Saturday, April 4, 2020

African Imagi-nations: The War Goes On

A Few Notes from the Guy Behind the Curtain

As I've progressed through my fictional conflict, the path of the game has been dictated by a campaign where as battles are resolved on the table, I consider what the next step might be in the strategic game, and create randomizing tables to accommodate the options for that part of game.

For example, as the war progressed and Mugabia took losses, the stability of the country decreased a little with each loss.  So after each loss, I roll dice against a continuously evolving table that could result in an overthrow of the Mugabian president.  

The overthrow could be an assassination attempt, a coupe by an individual or the general staff, a mutiny by an army officer and his unit in the field, a popular uprising, etc.  Each possibility is listed on a table, and if the overthrow is rolled, then the next roll would be on the table for the type of overthrow.  Additional tables might be generated to roll up more details, battles would likely follow, more strategic/campaign tables, etc.

Not surprisingly, the most dynamic possible outcomes have been missed, as there is a very small chance of any of these happening ( it seems that the President's brother and General Mobata had bad die rolls, etc).

Once I have die results for the next step in the game, I build backstory to explain it, creating characters as needed. Many of these appear as officers in the battles.  For me, the story telling adds a lot of flavor to my games on the tabletop, making me try harder for each side as I play the games.

Anyway, that is how the campaign is driven.  I realized some time ago, that Uwanda had over-reached with "the big war", but had expected that Mugabia would suffer some sort of destabilization that would have brought the war to a halt, prior to Uwanda reaching its current state.

That didn't happen, and the war eventually hit a strange point, where I couldn't see the options for progression of the game.  Briefly, I was afraid that the game might have reached the end of the line.  After thinking about this for awhile, I eventually came up with some ideas.  Some were older ides revisited, and others were completely new.  Another generation of tables resulted, and I started rolling dice, reaching some dead ends, and finding some new directions.  To be honest, what appears to be happening presents some delightful possibilities on the table top, and moves the game in directions that I had never considered outright.

My next few posts will introduce back story presenting lead-ins to these new paths that the game might follow.  The first is included below:

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The Uwanda-Mugabia War Continues...

Populations in the west took little notice of the Soviet action in Mugabia, but some of their governments had far greater interest.  The west always wanted to confound the east in these efforts, but how to best go about it was always a challenge.  These governments fumbled around, while events in Uwanda and Mugabia unfolded.

The Soviets surprised Uwanda with the attack on the patrolling F5s, and the overwhelming success of the attack sent ripples through Uwanda's command structure.  Uwanda had to find a solution, and several options were on the table. Uwanda remained unnervingly quiet, while considering the options.

Soviet ground forces were relatively light at this point, and possibly Uwanda still possessed enough ground strength to give the Soviets a bloody nose.  The question was how would the Soviets react if Uwanda could be successful?  And what if Uwanda wasn't successful?

Uwanda could try to simply take back their contested territory outright, little movement had occurred there, and Uwanda still possessed significant ground forces in the region.  Additionally, they could mass air support close to operations, while the Soviets would have to travel farther to defend Mugabian assets.  Uwanda had attempted a version of this prior to starting the broader war, without success.  Could Uwanda be more successful now?

Or Uwanda could offer a trade.  Several variations were under consideration but all involved offering former Mugabian territory for the occupied Uwandan territory.  The general perception of these options by Uwanda's leadership was that this would be seen as an act of contrition, and would not end favorably.

In the mean time, general Kukimbia, commander of Uwanda's Air Force,  looked for an opportunity to test his F5Es with their upgraded missiles against the Soviet Migs.  He believed that the newer F5s could match the Migs in the air and relieve some of the current pressure on Uwanda.

The clock was ticking.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

AA36: Third World Meets First World

As Major Suvorov's  Mig 23MLD lifted off of the runway, he considered that after all of these years, this was his first real combat mission.  He had once intercepted an American intelligence gathering jet, and then there was the time that he managed to sneak up on a pair of Tomcats, but this would be the first time he knew in advance that he would be using his R-23 missiles if the opportunity arose.

Four Mig 23s closed with the Uwandan F5s which were patrolling the sky over occupied Mugabian territory near Objective B41.  The Migs were each armed with a pair of medium ranged R-23 and a pair of short ranged R60M.

The Migs had not yet detected any airborne radar, so they did not yet know if they were facing F5As or F5Es, though it really didn't matter.  Once their targets were within radar range, the Migs would fire their missiles, dispatch their new found enemies, and return home.
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In my first game using Missile Threat rules, I found that it just wasn't that easy.  The rules are more abstracted and easier to use and manage than my home-brew dogfight rules, but the abstractions still leave a lot of flying to the player, and despite my reservations about some of the mechanics, gave very reasonable results through each step of play.

The scenario was created by my campaign system for my African imagi-nations, and thus, I did not use some of the initial set up and scenario duration rules from Missile Threat.
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The Migs approached from due east, while the F5As were heading roughly northeast to southwest.  The Migs were directed into battle by Mugabian ground radar, while the Uwandans had no radar coverage.  As a  result the Migs had the initiative over the F5s, which had no radar and were each equipped with a pair of AIM-9B Sidewinders and their guns.

On the first turn of movement,  Migs closed with F5s to find that they were just out of radar range and could not fire.


Then on the next turn, had overrun their prey, and could not fire missiles as they entered the phase too close and over-running their targets

 

A couple turns of movement later, despite my struggle at rolling radar locks, the first Mig finally achieved a lock-on, fired a pair of R-23s, and got his first kill.


The targeted F5 was in the process of failing a missile lock on another Mig, so did not have opportunity to evade the two inbound missiles, which destroyed his plane and killed the pilot twice.

The Major had no time to consider his accomplishment.  The F5 in 
front of him ceased to exist, and he simply moved on to the next 
target and continued the fight.  A time for reflection would come later.

The fight swirled on for a few turns with a bunch of failed radar and missile lock rolls (I needed 4+ or 6+ on 2D12, and failed on 10 of 14 rolls overall as near as I can figure).  Another F5 got hit and knocked out of the sky, and one missile that did make it off of the rail failed to hit its target, as it was fired too close, and lost sight of the target after launch.

The last kill came on the last turn as the two remaining F5s were trying to leave the fight.  Unfortunately another pair of R23s badly damaged the aircraft and killed the pilot.


The end result is that Uwanda lost 3 F5As and their pilots, while the Soviets lost no Migs.  The F5s never even managed to get a missile lock.  The Soviets may have bought Mugabia some time, and both sides will have to consider the result of this battle and decide how to proceed.

Missile Threat seems to work well, though I need to learn the rules a lot better, so that I can avoid situations like the Migs experienced early on, when I bumbled their potential first shot and a lost their initial advantage.

Sorry about the photo quality, my phone had fits with my lighting and I still don't have a proper table cover, using the backside of my "ocean" cloth.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

6mm NATO Cold War Aircraft (1950s)

Continuing my 6mm aircraft project, I finished my NATO aircraft for the Cold War of the 1950s.  Only a total of  twenty models were completed, six US, four French, and ten British.   Here are some pics:


F-84E by I-94 Enterprises (Raiden).


F-104 w/wingtip tanks by I-94 Enterprises.


Vautour bomber (I think from I-94)


Meteor 8 from Scotia. (Wow, the decal border really shows 
up in the pic, didn't notice it otherwise).


Venom by Scotia.


Gloster Javelin from I-94 Enterprises.


And the whole heap of models including F-86E, F-100 from I94, 
Mystere IV from unknown maker,
Vampires from Scotia, and Hunters from I-94

The painting is pretty basic, but they are table worthy, and that is the important thing.  The decals from I-94 and Flight Deck Decals all worked well.  I also made some modifications to my aircraft stands so that they will more readily work with Missile Threat rules.  I have a game set up, and hope to play it early this week.

As with the Soviets, I plan to add to, and expand the NATO forces a bit, as soon as funds are available.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

6mm Soviet Aircraft are Ready

Over the last week, I finished painting 24 Soviet fighters and interceptors.  I added in 2x IL 28 (which were already painted), and began applying the decals, but found that most on each decal sheet were actually too large for my aircraft, so will probably order new decals from Flight Deck Decals, as soon as my Covid-19 spending freeze comes to an end.

The models are mounted on brass wire for use with my current aircraft stands from my home-brew dogfight rules, which I plan to use with Missile Threat rules in the near term.  I may eventually switch to less invasive stands, but for now these will work and are actually tall enough that they eliminate the need to an altitude die in Missile Threat.

Here are a few pics:

A Ros & Heroics Su-9 on one of my flight stands.  This is one
 of the rougher models that I purchased, but I still love it.


H&R Yak-38 (blue) and a Scotia Grendel Il-28

H&R Mig-23 (yellow camo) and Scotia Su-15


And the rest of the lot, including Mig 15, 17, 19, and 21, Su-25, 7, & 9.


During this past week, I have also done some painting on my US, French and German aircraft, and hope to have some of those finished by next weekend.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

1950s 6mm Cold War (Air) Progress

I'm moving along on my 6mm aircraft for a 1950s Cold War conflict, having cleaned, assembled, pinned, and primed 42 models for the project (plus 4x Mig23s, and 2x Yak 38s for my African imagi-nation campaign).

I decided to work on fixed-wing aircraft for now, then go back to the rotary-wing stuff a little later.  For the most part, I've got pairs of the following:

US:  F-100, F86E, F84E

France: Mystere, Mystere  IV, Vautour

West Germany: F104

UK: Meteor, Vampire, Venom, Hunter, Javelin

Soviet: Yak 25, Mig 15, Mig 17, Mig 19, Mig 21, Su7, Su 9

 

I'll need to add a little more depth for some types, maybe up to 6-8 of primary interceptors and fighters, and fill in some of the missing types.  I'm targeting 1958 for the focus of my battles, and am pushing a few early models for service that late, as well as maybe speeding the timeline up for entry of a few others a little early (it is a fictional WWIII, so I will have an alt-historical timeline anyway).

I still intend to pick up some F101s, F105s, and hopefully find a source for some combination of F89, F94, and/or F84F models.  I need to look into observation types, and probably the A26 as well.

I plan to order an AN 2 and wish I could find a SU11, and a Mi4 along with several other late 1950s and early 1960s helicopters (I plan to follow up my 1958 WWIII with a 1968 version  a little further down the road.

The French will get some Super Mysteres and Magisters, and the Germans will add some F84 and F86 as soon as we get past the current virus situation, and some money is available to fun stuff again.

I probably will have to consider the US, French, and Royal Navy possibilities before I'm done, but I've got plenty to paint before that.  I do have a smattering of US Navy types on hand, just haven't worked on them yet.

Anyway, not a lot to show yet, but the interesting part will hopefully start tomorrow night, when I get the paint out.

I plan to try out "Missile Threat" rules with couple of my Africa games, and assuming those go well, will use them for my WWIII games as well.

Until next time, take care of yourselves and stay healthy out there!

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Built Some Momentum, Finished Some Miniatures

Over the last two weeks, I managed to assemble and complete 36 Cold War Vehicles.  A combination of Soviet, British, and US models from QRF, Armies Army, and Old Glory.  Here's a few pics:

Clockwise from the top; QRF BMP-1, T-64, BRDM-AT3, SA-8, 
Zil-151, S-60, and SA-6

From back row to front; Armies army Scimitars, Chieftains, 
and landrovers, QRF Saracens, and Armies Army FV432s.

Old Glory M35 trucks.

I still need to plop crew members into a few of them (forgot to do that prior to taking the pics), but otherwise, they are ready to go.  I was pretty happy with them until I clear-coated them.  I tried using a GW paint for the "dust" and when I sprayed them, much of the dust "blew" away.  I finally ran out of my old Polly-S/Polly Scale "dust", "mud", and "dirt" paint, which has been out of production for a hundred years, and have been experimenting with newer paints.  Oh well, the GW paint seemed a bit thick, and probably was too thick/dry for dry-brushing.  Should have thinned it more.  Maybe, I don't know.  At least they have paint, and can hit the table now.

Next up are some 1/285 and 1/300 aircraft, mostly for 1950s Cold War.  We'll see if I can keep up the momentum. 

Assortment of aircraft from GHQ, I-94, H&R, and Scotia.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

A Constructive Sunday

So Sunday, I made it down the basement, looked up at the lead mountain,  and realized that I really hadn't worked on anything since January 3rd.  I also realized that over the last couple of years, I had managed to surround my table with unassembled and unpainted 15mm vehicles models.

I started counting and stopped at 42 Cold War, and 95 WWII vehicles, and didn't even get into the additional boxes of cast parts in the next room.  So, I got to work and had a nice time, starting Cold War Soviets, then moving on to a few US trucks, and then some WWII German tanks.

Ready for the painting table are 11 QRF 15mm Soviet vehicles; 2x Zil 151 trucks, 3x BRDM/AT3, 1x SA8, 3x BMP1, and 3x T64.  


...and the rest of the most immediate backlog awaiting either assembly and/or priming...


Sunday was a good day.  Hopefully, I can build some momentum and keep it going.