Saturday, 4 April 2020

Shootout at Silver Canyon

The big finale Fistful of Lead game this afternoon was a variation of one of the scenarios in the rulebook, tweaked to fit the on-going storyline of the last couple of games. With their leader shipped off to jail, the banditos have escaped into the hills to seek refuge at an abandoned silver mine. The lawmen have tracked them to the old mine in Silver Canyon and are closing in for the final show down. We used the same gangs as the previous game, so that we could jump right into the action but I took on the umpiring, as my fourteen year old son wanted to join in as the bandito player.

The game was great fun but ended in the now predictable walkover win for the lawmen, despite a wobbly start and a few tricky moments. I had placed a shed on one of the hills containing a box of dynamite, which could be broken into by either side and used as an improvised grenade, but it ended up firmly locked and there were no exciting explosions. Instead, the banditos were shot down one after the other, for the loss of one of the deputies, which exactly mirrored the outcome of the previous game (so it's not just me!).

It was a really enjoyable game but we're going to take a break now to try out something different. I like the Fistful of Lead system a lot and have been wondering about using it for some Back of Beyond gaming, for which I have plenty of figures, or even for gangsters in the 1920's but using my Old West terrain. I have some unpainted Copplestone gangster and FBI figures for this which I could easily use as the basis of two gangs, together with the opportunity to convert a few diecast toy cars. It's all quite tempting but I really should stick to what I'm supposed to be doing!

Deadly Pairs

As I'm now unemployed for the first time in twenty nine years, I have plenty of spare time to play games, while I wait to see if my agency can have me furloughed. I've been playing most of these games with my daughter, who is enjoying the chance to thrash her dad, not just once but every single time!

She now wants to play more air wargames, so I'm going to introduce Bag the Hun to her, setting up the Deadly Pairs beginners scenario from the Xmas 2011 Special. I'll use my newly painted Spitfire Vb's and Fw-190A2's for the game, which will be a good way to try something a bit more complex.

Tally Ho!

Friday, 3 April 2020

4.10 to Yucca

It was another trip to the Old West this afternoon, for a follow on skirmish game of Fistful of Lead with my daughter. This was a prisoner escort scenario, with my bandito head honcho, Loco, captured by the sheriff's posse last time and now being taken in handcuffs to the railroad depot for shipment to the prison in Yucca. The banditos were out to rescue him before the sheriff and his deputies could get him onto the train. I had an extra figure, a hired gunslinger, to even up the two sides but otherwise we played with the same figures as last time. 

I won't go into the action packed, embarrassing details but the gunslinger lasted about two turns before being blown away by a shotgun, the rest of the banditos being picked off one by one until there were none left standing. I did manage to kill one deputy and the rest were badly wounded, but it was not enough to stop the prison train leaving on time. It was a really good game and my daughter really enjoyed it, so there will be another game tomorrow, perhaps involving a last ditch rescue attempt by the bandito. I quite like the idea of using my gold mine terrain in some way too?

Thursday, 2 April 2020

A Bad Day in the Badlands

I played a Fistful of Lead:Reloaded game with my daughter this morning, in a futile attempt to up the stakes and actually beat her in a skirmish game, having failed both times when we played Target Locked On!. I rolled up two posses of four figures, using traits for both sides to make them up to a full fifteen points, set up the table and we were off. I hadn't played a game for ages but it was like putting on a pair of comfy old shoes, as it's such an intuitive system.

In this gunfight, she took a posse of four lantern jawed lawmen while I took my usual ragged bunch of four Mexican banditos, who were holed up in a hideout somewhere in the baddest bit of the Badlands. Loco, Chico, Tico and Rico were wanted men and the sheriff and his deputies had tracked them down to their flea bitten hideout to take them in, dead or alive.

The game went well for the banditos at first but started to unravel in Turn 2, when the lookout Chico was pinned down on the roof of the hideout, failed his rally roll and fled the scene, taking the only rifle with him. As the law moved closer to the walls of the hideout both sides began to blaze away, with another bandito and one of the deputies both mown down in a hail of bullets. Things were looking a bit messy for the Mexicans!

In Turn 4 a second bandito fell to a deputy's shot gun blast but not before the sheriff himself was blown away by Loco, the bandit's slightly unhinged head honcho. A close quarters fight then broke out, in which the shotgun armed deputy was seriously wounded but survived due to his trait, which gave him a four wound threshold instead of the usual three. In the final showdown, everyone ran out of ammo, so the wounded and now pinned Loco had no choice but to surrender to the last two deputies. 

This was a really good game and I'd forgotten how much fun the Fistful of Lead rules are to play, so we'll be having another game tomorrow. This will move the action back into town and I may even link it in with the first game to give it a narrative twist, perhaps using the '4.10 to Yucca' scenario as a theme? It reminded me that I really should paint some more figures to make another posse or just to have some townsfolk to terrify. 

What a great game...even if I did lose (again)

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Operation Blackcock Kangaroos

I've been looking for a 1/72nd scale Ram Kangaroo model to use in my What A Tanker! Operation Blackcock project and think I've found one. This 3D printed model is from Paint and Glue Models, who make 1/56th scale wargaming stuff but also re-scale to other sizes:

I've sent off an email asking about prices and, if it's not too expensive I'll order three or four. The idea is to kit them out with AB infantry and have them as a feature in one or more scenarios, with the tanks having to get them across the table before the get knocked out.

US Screw and Paddle Squadron Blocking In

I have completed most of the blocking in on the screw and paddle warships for the North Atlantic Squadron, up to the white bits which I'll do tomorrow. The idea is to block in all of the masts, paddle boxes, boats and other parts, so that I can go over some of them with light shades of brown or buff as required, apart from the bits that will stay white, prior to the all over ink wash that I usually do. I'm hoping this will make the masts and spars pop a bit more than they would if I just painted over the black basecoat. If it works, I can go on to do something similar on the Napoleonic ships, assuming it looks good and is worth the effort?

Wings at War Winter War Aircraft Ratings

I've made a start on the Wings at War rules mash up for the Winter War, with a comparative analysis of the different aircraft in terms of Energy and Maximum Height. This was based on an evaluation of aircraft performance in terms of speed and ceiling, together with some consideration of other factors like wing loading and power to weight ratios. I used the aircraft ratings from Scramble for Britain as a bench mark, with some wiggle room to cater for the different parameters of the Winter War, specifically the lower altitudes at which the fighting took place. Here's the end result, although there are a few things I'm not quite sure about, so I'd appreciate some input. 

The Energy ratings for the SB-2, Blenheim and DB-3 bombers might be a surprise but these were all very fast and very light in comparison with contemporary fighters, so I've rated them accordingly. The I-152 has a loaded rating as it was mainly used for ground attack, but I'm not sure that a light bomb or rocket would really impact on it's performance that much, especially at low level? I've also given the R-5 and Po-2 a loaded rating but I doubt they were used much for ground attack, so I may have to re-think that one as well. I may well come back and jiggle the numbers around a bit, but I'm now moving on to pilot ratings, section numbers and the set up conditions.

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Target Locked On! Sino-Soviet Interception Game

I played another game of Target Locked On! today against the sprog thrashed again. She had two Soviet Su-7B fighter bombers and I had two Chinese J-7's, the mission objective being for her aircraft to exit from the far table edge. The scenario was set over a wintery stretch of Outer Mongolia at some point in the late 1960's, when tensions were running high between the two powers.

The Chinese fighters started at altitude level 4 and the Soviets at altitude level 5. At first, I won the initiative for both my pilots so zoomed up at full speed to level 5, locking on with one J-7 and firing a single PL-2 IR missile at close range against one of the Sukhois...which completely missed. The other J-7 attempted to fire his guns at the second Soviet fighter bomber but failed his skill check, being only a trained pilot and pretty hopeless.

In return the Soviet fighter bombers then made two successful, front aspect gun attacks at very close range, inflicting critical damage on one of the J-7's, injuring the pilot and leaving the airframe with only one point of damage left. I overcooked the gunnery dice at this point, but we kept the result the same just to be fair. The other gun run on the second J-7 also caused a critical hit (!) knocking out an engine. How does she always manage to roll 6's? 

Anyway, the Sukhois then zoomed back down to altitude level four, accelerating away toward the table edge and victory. The damaged J-7 with it's injured pilot passed a morale check but then had no options left, so exited the table with a slow turn, leaving the last Chinese pilot to pursue the rapidly retreating Sukhois. Once again, however, he screwed up his pilot skill test and put himself right in front of one of the Soviet fighter bombers. 

As he was only a trained pilot I guess it wasn't entirely his fault but I should have known better than to try it on. Luckily, the Soviet pilot then screwed up his gun attack and failed to hit, which left him free to accelerate away and exit the table alongside his wingman. This meant that the Soviets had easily escaped to win a 4 point to nil victory over the People's Liberation Army Air Force. Bugger.

I did muck up some of the mechanics (again) which played in favour of the sprog but, to be honest, she swept to a well deserved victory with her superior tactics and smart manoeuvring. It's a shame the photos didn't do her justice as the camera flash was playing up again. She does want a re-match, however, so it'll be a photo recon mission next time which I will probably also lose...!?

One thing I did notice was a discrepancy between the distance moved during acceleration / deceleration manoeuvres, so I've kept it to the QRS version which states that it's +/- the MAN rating. I think I need to produce my own QRS to make the play sequence and skill check procedures for manoeuvres and attacks more transparent?

Monday, 30 March 2020

1/2400th US Screw and Paddle Frigates

I've decided to finish off the last of the US North Atlantic Squadron over the next couple of days, both to get them done but also to try out some techniques and colour combinations that I can use on the Napoleonic ships. There are five models to paint including the sidewheel paddle frigate USS Powhatan, the sidewheel paddle steamer USS Hetzel and the screw frigates USS Richmond, USS Worcester and USS Guerriere. I've started by giving them an overall basecoat of Vallejo Matt Black over the spray satin black undercoat, as this is what I'll be working up from on the Napoleonic ships. 

Sunday, 29 March 2020

Target Locked On! Alto Cenepa Ground Attack Game

I played the strike mission scenario against my twelve year old daughter today and, as usual, got thrashed. She took the FAE Jaguars on a ground strike mission against a jungle airstrip while I took the FAP Mirage 2000 defenders. It started badly for me when the randomised entry point for the Jaguars ended up on the Peruvian's six, requiring some frantic manoeuvring to get out of missile arc in the first turn. Things went from bad to worse when one of the Jaguar pilots got a partial lock on to a Mirage, fired his R550 Matra Magic and scored three critical hits (!) despite an unsuccessful evasive manoeuvre by the Peruvian. 

This caused so much damage to the airframe and pilot that he had to fly in a straight line for the rest of the game, finally getting away by the skin of his teeth and with two partial locks on his tail. In the meantime, the other Jaguar successfully evaded a missile fired by the second Mirage, then pickled his four Mk80 bombs straight onto the airstrip, scoring two direct hits and sufficient D6 damage to knock it out of action. However, the FAP didn't go home empty handed, with a last minute missile shot from long range knocking out the engine of the Jaguar, which promptly stalled and crashed into the jungle, the pilot failing to eject in time. The Peruvian pilot only had one fuel point left too! 

A great game and the sprog wants to play it again tomorrow, so I'll set up another scenario perhaps  another rumble in the jungle or something in a slightly colder location?


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