At the request of a Combat Patrol(TM) gamer, I just posted a short supplement to the rules’ Web page that provides the Rosetta Stone to convert the generic Skirmish Campaigns ratings to the attributes for figures in Combat Patrol(TM). Enjoy!
This was a big gaming / hobby weekend. Tom is at West Point, and my wife was visiting my daughter at her school for the weekend, so I was a geographic bachelor. The weekend began on Friday with our normal HAWKs meeting. This week we only ran one, large game, instead of the more typical two six-player games. We will be running a large Muskets and Tomahawks game at the HARCON gaming day at Harford Community College next weekend. Friday we set up the table and made sure that all the HAWKs were reasonably proficient with the rules.
Most of us had forgotten how slowly unit move in Muskets and Tomahawks, so the play test was good. We’ll adjust where the players enter so that they get into the action more quickly. This will almost be a demonstration game. The idea is that the HAWKs will be playing and whenever a passer by shows interest, we can provide and unit and get him/her right into the action.
I had THREE events scheduled for Saturday. The first event took place in the morning. Greg and Chris played a Combat Patrol (TM): WWII game while I taped it. The idea was to create a video battle report, including some rules explanation.
It will likely take me all week in the hotel on business travel this week to edit all the segments into something that isn’t too boring and cuts out some of the mistakes.
The second hobby event on Saturday was another play test of Duncan’s Napoleonic supplement for Combat Patrol (TM). I posted some notes from a play test a couple of weeks ago. Duncan made a number of changes and tweaks between the two games. It is working well, but we want to get a few more games under out belt before thinking about going public with it.
We used the same village at the crossroads terrain for the Napoleonic game that we used for the WWII video, but we pushed the woods more toward the edges of the table.
We are getting much closer on the cavalry rules. It is working fine, but we need to think a little more about how to describe what we are doing so that it will be clear and unambiguous to others. We are very happy with the swirling, chaotic nature of cavalry engagements.
Again we used Mexicans as surrogates to make sure we were testing the rules for lancers. After this engagement, elements of four cavalry units were badly scattered and attrited.
The third event on Saturday was a brainstorming session with Chris and Don about ideas for a science fiction version of Look, Sarge, No Charts. It was a good conversation, and I have a lot of food for thought. My next step will be to design a candidate base label to see if all the ideas we discussed are representable in the game.
On Sunday, still being a geographic bachelor, I spent the day on hobby activities again. Last weekend, when I air brushed the German vehicles I showed in last weekends blog entry, I also airbrushed a number of science fiction vehicles I plan to use in 28mm science fiction games with Combat Patrol (TM). One set of vehicles were plastic, Russian-made kits. These come with a number of different weapons. I chose to assemble them as two pairs of vehicles. I think they turned out nicely. These will be light tanks with three-man crews.
I completed painting these four armored personnel carries from Pig Iron. I ordered these right after they announced they were going out of business.
All of the Pig Iron vehicles have the same body, and you can make them armored personnel carries or add turrets to make them a support vehicle or an anti-tank vehicle. I am happy with the way they turned out. I assembled mine so that I can switch back and forth between armored personnel carries and the support vehicles.
I acquired a couple handfuls of bark chips from Duncan, because I have been wanting to make more rocky outcroppings for my games. I use the same sage felt for most of my games, and I even cover my hills with the same sage felt. I wanted these rocky outcroppings to match as well. I had a few scraps of the sage felt from a hill-making project, so I cut them into circles and glued them to some old CDs.
I sprayed the bark chips with black and dry brushed them with a dark gray. Then I hot glued the bark pieces to the felt-covered CDs. Finally I dry brushed them again with a very light gray.
In this picture the felt circles don’t appear to match the ground cloth underneath. Part of the issue is that the ground cloth has been sprayed with a few colors of paint to give it more texture. The other part of the issue is that the ground cloth has had a lot more use — and the nap has been roughed up — so they felt circles and the ground cloth reflect light a little differently. Still, I think they blend better than something that has been flocked or textured and painted.
Finally, I got a bunch of 1:50 vehicles second had at Cold Wars, so I sprayed them green (most were Russian and two US M-10 tank destroyers) and painted the wheels and tracks.
So it was a productive weekend.
In 2009 a buddy gave me an airbrush, and then I deployed to Iraq, moved twice, retired, and changed jobs. Today was the first time I had a chance to play with it. About a year ago, my dad replaced his compressor and gave me the old one. Last time I used an airbrush was probably 35 years ago with Humbrol oil-based paint. There was a bit of a learning curve with getting the consistency right with acrylics and also learning how to operate this model air brush. The results are passable. These are all 1:48 kits, and I will use them with my 28mm Combat Patrol(TM) games.
The Sherman and Hetzer kits came with stick on “decals,” but they had a hunter green background. I tried cutting the stars out of the background, but the results were pretty lousy. Instead, I hand painted the stars, which is slightly less lousy.
These aren’t going to win any contests, but they are good enough for gaming. This was a fun project, and I enjoyed getting to play with an airbrush again. I also air brushed a bunch of science fiction vehicles for 28mm Combat Patrol(TM): Science Fiction, but I haven’t done the detail work on them yet, so those pictures will wait for another day.
After some yard work and running a few errands, I completed my first battalion of 10mm infantry for Look, Sarge, No Charts: Near Future and Science Fiction. This battalion was made of Dropzone Commander infantry of different types. For this battalion I was considering either three companies of four platoons or four companies of three platoons. I decided on the latter and added a heavy weapons company.
The battalion also has a light reconnaissance platoon at the battalion level not shown in the previous picture. These, I think , were from a clicky base game, and I found them in the Flea Market at Cold Wars last March.
This battalion is painted in khaki with olive helmets. As with the tank battalions, each infantry battalion will have a slightly different paint scheme to make it easier for players to distinguish them on the tabletop.
In addition to the full infantry battalion, I also painted some independent companies that will be assigned to battalions from division or brigade. Note that these are in a different paint scheme from the infantry battalion. The independent companies are in a basic olive green scheme with slightly different colored helmets.
This is a very heavy assault company. I see brigade attaching this company to a battalion that must force a breach in enemy lines or assault an urban area. These guys will be somewhat slow, but have a lot of firepower and be difficult to kill.
This is some sort of heavy weapons company. I haven’t decided what these weapons will be just yet. The rocket battery in the back will likely act as artillery, and I am thinking of the heavy cannon in the front being some sort of heavy anti-tank weapon, but it might end up as some sort of artillery as well. Who knows?
I made two companies of these heavy infantry. They would be attached to a battalion that is the main effort to bolster their combat power.
These will either be a set of recon platoons that can be assigned in penny packets to battalions that need them or deployed as a screening force on the flanks of the main effort. The rocket launchers give them some ability to hold off enemy armor, while the chain guns are terrific against enemy infantry.
Today I am shifting gears away from 10mm. The weather is nice, so I am going to break out the airbrush in the back yard. I have five German 1:48 vehicles for Combat Patrol (a Hetzer, three halftracks, and a truck) that have been base coated in desert yellow but now need the 1944 brown and green camouflage air brushed on them. It has been quite a while since I have used an airbrush, and in the past I have done it with Humbrol oils, so I am somewhat apprehensive about getting the consistency of acrylics correct for this project. I hope that they will look good enough to post some pictures this evening. I will be using this as my pattern.
I recently ended up with a stack of unwanted hexagonal bases from the Reaper CAV Kickstarter. Why all the tanks I ordered came with all these bases, I don’t know, but they did. I was trying to figure out what to do with them. As I was holding a couple together contemplating their potential, I hit upon this idea
Six of these bases come in a blister pack from Reaper. They are textured on the top and have some support structures on the underside.
So, I glued six of them together with E-6000, sprayed them black, and then dry brushed them with a couple shades of gray and white. I also printed some labels in alien symbols to mark the boxes. I think the effect is pretty good, and they will be great in the cargo hold of the space ship I plan to build for 28mm science fiction Combat Patrol games.
Even with the Combat Patrol(TM) play test day yesterday, I managed to complete my 4th Reaper CAV tank battalion, this time heavy tanks. From previous posts, you know that I am painting each battalion in different camouflage schemes to make them easier to distinguish on the gaming table. The first three were in a modern, realistic camouflage pattern. I decided to be a little more outlandish with this battalion.
Of course, this could be a very realistic camouflage scheme on a different planet.
After completing this battalion, I felt like I should make the battalion HQ more distinguishable. If you look at the top image, you see that the company and battalion HQ bases each consist of a single vehicle on the same sized base. I decided the easier way to distinguish the battalion HQ bases was to put a small guidon on the battalion HQ vehicle.
The flags are removable to make the bases easier to store.
Now, I need to get started on all the infantry while I await the few missing vehicles from the CAV Kickstarter to arrive…
A number of people have agreed to develop supplements for Combat Patrol(TM). Supplements in active development are Napoleonic Wars, The Falklands, several British colonial periods, and modern Afghanistan and Iraq. Several of the supplements have elements common to each other. For instance, several of these periods require rules for close formations and cavalry. To help ensure that these supplements are consistent with each other and the intent of the base rules, I hosted a play test day in my gaming room. We had initially hoped to get in three games, but ended up only running two.
Everyone converged on the “war room” at 0900, but we spent the better part of two hours just talking about Duncan’s Napoleonic supplement, how to deal with closed order troops, cavalry, charging, etc. It was a good session and set the stage for a successful play test.
I have found that a play test event like this needs to be a small group of the right folks who are okay with changing the rules on the fly, can offer suggestions that remain in keeping with the tone and intent of the base rules, understand the desire for simplicity and consistency, etc. In this case I only invited those folks who were interested in writing a Combat Patrol(TM) supplement. To me it was important that I got everyone on the same sheet of music.
Our intent with this supplement — and all of them really — is to change as little as possible from the base WWII rules. There needs to be a compelling reason to make a change or addition for period feel. Otherwise, we want to make sure that supplements are as consistent with the base rules and with each other as possible.
Our intent was to test as many aspects of Duncan’s supplement as possible. One of the reasons to select a play test group carefully, is that you also need folks who won’t get too wrapped around the axel about trying to win the game or scenario anachronisms. In the case of the photo (above), we used Mexican lancers as part of the British force, because those are the only lancers Duncan had in 28mm, and we wanted to test the lancer modifiers to the basic melee rules.
In order to test a wide swath of the rules, we had lancers, regular infantry, Rifles, hussars, etc. The scenario involved a small British detachment defending the house at the top of the picture with the rest of the British riding to their rescue as the French try to seize it.
In advance of Chris’ farmhouse defenders, Chris had deployed a section of infantry in open order in the woods to slow down Zeb’s French. Zeb advanced slowly through the woods in formed lines, while Chris spread out in open order. Eventually Chris was driven from the woods. One of his soldiers was left behind accidentally as most of the section fled the woods and ran toward the farm yard. Once the “rear guard” was out of command radius, be became “pinned,” and Chris couldn’t extract him, but the figure, who we dubbed “Crazy Jenkins” held of several of Zeb’s attacks for several turns, slowing the French advance.
As a major focus of this play test session was to test the cavalry rules, Zeb and I conspired to create a cavalry battle in the center of the table. Unfortunately as my lancers advanced and deployed, Zeb activated first and charged my lancers with his hussars. As luck would have it, he was able to gain impetus and I was caught stationary. The results were ugly for me.
Duncan’s intent was for these melees to become confused fur balls that would take a turn to two to resolve. Our thinking is that much of the confusion of a melee is generally abstracted away at higher levels of abstraction, but we want this to be explicit in Combat Patrol(TM): Napoleonic Wars. You can see elements to three cavalry units in this picture: Zeb’s French hussars are in the center and left, my lancers are in the center, and my hussars are toward the bottom.
Slowly my numerical advantage over Zeb begin to tell, and he collected a lot of morale markers (the pile of green chips). His cavalry scattered, and I moved to reorganize my cavalry and work around the exposed flank of the French infantry.
I attacked this French infantry unit on the flank and rear, but the French passed their Reaction check and were allowed to face their second rank to the rear. The results were ugly for my cavalry. While we still need to tinker with the modifiers to melee a bit, in general, the new rules for close order vs. open order, cavalry in melee, and cavalry vs. infantry seem to work well. We are still thinking about the advantages and disadvantages of being in close order.
Duncan has come up with a mechanic that I like for cavalry. There is no charge bonus, per se. Cavalry must spend the last four inches of its move going straight ahead in order to receive an impetus bonus in the melee. Remember: this is a skirmish game, not a tactical game. In my “charge” around flank of Duncan’s infantry, I did not have impetus, which hurt me in the subsequent melee. I think it worked pretty well.
I had smashed my cavalry against Zeb’s cavalry and Duncan’s infantry, and Duncan and Zeb still had two untouched sections of infantry. Chris was is sad shape in the farm yard with Zeb’s battered by still good infantry closing on him. At this point, we had accomplished our play test goals and had a clear winner, so we called the game and set up our second play test.
The second game was a play test of Greg’s Falklands supplement. After we cleaned up I realized that I didn’t take any pictures. Greg has ordered a platoon each of British and Argentinians for the Falklands, but for this play test we used his UNIT troopers from his Dr. Who games for British and my WWII US for Argentinians. The terrain was mostly barren and rocky. We used Top Malo as the play test scenario. As the Falklands war is much more like WWII than the Napoleonic Wars are, there were fewer optional rules to test. We tested the new weapons for the Falklands, and we tested rules for night fighting. According to Greg’s research the Argentinians had better night vision than the British, but the British employed them better. Greg’s rules seemed to reflect this well. By this time, Zeb had had to leave, so we had the four member of our club with the most notoriously cold dice facing each other in the dark. In the real battle the British set the Top Malo house afire with M72 LAWs, but Chris and I got “out of ammunition” results with most of our sections when we tried to use our LAWs, meaning that we ran out of them. With the Argentinians having better night vision, and our LAWs depleted, we had no choice but to advance to close range across largely open ground. The results were predictable. Greg and Duncan soundly defeated us; although, Chris made excellent use of his M203 grenade launchers to soften them up. Sorry I don’t have any pictures to show, but with all the surrogates for figures and terrain, it wouldn’t have looked very Falklands-like to purists.
It was a successful day. I think we’ll have the Napoleonic supplement ready to share with a slightly wider group of play testers in a few weeks. Greg and I need to think a little more about night fighting, but the basic concept we employed seemed to be okay. I hope to schedule another play test day to focus on Iraq and Afghanistan and perhaps another Falklands or Napoleonic test. We had hoped to have The Falklands done before Salute, but the real world has gotten in the way.
This weekend, I knocked out a few odds and ends. This is the Reaper Bones I Kickstarter clockwork dragon. Honesty, this one piece was the reason I bought into Bones I in the first place. I finally got around to priming and painting this piece over the weekend. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out, even though the feet didn’t really stand flat, so I had to build up the base somewhat.
I also painted a third battalion of armored vehicles from the Reaper CAV Kickstarter, this time with a slightly lighter — almost jungle colored camouflage pattern. This is a light anti-tank battalion. I like the turretless design. The Army was working on a replacement for the M-551 Sheridan, called the Armored Gun System, that had a similar turretless design.
I painted this Reaper Bones II Kraken some months ago, but one of our gamers was asking about it this weekend, so I decided to post a couple of pictures.
I completed the second battalion of CAV vehicles, this time a battalion of light tanks. I tried a lighter camouflage scheme on this battalion. As I mentioned in my previous post, my intent is that each battalion will have a different camouflage pattern to make it easier for players to keep their battalions separated on the table.