Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Saturday Jerry, Gordon and I played a game of Dominion at Adler Hobby instead of playing Flames of War. I brought the non-collectible card game as a backup game in case we didn't get enough players to play miniatures. As luck would have it we didn't so we played a three player game.

I had only played the game once before, but with that experience and owning the game I was able to struggle through re-learning it myself and teaching Jerry and Gordon. Within a few turns we were all in the swing of things and playing and having fun.

I tried the only strategy I knew, the one I used before which was to choose cards that allowed my deck to draw a lot of times each turn. The theory was cycling through my deck would get me to the coin cards to buy lots of VP cards. Well that was the theory.  Jerry went for a balanced deck design with a little bit of everything except militia, which he had a few more than the rest of us had. Gordon went for a lean and mean deck with nothing but coins and VP cards. In the end this was a winning move with Gordon ending up with 48 victory points while Jerry and I were both in the mid 30s. Good win Gordon....I want a re-match! Fun game and a great alternative when you have an odd number of players.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Dennewitz Lite - Order of Battle

I had a request to share the OB I used for my Dennewitz Lite scenario. If you'd like you can download it here. I'm not sure I'd consider this OB tuned fully yet. The allies need to have their artillery reduced a bit more and at least two of the French cavalry brigades that were removed need to be returned. If this is done I think things will be very close to balanced for a meeting engagement fight.

The only other thing that's slightly un-balancing is the Allies start on the side of the table with the defensible river & stream. This might be mitigated by having the armies fight on the battlefield from east to west instead of north to south. Either that or shift the battlefield a mile to the south so the rivers are just off the table. 

Let me know if you give it a go! I most likely will be giving this another try with the modifications I mentioned.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Dennewitz Lite & Game Day

Saturday our club held it's monthly event. Instead of the usual Friday night, this month we had a day long event with two gaming periods. This was a theme day covering the Wars of France throughout history. With the weather breaking for the first good day of the springtime here in New Hampshire we had fewer attendees than expected, but we still had four great games run and played and everyone seemed to have a good day.

My contribution was a re-play of my previously run Dennewitz game. This version was a what-if scenario using portions of each force using the hypothetical assumption that Napoleon allotted less troops to the push towards Berlin and similarly the allies were able to muster only a portion of their historical defending force. This resulted in similarly sized armies and a game I hoped would complete in under three hours.

Below are the players. On the left, the French, Dave and Ed. On the right are Bob and Kevin. Above the starting positions after each team deployed their forces during the 'night' turn.

During the opening moves the Prusso-Russian force was able to press forward into the town in the middle of the table. This key terrain was part of the scenario victory conditions. The French pressed forward with a solid line of infantry and guns to assault the town, but as the battle progressed the allies brought up more and more reinforcements while relying on the stream on their left to protect their weak flank. During the final turns a large-scale morale break in the French lines was experienced due to their prolonged close proximity of the Allied gun cannister shot, while the Allies remained steady under similar pressure. The Prussian cavalry was able to  capitalize on this morale break and seal the fate for the French. Well played by both sides. I think I will need to adjust the OB even a bit more for a fast game and while doing so further reduce the allied artillery to bring it more in line with what the French have.

Earlier in the day I played in Ed's MASSIVE 6mm Nine Year's War (1698-1697 French vs Anglo-allied army) while several others played in Earl's award winning (at Huzzah!) French & Indian war skirmish game in 28mm.

While my Dennewitz game was being run, Michael ran a medieval castle skirmish game using his own rules, "Have fun storming the castle lads". In the photo are two guests I brought, Gordon (left) and Eric (right). Some may recognize them from my Adler Hobby Thursday night posts.

More photos of the games are available on the Northern Conspiracy's photo gallery page.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Tabletop Thursdays

Last night I stopped by Adler hobby for their 'Tabletop Thursday' game night. I don't usually make the long drive on a work night, but I had some items to give to one of the Thursday regulars so I made the trip. Adam and I tried to play an 850-point North Africa FOW game. I used my British armor, Adam used a German armor force with attached Fallschirmjägers on motorcycles.  I was suspicious of using any scenario other than 'Free for All' with such a low point total, but we gave it a go. We rolled 'Cauldron' . With three platoons in my force two started off board and one started in ambush. That gave me a single platoon and my HQ to protect the center of the board from all sides. Adam had four platoons thanks to some creative kamphgrouping which gave him two platoons on board to start.

In my first turn I failed to get reserves, and with an 88 and a platoon of infantry on board I decided to smoke the 88 with my HQ tanks and assault the infantry. I managed to kill the only stand I could reach in my assault. In Adam's turn he received reinforcements, used the platoon of newly arrived tanks and his HQ to kill my two HQ tanks. Game over. I had nothing that could reach the objectives to contest them after Adam would capture them the next turn. Lesson learned: trying to roll for scenarios for 850 points will give you some unplayable games. Play free for all or pick a scenario both players can agree upon. I don't think either Adam or myself would have picked cauldron with such small forces.

After that I dropped into a game of  Wings of War that was being played. Since the two players were learning the rules they were doing a mission against some observation balloons and some 'Archie'. I rolled in with a Spad XIII to try to spoil their raid. I was able to shoot down one Albatros D.Va before getting gunned down by a Halberstadt CII's tail gunner. I think maybe Wings of War has the tail gunners a bit over powered for my tastes, but still a fun game. Maybe if there is a two seater on each side it will balance things out a bit more.

Meanwhile while we were dog fighting over the trenches of WWI, Adam and Chris were playing another game of FOW. Chris brought his newly painted Matilda company. I took a few photos of Chris' Matildas which were beautifully painted with full Caunter cammo scheme and hand-enscribed tank names using a technical pen. Awesome stuff.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

British Heavy Armoured Platoon

It's been a very busy week this week starting off with getting ready for and attending Huzzah! then working on my laser to make templates for a customer, getting ready to host a game this Saturday at my club's game day and getting ready for Thursday night at Adler hobby by working on my mid-war British armoured squadron.

These are three Grant tanks which will form a heavy armoured platoon for my mid-war British Desert Rats. There are two Grant tanks and one Grant tank with the Lee MG turret. Since these are a support platoon for my light armoured squadron, I decided to paint them up in a scheme that is different from my Crusader tanks. The image below on the left is the scheme I was trying to emulate when painting these tanks up. Since my primer was a good match for the darker tan, I started with that and added the lighter sand colour and the chocolate brown on top. As with my other tanks I 'chipped' the decals with the sponge technique.

The radio aerials are .010" carbon fiber rod. I'm not entirely sure putting them there is accurate. I'm guessing that the mount point I used was actually intended for a turret mounted exterior MG. The mount point looked silly empty so I filled it with the aerials. If people give me too much guff about them I can always remove them later. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

British Grenadier Firing Template

I was contacted last week by a gentleman who plays a lot of British Grenadier who wanted a firing template for the game made from Baltic Birch plywood. Using a sketch that he provided of what he wanted this is what I came up with. It's simple, functional and if you like the look of wood as much as I do you'll also find it ascetically pleasing. This is in it's raw state. After a quick sand with 300-grit paper and a coat of your favourite wood finish it really pops.

If you're interested in buying some, they're available on my business website here: http://www.wrightbrothersrc.com/wargaming/index.htm

If you have any other laser cut or engraved wargaming ideas, I'm always open to new custom work. Just drop me an email!

Monday, May 16, 2011

More Huzzah! Photos

My friend Mike Paine sent me this link to Rich Wallace's Picasa gallery with a ton of great photos Rich took at Huzzah! this past weekend. Photos 28-32 are of my game. I hope you enjoy them.

Update! Mike has also sent me a link to his Picasa gallery.

Thanks Mike and Rich!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Cedar Mountain at Huzzah!

Yesterday I ran my Cedar Mountain ACW V&B game at the Huzzah! convention. I was hoping for five players, but ended up with four, which is plenty for this small scenario.

This scenario was designed to be able to be played to completion in about two to two and a half hours. Readers of the blog will recognize it from my previous posts. The scenario starts off at 10:00 as both armies are about to enter general battle.  The photo above is a couple of turns into the game after each army has had a chance to advance into position. Possession of the cross roads is the goal for each army with the smaller and poorer quality Union army having the advantage of being able to reach the crossroads first and defend them. As the game starts everything is at a tipping point. Usually the army that gains early successes is able to press those to a significant victory. Such was the case with this game.

Below, photos of the players. On the left the Union including Conspirator Robert and Adler Hobby regular Keith. On the right the Union players who's names I've shamefully forgotten - my sincere apologies.

The game started out with an across the board attack by the Confederates. With only eight turns until darkness they felt significant pressure to take the crossroads from the smaller Union force. Unfortunately for the Confederates their attacks against the center resulted in several of their brigades being turned back in rout. On each flank they enjoyed some success which the Union was forced to react to. With the center no longer in jeopardy the Union was able to press there while deploying their dismounted cavalry and reserve artillery to the flanks solidifying their position. The Confederates pressed home several additional attacks, but with their numbers dwindling their fate was sealed. The battle was concluded two hours before darkness (game time) with the Confederates lacking the troops to continue to press the crossroads. A very a historical victory for the Union.

I'd like to thank everyone for playing the game. It was a fun one to run particularly because all of the players that participated. I hope to game with you all again.

For those who haven't gone to Huzzah! yet, you're missing a real gem. There seem to be plenty of great games to play and from what I can see getting into the game of your choice was quite easy as they weren't over booked. The vendor support was excellent with plenty of places to spend your money and lots of selection. Good fun to be had. Portland is only an hour north of Boston and has great shopping and dining possibilities, so a dual-purpose trip with the Mrs. isn't out of the question either.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Huzzah! 2011

Huzzah! is this weekend. I'll be running my Cedar Mountain game during the Saturday Morning session. This is a historical ACW game using the  Volley & Bayonet rule set. I designed it to be able to be played to completion in about two hours. With a standard three hour convention time period that will give me plenty of time to teach the rules without cutting into playing time. Hopefully the players who register for the game will appreciate that and will also enjoy the game. Those who like Volley & Bayonet should also look for fellow Northern Conspirator John Magnifico's Leipzig game during the Saturday afternoon session.

Saturday my friend Gordon from Adler hobby will be running some FOW learning games using his "Train Raid" scenario that we play tested last month. It's a really fun game and a great way to learn Flames of War. Sunday Gordon is running a two-period team FOW tournament. It's an interesting format and should make for some fun gaming.

If you're going to Huzzah! stop by my game and say hi. I always like meeting people who read my blog.

Monday, May 9, 2011

North Africa - Light Armoured Squadron - HQ and Combat Platoon

This is the HQ and first combat platoon for my Light Armoured Squadron. The HQ is composed of two Crusader II CS tanks. The combat platoon has a commander mounted in a Crusader II tank and two Crusader III tanks.

I chose to start with a Light Armoured Squadron, although eventually I'll be able to also field a Heavy Armoured Squadron and the Death and Glory squadron using almost all of the same figures. This was one of the things that made the British armor list so appealing to me when I selected them. The other is I like the looks of the Crusader tanks a lot. They look so modern. I also plan to have heavy armor support in the form of US-made Grant and Sherman tanks.

For the crusader tanks I've chosen the two-color camouflage scheme similar to what Battlefront uses on their sample images in their books. I like this look a lot on these tanks and I was able to find additional references supporting Battlefront's scheme. The tanks are base coated with Iraqi sand over a sand colored primer. The second color is standard chocolate brown. A homemade sepia wash highlights the panel lines followed by a final dry-brush of slightly lightened Iraqi sand. I think they look suitably dirty - a quality that I'm not always good at reproducing. The chocolate brown panels and unit markings were 'chipped' using the same sponge technique I used on my scout patrol. Again I assumed that the chocolate brown, when chipped, would show the sand base coat through. The CinC gets an exposed commander while the 2iC gets an aerial recognition roundel on his turret. The latter might be a bit of creative license on my part, but I don't believe it's far off.

In terms of combat roles, the combat platoon gives me a good solid light/medium tank asset. Decent armor, decent gun. Nothing that's going to stop a tiger, but just about everything else is a suitable target for these. The command tanks are Crusader II CS tanks. They can use their gun as a direct-fire AT asset, but their real role will be to fire smoke and smoke bombardments. They'll be what I use to silence those pesky 88s, Italian 90mm AT guns, and to slow down the occasional tiger's fire so I can hopefully out flank it.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

North Africa - Recon!

These are the first figures and vehicles for my Flames of War mid-war British North Africa armored company. As you can tell from the unit symbols on the fenders, I've decided to paint them up as members of the British 7th Armored Division - the Desert Rats. After seeing re-runs of "The Rat Patrol" on TV as a kid I couldn't resist.

Since most of my force will be armor, which is quick to paint up, I decided to start with one of the more difficult to paint units. This is a scout platoon consisting of two patrols of three universal carriers. They can be armed anywhere from a single Bren gun all the way up to a Bren gun and a .50 cal MG or Boys anti-tank rifle. I've painted them up generically for now so I can keep my options open. These are considered a divisional support asset and therefore can be used with most of the British armored TO&Es from North Africa. They're classified as recon so will be useful to prevent ambushes against my armor and are an excellent anti-infantry asset with their armor and MGs.

I used the technique of tearing a piece of blister sponge packing material up and using it as a brush to show paint chipping on the decals. Since the unit markings were painted over the base color I made the assumption that when they chipped the sand color underneath would show through. I think I like the effect and will most likely use this more in the future.

A platoon can have up to three patrols, but since we're playing our North Africa campaign at 850 points per player, I decided that two patrols would be more than enough at that point level. I can always paint up three more later if I decide I want them. Up next will be some of the tanks for the company.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Early War Escalation League (7)

Yesterday we had another gaming session of our ongoing early war Flames of War league at Adler Hobby. Again there were four players and three with armies so we opted for another 2000-point game matching up Jerry and Adam's French against my Germans. Although Jerry brought French armor again Adam mixed things up and brought French recon with TONS of Panhard armored cars, which are an excellent weapon during this period. On the German side I had the same forces as last time, German infantry pioneers and Czech Panzers. This time the armor portion of the force included four 8-rads that I forgot to put on the table last time (sorry Gordon!). Commanding the Czech panzers in this game was a new player (to me, not to the group) named Russ. Russ was definitely the force of the German side. His Czech tanks ran great, shot accurately and survived many armor savings rolls. Russ was also a lot of fun to play a game with. Good to meet you Russ!

We rolled for the mission randomly and got 'Break Through'. For those unfamiliar with FOW this is an interesting scenario where the defenders deploy in two opposite quadrants of the table and the attackers attack from one to the other of the opposite corners. Both teams have reserves that can come on from either of their corners.

With 2000 points on each side and corner-to-corner deployment zones, this was definitely one of those knife fight in a phone booth sort of games. The French chose to deploy their entire armor force and the artillery and some of the Panhard armored cars with the infantry and additional armored cars in reserve. We started with our infantry force (with AT, AA and heavy artillery guns) and one platoon of Panzer 35(t) tanks on the table. Our 8-rads showed up turn two and our Panzer IIc platoon showed up turn 4. The French received no reserves before we called the game in a tie when one of the players had to leave.

This was a close game in many ways. Early on our engineers on the hill took it hard from a Panhard close assault and MG fire from several platoons of French armor. We counter-punched knocking out most of a Hotchkis platoon with our PaK36 AT guns and two of the hard-to-kill Somua tanks with some good shooting from our Panzer 35(t) platoon. As we completed turn five, the French armor company was beginning to withdraw to prevent themselves from receiving enough casualties to cause a company morale check, while the French recon platoon was pushing the objective with a platoon of Panhards and anxiously awaiting a flood of reserves to arrive from behind the thinly-guarded rear objective.

We called the game a draw, and a fun one at that. Had we continued the race between the Germans destroying the French armor company and the French capturing the rear objective would tell the story. Alas that's a story not to be completed. Good game, good people to enjoy it with, good times. Photos below.