Friday, May 29, 2020

Active Armor: Kidney ridge

Arofan hoted a game over Skype I handled the Germans while Mark had my itallians.
I used the Armor to make a flank move on Chris's British 
Initialy whe had some issues with a Sherman unit tearing into our Norther flank while the British flank guard crusaders and armored cars disrupped my flank move.  But the Royal rifles at the point of the hill were taking a pounding.  
German and Italian Artilery did manage to disrupt the Sherman unit. 
We finaly drive the Royal Rifles off and the Shermans recover but have been hit with multiple artilerty barages. To the south the German Armor begin to inflict heavy losses on the Crusaders. 
The Crusaders are diven off and the South African Armored cars are disordered and hurt badly.  German Artilerty breaks the Sherman spearhead. The 2nd Panzer Grenadiers break the Gordon Highlanders from the point of the hill.  Our Armor took disordering hits form British off board artlery hurting our chance exploiting our victory of the British armor as we send the next turn trying to reorganize.
We drive off the Armored cars and try to manuver to take a shot at the rear of the hill.  My Panzer Grenadires at the point of the hill are hanging on by thier fingernails. Either side could break at any time. 
In the final turn it come down to one good roll. The Axis had sevral shots to win but couldn't manage it finaly the 2nd Rifles managed to drive the Panzer grenadiers off the board giving the British a very narrow victory.  Lots of fun. 

Friday, May 22, 2020

Black Seas the state of the fleets

The USN Currently stands at 11 ships 1 "super" Frigate and five 5th-Rates. I also have one sloop of war (treating is as a 6th rate).  I have 5 Briggs (all of which can switch out colors to serve in other fleets).  There is also the Turtle.  I have The United States in the shipyard currently and the Essex coming thanks to a friend's 3d pinter
The Royal Navy is currently at all of one Frigate currently. They will be getting a few 3D printer reienforcements soon.
Here are the the Scratch builds. Two costal vessels, Gunboats, two Xebbecs, a Small Merchant (or possibly a Sloop of war/corvette) Three Schooners and two sloops.  I nice mix to use a fleet suport, privateers, coastal defence or pirates. 
Last we have the French 2 Frigates, a Corvette (6th Rate) and three Brigs (again they can be reflagged for other service).  They will also see some reenfocement form my friends 3D printer.  I'll probably also pick ups some more stuff form Warlord when money is more available.  My friend Arofan is providing the pints to me for free and I can't express how thrilled I am to be getting them. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Covid 19 update #8

We've been doing lots of walks like this one on the Nashua River Rail trail   
We also climed Oak Hill in Littleton 
Its a great view
I can now say Evelyn has had a fencing lesson... 
OK that might be a bit extreem but she did initialte plaing with dads' swords. 

Monday, May 18, 2020

Black Seas "Pirate encounter" For the Lets Roll remote convention

I was Pleased to be joined by three great players Saturday night for my pirate encounter game for the Let’s Roll remote convention.  Chris had the USS Congress, Andrew had the USS Boston, on the French side Ted took command of the Thetis while Robert was in command of the Surveillante
The two fleets closed quickly long-range shots on the merchant of limited and the Congress suffered only minor damage.  
The Boston hit the Thetis hard with its first broad side but the Surveillante got a lucky critical hit with its bow chaser that brought down the Boston's format (this is the 3rd game Boston has taken such a hit).  Congress turned an fired into the Thetis's port quarter hitting her hard, a Gun Deck and a Quarter Deck Critical. 
The merchant seeing it is cut off took its own shot but missed.  The Boston fired into the Thetis again causing additional damage as the Congress wears around off screen to turn and get back into the fight. 
Both French fire on the merchant and Thetis moves to intercept. 
The Thetis misses its grapple and the merchant collides with it both ships are mauled... The Boston has tacked through the wind and fires a long range. 
The following turn the Thetis successfully grapples but the Serveillante is unable to come alongside safety and collides with the merchant... 
The Thetis secures the merchant in savage hand to hand fighting as the Surveillante moves off board.  The Congress and Boston are both steering to save the merchant ship. 
The Serveillante returns to the board only to have her bow smashed in by a devastating point-blank broadside from the Congress  The Serveillante sinks beneath the waves.
The Congress grapples the Merchant and quickly subdues the French prize crew.  The Thetis is badly battered but with a a badly damaged merchant and the damaged Boston to look after the Congress is unable to catch her as she makes full sails and races away with the wind behind her.  The result is a clear victory for the fledgling US Navy 

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Black Seas Reunion

Thursday Night I got together with my old roommate Rob Burr we used to game together regularly in the late 90s (our college years) and in the early 2000s while he lived in Boston for grad school.  Rob took the USN and opened the game with a broad side from Congress at the Thetis its a long shot that does very minor damage.
Thetis and Surveillante both hammer the Congress and the Boston strikes back at the SurveillanteThe American Merchant runs.  
The Congress' next Broadside set Surveillante on fire! but the French ships next move brings it close enough to both American ships to light them on fire. Surveillante lands a few hits on the Boston

With the two American ship tied up with the Serveillante the Thetis is running down the merchant ship.
Congress crosses behind the Serveillante and sinks her with a devastating quarterdeck raking broadside.
The American Frigates have a long chase against the wind to catch Thetis and the American Merchant. Both Americans get their fires under control. 
Thetis grapples the merchant on its second attempt and melee breaks out the merchants surrenders after two rounds of hand to hand combat.  We declare the scenario a draw (typical of our games as Rob points out).  The Congress is in bad shape, but the Boston is in fighting shape though it faces a long stern chase to recapture the Merchant (if it can) 

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Making Xebecs

Some months ago I read a great little article by Guy Bowers entitled "Too Many Brigs" having just purchased the Master and Commander set at the time I was very interested in his article about building a Xebec. They Next three pictures are taken form his articles and are used with Guys permission.

I followed Guys lead in cutting up a pair of brigs per Xebec I wanted to make. the image above is a good guide as to where to make the cuts, but you can adjust some forward or back to make a longer or shorter ship.  The short parts can be used to make schooners or cutters as per Guy's blog and are a handy addition to your fleet. 

Cut the deck pieces as follows I kept all my cannon but you could trim some of them out at this point if you wanted too, Xebecs where used as merchants and these would have fewer guns. 

Recombine your miniatures as shown above the one on the right will be the body of your Xebec.  Guy hasn't yet posted his own Xebec so form here I was on my own.
I did an additional step taking pieces left over from other projects to make a poop deck and cabin.  The windows are form a Frigate stern plate that I did need (you should have two extra per sprue if not 3 if you use the metal stern plates) I used part of an old 25mm shield (cut square of the deck) and made the railings out of left over 15mm tank tracks form an old Battle Front/Flames of War plastic tank. Look in your bitz box and get creative. 
I've been painting hulls first and then adding masts but some people attack masts first there is no right way.
This is my preferred mast material Fire Forge Pikes left over from an old project
You can see my first attempt at a Xebec I made a major error not tilting the forward and rear masts. Even so the result is pretty good. 
My second Xebec correct this error the fore mast has a significant forward tilt and the mizzen mas has a slightly less extreme tilt. I could have put it further back on the deck and been more accurate but opted to use the hole that was already present on the model.
Next I attached the pars to hang my lateen sails from I chose to put the fore mast spar out to starboard and the others to port you will see this configuration in paintings of Xebecs like the one below.
Antonio Barceló's Xebec Facing two Algerian Corsair Galiots. 1738
With the spars glued into place its time to start rigging. Keep it simple is my approach I strung a line from the bow to each mast and then down to the stern. I did a line form the mizzen mast to hole by the mounting for the ratlines to mount a flag. I also wrapped some of the thread around the point where the spars meet the masts.

I cut my sails out of gray tracing paper from my daughters sketch pad I basically cut the sails in the shape I wanted but made sure I was a little large then trimmed them down to fit.  The rear mast is an attempt at a furled sail.  I used some scraps of cloth its OK but not quite what I was going for.  Feel free to reach out with question hopefully this will give you some guidance for your own projects.  There are some 3D printed Xebecs that may well prove an easier option, but this may also give you some ideas how to proceed with your extra brigs. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Remote Black Seas: Lets Roll Playtest 1

Two French Frigates are in hot pursuite of an American merchant. Mark and Chris joined us as the French Captains.  John joind me as the American Comador running both Frigates.  I ran the Merchant as game master.  Mark and Chris hit the Merchant on tunt one with thier bow chasers slowing it down. 
Turn two Mark hit the mizzen mast of the merchant.  Chris' ship was hit by both American ships but John's attempt to board failed to come off. 
The USS Congress hits the French frigate and a fire start.  French sailors act quicly to put out the fire.
The American ships have hurt the French ships Mark's command is particuarly hard hit.  Unforunatly the have shot pas the French and are now further fomr the mercahn that the French are. 
Long range shots ring out... the French hit the boston causing a crew critical... this results in the two US ships coliding the next turn... 
The Boston is hit agian and is now past its break point... Congress is still a fighting ship...
The Merchant ship which made its moral check every turn for the last five turns finaly stikes it colors.  It was a close fought action and lot of fun and hope folks will like it at the Lets Roll covnention