Monday, 23 January 2012

Boot Camp Continues

   For the third week in a row, a portion of the Hamilton Road Gaming Group practiced their Disposable Heroes skills. Andy and I faces off (Soviet Russians vs. German SS) in an experimental match. Robby faced Tyler (Americans vs. Germans) while Martin and DJ did a training scenario (Sikhs vs. Canadians.) Actually Robby and Tyler got two games in. Our restriction was 1000 points on a side, which might include vehicles. My wife and daughter ate lunch with us and then went to the London Dog Show. More on that later.
   Tyler and Robby had two close fought games, Robby's M4 Sherman dying in both outings.

Robby's GI's take cover behind the stone walls and among the dogs.

This dog show "the better part of valour."
(There's a theme developing here.)

Tyler's 8cm mortar doing what it usually does - NOTHING!

Andy and I tired an experiment. He'd been reading an article on the ability of better trained/veteran troops to make better use of cover. He came up with a fairly simple way to do that, using small chips showing the movement of the element. (sneaking/standing still in cover = -2 DM to enemy fire, Maneuvering = -1 DM, running = 0 DM, elite troops = +1 DM additional) The background for this was the idea that paratroops/rangers/commandos/Panzer Lehr were as easy to spot and hit as Home Guard/Volksturm. This didn't seem right to Andy and DJ agreed. I was willing to experiment. It worked to an extent, although it slowed the game down to a degree. The chips helped to keep track. More on this later as well.

We chose a fairly congested urban fight. Houses by the Dollar Store;
cobblestone square from Christmas village supplies at Canadian Tire;
fountain/monumnt is a Roman soldier atop a plactic communion cup in
a medicine bottle top. The Pz. IV was a wreck so it was scenery.

Andy's Russians pinned in a house.

Martin's Soviet appartment block. "Such a view, Tovarich!"

A lone LMG was actually in the house. Photos of the new SS figs in
"Erbsenmuster" cammo togs are to come later.

Soviet  house party! I got slapped around in the large  ruin.
It was a knife fight.

My MG-42 team in that two-storey ruin.

The Russian 76mm AT gun which ventilated a house or two... and a squad.

The mobile artillery... which didn't move all game. Why should it?

The Maxim team hiding and damaging my morale. The chip shows the
element is in "cover" with a +2 DM meaning those firing at them fired at a
further -2 to their accuracy. Nice figs in any case.

Well, I lost. That's not unusual; I lose far more often than I win. (A spiritual director once told me "Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.") but it wasn't all in vain.

Lessons learned:
  • Elite troops are great, but EXPENSIVE. My 1000 points of SS was 'way out-gunned by the less-expensive and therefore, more numerous Soviets. Lots more rifles, HMG's, armour, and artillery for the same amount of points. My morale was better but morale doesn't turn away bullets in this game. This is one of the reasons for our experiment.
  • The jury is still out on our experiment. It worked and has value, but it slowed the game down noticibly. There is also the inescapable equation of combat: more shooters = more hits = more casualties. An expensive SS Sturmmann/Guard Grenadier/Paratrooper can be laid low by a shot from a Volksturm/militiaman/conscript just as easily as from a trooper of equal game morale quality. Quality will make the difference in equal numbers... but remember "Patton's Law": There are more Shermans than Panthers here, and more on the boat. We're going to continue the experiment later. {I hope this experiment is not taken as dissatisfaction with the Iron Ivan rules. We're just trying something. Who knows? Maybe the game designers tried the same thing and rejected it?}
  • The dog theme continued. Dogs ran all over Robby and Tyler's game. Beth and Katie went to the dog show. Later that evening, we received our first foster dog, Dakota. He was rescued from the local pound and had been placed in a home that didn't work out. Now we're part of the rescue movement in this area. So here he is:


Next week, we cannot attend the Gaming Club. It is the annual meeting of the King's Company of Historical Reenactors so we'll gather for meeting, drill, and lunch at the Elgin Regiment's Armory in St. Thomas, ON.


  1. Nice looking game!! The tank looks excellent!

  2. Thanks, Ray. That KV-1 is from Andy's collection. Congratulations on your 500th follower!

  3. I like the "Troop Quality" modifier idea - I think it has merit. Maybe you just need to try a different mechanism to make it work better? I think Experienced troops SHOULD be more difficult to hit - they SHOULD know how to hide better, make better use of the terrain, not stick their heads out unnecessarily, etc. Thanks for the Boot Camps!

  4. Here is another idea to represent experienced troops better use of terrain. Shooting as per rules, then reduce the number of hits by a set number; 1 if stationary and another 1 if in cover, then roll for wounds again per the rules.

    1. Rich, your idea has a lot of merit. That may be our next experiment.