Saturday, March 20, 2010

Gamers Unite

How lucky are we here in Adelaide when in the usualy drum roll of politicians heading to our state election there's a wee political party of GAMERS who are standing for election as GAMERS?! Funniest thing, they're getting more votes than predicted. For me, the way these fairly smart lads and lassies are directing their preferences isn't too far from the way I would do, and the closest to my view of things of all the parties, so is actually easyish for this little gamer to give them a tick.

I mean, seriously, if the Attorney General in your state said that he felt more under threat from gamers than from bikers, wouldn't you want to vote for them?

If you're interested, here's prbly the most complete blurb I've yet found with these guys explaining what they're about. By the way, their preferences (determined after the interview) went green.

Seriously weird. If it wasn't real I'd say you'd be joking!

End of political hacking, I'll let you know the results of the vote down the track when they roll in but will revert to my more usual apolitical self for future posts.

Happy gaming.

Friday, March 12, 2010

World Day against Cyber Censorship

March 12th is the World Day against Cyber Censorship. The fact you are reading this says that you enjoy the benefits of access to the web. We use it to pursue our passions, our hobbies, our games. The community we forge is real. In the broad community of netizens around the globe there are growing numbers of people locked away in countries throughout the world for online reportage and networking activities. Not that that will likely involve the readers of this blog in the foreseeable future, but who knows what the future holds?

In Australia we are about to get a government run filtering system to block sites the administrators deem 'unsuitable'. No choice. And in South Australia we will be losing access to many games as our Attorney General refuses to participate in a national classificatory scheme for the hardcore games (the 'R' rating). Not that I particularly like most of those games, but if they get away with this, what next? Social networking sites? Militaristic hobbyists? Who knows? If you recall the various panic waves and crusades against Dungeons and Dragons you'll know that the most innocent of activities can lead to crazy situations if the censors move in.

To show how ridiculous it can get even in this 'civilised age,' in an election campaign occurring here and now our Attorney General has been publicly grabbing headlines saying he is more at threat from 'gamers' than from 'bikies' (against whom he has passed anti-association laws). The logical next step would be to stop gamers from associating, and then what would we do?

Anyway, to break the non political nature of this blog for this one day of the year, I just wanted to spread the word and ask everyone to think for a moment of the joys we have with a web on which we can write what we want and read as we feel. And to cherish that.

If you're interested, check out the site of Reporters without Borders (Reporters sans frontiers).

If you wonder why I'm posting this, my beloved country is now being ranked with various totalitarian states such as China, Iran, etc because of the internet filtering 'service' our government is about to ram down our throats. It has me rather upset. Back to normal transmission after this post...

Monday, March 08, 2010

The Claws of the Tiger

The Claws of the Tiger is a simple East Front scenario I just completed with Rick from the Blitz site. 10 turns, complexity 2. Russian armoured battalion with 2 attached submachine gun coys advances on Gertova, must surmount german roadblocks to do so. German has a company dug in across the road after it crests a rise, and a couple tiger platoons coming up from the west (with a PzIV platoon in support). I was the axis.

I sent my tigers around western flank to hit russian in his side as he bogged in front of my roadblocks (1). PzIV around the north to support lone AT gun protecting a lateral road, hopefully to buy enough time for me to work out something if this was the main axis of russian advance (2).

Russian sent his main force on a tactical flanking mission on the main roadblock (1), two coys of tanks and the infantry. He detatched a company of T34s to try (unsuccessfully) to hold my tigers off the flank of his main force (3).

The tigers played merry hell with any russians that remained visible on the crest or who tried to work around their own flanks. The PzIV skirmished with a russian recce, then fell back in case needed to fight delaying actions. When realised didn't need to, came back to hit the main russian effort to the east of the roadblock. Meanwhile, the infantry defending the roadblock slowly withdrew under close pressure in the surrounding woods to the main positions on the road (3). Although they had all nearly run out of ammo by game end, they didn't break. Their attached AT guns swept the open area in front of the trenches, preventing russian tanks charging across the open to hit the germans in the flank while engaged by the russian infantry coming through the woods (2).

Game end, major victory to the axis. Russian managed to throw his main weight against my main positions, which was bound to be a tough call. Suspect Rick not yet worked out the true value of SMG squads he had. I was worried enough by his recce on my left flank to pull back the PzIV as well as pull platoons out of the main line to guard the rear objectives in case that turned out to be his main thrust. Luckily for me, not to be.

To show the lineage of the game we play now (Matrix version of Talonsoft's East Front II), this scenario was designed by Don Greenwood, who was a play tester (?) in the old Avalon Hill Squad Leader board game. IN fact, this scenario is based on the Squad Leader scenario, "The Tiger's Paw."

AAR - March to the Front

My first foray into an official game on the Blitz Ladder resulted in a Major Victory. I don't know if I'll always do an After Action Report, but thought I would for this at least. To left is a 2D version of the map used. Highlighted with MS Paint are main axes for German and Russian.

1 Inf Coy with MG support advance into village against russian opposition of aprox 1 battalion and initial light tanks forces. The bulk of the russian infantry retreated back to Andrey, the tanks also. The Gn Coy spent the last half of game securing against a lone russian company at the top of the farm and lining the orchards to the East (1a), threatening to adv to the town while securing against a counter attack.

2 Inf Coy secure initial deployment site, maintain artillery observations from hill top (2a) and then advance to take half of the next state farm. Advanced about 3 kms in the open, through hill, ravine, mines, artillery against russian battalion. The number '2' also shows the location of where I parked onboard artillery battalion.

3 Last Inf Coy of the 1st Battalion, assist to clear up harassing activities of Russ armoured cars during deployment turns, then advance to seize road junction behind russian tank penetration. Finish game holding southern flank against light russian pressure.

4 Tank Company, 3 platoons of PzIIIs, one of PzIIs (HQ). Delay initially to clean up russian rear raiders (4a), detach one platoon to bolster defences of state farm (4c) and hold the central approaches (4b). This last also cleaned up the russian armoured penetration of the mid game after they came north (rather than keep going to my undefended rear lines).

While I'm on the subject of 4b, I should speak a little about the impact of air power in the scenario. I tried to use my single air attack early in the game when could see russian armoured reinforcements arriving (southern point of R1). For some reason (probably the spotting unit becoming disrupted) the mission didn't arrive and was canceled (not replaced with another). The russian flew in one air support mission, it struck my PzII HQ tank as it moved up to support the first two platoons on the central corridor. One of those platoons and the commander had, coincidentally, just moved from the spot as the PzII arrived. Loss of its company HQ platoon makes it more difficult for a platoon to recover from disruption so I played my armour different from that point.

5 Battalion of infantry reinforcements, sweep around to secure northern hill line (5a), block off threatened armoured sweep (5b) and threaten to take northern state farm (5c).

As to the Russian, he was pushed back to defending the Eastern half of the map. R1 shows the general flow of his reinforcements, which I think were pouring into defending the high VP township against my 'threatened' assaults. The greatest threat he made was the penetration of an armour company (R2). Lucky for me he swung this north to its eventual destruction at the hands of my PzIIIs, rather than keep going west and clean up my artillery which was undefended and scrambling to limber up as he approached within a couple hexes (was hidden from him by buildings). That took nerves.

Was a great game. Although the last 4 of 16 turns were a bit of a german procession, until my Pz IIIs had cleaned up the armour penetration I had the feeling that it could have bogged into a draw as I had no reserves and everything was committed. The grand deception of threatening the township (never in my sights) was perhaps what saved me.

The wrap up was Major Victory to the Axis. On the Blitz ladder we have both moved out of Bootcamp with the completion of our first ladder game.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Dice Roller

As we draw to the end of the game in the Marching to the Front scenario the mind turns to the next one. In choosing the next East Front scenario, we have a list of them in historical order and are playing through from the start, randomly selecting the next from the list according to a 1D6 roll (re rolled if it is too one sided, too big, played before, etc). So, here was I, sending of the last turnfile to my opponent looking at the list of scenarios in late 1941, and I couldn't find a dice. Shame on me.

So, I used this handy dice roller. I've put in my sidebar for easy reference.

Saturday, March 06, 2010


I've just added Lair of the Ubergeek to my blogroll. Great miniatures wargaming site by a dude with a sense of humour. Terrain, models, after action reports, nice photos, enough personal posts to humanise the author, and not too highly stressed.

While I'm praising blogs, check these cartoons out at Iron Mitten, 'Judgement Day' and 'Brits Abroad.' Excellent work!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010


I've joined The Blitz Wargaming Club, an online community which has been helping fans of various combat strategy games (eg. Campaign Series (East and West Front, Rising Sun) and The Operational Art of War, etc). It has 'ladders', and seems to neatly link up players for games against each other by PEBM. It's been going over 10 years in its current guise and has some very dedicated gamers. A lot of scenario design, and history stuff in the background. I actually joined a few days ago, but only just started my first actual 'ladder' game.

It's a 1941 East Front scenario, 'Marching to the Front' (complexity of four). Late October and Barbarossa is running out of steam as winter approaches. It's the grab to secure the food and position in open cultivated plains scarred by small ravines and state farms, before the snow closes in. I won't say too much more here about the game until the scenario is properly decided for fear of giving too much away.

Sorry, lizard king :)