The Musings, Pictures and Battle Reports of 40+ years of Wargaming experience.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Big Battle Nuts! -- AAR and small review

Been almost a year since my last post......

Two Hour Wargames has recently published a new set of WW II rules based on their popular 'Chain Reaction' system: Big Battle Nuts!.
I've been looking for a system to replace 'Flames of War', and I was hoping this was it.  The game uses many of the concepts of the 'CR' system, a system I enjoy.

Units are rated with a 'Reputation' number.  This is used to make reaction checks, when in combat, and rallying.  Infantry movement speeds and weapon ranges are generic.  The game also includes a TON of vehicles; obviously their stats vary vehicle to vehicle.

Basing is similar to FoW, multiple figures to a stand.  Platoons are made up of 2-3 stands with an additional support weapon (MG, AT weapon or Mortar).  So really, 3-4 stands.  Companies are made up of  3 Platoons, Battalions are made up of 3 Companies.  If playing at a Company level, there will be a HQ stand and a 'Company Support Weapon'.  If playing at Battalion level there will be a Battalion HQ stand.  The higher organization HQ stands can be used to replace the Reputation number of lesser rated formations.  Reinforcements can randomly appear in the game; they show up based on the Competitive Activation check.

Combat is resolved by starting with 2d6, adding or subtracting dice do to circumstances.  Rolled against a units Rep number, successes are counted against a chart and depending on if the target is 'In Cover' or not, a result is achieved.

The game comes with 3 types of missions, Patrol, Attack and Defend.  It also has a 10 mission campaign (which can be played as single missions if you want).  An extensive campaign system (to combine games strung together) is also included.

And of course, it comes with an AI system of charts, so like other titles in the 'Chain Reaction' system, this game can be played solo.  That is how I played my first 2 games.

Overall, if you like the 'CR' system, I recommend this game.  I am familiar with 'Chain Reaction' so I wasn't lost in charts.  If you are not familiar with the way 'CR' works you (like me) will be overwhelmed at first, but as soon as the light comes on, everything will fall into place.  

Admittedly it isn't a replacement for FoW, but it is a good set of rules that gave me two enjoyable solo games.  I plan on introducing Big Battle Nuts! to my friends as soon as possible.  And if they like it as much as I do, I see a Co-operative campaign in the future.

Below is the After Action Report of my first two games.  I hope you enjoy........ 

Somewhere in France, 1944

Here is the situation.  Capt. Elmore has been ordered to send a patrol out to recon the farm building at the north end of the board.  Elmore decides to send a platoon currently being commanded by Sgt. Shawn.  Even though the Platoon is without a commanding Officer, Shawn is a good man with much combat experience  (Rep 5), Sgt. Shawn is an ideal choice to lead this mission.

Shawn's platoon consist of 3 Infantry stands and an attached MG for fire support.

Sgt. Shawn decides the best approach is to keep the hill and the tree stands to the left between his platoon and any possible German eyes.  After the American Platoon has been placed I place the PEFs (Possible Enemy Forces).  The white poker chips on the edges are markers dividing the board into 9 12"x12" squares.  In solo games, 3 PEFs (I use red poker chips) are placed after the player forces are deployed.  I rolled a d6 3 times, got a '2' (top middle) and 2 '6s' (right side middle).

Time for the action to begin.  On the first Activation Check the Americans rolled a '5', the German, a '2'.  Not only did the Americans get to move first, but possibly reinforcements!  A roll on the reinforcement table reveals the a Squad (from another platoon) has entered the area.

A check to see what their Rep is, it's only a 3!  They must be Goof-Offs from another Company!  Probably don't even realize there are Germans about!

When you resolve PEFs you start with the one farthest from friendly forces.  One of the PEFs move into the woods with a LOS to Sgt. Shawn's Platoon.......

And it is revealed to be.......NOTHING!!  "There must be something out there Sarge, the Krauts are too quiet....."  I move to the next PEF, it moves to the top of the hill and becomes.....

A Squad with an attached MG in defensive positions!!  An insight check is made...and it comes up a tie!  But ties go to the non-moving side!!  Sgt. Shawn spots the German foxholes and orders his men to open fire!  I roll 2 dice for the Squad, plus 1 extra for the support weapon and get just one hit!  Since the Germans are in cover that means they will return fire....BUT WAIT!!  I forgot to add an extra die for each extra Squad the firer has more than the defender.  Rolling two more dice gets me two more hits!  Three total hits causes the loss of a Squad and two 'Crisis' tests to be made.

The two 'Crisis' test result in the German MG Squad pulling out of the trenches and falling back.

The remaining PEF moves one section away from the enemy.  Sgt. Shawn decides to move around the hill, keeping the woods on his left flank.  The move causes the last PEF to be revealed, another Squad in a defensive position.

An In Sight test is made, but since both sides are out of range, nothing happens.  The Americans open fire on the retreating MG unit, destroying it.

Sgt. Shawn's men win the next Activation check and decide to move forward into range of the last German squad.  Since an in Sight test was made last turn, none is taken now.  The GIs open up on the Germans, destroying it.

At this point I decided Sgt. Shawn's Platoon had completed it's mission and have them return back the the Company CP.  Reporting in, Shawn learns that Battalion has ordered an attack on the farm they had just re-conned.  Two of the Companies Platoons will be used, the 3rd still waiting for replacements.  (I made this up, I wanted my next game to use just two platoons.)

Game two: Still somewhere in France

Sgt. Shawn rested his men, got them hot chow and more ammo.  The last mission seemed too easy, he hoped this Platoon attack would work out the same.  1st Platoon was commanded by Lt. Wigglesworth.  A good Officer with some mortar experience,(Rep 4) he still hadn't seen the things Sgt. Shawn had.  Because of this, Capt. Elmore (Rep 5) would lead the assault, keeping close to Wigglesworth's platoon.  Wigglesworth's Squad was assigned a mortar.  The Company support weapon is a MG, Elmore assigns it to Shawn's Squad.  The extra firepower means they will lead the attack, Wigglesworth's men were to make for the hilltop to give them a clear LOS for their mortar.

After the Americans were placed I rolled for the German PEFs.  I rolled two '4s' (left center) and a '2' (top middle).

The Americans advance while the PEFs stayed still.  Sgt. Shawn pushed his men up the middle while Lt. Wigglesworth moved his men to the hilltop.  Capt. Elmore stayed close in case he needed to direct mortar fire.  Suddenly the middle PEF surged forward into the woods directly in front of Sgt. Shawn's Platoon.  A Resolution check was made and it....was nothing!  But Something was out there.....

Sensing that the German threat may be on his left flank, Shawn moved his men into the small copse of trees on his left.  Unfortunately for Shawn some of his men got hung out in the open on the right.  A PEF resolution was made and.......again nothing!!  But Something is out there....

The last PEF was then resolved and it was two Squads with a MG in Defensive positions. 

An In Sight test was made, the Americans winning and shooting first.  Since only three of the five Squads had a clear LOS to the German unit, only 2d6 were rolled.  The American fire was ineffective and the Germans returned fire....destroying one of the Squads in the open!!

Sgt. Shawn's men won the next Activation ordered then entire Squad forward and poured intense fire on the German position.

Even though the GIs were depleted in fire power, they scored enough hits to cause the Germans to lose a Squad and make two crisis tests.  They failed both and fled the board.

The Americans had again won the field, this time with minor losses.  It could have been worse.......

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Blackwater Gulch -- The Widowmakers

My wife Linda went with me to ORIGINS 2014 for a 2 day trip.  While there we played in a Western shoot out game called Blackwater Gulch.  She choose to play the all female gang, "The Widowmakers" and she had a blast (no pun intended) blowing people up (mostly our friend Glenn) by chucking dynamite at them.  Highlight of the show for her!!

"I can throw dynamite at  Oh Glenn...we're gonna have a blast....."
Earlier this year Gangfight Game Studios ran a sale on Blackwater Gulch so my brother and I invested.  We're shipping the figures off to Pictors Studio for painting, but I kept Linda's behind to do myself.
The Widowmakers
I think the paint jobs came out much better than my photo show.  I blame my lack of photography skills.  But Linda is happy with them.  And isn't that what really counts.....?
If you'd like to see more pictures of the ladies you can go to my Photobucket account:
And here is a link to the Blackwater Gulch game itself:
A very fun game, the basic rules can be downloaded for free from the website.
Thanks for looking,

Monday, November 9, 2015

AQMF - The Harvest

A Martians gotta eat, ya know........

After finish up painting my 6 stands of fleeing Humans (ie: meat on the hoof) I came up with the idea of the Martians going to town to collect prey.  But since I haven't received my 3rd wave from my AQMF Kickstarter yet (cough, cough) which contains a Harvester Tripod, I decided to paint and use my Slaver Tripod as a proxy.

We've played the scenario 3 times.  Final score, Martians 1, Humans 1 and one really, really costly Martian Victory (so really Martians 2).

Instead of giving you exact after action reports for each battle, I'll give an overview with a few pictures.  A link to the Photobucket directory will be at the end.  I hope you enjoy.

Game 1:

The Martians need to get into town.  Whenever a Tripod gets within 3 inches of a building it will trigger Human prey.  It was the Harvesters job to attack and scoop up the fleeing population:

The problem for the Martians was they got too many Tripods into town which caused too many fleeing Civilians...the Harvester couldn't keep up and most of the 'food' made it off the table.

  Human Victory......

Game 2:

This game was played at Ft. Meigs in Perrysburg Ohio.  The local HMGS chapter was hosting "World at War" and AQMF is a crowd favorite.  Two games were played there; both sold out with people coming up and taking pictures.

The Martians need to get into town.  Whenever a Tripod gets within 3 inches of a building it will trigger Human prey.  It was the Harvesters job to attack and scoop up the fleeing population (for 2 points).  If the Human players could get them off the table they got 3 points per stand (secret rule).

In this game the Martians decided to get tricky.  They figured on staying back and just getting into a gunnery duel with the Humans.

Unfortunately for them, the rough Rider motorcycles roared out and attacked the Harvester, immobilizing it! 

Fortunately for the Martians, it was able to break free.  But since the Humans obliged the Martians in open combat, and they could roll for crap, the Martians destroyed the entire human Army and then leisurely strolled into town for crunchies and munchies.
Martian Victory.....
Game 3:
Also at Ft. Meigs during the 'World at War' game day.  The Martians need to get into town.  Whenever a Tripod gets within 3 inches of a building it will trigger Human prey.  It was the Harvesters job to attack and scoop up the fleeing population (for 2 points) OR any Tripod could 'burn them down' (for 1 point).  If the Human players could get them off the table they got 3 points per stand (secret rule).
They Martians decided to bull rush the town, kill 'em all, let the Martian Gods sort them out!  And rush the town they did....but behind whispers of 'watch out for the motorcycles....'

The Martians charged into town, Heat Rays sweeping left and right.  It didn't matter what the target was, Armor, Infantry, fleeing civilians....if the Tripods had line of sight, they shot at them!  The bad news for the Martians was, the Humans were not at all intimidated!  They were spoiling for a fight!

And fight they did.  In one turn BOOM!!  3 Tripods exploded into balls of flame!!

A Scout did make it to the back of the town taking more civilians down, but it too was later destroyed.  The final score.....all 6 fleeing civilian stands were destroyed, but 4 of the 7 Tripods were smashed....
Martian victory.....but at what cost......
If you'd like to see all the pictures taken from these 3 games, you can view them on my Photobucket page by clicking this link:
Thanks for looking....

Thursday, August 13, 2015

AQMF - The Night the Ground Exploded.......

August 12, 1910. 
Dateline: Bedford Township, Michigan
     Today the Martian Invaders unleashed a devastating new weapon against our brave boys in the field.  In what appears to be a 'Suicide Attack' a Martian Tripod destroyed 4 tanks and 6 motorcycles...........

Fact or Journalistic Propaganda?  Read on and judge.........

With summer drawing to a close Kevin's son Matthew wanted to end with a game of All Quiet on the Martian Front.  He decided he was wearing 'big boy pants' and so he chose to take the entire Martian Force himself...


This left Matthew's dad Kevin, my friend Mike and myself to run the Human forces. 

The field of battle, pre-deployment:

The Martian objective, destroy the Human Command bunker in the upper right corner of picture.
The Martian deployment wasn't too fancy, the plan being advance and overwhelm.  Once the Human defenders were swept away the bunker could easily be dealt with.
I took the Mk. III Steam tanks and the regular Infantry in the trenches
Kevin took the 24th Michigan
Mike took the rest of the US Army units.  While Kevin and I were to slow the Martians down, Mike held himself back to attack break thrus......
The Martians quickly advanced to the trench line, Matthew hosed down the trenches with 'Black Dust'....Matthew LOVES the black dust.....But while he was preoccupied with my Infantry, my Mk. IIIs opened up with a 6 dice fusillade of 3" shells on his Scout, causing it to catastrophically explode, also damaging a nearby Assault Tripod.
With 2/3rds of the 24th Michigan burning, Mike's tanks and 'Rough Riders' move up to try and stop the Martian advance.  The last of my Infantry unit flees the trench and my tanks roll out to bring more guns to bear......
But Matthew crosses the trench and sweeps my tanks...destroying 2 of them.
The end of the game moved rapidly.  Ignoring the last of the 24th, the Martians turned it's attention to the Human Command Bunker.  As it's Heat Rays reached out to incinerate (scoring a couple of hits, but rolling crappy to destroy for the win) Kevin moved his last tank in to assist Mike's Mk IIs and Rough Riders.  The motorcycles assaulted and attempted to wrap up the Martians legs...and SUCCEEDED!!  Kevin opened fire and bounced.  Mike's 3 tanks blazed away....and then it happened....Mike scored 2 of 3 hits.  Then rolled damage on both hits.  The two hits caused a CATISTROPHIC EXPLOSION!!!  In a flurry of dice rolls and shouts of 'BOOM!!', all 3 of Mike's tanks, all 3 stands of Mike's Rough Riders and Kevin's last tank detonated from the Tripods massive internal explosion!!

When the smoke cleared and the dust settled, the Humans had held off the Martian attack.  But at what price.....?

The Martian Overlord was last hear to say, "All I wanted to do was win...."

Maybe next time Matthew....maybe next time.......

Friday, June 12, 2015

ORIGINS 2015 -- My post show review summer vacation.  I've been going now since it stopped in Columbus, Ohio.  Most years I've attended with friends for the entire weekend; only a few times because of work or life, I've only made one or two days.  It makes me sad to say, with no hard or bitter feelings, this was probably my last year of attending the full show.

My friends and I arrived Wednesday morning about 11:30.  GAMA (the GAme Manufacturing Association) had a new check-in system where everyone was emailed a barcode to be scanned and that would print your pass and event tickets.  I heard negative stories (of course), but for us the check in was quick and smooth.

Last year and this year the Miniature's area has been moved to the last, back, smallest hall in the center.  In it's former place was the 'Board game Area'.  For the first time, Board game companies were set up here.  Each had it's own segregated area, and in that area were tables to run demos, hold events and sell merchandise.  And sell they did.  The Exhibit Hall doesn't open till 10am on Thursday, but when we walked in Wednesday 11:45, the place and the rocking and the registers were ringing.

Hall entrance, facing left:

Hall entrance, facing right:

All week, till 11-12 o'clock at night, this is where the action and the money was.  ORIGINS has become a board gaming show.

Now, don't get me wrong.  As a miniature gamer I was able to fill my weekend with all sorts of blowing things up, charging things down and generally cause all sorts of havoc in the know universe.  I had a good time:

Wednesday; Armored Predators and Kings of War.

Thursday; Injurious Games Mek vs. Mek and the Kings of War MEGA Battle.

Friday; Blackwater Gulch, Armored Predators (US Army vs. Alien Invaders, 1950) and The SMITHEE AWARDS.

Saturday; Wings of Glory and Ultimate Waterloo.

Sunday; Necromunda.

But I left ORIGNS feeling unfulfilled.  Kinda like when you have a craving for some type of food and when you eat doesn't hit the spot.

The Miniature's area had vendors too; Reaper, Wyrd and Cool Minis or Not were set up there. 

The Exhibit Hall was full.  VERY few of the Vendors dealt with miniatures.  There was the usual assortment of clothing shops, both Fantasy and Steampunk.  Artists, foam and real weapons dealers, card companies.  Someone was selling jewelry with "healing stones".  And of course booth after booth of board game companies.  They seemed to have the largest areas.  The Hall never seemed packed with people though..... like in the old days....

GAMA claims on their Facebook site that attendance was up.  From their site:

We had great attendance this year! I know everyone’s waiting on the numbers:
· Unique attendance 15,938.
· Turnstile attendance was 43,791.

Based on what I saw, most of those people must have been in the Board game room, the CCG events and Sunday only Fair Passes.  The only info I got from Exhibitors I know is, "Wasn't the best, wasn't the worst." and "Traffic was light."

After the Exhibit hall closed, ORIGINS seemed to die out.  The Game Companies in the Board game hall still were hopping.  People gamed and made purchases there till 10-11 at night.  This is where most people seemed to be.  The Big Bar on 2 was mostly dead and Saturday night at 12:15 am, the food court had about a dozen people in it.  In the past, these were ROCKING with drinking and gaming.

ORIGINS has changed in the years it's been in Columbus.  In my opinion GAMA is making decisions they feel are in the best interest of their member companies.  They have molded ORIGINS to be a family oriented board gaming show.  There isn't anything wrong with this; from the perspective of the companies who set up shop in the board gaming area, this decision worked out great!  But as a miniature's gamer...ORIGINS has left me behind.

In closing, I'd like to thank GAMA and all the sponsors who made ORIGNS happen.  I wish them all the best and continued success with the show.  I'll be back, but probably just for a day or two.  I'll get my miniature gaming fix at the smaller, local events.

If you'd like to see all the pictures I took over the week, you can see them here:

Here is a picture of me and my new found friend.  My wife says I can't keep him......

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Drums at Ft. Meigs 2015

May 15th and 16th was the annual Drums at Ft. Meigs.  The two day event hosted 28 games ranging from historical to sci-fi / fantasy.  Organized by the "Colby Street Irregulars" based in Toledo, Ohio this HMGS Great Lakes group does a good job of bringing old players together along with new blood.  The event is held at Ft. Meigs, a War of 1812 fort located in Perrysburg, across the Maumee river from Toledo.  The price of admission not only gets you into the gaming event, but also allows access to the Fort and it's Museum / Gift Shop.  With games spread out over 4 rooms in the Gift Shop / Conference Center here are a couple of shots of the main gaming room:

Because I ran games both Friday and Saturday I didn't get many pictures of the other games...sorry guys.  But the ones I did get are here:

First, Mike Konwinski's hand built set up for his "Mad Dog's with Guns" game.....Gangster in the Roaring 20's.....

The Theater signs actually light up!!

Next the Battle of Fort Stedman-March 25, 1865.....a beautiful looking ACW game......

On Friday night and again Saturday morning I ran my Rorke's Drift battle.  I got the Warlord Games set for Christmas and have been busy assembling and painting since.  I painted the 40 Zulus that come with it and all the walls and buildings.  Unfortunately I got only the Hospital finished before the event, so it really wasn't Rorke's Drift......but I do have the last building in my work area as I type.

And since I am the self-proclaimed "World's Slowest Painter" I sent my British off to the Pictors Studio painting service.  Scott and I are friends and he (or his partner Jamie) did an outstanding job on them!

Anyway, both the Rorke's Drift games played out badly for the British.  In the first game they were defeat in the compound, but in the second, they made an escape and a last stand outside the walls....last stand being the key words here......

The Zulus pour out of the trees and brush from the north.  The British were exchanging gunfire with the Zulu Riflemen in the hills and were caught off guard!!

Trying to hold the wall against the onslaught!!
Losing the battle on the wall and a 2nd Zulu Impi appearing, the British pull back hoping to use their fire discipline to stop the charging Zulus.  They didn't and eventually evacuated the compound.

My second game of the day was "All Quiet on the Martian Front", a real crowd pleaser....I had 3 sets of Fathers / Sons / Daughter players, so they paired off, Dads vs. Kids.  The Kids chose the Martians forces.  The scenario took place in the swampy land in SE Michigan.  A Martian Tripod had bogged down and's pilot was loose in the Michigan countryside.  The Humans were trying to capture it and get it off the board ("for probing" my brother kept saying).  The Martians were trying to rescue their downed comrade.  I placed 6 "blips" on the board around the crashed Tripod, possible Martian locations.  Only the US Infantry could spot it (they just needed LoS).  Their armor is too clunky.  The Martians needed to move into contact with the blip to reveal it.  

The swamps of SE Michigan.  The crashed Tripod is in the middle of the board with the 'blips' around it.
The Martians advance to the rescue

But the Humans find the Alien!  Kevin's infantry discovered the Martian on the 2nd blip checked.  Matthew, Kevin's son then used his black dust launcher to wipe out his Dad's ground troops (with much laughter and glee I will add)

Matthew then grabbed the downed Martian and beat tentacles to his board edge.  The other player on his side ran interference for him, some of them paying the price....
Dead Tripod

Another dead Tripod.  In all 3 Tripods were lost in the rescue of the Martian.
The game only took half our time slot so I offered up players all heartily agreed...but sides were changed.  Now the Dads were the Martians (Ack, Ack, Ack!!!) and the Kids were the Humans.  I set my MBA Infernal Device out as a Martian Power Node and the Humans were to destroy it.  Since the Martians took such a beating in the first game, I made each Tripod roll for first turn deployment.  4 of the 5 machines made the roll, the 5th entered on turn 2.

The 24th Michigan leads the charge to destroy the Martian Power Node!!

The Martian move to (unsuccessfully) defend their device
Luck was with the Kids this day and they just WHOOPED UP on their old men!!!!!  End result, Kids 2, Dads 0.

Many thanks to everyone who played in my games and to Doug and the Colby Street Irregulars for organizing this great day of gaming.  And many, many thanks to the Ft. Meigs for allowing us to use their site.

And a special shout out to my 2 new friends from Columbus, Dana and his daughter "Christmas".  I hope to see you at ORIGINS and again at the Fort in November!!