Sunday, March 27, 2016

Play Testing a scenario for Ambush Valley

The group I play with generally put one  or two games on at local conventions and we take great pride in those games.  The scenarios that we run are generally play tested twice and sometimes more then that.  Nothing is worse then participating in a convention game and realizing that there is no way that your side can possibly achieve the victory conditions.

We got together this past Saturday at our local game store, Acropolis Games.   We were play testing  a scenario that was originally published for Face of Battle.  We figured that we could tweak it a bit for the rules we were using, Force on Force by Ambush Alley Games.  And we were using the Vietnam supplement, Ambush Valley.   One of our group is one of the Jims that is mentioned in the thanks at the front of Force on Force.  Our group also play tested the Ambush Valley supplement.

The scenario was an extraction on a hot LZ.  The Marines have heavy WIAs(this means in game terms that they were not walking wounded) and KIAs that have to be loaded up on the helos and troops to protect them also.  The WIAs were incapacitated, so we determined that it would take two figures to manhandle each WIA into a Huey.  Of course the same would be true for KIA for obvious reasons.

The above photo is of the North Vietnamese Regulars set up and victory conditions, that would be the side I played on. The North Vietnamese received reinforcements each turn.
The above photo is the USMC at the beginning of turn one.  The figures at the back lying down on the left are heavily wounded and the figures on the back right are KIA.

Here are the Hueys coming into hot LZ.
Here they are on the first turn they landed. The following are several shots through several turns.
Below is a photo of USMC reinforcements and they were going to hot rapel.

This is the chart for helicopter damage.  In Force on Force opposing forces dice off to determine if there are any hits.  There are offense dice and defensive dice.  Each unit troop quality is tied to dice, the larger the die, the better the troops.  The Marines and North Vietnamese were both d8 troops.  I shot  at one of the helos with a squad..  The I rolled had 6 dice(number of troops and weapons determine this) and the Huey had three defensive dice.  I rolled an 7, a 7 and a 6.  These were the only numbers above 4.  Any dice roll under 4 is ignored  The Marines defense dice failed to stop any.  So I have three hits.  I then roll three dice and I get an 8, a 7 and a 7.  So we consult the above chart.  I have 8 plus two.  What, a weapon damage?  That is when we said wait a minute.  The North Vietnamese player can never destroy a Huey with small arms fire.  Though that was not going to matter, the North Vietnamese stomped on the Marines the first game.

The second game we reworked the chart, we interchanged the weapon damage with the withdrawal results.  We then made the determination that if a Huey was forced to withdraw twice, it would have to RTB.  Then the Marines would have to roll on what turn the next Huey would show up.  The first game all three Hueys were Medevacs.  The second game we rolled to see if there were gunships and two were Gunships.  We also made it easier for the Marines to put wounded into the helos.

On the second turn I received this Fog of War card.
The way one receives a fog of war card is at the beginning of an action(firing or moving as example of an action) and an opposing player says, no I am going to fire at that unit before that unit moves or a unit will return fire if they are being fired upon.  If one rolls a reaction dice and it results in a one on the die.  A Fog of War card is drawn.  This card did not help the Marines cause at all.

With the above card and coupled with the outstanding dice rolling on my part.  It was a a slaughter

This is what the table looked like this after three turns.  One of the helos were driven off and would have to make a moral test to land again. 

In the next turn, all but two of the standing Marines were down and one  more Huey was driven off. 
At that point the Marines had absolutely no way they could win.  The Vietnamese got too many reinforcements  The quantity of those troops were determined by a dice roll and I received reinforcements ever turn. 

Now onto the main part of this entry.  You might be thinking, wow those games did not last long and you would be correct.  We have on many occasions used  scenarios designed for a different game system with some adjustments as I have said earlier.  I am not sure if we will be able to do so with this scenario.

I have done some research on Face of Battle and here is a blog entry describing the game play.

I have not played Face of Battle and from dhc wargames blog description of Face of Battle it is extremely different from Ambush Valley.  As I understand it, Face of Battle uses single figures as units.  While Force on Force is a squad based game.  So when reinforcements were rolled, I rolled for movement onto the table for the unit and not each individual soldier.  On first two turns reinforcements were five figures on the first and the next turn I got seven figures.  I rolled well enough that each unit could engage the Marines on the very turn they came on the board.   That was a big problem too.  Again, as the North Vietnamese I could put devastating fire on the few Marine units.  When we try the scenario again.  The North Vietnamese will only get reinforcements every other turn.

In the first game we determined that there was just too much for the Marines to do.  They had to defend the LZ and get all the WIA and KIA onto the choppers.  If everything went perfectly, it would take five or six turns to get all the WIA and KIA.  And then the living would have to be extracted too. We made it easier for the Marines to get incapacitated units onto the Helos.

We played two games in three hours, but neither was satisfying.  We have played Force on Force a lot and enjoyed it.  It seems that Face of Battle has a strong following too.  Because each rule system is so different, I do not think the scenarios are compatible. 

We have on many occasions used a different rule systems scenario, but never have we had this result and having to do as many changes to achieve balanced play. We are going to try it one more time to see if we can make the scenario work for Force on Force.  I am not optimistic that we will be able to fix it.

Let me know if you all have had similar problems with scenarios from different rule systems and not working very well.

Thanks for reading,


Sunday, January 24, 2016

A game of Blackpowder for a little eye candy.

We play tested a game that Ted Bender is going to be running at the Battlefields Miniature convention put on by the Pro or Con gaming club of the Detroit area.  Ted will be running The Battle of Cowpens from the Blackpowder scenario book, Rebellion.
I am not going to give you a blow by blow of the game, however let us just say that history did not repeat itself.  The British won.  Here are some photos and if you want to play this game, the convention is on March 12 on Livonia. 
Thanks for reading.


I picked up a couple of books.

I do not know about you, but I like a fleshed out game, especially at a convention game that I am playing in.  I hate an unprepared gamemaster that has not put much time or effort into a game.  I have seen a gamemaster walk in an hour late for their start time and start to set up.  He is even cutting out foam hills with a foam cutting tool,  He is finally set up for the second session, though he was scheduled for the first session.

I like a little background on the scenario that I am playing.  I have seen some exemplary examples of this and that is what I strive for in a game I am running at a convention.  That is what lead me to purchase these two books.

I am going to be running a Fist Full of Tows 3 game at a local convention in March.  It is difficult to give background on the scenario that I am going to be running.  Since there were no real battles between NATO and the Soviet thank goodness.  So scenario generation is not as easy as it would be if there was a real battle.  So what I try to do is find sources that would likely have seen each other.  I know that there is a bit of what if, but it is a what if scenario.   The adversaries for the game will be the  British Army of the Rhine with some help from German Landwher vs. the Soviets.  The Soviets will have both Cat I and Cat II units. 

 I purchased two books recently that will help me flesh out the British forces.  The first title is The British Army in Germany: An Organizational History 1947-2004 by Graham Watson, Richard A Rinaldi. It is a pretty nifty little book.  It tells one where a unit was garrisoned and for how long.   It also tells one what unit replaced it.  One can pick it up for $11-12 plus shipping from a used book service.
 The second book I purchased recently is Encyclopedia of the Modern British Army by Terry Gardner.
If you have any interest in the Cold War, this is a must purchase.  My guess it is well known in the UK, but not so much here in the US.  It has info on organisation(notice the British spelling), weapons system and vehicles.  It is a very comprehensive book.  I would suggest one buy it from the UK, I have seen it as cheap as 70P and shipping is  £ 2.80 to the states.

A little eye candy for the upcoming game.  I belong to a Facebook group and I know a lot of people that do not.  A fellow by the name of Tommy Lundqvist made these incredible sections of roads.
Here is the link if you are inclined to use Facebook.  I wanted mine to be a little simpler, these are for 6mm and I am going to be using them for 3mm.
I have 30 or so sections and I have a couple of hours work in them.

Thank you for reading.


Sunday, January 17, 2016

Data Cards for FFT 3

I am going to be running a game of FFT 3 at Pro or Con Miniature Club's convention. Battlefields.  It is being held at the Livonia Elk's Club in Livonia MI on March 12th, 2016.

It will be a Soviet assault and The BAOR with some help from the Germans and they will be defending.  There might be a couple of surprise elements on both sides too.

I am making preparations for it at the moment. I will be updating those preparations.   The following is the first preparation other then painting the miniatures.

 I like a game that I am not forever rifling through pages to know what the data for a weapon is or for anything else for that matter.  I made data cards for the game and I do like data cards for units.  It cuts down on player questions and the players can see the pertinent information.  I think I spent about an hour on them and I think they turned out well.  

What you do not see is the missile data is on the reverse side.

Thanks for reading.


Sunday, January 10, 2016

Spartacon 2016 Report

     I attended another Spartacon this year.  It is a convention that I never miss and we have driven in some really crappy weather to even get to the Lansing Civic Center where it is held. 
     I played in a Force on Force game hosted by Chris Maes in the first session. I love this game.  It is a small unit game.  When one uses sound tactics, they are rewarded.  And when one uses poor tactics, they will generally get one in a world of shit.  This the second game of Force on Force hosted by Chris that I have played in.  The first was last year.   He runs a very good game.
     The scenario was as follows; The French went into an Afghan village and got themselves in a world of hurt.  The French begin the game with wounded troopers,   I played part of the French team and let me say the words merde and foutre were ringing out all over the valley.  It was a very hard game for the French to win. I am not saying it was not possible to win, but many things had to go right for the French, Afghan Allies and Americans and it did not.  An example of this, one of the mechanics in Force on Force is when one is rolling for initiative to see who fires first.  If a one is rolled by either player, a Fog of War card is drawn.  I believe eight or nine Fog of War cards were drawn and only two were beneficial to our side.  The Afghan side got reinforcements on several occasions and one card gave an Afghan unit better stats.  Ultimately the French took it in  les sous-vĂȘtement.
The Commander is the figure on the left with white Kepi.

American Special Forces
The Second session had two Bolt Action games.  The first set of photos are of a Japanese vs. Marines run by Jim Wonnacott.  At the end of the game there was a lot of Japanese players yelling Banzai.  My guess is that the Marines did not win.
Apparently a Life magazine photographer was taking photos of the game.  He did not take any photos of the Japanese.  I am sorry about that.
     The second Bolt Action Game was a D Day game.  Basically there were three different battles going on.  One was regular Ally troops attacking Wehrmacht troops.  The middle part of the table was British paras fighting ze Germans over a town.  The last bit of the battle were British Paras on the defensive fight against ze Germans again.
This was a game of Ancients.  It was a homebrew ruleset and it was Normans vs Byzantines.  I heard a lot of positive feed back from this game.
This is a Flames of War Italians vs, Commonwealth Troops in the desert.  It was a nice table and the miniatures were painted very well.
The photos below are of Russian and Japanese, I believe it was Tsushima.  I have no idea of the scale or if these are commercial miniatures. 
 This is a game of French retreat from Moscow.  They were home brew rules with very well painted miniatures.
Napoleon is in the middle
 There were two Check Your 6 games, I only managed to get photos of the second session game.  It was run by Dave Winfree of I-94 fame.

I did not take a photo of what battle this was, another oops.  This game of Regimental Fire and Fury was run by Lowell Hamilton.  
The last photos are other games that I did not get specific info on.
In closing I want to thank all those people that made Spartacon possible.  It is a very good convention.

Thanks for reading.