Saturday 16 February 2013

Something Fishy!

A set of Cod War models on Shapeways and a chance remark on TMP and now here I am busy looking to adapt my "Cod War" rules for the Canadian-Spanish "Turbot War" of the mid-1990s. Yes, there really was one:

Wiki Link

Yes, back in 1994 Canada and Spain nearly came to blows over fishing rights on the Grand Banks. The EU staunchly backed the Spaniards, In true EU style the UK and Ireland came out in favour of the Canadians and for a while British and Irish fishing boats flew Canadian flags in sympathy with their friends across the Atlantic. Although the extent of the confrontation was fairly limited there is considerable scope for Cod War style "engagements" between the Canadian Coast Guard, Spanish (and other European) trawlers and OPVs of the Spanish Navy.

Provided I stick with the simple coast guard / trawler / OPV kind of "action" this should be fairly straightforward to do. Sourcing the models may be a bit more tricky without having to spend gazillions on something from Navis or another of the European 1/1250 collectors manufacturers. Still, its a challenge!

I'm also hoping that, since that nice Mr Decapod is making a couple of sets of Cod War ships to use with my rules for that conflict, that he might also decide to do some Japanese whalers and a Greenpeace ship or two - fingers crossed!

Thursday 14 February 2013

Steamer Wars (1)

As is pretty normal for a wargamer, my attention has been drawn by an old project and a long-lost book in the book case. In this case the book is "The Phantom Flotilla" by Peter Shankland, and the project is the set of Lake Tanganyika steamers and gunboats available via Shapeways from North Head Miniatures. Over the last few weeks I've painted up the models and scratch built a few extra craft, including the Belgian gun barge "Dix Tonne", the Belgian motor gunboat "Netta" and a variety of small craft.

 Over the last few days I've been sketching out a set of fast play rules, the aim being to be able to run a small one day campaign for 2-3 players. Today I gave the rules their first outing. The scenario was based on the encounter between the German gunboat Hedwig von Wissman and the British motor boats Mimi and Toutou. I played this as a surprise encounter, and things went pretty much according to reality. In my refight the Wissman decided to open her arcs so as to bring her bow guns into play as well as a machine gun. range advantage meant she opened fore well before the British boats were able to respond, but the small size of the targets meant she was unable to secure any hits in the opening phase of the action. As the range closed both sides scored hits and near misses. Toutou suffered minor hull damage from a near miss, and both boats were showered with splinters on several occasions. But a shell from Mimi hit the German's engine room and slowed her considerably. Toutou scored a lucky machine gun hit on the hapless German's engine which left her dead in the water and at this point the nimble British gunboats got in behind the German's stern. The German engineer was not giving up the ship though, and managed to restart the engines, although only making a paltry 2 knots. The game was up shortly thereafter though as a shell from Toutou knocked out the Wissman's machine gun, whilst  a burst of MG fire from Mimi cut down the crew of the port bow gun. With the ship slowed, damaged and unable to keep the British boats away from her vulnerable stern the captain of the Wissman decided that discretion was the better part of valour and struck his colours (morale test failed).

The rules seemed to work well, with a few minor amendments made as I went along. Next plan - to knock up some of the larger Belgian vessels that were on the lake in 1914 and try out some "big ship" actions and actions against shore batteries!

Tuesday 12 February 2013

A long time ago, in a pub far, far away.......

We gave X Wing a bash at the Berkeley vale club last night, with Shaun, Alan, Graham and myself fighting through three battles. A little later than planned due to various domestic incidents at Chez Pony, and I did forget to bring a cloth for the table (which led to a few minor "slippage" issues) but eventually we got going.

Mission 1 - A straight fighter sweep - Graham and Shaun taking Luke Skywalker and Biggs Darklighter in a pair of X Wings against Alan and I driving some bizarrely named basic TIE fighter jocks. A closely fought battle that led to the eventual defeat of the Rebel Scum (poor Biggs!).

Mission 2 - As with "Wings of War" I think the game works better if there is a proper mission element to it. So this time we added a ship needing escort.
In this case an Imperial shuttle, stolen by the Rebels, which needed time to get its hyperdrive up to speed before it could make the jump to lightspeed ands safety. To do this the shuttle had to survive for five turns. this then gave the Impy players a choice - concentrate fire on the shuttle and risk destruction by the X Wings, or blow away the fighters but risk the shuttle getting away. In this action we went for a combination of the two, but with the shuttle as the primary target. Nearly got it too, by the end of turn 5 its shields were down and it was down to a single damage point. But it was still structurally OK and had  a working hyperdrive so it escaped to victory. Graham's "Biggs" not so lucky though, blown away for the second game in a  row.

Mission 3 - we swapped sides for this, with Alan taking Luke Skywalker's X Wing (I can see the resemblance, really) whilst I drove Biggs' "laser magnet" (he has a special ability which allows him to draw fire away from other friendly ships)  and the shuttle, and Shaun and Graham took on the role of the evil empire. and it looked as though the Rebels were going to do it again, especially when Shaun's two TIE Fighters were blown away in quick succession by Biggs and the shuttle (damage dice from all players was pretty darned good in this game), but alas the close confines in which the battle was fought forced Alan Skywalker away from the action for  a brief time.
brief, but just enough time to allow Graham Vader's fighters to get in tight behind the shuttle and vaporise it with some spectacularly good last-turn shooting.

Post battle analysis - everyone seemed pretty happy with the game and it looks like we may be on for a rematch next week. The shuttle escape scenario looks like it works well with a 5 turn limit. we had  a better appreciation of the special abilities that pilots have this time around - they can certainly make a difference! And there was  a call for more ship types, which I am happy to oblige.

Steve will be pleased to see that, at no time, did either a Y Wing or an Ion cannon make an appearance :)

Thanks to Alan, Shaun and Graham for coming along.