Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Past Saturday's Event Report

Last Saturday the 3rd of December we gathered once more for some dice rolling and fun.

Despite the fact that the day was a Saturday we had a good turnout, not as good as ususal, but the fact that the games day was on a Saturday put off all teh people that had to work. Sorry lads, soon we should have Sundays available again.

Booking the room during the winter time is becoming harder, I guess the outdoor activities are left out for indoor stuff. Spring will come soon enough to allow us bigger rooms on Sundays!

Anyhow, we started early at 9.00 with 4 people for a Labyrinth Lord game, a reissue of old old school Dungeons & Dragons that can be freely downloaded here: http://www.goblinoidgames.com/labyrinthlord.html

In the afternoon we tried our fortune at Shogun, an old Milton Bradley game set in feudal Japan.
Brian was the winner with more provinces than anybody else. Well done!

To finish teh lot we had a quick game at Gareth naval game of DBA Damn Battleship Again from the Wargame Research Group. We used a huge blue sheet and 8 tiny 1/6000 Battleships to represent some smaller units of the Russian and Japanese fleets during the Russo Japanese war.

All in all despite the terrible weather (rainy and cold) it has been a great day of fun. I am looking forward to next month event.

By the way I would like to thank all teh members of the club and all of the followers of the blog for playing with us and supporting us. Merry Christmass and Happy New Year, may Santa Claus bring a lot of miniatures, boardgames and RPGs.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Looking for players Russo-Japanese Naval Game

Hi All,

One of our members, Gareth is planning to run a naval game of the Russo japanese war and has asked me to post here to look for opponents for the game on the 3rd of December. If you are interested please write in the comment section of this post.

Here is his message:

Given that the club logo features the 1904-5 war, I think we should try to do more Russo-Japanese war games. To that end I'll be bringing some 1/6000 Russian and Japanese ships for a naval game. What game I do would depend on how many people wanted to play, a small cruiser action or a grand fleet clash. The rules I plan to use are Phil Barker's "Damn Battleships Again" which are available free online.


They're pretty simple and easy to understand. The Hong Kong Wargames Club used them for some big games and there are photos on their website. Currently the IJN force has 5 battleships, 4 armoured cruisers, and 7 protected cruisers painted up. The Russians have 7 battleships, 3 armoured cruisers and 4 protected cruisers. I'll be painting up some destroyer squadrons this week and then try to finish the rest of the fleets. By the 3rd, most of both fleets should be pretty much done.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Monkeying around in Funaborisov!

And lots of fun it was too!  En Yu Kai (loosely translated as The Playing Monkey Group... love that name!) are a group of Japanese historical boardgamers located in the Tokyo area.  Board wargames have long been popular here, with a good number of games available, both those published in Japan, and those which would be familiar to anyone acquainted with strategy and tactical board games available in the west.

A few weeks ago they invited us to put on a game at their annual convention held this weekend in Funabori, in the east of Tokyo.

We gladly accepted, so a small group of us agreed to put on a WW2 Blitzkrieg Commander game for the first day of the event. We were looking forward to the opportunity to meet new people, publicize the club, and perhaps to introduce miniatures gaming to those who were unfamiliar with it.

When we arrived at the hall on Saturday, we were given a very warm welcome by our host, Toshikazu Takasawa, and everyone in attendance received a bag of free dice- always useful for those BKC and Black Powder games! 
There were lots of old Avalon Hill and SPI games in evidence, along with newer games. I remember seeing a group playing Age of Napoleon, and others included an Arnhem and (huge!) Persian Gulf naval game, as well as a gorgeously presented ACW game.

In our side of the hall was a WW2 Eastern Front game, Operation Typhoon. This was notable for the frequent shouts of triumph and dismay which often came from their corner of the room! They really seemed to be enjoying themselves.
"Gimme a six!  Hear me, damn you? A SIX!"
For our game, Giovanni had brought his Germans, and also dragged along his brother (also an avid gamer and painter in his own right) who was visiting from Turin.

I brought my Soviets, and some buildings which I had recently (Friday!) finished painting, and Sada provided some magnificent roads and a very eye-catching river.  He also made a great banner for the club based on our blog header! Also in attendance was Sawamoto-san, who arrived in time to pull some irons out of the fire for the Soviet side.

We also had some members of En Yu Kai participate in the game, and the Konigstigers were commanded by a first-time miniatures players who managed to destroy the better part of a Soviet tank battalion in the course of the game!
Good vibes all round, with lots of laughter and a very friendly atmosphere. A number of people came up to us during the day to look at the miniatures and terrain, and to "talk shop".

Clearly there were some very knowledgeable people there, who knew their Su-122's from their T-34's.  A number mentioned having built model kits in their youth, and some had even played simple war games with them (some nostalgic discussions about the old Eidai kits!).  But most had not given much thought to miniature wargaming, and this was their first chance to see one "in the flesh"!

And what of the game itself?  Actually our Battle of Funaborisov must be counted as of the best BKC II games we've had, and it was a real nail-biter to the finish.  We decided to try the breakout scenario in the rulebook, which saw a German detachment trying to break through a Soviet-held town, while on the other side of the table a German relief force was on the way.  It was a great scenario, and provided a challenge for both sides, as well as a lot of tension!

I was somewhat reluctant to pit this pair of T-70's against a pair of Elefants and Stug III's.  Dunno why...
We added a curve ball in that the Soviets would dice to see what turn an armoured column would come in to reinforce the defence.  As luck would have it, the Soviet reinforcements would come in on the second turn...
  ...and where, as luck would have it, there would be a pair of King Tigers in the way ready to maul them.
The German Panzergrenadiers crossed the river near the Soviet left flank, and raced along the road in order to force their way through the village. The OT-34 defending that flank was a fearsome prospect for the Germans, who gave it wide berth and singled it out for special attention from the Panzers!
Meanwhile they used a force of Elefants and Stug III's to threaten the Soviet right, which covered a ford across the river.  Sawamoto-san had a largely infantry force here, supported by an SU-122, his only armoured vehicle- and indeed the only decent A/T capability he possessed.  At one point it found itself hit and suppressed by a Stug III.  At this turn of events the Germans swiftly sent their armoured behemoths across the ford into the assault.  Things were looking grim for the Reds!
However, the Soviets and their commander were made of stern stuff, and decided to close assault the Elefant directly,  accepting the risk of any limited opportunity fire from the German AFV's.
And it paid off!   On the second assault, they not only destroyed the Ferdinand, but by doing so managed to block the ford.  This not only eliminated the threat of the Germans breaking through the village in the centre, but it allowed the defenders to reinforce the widening fight for the road on the Soviet left flank.  But would it be too late?
The fight along the edge of the village was brutal, with an Sdkfz 251 being lost to the O-34's flamethrower...
Despite the immediate reinforcements of two T-70's, the fight to prevent the Germans from breaking out along the road next to the village was bitter, with no quarter asked or given!  The OT-34 was knocked out by a Pz-IV, and another German half-track lost to a Soviet A/T platoon.
One of the light T-70 tanks was subsequently taken out by a Panzershreck.    Losses were mounting on both sides, with even an assault by an SS unit being shot to pieces by enraged Soviet infantry

The game was steadily-if slowly- going in the German's way.  As it ended, as it was evident that they would get a good chunk of their forces off the table.  But when we calculated the losses the Germans came ahead by a measly 20 points!   So a German victory, but a costly one.

The Soviets were hampered by a lack of commanders and by not having assigned the right resources to be in the right place at the right time.  Having the towed artillery come in with the armoured reinforcements was also a mistake, as I could never give them the orders needed to go into the village and set up a defence.  All the order rolls were needed just to fend off those King Tigers, which successfully held off the Soviet reinforcing column for the whole game, taking out two T-34/85's and an ISU-152 in the process- for no loss at all.

In BKC-II,  King Tigers, while tough as old nails, are not invincible.  But if you let yourself get caught out in the open by them, expect a lot of your armour to end up as Kitty Nibbles- as was the case historically.
"Well, at least it's pretty safe here..."
Another thing we learned was the importance moving your overall commander to a position close to the action where he can actually see and influence what is going on, especially if he is commanding the Russians!  That, and the need to dig in defending infantry; next on my terrain agenda are foxholes, emplacements, bunkers and minefields for a proper defence.

The Germans had their problems too; Giovanni didn't need to have used four armoured vehicles to hold the Russian right, and the two Stug III's would have been more usefully employed escorting the half-tracks past the village.  Additionally, Sada had some exceptional bad luck with both command and firing dice, but there was lots of that on the Soviet side too!

In all, a really fun game with triumph and frustration for both sides.   As we packed up. Sada was setting up a Napoleonic naval game for Sunday, so with luck he will be able to post some more pictures of the weekend's events.

It was great to have the chance to get out and chat with like-minded enthusiasts about the hobby.  Thanks again to Takasawa-san for inviting us! We'd love to go back and put on a game next year.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Confirmed Games: November 13th (Sun) & Dec 3rd (SATURDAY)

Hi All,

it has been a while since the last post, but the activities of the club have not stopped, we had 2 fantastic events and hopefully soon we might have some pictures.

On the 22nd we are going to advertise our club to a yearly historical gaming event that takes place in Funabori on the Toei Shinjuku line (close to Chiba). We are going to play a larger WW2 game to try to attract new blood for teh club. If anyone is interested in joining in and actively promoting the club, please feel welcome and contact me.

I also managed to book the rooms until December, please check the dates.

November 13th - 7th floor Kitchen Room

December 3rd - 7th floor Sosaku Shitsu Room (next to the kitchen) THIS IS A SATURDAY

I would suggest if you plan for a larger game please let us know in advance for November since the room is a little small.

Looking forward to meet yall.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

They're after you, Giovanni...

Giovanni wanted to see Vikings, so here they are!

These were bought and painted back in 1985-87.  Old Citadel Dark Ages range, with a few appropriately-clad fantasy figures thrown in.  Designed by the Perry Twins, and true 25mm.

Once they are all finished (which means they will have taken around 25 years!), all I'll need is a monastery to plunder after they finish whacking Giovanni's Saxons.

Anyone else out there interested in a bit of a Dark Ages bash?  We're thinking of using Age of Blood, Warhammer Ancients and/or Hail Caesar! (eventually).

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Photo Report: Games Day on July 31st, 2011

Summer is always a quiet time on the wargaming front generally, what with the nasty hot and humid weather, summer vacations, kids out of school, and the usual demands on weekends that is normally the case this season of the year. 

But despite the anticipated absence of a number of regulars, our last games day (July 31st)  saw an unexpectedly very high turnout for our club, which was nice to see.  Lots of new faces, and some great games!  A D&D scenario, some board games, and of course miniatures.  

Giovanni, Pete and I enjoyed a WW2 British vs. Germans game, while Sada and Rod had their first Napoleonic naval game, using the Warhammer Historical Trafalgar rules and Sada's amazing collection of Langton 1/1200 ship models.  Click on any of the photos to enlarge.
French frigate takes fire
Sada has been working on his ships for a long time, and it is evident in the quality of painting, rigging, and presentation.  
Come cheer up, my lads, 'tis to glory we steer!
His "sea" was a tour de force- crinkled blue cellophane over a simple blue cloth.  Inexpensive,  portable, but very effective.

As this was the first game, there were only three ships aside.  It ended up in victory for Rod's Royal Navy (what else?),  but at the cost of a 74-gun ship-of-the-line lost in a collision.
Someone's going to have a hard time explaining this to the Admiralty at his court martial.
A lovely Spanish first rate, the 130-gun Santissima Trinidad
The fleet is in...
Sada has about eighty ships in all, and he is determined to model all the ships present at Trafalgar.  Each exquisite model takes him about a week to build.  The workmanship really had to be seen to be believed! 
Rod, fancying himself as the new Russell Crowe.
The rules played fast, and seemed a lot of fun.  I know Trafalgar has had a mixed reception from gamers, and people will probably love 'em or hate 'em.   But given time limitations at the club and the fact that most of us are confirmed landlubbers, I have to say I found them just the thing.  Thanks for putting on a great game, Sada!

Board games were out in force, and we had a visitor from a miniature painting club in Japan, whom Brian & Ayu had met at a model fair in Shizuoka.  They invited her to drop in and take a look at our miniatures games, as the concept of wargaming was an unfamiliar one to most of them.  She seemed evidently impressed with what she saw, and even found the time to take part in a game of Dungeonquest.

Pete's wife ponders the price he will have to pay for having her cut out mortar templates at the last minute.
The WW2 game saw Peter trying out a ruleset he used to play about 20 years ago, and which focused more on infantry actions than on tanks.  It seemed to play well- we liked the fall-of-shot charts-, and is worth a second try in a future game.   
Pete laying out the game as Giovanni and Rod look on.
...clank, clank, clank...

...and more where that came from...

Powerful Prussian Pachyderm
Here comes trouble...

Even more Schnell!!!
Well-placed mortar round on an open-topped vehicle.  Ouch.
Now you see me, now you don't.

Raus! Out! Out! Out!

Jerries under attack from a Sherman Crab.
The hardest tactical challenge was getting Giovanni to focus on playing the game, as he often got sidelined meeting new people who had showed up to the club!    But that, of course, is what he does best and is a big reason behind the success of our organization.

Next games day is soon- Sunday, August 14th.