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Friday, September 28, 2012

X-Wing at The Game Castle

 Ted brought his new starter set for X-wing (Fantasy Flight Games)  so we all decided to give it a try. Rob "Skywalker" and Darth Ted squared off while Rich coments that this is his new "favorite game." The Battle pitted one X-wing against Two TIE fighter Luke was the pilot of the X-wing and the TIEs had veteran pilots.
 The miniatures them selves are very nice, good detail and a nice paint job. The TIE Fighter may be a bit out of scale but this is really hard to judge in the movie.
 Movement is per-ploted then measured with sticks provied by the game as a result lots of bumping seemed to occur in Ted and Robs Game.  Rob defeated Ted killing both TIEs. I Played Ted next both of us using average pilots, Ted's TIE fighters looked like Swiss cheese by the end but my X-Wing was destroyed so win to Ted.

Caft stat will change based on the pilot and the example of Biggs Darklighter is provide above. I would play again. Cost for the game is about $40.00 US for the starter set which is reasonable, but expansion sets are $15.00 per ship.  The prices are higher than I would really like (compare to an expansion set of Angles 20 were I get three planes for $25.00) but if several people buy one ship each you could have some interesting Furballs, and on the plus side you know what you are buying.



Thursday, September 27, 2012

Plug For the Sudbury Company's Colonial Faire and Muster


The 2012 Sudbury Colonial Faire and Muster
This Saturday, rain or shine! 9-5
Come one come all!
Wayside Inn parade field, Sudbury, MA
 See their website for more information: http://www.sudburyminutemen.org/faire.htm

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Forts of the Caribbean (3) Nassau

Nassau has a number of forts in a fairly small area protecting the harbor sheltered by Hog Island, now know as Paradise Island (sight of the Atlantis Hotel). The structure above is Part of Fort Charlotte as seen from the sea.  The Fort was constructed in the 1780s in part because parts of Nassau were briefly captured by the Continental Navy and Marries (more on that latter)
This is a larger section of the fort including some modern modification (or so I believe) that probably date from the 19th century. the fort commands the entrance to the harbor opposite the light house on Paradise Island.
A shot of Fort Charlotte from the English Polo Club grounds as you can see its a commanding position form sea or land.  Taking this position by storm would be very difficult.
Above is Fort Montague captured by Continental Marines in the Battle of Nassau in March of 1776. This is the oldest of the forts around Nassau dating from 1740. Continental Marines captured the fort armed with 17 cannons (or posibly more as one article claims the US captured 46 guns) at the time. The mission was to capture gunpowder stored in Nassau but there was only a limited supply in Fort Montague the rest was in Fort Nassau (which no logger exists).  The Marines did not get the gun powder but they did take off the cannon and a large supply of cannon ball. 
Sea ward view of Fort Montague sight of the first amphibious operation by the US Navy and Marine Corps. The walls are too low to defend against a determined ground assault but the fort could protect the sea ward aproach to the eastern end of Nassau Harbor.
The most interesting fort on Nassau from a design stand is Fort Fincastle built in 1793.  The position over looks the modern Cruise terminal/Festival Plaza. This is the landward side the other sides are covered by steep hills.  Tourist books describe the fort as looking like a paddle wheel steamer. 
Here is I am in from of the business end of the fort over looking the harbor(I am strategically blocking the tourist kiosk) .  The fort was armed with two 32 pound Carronades, two 12 pound and 2 24 pound cannon. The Carronades are on the grounds in front of the fort. The large white tower is a water tower located behind the fort.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Forts of the Caribbean (2) Antigua/Tortoal

National Parks Antigua Website
I believe this is Fort Barrington on the south side of St. John's Harbor. The early morning mist obscures the picture. Good information on these forts and English Harbor can be found at http://nationalparksantigua.com/
Fort James Guarding the Northern Arm of harbor at St. John this for is open but I was unable to visit.
I have found no name for this fort in the inner harbor of St John Antigua clearly this for wast to provided shore defense for the town and to protect the inner harbor.
On the other side of the island is English Harbor Antigua Home of Nelson Dockyard. This was one of the Royal Navy's main basses in the Caribbean.
A Major fortification, fort Berkeley home to a battery of 25 heavy Cannons.  A boom of tree trunks and Chain would stretch across the harbor entrance to project the fleet. In the Foreground is the what I believe is the Yacht club, which was once a the Royal Navy Dockyard.
Not a fort but a Sugar Factory (latter Cotton) on Tortola. Until the 20th Century this location was on the waterfront. Now its a free museum located well in land with a lot of farming and industrial hardware and items salvaged from ship wrecks. Well worth the 45 minutes to an hour it takes to look around in.  I'll probably add interior pictures at some point. For more images and information see: http://www.bvi.org.uk/islands/museums and http://www.bvi.org.uk/files/sugarworks.pdf

Caribbean forts (1) St. Thomas US VI

Fort Christian,  Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas  the oldest standing structure in the Virgin Islands completed in 1672. Clock and upper tower was added in the second half of the 19th century.
Another view to give you an idea of its scale, its located on the waterfront in Charlotte Amalie it is well Placed to cover the anchorage though I do not believe it would would have much chance of preventing quick in and out raids by ships or boats.
The Fort was expanded and updated in the 18th Century. I do not know for sure but believe the pointed brick part of the Bastion is part of this expansion.
Sorry for the poor picture this is a shot of the outer defenses of the Harbor take at sun set as we were setting out. The bow of the Carnival Liberty can be seen for some scale. This battery is located on Hassle Island and is called Fort Willoughby here is a better picture
The fort was built by the British in 1802.










Monday, September 24, 2012

10K Views

OK I am going brag about my little piece of the internet. Today Fencing Frog passed the 10,000 views life time today and about 3,000 of those were in the last two months!

I am glad I am putting out something people like to read.

Thank you all!

The Image of Flames of War

Back from the Caribbean this was largely written before my trip but I did not wish to post until I got back.  More on the historic sights and fun of my vacation latter this week.

I posted some battle reports on the games played last Sunday at the Whiz and the link on my Facebook page received the following comment:

 ‎"...nice blog article. You are someone I think I'd like learning FoW with and playing FoW with. Some of the FoW players I've spoken to are rules lawyers and power-gamers, they exist everywhere I know, or tourney-centric. You're not that way."
While I will take praise anytime this characterization of Flames of War players struck me because 1) it not true in my experience and 2) I too held this sort of view of the game at one point especially were tournaments were concerned.

A little Personal history here.  I got introduced to FOW at the Whiz several years ago and got the open fire box set. I then played fairly regularly at 3Trolls on Saturdays and occasionally made the trip to the Whiz for open gaming on Sundays. I didn't really get in many FOW games at the Whiz but when I did I enjoyed the game but, I did occasionally over hear some people having conversation that went like this

Player 1:"You said you were trying to get ready for a Tournament I can't let you do that."
Player 2: "Grumble, Grumble" OK sorry!
I have no Idea what they were talking about I was busy playing Volley and Bayonet with Luke at the time.  Still not exactly encouraging.
Later I had a similar experience at 3Trolls when Dick (the store owner) lent out our normal Saturday gaming space(they have a single table for gaming) to a group of people who were preparing for Nationals. I watched the battle, it pitted Soviet and German infantry against each other.  The Germans had a trench line and basically mowed down the Soviets as they came on. There was no subtly, no maneuver, and no tactics involved. The game also looked like "no fun" the players didn't seem to enjoy the game either... after I talked to the soviet player and asked why he attacked with out softening up the position with Artillery? His answer was some thing like "you don't have time you just have to attack in a tournament."

So that was early experience with Flames of War and its tournament scene. In June of 2011 I found Adler Hobby and met Gordon.  This introduced me to whole bunch of new players, several of whom were tournament players and I really enjoyed playing with them. Gordon was also very much a booster of tournaments and I got involved in the FOW tournament at Huzzah.  I also discovered the Flames of War Forum this reinforced my reluctance but I went ahead anyway and I am glad I did.

My experience at Huzzah was tremendous I got in three great games in the FOW Tournament  with three really great players.  There was a slightly more "business like" approach to the game but that was only because of the time pressure. I had a similar experience at a regional tournament held at the Whiz.

I may have gotten a bit off track here and into my FOW biography but I hope it will serve as an example to those who may be reluctant to try the game itself or the tournament scene.

Back to the question: Does Flames of War have an Image Problem?  Sadly I have to say yes.

A very unscientific reading of comments the Flames of War New England Yahoo group and the Battle Front forums has convinced me of this.
My StuG IV takes aim at the 2nd Infantry one of the lists many consider a manifestation of "Codex Creep"
There are two sides to this problem The First is the image of BattleFront the game's write and the manufacturer of the supporting line of miniatures. The move to limit Tournaments to BF figures sparked huge out cry and though they did back track on the issue I believe that serious damage to their brand was done.

There has also been a growing number of comparison between Battle Front and Games Workshop on their forums.  This comparison spans many topics from pricing to game design.  The idea that some new army lists in the late war line of books suffer from "codex creep" is pervasive.

While I do not think these issues are as big as some people will make them but they are real perceptions that I encounter frequently.  Smoke doesn't necessarily indicate fire but most people will assume it does and respond accordingly.  

Battle Front's reputation has taken a few hits of late but by and large they are still an excellent gaming company as I see it.

In the Gaming community Flames of War players may also have their own image issue.  The statement made by my acquaintance(at the top of this entry) and my own feelings as I ventured into this particular brand of war gaming point to the problem.

Having posed the question of this image problem on two separate forums I have reached three conclusion 1) Flames of war players do have an image problem 2) its largely self inflicted 3) its largely untrue.

I hope I have made my case for conclusion 1. with the description of my own reluctant entry into Flames of Wars larger gaming community.

As to conclusion 2. I think the image of the games tournament based is a large part of the issue. A lost of gamers are competitive but see competition as only one aspect of the wider hobby.  Tournaments bring the competitive part of the game to the for front and are a turn off to people who are more interested in other aspects of the game (art, history, fun etc).  Competition brings out the worst in some people and when it does it usually does so in very visible ways.

Also the competitive side of the game tends to highlight those points were the rules are less then perfect, those spots that most gamers use a "house rule" to solve the issue to their satisfaction. Tournaments don't have this luxury, every one has to have the same set in stone rules or the games are unfair.  Debates on these subjects can rage for days, weeks or even years in forums on the web and often make the community look a lot more contentious and just plane bitchy then they really are.


3. My own experience with Flames of War tells me the image of FOW players as  "rules lawyers and power-gamers" is just plane false.  True I have had my share of arguments over rules, but probably less so than in other games. Every one I have ever played using this rule set has been looking for a fun game and that includes the tournament games.  Still players with limited experience could easily get the wrong impression if they just examine the on line forums. I feel the Flames of War has a great community or players yes we have our bad personalities but no more so then any other segment of the war-gaming community.

My message to new players, jump in the waters is fine!   My Message to established players, remember the what we do and say at the game table and on line directly affects the image of the games we play.  







Thursday, September 13, 2012

No Posts Next week

Hey there, I will be out of town next week cruising the Caribbean with the Lady Ariana so not battle reports or modeling up dates. You will probably see an up date the following week with pictures of historical sights especially forts, and house.  You can expect to hear from me some time early in the week of September 24th.
Welcome to the Caribbean
This strikes me as a good opportunity to thank my readers for the success Fencing Frog is enjoying. We had more then 1500 hits last month the most in the history of the blog.  Our count is hovering just under 1000 for the month so we could blow that number away in September.  Keep telling your friends and thank you!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Houses (3)

I now have a rather extensive Village.  The french farm house sournouded by Battlefront Vineyards and other houses across Ted's river.
I do not believe this farm and out build have appeared here before. JR miniature buildings not the best in their line but a nice little set. Looks a little too "American" for my normally European battle fields but it works.

Surounded 5 Ways

 Some times in war gaming you have night were there is a plan and it Seems reasonable but it just doesn't work. That was us last night, The plan had been for four of us to play a doubles game each with 1000 points. But we had a third Allied player Show so we tried to cram him in, 3 allies each of 1000 points and two Germans each with 1500.
 On top of that we got Surrounded for the mission so 3000 points of allies had to start off in a little box in the center. So between re-working lists and a complicated and tight set up we got started late. 

 The Allied position was formidable Ted's 7th Armored, Tim's US Paratroops and Rodney's 3rd Canadian Division   Rob and I tried to advance but the city fighting lead to lots of killed tanks on both sides but little progress made we called it a draw at 9:30 and agreed we should split into two games next time this happens.


 











Monday, September 10, 2012

StuG Cowboys and American Indians at The Whiz

Made my way Sunday to the Whiz and had a great battle with Mark's 2nd Infantry Division army.  I was running my StuG Battery for the first time and I felt the forces were well matched. I was also using a tripod with my camera for the first time and I am thrilled with the results. Some of my photos like the one above look like they could be off a movie set or something.

Mark and I rolled up an an Encounter battle meaning both of us would start mobile and have half our forces in reserve.

Mark kept his Sherman thanks (including a Jumbo) a huge platoon of Infantry with Combat Attached HMGs and his 155mm Howitzers.


I kept my Strum Platoons, my Rocket Battery and my tigers, My HQ StuG also started on the board. 
Mark used his troops Truscot Trot to get in close to me very early on.  He killed two of my Neblewarfer Rockets with his tanks.  I got back some shooting at his doubling infantry and pinned them which turned out to be the key, he men would not unpin until turn 4.
 I was pushing forward with my Tigers since only a battery of howitzers stood between me and victory.
 Marks tanks went scooting around my flank killed my Neb Battery but kept a respectful distance from the Faust armed Strum infantry.
 A successful assault by my Tigers has killed most of the Howitzers a few remain and the CinC is hiding in the woods close enough to contest by far enough that I can ignore him for the moment. Mark did not get his Reserves on turn 3 which turned out to be a good thing for me.
 My 1st StuG platoon shows up in exactly the right place at the right time and killed the Jumbo(and Platoon leader) with a well paced side armor shot.
 My Tigers and the US CinC have an old fashion Mexican Stand off.
 Mark gets one of my StuGs and Bailed anther his infantry was again moving forward at this time as well.
 Marks Stewart Tanks make an arrival but get shot up by my 2nd StuG platoon I got realy lucky getting 4 of 4 on hits and then killing 3 and bailing his 4th tank.
 Mark gets his second infantry (my Tigers are facing them) and his 57mm AT guns come in behind my Tigers still not much of a threat but I did feel like I was in a potentially bad place.
 My 1st StuG platoon is down to 1 StuG and my CinC and the Indians are closing in on me.
 Mr
 Mark launched a successful Assault on me, I my CinC is still alive but is hiding among the Wrecked StuGs 
 Reinforcements arrive again right were I need them my 2cm AA guns show up to reinforce my CinC holding the objective..
 After killing the AT guns by the assault. The next turn I run my Tigers at the unprotected objective in in the far corner. The US Gives Chase using Truscott Trot.
The defensive fire of my 2cm guns breaks Marks platoon when he tries to assault and my CinC finally kills the last Sherman tank.
My tigers Turn and pin the Americans with MG fire Mark was unable to unpin on his turn giving me a win.

I lost two platoons in the process and this battle could have turned many times!  Had mark unpinned his infantry any earlier I would probably have lost. Had my reinforcements not come in exactly were I need them I probably would have lost. Had Mark's reinforcements not come in at the wrong place for him most of the time I probably would have lost. 

This was truly an Epic game, lots of back and forth with some great hits landed on both sides thanks Mark for a great game.