Now is the Winter of our Discontent

The above phrase has nothing to do with this post. But it is winter, so I’ll let it stand.

I haven’t been on the blog in a bit, because I’ve been lucky enough to have been gainfully employed for the last week and a half. Not that I was unemployed before, but I was seriously under-employed! In any case, yay for employment.

That’s not to say that I’ve lagged on the historical miniatures wargaming front! In fact, I’ve been quite busy!

I should Explain

I almost have my American roster of reinforcements completed for the “Heroes of Omaha and Panzer Lehr” campaign that I’m hoping to play in the new year. In fact, all they lack is a drybrush of yellow ochre and some flocking. Expect shots of mortarmen and .30 caliber machinegunners in the very near future. Of course, I still have a bunch of terrain boards, two more squads of American infantry, and the German reinforcement roster to build and paint, but I try not to think about that.

This is good

I hesitate to give this campaign book a glowing review without having played a single game, yet, but I really do think it’s good.

The scenarios are, ostensibly, historical. I’m not sure to what degree of accuracy, but the supplement does include a significant bibliography and  recommended reading list, the inclusion of which points to a certain level of scholarship. I don’t know how important historical accuracy is to an enjoyable game of miniatures, but at the very least it’s cool to game based on real history. That’s enough for me, I think.

HoOaPL (that’s awkward. From now on, I dub thee HOOPLA) has no less than three campaigns of varying intensity. The battles in HOOPLA are invariably unbalanced and reflect the ebb and flow of real engagements. The terrain (the bocage, sunken roads, and stone farmhouses of Normandy) and naturally resulting force dispositions seem to be very tactically engaging.

The initial campaign features 2’x4′ boards (Skirmish Campaigns suggests doubling the board size if you’re gaming 28mm) and manageable numbers of troops. This is, of course, very encouraging for a beginner like me. Not that I’m not drooling to play the later campaigns and scenarios with larger boards and tasty amounts of armor!

The engagements in the initial campaign (which actually pits the US 29th Infantry Division vs. the German 356th Infantry Division, not Panzer Lehr) are primarily concerned with infantry actions. That first campaign features forces of a reinforced platoon on the American side vs. (typically) a squad and a few machine guns on the German side. There are opportunities for vehicles, anti-tank guns, and other elements in the random reinforcements that the book details, and they should provide a bit of spice to the games. I think the approximate 3:1 ratio of attackers to defenders that the scenarios contain should make for some harrowing games for both sides.

There are meaningful decisions to be made within the campaign structure. For instance, if the player of the German side  (I almost said German player) mounts an inflexible defense in the first scenarios of the opening campaign, he’s quite likely to be steamrolled by the Americans. A more elastic defense allows the Germans to retain men and firepower in anticipation of stronger reinforcements in the later scenarios. At the same time, the Germans will not be in particularly great shape later on, if they don’t inflict significant casualties on the Americans in the earlier scenarios.

As excited as I am to actually play a game of TW&T with my minis, I’m very tempted to play referee for the first HOOPLA campaign. I think I (and my potential players) would really get a kick out of the increased fog of war that a refereed campaign would give. It would also allow me to get a really good command of the rules. Another happy side effect would be the potential hooking of said potential players on miniatures wargaming crack.

The Best News

But on to more important things.

I’ve played in a Pendragon game with a few fellows down at the local game shop every Thursday  for the past several months on a weekly basis. It’s been decades since I played RPGs so often! I could go on and on about how great Pendragon is, and how lucky I am to finally get to play in a campaign, but that’s a subject for an entirely different blog. The only reason that I bring it up is that the GM of the campaign has family in for the holidays and has cancelled for tomorrow.

Not to jump for joy at the temporary demise of our Pendragon campaign, but I’m going to take this opportunity to play a small game of Troops, Weapons, and Tactics with another member of the RPG group. Brendon is an old grognard (In fact, I owe him a game of Squad Leader in the very near future), so I’m interested to see how he’ll react to a relatively radical set of rules like TW&T. Hopefully I don’t screw everything up and he really enjoys it!

Happy Holidays…days…days

I’ll bring my camera to the TW&T game, but I won’t be able to post up a report until after the New Year.

Not only is it the holidays, but I’m going pheasant hunting with my father and brother in the plains of West Texas for most of the week following Christmas. I’m not completely comfortable with hunting as a past time, and haven’t done any since I was a very young man/boy, but I’m excited to go tromp about in the brush with a shotgun, nonetheless.

In any case, have a great Christmas, my legions (I use a 1:100 figure/unit ratio for this blog) of readers.

——————————

P.S. I bet no one has ever made a sarcastic ‘legions of readers’ joke in the history of blogdome. EVER.

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