Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Fulda Gap - Weapon Ranges

One of the biggest controversies in wargames is weapon ranges. Of course there is a need for abstraction, mainly because of limited space to play. A Rheinmetall 120 mm tank gun, as mounted on the M1A1 Abrams, Leopard 2 and Challenger 2, has a range of 4000m. In Micro Armour scale (1/285th) this translates still to over 14m, and in 1/56th you'd need a football field to get out of reach. 
Even the Beretta M9 9mm pistol, standard side arm of the US Army, has an effective firing range of 50m, or 89cm = 35" in 1/56th.


For Fulda Gap I chose this rule:

Ranges:
Even with the abstractions of time and distance in a wargame, modern weapons have ranges exceeding the usual size of a gaming table by far.
Therefore, all weapons have a theoretical unlimited range only restricted by Line-of-Sight. The ranges given for each weapon type indicate an optimal fighting distance. Up to this distance, shooting does not suffer penalties. If the target is further away, a -1 penalty applies for every time the optimal distance is exceeded. For example, a soldier with an Assault Rifle fires at an enemy squad 50" away. He suffers a penalty of -2, -1 for exceeding 24" and -1 for exceeding 48” (2x24").
Just for comparison: even under best conditions, a soldier won't be able to hit an enemy with an Assault Rifle at a distance of 97", roughly translating into 200 meters, while the official effective firing range for a real-life M16 at a point target is 550 meters.

This changes the dynamic of the game quite a bit - you can't stay out of range, you must stay out of sight.

It also allows to streamline more rules - for example, all anti-tank guns can use the same range (48") and will only differ in their PEN-value.

In reality, it allows to engage the enemy earlier in the game, but will even out during later turns. Cover, pin marker and other modifiers will limit effective firing ranges fast - a unit with two pin markers shooting at an enemy in soft cover is already down to an effective range of 24".

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Fulda Gap - An Overview

One of the projects I like to work on from time to time is a Cold War-mod for Bolt Action. I call it "Fulda Gap", after the region in central Germany that would have been one of the most likely battlefields in a confrontation between NATO and the WarPac.


Here is my mission statement:
This supplement introduces Cold War technology into Bolt Action. It is focussed on the 80s and 90s of the last century. You will need the Bolt Action core rulebook to be able to use the army lists.
Included are lists for US Army, German Bundeswehr and British Army of the Rhine for NATO and Red Army, GDR Nationale Volksarmee and Czechoslovakian Forces for the WarPac.
These army lists are not 100% historically correct and not made for a specific year. Arms development was fast during this period and both new and upgraded equipment was constantly introduced on both sides. Additionally, a "hot" war would have most likely accelerated this process. On the other hand, obsolete equipment might be reactivated to fill gaps.
Furthermore, the lists are not based on a specific scenario. There were many potential ways to war (some are described in the “Close Call” boxes) and there is no intention to blame on side or the other.

The basic game mechanisms are mostly identical to the Bolt Action rules and several units like sniper teams work exactly the same. Those entries therefore refer to the Bolt Action core rulebook for stats and point costs.
In the end I hope to have a completely edited and ready to use pdf of all the rules and army lists, but this is still quite some time away. Nevertheless I would like to presents some of the new rules I have written in a series of articles on this blog. Just to give you a taste:
- Alternative weapon ranges
- Alternative platoon structure (see below)
- Armored Fighting Vehicles
- New squad options like fireteams and dedicated marksmen
- Off-board artillery
- ATGMs & SAMs

I also tried to streamline some of the rules and options. For example, squad size and options are mostly standardized, so there is no need for seperate entries for inexperienced, regular and veteran Rifle squads.



This is the (preliminary) structure of a platoon in Fulda Gap:
Compulsory:
1 Lieutnant
2 Squads

Optional:
0-1 Officer
0-1 FAC/FAO
0-4 additional Squads
0-1 MG Team
0-1 Mortar Team
0-1 Sniper Team
0-1 ATGM Team
0-1 SAM Team
0-1 Infantry Gun, AA Gun or AT Gun

0-2 Main Battle Tanks
0-3 Armored Carriers or Support Vehicles

0-1 Helicopter Gunship

0-1 Artillery Support

up to 1 transport per infantry unit

More vehicles, and more options to kill vehicles!

You might have noticed that I removed Medics:
Medics & Ambulances
The Red Cross, Red Crescent and Red Crystal emblems have special protection under the Geneva Convention. It was therefore decided to remove those units from the army lists to avoid the ethically questionable mechanic of attacking those units to deny the opponent a bonus.
I'll explain the other changes in the upcoming articles, but feel free to start commenting!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Welcome to the Afterlife

I received the last of my miniatures from the Afterlife: Shards of Liberty Kickstarter by Anvil Industry. This range is really working for me, excellent near future soldiers, not too exotic bit with a "realistic" vibe. And Anvil Industry is a guarantee for great quality. I never have had a single damaged miniature from them and I remember one out of over a hundred that had a minimal amount of bubbles.

But see yourself, here is a bunch of pictures:
 
Let's start with the rebellious Republicans. Madison Yoshida, one of the characters leading the Shard Strikes into Unity City. She's wearinhg Pulse Mech armor and I got two of her so I can build one with Flight Pack (see below) and one without.

Talking about Pulse Mech, here are the two support variants, one with missile launchers and one with autocannons.

And the optional Flight Packs for the Pulse Mechs.

Commando Bodyguard for the Republic and a female Unity Council Spectre Operative. They won't stand so peacefully next to each other ever again.
The Commando Bodyguard was a last minute addition to the campaign and we kinda talked Anvil Industry into it, but I guess they are quite happy now. It's one of my favorites from the campaign.

Republican Commando Snipers with Railguns, including the KS-exclusive one to the right. I already converted some in the past but they are a nice addition to my team. I also really dig the small observation drone!

More Republican Commandos. I got two squads so I can build one with shields (to join the Assault Specialist team) and one without,

Goliath Walker CQB close combat variant. Good that it comes with two head options, the one with a whole bunch of sensors on his head looks a bit odd.

Another favorite of mine, the Instigator Assault Recon Vehicle. comes with a lot of options, too. I think I'll build the attack version with the gunner in the back, but I'm going to get another one to make a transport.

The Assassination Pack includes all the missing big wigs from both sides, even Raul Tennyson himself. It also comes with the amazing Proteus-drone, a mind-controlled bodyguard.

The Unity Council gets some new characters, too. Here we have Gabriela Aguilar, a Spectre Operative Master Sniper. I guess she will cause her Commando counterparts some (explosive) headaches.

The Technician Pack includes Aleksander Malik, a mad and sadistic scientist, as well as his mute bodyguard Preacher, two of his assistants and one of their victims.

Not much is known about Ephraim Bolivar, "The Mechanic", except that he works for the Unity Council

CRANE is a megacorporation and one of their products is the Unity Council Ajax Exo-Armor. They also have their own paramilitary units like the heavy infantry above.

Last, but not least, a Unity Guard support platform with missile launcher. Not spectacular, but effective.

If you want to know more about the Afterlife universe, visit http://www.afterlifevolumes.com
And if you'd like to see more of the Afterlife miniatures range, go to http://www.anvilindustry.co.uk/AFTERLIFE

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Bring & Buy

Last weekend we had a bring & buy at our local hobby club. I brought some things from my cabinet and managed to sell more than I bought myself, so I guess it was a success ;)

I got two new miniatures I'm going to use for Frostgrave: a classic Warhammer wizard and a Helldorado demon.


The wizard should make a nice Necromant. I'm thinking about painting him in dark black and brown colors. The demon is really freaky, and I'm looking forward to painting it.

I also got some reinforcements for my Mordheim warband. A new model for my Assassin Adept and a couple of giant rats:


Next, two very good tank walk-around-books:



I'm doing a lot of research about late Cold War armies for a small project of mine (which I will talk about in a later blog post) and those are a great addition for my reference library.

But the best purchase was this:


A huge lot of 10mm Normans, about 70 knights, well over 120 spearmen and about 20 archers and crossbowmen, each.


More than enough to make a DBA 3.0 army, even if I "double-base" (putting twice as many miniatures on each base as needed, for example 6 knights per Kn (3) base)!

This week I'll try to finish painting my Skaven (including the new models) so the yare ready to play on sunday. I'll keep you posted ;)

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Tanks and Dogs

A couple of days ago the last block of the summer project ended, so I was busy painting tiny tanks.

In addition to the Tiger IIs I painted a whole lot of other vehicles, too. Most of them were planned as bonus miniatures for previous blocks, but I didn't got around to take car of them:


Front: Sd Kfz 234/2 Puma, Tiger II (Prosche turret), K├╝belwagen, 2x Sd Kfz 251/7 and a Sd Kfz 251/16
Middle: spare Porsche turret, 3x Tiger II (Henschel), 3x fuel trucks
Back: 3x Tiger II (Henschel), 3x Whirlwind AA SPG

The Tiger II with the broken barrel is the one I tried to fix... Maybe some two-component glue will help.

This weekend we are going to have a "bring & buy" event at our local club. I was rummaging thorugh my hobby cabinet to figure out what can go (bye, bye, Bolt Action Italians...) when I found quite a few things I can use for Frostgrave.

For example Hamlet from Hasslefree Miniatures, who will be a very good War Dog:

I also found a whole lot of Wreck Age miniatures, including a pack of dogs:
Those are much smaller than Hamlet, but I think if I put two of them on one base it schould work out quite fine.

Last, but not least, a Reaper Miniatures Genie.
This one will be useful as a summoneed demon or for the magical lamp scenario from the rulebook.

There is a bunch of stuff from Harwood Hobbies' Sinbad range, too.
Some pictures of the actual miniatures in the next post. I promise ;)