Sunday, July 31, 2022

Don't Mention The War - Part 15

The extra impulse in January February was spent in sortieing the German and Vichy fleets.  The Kriegsmarine escorted the Swedish iron ore convoys while Vichy established supply lines to its African colonies.

The first pure naval turn for the Germans.

It also allowed the Vichy fleet to leave to harbour.

While the fleets were sailing the high seas the U-boats slid beneath the waves in search of enemy shipping.  They found very little with the exception of some convoys brightly back lit by the lights of Atlantic City, NJ which were dispatched, although not without some trouble.


A new year brought in an increase in production.  It also brought new things to build in the force pool.  The transfer of resources to Italy was continued, maximising builds.

March/April 1942

One clear weather impulse does not a summer offensive initiate.

The Allies won the initiative, but decided to give it to the Axis.  The weather roll was fine everywhere.  So naturally the Germans chose a naval impulse.  The aim was to bring the Vichy squadrons home from Africa.  The U-boats did very little, but two heavy cruisers kept station in the North Sea.

In a day of infamy the US declared war on Vichy!

Two heavy cruisers escorting convoys of schoolchildren, expectant mothers and elderly citizens being evacuated to Metropolitan France were ambushed by seemingly friendly US ships in a blatant disregard for safety of navigation on the high ships. Valiant defence by the brave, but completely surprised and shocked peaceful Vichy seamen failed to stop the horrendous loss of innocent lives.  

The French heavy cruiser Tourville of the Duquesne class
in happier times

A more recent photo of the same ship

The British Imperialists sailed their Home Fleet into the North Sea which was being patrolled by two German pocket battleships.  The Graf Spee was sunk and the Deutschland damaged.

The Graf Spee losing buoyancy

In better news for the Axis, Japan seized Hong Kong and Singapore.  The US also occupied Gibraltar, but it is hard to know whose side they are on at times.  Intelligence reports that the US are intent on carving out an African Empire.  A predicted native uprising happened in the Congo, or Upper Volta or somewhere in the lost French African Empire.

The next impulse has returned the continent to mud despite the expectations by some of an extended turn of fine weather impulses.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

The Lamps Are Going Out Again

Second game.  This time I was the Central Powers and remembered to take photos.

Set up

The start of 1915.
The Germans have been thrown out of Belgium
and Serbia is holding off the might of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Already the Germans are referring to their ally as being like "shackled to a corpse"
German U-boat activity is proving effective.

But by 1916 Serbia has fallen and the Germans are heavily entrenched on all fronts.
But just look at all their technology cards!
They have five to the Allies one.

By 1917 the Allies had suffered a few disasters.
The Tsar took command and things went pear shaped.
The Rumanians tried to come to their rescue,
and staged a successful invasion of Galicia,
until they realised they were on their own and heavily outnumbered.
Still it took a lot of Austrian effort to crush them.
The Gallipoli landing was a disaster.
However the Germans have almost been driven out of Africa
and the German Imperials Navy has been sunk.

But the start of 1917 sees Russia conquered
and the US entry track has started to go backwards.

Come 1918 and Greece has entered the war and conquered Bulgaria.
Turkey is again cut off as it turns out you can't send supplies through the Caucasus.
Austro-Hungary was getting ready for a big push into Italy,
but troops needed to be diverted to the Balkans. 

Game over.
The US never entered the war.
The Greek triumph was short lived,
but saved Italy and possibly a few lives on the Western Front,
as Germany had to send troops to stop the Greeks.

All this represented a Victory for the Triple Entente, although I'm not convinced.
(scroll down to the very bottom of this post to find the adjudicated outcome)

Additional Commentary

The following are comments from Richard who was the Triple Entente player.

This game rates as one of my all time favourites, despite my (obvious) frustration with it revolving around competitive die rolls!

There are only a few things which I can criticise it for. Perhaps the effect of the blockade is understated somewhat, although historically it only really started to bight in 1918 and there are cards to reflect that (which didn't come up this game). I think anything harsher and the game would be almost impossible for the CP to win, so all, in all, it's probably justified in game terms.

Otherwise it has the most brilliant, really simple mechanism to make you play it like it was WW1 with you needing to send in wave after wave of assaults knowing you probably aren't going to break through and just to wear the enemy down, whilst simultaneously exhausting your own forces.

The Western Front was completely static after entrenching was allowed and the Eastern Front was fluid. I love all the little chrome elements, which reference things that happened during the war. If you didn't know much about the conflict it would be a great learning experience.

It was an exciting game from start to finish and so absorbing. After our last session on Tuesday I was totally exhausted from the concentration. I ended up going to bed even earlier than normally.

The game has the CP really up against it, which I suppose is a reflection of the historical issues associated with the likelihood of a CP victory. For a realistic chance of victory, I think the CP needs to go for broke on the first 2 turns to try and get to Paris. Whoever is the CP next time should try that strategy. Although, having said that, in this game, if the CP had Belgium it would have given them the win.

Although harder for the CP, in my opinion, there is no easy victory in the game, which is one of the reasons it's so good I think.

I know myself I made several strategy errors, which I'm definitely going to try and correct next time around. I think I'm going to make up a little "battle card" which lists the decisions you need to make (such as using gas) before starting die rolls. as we both constantly forgot things. I also have a specific strategy I'd like to explore as the CP which neither of us really did in either game.

In terms of this game, a CP victory was very close and would have only needed them to have had Belgium, which would have made it 7 more VPs than Entente:

Russia +4

Rumania +1

Greece +1

USA Neutral +1

Belgium +1

East Africa -1

So in game terms, forcing the CP out of Belgium on turn 1 ended up sealing the (eventual) victory so it was a very close run thing. Other than the first couple of turns the Entente were on the back foot for the whole game. It was amazing how the game turned around from turn 3. I think we were both expecting a short game with the Entente in Belgium and 6 Russian armies on Germany's doorstep.

In this game, you getting both U Technology cards early on really crippled the British, which meant fewer attacks in the west and thus more German largesse in terms of production transfers. In the previous game, me not getting Bulgaria as a belligerent early enough meant Turkey couldn't be reinforced and you were able to conquer it relatively easily. You raped the British with U Boats this game and the USA didn't enter. I did nothing with my U Boats in the previous game and the US entered with enough time to provide an avalanche of PPs and you had a lot of British points to prop up the French who were down to 3 PPs for the whole game, and you still managed to cling on in France and had enough forces to send 4 armies to Turkey. In neither game did convoys occur to the Entente...

Despite all that, it was still a struggle for both sides in both games. 

Aside from an automatic victory, the eventual winner seems to be the side which does well in the Balkans/Turkey. The CP conquering or forcing Russia out is a pre-requisite of course. If the CP holds the Balkans/Turkey and does more or less historical on the western front, which would mean holding Belgium and the Somme at the end of the game, even if the USA entered and the Entente captured East Africa it could still win. If the Entente has any Turkish areas, it would make a CP win very difficult.

I think there are a lot of aspects to this game left to explore. What makes it really exciting is how certain events can really turn the game.

I feel, in both games, I should have paused to consider the strategic situation based on what had come up and then try and adjust. You just get so caught up in the game play sometimes to make this difficult - in some ways this almost simulates the criticism of the unimaginative generalship of WW1. I think one of the best things about the game is that you always feel like you've got a chance right up until the end.

All in all, a 10/10 game made better with a 10/10 opponent.


On further checking, Serbia is a VP for the CP since it was a enemy controlled area at the start of the game.

So that gives the CP the necessary 7 point margin.

I'm going to claim a moral victory on the grounds that not a single furrow of Flanders fields was touched, the rape of Belgium was called off before you could get your britches down and we did it all with leaky boats and no help from the yanks.

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Ott versus Desaix

I put together a very small game of Napoleon's Battles pitting Ott's force from Marengo against Desaix's force from the same battle reinforced with some cavalry and artillery to make it interesting (and so that all arms could be experienced).  This was to show the rule set to Marc at the club, the well named but rarely played Napoleonic Wargaming Society.  However on the night there were three other Napoleonic games on the go as well.  Check out the club's post here:

About 150 points a side

After some long range combat,
The French close in.
(The riderless horse is a disorder marker)

The Austrian General Schellenberg tries to rally his troops

Ott personally leads a desperate cavalry charge.
His force had been well and truly thrashed,
but he escaped with his integrity intact
after his charge stopped the French pursuit.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Don't Mention The War - Part 14 from Facebook


1941 N/D (Cont) Another 2 Impulse Turn
Allies 2nd Impulse – CW takes a combined, US a Naval and Russia a Land. The small CW invasion fleet in the Cape St Vincent drops down to the 2 box as any invasion is cancelled due to atrocious weather. Bombers from England drop leaflets instead of bombs on German factories. The Greek defensive line is contracted and a 5.4 lands in Homs, Libya. The US naval sees tpts return to the US and shipping relocated in the Pacific, including a loaded tpt sent towards Rabaul. Russia, hesitates, does the numbers and thinks about ending OFOPS against Japan to reorientate against the German. Deciding to stay active, they take a no cost land, MIL are sent to the Polish border and several Acft rebased. Allies roll EOT, yes, another two impulse turn and the German is getting nervous – can he get his units to Russia in time. At least one distraction is resolved as Yugoslavia surrenders, and the Zagreb Mtn unit can be placed on the spiral.
Return to base, production and reinforcements - Italy still denied one of its resources (Sardinia) as the short turn meant they didn’t get a Convoy out but they did recover the Pola resource having destroyed the occupying Yugoslav 2.4 Cav. Japan also losses access to several resources due to continued partisan activity. Germany is at a full build and with an abundance of oil, primarily due to being at peace with Russia and the short turns. Germany, having declared a N/D lend to Italy of 6 Oil and 1 R, Italy is also at full production for the first time in the game – Mussolini is pleased. Partisan roll sees a Part turn up in Iraq – Russia rolled a 1, and another Chinese, just to annoy the Japanese.
1942 J/A A New year – Situation no Change – well the weather that is US enters the War in the Pacific – Total War!
Initiative roll and the Axis win the roll, which is not contested by the Allies – hoping that that the Axis start and end the turn to gain a further shift on the initiative track now that Barbarossa is on the cards – one less impulse on the invasion turn can sometimes make all the difference. Japan rolls another 10 (8 +2) for more bad weather in J/F - German complains so much snow – Storms in the Artic, Blizzard in the Temp (no air Ops) and now in the Med and rain in the N Monsoon – not what the Japanese wanted.
Axis 1stimpulse J/F – Japan takes a combined and sends out the Advance fleet out to the Bay of Bengal, threating, Malaya and Singapore. Another units lands in the Kwajalein Islands to bolster the island garrison. The Vladivostok garrison destroys the Siberian partisans and Japan finally gets another Russian resource, acft are rebased. Italy takes a combined and send its subs hunting before allied escorts arrive in the 4 boxes, they only find in the E Med and sink a Conv, cutting supply to Greece. Italian land units rail and trudge towards Greece – this is to be Italy’s war. Germany rails HQ and Arm to the Russian border as other land units head East along snow covered roads. Aircraft are sent from Yugoslavia and Greece towards Russia. EOT advances by 3, +2 on the weather.
Allied 1st Impulse – no DOW v Japan. The US and the CW declare Naval Actions, Russia takes a no cost land. The US now active, takes a Naval and sends reinforcements to Pearl, and in a provocative actions send CA’s to the S China and China seas to goad the Japanese. In the ETO they provide Allied conv escorts and start shipping units, both land and air to Africa and the UK. The CW sends out its Conv escorts to multiple sea areas to bolster the US CA’s. The British Corps from Greece and Egypt arrive in British Somaliland to start the reduction and destruction of Mussolini’s E African colonies. A CW invasion force again assembles in the 3 box in the Cape St Vincent, a Div in the 4 box. A patrolling Italian sub intercepts CW transports and escorts stopping their movement to N Africa, it searches for the loaded tpts and is prompt found and sunk by the escorts. EOT advances by another 3.
Axis 2nd Impulse – weather roll 6 +2 for an 8, still no fine weather for the Axis and another guaranteed short turn. Italy takes a no cost Combined and sails its conv to ship the Sardinian resource which the patrolling British subs fail to find. Japan takes a Land and captures an empty Kuala Lumpur as well as the oil fields of Balikpapan in Borneo. The Sino-Russian front is stabilised as units are moved now that the Russians are fully inverted. HQ and land units are railed and acft are rebased. Germany units are railed to the Russian front as other land units trudge to their destiny, as well as the Luftwaffe. No EOT roll.
Allied 2nd Impulse – USA rolls for a DOW v Japan rolling a 7 (9 needed) the US is at war in the Pacific and takes a combined action. The US CA’s go Japanese Conv hunting but fail to find except in the China Seas where a handy split sees 3 Convs Sunk, 3 Damaged and 3 aborted – the China Sea is cleared. The Pacific fleet sails to the Marinas and searches for a small Japanese Fleet including several CVLs. The Japanese find and with no surprise points elect to sink a US Convoy – “and get the hell out of there” – they abort to Japan, rather than Truk which is now OOS. The US land a Div in Midway and invade one of the outer islands of the Kwajalein Group, taking their first Japanese island. Land based air is rebased to Midway. The CW takes a combined and attempts two strat bombing raids but only drop leaflets on Berlin. The British 6.4 on the Greek front line is relieved in place by the Greek 5 factor MTN corps ensuring ‘none shall pass’ (LOTR Ref) Two long range Ftrs and an ATP rebase from the UK to Gibraltar.
Allies fail to roll EOT, a 4 needed, 9 rolled – a first for a long time, as the Axis get a third impulse – Japan picks themselves off the floor. Japan will probably take a Naval as it has some opportunities to hunt the US CA’s as well as to reconstitute the China Seas convoys and get some valuable Resources and oil back to Japan. Germany gets a bonus impulse to get further units to the Russian border for OP BARBAROSSA . Axis 3rd impulse next session with the weather still bad with a 9. EOT roll will be a 7 which will give the Allies a shift to the +1 on the initiative table.
· BP - Build Point
· TOTT – Top of the table a 23 or more
· LOC – Line of Communications
· NCC - No Cost Combined – no oil used
· USE - US Entry
The build up in earnest - 1942 Barbarossa - 
when to launch that is the question - 
certainly not in bad weather

Invasion Trg - embarkation drills complete - some fine weather in the Med would be helpful

Greece still resisting in 1942

Italy's E African colonies under threat

The Far East has suddenly got a whole lot busier for the Japanese - now at war with every ally!

Russian attack in Mongolia failed to generate a GBA - 
average rolls will do that - rolled a 10 on +5 (15)

China gets bolstered now that the Russians look to be distracted by Germany - 
a welcome relief for Japan.

US Marines invade their 1st Japanese island of the Kwajalein group

The Pacific Green v Red - early days.

Shore bombardment from the US Battlewagons is always welcomed.

Minor losses as the weather prohibits much activity.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

The Lamps Are Going Out

Another new game to play and now played.  This one a high level strategic game of WW1.  Some innovative yet simple mechanics, quick playing.  Interesting to contrast with Paths of Glory which is similar scale and format, perhaps with one more level of complexity, but still not complex.  I think I preferred PoG for its agonising decisions although concede to Richard's view that Lamps is perhaps a better representation of WW1.

Box art, sadly the photo I thought I had taken of the game has disappeared

The who's who

The following is from Richard who was the Central Powers player.

The final scoring was as follows:

Central Powers

4 for Russia

1 for Somme

1 for Belgium

1 for Rumania

1 for Serbia

Triple Entente

-1 for East Africa

-1 for Anatolia

-1 for Austria

So a net 5. With Central Powers needing 7 to win.

It was a very close run thing in the end. I should have just concentrated on expelling you from Anatolia by sending a couple of extra German armies from Russia and holding everywhere else. That would have given me  a net 7. I blame my post-covid brain fog and all the rescheduling for that bad decision. I'm going to claim a moral victory....😁 (We were stabbed in the back).

This game is SO much better than Paths of Glory. There are no really stupid gamey things that you can do and all the outcomes are really consistent with how WW1 was fought. No stupid supply rules and you can't just march into an "empty" space and keep advancing. There is a reason to attack and press on against the Russians, unlike in PoG where it's just not necessary at all. USA entry is well handled and they do arrive in the nick of time, unlike PoG where they might never appear. Lots of lovely chrome which doesn't interfere with game play.

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Zama Take Two

At this month's club's games day I had a much more relaxed opportunity to try this scenario again.  Simon and Marc were the Carthaginians, Stephen and I were the Romans and I also had command of the Numidians. 

Previous AAR and info on the Zama scenario for Basic Impetus can be found here:

Deployment as per the scenario

A cautious few turns ensued

The Carthaginians have a definite advantage with the Numidians

A close up prior to action developing on the right

The fight is on as the Roman's Numidian allies surge forward

The Roman Legions are now advancing

The elephants are getting ready to charge
(superbly painted by Mark Woods, I am very fortunate to have this army in my possession)

The Carthaginian left is under threat

Now the Carthaginian right has come into action
along with the elephants

The elephants are having a hard time
as are the Carthaginian flanks

The situation as seen from the Carthaginian side

The Carthaginian front line has broken

The Carthaginian second line has broken.
The veteran Spanish have been vanquished (after being charged in the flank)
both units of veteran Gauls have been blunted 
Only Hannibal remains with the veteran Libyans.

At  this stage it would have been cruel to play on.  The Romans had just lost one unit of velites and one of Numidian light cavalry.  Hard work for the Carthaginians, but they did have some poor die rolls.  Will be interesting to try with the Gauls as large units also a change in command structures and free deployment.

Friday, July 22, 2022

Don't Mention The War - Part 14

November/December 1941 ended after just two impulses, which is the minimum. The only good thing is that short turns are hampering the Imperialists in their grand designs for European subjugation.

Germans troops attempting to keep warm by marching across the continent.


German oil stocks have been run down due to their massive investment in Italian arms manufacturing.  What could possibly go wrong?

That's a lot of crew for one rather small tank

And we seem to have not got the ratio of pilots to planes quiet right yet...


In other news, I should have added that the US declared war on Japan and that there is an uprising in Iran which has cut off the delivery of oil from that country and Iraq. 

Alexander Imperial versus Classical Indian

My mix of new and old Hellenistic troops were no match for Dave's Indians.

The Imperialists won the scouting and had the advantage in deployment

Both sides advance

The Imperialists close in,
their heavy cavalry leading the charge
(which unfortunately caught some defensive fire)

The big fight

And as seen from the Classicals' side

And the pathetic die rolling:
only one hit per side!

Locked in combat

The Imperialists' general (in personal command of the heavy cavalry) is routed.

The Classicals are starting to envelope the Imperialists 

Game over.
Understandably I failed to take a final photo of my defeat.
In the above image, which is a copy of the penultimate,
the red crosses denote units routed.  
Both pike blocks lost their back ranks.
They did take down some of the elephants at least.