Monday, September 19, 2016

Game AAR - Smiling Ali's Manpower, Inc. has a recruitment drive


Well, Blake once again ran another Darkest Africa game at his home (big thanks!) and Glenn and I were the opposing players.  Blake was again using The Sword & the Flame's Sword of Africa supplement. The game was Arabs vs Azande natives and Glenn and rolled off for sides, with who every had the highest die gets the Arab and the lower die gets the natives.  I got the high die, so I played the free market temporary manpower corporation on another recruitment drive for unskilled labor for some clients, and like all good job headhunters, the name of my clients are confidential!

So, Glenn's pool of unskilled labor was six units of 10 spearmen, one unit of 10 bowmen, and one unit of muskets, plus a chief and a shaman.  My band of recruiters were three units of ten Arabic recruiters with a mix of muskets and rifles, two units of Ruga-Ruga talent scouts armed with muskets, an old cannon manned by Arab Health and Safety Officers, and finally Smilin' Ali, the owner and director of this corporation.  

The game started off will Smilin' Ali trying to persuade Chief Glenn to subcontract some of his employees to my manpower corporation and to avoid a messy legal battle with my recruiters.  Sadly he said no, so it was time to make an offer of new employment to Chief Glenn's employees by direct means. [Remember, by clicking on the picture, it will give you a bigger picture.]

I didn't take pictures of the initial set up, that this was about half way through the first turn and had not moved most of my units.  On the left flank are my three units of Arab recruiters.  On the other side of the trail is my Health & Safety cannon and Smilin' Ali standing behind them.  On the right is one of my two Ruga-Ruga talent scouts.  The other unit is just on the other side of that copse of trees.  Across from me from left to right is two units of spearmen, the unit of archers, another unit of spearmen, two units of spearmen in front of Chief Glenn's offices.  In front of those two units of spearmen is the musket unit.  Outside of the picture on the right is the final unit of spearmen.  Barely visible on the trail in the very back is Chief Glenn and his charmin' shaman.

 Here is a picture of the far right flank.

In the finest tradition of our Darkest Africa games the first fire is done by a cannon.  Since this is irregular crewed cannon, I have to roll a die before firing to see if can fire.  I passed every rolled to fire the cannon through the game.  However, since my cannon was crewed by Health & Safety officers, they deliberating shot to avoid hitting anyone!  Only on the first turn did they hurt anyone when they hit the leader of the native musket unit.  Of course, we think that guy was faking his injury so he could make a Workers' Comp. claim.   To give an idea how badly they fired, in theory, I should have averaged 12 hits over the course of the game, but I only got 1!  So this will be the last time we will mention the cannon being involved in the game.

On the left flank Chief Glenn got two units over the stream.  However, the range on my muskets and rifles could shoot up the native archers as they were out of range.  I shot enough of the archers in one round that they routed off the board.

Meanwhile on the right flank, the left unit of Ruga-Ruga traded shots with the native muskets.  While the right unit of Ruga-Ruga were actually Kentuckian riflemen lead by Davy Crockett in disguise, plus were cheating by using rifles with scopes!  Unlike my Health & Safety cannon (OK, this will be the last time I will mention it), these guys shot well over their average!  In theory, they should have hit four natives during the game.  In their first first fire, they hit five (!) figures.  In their next fire they hit four more natives! 

Yeah, that is how I image they were talking between themselves.

Back on the the left flank, the charmin' shaman tried to cast a spell on one of the recruiting parties.  It appears that he forgot that by wearing his mask that it will muffle his voice.

So the first group of job applicants rush forward to give their resumes to my recruiters!

After the first screening of the applicants, only six of the ten passed the drug testing screen.  Next was hands on testing for determining if they meet the job position's physical requirements.

I am sorry, but you just don't meet our requirements for a management position with Smilin' Ali's Manpower, Inc.  However, I feel that one of our customers, will be happy to contract you through us. 

At the end of the game, I have four Workers' Comp cases to file as three of my Arab recruiters and one Ruga-Ruga talent scouts (not from the Kentucky riflemen unit) got hurt. 

Unfortunately for Chief Glenn, he will have a bunch of positions to fill in the future.  He loss all ten archers, six musketeers, and eleven spearmen.  It also appears that he lose six elves and one ape wearing power armor!  I don't remember shooting them, but that Kentucky riflemen unit must have shot them while I wasn't looking to see what they taste like.

No worry about all of those open job positions, Chief!  Just call Smilin' Ali's Manpower, Inc., and ask for Babs!

On a serious note (What? Too late now), this game was way too weighed in favor for the Arabs.  Blake agrees in the future that he needs a lot more terrain for the natives to get closer to the Arabs with less losses so they got a chance to get in hand to hand and balancing the scenario.  Either that or a unit of Arabs should be remove or two or three more native spearmen units should be added.  Also, slavery is bad, but I couldn't help letting my dark humor come out.



Saturday, September 10, 2016

Closer to getting my last batch of figures being painted back

So, I think I mentioned that I had a problem with Fernando Painting Services in regarding my RCW US infantry in this current batch of figures to be painted, so I sent one of my previous figures back to be used as a sample.  Well, due to customs, etc. they finally got it after five weeks since I mailed it.  Everything is done, except my US infantry and they are now working on them.  I should be see my figures early next month, I suspect.  So, I will hopefully have a game in October with the figures.  

The next batch of figures will be more RCW figures, the Czech Legion, mounted Cossacks, and some White Russian shock troops for the Kornilov Shock Division (I know that they served in the Southern Front and not Siberia or North Russia, but they have pretty uniforms).  I still have to count everything up, but I think I still have some more more that I can put in this batch but I still have to figure out what.

Finally, I am almost 70% the way through "Asian Odyssey" by Alioshin (see to the left or in the tab for 2016's books).  It is a very enjoyable read, not only about his military career, but most of the book so far is more about survival in the wilderness and interactions with Mongolians nomads and how they lived.  There are several humorous incidents that shows how screwed up things where in Russia during the Civil War, which are very similar to other accounts that I have read in other books.  My favorite is once he disguised as an Austro-Hungrian ex-POW traveling east towards China to help spread the word of the Revolution and help free the peasants from the yoke of wealthy, so he might sneak through the Reds until he could get to the White Russian settlements in north China.  One day he got work in a town by unknowingly knocking on the door of the head of the local district's commissar's house.  As he could not escape right away, he settled into his new job as the clerk for records of marriages and death as he could read and write.  Later on, he was asked if he knew anything of the legal system by the head commissar.  When he answered that he did not, he was immediately made into the district's civil judge since he was not already corrupted by doing it the old Tsarist way!



Sunday, August 21, 2016

Great music!

I don't think that ever really talked about my taste in music before, but I think I might have posted some Mr B, the Gentleman Rhymer videos or mention Professor Elemental before.  Anyways, I have a very esoteric taste in music.   I use to be very main stream in my youth with Country & Western and Classic Rock.  But also in my youth, I had a great love for the 1930s-40s swing and folk music.  It would not out of line for me listening to Glenn Miller or the Andrews Sisters while still in high school.  So, when the mid-late 1990s swing revival came about, I was pretty happy.  But it was short lived and is pretty much gone save for a few bands nowhere near me and no new albums.

But today I discovered that there is a new band out there that is very active, putting out albums and videos, called the Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox. It looks like do original songs as well as doing current songs to various period pieces.  I am posting a few YouTube videos below for you to check out.  I love the music, the voices, and the quality of the filming.  They are well worth the time and I prefer these versions over the originals hands down.  Now, I have to go and buy some albums and start following them for future releases.



Black Hole Sun - Vintage Soundgarden Cover ft. Haley Reinhart

No Diggity - Vintage Jessica Rabbit- Style Blackstreet Cover ft. Ariana Savalas (Telly Savalas' daughter)

I Will Survive - Vintage '40s Jazz / Latin Ballroom Style Cover ft. Sara Niemietz

Dancing in the Dark - Retro '50s Style Bruce Springsteen Cover ft. Von Smith

Welcome To The Jungle - Vintage Orchestral Guns 'n' Roses Cover ft. Daniela Andrade (Hey, Axle...not only is this version is better but she is not inciting a riot...FU!  From, St. Louis)

Gangsta's Paradise - Vintage 1920's Al Capone Style Coolio Cover ft. Robyn Adele Anderson 


Friday, August 19, 2016

Still Alive...

So, I finally got my two lower wisdom teeth pulled out on last Friday.  My jaw still is sore, not painful by itself, just tender to the touch of where the teeth used to be at.  Which means it is still hard to eat anything more than soft stuff, but it seems to be getting better. 

Not much in the way of gaming, but I really have not been doing much towards that the last couple of weeks.  I did go through a bunch of miniature rules that plan to let go, so I guess I have done something.  I just need to sit down and type up a list of what I got to go.  I had been needing to get posted on The Miniatures Page (TMP) to start getting rid of a lot of miniatures. Now that I done with my wisdom teeth, I think I will start posting stuff up soon, but it will probably be after the 27th as I have to work that weekend and I will not be able to check my personal emails for the sales and this weekend I have some stuff I got to do for my car's plates renewal.  So be on the lookout on the TMP after the 27th. 



Sunday, August 7, 2016

...It needs rules for armored trains and zombies!

So, Saturday night I played several board games with a few friends.  One game we played was "Ticket to Ride".  This was the first time I ever played it. It is an interesting game about building railroad lines.  I took the black train pieces and started off coming out of New Orleans with my zombie rail gangs! Brou-ha-ha!  Unfortunately, the game doesn't have any rules for armored trains with cannons so I could shoot competitors...sigh...

Anyway, I won hands down with a total score of 131 pts, John with 100, Jules with 95, and Mike with 82. I really lucked out with my cards on what routes I was required to have, which also allowed me to get the longest train too - 41 out of 45 pieces available, as 2 pieces had to connect Atlanta to my line and I was not able to get the last two out in time before the game ended, otherwise Boston would have fallen to my Black Train of Death!. I am curious if anyone else ever seen seen a game result like this.

So the picture is the end of the game with my long black train of death almost surrounding the US! I should have been a train baron.


Sunday, July 31, 2016

A bit of a Russian Civil War treat


Can you believe I am now posting my third (!!!) blog entry on the same day?  

I just came across this nice little treat keeping in lines of the Russian Civil War.  On LibriVox (free, public domain books read by volunteers) is an audio book version of Ferdinad Ossendowski's, Beast, Men, and Gods, an autobiography of the Mad Baron's Chief of Intelligence during his Mongolia campaign.  I listen to a bit of it to see if I like the narrator and he is not bad at all.  So if you are a bit interested in knowing more about Baron von Ungren-Sternberg, but don't have the time to read, you can download the free audio book in the mp3 format and listen to it while traveling.  

I keep forgetting to check LibriVox for an audio version of a public domain book.  It is well worth it.  

Also, check out Internet Archive (another favorite site of mine) for other public domain books and manuals, plus some old movies, radio plays, etc.  There is some great books from the American Civil War, the European conquest of Africa, WW1, and other stuff to keep some anyone busy reading for years if you are into those periods.



Russian Civil War & the Allied Intervention in Russia 1918-1922 Project

So as you may have noticed in one of my previous entries, I am doing the Allied Intervention of Russian during the Russian Civil War (RCW).  For a while I have been looking what I planning to have as part of this project and where I plan to expand it.  I figure I will layout my plans here.

Concept of the project:

Small unit combat (about ten figures per unit) during the Russian Civil War in North Russia (Archangel & Murmansk region) and Siberia.  Opposing forces will be forty to hundred figures with one or two vehicles max, per side.  Keep games between one to three hours of actual game time, preferably closer to two hours, and no more than one hours total in set up and take down time as well. 


Right now, I am pretty well set on “The Sword and the Flame” 20th Anniversary Edition (TS&TF) modified with the "Sword of Adventure", Jackson Gamers' Close Combat rules, and some of my own rules.  “TS&TF” has the advantage that it is very well known and as it very simplistic.  But I am modify it to be less deadly (black cards for hits causes morale checks on individual figures instead of wounds), plus some other changes like on the card, the unit can do an action (move or shoot), instead of all move, then shoot.


Below are my projected forces for the project.  I might not complete this list, but I will probably get close to it.  Items in brackets are figures I had not got painted yet and might not have bought yet.  I also excluded the items that are only for the War Plan Crimson project.

Command: 1x mounted overall commander, 2x foot commanders, 1x Commissar, 1x Flagman, 1x Heroine
Foot Units: 4x 10 Red Guardsmen [2x 10 Partisans, and 1x 10 Cheka riflemen]
Mounted Units: [1x 10 Cossacks]
Support Units: 1x MG teams, [1x Artillery piece, 1x Tachanka, and 1x Garford-Putilov armored truck]

White Russians (I am conceding that some of these troops will not be in winter gear)
Command: [1x mounted overall commander, 3x foot officers, 1x Flagman]
Foot Units: 4x 10 Siberian Rifles (yeah, these guys switched sides since my last entry on this project, but they can also be used for Bolsheviks too) [1x10 Officer Shock troops]
Mounted Units: [3x10 Cossacks]
Support Units: 1x MG team, [1x Artillery piece, 1x Tachanka, and 1x Austin-Putilov armored car]

Czech Legion
Command: [1x foot overall commander, 1x foot officer, 2x NCOs, 1x Flagman]
Foot Units: [4x 10 riflemen]
Support Units: [1x MG team, and 1x Artillery piece]

US Army
Command: 1x foot overall commander, 2x foot officers, 2x NCOs, 4x Sentries
Foot Units: 8x 10 infantrymen (the strong size is for a what-if they were given the go ahead for the more aggressive operations against the Bolsheviks that the British and French wanted them to do.)
Support Units: 1x MG team, [1x M1916 37mm Infantry Cannon, and 1x armored railroad car, sans the wheels, for one of the sleeping quarters/machine gun bunkers they used in Siberia.]

Command: 1x foot overall commander, 1x foot officer, 1x NCO
Foot Units: 4x 10 infantrymen
Support Units: 1x MG team, 1x Artillery piece

Individuals: [1x Femme Fatale, + other civilian like spies I can find, plus civilians]
Foot Units: [1x 10 armed railroad workers (from the AVBCW line), 2x 10 Chinese infantry (saw action in Siberia), 1x 10 British infantrymen]
Support Units: [1x armored train, plus cars

My Wish List
Winter coated Japanese, barring that, I might concede and use 1904 Japanese in summer clothing.  If I go that route, I plan to create a force of 2x 10 infantrymen & 1x 10 cavalrymen, plus 1x MG team and 1x artillery piece.  The reason for them to be smaller force is that they would also be beefed up by the White Russians infantry and Cossacks to fight the Bolsheviks…or possibly the Americans!?!?

Yep, this is a big project and will be my main focus for the year.  Almost all of the US Army and Canadians for this project will double for my War Plan Crimson project, except the US M1916 37mm cannon and the Lewis gun squad.  Since I am discussing this now I will list out the additional units for War Plan Crimson here now.

US Army (War Plan Crimson)
Support Units: 1x artillery piece [+1 more MG team, 5x M1917 light tanks, 5x Mack Bulldog trucks, 1x Mark VIII ‘Liberty’ heavy tank]

Canadians (War Plan Crimson)
Foot Units: [1x10 RCMP constables, 2x 10 trappers, 1x 10 Inuit warriors]
Support Unit: [1x Trappers MG team, 1x Carden Loyd tankette, and possibly 1x RCMP sidecar motorcycle with a MG, if I can scratch-build it.]

As you can see, this is a big project!

Be seeing you


15mm Congo Crisis Project

In the comments of a previous blog entry, I was asked what I would use for my 15mm 1960s Congo Crisis Project.  So I am making this entry about that since it is rather lengthy.  I am not going over the vehicles that I will be using, as I need to make up a complete list of vehicles need, but I know most of the vehicles are now available in 15mm with the exception of the Ford Armored Car and various civilian vehicles.

First off, for basing, I plan to use the Flames of War size bases, but with squared corners instead of the FoW rounded ones.  I will be using the dice frames from Minibits in one corner and a placing a tag along the back for the base’s ID on the medium size bases, so the rounded corners will not work.  This way I can use them for a FoW type game system (not my 1st choice, but a very popular system), or with TooFatLardies’ B’Maso (my 1st choice.)  The dice frame is for keeping track of kills to the base for effectiveness. 

Simba rebels: 

I am mainly using the Peter Pig’s (PP) AK47 Republic line’s Militia with bolt action rifles, command, and weapon crews.  As I mostly have the old out-of-print version of the Militia (all bare chested and almost no military kit), I prefer them versus the new versions for some of the figures.  In 15mm, I am not worried about the proper rifles as long as they look close.  I think I have some of the newer Militia with bolt action rifles that will mix in with the old.  It is a shame that PP doesn’t have more versions of the Militia with bolt action rifles as they do with the AK47’s.  Some of the old command and crew figures will be converted to be the palm leaf waving witchdoctors to change the enemy’s bullets to water.  I have not decided how to have a mix of ex-ANC rebels with in the forces yet, but either will do some head swaps with PP’s separate head with British WWI BEF caps or WW2 US helmets.  I plant to use the PP Military Dictator figure to be leader of the Simbas, but will modify the cap to have the monkey scalp on him to protect him from air attacks.  Also have the old out-of-print PP machete armed mob from the Pirate line.  These were all shirtless too and fit in better than the current version. 

Basically, I plan to have the number of figures required for the TooFatLardies’ B’Maso’s Congo scenario, with the infantry being mounted 5 figures to a medium FoW base.  That will be 24 stands, plus some leader stands, and a few weapons stands (mortar, cannon, and a MG).  I might add a few more stands, but not much more if I do as pitch battles rarely occurred, so this should be plenty.

Civilians (Hostages):

I plan to use the PP’s AK47’s civilians and mix in some other figures, probably some of the modern civilians from various manufacturer’s zombie lines, unarmed of course.  I plan to only have about a dozen stands with 3 to 5 figures a stand.  Again, I will be basing the number I need off of the B’Maso scenario.

Congolese Army (ANC):

I am torn using PP’s AK47 Regulars with the G3 rifles and swapping heads for US WW2 helmets.  Basically the would look right, but I am thinking the G3 rifles might need to be altered too.  I plan to only have two full platoons of ANC troops.  I can mix these with the Katanga troops to increase their size if needed. 

Katanga Army & white mercenaries:

I plan to use a mix of PP’s AK47 Regulars with the G3 rifles, their Professionals with the FN FAL, and maybe some WW2 British XIV Army, with head swaps with berets, US WW2 helmets, and jungle hats.  I will do at least one Bazooka team, probably with PP WW2 Marines.  In the autobiography, Mad Dog Killers, by Ivan Smith, there is engagement where the mercs had scramble around to find a Bazooka to knock out a Simba improved armored vehicle.  I plan to have a platoon of white mercs and platoon of Katanga troops.  This will be the most mobile force in the project with jeeps, trucks, and armored cars.

Belgian Para-Commandos:

Either WW2 British paratroopers or PP AK47 Professionals with head swaps will be the bases for this force.  I plan to have only two platoons.

UN Forces (ONU):

This force is going to be a mixed representation of the ONU in the 1960s.  My main focus will be on the Irish with two platoons.  Each of the other nations will only be one platoon (Ethiopia, Indian, and Sweden).  The main reason for the Irish to get the “star” role for the ONU is to replay Jadotville and the Battle of the Tunnel, 1961.  The Swedes are represented because they were fairly mobile columns for convoy games.  While both the Indians and the Ethiopians get represented because they were in some of the biggest military operations during the crisis and they both were general targeted by the Katanga and their white mercenaries to be attacked over the Irish and Swedish troops.  It also helps that the Ethiopians were attached to the Indian Brigade, so I call easily combined both of them in a game to increase the ONU to two platoons for a game. 

The Irish will be WW2 British with various head swaps, a mix of WW1 BEF caps and US WW2 helmets.  As I am focusing on the early years of the crisis, they were still equipped with the Enfield rifle and not the FN FAL.  For the Swedes, I am going to use PP’s Regulars with the G3 rifles with head swaps for US WW2 helmets or berets.  For the Indians, I plan to use the PP’s WW2 Indian troops for the Desert and some figures form the XIV army set.  Finally, for the Ethiopians, I plan to use the PP’s WW2 Desert Rats with head swaps for US WW2 helmets as all of the pictures of them have them in shorts from what I can find.   

Other factions:

For the Simbas, I am adding a Cuban advisor of the old devil himself, Che!  It has been a while since I read parts of his diary about his time advising the Simba rebels, so I don’t know what he was armed with.  But I have an old out-of-print PP SCW pack of Thompson gunners.  One of the figures has one hand raised over his head and a beret.  I green putty a beard on him and painted him up to be Che to support the Simbas, even though he didn’t think much of them during his time with them. 

Next, I plan to have a US Army Special Forces team (squad or two) for possible random event for the “rescue the hostages” game.  The US was very tempted to deploy a small force of SF troops near Stanleyville to rescue the US consult staff, but in the end they didn’t.  There were however, SF forces in the Congo during the 1960s, but I have not had much information on their nature of operations during their stay.  There is a book out there called, Slaver’s Wheel, by Sully de Fontaine & Jack Lawson, who was one of those SF men (de Fontaine) in the Congo during the Crisis.  It is on my list to read.

Finally, another figure has no head walking and firing his Thompson from the hip, (IIRC, I got to dig him back up).  I plan to add a PP skull to the base.  But I will have to add some green putty for glasses and a cigarette for it too.  It will get bonus attacks versus Swedish ONU and Simbas…and of course Van Owen.  (How could I not have this figure for a Congo game!)