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Thread: Battle Brush Studios' little histories

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  2. #522
    Modsticker Codsticker's Avatar
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    Re: Battle Brush Studios' little histories

    Very sharp! The commander figures look very natural.
    Last edited by Codsticker; 22-05-2017 at 05:19.
    Quote Originally Posted by Salty
    What the Modsticker said.

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    Chapter Master sigur's Avatar
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    Re: Battle Brush Studios' little histories

    Hullo. My Rommel rulebook also arrived last week:



    Looks very good so far. Rommel depicts actual proper big battles. You're commanding multiple brigades/divisions/combat groups around. It's using area movement (squares), which some people may not like. I'm OK with it. You can do it really subtly actually by just outlining the squares by placing pebbles or little dots at the corners so the visual spectacle isn't too disturbed. Terrain is equally simply organized in how a square is either open, wooded, mountainous, soft ground (like marshes) or 'built up area' / urban. Doesn't mean it actually is ALL that, but that there's a forest in the area, a few hills and a mountain, a village, etc. Each square is ~1km in length (and thus in width ) and in game terms 6" on a 6'x4' table. Enough space for say a stand of 15mm figures for each unit.

    You move units around, you may stack up to three units on each square, if you move onto a square on which an enemy unit sits you do combat. Only artillery units may attack squares other than the one they're moving onto (and, if in range, may support friendly units attacking enemy-held squares).

    The basic unit of the game is is either an infantry company (in the case of understrength formations maybe even two companies) including support (like heavy weapon platoons, some anti-tank and anti-aircraft guns, etc.), tank companies including support, artillery is usually about a battalion of artillery. So the general kinds of units you get are infantry (either on foot, motorized), armoured infantry (riding armoured troop transports), tanks, artillery (towed) and self-propelled artillery. Movement values (in squares) are decided by type of unit. Units are either depicted by models or unit cards (your choice):



    You can also use both. There's a dotted line which suggests you could slide the card underneath a base of models. In the top picture you can see the card for a Panzer III tank company. In the lower right you can see the unit's relative armour/armament value which I think mostly comes into play in tank battles; meaning if tank units are involved on both sides. The side whose tanks have a higher number in the red field get an advantage. If one side only brings tanks to the combat the opposing forces get a disadvantage in combat (in the open. In difficult terrain like woodlands, urban areas, mountains, etc. tanks also suffer disadvantages).

    The numbers in the white boxes are the combat power and "life bar" of the unit. Each time they take damage you cross out a box from left to right (thus also reducing the combat power of the unit), if al lthree boxes are crossed out the unit is shattered and off the table.

    The symbol in the bottom left is the element the unit belongs to. In this case Kampfgruppe A of the 19th Panzer Division. Each unit belongs to a larger grouping of units. Especially later in the war armies combined various units into Kampfgruppen (Combat Groups) on the German side, Regimental Combat Teams in case of the American army and so on. Those usually are different formations of tanks, anti-gun, anti-air and infantry operating as a separate combined arms element. If you do combat with units from different elements you get a penalty as communication across elements wasn't as close.

    ..and that's it really.

    Now for the interesting thing - Command&Control.

    Each player has an Ops (= Operations) sheet. Those are different depending on the nation they play and the stage of the war (they do the familiar thing. Early War: '39-'41, Mid-War: '42-'43, Late War: '44-'45). These are all downloadable for free off the Honour Games website's download section (all you need to play Rommel is the rulebook; everything else is to download for free. All you need is the Ops sheets; the unit cards are options as I said above). Here we see the Ops sheet for "British Early War".



    Now this is a little abstract, but it's basically just resource allocation stuff. Each player starts with a certain number of dice in the top centre box depending on the scenario. You place your unused Ops dice on there (10 max; that's universal). These represent operational resources and sheer command ablility (in terms of the commander and his staff, but also communications and infrastructure). Over the course of your turn you can use those dice (which are basically just markers) to allocate to trigger Events first (brown boxes, left). These cost dice from your Ops File pool and give you various bonuses for that turn. Events with a blue bar can only be used once per game.

    Tactics are used in combat. Each time you move units onto enemy-held squares combat is carried out

    Dice allocated to Events and Tactics remain on the boxes and can not be used until you Reset your Ops. You may Reset at the beginning of your turn, but it means you receive fewer new dice that turn, meaning you can't do as much this turn. This means you have to cleverly time your Resets. I haven't played yet, but I think this is at the core of the game, along with maneuvering and such.


    From Sparker's Wargaming Blog, using 6mm figures: http://sparkerswargames.blogspot.co....rn-desert.html


    Movement is split up between a Road Movement phase and the Tactical phase. During the Road Movement phase (for which one Op die has to be used to invoke the phase) all units on foot may move up to three squares, motorized or armoured units may move up to 6. After this they may not combat or move through enemy zones of control (squares adjacent to enemy-held squares). They also are more vulnerable to enemy attacks on the subsequent turn. It's basically the period's version of march column.

    After this a player may invoke one or more Tactical Phases in which all units who may do so may move 'tactically' (meaning all fanned out, using cover, looking out for enemy positions, etc.). This includes moving onto enemy-occupied squares and thus attacking. The first tactical phase per turn costs 1 Op die, the second tactical phase costs 2 Op dice, etc. so you may 'blitzkrieg' around to exploit a breakthrough, but it will come at the cost of being much less flexible and able to act on subsequent turns.

    Oh, and always keep an eye on your supply lines (drawn through friend-occupied or uncontested squares and not within the enemy's Zone of Control). Each player has one or more squares denoting their source of supplies (like a supply hub, storehouses, a larger railyard, ...) from which supply lines are drawn. Units out of supply will cost additional Ops dice to activate and are less effective in combat until they can draw a line of supply again.



    Combat is pretty straightforward, but there is some finesse to it. If you move a stack of units (up to 3 per square) onto an enemy square. Each side adds up the total combat power of their units on the square, modifiers for terrain and circumstances are applied.

    Then each player may allocate Ops dice (in secret) to up to as many Tactics on their Ops board as they have units in the combat which further have an impact on the outcome of the combat (the defender obviously using defensive tactics, the attacker using offensive ones). These are revealed and carried out at the same time for both players. But remember that these dice stay and you may not use the tactics any more until you reset your Ops

    Then each player rolls a die, there may be further modifications and there we have our result in boxes each side loses from their unit cards (or markers or what ever you choose to use).

    The rulebook includes a bunch of generic scenarios, guidelines to turn historical battles into Rommel scenarios (which is pretty easy), it has 'army lists' and stats for British/Allied armies (Early, mid-war, late), French (early war, obviously), Italians (early war, mid war), Russians (early, mid late) as well as a bunch of guidelines for making up unit stats for additional formations. There also is a bunch of Advanced Rules for things such as paratroops landing, beach landings, pure recce units, pioneers, engineering, weather, cavalry units, etc. The only downside is that there are no rules for the Pacific theatre at this point, but I'm sure people around the world already are working on Ops sheets for Japanese and US forces in he Pacific.

    But yeah, it's all there to play big WW2 battles. Very much looking forward to my first game!


    Hope you found this little overview interesting.

  5. #525
    Chapter Master sigur's Avatar
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    Re: Battle Brush Studios' little histories

    Hello, boys and girls.

    Thursday two weeks ago I had the honour of playing a test game of Rommel by Sam Mustafa. That thing I wrote a droning introduction to in this thread a few weeks ago.



    The scenario we played was based on Operation Brevity, available as free download on Honour Games Website here: https://sammustafa.com/downloads/

    Very quickly summarized Operation Brevity (May 15th, 1941) was the first of a series of British counter-attacks against Italian/German forces in Libya. Rommel's Arfrika Korps had thrown Commonwealth forces back behind the Egyptian borders shortly before. Only the important supply harbor Tobruk still was in the hands of British and Australian forces, but was besieged. Now German supply lines were stretched painfully thin and large chunks of Rommel's force was back at Tobruk.


    Here's a map of the area the operation (and our game) took place in:


    The objective of Operation Brevity was to recapture terrain which would serve as a jump-off point for future operations to relief Tobruk ("Operation Battleaxe" a few weeks later). For this the following strategic points were important: Hafid Ridge, Fort Capuzzo and the city of Sollum.




    The German force

    The forces involved on the German side were KG von Herff (KG = Kampfgruppe / Combat Group) sitting at the ready in the North including German and Italian motorized forces and tanks, and some more Italian forces in Sollum to defend the town. Later on the Germans would receive reinforcements in the shape of KG von Esebeck (infanry, some artillery and medium tanks).



    The British force

    was set up in three groups. One was drawn from 7th Armoured Division (including a bunch of Cruiser tanks, Australian light tanks and some infantry), the second group from the 22nd Guards Brigade (Scots and Coldstream Guards, Matilda II infantry tanks, etc.) and the third group, named Coast Group, featuring 2nd battalion The Rifle Brigade (successors to the famous 95th Rifles of Sharpe fame of course) and artillery support. On top there was unattached 25pdr gun support from the Corps for general support.


    Setup

    KG Herff sets up along the northern long edge of the table, while the Italian group (formally part of KG von Herff) are sitting in Sollum. KG von Esebeck would appear at the end of German player's turn #4 along his long table edge.
    British forces start long the opposed long table edge and get to go first.

    The game runs for 16 player turns (each player goes 8 times), after that it's nightfall and the battle ends. If the British player holds two of the objectives he wins, otherwise it's a win for the Axis player.

    I played the British and Commonwealth forces, honourable Mr.Virago slipped in his usual role of playing the Axis commander. He owns a lot of 15mm Afrika Korps figures of course and I supplied Italians who in this game got their first outing. I had a few Cruiser tanks too few, which I substituted with looted Italian medium tanks, while Virago was a few Panzer III and Panzer II short, which were substituted with early Panzer IV and recon vehicles. In Rommel miniatures are completely optional, but we had the terrain and figures, so why not use them. To be honest, they proved to make the whole affair look more atmospheric, but also added a bit of chaos and made the game less clear looking. Not to mention the troubles of trying to put a single-based 15mm figure on a laminated piece of paper on a slope.

    All infantry units were motorized with the exception of the Italian infantry sitting in Sollum. The Bersaglieri units attached to KG von Herff of course were motorized as well.


    I got to move first, so I swiftly sent 7th Division off to Hafid Ridge. 22nd Brigade was split into two forces: Infantry, supported by heavy Matilda II tanks took Fort Capuzzo. The idea was for them and 7th Armoured Division to take the objectives and be a nuisance to keep those nasty German Panzers in check. In the mean time the rest of 22nd Brigade and Coast Group would knock these Italians out of Sollum. "Shouldn't take long", "it's just Italians after all" and "we threw them out of Cyrenaika before without much trouble". Falling for your own propaganda is a slippery slope.


    Elements of 22nd Guards Battalion take Fort Capuzzo (depicted by a recon vehicle and a camel).


    On the right flank the bloody house-to-house combat for Sollum commenced. Motor Rifles of 22nd Brigade and Coast Group took turns in their attacks, but the Italians proved to be stalwart defenders.


    ...despite the best efforts of the Royal Artillery (and at one point the RAF as well).


    At one point I ALMOST had them running, but then out of nowhere a company of Bersaglieri showed up and replaced an exhausted company. Yup, Italians rotating frontline troops. I was as amazed as you are, folks. No fair!


    At the centre we had a proper tank battle in the mean time.



    Hafid Ridge on my left was guarded by a well dug in company of Motor Rifles and not in real danger and the Germans mostly took off to relief Sollum. This presented me with the opportunity to start an attack on the German supply source. If I'd be able to capture that it would make things MUCH more invonvenient for my opponent.

    In the Rommel rules the scenario always dictates one or more squares which are each side's supply source (which is either an airfield, a supply harbor, a railway hub, etc.) to which you have to be able to draw uninterrrupted lines to your units, otherwise activating them gets much harder, they are less effective in combat, and so on.

    So I redirected 7th Armoured's tanks and 22nd Battalion's Matilda tanks to attack the German tank units protecting the supply source. But dang, German tanks are annoying. The game models the edge German tankers had on their British counter-parts at that point very well. 3-man turret crews, better morale and doctrine... it went OK, but after a while it became clear that the attack wouldn't be successful (not to mention bloody 88s hammering at my Matildas).

    And then KG Esebeck turned up. Not as much as I had thought, but still. The defenders of Sollum still refused to give up and they got flank support by German Panzergrenadiers and tanks now who in turn threatened my supply lines.Time to dig in.



    So Axis reinforcements popped up and they just had cleared their Ops board up to mount a counter-attack. However, time wasn't too plentiful. On the Sollum flank I was rather safe now, the Motor Rifles at Hafid Ridge were dug in and while not a big force they still would be bothersome to drive out, so the German tanks went straight (well, in a bendy side-ways maneuvre really9 for the currently undefended Fort Capuzzo objective. I only held one of the three objectives any more.

  6. #526
    Chapter Master sigur's Avatar
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    Re: Battle Brush Studios' little histories

    At that point we decided to call it a night due to time. The game was still rather open at this point, but it didn't look bad for the Axis forces. On the other hand taking Sollum or conquer Fort Capuzzo again wasn't out of the question. Hard to tell. Either way, the Rommel rules work like a charm.


    The handling of the 15mm figues on the laminated cards wasn't too easy. Playing without miniatures altogether certainly is an option and probably looks much clearer. You can also make it visually appealing by using proper maps and adding the grids or drawing your own large maps.
    The only thing I wasn't too sure about in the beginning was the Ops sheets each player uses to allocate their Ops dice. It seemed a lot like the Saga battleboards to me which are a cool mechanic, but I feel in Saga they a.) take up too much of the game, b.) you have to know all of them by heart, c.) they're bloody different for every single faction and last but not least just replaced too much of what should happen on the table actually. Anyway, my worries turned out not to be warranted. The Ops things work great and are a factor to the game rather than the be all end all.

    So yeah, with just the investment of the rulebook itself you don't even necessarily need minis to play, but just a few chips of paper. Of course this is a thing we discussed after the game and which remained a plan for almost 24 hours, as the day after it turned out that a guy wanted to get rid of his 6mm US and German troops (for Normandy. Meh.) and we bought them off him and see what we cando with Rommel and these 6mm minis.

    Anyway, Rommel is highly recommended, has the right period feel and the right feel concerning the challenges of this level of command. If you are in any way interested in the period and big, proper battles this should be checked out. Anddon't wait too long if you want a hardcopy as I know that Sam Mustafa's rules sell out very fast in physical form.

  7. #527
    Chapter Master sigur's Avatar
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    Re: Battle Brush Studios' little histories

    In other news:

    Last night I based a bunch of 28mm WW2 British Paras!


    First time I'm painting Paras since my early teens when I painted some 1/35th Revell ones. So these are on top of the painting list at the moment; the Orks have to take a backseat for now.

  8. #528
    Chapter Master sigur's Avatar
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    Re: Battle Brush Studios' little histories

    WW2 Paras finished!



    Hope you like them. They'll be with me at VIVAT2017 this upcoming Saturday.

  9. #529
    Modsticker Codsticker's Avatar
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    Re: Battle Brush Studios' little histories

    Very snazzy!
    Quote Originally Posted by Salty
    What the Modsticker said.

  10. #530
    Chapter Master Easy E's Avatar
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    Re: Battle Brush Studios' little histories

    Thanks for the Rommel review. I just saw it was coming out and was intrigued. I don;t think it is my thing per se after reading your review and battle. Thanks for sharing.
    Do you like free wargames?
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  11. #531
    Chapter Master sigur's Avatar
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    Re: Battle Brush Studios' little histories

    @Codsticker: Cheers!

    @Easy E: Thanks for reading and commenting! It's a really clever little game. Doesn't necessarily require minis anyway (but of course i'm contractually obligated to say that it looks MUCh nicer with them, and twice as nice with Battle Brush Studios painted ones :P ). Good stuff.


    Heyhey, here's my report of VIVAT2017, our annual historical wargames show:

    http://www.battlebrushstudios.com/20...ivat-2017.html



    What a nice day out.

  12. #532
    Modsticker Codsticker's Avatar
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    Re: Battle Brush Studios' little histories

    Great report and pictures Sigur.

    I think you may be right about he buildings in the Battle for Berlin box set; see here.
    Quote Originally Posted by Salty
    What the Modsticker said.

  13. #533
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    Re: Battle Brush Studios' little histories

    Great post sigur!

    Makes me look forward to the 2018 conventions coming up out my way!

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    In other words as a rock player I find that changes to scissors are fair, balanced and reasonable but that paper has been made too strong in this edition and should be nerfed.

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