15mm

Chain of Command in 15mm

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Chain of CommandWe finally had  a chance to get in some games of Chain of Command from TooFatLardies. Because we are still painting up our 28mm forces — and because we have tons of 15mm Flames of War forces — we decided to try it in 15mm. It not only worked just fine but looked great at that scale. Two issues came up using FoW-based figures: First, tracking casualties was a bit cumbersome. We later came up with the idea of using colored bases under the FoW bases that would denote the number of casualties off the stand. This would probably work just fine. The second issue was a positive one; because Chain of Command is very team focused using the standard two FoW infantry stands per squad works out just fine and makes movement and placement generally clear. You of course do lose a bit of placement flexibility but this is generally not a big problem but visually can be odd at times (such as when moving down a road or along a hedgerow).

But we liked how that worked so much we went ahead and based up some 15mm figures individually. We used custom plywood bases from Litko. General troops went on 15mm round bases, heavy weapon and crew got 15mm square bases and we put junior leaders on 15mm hexagon bases. Senior leaders, with two figures per base, went on 20mm hexagon bases and 20mm square fit well for weapon teams such as Bazookas, snipers and observers. Mortars and MG’s we placed on 1″x1.5″ bases (standard FoW small base). Not shown in the photos below are the colored bands applied to the back of each base to denote squad affiliation. This all worked out very well. The different base shapes makes it easier to pick out different troops with the smaller figures. Another idea could be to base troops on 20mm bases and use some of the excess space to add color for easier identification and spotting. You could also use the different base shapes for different squads as well.

With individually based figures casualties are easy to remove as is moving troops between teams and breaking off troops. You can also place the figures exactly where you want them. The only real downside to the individually based figures is that they are a bit fiddly to move around and on a nice table can actually be hard to see. But with the low unit count in CoC this really was not an issue.

While we have not tried it yet I think a combination of the above two approaches could be ideal. Start out with the regular FoW-based figures and as casualties are taken or units broken off convert them to the individually based figures. One could easily make unit trays as well for the individually based figures.

In the photos below you’ll see some of the American Late War Armored Rifle platoon figures (all Battlefront miniatures in this case). The fields with walls terrain piece is from Crescent Root. Buildings are from Crescent Root, JR and Landmark.

Overall we really enjoyed Chain of Command. If you like WW2 skirmish games give it a shot and don’t worry too much about scale and basing. Basing really doesn’t matter that much so just go with what you have or your preference.

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Flames of War – Fate of a Nation

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Fate of NationsBattlefront released its first Middle East module for Flames of War. Fate of a Nation comes as a free supplement with Wargames Illustrated Issue 312

Fate Of A Nation:
Arab-Israeli Wars, Six-Day War, 1967
On 5 June, 1967, Israel surprised the Arab forces massing on its borders with a pre-emptive strike. By the end of the day a hundred thousand soldiers and several thousand tanks were locked in battle — a struggle that would decide the fate of Israel.

Both sides had spent a decade preparing for this titanic struggle. Both sides acquired every modern tank they could, and upgraded those they retained from earlier wars. The opening battles saw more tanks in combat than the famous Battle of Prokhorovka between the Germans and Soviets near Kursk in 1943. The clash was swift and brutal. Within days a thousand wrecked tanks littered the battlefields and Israel was victorious..

There a number of supporting release for Fate of a Nation with certainly many more on the way. Here are some of the highlights:Isherman

Of course Battlefront is not the only option for Middle East miniatures. Most notably Khurasan Miniatures have a very nice range of both vehicles and infantry with more on the way. We’ll have a comparison between Battlefront and Khurasan soon.
FoW FoN

Napoleon!! – Update

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Napoleon 4th EdIt has been awhile since we looked at what is new in the Napoleonic realm. Since our last post there have been a number of new goodies released and we even discovered some old ones.

Perhaps most recent is Columbia Games’ new Napoleon 4th Edition block game fresh off its Kickstarter. Napoleon is a classic game that is now better than ever. Also from Columbia is their Eagles: Waterloo 1815 card game. We finally got a chance to try this and really like it. It takes a couple of plays to get comfortable with but is a quick playing game that gives a nice feel of Napoleonic warfare and the cards are very nicely illustrated. We wish they would expand the game with more battles. Annoyingly Columbia has not posted the full rules, but check BoardgameGeek for a nice rules summary.

Another classic game we got to the table is Age of Napoleon 2nd Edition. If you want a grand strategic game for two that you can play in one sitting this is a good choice.

GMT Games has been busy and put out the Russian forces for their excellent Commands & Colors: Napoleonics system. Either the Prussians or Austrians will be next. They also released Fading Glory: Napoleonic Series 20, which is a package of four small games previously done by VPG. They are small games that are fun and quick to play. We look forward to the next set.

Albion Triumphant v2Warlord Games released two Napoleonic expansions to their Black Powder miniature rules: Albion Triumphant Volume 1 – The Peninsular campaign and Albion Triumphant Volume 2 – The Hundred Days campaign should keep fans of Black Powder busy for awhile. As always the books are also useful to players of many other game systems.

Another very recent addition is 2HourWargames’ new Muskets and Shakos rules. This is a 65-page ruleset covering the period of 1803-1815 at division level.

Computer gamers are in luck as well. Matrix Games released the excellent Napoleon’s Campaigns game. It takes a bit of time to learn but has a nice tutorial and manual and your time spent will be rewarded with a challenging game.

That should be enough to keep your inner conqueror busy for awhile.

[Updated: 9AUG13]

Flames of War Pacific!

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Rising SunWell it looks like Battlefront has finally pulled the trigger on the Pacific theater. Their July release schedule now shows,

In Shops 20 July
FW304 Rising Sun
JBX01 Hohei Chutai (Infantry Company)
JBX02 Type 89 Chi-Ro Platoon (x5)
JP706 Nikuhaku Teams

In Shops 27 July
JBX03 Type 95 Ha-Go Platoon (x5)
JP702 Hohei Platoon
JP704 Hohei Machine-gun Platoon

Rising Sun is obviously the army book. Type 89/95 are tanks and Nikuhaku is artillery. Looks like they will be extending their invasion and D-Day efforts further than we thought although considering it appears this release focuses on early war we’ll have to see.

The gents over at WWPD knew about this a few weeks ago.

So when will we see Marines?

For both the Pacific and Vietnam we hoped Battlefront would produce co-operative rules with the game engine running the non-Allied side. We’ll keep up some hope maybe as an island invasion supplement or something?

[Updated: 22JUL13]

15mm Sci-Fi Painting Progress — Khurasan

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Khurasan Mi-Tech CommandWe actually do get some painting done on occasion. Back in Now THAT’S a Tank! we looked at the Khurasan 15mm Advanced Superheavy Grav Tank. In some of the pictures for comparison were the Khurasan Mid-Tech Humans in Power Armor troops. Well we finally got around to getting the troops painted. The tank is almost done.

The bases we used are custom Litko 3mm plywood bases. For 15mm sci-fi we take the approach that in the future troop unit sizes are smaller and forces more nimble. So having smaller bases with fewer troops makes sense. Individual figures at 15mm seem a bit too fiddly so this approach strikes a good balance. Moreover the bases can be used at skirmish to represent the 1-3 troops on the base or at larger scales could be a fire team, squad or even an entire platoon.

For higher tech forces we go with 1″ x 1 1/4″ for command and some support units (this is the ‘small’ Flames of War base size) and troops and other support units we put on 1″ x 1 1/2″ bases. For horde type troops we put them on 2″ x 1 1/4″ bases (Flames of War ‘medium’ bases). For powered armor troops we go with two troops per base (unless they are very large) and two on command bases. For more mid-tech armor troops we go with three or even four figures per base. Hordes are three or more per base depending on the size of the figure. We have found this basing system works well across a number of rule systems including Gruntz, Strike Legion, Quadrant 13 and Hammer’s Slammers.

The paint job we did is Imperial Fist inspired. The figures have enough detail that they paint up easily and details are easy to pick out without being overwhelming. While Khurasan calls them ‘mid-tech’ troops they fit the traditional power armor mold very well and have just enough bulk to be larger than ‘normal’ troops without being overly large. We think they mix well with other lines. The basing scheme is supposed to be sort of a Mars-ish barren effect. We may add something to them later because they are perhaps a bit too stark but work fine for now.

As you can see in the photos our basing sizes also work well with the Spaceship-X tiles for corridor battles. You can also see something new we tried. For the Khurasan Aliens we wanted that ‘horde stream’ feeling and so based the Aliens on the base the long way. This gives the units some depth. The hammerhead Aliens are a bit smaller than the regular Aliens so we left them on our normal bases to represent that they would fill a more scouting/infiltrating role and are perhaps harder to hit but weaker units.

Heroes of Normandie — On Kickstarter

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Heroes of NormandieHeroes of Normandie is a tactical World War Two boardgame now on Kickstarter. It passed its funding goal within just a few days of launch and now only has eight days left. It has also been running through its stretch goals with just a few more to go. The game was designed by a Devil Pig Games, a couple of French designers, and looks very good.  Devil Pig Games has been very good about posting game play videos and responding to backer requests and queries.

The game is certainly designed to be more Hollywood than history but the draft rules look very interesting and the overall visual design is top notch. Keeping with the Hollywood theme Devil Pigs have incorporated a lot of classic movie/tv archetypes into the game. While perhaps not the most accurate game it looks like a lot of fun to play.

While the game is designed as a pure board wargame the scale (both play and physical size) fits perfectly with 15mm miniatures. So players who wish to do so could easily convert the game for miniature play as well.

The Meeples & Miniatures Podcast – Episode 107 has an interview with Devil Pig Games and they discuss Heroes of Normandie.

We look forward to this one. If you have any interest in WW2 check out Heroes of Normandie.

Update: Heroes of Normandie successfully concluded with over £150,000 in funding. It met all of its stretch goals and supporters will be receiving a ton of cardboard soon. If you missed it look for the game in stores in late 2013 or early 2014.

[Updated: 7MAY13]

Flames of War Vietnam — Tour of Duty

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FoW VietnamThe latest issue of Wargames Illustrated (issue 304) has an ad for Battlefront’s upcoming Flames of War Vietnam expansion Tour Of Duty. It is a regular printed army book like all of the other FoW books that makes Vietnam a ‘real’ range for FoW and not just a magazine add-on as it has been until now. “Tour Of Duty, Armoured, Airborne, and Infantry combat in Vietnam, 1965-1971, is a comprehensive 132 page book.” This is what John-Paul was talking about in the WWPD interview.

Also listed is the new model range where we see things like the T-54, T-34/85M, BTR-50PK, ZSU-57-2 and PT-76 as well as the Centurion Mark 5, M41A3 Walker Bulldog and, most exciting of all, the OH-6 Loach plastic kit.

For those scratching their heads over the T-54 and stuff, yes the engagements with these were very rare but did happen towards the end of the war in 1971 such as Operation Lam Son 719 and others. The Battle of An Lộc is the most famous tank engagement where T-54s and PT-76s made a showing. The Battle of Ben Het is also famous for M-48s versus PT-76s (see a nice video of Ben Het). No doubt gamers will fight more tank battles than ever occurred in the war but it is still nice to see these as options to break up the infantry battles.

Now if only we could get Battlefront to produce a set of cooperative rules for FoW Vietnam (and the Pacific!) so one player doesn’t get stuck with the PAVN all the time….

Of course we might as well start the wild speculation about a Flames of COLD War expansion as a possibility! The 1970s was probably the most interesting (and balanced) period of the Cold War era and Battlefront would only need to produce a dozen or so minis to allow for some classic European Cold War battlefield goodness. Who doesn’t want to see M-60s vs T-64s with Cobras and Hinds flying overhead?!

So crank those rotors and get ready for a new theater of battle for Flames of War!