Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Module Suitability Review - Return to Warsaw

Picture is taken from Twilight: 2000 wiki, IP is GDW/FFE

  Return to Warsaw is in some ways, a rehash of Ruins of Warsaw, you're again trying to fight off Baron Czarny, and his band of not-so-merry cutthroats, they again have chemical weapons (blood agent filled grenades this time), and again, you're defending the plucky farm community of Silice along with a somewhat shaky mix of allies.

 But, there are some neat differences. First, the Spetsnaz team from Black Madonna? SSD-1109? They're back as private contractors working for the Baron, and they've kidnapped one of the Warsaw community leaders kids..and you can rescue them, or you can foil their attempt to decapitate the Silece leadership. Another difference, rallying the 10th Guards Tank Division might not be so easy this time, as General Konev died during the events of Ruins of Warsaw.

 The module's information is much better presented in my opinion, as I like NATO-symbols and wire frame org charts, not to mention the units are spelled out. There's also a scenario in the back for the boardgame, Last Battle, but the notes here lend themselves to any large scale miniatures system, such as Fistful of TOWs or Spearhead.

 So, as an adventure, it has more than a bit going for it, and it does well reintroducing the PCs to Europe as the beginning of the Return to Europe trilogy. I also dug the narrative section at the beginning alluding to the Baron Czarny - Darth Vader comparison.

 But how does it do for miniatures fodder?

Skirmish Games

 For skirmish games, you really do have tons of material here, (the scenario in the back of the book is an excellent start) all sorts of patrol actions and raids can be fought here, and SSD-1109 can really add a nasty, but fun surprise to the normal Twilight: 2000 inspired miniatures game. Some interesting ideas include?

  • Rescuing the hostages from the Baron and his Black Guard, using the descriptions laid out in "A Little Rescue". The events described there make an excellent Black Ops or Force on Force game.
  • Foiling the attempt on the lives of the leadership of Silece by SSD-1109.
  • Conducting an recon patrol into the territory of the Baron, to gain what intelligence you can.
Any of the ideas laid out in my review of Ruins of Warsaw also apply as well. This book is really replete with ideas.

Larger Battles

  In short, the final fight for Silece is really the big game to be had here. It's able to be played out, but not at 1:1 scale, I would recommend a 1:5 scale set of rules, like Fistful of TOWs or Spearhead, the conversions would be simple enough, but I would go 1:1 representation for the vehicles, as there are not that many of them on anyone's side. 
  Terrain is going to be something of an issue, but any sort of rubbled city, with the landmarks being prominent would work well, the big factor being the rubble wall Silece has built for it's defense.

  One thing I forgot to mention in my review of Ruins of Warsaw, was that the game should be replete with random events, as a Twilight: 2000 inspired battle of this size is going to have all sorts of issues with vehicles that might break down, heavy weapons that might fail, or worse, and morale on both sides that is probably less than stellar. 

  That's it for Return to Warsaw, next on the list will be Bear's Den, adventure in the Ukraine in the midst of winter...brr. That sounds like fun....not.

  Oh and shameless plug alert, my self-published scenario book, Red Star, White Lights, will be a Deal of the Day beginning tomorrow (7/27), 10 am US Central Time, at 50% off, so it shouldn't be too hard on the wallets? So grab a copy, and put a chill on that hot wargaming summer! 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Some News, and a Bit of Commentary

Hi all, first off, I wanted to thank everyone for the response to this blog, again. You all keep surprising me about the level of interest there is in this blog, and I promise I will do my best to keep this blog going with relevant content and ideas to share, so long as you all keep reading.

Now, the news is good, PSC has hit the halfway mark on those 1/72 scale T-55s! Now I know, it's only the halfway mark, but the fact is? It's a demonstration that there is interest. I personally would like to see fast build kits for the modern 20mm gamer out there. In a lot of cases, we have had to make do with models. (S & S and Libmins, or perhaps random diecasts notwithstanding) It's a long time coming, and while S-Model sorta counts...I have a feeling PSC is going to knock it out of the park.

So, what do I need from you dear reader? Please support the campaign. It's important and if it gets these models made, then others will follow from PSC, and that can't be bad at all.

As for the commentary? I guess I have to state that so far, it has been amazing running this blog. I enjoy hearing people have found my articles fun, easy to read, and altogether useful. It's something that makes me awfully happy especially when all of the module reviews are both eagerly awaited, and just as importantly, they are enjoyed.

I intend to write up the remaining 1st edition adventures...and yes, that does include City of Angels, lord help us, that book makes Kidnapped read like something from the Bard himself. I do not intend to lose my focus on the miniatures aspect of Twilight: 2000, in fact, once the wedding is over, I do intend to work my tail off gluing and painting. I want to get some pics of my work up on this site, and I have some pretty interesting ideas for where this all might go?

Reviews, Reviews

Images taken from Casemate Publishing 

Images taken from Casemate Publishing 

So, I am working my way through Volume 1 of the series, and I understand Volume 3 is due in November and Volume 4 in December. So far, it's a easy, if distracting read. There are some issues, no hyphens between numbers for some strange reason, and a number of photos with transposed captions. These errors all conspire for a distracted read, to say the least. I will say the color plates have so far, proven to be useful, as well as a discussion of Iraqi and Iranian equipment holdings, but what does all this mean for Twilight: 2000 gamers? 

Well, you have some pretty good informational sources for RDF Sourcebook. The descriptions of the terrain to be found in the area, along with the defensive preparations the Iranians made make a good bit of research for games set in and around the area. 

I am not wholly convinced the books are worth $35 a piece. I got them on special at Williamsburg Muster this year, and I still think that the MSRP should be more like $25..but I don't price 'em.

In short, try to get them on sale if you can.

Cool Stuff on the Internet

In one of the games I played at Historicon, "That's my USAID", there were these awesome shanties that frankly, would fit right into a Twilight: 2000 milleu. I asked the author, Mike Demana if I could repost a link to the article here, but I also wanted to show off a photo of the finished product. It's simply gorgeous for very little effort, or cost.

Congolese paratroopers patrol a shantytown looking for signs of insurgents
(Caption and Photo taken from Mike Demana's Lead Legionaries Blog)
It would take very little, if any work to adapt this scenery for a cantonment outskirts, or a refugee camp, and it would give the table an awesome look. I am going to give this a try as soon as I can managed it, and will keep you posted on the results.

So, our next article will be a review of Return to Warsaw, as promised, and I will also be working to get out the first guest article for this blog. No telling on what that is, but I am working with the author as we speak, so stay tuned folks, more is coming for the pages of "500 Miles..".

Monday, July 17, 2017

My Awesome Historicon Adventure, Part One

Historicon, it's been a convention I have been going to since 1987 when it was still at the Penn Harris hotel in Camp Hill, PA. Boy that has been a long time. I have been going a lot more frequently since the con came to Fredricksburg.

It was a bittersweet convention for me, as I realized this was the 11th Historicon I have attended in some form or fashion, and for me, there was a lot of faces I do miss. We're graying as a hobby, and it was evident this year. I am 43, and I was used to being the "baby" at a lot of tables. Now, I see 3rd and 4th generation wargamers, and it's good to see, but I do hope there are enough of them to keep us a going concern.

Sadly, I did not see Covert Intervention Games there, but there was a lot of positive comments about my Twilight: 2000 related T-Shirts. I also spread the word of "500 Miles.." far and wide.

Anyhow, enough of the wool gathering and shameless plugs..I saw a lot of games, including a few PA games, mostly of a zombie nature, but there was a "Mad Max" game as put on by Stan Johansen of Stan Johansen Miniatures. Vendors were a plenty, but this year, my best finds were in the flea market (it tends that way sometimes, some years, the flea markets rock, some years, not so much).

There was a TON of Roco minitanks stuff for sale, both in the flea markets and the dealers area, 15 year old me would have been in heaven, 43 year old me? *meh*.

I didn't see ANY specific Twilight: 2000 stuff for sale, which was a rare thing in the flea market, we always see something. There was some box games, Air War, Air Cav, even a copy of Next War. I did pick up some items of interest to everyone here though.

I managed to get my hands on an Esci original M48A2G2, these will go well with my Germans for when I do territorials. I presume these would have been brought out of the reserve armories as replacements for the Twilight War.

As for games of interest, I did play in a couple of games of interest..the first was called, "SOCOM and Sorcery", on the Friday I was there (He had a WWII version as well that I did not play in, but the moderns version was a hoot none the less). Think a mashup of Ghostbusters, The Mummy, and stir in a LOT of modern firepower. There were a ton of factions, Chechens, Russians, Taliban, Somali Pirates, US Marines and Rangers, British, Australians...all after a Dr. Bakr who was playing with "things man was not meant to know". Fnord. (You could also win by getting gold, but I think everyone was like "screw that", except for the Chechen player). This game was excellent Twilight Nightmares fodder.

Here are some photos from that!

I played the hapless (and I do mean hapless) Russian commandos. First, we lost our a rhino with an anger management problem...we did put a satchel charge on it...and that badly wounded it until our Chechen "allies" managed to put it down with fire from a recoiless rifle. This then led to a happy massacre of the centaurs behind it with automatic weapons fire. All the while, the Somalis were RPGing to death a really big red dragon..with many of them being eaten in the process.

We then got into another fight with some pretty tough werewolves armed with some really big swords, and then shot down some temple guardsmen. So far, not too bad, our casualties were light, except for the BTR, and we got into the temple...then we ran into some mummies..who were around a corner..We threw several grenades...which kept bouncing all over the place...and not at the intended target. I then got tired of this...and had a man RPG the undead bastards...then finished them with AK fire. We then moved towards the temple room, where we massacred more mummies. But the Aussies beat us there. How you ask?

The Australians had found a direct way into the sarcophagus chamber, where Dr. Bakr was again, involved in very dark rituals. They grabbed him, only to have all these nasty horrors come out of the walls! Many Australian commandos died getting Bakr out, but got him out they did, and as the young lad said who played them "Objectives take casualties." He managed to get out of the temple and was rightfully awarded the win.

The next was the "Blackhawk Way Down" on Saturday. It was a game run by Pete Panzeri himself. He was quite the always, complete with funny hats. I was nominated by Pete to play Aidid himself after I volunteered to play the Somalis. (A lot of kids were there, and I remember being that age, not wanting to play the Somalis, so what the heck?). It was a hoot, we were doing a lot of fun, crazy things, my Somali gunmen inflicted some casualties on the Rangers, we damaged a Little Bird with RPG fire, shot down a Blackhawk, and at the end, ambushed the convoy just short of the gate and took out a truck full of Rangers and Delta. Yes, I was awarded the "Golden Assault Rifle" for my actions that day! (It's a neat little pen).

Here are some photos from that insanity!

Another game that deserves mention is a game called "That's my USAID" on Friday, set in the the Congo in the 1960s. It was a damn hoot, even though I got slaughtered as the Belgian-trained Congolese Paratroopers (having three out of 14 figures left by the end), we had done a number on the militia that had overwhelmed us. We ran off one of their squads, captured one jeep, and sent the other running and killed a lot of his RPGs and MGs. The militia player had decided from the start that he wanted to massacre me...didn't go all his way, and when the Bandits were stalemated with the UN, though the did control the ship with a good portion of the supplies, he cut a deal with us and the ANC (National Army of the Congo) to split the supplies three ways and cut the militia out. So, I call that a moral victory, if nothing else.

The last game was part of a new set of rules coming out called "Wars of Revolution" and it was a very good, fast play set of rules that did what it needed to. It's meant for wars in Africa, but with a few tweaks, you could use it for a variety of modern settings IMO, it should be hitting sometime around August, according to the designer.

And here are some photos from that:

I also got some photos of some Team Yankee stuff that well, looked incredible, including a really neat display someone put out of 3-505th Airborne ca. 1985 as organized for Team Yankee. It was a really great display.

There will be a lot more about Historicon on my other blogs, with part 2 being found on Festungplatz, as those items will be of more interest to readers of those blogs there, but I really did have a good time. On to 2018 everyone!

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