Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Barbarossa Turn 38

The 4th and 5th of September Turn is the last few days of the logistics pause.  It was also mud in the north and south, but in the centre the Axis pushed on closer to Moscow.  

In our game Panzer Group Guderian did not turn south but has instead pushed on to Moscow.  There are no Soviet reinforcements for the centre until Turn 50 (the start of the Operation Typhoon game) and replacements, which have their own chart per front, are reduced by the number of outstanding Mandatory Attacks which are hard to do at the best of times, unless the Axis player gets reckless or careless.  More on this later.

AGC has broken through to the south of Moscow.

In the mud AGS makes just one attack. 

Almost four days in the making, the Soviets make an attack.
It is able to be classified as a Mandated Attack
as there are 6 steps of units and 
the odds are over 3:2.
In fact it was 7:1,
but a poor roll 
a nil

The situation at the end of the turn

All quiet on the Baltic front. 

Army Group North is stuck in the mud,
but not planning to move anyway.

The area between AGN and Moscow.

The city is well defended by empty strongpoints,
just needs some replacements to turn up.
Slight development top left-hand corner.

To the south of Moscow,
where the Soviet attack had been made.

Army Group South also stuck in the mud.
However, their engineers have made progress 
in repairing railway bridges on the Dnepr.
Two levels to repair, one attempt per turn needing 9 or 10 on the D10,
provided the Axis have engineer units and railhead in supply

The Soviets have pulled back in the Ukraine.

Monday, December 18, 2023

Hearts of Iron - Australia and New Zealand - Part 12

From the desk of the NZ PM, the Right Honourable Mr Bruce.

17 April 1944

The push into Manchuria and Korea (1) proceeded slowly as it faced low supply and Japanese reinforcements.

A small New Zealand naval invasion launched against Tokyo (2), but it was intercepted and suffered many losses, so was abandoned.

Germany capitulated with the ANZACs making only a very small contribution to the war compared to Russia, UK and USA.

An Australian-led naval invasion launched against Nagasaki (3) landed unopposed.  (Was the Japanese garrison fighting in Manchuria?)  ANZAC reinforcements poured in, pushed towards Tokyo and faced little organised resistance.


Japan capitulated with the ANZACs having made a very large contribution to the war.  For example, ANZAC forces caused 1.3 million Japanese fatalities.

ANZAC leaders feel proud that their small island nations made a disproportionately large impact on the war by:

  • capturing Italian East Africa,
  • sinking about 450 conveys (by the Australian navy),
  • liberating the Philippines,
  • capturing most of the Japanese conquests in China, and
  • invading and conquering the Japanese home islands. 

In the peace that follows, ANZAC contributions to the war are rewarded by the victorious powers.  Australia retained the East Indies as a puppet, which was originally transferred by the Netherlands government-in-exile and obtained a northern slice of the former Italian East Africa.  New Zealand leveraged its Māori heritage to form a Pacific Federation of islands plus Manchuria, Korea and a puppet of newly democratic Japan.

With the war finished victoriously, both Australia and New Zealand are now fully independent countries with bright futures. 

Sunday, December 17, 2023

The Virgin Queen

Sequel to Here I Stand with similar mechanics, mostly.  We played 3 turns in what was agreed was a learning game.  Simon was the Holy Roman Empire, Richard France, Stephen the Protestants, Mike the Spanish, Jeff the Ottoman and I was England.

As the Virgin Queen I toyed briefly with one suitor, before giving the matrimonial game away to collect the VP each turn for remaining a virgin - how many games give that benefit?  What really caused me to stop trying to marry was when the Earl of Leicester died under mysterious circumstances during his honeymoon with some lass from the HRE.  Mary Queen of Scots did marry some French dude.

I tried hard to get Scotland peacefully and was aided by some cards to do this.  However in general the cards I had were few and poor.  I did have a very successful scientist and established two colonies in the New World as well as indulged in a bit of piracy against Portugal which was a bit mean of me, but needs must.

And the need was to deal with the Irish who had been provoked into rebellion by the French and put the French dangerously close to outright victory which is not a good place to be as they found out.  

After the French fleet gained naval supremacy over the English fleet they were surprised by a rejuvenated English navy lead by Hawkins and supplied with some Spanish fire ships.  That put paid to France being able to secure a final key from England, especially as Spain declared war on them and a battle ensued for Metz. 

In other world events there was a long and ultimately futile siege of Malta by the Ottomans.  They might have had more success against Cyprus later, but that part of the board was a faraway from me.

Hard to know the best strategy as a lot depends on cards and how the other players perform.  Things certainly start off slow for England and the Protestants, not unlike Here I Stand.

I snapped this just as things started to be packed up 
and at least some of the Spanish counters have already gone.  
Annoyingly I now see I missed getting an image of the VP chart.  

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Nikephorian Byzantines versus Late Imperial Romans East

This is the last game in my club's Basic Impetus League.  To understand the importance here are the currently rankings:

So, I'm in 3rd place.  Richard in 2nd place has just received a forfeit from Mark W which gives him 1 point and puts him first and exhausts all his games.  Dave slips to 2nd and has already played all his games.  I have one game to go against Steve B.  If I win I will tie for first place which we have agreed will be a shared win.  A loss will see me tie for second place and as we know, coming runner up in a war is not a good outcome.

The game would be between the player ranked 3rd and at the bottom.  What could possibly go wrong?

Have patience and you will see.

The Byzantines were out scouted.
This meant the Romans decided to deploy with a large patch of difficult terrain 
(which they had placed and which I will refer to as "the scrub")
effectively separating the two armies.

Byzantines advance.
A contest starts to develop for the scrub.

The Byzantines try and advance as quickly as they can,
the Roman infantry doesn't move,
but their cavalry move to meet the Byzantine threat.

The fighting in the scrub continues.
Byzantines keep advancing,
but the Roman cavalry now decide to withdraw.

Byzantines make some progress in the scrub,
and start to turn their army to face the enemy.

The Byzantine Kataphractoi mounted on beautiful grey horses
get into the fighting round the scrub.
Even the General with the purple cloaked Tagmatic Kavellaroi gets into the action.

Finally some progress as Byzantine weight of numbers gets some results in the scrub.

The Roman infantry has now about faced.

The Byzantines have now arrived on the Roman's right flank,
or is it now their left flank?

It's slow work...

The Byzantine Kataphractoi charge but come up short.
The Roman archers engage.
The Byzantines have now captured the scrub.

Both sides have now lost their heavy cavalry.
The Roman medium cavalry is somewhat exposed now the Byzantine legion has caught up.

Did I say it's slow work already?
Well it is.

Make that very slow.

Varangians to the fore,
Byzantine Flankers live up to their name,
and have slipped round the Roman flank.

The Romans are surrounded!

In what should have been a game winning move,
the rear end charge by the Byzantine Flankers is driven off.
Worse, the Varangians were dealt a mortal blow by some pointed sticks.

However, Byzantine bow fire wins the day!

Phew, what an epic fight.


Saturday, December 9, 2023

Hearts of Iron - Australia and New Zealand - Part 11

From the desk of the NZ PM, the Right Honourable Mr Bruce.

28 November 1943

Philippines liberated!  Western China captured!  Japanese army crushed!  Beijing falls!  ANZACs triumph!

Australia led the naval invasion of southern Philippines and then the push through the islands to capture Manila and the rest (1 on map).

New Zealand led the breakout from the port captured in southern China with the armour pushing up the coast and the infantry pushing inland (2 on map).  Most of the Japanese army perished as it was trapped between the Chinese to the west and the ANZACs to the east.

With Japanese casualties caused by the ANZAC forces now exceeding one million, the popular press is full of stories about what ANZACs can do under their own generals.  Staff officers instead point to the successful Australian submarines sinking transports laden with troops and to most front-line divisions having some tanks, which the Japanese cannot counter. 

Diplomatic considerations have now arisen.  China is not part of the Allies and has been fighting its own war against Japan.  Whereas the Philippines was liberated and is again a US puppet (as US is in Allies), Western China is now controlled by New Zealand, which the Chinese must hate.  If the Japanese are driven off the mainland and make a separate peace with China, will all those territories revert to Chinese control? 

How will the Japanese home islands be invaded?  The Japanese navy is bruised but still intact (about 7 carriers) and is defending its home waters.  While the US and UK navies are larger, they are not concentrated on Japanese home waters but are largely devoted to defensive convoy escort roles.  So, even with the Japanese army largely beaten, how can the home islands be invaded?  Only time will tell…

Friday, December 8, 2023

Huns versus Huns

My Huns have been fairly successful, but how would they go against another Hun army?  Dave decided it was time to find out.  Don't blink or you will miss it.

Identical armies.
Dave won the scouting and matched my deployment.

I won the initiative, but had Dave move first.
Both sides cautiously advanced.

I won the initiative again.  
After some shooting Dave's Hun charged.
My Huns generally evaded, my left flank losing a unit,
but my right flank having some modest success.
My nobles are a bit exposed.

Dave won the initiative using his prefered Decisive Initiative Ace in the Hole.
It didn't do him any good.
His left flank has been compromised
and his nobles bloodied.

I won the initiative and rode to victory.
A quick game is a good game.

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Barbarossa Turn 36 and Turn 37 Completed

Turn 36 completed and mud in north and centre on Turn 37 meant for a quick session.

Fairly static in the north although both sides are building up around Lake Ilmen.

The game has out done itself with the Leningrad insert map.
All too complex to focus on when Moscow beckons.

And the Axis have smashed a whole in the line before Moscow.

Kiev is now isolated.

And the Axis are spreading out over the Ukraine.

Turn 37

Army Group Centre pushes forward in the mud

Army Group South consolidating north of the Dnepr.

And on the Black Sea coast

The situation a at the end of Turn 37 which is 3 September 1941




There are two key railway bridges to be repaired downstream from Kiev.

Far south