Wednesday, November 28, 2012

BatRep: Just a quick rebellion... (PE vs PE)

Admiral Von Shtupp was angry.  In spite of his almost sinking the Antarctician Battleship, his opponents at court embarressed him in front of the Emperor.  Why?

Frigates!!!  Von Shtupp was being singled out because someone thought the casualties suffered by his Frigate Squadrons was too high!

At least the Emperor had given him a chance to redeem himself.  Find a missing Air Fleet that was over-due and bring them home.

"Admiral!  The Search Bombers have spotted the Air Fleet!  Shall I establish radio contact with the Air Fleet Command Ship?"

"Of Course!  Get a damage report and find out why they've been missing!"

"Admiral!  The Fleet Officer on the Command Zeppelin has called us!  SIR!!!  He's warning us to stay clear!  They're trying to defect to Antactica!!!"

"Bring the Shield Generator on line!  Radio all ships - Battle Stations!"

Well, thought Von Shtupp.  Now I can really make up for the tarnish on my reputation.  Won't the Emperor be PLEASED!  I know I am...


So, I went to test out a 500pt Prussian fleet (we have plans to try and do a multi-player game for Winnipeg Harvest, the local food bank).  What I didn't expect to face was a 500pt Air Force!  Especially another Prussian force!  Up until recently, I was the only Prussian player in our FLGS.

So I (The "Loyal" Naval Forces!) had:
- 1 X Battleship with Shield Generator
- 2 X Cruisers with Lethal Strike
- 3 X Frigates
- 2 X Bombers

The ("Traitorous") Air Force had:
- 1 X Gewitterwolke (Large) Airship)
- 3 X Pflicht (Medium) Scout Airships
- 3 X Jager (Small) Airships
- 2 X Bombers.

(HEY!  I'm writing it!  I get to decide who's the Traitor and who's not!)  ;)

Using the deployment rules from Hurricane Season, my opponent chose to deploy his bombers as a "Flanking Force"; unfortunately, they wouldn't appear until the third turn!  The rest of the Air Fleet deployed in the standard 8" zone, all flying Obscurred.

Myself, I had my bombers deploy as the "Advance Force", 8" forward of the main force, also deployed in the clouds.

Turn 1
Air Fleet get Initiative.

The Gewitterwolke moved forward first, targetting the Loyalist Bombers, but failed to hit.  In fact, mostly everything moved forward but failed to hit! 

The Air Fleet Advances...

The Loyal Battleship moved forward and with long-range fire, managed to hit the Gewitterwolke, causing a point of damage.

"Take Carefull aim, boys..."

  Quick to react, The Pflicht Zepps advanced (still in the clouds) and opened fire on the Loyal Bombers, crippling one!

The Loyal Cruisers advanced and shooting at the Obscurred Air Fleet, managed one of the Pflichts.

Cruisers move forward into the fray.

The rest of the turn was most uneventful.

Turn 2:
The Loyal Navy Get the Initiative

The problem now, is I didn't take notes on this battle, so everything is by memory now.  What I can say is:
- One of the Loyal Navy Bombers was reduced to a flying Derelict
- The Other Loyal Bomber suffered an HP Damage
- One Frigate was destroyed
- The Frigates attempted to board the Gewitterwolke but failed
- One Pflicht was destroyed
- One Pflicht was critted and suffered 1/2 Attack Dice damage
- One Pflicht received 1 HP Damage
- The Cruisers, the Jagers and the Battleship were undamaged.

The "Fur Ball" begins to form...

Turn 3:
Prussians Win Initiative!
(Seriously, not sure who won it - think it may have been the Navy)
- The "Traitor" Bombers arrive
- Another Frigate is destroyed
- The "Loyalist" Bomber over-flies the Gewitterwolke but bombs fail to do damage
- The Jagers move in to attack the Bomber but only do 1 HP Damage
- The Cruisers and Battleship start to circle the Air Comatants from Range Band 2, allowing the use of their main guns on the Gewitterwolke
The Brave Bombing Run

Turns 4+:
Do we really care at this point who wins the initiative?
- The Pflichts atempt to board and capture the Battleship.  They fail by 1!
- The Boarding attack results in Sabotage: Rolled a 12! 
- Battleship teleports forward, just missing a cruiser!
- Cruiser takes a Crit before activation - Nav Lock pointing at the Island!
- Cruiser activates, declaires All Stop as she coasts forward 2"...
- Battleship & Cruisers fire on the Gewitterwolke - getting it down to 2 HP  and no AP left!
Multiple Near Catastrophies averted!

- Jagers see the danger and attempt to shoot down Loyalist Bomber!  They FAIL!!!
- Loyal (BRAVE) Bomber circles around and Boards the Gewitterwolke, Taking it as a PRIZE!!!
- Traitor Bombers attempt to shoot down the Gewitterwolke to deny VPs - get it down to 1HP!!!

The Loyalist Bomber Crew earning the Blue Max!

At the end of the turn, the Air Fleet had suffered 70% Points lost/captured - the Loyalist Navy Wins!
I wonder who the hero of the match was?  Well, that's ONE bomber crew that earned their pay!!!
Normally, you wouldn't have a mismatched battle like this, but as a "What the Heck!" type of game, it was fun!
At first, I thought the Navy would have a rough time of it.  The Air Fleet stayed Obscurred as long as they could, making it harder to hit them.  Also, being fliers, they didn't have to deal with terrain like islands, etc, as well as being more maneuverable.  I fully expected my fleet to get hammered quite a bit!
However, when all the fighting devolved into that big "Hairball" in the center, the airships all dropped to Flying level to get better shots, and I think thats when their goose was cooked.  With the exception of the Bombers, none of them had the option "Swift Assent".  As long as they stayed low, I hit them the same as any other target at range band 2.
Having their bombers off the table for 2 whole turns didn't help the Air Fleet either.  By the time they got into range to do something, it was mostly too late.  Knowing what edge the reserves were coming on allowed me to pull my fleet to the other side of the table, limiting the Bombers actions when they did arrive.  The Bombers were simply too late and too far away to affect my Battleship or Cruisers.  In the Table Center, everything else was being dealt with by the rest of the Air Fleet (with the exception of 1 Loyalist Bomber!)


Von Shtupp was pleased with himself.

He had captured a Renegade Gewitterwolke, and the rest of the Air Fleet had surrendered once the Fleet Commander had been taken prisioner.  The Ring-Leaders were all un the Brig, his Prize Crews were in control of the Airships and he even managed to coordinate a very successful Rescue Mission as the fleet searched for survivors from the lost Frigate Squadron.  Many of the Officers and Men could already been heard cheering him, praising him.

He had already forwarded communications to Fleet Headquarters - explaining his status and praising the Bomber Crews.  Von Shtupp grinned; no reason not to recommend teh Blue Max!  They deserved it and it would enhance his appearance in Court as a Fair, Self-less and Brave Officer of the Prussian  Empire!

Yes, Von Shtupp had a reason to be proud.  His enemies at court just handed him sour lemons from which the most wonderful lemonade was being made.  The Emperor would be so pleased...

"Whatever shall I ask for?"

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Coming Soon: STORMWALL (Part 1)

So, through some very nefarious means, I have come into possession of one of Cygnar's new Colossal: The Stormwall!

(Rumor has it, it's an attempt to make me put away my Circle of Orboros Army for a bit so someone else can play it a bit!)

Now those of you looking for an incredibly detailed paint job and step-by-step contruction article - it ain't happening!  I tend to paint for the 4' rule: If it looks good from the other side of the table (4' away), it's a good paint job!

So, let's start with the unboxing:

Oooooooo - lotsa parts!  But what impressed me immediately?  They included a Wreck Marker!  Hopefully I won't need it too often.  The parts were well packed, and there was an "exploded view" diagram of the Stormwall to help with assembly, and everything appeared to be in the box.  So, good marks there!

However, some of the Resin parts had quite a bit of flash on them.  (For Non-Modelers: Flash is the "extra" model compound that flows around the edges of where the parts of the mold join together - usually it's fairly thin.)  While I expected some flash, I actually had a quite a bit more than I expected.  Worse, some of the arm components appeared as though the parts had shifted as the components were poured.  It wasn't just flash, but a joint shift that made the surface two levels.  This required using a combination of Razor Knife and various files to clean up the parts so they appeared to be 1 piece again!

The most annoying mold problem was on the back of one of the resin leg components - an alignment hole for the Pewter Ankle piece was completely filled in!  At first, I didn't realize it was missing (just my luck, I picked up the defective leg 1st!).  I couldn't get the parts to fit properly, it "looked wrong".  I couldn't figure out why until I tried to put the other leg together.  Then I could see why the first leg "looked wrong"!  Using an razor knife, a  small drill-bit and pin vice, I had to clear out enough material to get the two pieces to join properly.

The cleanup of the Resin Parts took quite a while (probably 2-3 evenings - 2-3 hours each), as did some of the Pewter parts (another 1-2 hours).  Not the best quality control I've seen from Privateer Press.

I started to do some gluing and trial fittings.  Most of the parts went together easily once I had finished cleaning up the parts.  I glued the Voltaric Stacks and some of the other bits together to prime the major assemblies.  (Afterwards, realized I should have kept the stacks off and glue them on AFTER I finished fine detailing them.  Oh well...)  The Stormwall also came with 3 Lightning Probes that went together with minor cleanup.  So I was ready to prime the Main Chassis as 1 piece, the Leg/Waist Assemblies as 1 piece, the two gun barrels as separate pieces (at first I thought they were smoke stacks!  My Bad!!!), the two arms and the two hands as separate assemblies.

I did have two pieces I didn't know what to do with.  They looked like they should be some sort of shoulder guard, but were too small.  Nothing like them appeared on the exploded parts diagram.  I was baffled.  A day or two later I was discussing the various trials and tribulations of assembling the Stormwall with someone else who had assembled one.

"And how about those pieces for the feet?" says he.


"You know, those two pieces that just sit on top of the feet?  Some sort of foot shield."

Sure enough, he showed me the two mystery pieces on the box that they had in the store!  Mystery Solved!

So, at this point, I've got my main pieces primered.  Now the painting begins...

Sunday, November 18, 2012

BatRep: Covenant of Antarctica vs Prussian Empire (Starter Boxes)

Admiral Von Shtupp gazed over the fleet – HIS fleet.  It wasn’t as large as he felt he deserved, but it would do…
So, another Covenant of Antarctica (CoA) opponent challenged the might of the Prussian Empire (PE). The Honor of the Emperor demands I accept and be VICTORIOUS!!!

Once again – we used the standard box sets: a Battleship, 3 Cruisers, 9 Frigates in 3 Squadrons, 2 bombers and 2 wings of Tiny Fliers. The Antarctic Tiny Fliers took both wings of Tiny Fliers as fighters. The Cruisers took their Experienced Engineers upgrade as well. The Prussians took all 2 regular turrets and the UCG on the Battleship, as well as the Lethal Strike upgrade for the Cruiser’s Tesla Guns, a flight of Torpedo Bombers and a flight of Fighters.

Random table setup on a 4 X 4 table had 2 islands on opposite corners. Prussians won the roll to choose sides and chose a side so that there was an island on the Prussian’s Right.

Prussian deployment (Left to Right) was:

- Squad of 3 Frigates
- Squad of 3 Frigates
- Wing of Fighters
- Cruiser Squadron behind the fighters
- Torpedo Bomber Wing- Battleship
- Squad of 2 Bombers (Obscured)
- Squad of 3 Frigates

The Antarctic fleet (Left to Right from the Prussian View)
- Squad of 3 Frigates
- Squad of 3 Frigates
- Battleship behind the Frigates
- Squad of 2 Bombers
- Wing of Fighters
- Wing of Fighters
- Squad of 3 Frigates
- Cruiser Squadron

Turn 1: Prussian Empire wins Initiative

Both sides stall for time as they waste phases by moving Tiny Flyers and Frigates towards the center of the table.

Prussians draw first blood – The Prussian Fighter Wing go full throttle and barely made it into range to attack the CoA bombers.  In an amazing display of dice rolling, the Prussian Fighters inflict a TRIPLE CRIT on the CoA Bomber.  One of the crits turned out to be a Magazine Explosion – causing 1 HP on the other bomber!

CoA attempt revenge, attacking the PE Fighters with a wing of Fighter Drones.  Unfortunately, the PE Fighters had Acrobatic Pilots and the TFs made their saves, whereas the CoA Drones lost a token.

The rest of the fleets continued to edge towards the center of the map.  The CoA Cruisers fire and damaged 1 PE Frigate.  PE Bombers shoot down 1 more drone with Ack-Ack and got a Crit Hit on a CoA Cruiser (Hard Pounding – 1AP left).  The CoA Battleship shot back at the bombers, doing a Crit (Navigation Lock) on one.  The PE Battleship caused 1 HP on the CoA Battleship with a long-range shot (Range Band 3).  The CoA Frigates fired on PE Frigates, causing 1 HP damage on 1.
After all the movement and shooting was done, the PE Bomber was unable to repair its Nav Lock.

Turn 2: PE Wins Initiative
PE Battleship moved forward, getting the front turret into range 2, the 2nd turret still in Range Band 3 aiming at the CoA Battleship through the islands’ gap.  In spite of the range, the Prussian Gunnery was superb!  The CoA Battleship took a Crit – Shredded Defences!

 The CoA Frigates moved next – seeking to avenge the Battleship.  Catching 1 squad of frigates in their forward torpedoes and another squad of frigates in their broadsides, the CoA Frigates blasted and sank 3 frigates and damaged 2 more in 2 squadrons! 

The PE Bombers went after the damaged cruiser again, and fired their AA at nearby drones.  They failed to damage the cruiser, but took out 2 more drones, but took another HP on the damaged bomber. 

CoA Frigates attack and damaged 2 more PE Frigates on the right side of the map. 


The PE Fighters attacked the damaged CoA Bomber but failed to damage it!  Unfortunately, that left the fighters with only 2 fuel left.

The CoA Battleship opened fire on the PE Battleship and in spite of the damaged guns, managed to cause a HP on the PE Battleship.

A solo PE Frigate attacked and damaged 1 frigate, then boarded and left another as a derelict.

The CoA Bomber attacked next; bombing 1 frigate and shooting, sinking another.

The PE Cruisers turned towards and attacked the CoA Battleship, but failed to damage it!

The Last CoA Frigate Squad snuck between the islands and made a daring torpedo attack on the PE Battleship, causing a System Critical Hit.

The PE Torpedo Bombers finally went full throttle and attacked the CoA Battleship.  When the smoke cleared – the Battleship was double criticalled, suffering 2 System hits – no more Shields!  And down to 1 Hull Point!

CoA Cruisers came forward and successfully destroyed both Bombers.

PE Frigate Squadron failed to attack or capture CoA Frigates, in fact lost all their remaining boarding parties!
CoA Drones attack the Fighters, but fail to damage any – PE fighters down to 1 fuel!

Remaining PE Frigates drive between the CoA Frigates and attack the Cruisers but fail to damage.

Unfortunately, the store closed at this point – interrupting the game.  L

Game result: A DRAW!!!
PE:          Got the CoA Battleship to 1 Hull Point, but it’s still floating: Mission failed!
CoA:      Sank 5 Frigates, damaged the rest (4 more) and destroyed but still floating: Mission failed!

Soooooo Close!!!!

Geoff was a great opponent and suffered from "New Paint Syndrom" - he just got this fleet painted and at first couldn't get the rolls he wanted or needed.  When the game ended, I still had just under 1/2 my Small Craft (though they were all damaged).  By rights, they should have all been destroyed!

On the other hand - My dice were blazing hot!  I got more multiple crits this game than I can ever remember in such a small game.  In spite of my luck, I failed to get the last hull point to sink the CoA Battleship.

It was fun to use something other than the standard 70% mission objective.  We both fixated on our own objectives and forgot the other's!  As a result, we both almost got beat!  But it was fun!  ;)

Admiral Von Shtupp gazed over the rail of his battleship.  His prey had escaped in the darkness, but when last seen, the enemy battleship was badly damaged, with smoke venting out of multiple holes in its hull. 

Of course, Von Shtupp would have a difficult time replacing his losses in his Frigate Squadrons.  He could not understand why his enemy would devote so much effort in attacking his minor combatants.  That he had lost over half of his Frigates would only make other small ship captains reluctant to serve under his command.  Von Shtupp would also have to explain the losses to the Emperor as well.  It may not go well.

Perhaps that was the enemy's objective in the long run...

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Guadalcanal BEGINS! Pilot Debriefing for “Check Your 6!”

I'm a little busy at the moment, but I think we need some material to add to the Blog.

This is a Battle Report for Check Your 6! - Graham Logan and I played the campaign Last Summer, and it was originally posted on Imagaine Games & Hobbies Forum in April, 2011.

I'll try to add more new stuff next time!


So, I finally got things put together and assembled.  It was time to play!

In case you’re not familiar with “Check your 6!”, it is an Air Combat game that uses Pre-plotted, semi-simultaneous moves and simultaneous fire.  That is:

- Everyone plots their next move at the same time, but are moved in Phases dependent on the skill level of the pilot, nationality, tailing, etc...  Better pilots move later and have an opportunity to change their move codes (but not by much) dependent on what they see developing before their move.    All shooting is done simultaneous – you don’t have to worry about losing your chance to shoot before you are shot down.

It is a Hex-based game – needs to be played on a map of some sort with hexes.  Preferred hex top is 45 hexes long by 30 hexes wide.  1.5” hexes are about the right size for a 4’ X 6’ table.  Models can be any scale, but unless you have a larger surface, I would stick to smaller models.  1/144 scale is good for small games (2-4 planes per side), but larger battles should be on 1/300 scale.  Bombers at 1/144 scale can be quite large and overhang smaller hexes by quite a bit.  You could user paper counters as well.

There is a 3D element to the game.  Usually, a battle will take place in a single Combat Altitude Band (CAB).  This determines things like Ground, Cloud Boundries and aircraft performance as you go higher into the atmosphere.  Most planes suffer the higher they go unless designed for the higher bands.  Each CAB is broken up into 6 Tactical Altitude Bands.  This can be represented a number of ways, but basically, you can usually shoot one level up or down as well as your own TAB (with some criteria).

Playing our 1st mission in the Guadalcanal Campaign book.  (“Taking the Measure” if you happen to have the book!)  Capt. Graham of the Imperial Japanese Navy was leading an escort mission of 6 X A6M2 “Zeros” on a carrier strike.  They couldn’t find the carriers, so proceeded to fly to Tulagi to find targets of opportunity.  They ran into 4 X F4F “Wildcats” from the newly arrived Marines of VMF 223 at Henderson Field.

Check your 6! gives little tweaks to the missions by rolling a D10 and special narrative Campaign provides additional modifications.  For this mission, Graham had 1 fighter that had to add an Extra +1 to all his crew checks on 1 aircraft (his choice) and start rolling for low fuel after Turn 12.  If he failed that roll, his planes had to break off and try to escape as quickly as possible.  His six planes were deployed on the far Eastern edge of the board, having to fly to the North-West corner (his “safe” edges), about 45 hexes away, in two 3-plane formations.  The Japanese fighters were all “Skilled” Pilots.

My fighters had to deploy in two formations of 2 fighters in the South Eastern section of the map, one flight 15 hexes away from the other, determined by random dice roll.  Fortunately, they were more or less Line-Abreast formations.  Originally, I had 1 “Veteran”, 1 “Skilled” and 2 “Green” pilots.  However, the random event table gave me a free upgrade for 1 “Green” pilot to become “Skilled”.  I had the Vet with the remaining Green pilot on my left and the two Skilled pilots in the other 2-man formation to the right.

On to the destruction…

Graham and I started off facing each other, Graham at Altitude 5, me at Altitude 4.  For the first 3 turns, we more or less closed with each other at maximum speed (4 hexes for both plane types), myself slowly climbing from Level 4 to 6, while Graham maintained Altitude5.  Suddenly, at turn 4, I pulled off my first “sneaky” move.  While Graham plotted to fly straight and close to within shooting range with both flights, one on one, I suddenly dove from Altitude 6 to 5, gaining an extra hex in movement, and turning my Right-hand flight to engage Graham’s flight on the left – so both of my flights closed on one of his!  Graham’s flight on my right couldn’t make the turn quick enough (we made an error here, he should have had the opportunity to try to modify his plot, but I mixed up the rules a bit here).  Graham found his three fighters on my Left in a partial cross fire, with both of us at “medium” range (4-6 hexes apart).

Not that it helped much…

It would take 2 more turns of shooting at each other before, finally, my Veteran did an Immelmann turn (1/2 loop upwards)  as a Zero passed by and hit the Zero as it passed.  The Zero took Airframe Damage which reduced his Agility.  One of my Skilled pilots would finish off the job next turn.    Doing mostly head-on-passes, both Graham and I had to roll VERY well: usually 11+.  During this time of maneuver and shooting, Graham had also managed to hit a few times. 

We quickly discovered historical accuracy of the game at this point:  Historically, American fighters would not engage in a 1-on-1 dogfight with the Japanese Zero as it could out turn them.  They would do High-speed hit-and-runs.

Although the Zero was more maneuverable on paper, it had a -1 agility penalty when flying at maximum speed (4 Hexes).  This was causing a penalty to Graham’s ability to hit me as we had been continuously flying at Speed 4 to close.  When he realized this, Graham slowed his Zeros from Max speed (4) to speed 3.  While doing this gave him a bonus on his to hit rolls, it let me keep my speed advantage and allowed me to break away and maintain that important 4+ Hex range that made his cannons difficult to hit with.

Also, Graham was hitting with his Light Machine Guns but couldn’t damage the Wildcats with them – they were too tough!  In order to use the Low Velocity Cannons that were on the Zero, he had to close to be within 3 hexes as there was a -2 penalty to hit at medium range.  At Medium range (4 – 6 hexes), Zeros needed 11+ (2D6) to hit with the cannons (no other penalties or advantages), but at Short Range, he would be able to hit on a 7+ (2D6). 

As long as I was able to keep my speed up and do Hit-and-run, I was doing well.  I was able to keep the Zeros at the 4-5 hex range which was driving Graham nutz! 

Finally, when Graham did hit with his cannon, his luck failed him.  Each weapon class does damage based on a dice roll.  Light machine Guns on the Zero based their damage on a D4.  Heavy Machine Guns on a Wildcat do damage on a D6.  Low Velocity Cannons on a Zero (it has 2) do damage based on a D10.  To complicate matters – IF you roll maximum on any dice, it counts as having missed!!!  You DON’T want to roll maximums!  If you roll too high, you can hit with the light machine guns and still miss with the cannons.  When only Graham’s light machine guns were hitting, they only did 2 X D4 damage.  When hitting with Everything, Graham’s Zeros caused 2 X D4 + 2 X D10 damage.  When Graham finally hit with his cannons, he rolled very low on the D10, wasting his hits.  You add up the Damage roll, cross reference a Robustness table and based on your damage and the planes Robustness, determine what save you need to roll.  Add in my higher toughness, I was saving (on average) 5+ on 2D6.  Same hit on a Zero would require a save of 7+, but I was hitting with 6 Heavy machine guns – 6 X D6 damage - his save was typically 10+ or more.

After maneuvering around each other, all we were able to accomplish were mostly head-on passes, requiring very-high numbers to hit.  After the first Zero was shot down, Graham was finally able to get a good shot with a cannon hit on a Wildcat, causing engine damage.  The Wildcat proceeded to “Out-Fall” the Zeros out of the combat area (dropping below Tactical Air Band 1) and get away.  The Vet Wildcat Pilot managed to get on the tail of another Zero.  I rolled a decent shot and blew the Zero out of the sky in one burst!  (If you fail your saving throws by too large a sum, you bypass damaged and go down to Destroyed.)

Around this point, Graham decided he better run away before he ran out of fuel.  About Turn 9, he started to scatter and climb most of his aircraft in different directions.  Unfortunately, Wildcats don’t climb as quickly as Zeros.  As I wasn’t expecting the climb, he got out of my Altitude range on the turn 9 and kept on climbing until Graham was able to get away with his remaining 4 Zeros.

Final Tally:

  • 2 Zeros Destroyed – 8 VP
  • 1 Wildcat Damaged – 1 VP  (Would crash on landing – possibly changing this to 4VP)
US Marines win the day!


Based on the Campaign rules, I rolled for the Damaged Wildcat.  It would crash on landing.  This meant the US would lose 2 planes for the American Fighter Availability.  I didn’t gain any aircraft for destroying the Zeros (needed to roll a '6' on each of 2 dice).  28 Fighters left at Henderson Field to defend the entire island campaign…