Sunday, April 30, 2006

East Front II update

One of my favouritest ever computer games is Talonsoft's East Front II. Although it is now getting quite old (seven years?!) they certainly got it right as a good computer sim that comes closish to the Squad Leader experience. Very good fun with another serious gamer if you have the time to play through a game, or meet often enough to enable enough frequency of turns that the game won't lose momentum. It is involved enough that you don't want to wait too long between turns.

Anyway, Wayne and I are looking at playing it by email, now that he is connected. We are just working out the file protocols etc, and then I can look forward to the computer age's closest aproximation to the classic wargames experience without the downloading and mucking around with beta versions of simulation software.

PF - Mission success

In Pacific Fighters I finally flew the first mission of Squadron 30'2 campaign well enough for it to be applied as a success. I managed to shoot down three fighters, destroy 3 AA guns, five cars and two ships (freighters). I flew most of the mission with a cockpit view and map, and the difficulty level is set at 'easy'. Never-the-less, and not just because of the glitch (see previous post), there is a deal of satisfaction in the victory.

The next mission is a scenic flight along the southern face of the Owen Stanleys from Port Moresby to Milne Bay. Will be interesting.

Pacific Fighter glitch

I have found a fustrating bug in Pacific Fighters. In the first mission of the campaign based upon Squadron 30 (RAAF Beafighters, New Guinea, 1942), the rest of the flight crashes into a cliff face before they've gotten half way to the target (Buna airfield). That makes it fairly difficult for one's surviving beafighter to work its way through AAA defences to score sufficient hits on transport assets to enable the mission to be a 'success'.

Upon reading reviews, it appears that this bug is not peculiar to my experience of the game. You'd think that in such a generally brilliant game, such glitches wouldn't find their way into the final product...

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Friend on line

My 'son in law' is now on the web and is a keen gamer, so we are looking forward to playing East Front online and various other things (perhaps cyberboard versions of all the games we wished we had time to play even before kids and other associated interuptions to quality gaming time arrived). Will keep you updated.

Easter Presents - Pacific Fighters and Ghost Recon Expansions

My 'Easter Present' this year was a couple of computer games, Pacific Fighters (Ubisoft, 2004, realistic combat flight sim) and the Gold Edition of Ghost Recon (2001, with expansion disks of Desert Seige and Island Thunder, first player special forces shoot 'em up). So guess what I've been doing since Easter?

That has, of course, impacted upon my painting schedule, which has ground down back to stationary. I managed to paint up all of my new vehicular and ordinance elements (exception: london bus, horse and cart, Bf 109s). I have also painted most of the bases of all the painted troops in a matt green. Previously, they were painted with an impossible to replace Prussian Green acrylic, didn't look good (way too dark) and couldn't replace the bottle when it ran out. The next two steps in the project will be to complete the base painting, and then matt varnish the entire army.

That still leaves me the following to paint:

2 Bf 109s
Horse and Cart
Half company mounted troops
2 Battallions soft hatted troops
3 Battallions helmeted troops
1 Machine Gun Battalion
1 Carlist Company
6 Flag Groups.

That should give me something to do over winter ...

And, I found my tractor!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Possible rules changes and painting update.

I am thinking of some rule modifications (after a hiatus of over a month from thinking of such things) for my 6mm SCW rules. Firstly, simplify written text - to something I won't feel a need to explain when it gets put up on the web for the public to access. Secondly, alter a few of the mechanics, and their limitations, to more reflect what I want to draw out of the SCW.

Examples of the later include, adding limitations to who can combine with who into a fire group. For example, small arms can't support MGs, though MGs can support small arms, similarly with armoured vehicles and ordinance, and these weapons able to support any number of attacks - the point of this being to make support weapons be used more as such. Similarly, I am thinking of making it a bit difficult for units from different formations, nationalities and troop types to combine into groups - reflecting command and control difficulties of the war.

Related to this last, I am thinking of a way that will enable a bit more continuity of command mobility without removing entirely the quandaries my present system of command points imposes upon play.

I also want to make artillery a bit more of an area affect weapon, with barrages in a boxed area rather than the present blast radius (circular).

Finally, I also want to look at the interaction between my Unit sizes and the limit on the number of supporting fire elements that can increase an element's attack percentages.

I did think of changing the single dice theory of rolling to a standard 'two dice' roll, but on reflection I think I like the straight line probability of the later as opposed to the bell curve of the former. It makes dice modifiers a bit easier to quantify.

In terms of painting, I am painting my Condor units up - 5 Pz Is, 1 Pz II, 1 T 26, 2 light trucks, kubelwagen up in a 'panzer grey' (with 'dark brown' camo striping on the AFVs). I have done all of the grey and brown, it is now down to doing the detail (tracks, tyres, canvas, guns, people).

Monday, April 03, 2006

Forces to be painted

The forces I undercoated are composed as follows. All are from the Irregular Miniature range, available from Eureka Models in Melbourne. (I seem to have lost my artilery tractor!)

2 x Bf109 planes

2 x Light trucks
2 x Hvy trucks

3 x Hvy Artillery pieces (WWI German and British Field Guns)

1 x Bus (Double Decker)
1 x Horse and Cart

1 x Kubelwagen
3 x Pz I
1 x Pz II (I remember reading of a sighting of one in late in the war)
2 x BT5
2 x T26
2 x Pulnitov Aroured Cars (with 2 turrets each!)

3 Battalions of Helmeted troops, each composed of 12 stands
2 Battalions of capped troops, each composed of 12 stands
6 Flag stands (Battalion HQs)
13 Single Figure stands (Co HQs)

4 x 'Maqui' (WWII) stands (envision as becoming Carlist fanatics)
10 x HMGs (will use generic figures and paint to provide alternate crews for helmeted/capped formations, depending which side they are fighting for)

A can of Tamiya undercoat

I haven't posted all through March! That's a bit of a surprise. Anyway...

Today I was finally able to get a spraycan of primer. I have a significant number of miniatures waiting to be painted, for which they require undercoat. It conincided with my wife moving all her stuff out of 'my' gaming room - she had borrowed it to finalise her paperwork at the end of her PhD. So, I was able to use the last hour of light after work (daylight saving ended yesterday) to spray all my unpainted figures. Not that I intend to paint them all in one big marathon, but it is good to have all of them done so that I will be able to paint when the whim takes me over the coming season.

The Tamiya undercoat was all that was available, it seems that Modelmaster don't get stocked anywhere any more. So, it's a bit of a gamble because I didn't have very good experience with Tamiya the last time I used it. Still, it gave a good even coat this time. The question will be how much the can clogs by the time I next use it.