13 September 2014

Progress in the Deadzone

Comrade James Reporting: A day off from work looking after a sick Stepson meant I was able to hook into my Deadzone terrain and figures.....and that continued today as well :-)
I managed to assemble, without gluing all my box set terrain, and today I glued together both the Enforcers and Plague figures, ready for a sample game tomorrow, with luck....
The Enforcers, elite human soldiers of the Corporation


The Plague, alien mutation-infected hordes.....

...led by the Stage 1, a huge model, and extremely nasty in the game...

All the terrain from the starter set, assembled, awaiting painting....

More progress reports to follow as I try and get as much done as possible this weekend. Next step is terrain painting, and I'll start having a crack at the figures.....



11 September 2014

Deadzone!!

Comrade James Reporting: This month of September is the Mantic Month of Madness here in the GarageCave, with my birthday present of the Deadzone Mega Bundle arriving last week, and my long awaited Kickstarter from Mantic, Mars Attacks, due to ship later this month.
I'll post a more detailed review of my first impressions of Deadzone in due course, but first I need to assemble all the awesome terrain pieces and tricky figures...

09 September 2014

Fathers Day Gaming

Comrade James Reporting: What do all Gamer Dad's do on Fathers Day ? Continue the education of their children in the delights of gaming of course! I spent the weekend with my three Mini Gamers on the Aussie Fathers Day weekend recently, and like Paul, had plans for lots of gaming goodness...lo and behold, Mini Comrade (age 8) asked me if I had heard of Dungeons and Dragons, because he had seen it being played on a TV show and was curious. During the car trips on Saturday attending kid activities, I gave all three kids a taste of a Role Playing game, inventing a scene (ahem, sorry, 'Encounter' ) and giving them a chance to say what they would do...they all got into it, so I took the opportunity of a visit into the city to acquire the new 5th Edition DnD Starter Box...for the next one and a half days, pausing only for a Fathers Day picnic lunch, my three intrepid adventurers took their 5 characters through the forests towards Phandalin, escorting a wagon of supplies through Goblin infested woods....after chasing the sole Goblin survivor to the Goblins lair, surviving the inevitable booby trap, and showing that even an 8 year old can remember to throw the rope to help his sisters up the rocky entrance to the cave, the kids were hooked....the adventure continues, but I'm happy to report three more mini gamers are hooked on RPG's to complement their love of Blood Bowl Team Manager, Munchkin and Talisman......
 New Game Smell selfie

An intense Dungeon Master Moment......note the killer roses to add to the theme....

07 September 2014

Putrid Players!

Today was father's day and I had pre-empted it a little by ordering the new Blood Bowl Team Manger Expansion "Foul Play" for myself.  So after the day's fun the Lad and I sat down to try out the new teams- he took Nurgle while I thought I would try my luck with the Goblins.  Lots of fun ensued, as always with this game, and I liked both the disease mechanic of the Nurgle and the new stadium features.
Right Stuff having no mercy on his Dad - as usual!
I would say though that there seems to be a lot in motion with all the new rules from the two expansions.  Not an insurmountable amount, but a lot.  I'm sure if you play regularly it wouldn't be an issue but its a lot now for a pickup game if you use them all.

All of which is my excuse for loosing the game 39-33 ! :-)

PS Yes this was our first game played since moving to the US - two months without hobby time was a very long time indeed!

02 September 2014

V-J Day

Today is the Anniversary of the surrender of the Japanese Empire in 1945 and the conclusion of WW2.

On 12 Aug 1945 the Japanese announced their unconditional surrender.  However, it was not until 2 Sep that the surrender document was signed onboard USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, and President Truman officially declared that day to be "V-J Day".  Operation DOWNFALL, the planned invasion of the home islands scheduled to commence in November 45, was cancelled and hundreds of thousands of projected casualties on both sides were avoided.

General Douglass MacArthur (shown above) was the supreme Allied Commander for the occasion, and stated:
"It is my earnest hope—indeed the hope of all mankind—that from this solemn occasion a better world shall emerge out of the blood and carnage of the past, a world founded upon faith and understanding, a world dedicated to the dignity of man and the fulfillment of his most cherished wish for freedom, tolerance, and justice."

One may visit the USS Missouri in Pearl Harbour where she is preserved as a museum ship and berthed astern of the USS Arizona memorial - between them they mark the beginning and the end of the involvement of the USA in WW2 (USS Arizona was sunk in the Pearl Harbour attack of 7 Dec 41).

You can visit the exact point pictured above where this plaque commemorates that event in 1945 and copies of the surrender document are displayed.  I had the privilege in 2009 and it was most memorable.


31 August 2014

Some Hobby Reading

The pace of life is rather frenetic here, leading to a major dearth of gaming and modelling.
Fortunately, I found the small local hobby supplies store which allowed me to grab the most recent issues of WI and get a minor fix!

The WW1 supplement for FoW was quite interesting, though it was more of academic interest than something I would likely to get into.  The Crescent and Cross piece for SAGA was good, and I also enjoyed the article in Issue 323 on the upcoming Lion Rampart rules for medieval, which I have will pre order shortly.

27 August 2014

Silent Victory

After my encounter with WW2 veteran Bill from the USS RASHER last week (see here), I was inspired and pre-oredred SILENT VICTORY from Consim Press.  This is their second in their solitaire submarine warfare games and successor to THE HUNTERS.  In this game you trade in your U-boat in the Atlantic to drive an array of US Navy submarines in the Pacific.  It looks very good and this page (http://www.consimpress.com/silent-victory/) below describes some of the differences between the two games - its not just different graphics on the maps and counters.

You can preorder SILENT VICTORY through GMT Games for $36 here:
https://www.gmtgames.com/p-474-silent-victory.aspx


Separately, if you are into THE HUNTERS or just want to see what the play is like, there is a detailed series of videos on YouTube by the designer showing you hows it goes:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLfGT7XoA4w2iKcoQ6wCWpCQFNdD-zhlx9

And finally, if you are REALLY into your U-Booat gaming, you can read some translated War Diaries (Kriegstagebuch) here for inspiration: http://www.uboatarchive.net/KTBList.htm

24 August 2014

Saga Campaign-Round One Summary

Comrade James reporting: Throughout the fertile lands of northern Britain, 6 warbands have met and clashed for intial positioning, with a few giving ground to their opponents, and others reaching a standoff...Saxons clashed with their Scottish neighbours to the north, Vikings challenged their Anglo-Danish cousins, and two bands of Normans fought upon finding themselves at the same beach landing......

Round 1 of our 6 person Saga campaign has now concluded. You can read about the Anglo-Danish/Viking clash here, but the following sagas were told by breathless messenger from the East and North....

The Norman Armies first clashed to the east just after disembarking from their boat. Eager to prove themselves the better warlord, both Norman nobles formed their armies up hastily amongst the trees and rode to battle....



The Normans of Jason de Fromage


Jason de Fromage charged his mounted Hearthguard forward on the right flank, decimating the rival Spearmen to a man...


A last ditch effort by the Normans of Doug the Frantic failed to stop the Fromage cav from crashing into the last surviving Warriros, leaving the Frantic warlord exposed.
Merde!

Needless to say, the mounted Hearthguard made short work of the Norman warlord, ending the clash quickly, the remaining Frantic Normans slinking off  into the woods....

Meanwhile, up north, the Saxons and the Scots were trying to show you didn't need horses to look cool....this summary courtesy of Bish..:



Saxons are on the left – from top to bottom:
Ceorls (Spear) x12 in front line, Thegns x4 in behind
Ceorls (Spear) x12 in front line, Thegns x4 in behind
Ceorls (Bow) x12 in woods
Thegns x12 near building, Warlord in behind
Thegns x 4
Scots are on the right – from top to bottom:
Thanes (Mounted) x 8
Doer-chele (Bow) x12, Warlord and Thanes x4 in behind
Soer-chele x 8, Soer-chele x8 in behind




·       The scots moved their levies and mounted hearth guard forward ,    which the Saxons countered, moving forward with levies and warriors.

The Scots’ cavalry charged in to crush the hapless levies arrayed before them but suffered a heavy defeat and bounced. They had clearly under estimated the power of Saxon levies (who had played “Saxon Kingdom” in the Orders Phase, making all levy count as warriors. ) By playing “Clash of Shields” in the Melee phase, the saxon levies got extra attack dice and took down 4 mounted hearthguards for the loss of 3 levies



The victorious saxon levies follow up their success, charging the remaining four mounted hearthguards, unsuccessfully.    The other spear armed levy unit moved up on the left flank, whilst the Saxon Bow levies peppered the mounted hearthguard with arrows, killing two more, and forcing the remaining mounted hearth guards to flee back to safety.
The Scots bows, fired at the saxon levy, killing 3 while their foot hearthguard and warriors moved up through the forest on their left flank, trying to get up to engage the Saxon warlord and accompanying warriors.
The Saxons moved up two small units of warriors (Thegns) on each flank, ready to protect the flanks, flinging javelins at the Scots at the warlord, to no effect.


The Scots warriors and foot hearthguards continued their advance forward and to the left although the Saxon levy charged the Scots archers, and forced them to flee to the rear. Another Scots foot hearth guards fell to the Saxon archers.


After some more ineffective shooting, both Warlords withdrew from the field of battle, the Saxons clearly the victors from the number of Scottish bodies on the ground compared to lowly Saxon peasants.....


As the groups of armed men and their followers move further through the lands to find a settlement, they will all come across the fast flowing river that bounds the region, crossable at only a few places......Round 2 will soon commence, the Battle of the Fords....
Campaign standings have Jason and Bish leading on 2 pts each, myself and John on 1, and Doug and Andrew C yet to get runs on the board......
Matchups for Round 2 are:

Bish (Saxons) vs Jason (Normans)
Myself (A-Danes) vs Doug (Normans)
Andrew C (Scots) vs John (Vikings)

22 August 2014

USS RASHER (SS 269)


I have met many interesting people since I arrived in Rhode Island, but none more so than WW2 veteran Bill.  Bill was a US Navy submariner who served in the Gator class submarine USS Rasher, which was based out of Fremantle in Western Australia in 1943/44.  She racked up an impressive array of kills, the second highest in the US Submarine service during WW2, and was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation.

The Rasher went on to continue a very interesting career, being refitted into a radar picket boat for the Korean war, and refitted again as an auxiliary submarine for the Vietnam war.

Bill was onboard Rasher as a young sonar man throughout the war and he told many tales over a beer or two....or three.  Of great interest to me also was the fact that Bill was the first sailor to use the experimental underwater telephone aka GERTRUDE to speak to a submarine from a surface ship.  This really tickled me as I've taught a lot of people how to do that over the years.

USS Rasher's Battle Flag from WW@

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Rasher_(SS-269)

http://www.amazon.com/Red-Scorpion-The-Patrols-Rasher/dp/1557507600

17 August 2014

Fort Adams, Rhode Island

32 pdr in position
Recently I had the opportunity to visit Fort Adams in Newport, Rhode Island, which is one of the largest coastal fortifications in the US.  It and a sister Fort guard the main entrance to Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island, which is strategically important as the only protected deep water anchorage between Boston and New York.  The fort was constructed in the wake of the burning of Washington in the War of 1812 to replace a smaller earth predecessor and enhance the seaward defences.
Commanding view from the ramparts


The fort took over 30 years to complete in classic Vauban style and incorporated the most advanced fortification designs available of the day.  The fort is built on the end of a peninsula, which restricts the landward approach to one direction only, which incorporates a quarter mile of redoubts - clearly a large landing force would be required from that direction.  The fort has a turf roof and locally produced bricks, both of which would absorb incoming fire rather than it sloughing off sections or creating fragments.
Approaches to the south wall via the defensive crown works

The fort's west wall faces the main channel and has the primary anti-shipping armament: three tiers of guns, the lightest atop the ramparts to fire chain shot, 24 pounders in the middles firing grape, and massive 42 pounders at the bottom firing heated shot.  Nasty stuff.
The West Wall from Seaward showing the 3 gun tiers
Fort Adams saw some periodic updates to its armaments to reflect the shift from wooden ships of the line to ironclads, and the rise of aerial threats.  Over time this included 12 inch mortars, 15 inch Rodman guns, 6 and 10 inch disappearing guns, mobile 3 inch AA guns and M1 90mm AA guns   Manned continuously by the army until the early 1950s, it was home to the US Naval Academy during the Civil War (Maryland being a bit suspect you know...), and Eike stayed here for a few summers while he was President.  Lots of great history.

One of the 6inch disappearing gun batteries
A wonderful spot with very knowledgable tour guides. Highly recommended if you are in the area.

http://www.fortadams.org
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Fort-Adams/109431322408575#

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