Monday, 23 January 2012

The Solomons Campaign - Turn 2 AAR

Turn 2, September 1942
Weather forecast: mostly clear (ie: no modifications to the weather roll).
First off I’d like to apologize for not having any combat pictures. I really dislike AAR’s that are just text and don’t have any eye candy so I substituted historical pictures I managed to google. My wife went to a baby shower the same day as this campaign turn and took our only good camera, and apparently someone’s new baby took precedence over the epic struggle over Guadalcanal.
Game and scale: We are using General Quarters 3 to play the tactical battles, and The Solomons Campaign from the same publisher (ODGW) for the campaign. All ships are 1/6000 Figurehead.
What’s happened so far: Turn 1 (link: was a tacit affair, both sides mobilized their carriers but were unable to locate the enemy carrier group. The IJN successfully bombed and suppressed Henderson airfield and received reinforcements of more light carriers. The USN supplied their Marines holding the Cactus Airfield but was unsuccessful in its patrolling efforts to stop the IJN.
Turn 2: Unlike Turn 1, this turn saw lots of devastation in the air and sea. The allies managed to successfully bomb the IJA forces gathering on Guadalcanal, and the Marines made a successful Recon of the island’s perimeter further disrupting the Japanese army. Meanwhile Admiral Nimitz made a tour of the area boosting the morale of the troops.
Carrier Engagement: Both the IJN and the USN sortied their carrier groups to seek out and destroy the opposing side’s carriers. This time the USN sortie struck first causing some serious damage to the Zuikaku and temporarily disabling it. The IJN’s second carrier Shuikaku launched its sortie in response and managed to cripple and disable the Wasp. The third round of sorties was inconclusive as both sides withdrew. All in all the IJN got the better of the exchange by crippling the Wasp, but the Zuikaku being out of action for at least two months will limit their carrier capability in the near future.
US Torpedo Bombers formation
US Dive Bombers attaking the Zuikaku
US Wasp is left a burning heap from Japanese Torpedo and Dive Bombers

IJN Supply Mission vs USN Patrol: The USN managed to decode some of the Japanese transmissions and successfully intercepted one of the two IJN supply missions this turn. A bloody and confusing night battle ensued as the US Patrol of two heavy and four light cruisers attempted to disrupt the supply mission. They were met by a powerful force of IJN of one heavy cruiser, six light cruisers and seven destroyers escorting the Tokyo Express. The USN used their radar to detect the lead cruisers of the IJN and opened the first salvo, the IJN quickly threw up a smoke screen around their transports and returned fire with the remaining ships. The battle got mess very quickly as the US ships made an aggressive move toward the docked transports and the IJN screens threw themselves in between. Lots of torpedoes were launched at almost point blank range with both sided taking serious damage. US firepower was overwhelming as the Japanese ships got themselves tangled up with their own and the US ships. In the final hours of the battle two Japanese destroyers collided with US light cruisers. Both the Japanese and US admirals decided to cut their losses and withdraw. The US Patrol in the end did not disrupt the supply ships from unloading but they did cause terrible damage on the Japanese escort squadron, almost wiping it out completely with the exception of one 1 light cruiser and 1 destroyer. In the end the US lost 1 heavy cruiser and 2 light cruisers, while the Japanese list 6 destroyers, 1 heavy cruiser and 4 light cruisers. The cost was very high for the Japanese forces but their supply mission was successful. Later in the turn the IJN managed to later slip a supply past the US patrols with no incident.
The US Heavy Cruiser New Orleans is the Capital Ship of the Patrol Force

US and Japanese ships exchange fire in the night
Japanese ships are a burning wreck, though their supply mission is hidden from the US Patrol

As the IJN player, I was successful in my two supply missions but it was a Pyrrhic victory because I paid a heavy price for the first mission. The two sides now have parity in carrier strength and neither one seems hesitant to use it. On the bright side my successful supply missions positioned me well to assault the Marines on Henderson Airfield.
If there is an Assault we have to decide whether we want to just roll for the land battles as per the campaign rules or whether we want to adapt the roll into some land battle mechanism with FoW. The problem is that FoW doesn’t have lists for the Pacific theatre and I don’t actually have Marines and IJA forces so I’d have to port Brits and Germans.

Lastly, I may not be a very good tactical naval commander, I lost more ships than I should have in the last battle and I am not very effective with the placement of my torpedoes, maybe I was made to be a landlubber. Regardless, I am thoroughly enjoying this campaign and the intense surface actions it created this turn.

Friday, 20 January 2012

First Game of Infinity

It's been a pretty busy January in terms of gaming, I've played four separate miniature games, two of which I hadn't played before. I played a game of Cold War Commander last week but unfortunately forgot my camera and I always disliked AAR's without pictures, so I didn't post about the game. This week I tried my first game of Infinity. It's a game that our club all jumped into a year ago but never really played.

In this game there was a combined Haqqislam and Yu Jing force attacking a fortified stronghold held by the Combined Army. To keep a long story short we were caught out in the open and were devastated by the sniper fire from the tower and hidden positions in the bunkers. In hindsite we should've had an advantage in points when assaulting a strongly defended position, but this was our first game so we didn't really bother about the scenario game and wanted to focus on getting the mechanics right.

As far as my impressions of the game, I think it has a lot of cool factor to it. There lots of different toys and tricks to play with and you have to be very judicious in the use of your forces. While I like the premise of the game and how quickly it flows, and I absolutely love the miniatures and the fluff, I think the rules could be a little more streamlined in terms the number of weapons and abilities available. I can see that this game will take a little while to get the hang of, as opposed to Lasalle which I pretty much got on the first try. Having said that, I think skirmish games work well in the sci-fi setting because you can have all kinds of neat weapons and toys that give it a lot of flavour.

Picture showing the heavily protected position of the Combined Army

Hassassin and Yu Jing forces take cover ready to assault

Snipers in the towers rain down some damage on the attackers
The Yu Jing remote is taken out early due to sniper fire
The Hassassin Ragik tries to land on the tower but misses and lands in open ground under fire.
On the other flank 'Hassan' the Haqqislam infantry support hears some rumbling on the buses behind him
Too late for Hassan, as he is hacked to pieces

To add insult to injury the infiltrator impersonates Hassan

Meanwhile the Yu Jing Lieutenant makes a bold and aggressive move on the bunker, and is shot down

Hassan's brother, Ali, sees fire from another bunker and puts his Panzerfaust to work

And blows it up! He has yet to learn of the fate of his brother
There was quite some more action that I didn't capture, the Haqqislam/YuJing forces. The YuJing infiltrator got past the main line and caused some havoc behind enemy lines but was cut down.  Despite their progress in knocking out the some of the defendors the cost was too high and the sniper fire prevented effective movement. The Combined Armies held out on this occasion and we called it a night. All in all it was a fun game, the game tends to produce some really cinematic sequences that are fun, the brutal death of Hassan being one of the examples.

Monday, 9 January 2012

The Solomons Campaign – Turn 1

This past weekend, me and a friend of mine started The Solomons Campaign from ODGW, using GQ3 to resolve tactical combat. I have been on a WW2 naval bend for a little while and decided on 1/6000 scale ships for the sake of space, convenience and cost. I’ve also been craving a campaign of some sort for a while. I tried a foray into board games last year but they just don’t capture my imagination the same way table top wargaming does. I really like the way TSC is set up and plays out, it took us some time to work out the sequence and to fix a few errors but now that we have it figured it I’m looking forward to the rest of the campaign.

We started the campaign with the assumption that the Savo Island occurred and used the historical results.
Date: August, 1942
Weather Forecast : Moderate
The Japanese forces in Rabaul are forced support operations in New Guinea and therefore have fewer naval assets at their disposal to support the Guadalcanal effort. The Americans have no choice but to run a supply mission to support their Marines holding Henderson airfield. 
Both the Americans and Japanese sortie a carrier group but neither side has any luck in finding the other and the carrier exchange is inconclusive.
The Japanese send a powerful bombardment force to suppress Henderson Airfield, the Americans respond in kind with their own bombardment force. The American force is unable to locate the enemy and the Japanese effectively suppress the Cactus airforce. The Americans do, however, successfully get their supply lines to the island to provide some relief to the poor shell shocked Marines.
Due to the diversion of the Rabaul assets the Japanese did not get a chance to supply their troop build-up on Guadalcanal, but they did get the Junyo, Hiryo and Ryujo.
The first turn didn’t see any surface or air action as both sides shored up their positions or were unsuccessful in their attempt to intercept the other side.
A couple of my own comments on the campaign: we were pretty unlucky in our rolls for the carrier on carrier action and for the bombardment intercepts. We both had a thirst for combat and it’s good to see that both of us were fairly aggressive but I think the campaign should provide a higher probability of engagements occurring (but maybe they’re more accurate this way). Because there were no surface engagements we had time to play through half of the Turn II, where another carrier engagement occurred and the first die roll would have ended the battle but in the interest of blowing things up we decided to ignore it and re-roll. The second turn also set up a surface combat that will be interesting to play out.
Since there were no surface actions to speak of here are some pics of my fleets:

IJN Fleet

USN Fleet

US Destroyers

US Heavy Cruisers

Saturday, 7 January 2012

First Game of Lasalle - Russian vs French

I have been slowly buying up a painted Russian Grenadier Division from my friend at the local club, and I finally have enough for a brigade plus support, with the exception of the artillery. This was my first crack at Sam Mustafa’s Lasalle rules.
The battle was a French division attacking a village held by the Russians. The Russian plan was to anchor their defense around the town and whittle down the rest of the French with my overwhelming artillery advantage. In the end the French were able to maneuvre through around the town through a patch of woods that covered their advance and overwhelm the Russian defences. The French Dragoons dueled the Russian Cuirassiers on the far Russian right and with the French breaking through on all sides we decided to call the game for the French. I think the deciding factor was my complete misuse of my artillery and never really got a good shot off with them.
As for my impressions of Lasalle, I find the rules streamlined and straightforward while producing good and realistic results. The turn sequence takes some getting used to but I like it because it forces you to do some planning. The other players at our club found the victory conditions lacking and produced their own victory point system that can be found here:
While I like Lasalle, I would like to play a Napoleonic game on a slightly larger scale, perhaps corps or even army level, and I would like to see some more advanced C&C and battlefield friction elements. But I understand that those aren't in Lasalle's scope so I think the game does what it aims to do perfectly well. So while I like the game and will continue to play it I don’t think it’s THE Napoleonic that I want. I really like Sam’s ideas that he put into Maurice and were originally planned for Blucher so I think I will continue to play and build my forces and playing Lasalle while I wait for the next installment of the Honour series. Other Napoleonic games that I may want to try are Black Powder and Le Feu Sacre, the only problem is that I don’t like reading rules.
Enough of my rambling here’s the eye candy, the miniatures are mix of AB and minifigs in 15mm. All of the miniatures on the table were painted by my friend and his blog can be found at