Monday, December 31, 2007

League Ideas

Here's a basic run down on the idea I'd like to kick out to the group for consideration. Like I said, I want to encourage phunky gaming, not hard-core competitive gaming, so Campaigns are inherently more interesting to me than Leagues or Tournaments. However, I don't think anybody is chomping at the bit to handle all the paper work for a year-long 24 player mega campaign or anything like that. So, how do we get a little color and encourage wierdness and participation without getting all competitive or doing a lot of homework?

Battle Front have really made this easy on us, if we'd just use the materials they have provided and that most of us have already bought. So far, I've yet to see any one play any of the missions or scenarios published in any of the Late War Army/Campaign/Battle Books, or whatever the hell you wanna call 'em. They are there, why not use 'em?

Anyone else want to play WWII? As in, all of it? In order?

Basically what I suggest is that we take each monthly event and play one or two missions from a given Battle as published by Battle Front. Each event we'd move along to the next book -- more or less, it wouldn't really work out 1 to 1 where we could use one book per event or anything, but we could figure something out, maybe use bits from one or two books on a given day, maybe stretch another book out over two, depending on what each book has and what we want to do.
WHAT THIS IS NOT:This is not going to be a campaign. There will be NO book keeping of any kind. The results of one day's fighting will in no way influence the fighting of any other day. Each event day will be its own self-contained bubble.

Here's a quick summary of the playable situations from each published book. For now, I'm not interested in on line material because we don't need it and they haven’t really put out any good missions, just campaigns. Also, for clarity, in the language of the Kiwi a "mission," is a generic battle layout devoid of specific force lists. Hold the Line and Free for All are missions. A "scenario" gives a stylized setup for a particular battle with specific force lists, typically using a given mission for its special rules. These are often unbalanced, meaning 1700 points attacking 1000 points or whatever, and may or may not be useful for what we're trying to do. If we do use them, they will require extra planning, but might be worth it. It might be interesting, for instance, to tell a German player ahead of time to bring a 1000 or 2000 point defensive list, and match him up against two Allied players who were told to bring 1000 point lists. Anyway, here's the summary:


Seize and Hold (MISSION): paratroopers drop from the sky. Described as D-Day, but could be any air drop. If we go with this idea, you better believe the 101st will be dropping on the first game of the first day or I'm taking my ball and going home.


Beach Assault Rules

Hit the Beach (MISSION): D-Day style beach assault rulesUtah Beach (SCENARIO): Hit the Beach with American flavor, fought at 1750 vs 1000.Queen Red (SCENARIO): Hit the Beach with British flavor, fought at 2100 vs. 1200Bocage Rules: While they don't give a specific mission for Bocage fighting in this book, if we go with this general idea we'd be fools not to have at least one good day of Hedge Row Hell.
Bloody OmahaEasy Green (SCENARIO): Hit the Beach with American flavor and heavy German Fortifications fought at 1750 vs 1000 points.Point du Hoc (SCENARIO): very specific Beach Assault for Rangers
Villers-BocagWittman's Wild Ride (SCENARIO): 1 Tiger kills all. Lame.Point 213 (SCENARIO): Uses Bocage Fighting rules, and while a scenario it is fought at 1 to 1 points, so we could use it as a Mission. Villers-Bocag: (SCENARIO) A really big mega fight as written, we could fight it 1/1 points with up to 4 players.
Now, some of these books contain bits of campaign material. Forget about all that unless you want to be the one to run it. All I'm talking about is using these Missions and maybe some of the Scenarios to generally theme our events to fight along the course of the war. I'm not sure how long we could keep that going before we overtook the stuff coming from Battle Front, so maybe we do this only some times? I dunno. But I really want to stress that this ain't a campaign. I'm just suggesting that we fight our way through the war in roughly historical order.
It also does not matter a whit if we've got ahistorical match ups, like Soviets launching a beach assault against British defenders or something. Who cares, I just like this idea better than trying to come up with yet another way to make Hold the Line not just Hold the Line again. But I think it would be hella mega cool if we could swing at least one table per event that actually looked like the battle in question, with reasonably accurate terrain and similar forces. For instance, if we had 8 beach assaults going on one day, it would be a damn shame if one of them wasn't Americans attacking Germans.
Also, since this isn't really competitive in nature we could doctor the matchups a bit more before hand without any one getting cheated. On the first day, for instance, German players would know they'd be defending and could tailor their forces accordingly with as much emphasis on the historical as that player felt like.
Here's a sample outline of how we might do this for the first few event days. I guess I should mention at some point that I'm seeing this as more of a one-big-game per day sort of thing, but it would also work just fine to play it as smaller games -- do the most proper historical thing on the first game, then make everything random on the second game or something.
EVENT DAY ONE: D-Day* At least one table playing Seize and Hold, more if we have more paratrooper players ACTUALLY PLAYING. * I know I said books only, but if someone has some Brit Paras ready, we could let them use the OnLine scenario to take Pegasus Bridge* At least one table playing Hit the Beach.* If we KNOW we're gonna have a Ranger player, we can find a way for them to take Point du Hoc.* Set up one or two basic French tables for people who just fucking hate beach assaults, and make 'em deal with Hedge Rows a month early.
EVENT DAY TWO: Hedge Row Hell* Unless some game has a good reason not two, all tables will have Hedge Rows in effect.* If someone wants to play with a shit load of Tigers, they could play the Wittman stuff.* A few tables could play Point 213* If we like the mega-battle idea, we could lay out a nice fat village and have 4 plays fight out Villers Bocag.
EVENT DAY THREE: Normandy Break OutSince the next book ain't out yet, I don't know how we'd really use it, but I'm assuming we could use it and generic stuff to theme something for the end of the Normandy campaign. The sadist in me likes the idea of seeing how many Germans we could kill in an hour and calling it Falaise.
Anyway, that's way long enough to express my idea and get some notes in place. Now, discuss -- if everyone thinks this idea sucks balls, I'll let it drop, but this is sort of how I'd like to see things pan out. It would take a bit more brain power to set up for the day, but no book work between events and since (at least in my little brain) we're not being competitive the Organizer could actually play on the day. If folks like prizes and stuff, we could still do that, either just for playing or by game wins or whatever, I don't really care about that part. Y'all know I only show up for the painting prize.

CHEAP BEACH TERRAIN:Also, just so I've got the note someplace handy, here's an idea I had for beach assault terrain so cheap one day's use would be worth it:1. Get a blue plastic tarp. Cut it into strips to fit the tables at legion and give just enough water for the scenario rules.2. Get some kind of sand-lookin' fabric -- yellow felt, burlap, canvas, whatever. Cut it into strips just like the tarp, and hot glue the sand strip to the water strip.3. Lay beach strip over table under/over/besides grass mat or terrain tiles or whatever the hell else you were gonna play with.
If everyone falls in love with this idea and heralds it as the brilliant suggestion it obviously is, I'll take it upon myself to find a proper image, resize and reproduce it so that everyone will have nice 2-D flat templates for beach landing craft, ready to use and dispose of on D-Day.
Jesus, that was way longer than I expected it to be. What do y’all think?

Shifting Gears

Here at the WorkShop, we're shifting gears. It’s been damn near nothing but paint for months now. And ya, you've gotta paint the stuff, but seriously, my love is truly for the modeling end of things. I love the little nicks in the finger tips, crust of superglue under the finger nail, and dust dust dust as I grind away metal and resin. Ah, modeling time....

Not that there hasn't been some painting work done, and there will be pics to prove it soon enough. In fact, I got a fancy new camera for Christmas, some nuefangled 8 mega pixel digital thing from Cannon with a button labeled, "Super Macro," so the picture quality around here should improve sharply. Anyway, I've got three platoons from Easy Company fully, 100% painted. Not finished -- they still need flock and show, which will happen to the whole army all at once at the end -- but fully painted. I've also get the entire company "Base Painted." That's my own term for it, but basically all the big parts of the miniatures have their basic color on them (boots are brown, pants are green, skin is light brown, etc.) with no shading or details at all. This has become my own personal minimum standard to put a model on the table. I won't field basic primer, but I won't wait for a finished model either. I just really wanted to plow through and get the force playable before I started doing anything else.

And I will now be doing something else. Like I said, its time to get the super glue and xacto blades back out, and I've got plenty to work on. How about a nice new Sherman tank company? Three full platoons of Shermans, plus Sherman 105s, Tank Destroyers, Cavalry Recon, and a few other odd bits, like Sherman Flail tanks. Ya, I know, technically they are British not American, but how else are we Yanks to stop the rising tide of the undead? It’s a US Anti-Zombie platoon, and that's final!

I've also got all the parts for a big Late-War expansion of my German forces. StuG IVs, Panzer IVHs, two platoons of Pumas, and a bunch of Tigers are the order of the day, though a few of these units still have one or two vehicles waiting on the FLGS to get them in for me. And I finally got around to buying some artillery, so Jerry can go boom-boom from far away, which should be nice.

So there you have it -- despite the fact that all I've written about on this blog is modeling stuff, most of that work is about 6 months old, and its been nothing but painting since late Summer or so. Some of that stuff -- Chinese army, SciFi Germans, etc. -- is already up on here, and some will be getting all gussied up for the camera soon. But I'm shifting to modeling, which probably feels like a bigger shift for me than it looks like it would from reading this goofy blog.

I even got in a game of Warmaster Ancients over the weekend, so the Chinamen have actually seen the table. Of course, I forgot my new camera, but thankfully Caesar was there with a pic I could pilfer: