Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Logo and Color Change

Yesterday sucked. Work was an "interesting" day and my car broke down on the way home. Well, at least I wasn't killed by blue ice falling from an airliner passing overhead. I was able to work out some frustrations by designing a logo for this blog - finally moving off of the plain old styles that come with whatever brown-ugly template I was using.Today at lunchtime I was able to actually place the logo up on the blog.

I am from New Orleans and that is part of Louisiana's bayou I picked a "swamp font" for the logo and worked some style crap on it. The font's name is "it came from the swamp". Gators and algae are greenish, so I flipped around the colors a bit.

I may still tinker with the background of the text. We'll see. I like that parchment image. I may even tinker more with the background image.

Anyway...I was sick of the brown, sick of the day and could not sit and paint miniatures. Scotch and photoshop were the order of the evening.

Oh, the car is fine now. Timing belt broke. I was only a mile from home and on a back road...if it was going to break, that was a good time. Ten minutes earlier I was on I-25 in rush hour traffic. That would have sucked tenfold or more!

Monday, April 25, 2011

US Infantry for Vietnam

OK, I was able to complete a US Infantry Platoon for Forgotten Heroes this weekend. Here they are, they paint up pretty fast. The figures are from Battlefront's Vietnam range.

3 Squads, Company Commander and Hal Moore

Hal Moore

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Vietnam M113's

Ben! I got all of our M113's finished up! Here are some pics for you to see...we have 16 M113 vehicles. 8 that are straight infantry carriers, 4 that are the ACAV variant and 4 that are the mortar carriers. Exactly half of those are yours - unless you are still undecided on if you want half of the infantry carriers. If you're undecided, then take them anyway - happy (late) birthday, you owe me nothing. If you don't want them, i am sure someone in the club would buy them, or I may just keep them.



Mortars (M125s?)

Mortars (M125s?)

4 of the M113 Carriers

4 of the M113 Carriers

The other 4 of the M113 Carriers

The other 4 of the M113 Carriers

Abstract Tournament Campaign with DBN

The context of this article is related directly to DBN gaming, but the concepts would be applicable to more than that particular set of rules.

The idea is to run a tournament, either at a convention-event or a couple of consecutive Sunday meetings, where the tournament took on a little more meaning than just your personal scores by adding the notion of an abstract campaign.

The campaign tournament is similar to a typical DBX tournament where numerous two-player games occur. However, within the context of an abstract campaign a player’s force can grow, shrink or even improve or degrade during the campaign based upon the outcomes of a player’s individual battles. Those outcomes also determine which “team” is winning the campaign.

Getting Going
When the players have been determined, divide them into two teams. One team is “France and its Allies” and the other team is “The Allied Coalition”. The nationalities and army lists for each team are obvious in the context of various points within the Napoleonic period.

Each player chooses an appropriate nationality within those available to his team and creates a 12-point army with which to begin the campaign. Use the following points chart and the army lists in the rules to build your army:
  • Command Element: 0 Points (1 allowed per army in beginning)
  • Baggage Element: 0 Points (1 allowed per army)
  • Horse Artillery Element: 1.5 Points
  • Linear Fortifications Element: 0.5 Points
  • All Other Element Types (Infantry, Cavalry, Foot Artillery, etc.): 1 Point
  • Element Graded as Elite: + 0.5 Points (Allowable only if in army list)
  • Element Graded as Militia or Irregular Cavalry: - 0.5 Points (Allowable only if in army list)
  • Element Graded as Old Guard: + 1 Point (Allowable only if in army list)
  • Upgrade Command Element to “Good” (+1 PIP Bonus): 1 Point
  • Downgrade Command Element to “Poor” (-1 PIP Penalty): -1 Point

With the last two options, a player can decide to begin with fewer elements than normal but enjoy a command bonus. Or suffer a command penalty, but enjoy additional soldiers in the army (because you have an extra point to spend).

Rather than typical tournament games where there really is no scenario being played, I’d prefer to invest a little time into creating scenarios. For example, let’s say there would be four scenarios – each with a pre-determined terrain set-up. Perhaps, for the sake of conversation, we can say that the scenarios are “meeting engagement”, “flank attack”, “holding action” and “break-out”. Scenarios could get creative where appropriate – allowing for things like ambushes, reserves, allied support, field works, etc.

Having the terrain pre-determined on each scenario speeds the gaming along since there would be no manipulation of the terrain between games.

As I mentioned earlier, a player’s force is not a static “12 elements” during the campaign. So, we can use this as a device in the scenarios. For instance, in some scenarios the “attacker” could be the player with the largest army or the player with the most cavalry. When conditions are equal the typical die-roll can be the determining factor I who is the attacker and defender.

Scenarios could have special scoring circumstances in addition to the normal scoring process. So, perhaps a player scores 1 point for each enemy element destroyed during the game and 2 points for winning the battle. Then any scoring for special scenario rules would also be added. Perhaps the army that holds specific positions also receives 1 point per position. Your imagination is the limit.

Sure, armies that change and non-standard scenarios may produce the occasional out-of-balance game. Not every single case would be a “fair fight” in the sense of typical (boring) tournaments. I say, good! What campaign in history is filled with fair fights where everything was equal for both sides in each battle? For the most part, battles will be pretty closely matched. We’re looking for fun and we’re looking for challenges, not cakewalks. 

Players are paired up in whatever manner is desired and matched to the scenarios. Like in the typical tournament format, it is wise to time each battle, perhaps 1 hour is allowed.

Battle Aftermath
Each scenario is scored and the campaign score is adjusted. Each battle won by a side advances a sliding-counter in their direction by a number of points equal to the difference in points of each battle. So, for example, during the first round of games the counter is at “zero”. After the first round of battles, the net difference in all of the scores of the battles fought favored the Coalition side by 3 points then the slider would move 3 ticks to the Coalition side – indicating that currently they are enjoying a minor campaign victory – hopefully motivating the French players to perform better in the next round.

After the campaign points are tallied, each player administers the aftermath of battle to his army.

Determine Status of Destroyed Elements
 For each element that was destroyed during the game, roll 1D6. On a result of 1 or 2, the element was in fact destroyed and is out of the campaign. On a result of a 3, the element does return to the army but was weakened by the losses and has a -1 for the next battle. If that element was unlucky enough to suffer the same fate in the next battle, the -1 would simply continue, we would not want a -2 element. If the result was a 4, 5 or 6 then the element returns to the army without ill effect. Perhaps it has been supplemented by a draft from the reserve battalion or the battle damage was more moral than physical.

Gods of War
It is possible, if the gods of war determine it to be so, that a player could have a lot of losses and end up with a small army. Like mentioned earlier, we’re looking for fun and challenges, not cakewalks. So, the campaign should have some mechanisms to counter extreme losses. The idea is to mitigate the effects of a player being reduced to a rump of an army – that is no fun at all.

Many things are possible. Players with small armies, let’s say with 8 or less elements, could always opt to be the defender and even claim a scenario bonus of adding fieldworks to their forces. Perhaps they could call for “allied support” and receive some free elements to add to their army – but at the cost of some campaign victory points. Maybe when determining after a battle losses no army could have more than 2 non-command elements lost.

Determine Status of Destroyed Command Elements
If a command element is destroyed during a game, roll 1d6. On a result of 1 or 2, the command element was destroyed and is out of the campaign. It is immediately replaced by a new command element. The new command element has no bonus or penalties. On a result of 3, the command element returns to the army but is weakened and suffers a -1 PIP penalty for the next battle. If the result was a 4, 5 or 6 then the element returns to the army without ill effect.

If desired, any replacement command element could begin with a bonus or a penalty. After all, casualties to command lead to promotions, and sometimes the new commander is found to be quite skilled. Of course, some new commanders are inefficient at the new level of responsibility. If this option is desired, roll 1d6 for the new commander. On a result of 1 the new commander has a -1 PIP penalty. On a result of 6 the new commander has a +1 PIP bonus.

Determine New Command Bonus or Penalty
During the course of a campaign, generals can get better or even lose ability. These things we attribute to the stresses of combat defining or reducing the character of a general.

If your general won the battle, roll 1D6. On a result of 5 or 6 the general receives either a PIP bonus of +1 or an increase of 3 inches to his command radius. This is the player’s choice to make. These bonuses can be cumulative during the campaign.

If your general lost the battle, roll 1d6. If the result is a 1 then the general receives a PIP penalty of -1. This penalty can be cumulative during the campaign.

Purchase New Army Elements
A player will typically earn points by winning a battle, but often even the loser of a battle can earn points. These points can be spent to add new elements to the player’s army or to improve the units currently in the army. The following actions are available:
  • Add a second Command Element: 1 Point
  • Add a Horse Artillery Element: 2 Points (Allowable only if in army list)
  • Add a Linear Fortifications Element: 1 Points (Allowable only if in army list)
  • Add Any All Other Element Type: 1 Point
  • Upgrade an existing “Regular” Element to “Elite”: 1 Point (Army List requirement is waived)
  • Upgrade an existing “Militia” or “Irregular Cavalry” Element to “Regular”: 1 Point
  • Add an Old Guard Element: 2 Points (Allowable only if in army list)

Big Battle
Big Battle DBN is a lot of fun. Not all, but certainly some playing formats would allow a big battle to occur pitting two players from one side against two players from another side. What interesting dynamics would be in play when two players on the same side have to look after the interests of their own army plus that of the overall campaign? “Hey Fred, why don’t you storm the hill with your infantry?” “Uh, no Bob, my army took a beating in the last battle…why don’t you storm the hill?!”

Maybe the best player on each side or the overall best player gets a prize? Maybe the winning side buys the losing side a round of Pepsi-colas?

We do play some tournaments within our club, and those tournaments are fun. I was thinking of ways to inject a little more fun and a little more incentive into those tournaments.

What thoughts can you share on this subject?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

NVA Roster

Just for grins, as it has been a while since I have drawn up an "army" in Piquet - and since I am painting NVA troops currently - I decided to draw up a quick Forgotten Heroes NVA force. The below force is representative of an NVA Infantry Company in 1969.

First, the leadership...

Next, the rank-and-file...

Sorta interesting. I seem to have rolled an inordinate amount of "green" units...but, that happens. One of the NVA infantry squads that happens to also be armed with RPG's is a green unit - could be interesting to see what rating they end up with during the fight. Likewise with the recoilless rifle unit!

OK, back to painting...

The First NVA

As the arriving Battlefront Vietnam stuff and my wallet's width decreases I did manage to crank out a few NVA.

We're playing Piquet Forgotten Heroes - and a "unit" is a squad in that game. A vehicle and individual elements of heavy weapons are also individual units as well. As a departure from typical Piquet where there are 4 infantry elements in a unit, we're following an adaptation learned from the world-famous Eric Burgess where the squad will be of 3 elements.

I am also following my brother's basing convention of 2 miniatures per element unless the element is special - like, it has an RPG or a LMG or is a heavy weapon.

OK, pics of the first batch...

Next week will bring in some Americans!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Vietnam Stuff

The first batch of my Vietnam stuff has arrived...with additional Vietnam stuff for my brother. These pictures are down & dirty snaps so that he can see what came in. Slicks, Hogs, M113 ACAV and M113 Mortar all came in...

Nice models actually. Battlefront is a total rip off, but are really nice looking...

Up first, a few shots of the vehicles on some terrain.

M113 ACAVs are next, other than another hit of the dullcote, this one is completed.

M113 Mortar carrier. Need to put the mud on it...

A slick...

A hog...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Dynamic Views for Blogger

Maybe you know, maybe you don't - but if you are using Google Chrome as your browser you can install a plug-in that creates dynamic views of the blogs you visit (if the blog is a "blogger" site). This makes viewing a blog a really fantastic experience!

Go here to get Chrome. Then go here to get the plug in. Once installed, and when you are on a Blogger site, you'll see this in the upper right of your browser...

When you choose one of the options, the display of the blog radically changes - and in so doing, makes the consumption of the blog really a wonderful experience. Seriously, if you frequent many blogs, do this, you'll love it. It is a great tool to explore the many posts of the blogs we love!

I'll show you some examples of what it looks like to convince you. I'll use my friend Greg's blog. I'll show the views I like most...starting with the "Flipcard" view.

In this view, each blog post is represented by an image that was in the post. If there was no image, then the title of the post is shown in a little gray box. If you hover your mouse over an image, it flips over and reveals the title of the post. Obviously, clicking the image (or gray box) takes you to the post itself. Awesome stuff.

If you like things a little tighter, then maybe the "Sidebar" view is for you?

Posts are neatly listed on the left and the selected post is displayed on the right. Click stuff to drill in. Sweeeeet. In similar style is the "Timeslide" view.

The more recent a post is the larger the display. You still get a nice view of titles and text of the bloggers most recent sharings. Click stuff to drill in. Waaaaay groovy.

I think my favorite is the "Snapshot" view.

In this view, which is very similar to the "Flipcard" view, you see all of the images from the posts (instead of just one) and you see the title of the post (no need to hover) and you see how many comments were made by viewers on the posts. Also, if you do hover over an image, you get a little preview of the text (see the first picture in the second row of the above image? That's the preview). Click stuff to drill in. Yeah!

Well, I hope you try this - I love it.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Curling Replaces Wargaming

I guess that I am going to switch this blog to an all Curling blog now, replacing this as a wargaming blog...since this past Friday and Saturday I had my first Curling lessons. Well, na, it will stay a wargaming blog, but you may have to put up with a curling posting or two or twenty.

Curling is a fun sport guys and gals. It really is. I had a blast this weekend doing it. So did Robin - she signed up for the lessons with me. We have one more class next Friday night and then a short "rookie league" of 4 curling nights. Robin is not going to join in for the league games but I am.

Me (third from left) and the wife (fourth from left)
So why not Robin? Well, the sweeping hurts her back too much - you really have to hunch over and make short hard sweeps. The mission of a sweeper - when called to sweep - is to melt the ice a little with the broom in order to make the rock travel a little further. You see the ice is not smooth like for skating, it has a "pebbly" surface on it created by spraying warm water on the ice.

I am really stoked that she wanted to do it, bummed that she can't continue it - but she is gonna go to all the games of course. She likes it.

I am fairly sore this morning after two consecutive nights of using muscles in odd ways. My arms hurt a little from sweeping and my left thigh is tight as it alone carries your body weight when delivering the rock. I like the sweeping aspect of things it is actually is a series good cardio workouts.

Robin took some pictures and video of Saturday night's practice time...

On the Hack

Delivered the Rock - Don't Slip!

Delivered the Rock - watching it go...

Sweep! Crossing the Hog Line

Swept it over the Hog Line. Into the House?
Here is some video Robin shot on Saturday night...the first video shows me delivering a rock into the House. Not bad for a rookie. Of course, far more of my rocks miss the house. I deliver it too fast and tried to spend time slowing my delivery - you can sweep a rock to travel further, but you really cannot slow it down. So, better to be slower and get into the house than too fast and miss it all. Interestingly enough, and I am sure things will change with more practice, I have a hard time getting the rock to the location the Skip points out...but...I can toss a takeout pretty well.

This video has me doing some sweeping (on the far sheet, I am in the gray sweatshirt).The Skip called for sweeping then you can hear him call "off" and we stop sweeping. Instead of continuing along with the rock and paying attention, I relax. Then the Skip calls for more sweeping and in my haste to get back on the broom I fall down. Oh, yeah, and Robin chuckles (you can hear her on the soundtrack).

Here's another where I get it in the house...far more don't than do for me...

Here is some video of me sweeping. The shooter is trying to do a takeout on the red rock in the House and actually throws a nice rock. I sweep it near the end to try to give it a little more speed. It hits the red rock but not enough to really move it and the yellow goes out of play.

OK, until next Friday night, no more curling...except in my thoughts!