Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Started 6FSJ Germans

I started basing and coating a platoon of German para's for the Bloody Gulch scenario - and others around that period - and after coating them in grey I changed my mind and went for sand color, I think it is gonna be a better base for the camo suits they are getting.  Only thing I am still struggling with a little bit is the paintjob.  In the same scenario I am gonna field some SS Panzer Grenadiers, and they have camouflage armor as well.  There are some minor differences between their uniforms, but there is no chance I - or anyone else as visually challenged as me - is gonna be able to recognize them on a gaming table. 
The camouflage pattern itself is different too, the FSJ have erbsenmuster camo (peas, small dots in three different colors of green) and the SS camo uses eichenlaubmuster (oak leaves), alongside a wide variety of other uniforms for commanders, support units, artillery and so on.  Too complicate things further, I also am painting a number of snipers, and they are probably wearing camo uniforms as well, I still have to find out.  First of all, I am going to test a few methods for painting a camo job on a 10 mm soldier.  I fear on this scale, the only way to make a clear difference will be to keep the FSJ uniforms lighter, based on the sand yellow base color, and make the SSPG darker, based on a darker brown.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Scenario: the battle of Bloody Gulch

Band of Brothers, The Battle of Bloody Gulch
Picture by Jacques Wood
I am preparing the scenery and units for this recreation of a battle that took place on June 13, 1944 next to the French town of Carentan. This battle took place after the 101 AB Div took Carentan and two batallions were sent east to dig in for the expected counterattack. The counterattack came, but the 6FSJ Div had support from elements from the 17 SS PzGren Div, including some armor and mechanized infantry. The attack was forceful, and when Fox company broke, they left the flank of Dog company open, causing them to start retreating as well. Easy company remained on the line alone, and took the brunt of the attack without breaking.
I am preparing the troop list for the scenario, I will focus on Easy company, I don't think the system can handle more than a company per side without grinding to a halt game-wise.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sorting through my Pendraken figs

I finally started on sorting several big ziplock bags full of Pendraken 10 mm WWII infantry, a bag of regular Germans, German paratroopers, regular Americans and Airborne troops, have gathered a number of multi-compartment boxes and wrote up some cards for easy searching, coz boy, do these look similar without my glasses.

I'm starting to base the units still needed for the crisis Demo we planned, and I have to make exactly what I need, time is running short, it's only two more months!

Here's what I'll be preparing, basing and prime-coating this week:

German Para Rifle Teams
German Para SMG Teams
German Para MG 34
German Para MG 42
German Para Mortar 80 mm
German Para PSK and PF

Some more Shermans
Tiger I e
JagdPz IV
Opel Blitz
2 1/2 Ton Truck
M18 Hellcat

Some German AT guns and other heavier ordnance
Tank commanders + a system to be able to unbutton / button them up
German snipers (somehow I failed to acquire the US ones but Germans is a fine start for early Normandy)

Another platoon of US Airborne, more leaders and support, the scenario will be exclusively US Airborne, I need limits!

We'll see where we go from there, I'll be working on the scenario sheet this week as well, I intend to prepare exactly what is needed for the scenario.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Some thoughts on smoke effects in game

I found some interesting articles on smoke employment in the military during my research for a practicable in-game smoke control system: When smoke is used, how will it behave over time, and what are the factors that influence it.  As with everything, this is a search for a playable compromise, we are not making meteorological simulations here.  So what I want to end up with, is a simple sequence every turn to check what happens with smoke on the table.
So I went and listed up what the results in such a sequence can be, and what parameters influence the outcome.  Smoke is an absolute necessity in a good tactical WW2 combat game, and it needs to be implemented well, the thing is to find the limit to realism.  What parameters are most important, what others will further influence the result?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Remarks after the 06/08 playtest

Jeroen leading a mix of the 82nd and 101st Airborne to a clear victory

Jeroen came to the club to have another playtest session yesterday. We used the version 0.3 rules, with the new close combat rules, which we gave a bit of a testing. General flow of the game went very well, apart from some "where did I put that part of the rules" moments. I clearly need an index. Also, some of the rules have been developed - mostly in calc because I have access to statistic functions there - but have not yet made it into the rulebook. Some of those I found in my little black notebook, but it all caused a significant loss of time. The QR sheet was a big improvement, but I have to make sure everything relevant is on there. The huge gameturn sequence was over the top, and it does not improve game flow awareness. From all of this you'd gather the game went down the drain, but it actually went well, the general feel is becoming very tactical, choices really matter, it's not just roll better than the opponent.

Corrections and additions to the rules:

The to Hit table has no area type target, which we need for smoke
Area type target is not suited for concealed target, as it actually increases the hit chance.
ROF revision, enter it in the manual (UNITS) and QR sheet.
Infantry can only throw smoke as far as 1"
PF PSK Baz Ranges and TK# in manual and QR sheet.
Turn Sheet with wind indicator and weather effects overview.
Malfunction markers for main gun
Road yields movement bonus for vehicles, tanks only if CE
Generate indexes for the next version, the manual is becoming too big to do without.

Plans for the near future:

Make more bocage so we can try another type of scenario with an elevated road
Paint up utility vehicles, a few more tanks, and some US regular and German 6th paras
Design the scenario sheets for two types of scenario's, the village outskirts and bocage attack.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Rules version 0.3 on dropbox

In order to facilitate preparation for playtesters I uploaded the most up-to-date version of the rules on dropbox: Find them here

Monday, August 1, 2011

Close Combat Chapter finished

Preparing for a dual RuneQuest role play campaign absorbed a lot of my time lately (making terrain, painting new miniatures, writing scenario's and so on ), and so it has been quite a while since I advanced with the SSOM rules.  I have to press on and update the rules with all the remarks and feedback generated by the various playtests sessions, but it is a lot of work, even more so because I make a genuine effort to keep the structure of the manual intact: using styles and entering everything in such a way that generating indexes, footnotes, and table and illustration lists will be effortless.  This requires a lot of discipline and slows down writing considerably, although I am confident in the long run it will make the task as lot more manageable.
I finally finished the Close Combat chapter, that features rules for infantry close combat, ambushes, concealment and cover, tank overruns, infantry versus tank close combat, and more.  There is still a lot more to do, though.  Here is the current list of open items (Chapter in capitals) as far as the manual is concerned.

Heavy team: firegroup of rifle team and LMG/BAR team
Heavy Squad: firegroup of 2 rifle teams and LMG/BAR team
Mines and minefields

Forward observer rules for artillery and mortars, also on board indirect fire
Infantry movement types and influence of terrain on movement

Vehicular movement and influence on terrain

Limbered artillery, troop transport, tank riders
Weather, wind, effects on smoke, fire

Description of in game effect counters, dice, markers