Sunday, December 16, 2012

Gruntz Write-up

I fiiiiinally took the time to wrap and post the write-up of the game of Gruntz a friend and I ran at Gencon this year.  It only took me 3.5 months.  Here's the link:

And here's a direct link to all the photos:

Sunday, December 2, 2012


Oi, it's been way too long.  I've done quite a bit of gaming since the last post, just haven't blogged any of it.

Scorpio at has done a great job of tracking some of our games, including Tomorrow's War, The Department, Pulp City, and MERCS.

On the menu for the foreseeable future is a lot of MERCS, 15mm Fantasy and 15mm Scifi, as well as some other things mixed in there.  Maybe I'll actually get to those MERCS strategy posts I was hoping to write...

ALSO, I am like 5 months over-due on writing my Gruntz Gencon report.  I really suck for not having this done yet and owe Robin of Gruntz and the awesome sponsors at Rebel and CMG better.  It's almost done.

Anyways, I did get around to a rousing game of Battletech with my brother today.

We played a simple scenario.  12 turns, kills worth have their tonnage in points, +30 points for killing your secretly selected target, +30 for having your secretly selected leader on the board at the end.

Lances were:

  • Jagermech - 2x Ultra AC5, 2x Med Pulse Lasers, 2x ER Large Lasers (leader)
  • Jagermech - 2x Ultra AC5, 2x Med Pulse Lasers, 2x ER Large Lasers (brother's target)
  • Dragon - LRM 10, AC/10, Med Laser, Rear Med Laser
  • Trebuchet - LRM 15, 3x Medium Laser
  • Highlander - LBX20 AC, some other stuff (my target)
  • Cataphract - PPC, AC/10, some Medium lasers (leader)
  • Whitworth - 2x LRM10, other stuff
  • Whitworth - 2x LRM10, other stuff
Here's a shot after turn 1 of movement from my side of the board.

Basically, I quickly focused in on his Highlander, who obliged by running into knife-range as he lacked anything with any sort of reach.  His Whitworths and Cataphracts encircled, but didn't get to optimal range fast enough.  I managed to inflict a Gyro critical on his Highlander, knocking it down.  After he failed to get up, I backed my Dragon up to be able to get a shot with my rear laser, while also firing my forward weapons at his Cataphract (bit of a dick move on my part, but we laughed).   Well, I paid for my cheekiness.  His Highlander, from the ground, basically annihilated any rear armor I had, while the Cataphract blew off my left arm.  The his Whitworths opened up with their LRMs and ate into my rear torso structure.  He critted my right and left torso with the same salvo, managing to pop both my LRM and AC ammo.  ~285 points of damage later (the Dragon only has about 250 armor + structure points to start), my heavy was a crater.  Then it was my turn to fire: my non-leader Jagermech opened up on his downed Highlander, hitting with everything.  The 2nd AC/5 shot managed to crit HIS left torso, and popped his LB20 ammo.  This did enough damage to kill him, and also would've triggered his SRM ammo in the same location, probably doing something like 400  damage.  Apparently ammo explosions are bad.  

Here was my 3-year old's interpretation of my Dragon after his demise:

Anyways, from there, I focused in on a Whitworth, killing it with a headshot, and then finished off the Cataphract.  He did manage to kill his Target Jagermech, but at that point, it was over.

I had killed his 90 ton mech (45), a 40 ton mech (20), and a 70 (35), killed my target (30), and likely would've protected my leader (30).  This gave me 160 pts, to his (35 + 30 + 30) 95.  

Good times!  12 turns was probably too many to really have mattered, although we did basically just get stuck in straight-away.  The Dragon seemed pretty pointless, and I dislike the mix of very short and long weapons on the Trebuchet.  The Jagermechs, however, were golden.  Those UltraACs are a fun threat, and getting into range to alpha-strike at potentially 48 points of damage is nice.  

Thursday, August 30, 2012

MERCS Demo/Game Night Recap!

Hey Readers,

This is somewhat of a cross-post from this thread on the MERCS forums (      ), which documents a recent MERCS demo/game night I organized at the local store.  It's hopefully the first of a series of posts I'm envisioning on MERCS.  This game is currently worming its way through my brain quite a bit.  I really like the art, the fluff and the system and it really makes me think about both my strategy and in-game tactics.  In-short, the things I tend to not think about when playing casually.  Stay tuned for more:

Just wanted to document the action that took place last night at Dream Wizards in MD.  We had a good turn out for a combination of games and demos.  The Forum's Hunter776 drove down and was a great help in providing an extra brain and set of hands to work with the new players.  Everyone that got a demo was interested in playing what was in effect a full game.  Matchups included ISS-Texico, USCR-CCC and Texico-USCR.  

There were a number of people who wanted to get a demo but already had other plans; I'll get a bit more forward-advertising done ahead to time to make sure they're locked in.  Hopefully we can get a couple more events in before the tournament Dr. Andy is running on 10/7 nearby.

Here are some photos of the games (I'll make sure to have a legitimate camera next time, as this one didn't quite do the job):

Monday, August 20, 2012

Gencon 2012!

Well, Gencon 2012 came and went.  It was pretty relaxed as far as Gencons go; I spent 4 hours on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, each, working in the Cool Mini or Not booth, which generated a ton of swag, but didn't leave too much time for events.  Conveniently, there weren't too many events that enticed me.

The 4 of us left very late Tuesday night, and 10 hours later, arrived in Indy.  After wandering around most of the day and trying out Zombiecide (more on that in a second), we hit St. Elmo's steakhouse, a super-classy restaurant.  But more about the gaming:

During free time, we played a lot of Zombiecide, Eclipse and Evil Baby Orphanage.

Zombiecide is CMoN's new Zombie game.  We played the first scenario ~ 7 times and couldn't beat it; it's excruciatingly difficult.  That said, the game itself has some excellent mechanics and is full of character.  I'd recommend it if you like zombie games.

Eclipse is basically Twilight Imperium light: way less political mechanics, with a far more elegant activation/resource system.  It's like they took TI and euro-gamed it.  Like TI, it takes more planning and continued attention than I like to give board games, so I suck at it, but it's quite entertaining.

Evil Baby Orphanage is Wyrd's new card game.  In it, you play a time-travelling nanny (Mary Poppins meets Dr. Who) who is trying to kidnap various evil babies to keep them from perpetrating crimes against humanity in the future.  Basically, there are baby cards worth various amounts of points that you collect (portraying people like Baby Hitler, Baby Stalin, Baby Napoleon, etc.).  The babies also have good and bad abilities that you have to manage via toys and and action cards.  It's a fun, light screw-your-neighbor game.

In terms of actual events, I played in the MERCS tournament.  I matched up against Waza with my FCC in the first round on the Missile Silo map (single-elimination).  My opponent was a cool guy who was able to take maximum advantage of some really idiotic errors I made throughout the game.  I was in it until the end despite all that, but couldn't  seem to think clearly.  Very much a missed opportunity; I'd wanted to practice that exact match-up on that map, but never got around to it.  It probably would've helped :D

Anyways, the rest of the con was great.  I ran demos of the new version of Confrontation, Wrath of Kings and Relic Knights for CMoN.  All 3 are excellent, especially Wrath of Kings.  I eagerly await the inevitable Kickstarter.

A friend and I did run a 6-player Gruntz event both Thursday and Friday morning.  These were super successful and I'll post about them separately once he sends me the photos.

Here are a couple of photos (more to come as I find them):

Wrath of Kings: Teknes Ironward

Chill-causing Collodi Cosplay

Delicious Cincinnati-style Chili Dogs from Skyline.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Early Summer Flames Update

Hello all,

It's been a while (no decent excuses, just hasn't been).  I wanted to give an update on what I've been up to this summer, especially in terms of Flames of War, since that's mainly what I've been doing.

2 friends, my brother and I recently attended a tournament at an excellent club called the Icehouse in Delaware.  It was a 1945 pt. V3 Forcebook ONLY tournament, which was interesting.  We took: German PanzerGrens (friend 1), US Armor (friend 2), German Grens (brother), US Rifles (me).

Overall, it was an entertaining event and provided a range of learning opportunities; the club itself is an excellent mix of awesome terrain and friendly people.  Anyways, on to the games!

  • Game 1 was Hold the Line against German Grenadiers (eventual 2nd place player).  He had 3 Tigers, some 88s, PanzerGrens and 6 Pak40s in reserve.  I managed to win the starting roll, meaning I had to attack (in bocage, no less), making for an awesome start to the day.  Basically, I was unable to really generate much momentum against either objective, and ended up losing 6-1.  The game taught me a few things: 
    • 1) I had too much crap on the table.  Deploying my entire army, I had like 10 platoons on the table, including 2x 18 team rifle platoons (including attachments) and just couldn't effectively manage them all (bocage didn't help).  This led to simple mistakes like forgetting to move a rifle platoon on my far flank that might've given me a shot at applying additional pressure on the far objective.
    • 2) I made a really early error of moving my recce up against the bocage to take some pointless shots against his artillery on the far objective.  This was naturally ineffective and just meant my recce immediately perished at the hands of the Tigers.  Had I just stayed behind the bocage on the road, I could've applied some serious pressure to the rear objective early in the game and possibly given my GIs a shot at taking the front objective  in the wake of the distraction.  
    • 3) on a bocage table, really don't worry too much about bunching up to avoid air; just hug the bocage and you're probably safer.  Just 1 team further than 2" away and all of those other guys next to the bocage are just as vulnerable.  
    • Overall, it was an entertaining game against a very serious opponent; had my main rifle platoon attacking the near objective unpinned on any of the 3 turns they refused to move, I might've had a shot of pushing the grenadiers off the objective; alas, they didn't, leaving my Stuarts to assault unsupported, which still almost worked.
  • Game 2 was Dust Up against US Armor.  The guy had no infantry whatsoever.  I again ended up losing 6-1 and again learned some interesting lessons.
    • 1) Selection of platoons is critical in this scenario.  I dropped 2 huge rifle platoons and 105s to defend my objectives and my Stuarts and a Recon patrol to push against his.  This was a really crappy plan, as neither my Stuarts or Recon could really go toe-to-toe with his Shermans and 76s.  Since I didn't get reserves until like turn 3 (he picked his up every turn).  I would've been better served to take 1 big platoon to cover both objectives, artillery, 57mm guns + bazookas, M10s and maybe a recon platoon.  The combination of M10s and 57s would've really blunted his attack and my fast stuff, arriving from reserves, could quickly pounce on his unguarded objectives (and he left them pretty unguarded).  
    • 2) When playing w/ no AA or Air Support, as I was (side-note, take AA or Air Support), it is critical to place your artillery on the edge of a forest or within 2"; they're sitting ducks otherwise, as I quickly found out.
    • I ended up losing in a counter-assault against tanks contesting my objective (only platoon covering the objecting for me ended up breaking).  The game was really frustrating, since beyond my own mistakes, the guy didn't really know the V3 rules (was a very vet V2 player though) and made all sorts of weird moves out of command that I had to call him on (those rules didn't change much at all from 2-3, so it was def. shady).  
  • Game 3 was Hasty Attack against British Armor (another Allied tank list, wtf; hold this thought for later).  Another 0 infantry list (glad I brought snipers!) on an Eastern Front table w/ tons of hills and a river, leaving a very thin stretch of open terrain for him to attack both objectives.  I won this one 4-3, but the odds were really stacked against my opponent. 
    • The only real highlights of this game were learning how semi-indirect fire for Brit tanks works (awesome) and getting to ambush an M10 from inside a building!
This left me in dead last out of 12.  I didn't really have a shot based on list construction and having to attack in game 1, but I didn't do myself any favors w/ my play.  My brother, whose played far fewer games than me, took 5th, which was really cool.  He lost his last game on a Company Morale test that had he made, would've won him the game and probably given him 1st place (and given my 1st opponent the tourney win).  His first game saw one of his 2 Tiger IIs fail a side armor roll and burn; had he made that 2+, he likely would've held the objective that lost him that one.  Friend 2 took 3rd place and won a Stutzpunkt.  Friend 1 took ~7th I think.

Overall, it was a good opportunity to get some games in against some different opponents on fantastic terrain.  My only complaint was having to play against Allied armor twice.  In a tournament with 7 German players of 12, you think we could organize Red vs. Blue games in all cases; I guess they just wanted to ensure the purity of the 'swiss' style.  

Later that week, I got in a game against Germans using a slightly altered 1945 pt. list.  I took some 155s this time and wow, they're good.  I defended in 'Surrounded,' on a board that did my opponent no favors, with most of the terrain clogging the middle.  I've now ordered some 155s to use for the Thursday Mid-War Historicon list and am going to get some games in to practice for that (US Rifles again, with AA.  We'll see if my dearth of armor works...11 bazookas?).  

Meanwhile, I'm rapidly assembling the Soviets I've acquired; I've got the core of a very horde-y Strelkovy Battalion, which should be fun to play & paint, whether for Barbarossa, Stalingrad or the push back to Germany.  Thanks for reading!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

AAR - Gruntz: 15mm Scifi

My colleague over at Metal Skirmish has put up a brief narrative AAR of a Gruntz game we played: 

It was an entertaining game.  We played a counter-attack scenario from Flames of War just to give us a fresh look at deployment zones and objectives.  Basically, I started in 1 corner defending 1 objective and there was another objective in the opposite corner.  My opponent started in one of the corner between the two objective corners.  

We played 125 points which feels a bit small, especially if you have 2 vehicles like my opponent.  Dropping 30+ pts each into 2 models left him way behind on model count.

He had 2 squads of Gruntz w/ a unit attachment LMG + an APC and a tricked-out medium tank (+ his leader).  

For the same amount of points, I had a heavy tank (actually cheaper than his medium tank, as I took fewer/less exciting weapons and no Modz), 3 squads, 1 with a flamethrower attached, a scout walker (using the specialist rules) and an immobile artillery piece (+ a leader).  I gave all of my troops the Long Runner Perk, giving them extra move in the open.  This turned out to be really handy I was able to rapidly redeploy the squad with the flamethrower rapidly to the statue on the hill and take out the Kontrol squad sent that way.  

The artillery piece was effective, but odd.  With a max range of 18", it's not quite as long-ranged as you would expect and if anything gets within 9", it can't fire at them, making it really tough to use right.  However, when it does get to fire, it's very powerful, as it will likely hit a number of things with a pretty powerful impact.  

I liked the stats I put together for the Merka.  For 42 points, it was very resilient and a solid anti-armor unit.  

The most effective thing was probably the flamethrower, however, especially with Long Runner.  In a game where it is uncommon for 1 figure to be able to kill more than one opposing figure in a turn, being able to drop a template and hit multiple guys with just 1 figure is awesome (we played that you still had to roll to hit everyone under the template.  Unsure if this was correct).  

In any case, another fun game; the narrative Scorpio put together on his blog really helped put it together.

Just musing here, but looking at the desert terrain I've now got, it wouldn't be much of a stretch to rock some 15mm Dune...hmmmmmm.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Rumble in the Desert - FJ vs. U.S. Rifles

Sat down for a game of Flames of War last week.

Scenario was CAULDRON; I took Tunisia Fallschirmjaeger against U.S. Rifles (both from the North Africa book).

The battlefield after deployment:

The view of the German positions from the US HMGs

I kept 2 large FJ platoons with HMGs attached on the table (1 right in the center covering the objectives, the other a bit further towards my table edge (towards the rocky out-cropping) to guard my artillery), as well as my artillery and light AT guns.  

My opponent started with 105mm artillery, chemical mortars, HMGs and some 37mm AT guns (lots of support).  

Naturally, he got a reserve platoon in on turn 1 and brought on his Shermans.  However, my artillery was feeling rather heroic and 1 gun at short range managed to burn 2 Shermans in both turns 1 and 2, eliminating the platoon (get that crew some medals!).  Meanwhile, he advanced and fired directly with his other weapons to little effect.  His commander was able to take the farmhouse near one of the objectives:

He steadily received more reserves, bringing his Rifle platoons in on the far side of the board (from the perspective of the initial picture).  I in turn brought a medium-sized FJ platoon, followed by some AA guns in right near his reinforcements.  Between the 2 of them, they chewed through a Rifle platoon and the Chemical Mortars, and generally slowed his advance.  His Recce platoon arrived and made life hell on my artillery (really excellent showing by them).  Unfortunately, they did eventually die, causing my opponent to hit 1/2 strength in terms of overall # of platoons, and he promptly failed his Company Morale check, giving me the game.  Even if he'd made it, without his tanks or his mortars, he would've been extremely hard-pressed to shove 2 full FJ platoons off of the objectives with just a platoon or 2 of U.S. Rifles. 

A very fun game overall - the Cauldron scenario is excellent.


Well, I got tired of posting lengthy reports on Yahoo Groups that no one ever read, so figured I'd start a gaming blog (looking at you for inspiration, Metal Skirmish!).  Expect to see lots of Flames of War, 15mm Sci -Fi, and maybe even some Confrontation!