LOTR – War of the Ring

We played our first game of War of the Ring last week at Matt’s, using his Uruk Hai and Mordor Orks. I won, with the Orks, although it was the three trolls I had that did the most damage. We got a few bits wrong here and there but it’s a nice set of rules, different to classic GW games and flows pretty well. We’re going to play it more in the coming months, once I get some more Rohan painted. What I’ve got thus far barely makes 3 companies… I do however have more than enough bases all ready and prepped, having bought many from Warbases.

Click on the Pictures to get bigger versions.

Théoden, Eowyn and a couple of left overs

Company of Archers

Company of Warriors of Rohan

LOTR Rohan

Over the past year I’ve been doing something I never thought would happen, buying Games Workshop figures. Now, clearly, I’m not buying them FROM GW, that would be ludicrous given their prices and the vast amount that is kicking around on Ebay second hand.

I painted Theoden and Eowyn some time ago, but have only recently got their basing finished. Which is a happy coincidence as I’ve only just finished trimming the roofs on these two 4Ground Viking buildings I purchased at Hammerhead in February. I can’t quite stretch to buying the full blown Hall that 4Ground do, but I think these two buildings, supplemented by some stuff that Matt has will fill the “Rohan Settlement” scenery requirement for a while, although the buildings could do with a bit of weathering and so forth, they look a little too clean for me.

Rohan Smallholding in the woods somewhere

A couple of Rohan troops

Theoden King

Eowyn

I’m quite pleased with the figures look, the ordinary troops are simple block painting with an Army Painter Strong Tone wash, while the characters are getting a little more layering etc. Eowyn’s eyes were a pig, my usual technique struggled since her hair is in the way when approaching from the side of the face. Still, they’re not terrible.

Not sure whether I ever posted this, but here’s Aragorn as a little bonus. Painted him several years ago having been given a bunch of old models.

Aragorn

Aragorn

Combat Patrol (TM) – A second look

Matt and I played through a goodly number of turns tonight of a test game, set in Vietnam pitching a regular rated American platoon against a number of Green rated VC Cells. Table was mainly jungle with paddies and a village in one corner but the action was firmly within the bounds of the jungle.

We started at around 8.30pm, and by around 10pm had played 5 turns, including explaining the rules, reading through to find specific answers and so on. Pretty good going and to be honest it felt like we were motoring compared to other sets. Resolving movement distances, activation sequences, shooting were all done in a very slick fashion so CP gets a firm thumb up for speed. Matt had picked up the sequence and mechanics easily within a turn.

We only had a few exchanges of fire, which being at short range in the woods were extremely bloody affairs, with only a few shots being saved by the terrain. I wonder if this is because the rules were developed for discrete “areas” of woods, rather than 5/6ths of the table being wood. I shall ask. It could also be down to the cards, we definitely need to play through a few more games to get a feel for the distributions of damage/cover etc.

I still think that there could be work done on the physical rule book to lay out concepts in both their basic and advanced forms in a more logical and flowing manner, and that some clearer pictures/graphics would be beneficial. However, one of my previous criticisms turned out to be wrong, there is a pictorial explanation of the cover icons, it’s just not where you’d expect it! (Kudos to Buck for not pointing out my mistake either!)

As ever when you play a new ruleset on your own, you end up with questions. However this time, we had only a few and I will post them on the Yahoo site in the next day or so in the full expectation that a swift response will be given, Buck’s support is extremely good from what I have seen. As you’d expect, some of our queries are more in line with using a WW2 set for Vietnam, “how should we treat RPG’s, M79’s”, “should we treat jungle like woods”, etc and not direct rules misunderstandings although one has just been asked and answered in the past couple of days!

All in all, we are very impressed with the rules and look forward to using them again. I suspect that the rules will not receive the praise and interest they deserve (there’s precious little out there on the blog-o-sphere and on TMP), and will be doing what I can to rectify this.

And now a few pictures of the table and figures.

US

US

VC

VC

Table

28mm Livery Stables

Bought this at Salute last year to add to Matt’s wild west town. Can’t remember the manufacturer, it’s not a 4ground one or Warbases. The kit itself went together relatively well, apart from having the wrong holes drilled for the lengths of fencing I had, and no instruction sheet. It wasn’t rocket science however. Used some Warbases shingle sheets to massively improve the roof however.

Quite pleased with the way it turned out, suitably old and weathered.

Livery Stable

Livery Stable

Livery Stable

FNG OPS Campaign – 11th Sept (pt1)

11th Sept

Heavy rain greeted the troops of Bravo Company. A mixed squad of 1st Squad and the platoon command went out on perimeter patrol.

Table set up

Table set up

The Americans have to clear 2 PEF (Potential Enemy Forces), randomly placed on the table in sector 1 and 5 (Top left and middle right).

American's patrolling

American's patrolling

American's patrolling

In the early few turns the Americans activate and move towards the nearest PEF. This PEF moves off towards the middle of the table and the Americans chase after it resolving that it is actually nothing.

Chasing to catch up to the PEF

Unfortunately the chase has taken the platoon commander close to the second PEF which is resolved to be a 3 man Local force VC cell. Even worse, two of the three men are REP 5’s and the LT goes down hit twice by the enemy.

LT goes down

The VC spring the ambush

The US troops manouvre into line to push forward triggering a firefight which they are on the losing side.

Firefight

Three more of their number go down while one of the VC is knocked down and another ducks back when his SKS jams.

American casualties pile up

Another round of firing knocks the VC leader down too, and the US advance to take two prisoners while the medic tries to save those wounded who haven’t already bled out. Unfortunately several of the wounds are too serious for him to do anything. 6 Casualties out of ten men, with 4 KIA, 1 Light wound, 1 Heavy wound. Not a good day! I’m beginning to think that more than 1 squad needs to be sent on patrols together.

Results of the patrol

FNG OPS Campaign – 10th Sept

10th Sept

2nd Platoon air assaulted into the LZ outside the village of Gi Lang (2864) in light rain, responding to intel that placed a Communist Rally taking place there. Maybe there was or maybe the rally leaders slipped away in the bad weather but by the time 2nd Platoon got there the only enemy who wanted to engage with them were content to pot shot a few long range rifle rounds and then skedaddle. The afternoon was spent cowering under ponchos the light rain building to monsoon levels, grounding all aircraft and changing the plans for the Platoon to be airlifted back to the FSB. The men were grateful for the extra supplies they’d carried in knowing they’d now be out for at least the night.

The platoon settled into ambush positions before dark. It wasn’t long before 1st Squad had movement to their front. The platoon command element had chosen those moments to check on their positions so were on hand to watch what unfolded (fortuitously as it turned out!)

Table set up

The squad were deployed in a patch of single canopy jungle overlooking paddy fields and the outskirts of the village. The NVA squad were picking their way along a paddy dike, the column stretching back into some triple canopy jungle the other side of the stream. Unfortunately the American claymore had been set up pointing directly away from the patrol towards the village and thus would be no help.

American ambush positions

The NVA approached carefully, watchful for any sign of Americans knowing they had been in the area earlier. They didn’t spot the ambush though, the first rounds sending one of their number scurrying for cover over the paddy dike, another tumbling to the ground hit by the Americans bullets but the others were untouched and able to return fire. The firefight was brief and ineffective, ending with several out of ammo combattants. Further attempts to fire at each other resulted in the NVA squad leader breaking and running while two of the Americans were hit and went down hard. The most significant problem for the ambushers was that half the NVA had yet to leave the jungle and were in fact moving round to flank the ambush positions. Realising the danger the platoon command moved in that direction sending the medic to aid one of the fallen men while the M60 cleared its jam and took down another enemy in the paddy. An attempt to call for help on the radio recieved nothing but static in reply.

NVA start flanking

As the Lt and radioman got to the flank, the vietnamese were streaming across the jungle. In a frantic burst of fire the radioman nailed one crossing the stream, while the Lt firing wildly came close but ultimately missed or the rounds hit equipment not flesh.

Plt command make a stand

With the NVA lmg temporarily out of ammo in the paddy, the M60 team pulled back blowing the claymore to prevent it being found and reused by the enemy. Things were desperate for the Americans and then salvation! Their call on the radio had been heard, and a barrage of medium artillery rounds was ready to fire, waiting only for the coordinates. In some inspired mapreading, the Lt gave the directions and fell back with the RTO to where the medic had dragged the badly wounded casualty. The other casualty was also being tended by the squad leader when the artillery rounds fell. The first was close to the American’s position showering them with debris but causing no casualties. The second disappeared into the night, exploding in the jungle across the stream. The final round landed amongst the charging NVA and all of them went down.

Danger Close!

Artillery takes effect

The remaining NVA in the paddy carefully picked up their fallen comrades and carried them off into the night leaving no trace of their existence except a handful of spent cartridge cases.

NVA in the paddy

Bodies in the paddy.

The Americans called in a Medevac chopper to exfil their wounded and the enemy casualties. 2 wounded NVA were captured and sent back to be patched up and interrogated, while 4 bodies were recovered and quickly buried. It had been a successful night.

FNG OPS Campaign – 9th Sept

9th Sept

Captain Warren Barnes sat back in his chair. Another evening of writing reports and letters back to families bereaved of their sons, fathers, brothers. What was there to show for it? All in all it was meant to be a quiet day, most of the company recouping from their efforts over the past week. Only the men of the battery toiled under the cloudy but dry sky, continuing to dig in their guns and create the basic artillery positions that would allow them to fire in support of the grunts in the field. Only two patrols went out, Barnes concerned that in the recent operations further afield, the perimeter had been neglected and close security was lacking.

The first patrol, the five men from 2nd Squad, 1st Plt called back into the firebase that all was well mid morning. But shortly after the firebase stirred as the sound of a flurry of shots rang out.

Table set up

The eight men of 3rd Squad, 1st Plt were on their way back to the firebase their morning patrol having been uneventful. Perhaps attention levels were slipping, perhaps fatigue was setting in, whatever the reason when the patrol entered into an area of paddy fields they failed to notice the three NVA sappers who lurked in the scrub some distance away. The Vietnamese however were fully aware of the approaching patrol and in a well timed ambush their fusilade of shots dropped three GI’s. A fourth attempted to react by firing back but all he succeeded in drawing more return fire which again hit home. The rest of the squad reacted by diving for cover.

Results of the ambush

View across the paddy to the ambush position

Another three sappers heard the firing, and began moving to take up their own ambush positions. It would take them some time to do, but once there they were in perfect position to enfilade any movement of the US troops towards their initial ambushers position.

An early activation allowed the US troops still capable of moving to check their casualties, turning over the chits revealed 2 wounded and two dead outright. The closest crawled over to perform some first aid while the M60 team crawled up the paddy dyke to try to get some payback. The movement drew fire from the Vietnamese but the shots sailed high, giving away the enemy positions. A sustained burst silenced the incoming fire but who knew if the shots had found their marks? The experience of the squad leader showed as he stabilised the man he was working on, stopping the bleeding and saving his life.

Results of the ambush (chits revealed)

A series of turns saw no American activation as the wounded dice ticked down while the vietnamese continued to move around and fire with no effect at the M60 team, drawing repeated bursts in return.

And then the squad leader remembered the radio. At the same time as he was trying to get through, the men of 2nd Squad appeared close by. Having heard the firing they had moved to support their comrades. Bringing their own radio they were able to call in a mortar strike on the area where the Vietnamese were lurking. The wounded GI is finally patched up, perilously close to bleeding out.

Reinforcements arrive

NVA move into a new ambush position

Standing up to see if they could assess the effectiveness of the mortar strike, the survivors of 3rd squad trigger the ambush from the second NVA team. Hit 3 times, the squad leader is miraculously merely knocked down while the blooper man ignores the hail of bullets sent in his direction and sends a 40mm into the trees, the NVA are untouched but unnerved by the heavier weapon and decide to break contact especially as they can see the reinforcements starting to move out. The arrival of mortar rounds close to the initial ambushers convinces them to move out too.

Mortar rounds land

After a cursory search for enemy bodies, the disconsolate Americans carry their dead and wounded home and wonder what they have to do to kill their opponents.

(Game fought with 28mm TAG figures, homemade terrain using plastic aquarium plants and Palm trees, Last Valley trees and a mix of FNG v1 , FNG:2nd Tour and my own house rules & amendments).

First game of Pig Wars

There’s a number of Dark Age armies in the Peterborough Wargames Club and its a period which seems to have a good following. Andy has started to introduce Pig Wars as a different system to WAB, a situation I’m extremely happy with since I didn’t like WAB in the slightest. I’ve no doubt it will continue to be a popular system for the club but Pig Wars looks like it may gain some traction too. I’m glad I brought my camera as Andy has some of the best miniatures in the club although I might not admit it to his face :).

The game was a rerun of the scenario Andy tested with Carl previously, two warbands of 20 figures each arriving at a peaceful village with the intention of making off with the livestock, valuables and populace and not realising the other had the same idea.

I took 20 infantry figures, a leader, standard bearer and 8 fully armoured spearmen, 6 partially armoured spearmen and 4 partially armoured javelinmen.

My plan was to use the lesser troops to block the left flank behind the church by using a shieldwall, and to advance my good troops and skirmishers into the village to start pillaging and also to combat Andy’s main force.

Unfortunately he chose to bring some Cavalry to the fight, and while he’d ruled that the lance modifier was too high they were still a highly capable force and heading straight for my small shieldwall. After a small round of combat unfortunately all my men were dead, run down by the cavalry. It was only after the game had finished that I read the bit about a max combat factor of 14…

Shortly before the poor infantry are ridden down.

In the village I advanced through the bushes ringing the open area as Andy’s opposing troops advanced along the road. The extra movement they gained allowing them to start chasing villagers into the houses as they caught sight of heavily armed men coming at them.

The villagers start running into the houses.

My skirmishers moved down the road using the bonus movement to try to get into range of his archers and main lines.

My main shieldwall moving through the bushes.

Eventually the two battle lines faced off each other, neither wanting to make the move while my light troops initially attacking his archers, then harrassed his line and then broke off to go looting as did a couple of his men.

Andy's shieldwall looking rather menacing.

A pretty lady cowers in fear as a enemy soldier storms into her house.

In the end we did have a punch up, I managed to kill his leader while he killed my standard bearer. Andy forgot he was holding a red ace on his rally check while I remembered mine after a turn of figures routing. I think it was an honourable draw.

The two forces face off.

The rules worked really well, and we both liked them. I know a couple of others played them last night and hopefully they got on with them as well. I was a bit disappointed with my own skirmish troops performance, but the core infantry rules seem sound provided you remember the max factor of 14!!!

A shot of the table about half way through the battle showing the whole scene.