Bag the Hun
A bit of a random mix but lots of nice terrain and figures. I had to grab some photos in the tea break, so didn't get round all the tables, which was a shame. My favourite was the Boshin Wars Sharp Practice game, which looked lovely and was really original. I'm hoping the event will run again next year and, if it does, I'll definitely be back to run a game of Bag the Hun or What a Tanker! or perhaps just take part.
I grabbed half an hour or so this evening, while the other half was away from the laptop, to word process up two simple information sheets for the Lard Day Bag the Hun games. I bought a couple of acrylic L-shaped A4 display stands a few years ago for a Warfare game, so I'll use them to display the blurb for any passers by who are interested. It's a pretty basic job but at least it gives people an idea of what's going on, assuming they're not engrossed in their own games all the time.
I spent an hour or so yesterday checking and packing up the stuff for the Lard Day on Saturday, with everything pretty much sorted and squeezed into a big plastic box. I've even got some clipboards so that they players don't have to use the edge of the table or their collective knees to balance the record sheets and other paperwork on. I now need to do a couple of A4 signs to display next to the game in plastic holders, giving some details of the scenarios and the set up, so that passers by can get some idea of what's going on, which I thought might be useful. I'm looking forward to it, assuming I find my way down to Sarisbury Green on Saturday?
Try saying that after a few pints? Anyway, I've now found a source of 10mm diameter vinyl adhesive RAF roundels that should be a perfect fit for the 12mm blue D6 that I have ordered for the Lard Day Bag the Hun game. If they fit I will use them to cover the one pip on the dice to add a little customized colour to the game, hopefully without unbalancing the dice and giving the RAF players an unfair ratio of sixes! Unfortunately, the supplier doesn't do any Italian fasces roundels for the other side but that would be a long shot!
A very atypically small number of dice!I may add some RAF roundels stickers to these?If you have ever played Bag the Hun, or indeed any of the Toofatlardies rules, you'll know that they usually involve buckets of dice at some point in the game. I had forgotten about this for the Lard Day games as most of the club players provide their own, although I always bring along at least one set of D6, D4 and D10.So, I have now ordered 40 black and 40 blue 12mm D6, two blue D4 and two blue D10 (I have black ones already) and two extra jumbo sized D10's in blue and black as I thought they'd be fun to use for the critical damage rolls. This means the Axis will have two full sets of dice for both players, black ones of course, while the Allies will have two full sets of dice in blue. I did also think of putting together a single set of red dice for any Soviet players in the morning game but didn't bother in the end. I think this will be more than enough to fill a few buckets!
I've been thinking about some rules for ditching in Bag the Hun, just in case one of the RAF bombers needs to splash down short of Malta in the Lard Day game. The rules for Crash Landing (13.4) are a good place to start, with some modification of the factors to include the sea state and any specific damage that might affect a successful ditching attempt. As you can see, however, they are a bit basic and need a bit of tweaking to be a better reflection of the difficulties of landing a bomber in the briny.I'll disallow any aircraft with a fixed undercarriage from even attempting to ditch and obviously any bombs would have to be jettisoned beforehand. I also need to work out some rules for crew survival and evacuation, assuming they actually make a successful ditch and stay afloat long enough to get out. I think I need to do some background research on the official RAF ditching drill so that it is as historically accurate as possible, which should be really interesting.
The play test of the Bag the Blenheims scenario went really well yesterday, with an overall victory for the RAF and a sobering defeat for the Italians, who put up a pretty good fight nonetheless. I only need to make a handful of minor adjustments and corrections, to smooth out the gameplay and balance the victory points, so I'm very happy with the overall scenario and how it performed under pressure. I also had lots of positive and useful feedback.The minor wiggles will include reducing he speed of the bombers to a basic 6, with no D4 modifier, bringing Green Flight on a turn earlier to get them shifting down the table faster and giving the Italians more points for damaging or destroying the bombers. I also need to add numbers to the flight stands to make identification easier but I was thinking of doing that anyway, using either little number stickers or Letraset over the coloured stickers I've already applied to the bases.To wrap things up I am going to work out a table for bombers ditching in the sea
Briefings, Cheat Sheets, Cards and Pyrotechnics Aircraft Record SheetsI have been slicing up things on a paper cutter, trimming out cards with scissors, slaving over a hot laminator and sticking little coloured labels on flight stands this evening, in preparation for the Bag the Blenheims playtest game tomorrow at the club. One of the downsides of air wargaming is that, aside from the model aircraft, the whole thing can look a little boring, compared to the spectacle offered by figure based games often with superb terrain on display. This is why a lot of people look at air warfare as a bit too dull and 'number crunchy', I think?Hurricanes, Folgore and BlenheimsSo, the appeal comes down far more to the game play, as a result, although some decent reference sheets, turn cards and record sheets can help too. I've done my best to tart these up but we'll have to see if the scenario cuts the mustard, as that's the real test. I've played a very similar set up several times before, so I don't think there will be
I've been knocked sideways by a particularly vicious twenty four hour sickness bug, so the weekend was a bit of a wash out as far as wargaming is concerned. To make up for this, I've adapted a set of turn cards that I produced for a North Africa scenario, using them as a template to create the deck for the Bag the Blenheims Lard Day game. I'm quite pleased with the end result, as it's a bit more upmarket than the generic deck I created for the Bandits Over Berlin game, so I hope the players appreciate the full on technicolour production values?
I'm setting up a play test game for a couple of weeks time at he club, in order to nail down the Bag the Blenheims scenario for the Lard Day in March. I still need to work up the card deck for this but I'm hoping to get that done this week, along with laminating the aircraft record sheets, briefings and help sheets. I already have three players signed up for playtest and I'm sure one or two more will join in once I've set a firm date. Tally Ho!
I now know that I will have four players taking part in the Bag the Hun Bandits Over Berlin morning game at Come and Have a Go if you think your Lard Enough!, so have been thinking about adjusting the scenario to give each player a section rather than a pair of aircraft. The thinking behind this is that, if they have played before it will be a bit too easy and would potentially become a two on two game, rather than a full on swirling dogfight. This would be a bit boring and might not last very long either, so it's not really a good idea to stick with Plan A.I thought about just giving the players two pairs of aircraft but decided in the end to go with a schwarm or section, which they can split into pairs if they wish. I've produced an amended version of the players briefings for the Allies and Luftwaffe, with the Me262 and Meteor still operating as a pair because they are a bit more tricky to fly and very powerful, not to mention the fact that I've only got two of each anyway. Apart from the jets,
I've now finished the player briefing sheets for 73 Squadriglia, No.185 Squadron and No.18 Squadron, so I'm ready now to crack on with the deck of cards for the Bag the Blenheims scenario, which I'll be playtesting at the club in a few weeks. In the meantime, I'm working on the aircraft record sheets, which need to be pre-populated with pilot identities and experience levels. They also need the unit identification details and call signs for the section leaders and wingmen, made easier by colour coding the sections in the game using little D6.I've done the Italians which required a bit more time and effort than the RAF ones, as I had to squeeze three to a sheet for the three aircraft sections, but I managed to do this in the end with some judicious editing of superfluous stuff. The RAF fighters get to have two aircraft to a sheet, with two sheets for each flight so that they can split into pairs if they want to, making it a lot easier to fill in all the relevant factors. I'll try to get all of the aircraft rec
I've been working away on the set up for the second game of the Lard Day, the Malta based Bag the Blenheims 1941 scenario, so that I have all of the pieces in place before I start to work up the turn cards, briefing sheets and other logistical paraphernalia. This is the first thing I needed to add to my existing game aids, a quick reference sheet for Air Gunnery for whoever takes on the role of No18 Squadron as it wings it's way toward Malta. It's a basic cut and paste job from p32 of the Bag the Hun 2 rule book but a lot easier for the players to refer to than the book itself. I've also finally decided on the pilots and experience levels for the Italian and British fighter formations, which was a lot less straightforward than I originally thought but is now quite nicely balanced, in order to give both sides an even chance of success. I'm going to write up the scenario next, including all the details that I need to run the game for the club playtest.
I set up a play test of the Bag the Hun 'Bogeys Over Berlin' game this evening at the club which went well apart from the eponymous bogeys, which didn't really work in the way I intended and just slowed things down at the start of the game. As a result, I'm going to leave bogeys out of the set up, both to simplify the scenario for the players and to speed up the action in the first few turns. In tonight's game, the Luftwaffe pulled off a last minute victory of six points to three, with an impressive performance from the Me262 Top Ace. It was good fun and I think will work even better as an introductory game if the bogeys are removed from play. I just have to think of a new title for the game...how about 'Bandits over Berlin' instead?
With all the fuss about Cruel Seas, which should be one of my birthday presents on Friday, I expect I'll be tied up with that but, in the longer term, I've been thinking about a 1/600th scale air wargaming project for 2019. I really enjoyed painting the Tumbling Dice models for Bag the MiG, MiG Alley and Target Locked On! last year and now feel much more confident about getting reasonable results in this smaller scale. I also like the idea of being able to paint an entire squadron of fighters or bombers in one go, even if it is at the expense of specific squadron insignia or finer details. The focus for my thoughts has turned once again to Finest Hour, the Battle of Britain campaign supplement for the first edition of Bag the Hun. I have always wanted to give this a go but in 1/285th scale the numbers of aircraft to be painted made it unfeasible, with the Luftwaffe bomber formations being a particular stumbling block. However, in 1/600th scale this is less of an issue, especially if I fiddle the system a