Wednesday, 27 May 2015

W1815 - new board game on Waterloo

I have always played board games - starting with Monopoly and when about 11 getting into board wargames from SPI and Avalon Hill etc. These days I have sold off virtually all my traditional board wargames and play Euro style games and miniatures. I do really like the Victory Point Napoleonic series though (will do a posts on some of those later) and when I was ordering the latest ones happened to notice W1815 as a new release.

Got it yesterday and had a few games with a friend. It says you can play in about 15 minutes. Took us quite a bit longer than that but once you get the idea and what are the main tactics you really can play very quickly. It is not balanced as the French were always going to have a hard time of it but there is a scoring system and you can just play a few games as each side and see who does better overall. It is good fun though just playing a game regardless of who wins.

Set up for a game:

Here are some of the basics of the game:

  • The aim of the game is to rout or break the opposing army. The French and British start on 10 morale and various action will reduce it. As casualties build up the casualty track indicates if a rout test is needed and if any die roll modifiers - when checking need to exceed the morale on a D6.
  • Pieces on the board are just to show the strength of the various Corp and are removed as casualties. The cubes show occupation of the farms and Plancenoit or strength of Grande Battery.
  • Game turns are more abstract and the game does not end because of time. There are three periods, Midday, Afternoon and Evening. The only effect on the game is that in the Afternoon route rolls have +1 and in the Evening +2. Time moves when 5 Prussians arrive and when French and British combined casualties hit 10.
  • Each turn you can take one action. Every Corp card has an action on it and you can choose any one if them (if Ney does his grand charge the French have to choose that until the cavalry are back under control but that is the only time there is not a choice). Some cards flip when certain things happen and the action changes (e.g. when the Prussians take Plancenoit they start to damage the French more).
  • Some cards have a counter which has to be taken (if you want to do it at all) right after the triggering action from the enemy. So for example, when d'Erlon attacks the British cavalry have a counter and can double his losses and can take their normal action (attack the Grande Battery) with +1.
  • Napoleon and Wellington each have a single use action. Wellington's is more directly a game winner if you are in the right position at the time.
  • If a Corp runs out of men they can't take an action.

The Corp action cards:

Each turn you take an action from one of your cards corresponding to the various corps. There is a starting and a reverse side. For example, if you role high on one of the French cavalry corp it triggers Ney's charge and the card is flipped and the French action has to be this is future turns until a roll return control.

Blucher showing the side when Plancenoit is captured.

I think the ideal French plan would be for Milhaud and Kellerman to put  Orange and Hill in square for d'Erlon and Reille to attack with plus one to damage the British but mainly to take La Haye Sainte and Hougoumont. That then gives the Guard plus two and will make their attacks powerful and can break the British - with Napoleon giving the option of choosing the best from two dice at a critical point (a one time thing this). However, those pesky Prussians keep arriving and depending on how quickly they arrive the French need to react to that and perhaps lose some Guard to hold on to Plancenoit and use Lobau to push the Prussians away. Really tricky thing is you can only do one thing a turn so building up to take both Hougoumont and La Haye Sainte is no easy job with the clock of the Prussians coming. Also not sure about the Grande Battery - to use early or not? I think getting the infantry in to keep the British reacting then the Grande Battery once the casualties mount up and you want the British morale down may be a way to go? Good thing is with such a quick game you can try out the different approaches very easily.

For the British the main tactic seems to be to do nothing other than react as necessary and to put the main effort into getting the Prussians on the board. The Reserve is key as they can lose a casualty to prevent a French capture of Hougoumont or La Haye Sainte or prevent a previous turn loss to the British (so would only do if it was a big loss). Wellington is a great card to use (one off again) when you are close to a win assuming not too much damage to the British (British losses equal number of Grande Battery squares left) as it give 2 casualties to the French and +1 on their rout test - but mainly a finisher to push through a win.

It is actually a game of momentum - if the French attacks are effective then the Reserve is needed to counter and hence no Prussians arriving. As soon as the French don't achieve much the Prussians start to build up and the French have to react to that. For such a simple game gives a really good feel for the development of the battle and for around £17 is insanely good value.

Our first two games where pretty much about getting the hang of it and I won as the Allies first with the Prussians coming on quickly and French casualties building up much more than the British. A final push with Wellington's ability sealed the day. Next game I was the French and the Prussians did not arrive too quickly and I took Hougoumont and managed to inflict a few more casualties on the British than the French took and so two attacks with the Guard rolling high was enough to break the British.

Just played through solo and the Prussian rolls were woeful and Reille and d'Erlon inflicted a lot of casualties with Reille fairly untouched but d'Erlon pretty spent but both taking the farms after the reserve ran out (repeated capture and recovery meant no rolls for Prussians and low rolls when able meant they barely even got a toe hold). I used Uxbridge's counter attack a couple of times after d'Erlon attacked to try and destroy the Grande Battery but they were not very effective and I may have been better just rolling for Prussians? I had to use Napoleon on d'Erlon's last attack to try and ensure the capture of La Haye Sainte as he was almost gone (can't take actions if they run out of men). But the Guard then rolled high and smash the last British resistance - Vive l'Empereur!

Battle as it ended:

I really hope they bring out some other battles (Up Games from Finland), Borodino and Wagram would be good I think..

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

German recovery/ engineer (berg) tanks

Having recently (finally) finished the Wargames South (now Arrowhead) Berg Panther I thought I would do a post on the various German Berg vehicles I have. Took me ages to do the Berg Panther, nothing to do with the model which I built soon after buying, but because of my first pot of Vallejo Midstone which did not cover well (same reason my Merc Maultiers were not done until a couple months back). My new pot covers a treat so decided it was about time I finished the model.

So I have for the Germans:

  • a Berg Panther with the works in terms of engineering equipment etc. Model from Arrowhead;
  • an early Berg Panther which did not have much more than a removed turret I built from a Takara model;
  • a Berg Tiger from the Panzer Korps kit (but the hull is a Takara Tiger 1);
  • a Berg Panzer IV I made by converting a Pithead body;
  • 2 versions of a Elefant Berg tank from CanDo.

(by the way, the buildings are 6mm Timecast from their Stalingrad range - I got them when you could still buy them painted)

The 2 CanDo ones first. They are as they come from the pre-painted Elefant series. Unlike Takara the paint job is a bit more precise and there is more variation in the paint tones etc. so I don't generally put a wash on or tidy up any of the painting.

The Berg Tiger is a Panzer Korp kit for the turret but I find the hulls for Panzer Korp (and CanDo too) a bit low on the Tiger 1 and the Takara model looks more the part so I just drilled out the hole for the turret on a Takara versus model so the Panzer Korp turret fit and then repainted along with the turret to match. Looks very effective

The Arrowhead Berg Panther. Nice model - although with all the bits on it and being all made of metal it is quite heavy compared to most other models in this scale. I added a few of the plastic extras from Takara versus sets into the wooden structure to add a bit of flavour - a couple of crates and an oil barrel. If you don't have access to Takara bits then Perfect Six have brought out a range of 6mm crates of varying sizes which are also ideal for 10mm WW2 vehicles as you can see in my recent post (Russian truck near the bottom of the article). The model I got was a while ago and it may have had a redesign now but it is always going to be a good model from Arrowhead.

I did not realise there were different versions of Berg Panthers until I was looking through Henk of Holland - a great site to see different versions of the main vehicle types and I often use it to check odd variants. The link goes to the Panther page and the various Berg Panther variants are about three quarters or so of the way down the page. This was a Takara versus set Panther without the turret and a cap put on the turret ring (a sanded down tiddly wink counter) and then a circle cut out of thin card and cut into 'planks' to mimic a wooden boarded cover. Some bits cut from pins on the back and the ends flatted with a hammer and some length of slightly different sizes cut from pins and glued on the side. Then repainted.

I bought some Pithead Wirbelwind but I wanted them to match my Panzer IVs which are all Takara and CanDo and as I had some spare Panzer Korps kits I used the Panzer IV hulls from them. That left me with unneeded Panzer IV bodies so I converted to be Berg Panzer IVs (again using Henk of Holland and other sites to check out the layout).  Card again for the wooden cover over the turret ring, some pins cut for the pieces of the winch structure (in travel mode in bits on the side), a barrel and crate from Takara spare bits and a piece of a modelling match stick for the large lump of wood.

Finally another important German vehicle used for recovery of tanks - the Sdkfz 7 Half-track prime mover (these are 1/144 from New Millennium Toys, pre-painted and just given a dry brush and some mud on the wheels). This replicated a picture I have seen of two of them pulling a Tiger 1 up a hill (might have been 3?).

For an easy way to see all my WW2 posts check out the WW2 Summary page.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Review - Perfect Six Scenics sacks and crates

If you have been following my Waterloo buildings posts you will already have seen the barrels I have been using for adding a bit of detail to the models. They were the first things Richard over at Perfect Six made as scenic items. The initial batch were resin but they are produced now in metal and crates and sacks will soon be available with more things on the way. Here is the web site:

Perfect Six Scenics web site

I have some of the crates and sacks to review and will go through the painting process and how I have used some of the finished items.

All the items come in a variety of sizes, or in the case of sacks a variety of groups of sacks. I washed the items then cleaned up - which just means taking a few very small lumps off the bottom; barrels currently come in a strip and have to be cut off but Richard also sells flush side cutters (I have had some of these for a while and useful for all sorts of things when a cut close to a model is needed). I then stuck on plasticard (some off-cuts) with a small blob of white PVA glue. I used some old PVA that has gone a bit thick so not very good for basing figures but great for gluing things ready for painting or onto finished model bases.

Next a quick spray with a Tamiya primer spray (light grey)

Then the base colours: Khaki Grey (Vallejo 880) for the sacks, US field drab (Vallejo 873) for the crates, US dark green (Vallejo 893) for the two small square crates, and Games Workshop Mournfang Brown for the barrels.

Then everything had a wash in Games Workshop Agrax Earthshade.

The to finish off:
  • barrels dry brushed with Mournfang Brown then some of the highlights painted with some of the brown lightened a bit with Ushabti Bone;
  • crates dry brushed with US field drab or the raised detail painted for the US dark green ones (as so small better to paint than dry brush);
  • sacks a dry brush in Khaki Grey then again with the Khaki Grey lightened with Khaki (Vallejo 988). The open sack I did as potatoes so painted the raised detail in the opening in neat Khaki then a few spots with Khaki lightened with white.
This is what they look like, although to be honest it is hard to see the real effect until they are put on a model.

I added some sacks to my previous finished models of Papelotte and La Haye Sainte (both 6mm Leven). I also put an extra barrel and a crate in Papelotte.

So Papelotte first:

Two types of the sack groups and a low wide crate sat by the big barn door. A couple of sacks showing potatoes over on the left and next picture a close up:

A newly added barrel and a sack pile on the other side of the courtyard:

A couple of sack groups added in La Haye Sainte main courtyard:

Then one with the open sack and potatoes on view by the little hut in the rear garden:

For a proper look at the two farms before I added the new sacks etc. but with the extension bits I added that are not part of the model as sold see my original posts:


La Haye Sainte

I put the small barrel and the little crates on some French Guard 12 pdr bases and a artillery commander base:

Some cannon ball stacks are due out from Perfect Six some time later and these will be nice additions to artillery bases too.

I put some of the crates in a 10mm Russian WW2 truck (Pendraken Zis 42):


Barrels are currently available and as I use in every farm I do there is no surprise I really like them. Very clean casting and easy to paint and fit nicely in to 6mm scale items. The range of sizes is good too. The bigger barrels are easily usable for 10mm.

I love the sacks. They are very nicely done and again very clean casting. The range of groups provides a good mix and the open sacks are a nice touch (you could choose other items to paint as the contents and not just potatoes!). Easy to use quite a few sack groups on the base of a large farm.

Crates are nice. I will make more use in urban building settings. Again nice casting and fit in well with the scale. They are also great for WW2 10mm - you can get 10mm crates from Pendraken and 1/144 in Takara (bits included with some of their models), but  Perfect Six offer a wider variety of sizes particularly smaller ones which just add that extra touch to vehicles (in trucks or on the back of tanks). The small square crate can easily be added to some 6mm figure bases - even more options to do that if you use the rules with the very big battalion bases.

So very impressed and keen to see more items joining the range.