Samstag, 16. Juni 2012

Ready for duty: Katyusha, T-26 and SU-76

I am sorry for Russia, they lost the crucial soccer game against Greece and have to go home. However, while watching the UEFA Euro 2012 some russian units (all scale 1/72) got final paintings.

First my beloved Katyusha. For a flashback to earlier phases or a photo of the master see this post.

Katyusha on Studebaker Truck

Second a tiny T-26 (the left one) - sweet but deadly ;-)

left: T-26; right: SU-76

Finally I have to present a good support for infantry - a SU-76. Russian nickname of this self-propelled gun is "Suka" that means "Bitch". Am I allowed to write such naughty things here? *gg*

SU-76 with Commander and Loader

Again I am not happy with the quality of the photos - but hey, at least you cannot see my painted mistakes. Always look on the bright side of life... *whistle*

Hope we can see these babies in action soon...

Samstag, 9. Juni 2012

Project T-34/85 - A front-line tank for the next game!

Some years ago I have build a Revell kit T-34/85 scale 1/72. I painted it standard russian green and pasted up some decals. Finally it ended in a box for relocation *narf*

Resorting my tabletop stuff I found this glorious russian tank. The T-34 was a tank of mass-production and the T-34/85 version got a better gun to penetrate tanks like the german Tiger.

Next time we play around Spring 1944 the german army will have a problem ;-)

my personal "out-of-the-box" T-34/85
got a hit into the right gas tank
Ready for the front-line

Let´s hunt some Huns...

Will post some pictures when it has seen some action :-)

Freitag, 8. Juni 2012

Activate units? Not fair! Not strategic! Boring, right?

I have found a rule-set called "FUBAR" recently (download: And there is this rule: The active player can try to activate a unit. If he misses the probe initiative will change and the opponent could try to activate his units. Within a turn the right to act randomly changes.
I had to think about that for a longer moment.

As I mentioned before, we are playing a self-made tabletop game in our wargaming group and precisely this rule was discussed one year ago.
If I unstand the rule right, two things will happen:
  1. Not all units get activated in a turn (this can be quite frustrating!)
  2. It is not possible to plan a strategy (this can be more frustrating!)
Do you know the game "Don´t get angry!" (german: "Mensch ärgere Dich nicht!")? It is the same effect: You have to roll a 6 on a 1D6 to "activate" your meeple at the beginning. If your are not lucky, you cannot act in your turn. Meanwhile your opponents are playing - hey, don´t get angry! *gg*

Besides that it can be very frustrating to be not allowed to act because of a lack of fortune, it makes no sense to plan an attack or a long term strategy. At any point of the turn your plan is doomed for failure if the opponent has more luck than you. Is this fair? IMHO not! Is this a strategic wargame? IMHO not!

Maybe I should not demonize this rule, maybe "there´s more than meets the eye with you." Sorry, had to lend this quote by Sam Witwicky *bg*

What about a little justification?
New rule: The active player can try to activate a unit. He makes his turn until he will miss the activation probe. The second player gets his chance now. And so on. Main changement: A unit that could not be activated at first try, can be activated later. The unit is not lost in this turn. If one player used all of his troops the other player can act freely till the end of the turn.

What will happen?:
  • All units get used in one turn
  • You can plan a longer strategic proceeding but sometimes you have to react on things your opponent is doing.
Disadvantage: The rolls of dice for initiative cost too much time.

Maybe even better: Both players roll a dice (1D10 or 1D12). The result is the sum of the roll and their initiative value (INI). The more points one player is above the result of his opponent the more units he can use till the next initiative probe is needed.

Player A with INI=5 rolls his dice and the outcome is 9. Result: 14.
Player B with INI=3 rolls his dice and the outcome is 5. Result: 8.
Player A can act with 6 (14-8=6) of his units until the next initiative probe decides who will act next.

Hm, just thinking aloud *gg*
What do YOU mean?

In my imagination it could be worth to try this variation out.

Let´s do it! ;-)

Donnerstag, 7. Juni 2012

Project "Stalinorgel" - Katyuscha on Studebaker

Before we can start playing an amazing game of tabletop wargaming, God (respectively the seller) gave us a folding carton with our beloved model kit. Unfortunately we have to build and paint it - the game has to wait! As I said in one of the last postings I am not the modeller in our wargaming group. However, sometimes even I have to take a glue or a paint-brush to get new units on the field of glory.

This is the master:

Source: Photo taken at the Museum of the Great Patriotic War, Moscow, Russia, by Nick Lobeck
A beautiful Katyuscha (german: Stalinorgel) on a Studebaker chassis (for more Info see Wikipedia).

This is the status of the model kit (okay, some of you would not call 6 pieces a kit *gg*)

Katyuscha unpainted

I will keep you up-to-date about my "precious"...


After some hours of painting:
Katyuscha painted - without decals

Now I have to choose some decals, do some ageing and get it dirty :-)

*Update 2*

Ageing done. I have qualms to make it dirty. For my eyes it is okay this way:

Katyusha on Studebaker Truck

Montag, 4. Juni 2012

What the heck means "Kukuruza" ?

Eminem is singing "Hello, my name is, my name is..." and he is using his alter ego as a shelter to do crazy things. The analogy to my name is: I can blog about my crazy hobby and can impersonate as a russian lieutenant general when playing tabletop ;-)

Kukuruza means "corn" in russian and was the inofficial nickname of Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev (for more info: He was the direct link between Stalin and the local military commanders on the Southwest Front. Khrushchev influenced the outcome of battles like Kharkov, Stalingrad and Kursk. He is my personal "Slim Shady" *gg*

Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev, 1961 (Source: John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library)

Samstag, 2. Juni 2012

It´s your turn! Wargaming with fixed rotating turns and/or unexpected "change of initiative"

Last time I gave you an insight in our self-made tabletop game with the topic "Fog of War".
This time I will write about our general concept of a turn-based gameplay.

There are many options how to simulate a battle:
1. Player A does his turn. He can move and fire. Afterwards player B does his turn. Again player A starts in the next round - etc.
2. Player A does the first half of his turn. He can move. Player B does his first half also. He moves his units. Player A can fire. After that player B has the option to fire - etc.

Up to this point everything goes like in a traditional board game where one player starts first in every turn. Now we arrive at the complexer concepts:
3. Both players move and fire simultaneously. This variation only works if you use hex-fields or other divisions. Movement and firing is done hidden (on a paper). When both players wrote down their actions, the results are played out. Sounds boring? It is...  
4. Both players roll a dice. Winner starts with his turn. Losers turn follows. If the Loser wins next turn, he may move/fire twice in a row.
5. Variation of (4): The Winner can choose if he likes to act first or if his opponent can do his turn first.

Maybe there are other or mixed concepts. We used to play the last variation because of the strategic component to pass the first turn to the opponent.

The Jaffa Tabletop - concept of turn-based gameplay

The initial roll of a dice seems to be a randomized event at the first look - and that is right of course. The players have a 50:50 chance to get the initiative. We added another component to get a "spicier" and more controlled gameplay. The COs (Commanding Officers) and NCOs (Non-Commissioned Officers) in your line-up come with "Initiative Points" (INI points). COs give 2 INI points and NCOs 1 INI point. The ratio for the initial roll will change if one player starts with more infantery (background info: We have more or less fixed rules when a CO or NCO has to be in the line-up). The INI points serve as a kind of balancing factor between line-ups with many amoured forces (less INI) and line-ups with many infantry (high INI). The more two line-ups differ the more important is a fixed turn-based gameplay because amoured forces have wider ranges (movement and firepower) and could decide a battle in two rounds (in the worst case). However sometimes the player with less INI points will win the inital roll. Then this player has a good opportunity to plan a strategic two-round tactic or just shock the enemy. On the other hand he has to plan what will follow after doing a two-in-a-row strike.   

While playing a battle soldiers get lost - even COs and NCOs ;-) - so the INI value can change. Again it influences the balance if one player gets too strong - the gameplay will become more and more a fixed turn-based one if the a player loses more INI than his opponent.  

Hope you get me right, if both players start with an identical INI value both players have a 50:50 chance to get the initiative in a round. Then the game is more open and riskier. A wrong tactical decicion combined with an unplanned "change of initiative" can have a stong influence on the game. This effect is good! We want to end a battle on the same day we started it!

What do YOU think about our system? Which variations are YOU playing?

Two eye-catchers from the archive at the end of this post:

German troops fend off a british attack 

This german guy can´t miss the russian BA-64