Showing posts with label Belgian Liberation Army. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Belgian Liberation Army. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Weird World War II Battle: one of last tests

On Friday we rolled up our starting territories for the campaign, which will start in January, and had a big 3 player per side battle.

Polish, American & Russian on one side against 2 Germans and Belgians on the other (one guy borrowed my BLA to jump in and play).

There was a lot of wetland areas, so I dubbed the battlefield to be in Belarus.

We had to stop before a real conclusion could be made- discussion of how to handle summoned creatures slowed it down, but it was a good game.  The allies had more vehicles, our side had more supers- but they didn't get a chance to close, so the fact the battle seemed pretty even means we were getting pretty lucky I think.  It's hard when guns have good ranges and no one wants to cross open no-man's land: supers have a tough time getting to where they need to be. The Americans solved that problem with a henchman squad of jump-pack troops armed with a bazooka team.. scary stuff! But Frau Totenkinder summoned some zombies close enough to charge them and eventually the spooked Americans retreated back to their end of the field.

Here's some pictures:
The Polish army with their mud-golem tanks.

Part of Frau Totenkinder's Ahnenerbe force.  Here you can see the new Panzer I  tanks most recently finished that I haven't had time to photo yet.  They're very cheap tanks and without an anti-tank gun, but they're good against infantry, and I made some amazing lucky armor saves with them, which was quite fun. My forces were on the corner, facing off against the Polish army.

A Stalking Panzer IV crests the hill to fire at the largest Polish tank,...

Success! Nice shooting.

One Panzer I down, but the other survived the next 3 hits it took! Which is about 3 more than you'd expect.

Knowing the German tendency to run through Belgians, the men & monkeys of the BLA decided to move behind the center player's tanks, but the bottleneck slowed the advance.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Weird World War II Battle: Final Test Play

On Friday we ran a large game of our Weird World War II setting, to test out the final adjustments and see if it balances out. We had two 300 pt armies of Germans on one side, being Hydra and the Werewolf force against 300 pts of the BLA and 225 pts of Polish.  This would be a more urban battle.

The Polish, at left, had a great deal of captured gear: a KV-85 & T34 tank, three Panzer 38-T's and a couple German transports.  The Belgians brought their newest device: an allied British Firefly outfitted to be a walker. And of course, plenty of monkeys and apes!

 The wolf troops set up in the graveyard, probably hoping to dig for bones before the conflict erupted...
That jagdpanzer was going to be trouble.  And further back in the field the forces of Hydra were arrayed.

The jagdpanzer & panzer IV make short work of the thinnly armored 38-T's.  But not before a Hydra transport was destroyed.

The Polish advance and take up position in cover of a ruined building and a wall. 

The Panzer IV is destroyed from a long shot by the KV. meanwhile the wolves advance. 

The Firefly rounds the corner and gets one shot on the Jagdpanzer: fails to penetrate it's armor, and will be destroyed for waking the sleeping cat next turn.

The Alpha werewolf leaps from the ruined building onto the T-34 and rips it apart. 
He's a dangerous fellow, so don't tease him about his lederhosen.
His mommy dresses him this way.  Says he's a good boy.  
Who's a good boy? You are! Oh yes you are!

This was before Europe had leash laws. 

What we learned: Regeneration was too good and too inexpensive.  It would effectively make immortal super heroes for any who took it.  That is all fixed now.  Still might be a bargain, but since there are ways around it, it might be just about right now. We made the cost dependent on the mitigation of the character, rather than a straight value.  Reasonable since a character with 1 hit point won't benefit from regeneration as much as a character with 5 hit points.  

This is a problem in a lot of wargames that try to have modular or build them yourself characters. 
A classic example of this problem is Warhammer Fantasy Battle.  For as long as I can remember there has been the Frostblade magic sword: 100 points for a sword that is completely normal except for the attribute that a single unsaved wound will kill anything.  '100 points' is a fixed value, but the sword isn't the same value in the hands of all characters.  Give it to a goblin hero and you'll still have a poor chance of killing a dwarf hero. But give that same sword to a chaos lord and you can reasonably expect to be killing dragons. So why does it cost the same points? A 3+ ward save is worth a lot less on a skaven hero than a vampire lord, etc.  
One of the reasons such games are hopelessly unbalanced. 

I'm glad we've been trying to aim for a real balance. It isn't easy, but the results are worth it. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hotchkiss 39 Light Tank for the BLA

Though I have plenty of points in Gorillas and Monkeys for the Belgian Liberation Army, some games may get to enough points that I'd have room for an actual light tank, so since Brigade Games was having a sale I picked up a Hotchkiss 39 tank by Army Group North.  

When you're used to heroic scale sci-fi tanks it's easy to forget that not all tanks were hulking monstrosities. Early light tanks might have had no issue with parking in the compact spots at the supermarket!

I've gone for a neutral, single-tone military shade here, as I'm not a real big fan of camouflage.  It can look nice sometimes, but since the goal of camo is to confuse & break up what the eye sees, when done right it will do just that, and I enjoy looking at the miniatures.

So here's my H-39 for the Belgian Liberation Army:

And with Monkey for scale:

Monday, August 22, 2011

Gorilla My Dreams: rebasing the Dust Tactics gorillas & Review

When I first saw the preview pictures for the Dust Tactics Axis Gorillas I was floored.  They really looked promising. They did look a little too large, but that was because I had (incorrectly) assumed they were on 40mm bases. If they had been, they'd have been indeed quite large. As it is, they are on 30mm bases and scale up perfect for 28mm miniatures.  

A box set retails for $14.95 US. 

I had experience with Dust Tactics with only one model: the Allied medium walker, which I did some minor converting for my Quar in a VSF setting. The walker was a very high quality kit and I expected much the same from the Gorillas. 

Seen here are the gorillas out of the box with an AT-43 Karman for scale comparison. 

The gorilla on the left I have already removed from the base (since I was re-basing mine). 
The miniatures come pre-assembled and attached to their base. 
In sculpt, the gorillas are much more like true gorillas in stance and proportions than the karmans, even discounting the karman armor. 

The first thing I noticed about the gorillas was that the plastic is just a bit soft.  The walker was hard plastic like you'd expect from most plastic miniatures, but the gorillas are a softer plastic, nearly as soft (but maybe not quite as soft) as you might get from the Reaper Legendary Encounters.  I was surprised, and I have to admit a bit disappointed. However, I've used the Reaper Legendary Encounters and repainted them and found they work fine, so I didn't let it dissuade me.  

One issue with the softer plastics to note is mold lines: they are generally thicker and a bit harder to remove than on hard plastic miniatures. Luckily there were very few mold lines, and the only troubling ones were around the details on the metal gauntlets.  

The detail is sharp, well defined and should paint up very easily with quick washes & drybrushing if desired.  

The bases are the same as standard Dust Tactics infantry: metal decking. 

The hands of the gorillas will rotate, because they are just pushed on, not glued in.  You'll probably want to glue these in, using super glue not the plastic adhesive used for standard plastic miniatures.  

Hint:  Before gluing the hands, first remove them completely by pulling them off and clip or shave a sliver off the rod stump that inserts into the hand: this is because it has a mold line and prevents the gauntlet from resting flush with the arm.  Trim a little off and you'll be fine.    

Evaluating the kit as it is, I think it is very good quality for the money.  I wish the plastic had been hard plastic, but the miniatures don't really suffer from the softer material. 

Casting: 9/10
Cleverness of Design: 8/10
Aesthetics: 10/10

Now on to what I did with my gorillas...

When I came up with my plans for the Belgian Liberation Army it was in large part due to the fact that I wanted to buy these gorillas.  I wanted the bases to match the men & monkeys I'd already done, so first thing I had to do was remove them from their bases and pin them to flat 30mm bases.  This was easy to do.  The soft plastic doesn't resist drilling, and they pinned fine.  

Then it was a simple matter of painting them.  I tried to go for a natural gorilla look, with some grays & browns in the black and slight sliver-backed look to them. 
Out of the Congo and ready to push Nazis out of Crimea.

I can't wait to get these on the gaming table!

Rules wise, the three gorillas are using the 3 werewolf pack profile while the AT-43 gorilla is 'Agrippa' using the profile of the alpha-werewolf.  The little fellow in front is a stow-away from my Hydra miniatures package that the post office tried their best to lose. 

This is Sprocket.  He'll be my pilot of the Greystoke walker! The boys affectionately call him 'Monkey Wrench", but not when Poireau is in ear-shot.  Pun or not, he gets annoyed when people miss-classify apes as monkeys.  

Question:  My 3 new gorillas need names! Any suggestions? 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

BLA: Battle Report: test driving the monkeys

Last night we tested out the modifications we've been working on of the 'Chaos in Cairo/Carpathia' rules for a way to play early years Weird World War II... I've been thinking of it as 'Chaos in Crimea' since we were thinking of an Eastern European theater for the start of the setting.

We weren't worried about having equal or balanced forces as much as seeing how the points values felt for a variety of unit types when all mixed together and seeing how the activation system and force organization would work.

This would be a training wargames between the British MI13 commandos and the newly arrived force from the Belgian Congo.

The British consisted of the superhero Union Jack, Seamus the Irish Druid, a veteran rifle squad, an anti-tank commando unit and a walker boiler suit.  The Druid has a few magical abilities, including being able to spot at long distance rather than only within 8" and ability to summon a variety of creatures to aid him: a strong force to be reckoned with.

The Belgians had a larger force: Professor Poireau, an officer with leadership and mind skills & his assistant Beatrix, the military authority character Octavian the chimpanzee, Agrippa the Gorilla character and 3 lesser Gorilla characters, a unit of riflemen and a unit of recruits: monkey soldiers.  Recruits are less skilled than standard troops, and I modified their profile from human recruits: gave them sharp senses and higher agility, but lowered their strength and damage resistance: hard to hit, but when shot fall pretty easily.  The Gorillas were adapted from Werewolf rules, removing vulnerability to silver as well as the benefits from the moon.
The Belgian walker model is quite a bit bigger, but the stats were identical to the British walker.

The Belgians outnumbered the Brits and out-powered them a bit, so we decided on a scenario where the British were hiding in the woods, a few blind markers indicating possible locations: some would be real, some would be decoys, and the Belgians set up about 20" away from the closest, none in hiding.

For activations we each had 4 cards per turn, plus an extra card since we both had a character with the 'Leader' skill.  So while the Brits could activate each unit individually on its own card, if the Belgians wanted to move everything each turn they had to brigade-up a couple selections that were in range of each other under a character and activate together.

Unsurprisingly, the British remained hidden in the first turn, holding actions, taking advantage of their hidden positions. The Monkeys are the first to move forward, having no problem moving through the woods as all simians have the skill pathfinder: no penalties for moving through woods.

The Gorillas will follow after, though the monkeys failed to spot what might or might not be hidden in front of them.

Meanwhile the Belgian rifles get attacked by a creature made of smoke! i think it looked something like this:

But the Belgians were not afraid and knew how to take cover from dangers in the jungle.

The gorillas outpaced the monkeys and went to flush out the enemy, finding only a decoy: helmets on sticks, and fish & chip wrappers littered about.

The Greystoke walker moved forward and the enemy walker shrugged off some camouflaging branches and opened fire: if it wasn't for a reroll on the damage resistance dice the Greystoke would have gone down to the first volley!

Hearing the shots, Agrippa and his apes leaped to the branches and dropped down on the walker,tearing open hatches and ripping panels from it: their first attack didn't destroy it, but it didn't have much left to sustain itself.  Meanwhile, Union Jack sees this and prepares a counter attack.

The Smoke Monster came back for a second attack on the Belgian lads, and while it didn't do any damage, it was certainly holding up their progress.  Glad it hasn't learned this trick:

The Gorillas make some smoke of their own as they finish off the British walker:

Only the 3 Mountain Gorillas were involved in this, Agrippa stayed out of this, so he could activate on a different card on his own...

Agrippa's attention was elsewhere...

Before Union Jack could act Agrippa launched himself at the man in tights. They proved evenly matched: First Agrippa attacked, having the benefits of charging, but Jack's damage resistance proved up to the challenge.  He then attacked back on his own activation, but couldn't damage the Great Ape either. They were both different in design, but with similar results when pitted against each other: Jack didn't have quite as many dice in an attack, but Agrippa didn't have much defense: no combat evade: it just isn't in Gorilla nature to bob & weave. But the Gorilla had a great deal of resistance. In reverse, it was harder for Agrippa to land a blow with enough to get the extra damage dice because of Jack's greater combat defending skill, which was good for Jack because his resistance was a little less.  They each attacked each other 2 times with no effect.

Meanwhile two others challenged each other: with the troops fighting smoke monsters, and later living trees, Octavian moved forward to flush out the Druid. But Seamus interrupted him and used his most powerful attack yet: lightning!

Yes, there was much references to 'Shock the Monkey'.. including a pause as we heard the origin of this expression. All I can say is, if that is true, then wow Australia.. you are wrong.. just so very wrong. ;)

The lightning hit Octavian hard and did 3 damage to him, which was all the vitality he had. Since he is a character though, and it didn't exceed his vitality, he was permitted a knock out resist roll: which he passed! Phew!  However, that meant the next damage he took would take him out of action, no save possible.

So he charged the Druid:

Octavian's attack succeeded and exceeded the Druid's vitality, so Seamus was removed.  -Some shockingly bad dice rolling on his damage resistance roll. '

By now, the Gorilla pack came to Agrippa's aid.. encircling him.. things look bad for the Hero of Britain!

While big stars make the newsreels, it's the grunt soldiers who are the unsung heroes.

The Monkeys advanced, but the British commandos were ready for them, interrupted, made their spot check and opened fire: Monkeys are small and had cover and used their monkey paws to roll some good dice: no hits. Can easily see the advantage of starting in cover hidden though!

The monkeys returned fire and the unlucky dice returned for the Brits: 9 wounds.  The veteran squad was taken out in total.  The Gorillas finally got a point of damage onto Union Jack, but that looked like it'd be a long fight.  Seeing that the majority of British forces were out of action, Jack called for a retreat and the exercise was drawn to a close.

What we learned: At first it seemed the Gorillas were too powerful in combat with a vehicle, but when considering their points were about 50% more than the vehicle and it took 2 turns to destroy it, it seems about right.  Besides which, the terrain favored them, but that won't always be the case.  Also, in 'superhero vrs superhero' combat, these guys are so sturdy with so much fate they might beat on each other for days with little effect... but then, that is what you'd expect isn't it? The supers duel which then frees up the armies to get on with their job. The trick is positioning to be able to use them to some effect before you must commit them to tying up the enemy super-something.  The Druid was a very powerful utility knife yet vulnerable personally, so he seems balanced.

I special ordered the Dust Tactics gorillas from the store we play at, and picked them up that night.
I was surprised, but pleasantly. The miniatures are a good deal smaller than I expected.  I had only seen pictures of the box art, and had assumed the bases were 40mm and so the Gorillas would be very large. The bases are closer to 30mm, which puts them a bit smaller than AT-43 Karmans, and a nice size compared to an average 28mm human.  I'll probably post up some comparison pictures of them and a review of them since I'm liking them quite a bit.  I'm looking forward to painting them.  Agrippa is a Karman character I repainted for fun & a contest a couple years ago.  I'm very pleased with it, so I don't think I'll be rebasing him.  For his basing, perhaps he's breaking into a Nazi secret lab!

Hope you enjoyed the report.  Cue music and roll credits:

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