Summary of the Year
I had a busy wargaming year although there was less actually gaming than I had hoped. Somehow Chris, Adam, Jamie and I don’t manage to get together as much as we used to.
My big focus was Crossfire. I dived into the Italian Campaign, but unfortunately the Burma Campaign will have to wait for next year. Because we didn’t play as many games as I would have liked, the Eastern Front didn’t appear as it often as it would normally.
Finally Adam has continued to advocate ‘O’ Group and we played a couple more games. And that got me thinking about game design.
Plus, of course, there was some other stuff.
I got a few games of Crossfire in this year, not as many as I would like but enough to keep me going. In addition Gunnery Sargent Rock (Bruce Stewart) and Brett Simpson also contributed after action reports.
But most of my attention has been Italian Campaign. Jamie and I kicked off with Kiwis vs FJ in Italy – A Crossfire Scenario and Battle Report 1. This featured my new Kiwi infantry and armour – it was great to get them on table. Facing them were my much neglected Fallchirmjaeger – they really have been waiting for the Italian campaign.
Gunnery Sargent Rock (Bruce Stewart) has been encouraging me to start the Italian campaign for years, so he immediately leapt in and played the same scenario: Kiwis vs FJ in Italy – A Crossfire Battle Report 2.
Bruce Stewart also had the genius idea to move Doctor Phalanx’s Crossfiregrad from Stalingrad to the Italy, creating Cassinograd. Because it was a straight transfer the Germans were attacking the 2 New Zealand Division (Kiwis) in Cassino town.
I loved that idea so much I turned that into a scenario, Cassinograd – A Crossfire Scenario based on Crossfiregrad, but with the Kiwis attacking, as was historical.
Then Jamie and I tried it out a couple of times: Cassinograd – A Crossfire Battle Report 2.
Then we played it again: Cassinograd – A Crossfire Battle Report 3. Both games were intense … which is a total credit to Doctor Phalanx and his scenario design.
Then I designed Monaldini and Monticelli – A Crossfire Scenario in Italy.
The Allied force (Kiwi Shermans with Kiwi and Greek infantry) had to attack through typical Italian terrain in Monaldini and Monticelli – A Crossfire Battle Report in Italy 1.
Bruce Stewart also gave the scenario a go: Monaldini and Monticelli – A Crossfire Battle Report 2.
Bruce also sent through Hotel Excelsior – A Crossfire Scenario and Battle Report.
Brett Simpson sent through a report, Operation East Gate – Pacific Mini-Campaign using Mac’s Crossfire Missions. This is a Crossfire mini-campaign set in the Pacific. The campaign is a series of three games, each using Mac’s Missions.
Aidan Boustred has been running a Normandy Campaign using Crossfire. My wargaming group are not involved because we couldn’t sign up to the commitment of regular games, but as a one off Aidan asked us to play Game 7. The 5th Duke of Cornwall’s attack towards Feugret and Orbois with 2nd Battalion, 2nd Panzer Grenadier Regiment defending: Feugret – Game 7 of Aidan’s Normandy Campaign – A Crossfire Battle Report
Jamie and I finished the Crossfire year by returning to Italy and playing Almost Fosse Bridge – A Crossfire Battle Report. As with many of these Italian games, we were experimenting with Crossfires tank rules … so guess what, there were tanks.
I’ve also been doing some thinking about other scenarios. For example the Battle of Lemon Bridge (18-19 July 1943) caught my attention.
Revised anti-tank rules
I’ve been doing a lot of musing on new Anti-tank rules for crossfire. So far I’ve shared my thoughts on:
- Design Goals
- Draft Examples
- Calibre Bands
- Anti-personnel Shooting
- Anti-tank Shooting
- Infantry anti-tank weapons
- Anti-tank Mines and Bogging
A lot of the games were mainly to experiment with the emerging anti-tank rules. For example, Kiwis vs FJ in Italy – A Crossfire Scenario and Battle Report 1 let us field three Shermans, a StuG, a 7.5cm anti-tank gun, and sundry PIATs and Panzerfausts. This got us trying out Anti-personnel Shooting, Anti-tank Shooting and Infantry anti-tank weapons.
The Almost Fosse Bridge game featured armour on both sides, but the glorious moment (for me) was the 17 pounder anti-tank gun making itself known. This was also the game that made me rethink Anti-tank Mines and Bogging.
Crossfire musings and campaigns
Aside from playing games I also did some musing on Crossfire. I started with Aidan Boustred’s cool ideas on moving, creeping, rolling and block barrages in Crossfire.
My Liberation – An A4 Insurgency Campaign was an evolution of Using Political Tokens for Military-Political Climate in an Insurgency Campaign and the third iteration on Simulating Politics in a Wargaming Campaign with Political Tokens. The entire campaign is on an A4 sheet of paper.
Crossfire terrain and gaming aids
Inspired by Adam’s tables I got some haystacks for Crossfire fields.
I also did WW2 National Flags to use as Objectives in Crossfire. I made up some new flags for New Zealand, UK/GB, India, USA, France, Germany, Japan, China and Australia. Part of the motivation was to get rid of the Swastikas for the Germans and get the correct Spanish flag for 1945. [I used the modern US flag but Neil pointed out, in a comment, that the USA used the 48 Star flag during WW2. I’ll fix that in due time.]
I enjoyed publishing the Crossfire Freebie 1: Mini-Scenarios in 2021 so wanted to write
a couple of Official Crossfire Supplements. I drafted a new freebie but haven’t managed to release it yet. Guaranteed in early 2023.
#2 Tilly’s Very Bad Day
- Generic 30 Years War Army List
- Crimean Khanate (Crimean Tatar)
- Zaporozhian Cossack Army List
- Steven’s Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth Army List
I didn’t write any more scenarios for Tilly’s Very Bad Day this year, but we did play test a couple of existing ones. First up was S01 Attack on Prepared Position – A Tilly’s Very Bad Day Battle Report 1.
The river crossing game sparked a big conversation that ultimately lead to my post on Contested river crossings in the Seventeenth Century – Musing for Tilly’s Very Bad Day
#3 Twilight of the Britons
The big surprise for the year was writing a new rule set, Twilight of the Britons, with Vincent Tsao. These are fast play rules for the English Invasion of Britain. You can Download Twilight of the Britons as a PDF.
Vincent is a long time collaborator of mine and it was great to do a project with him. As it happens Vincent is using these rules for the Fall of Rome so calls the rules “Twilight of the Romans”. He has posted some after action reports on his website, Corlears Hook Fencibles, including Twilight of the Romans I, II, III, and IV.
I put a few battle reports on my site as well. First up was a fight between generic warbands, Twilight of the Britons – A Battle Report 1.
These games go me thinking about my armies and the surprisingly high number of coffin shields I have amongst my Gothic infantry. It turns out there is no such thing as a Gothic ‘Coffin’ Shield.
#4 ‘O’ Group
Adam wrote his own scenario which lead to Collective Farm 643 – An O-Group Battle Report.
Anyone who has read the battle reports on ‘O’ Group will know I’m not a fan of ‘O’ Group. But it did get me thinking about why they don’t appeal, which inspired me to write about Three dimensions of game design: Simulation, Playability, Abstraction.
I think ‘O’ Group is at the more concrete end of abstraction, and I see this happening at the expense of playability. I used the shooting mechanism as an example and explored whether ‘O’ group’s three steps to hit something – spot, hit, save – can be simpler. It can.
Adam is interested in ‘O’ Group because it offers set piece battles between battalions. I suspect Blitzkrieg Commander (BKC) fits that niche as well so with the idea of writing a scenario, I explored Blitzkrieg Commander – Example Soviet Order of Battle.
#5 Other stuff
Finally I did a couple of tiny projects. I put together some Vallejo Triads – Three colour shading with Vallejo Model Color Paints
Did I achieve my annual goals?
That is a pretty good set of achievements for 2022, but how did I do on my original megalomaniac aspirations from the start of 2022. Not so good.
|Project||Rules||What happened in 2022|
|Official Crossfire material ➞|
|Crossfire Scenario book||Crossfire||[Oh no!] No sign of a scenario book for Crossfire. At least not yet.|
|Crossfire freebie booklet||Crossfire||[Some progress] I have a draft freebie booklet for Crossfire with Arty, the co-author and proof readers.|
|1943-45 Italian Campaign ➞|
|Scenarios for the Italian Campaign||Crossfire||[Done] I wrote some scenarios for Crossfire set in the Italian Campaign featuring 2 (NZ) Division. Although I didn’t finish the Perano scenario I was working on for Gunnery Sargent Rock (Bruce Stewart), Bruce helped out a lot with ideas and play testing.|
|1941-45 Burma Campaign ➞|
|Japanese||Crossfire||[A lot of progress] I have purchased a Japanese battalion and it is with the painter. You’ll see them in 2023.|
|Japanese tanks and tankettes||Crossfire||[Done] Japanese tanks and tankettes are ready for service in Burma. You’ll see them in 2023.|
|Gurkhas, 14th Army||Crossfire||[Some progress] Figures for a Gurkha battalion that can do duty in 17th Indian Division or as 2nd Battalion, 4th Prince of Wales’s Own Gurkha Rifles|
|Welsh, 14th Army||Crossfire||[Some progress] Figures for a Welsh battalion from 14th Army|
|Scenarios for the Burma Campaign||Crossfire||[Oh no!] I didn’t write any scenarios for Crossfire set in the Burma Campaign. So I still haven’t used my research on Bishenpur, Potsangbam and Ningthoukhong – Gurkhas on the Imphal Plain 1944|
|1941-45 Eastern Front ➞|
|Cool Ruins||Crossfire||[Lots of progress] I now have several thousand Cool Ruins designed, cut out and assembled. I just have to add rubble and paint them. These are 3″ x 3″ sectors so I can play both Crossfiregrad and Ponyri Station|
|Deep Battle||Deep Battle||[Oh no!] I disappointed Andrés Ferrari again in 2022 because there was no “Beta” in 2022 for Deep Battle – Operational Level Wargaming on the Eastern Front|
|1810-1824 South American Wars of Liberation aka Liberators ➞|
|Rules for Liberators||TBD||[Oh no!] Much to Jamie’s disappointment there was no progress on Bolivar’s Very Bad Day – A Tilly’s Very Bad Day variant for Liberators – think battalion level Napoleonics with a twist|
|Sipe Sipe (1815)||TBD||[Oh no!] I didn’t write, let alone fight, a scenario for Battle for Viluma / Sipe Sipe (1815) for Bolivar’s Very Bad Day|
|1618-48 Thirty Years War ➞ and 1642-51 English Civil War ➞|
|Eastern Armies||Tilly’s Very Bad Day||
I wanted to get more eastern armies in Tilly’s Very Bad Day for the Northern Wars:
|Populous, Rich, and Rebellious – English Civil War Campaign||Tilly’s Very Bad Day||[Oh no!] Not done and probably never will be. I might abandon the goal of corralling Adam, Chris and Jamie to play a four player Tilly’s Very Bad Day campaign set in the English Civil War|
|Tilly’s Very Bad Day Scenarios||Tilly’s Very Bad Day||
[Some progress] I refined some Tilly’s Very Bad Day Scenarios but not the specifics I had in mind:
As you can see I had a mixed bag in terms of completion rate. And, as you will see, there were some unexpected detours as well.