turnout, four games on the go, and a lot of fun had by all.  Let's get straight to the pics!

First off, Andrew's Star War games which looked to be a real gas.  It featured a fantastic terrain piece that rather reminded me of a futuristic attack on a Foreign Legion fort, but it was of course a Rebel attack on an Imperial outpost.   And as it turned out, the rules were based on a set for colonials by none other than Don Featherstone!

Here Andrew looks over the layout, with a clearly fascinated Giovanni admiring the miniatures.
 Brian decides that he now knows what he wants Ayu to buy him for Christmas from "Toy's 'R Us".

I just loved the palette of this layout- although it was a swine to photograph, the sand yellow of the gaming cloth matched that of the outpost well, and the game really looked good.


We were able to run two WW2 games using Blitzkrieg Commander II rules.  Peter and Brian had a France 1944 game between the British and Germans.   Pete is a master builder!  His buildings and models looked fantastic, as can be seen here.

Fresh out of the carrying cases.  Some excellently modelled Panzer IV's and a Tiger, along with a  very drool-worthy gun and limber (an SHQ model).

An amazing collection of buildings.  Many made from scratch, and very well painted. 

 Peter and von Brian cross swords across the bocage.

Another shot of Peter's gorgeous terrain layout.

 Giovanni's German armour and infantry. Note the dug-in Panther turret.  

We had Brian using Giovanni's collection of Germans, while Giovanni himself played in the Star Wars game. Meanwhile, Ron was using Brian's British against my Soviets.  The triangles we wargamers get involved in...

Here are some of Peter's British forces.


A really colourful game was this Warhammer 40K game put on by Ivan and Howard- I don't know much about the genre myself, but I was struck with Ivan's well-painted Tyrannids on one side, and the  silver horde that were Howard's Demon-Hunters.  There was an eye-catching statue that formed the centre piece of their game.

 "Watch it- they bite!"

That is a really impressive armoured vehicle.  Wonder if anyone would notice if I painted one green and added it to my Soviet army?

Scale creep writ large...


Finally, the game I had with Ron.  Kind of a learning experience for us both.  This was his first time with the BKC II rules, and I hadn't played for a few months myself, so was a little rusty.  It is June, 1945, and the Soviets are having a little "dispute" with the Western allies over boundary demarcations.

This was a race for a bridge (a nice model that Brian knocked together from parts at the local 100-yen shop), with a British armoured brigade supported by motorized infantry on one side, and a battalion of Soviet infantry supported by a company of T-34/85's and a ground attack aircraft on the other. If the bridge and the two buildings on either side of the river were secured, it would be considered a complete victory.  Anything else would be a draw.

"Today's Fox!" Some jolly sporting chaps (from Brian's collection).
 Heroes ride.  Goats walk.  My Popovs wait for the order to be unleashed.
(A Mig 3 takes aim at my cellphone as punishment for my cluttering up the table.)

  The objective.  Brian's bridge looked great on the table.

Tally Ho, lads! 

Tank on Tank!  The T-34's take a loss, but manage to hold their own against the Capitalist Forces of Reaction. The last Sherman attacking on this flank is knocked out. (The river was fordable by armour, and infantry would have to expend one whole action just to cross it).

Hors de Combat.  These fell prey to the T-34's.   I dare say, hard cheese, old boy, what?

 But more where they came from...(Gulp!)

Bar's open!  Any room at the inn?

The game ended a draw, as the Soviets managed to ever...soooo...sloooowwwly  send their infantry to the building on their side of the bridge, while the British were steadily enveloping the whole board.  However, they wouldn't have had enough infantry to winkle out the still well-armed Soviets from their cover.

But conversely, the Soviets were effectively trapped; if any on them so much as stuck a boot out of the any of the doors they would have had it blown off by a shell from a waiting Sherman.  Stalemate, and the outcome would depend on whichever side would have sent reinforcements first.

Given some abysmal initiative rolls at the beginning of the game, the subsequent advance of the Soviet infantry was carried out at a snail's pace.  With all the British armour and transport, and fairly open terrain, there was little in the way to prevent Ron from flanking the Soviets early in the game and shooting up the Red infantry in the open.  Given my faulty deployment (the Soviets should have set up further forward on the table), the Russkis really did deserve to have been wrung out and then hung to dry in very short order, and Ron's plan to envelope the Soviets from both sides was a sound one.

The only thing saving the commies' cute 'lil crimson butts was that they managed two amazing runs of luck with the dice.  The first was when the T-34's achieved Glory for International Socialism against a company of Shermans, by passing critical command rolls and getting double-ones (which allowed them to get to carry out an additional action).  This meant that they could  then concentrate their fire on the oncoming armour one victim at a time.  Even the Mig managed to do some damage!

The second was later in the game when two mortars managed to hold up the flanking attack long enough for the (by now panic-stricken) infantry to seek shelter in the village. The 82mm mortar was particularly well served by a very efficient crew.

 Gee whiz, Ron, is that the time? Aw, shucks, we'll just have to call it a draw (phew!)

The dice rolling had its ups and downs for both of us, and as Ron was able to quickly grasp the fundamentals of the rules, the game played quite quickly.   I really enjoy our BKC II games, the mechanics are fairly simple, but it plays well and calls for some thinking about the tactics you want to employ.  And of course, Ron is a real gentleman to game with.

Moral of the story for the Popovs; more terrain pieces laid out in depth.  And start with the infantry in defensive positions. Either that or start building lend-lease trucks!  Lot's of 'em.


There you have it.  All in all, A wonderful way to spend a Sunday, with a memorable afternoon of gaming!  Next games day is November 14th.  Thanks to Giovanni and Ayu for the pictures.