Friday, February 28, 2014

Byron's Mad Plan - Update

A while back I published a listing of my Mad Plan for the Curt's 4th Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge. Well, since it is almost at the end of the challenge, I thought I should give an update on how it has all gone, and show off some of the entries

My first goal was to get 8 infantry sections of Canadians and 3 infantry sections of Germans and 2 HMG's done for my WW1 force for Through the Mud and the Blood.  I currently have 5 Canadian Sections done, 3 German sections, and 1 HMG.  I will likely drop doing the second HMG as 1 has proved nasty enough to have to fight against, but we will see.  I have my doubts if I will finish more than 1 more Canadian section before the end, but I will still be happy with that and call it a win.

A section of riflemen from the CEF 16th Battalion.
A German HMG section with additional riflemen.
In total so far, counting casualty figures I have painted 93 WW1 figures since this started in December!  So if I miss the 8 sections, but get to 100 figures I will be happy.

Hey, we even played a game with them already: WW1 Take the Farm.

My second goal was to get one unit of 28mm French Napolionic figures done, so that I can actually contribute (in a VERY small way) to Napolionic games that Curt brings our way.  So far, and I started late on these, I have 1/2 the unit done, and am feeling good that the rest will be done on time.  16 down, 16 to go.
The first base of French done.  OMG, why did the french have to be so vain? 
Wouldn't monochromatic uniforms have been easier?

My third goal was to clean up a lot of the stuff sitting around gathering dust.  Kind of mixed results on this one, as I will explain later.  First the good news!  I did do a lot of little items that were sitting around.  I banged off a lot of 15mm germans that had been gathering dust for a long time, several solo figures that I kept meaning to get to, a Forgotten Seas fleet, some Warhammer 40k figures that I kept meaning to do, and even got a bunch of Dystopian Wars ships cleaned, assembled, primed and base coated.
A pair of 88's and transports I had sitting around primed for about 8 years!
A squad of Dark Angel Assault Troops, that sat primed for over 10 years!
Then the bad news, I got distracted by some new items like Rivet Wars and buying a laser cutter to play with.

Overall though, I got a lot done but collected even more new stuff to add to the pile!  Overall I got over 100 figures done and painted.  Unfortunately, in that time with Rivet Wars, Zombicide, some 15mm British for Chain of Command, and some Warhammer 30k figures, I have probably added 400 more figures to the painting pile.  Maybe I should talk to Curt about running another of these about a month after this one finishes to that I keep painting???

My Fourth goal was to submit at least 5 entries out of the 7 possible for the different bonus rounds.  I am glad to say, I managed a perfect 7/7 even if 2 are not posted yet, they are done in time to send off to Curt.  Better yet, I even won one of the rounds with my Old Woman.
My old lady entry for the non-combatant theme.  One of the figures I am most proud of ever painting,
I really like how this turned out, and I NEVER like how my own stuff turns out.
  • December 22: Non Combatant(s) – Old Woman 
  • January 5: Villain(s) - Nurgle Demon Prince
  • January 19: Vehicle – Some brand new and shiny Rivet Wars tanks
  • February 2: Hero or Heroic Group - Dark Angels Space Marine Hero
  • February 16: Casualty / Casualties - WW1 Canadian Casualties 
  • March 2: Favourite Character - James Richardson - Piper for the 16th Battalion
  • March 16: Last Stand - Zombicide in Grey Scale
A pair of "Vehicles" for the vehicle themed challenge.  Imagine that!

Overall, so far it has been a blast.  I have painted far more in the last 3 months than I have in the 18 before it.  It has motivated me to paint different items, different styles, and learn new techniques.  It has also led me to bug and harass both Greg and Curt far more than in the past with questions on "those damn Frenchies", as the Napoleonics are something completely new to me and I am trying to do them some small level of justice. 

Better yet, I have even completed my initial goal of 1000 points already, and have since raised it to 1300.  Given the bonus points still coming for the last two theme entries, I may even hit 1500!  When I went it, I only planned on about 750 points, so not bad.

You can find all my entries with this link: ByronM Entries for the 4th Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge.

I will post a final roundup once the whole challenge is over with my final numbers and thoughts.  Thanks everyone, now back to painting.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

You(erl) Make The Call - Rogue Trader Battle Report

Orks defend their captured Imperial astropathic tower

On February 20th we resumed our casual 40k Rogue Trader campaign set during the Ork invasion of Rynn's World, a plot derived from the original "Warhammer 40,000 - Rogue Trader" rule book. We kicked this off back in the spring of 2012, at the time of the 25th Anniversary of Warhammer 40k.  To recap...

  • Pedro Cantor and the Crimson Fist survivors barely escape the "Battle at the Farm".
  • Cantor and his Marines try to break through the Ork lines around New Rynn City ; he barely staggers through into the Imperial lines, a moral victory for the Orks.
  • Cantor rests up in the medical bays, and is pleased to find a number of additional survivors from the Chapter are present in the New Rynn City garrison, together with Imperial Army and militia units.
  • While Cantor is getting his various super-organs treated in hospital, the Orks make a major push against the lines - the Imperials hold them off.

The next chapter in the story would involve a call for help.  The New Rynn City garrison is strong enough to hold the defences, but not strong enough to push the Orks off of Rynn's world. The planetary governor's astropath, Yerl, is located among the survivors, found healing in the medical bays along with Cantor. To make a astropathic distress call, he needs to get back to his designated astropath facility - which happens to be behind the Ork lines. 

Dallas' boyz await the Marine attack
The Imperial garrison sallies forth - the objective is to get Yerl into the tower, get the message out, and get back to friendly lines.  The longer he stays in the tower, the stronger the message will be and the more likelier it will be received by the right Imperial government people elsewhere in the sector.  But Yerl is a VIP - the 40k equivalent of an intergalactic iPhone5S - you need that dude to survive. The Imperials would enter from a short table edge. They had ten turns to get the job done, and get him back off the table.

Love these old RT-era Orks!

The Imperial force was substantial - two squads of Marines, a Predator and a dreadnought.  The Marines were accompanied by a Medic (mostly to protect Yerl) and a Librarian, and led by a kick-ass officer represented on the table by the RT anniversary figure.  Indo and Byron took the Imperial side.

The guys listen to me blab on about the rules - they are thankfully very patient fellows

For their part, the Orks were not sure what the Imperials were up to, but figured it was not good.  They noted the breakout towards the building behind their lines, the building with weird psyker vibes.  A small garrison of two squads of boyz and a Killa Kan was in place to try and hold the Imperials back.  A Wartrack, more boyz squads, and a squad of armoured boyz and a looted Rhino would be the reserve force. The Orks also had a weird boy. Jim and Dallas took command of the Orks.

Marine column approaches

We played pretty close the main Rogue Trader rules for this game - including the Compendium-era vehicle rules (although we ignored the "TRR" - the turning radius - to this day I don't understand how that one actually works).  With these older rules, the Rhinos were tough - like, really, really, really tough. And also very fast. So the Marines rolled up and got down to work.

Dallas' Killa Kan sets off to deal with Indo's Marine squad
Indo was set up to overwhelm an Ork squad with close shooting, but the dice were not with him.  Dallas sent the Killa Kan into them, and it went very, very bad for the Marines, with a number of Crimson Fists ending up as food for the "power klawz" on the Kan.  Ouch! Combined fire from the Predator and the Marine dreadnought eventually hit the Kan critically.  Remember the old critical damage tables? They could be quite funny (at least, when it's not your vehicle involved).  Dallas had seen off Indo's squad, but the damaged Kan turned around an ran wild, opening fire on its own boyz.  Dallas' foot sloggers got BBQ'd by their own Kan!

Byron's Marines deploy from their impervious Rhino

Byron formed his squad with black-powder-era precision out of his Rhino and began a steady march to the "facility".  They took quite a lot of fire as Jim's defenders and Ork reinforcements tried to engage them, and many Marines fell, but at this point my "scenario design", such as it was, hit a pretty big pothole.

Predator and Dreadnought covering the Marine action
The Marine Commander was a serious bad-ass - a minor hero, meant to represent the commander of one of the Companies, sent by Cantor to lead a detachment to bolster New Rynn City, before the Ork attack hit the planet.  Given the catastrophe at the Crimson Fist monastery, he would be one of the only senior officers left in the Chapter. This guy had a BS of '6', so he almost never missed (especially with Byron rolling).  Here is the catch - he had a plasma gun, and a plasma gun is rated "following fire" - remember that rule?

Indo's squad is noticeably smaller after the visit from the Killa Kan

The Marine Commander was a killing machine!  Following fire weapons allowed you to keep shooting as long as you hit and caused a wound, and there were other targets within 4" of the original one. Well, with a BS of '6', this guy almost never missed, and the plasma gun is killer, so it almost always caused a wound.  This guy was scything down whole Ork squads.  Thematically, this matches well with the fluff (especially as the model in question was inspired by the Crimson Fist commander on the cover of the original rule book!).  But it was not fun for the Ork players (although the Marine players found it fantastic, of course).

Byron's Marines unleash the flamer on Jim's Ork boyz
Even with Commander Killing Machine mowing down every Ork he could see, the aliens put up a very, very stubborn resistance.  Jim's boyz extracted a heavy toll, despite being on the receiving end of flamer shots and bolter fire.  As the Space Marine numbers dwindled we discovered another fun and long lost part of the RT vehicle rules - collisions!  In RT, you can speed up or slow down only a certain amount, so if you are going too fast, you will hit stuff - buildings, dreadnoughts, infantry...

Burn baby burn! The Rhino is poised to run down any survivors...
The Marine Rhinos began to run into all sorts of stuff, I would about 30% on purpose and the rest just by accident. The Ork psyker was squished against the building. Ork infantry were run over. The second Ork Kan was rammed. The Rhinos were damaged bit by bit, but the original Rhinos were super-tough APCs, and it showed in the game.

Ork squad cut to ribbons by the Marine Commander and his following-fire Plasma Gun - ouch
The Ork players returned the favour, running over some Marines with their looted Rhino, and ramming the Marine dreadnought into out-of-control movement (again, hilarious unless it is your dreadnought). In the midst of this chaotic battle, Yerl managed to enter the building and spend two turns calling for help.  But he was not able to escape the table before the game ended!

A second Killa Kan tries to hurry into the action
So the game was a draw!  The Imperials side got a distress call sent, but the fate of their Astropath is unknown.  And the Marines got a bloody nose (they were T '3' - a rude shock for Byron and Indo!), not that "Commander Plasma Gun" would have noticed as he waged a lone war against the Orks.

Dallas' damaged Kan is going bonkers, firing the flamer on the nearest target - his own boyz!
Rogue Trader is so much fun, and it was great to play again.  But the game was also a good dose of reality on some aspects of the rules, particularly the old vehicle rules.  We have previously played Rogue Trader in a hybrid fashion, incorporating 5th edition vehicle rules, and that is something we will go back to.  The original vehicle rules, with their great detail, can be a lot of fun for very small games, but are a bit too wacky to have more than one vehicle on the table. Same goes for the dreadnoughts.  The psykers were also kind of useless, so I'll need to do some better planning there to set it up so there is a reason to use them. 

Finally the Marine Commander was out of control...need to be more careful with his weapons next time, or perhaps have some sort of cap on "following fire" - he was a one-man army!

Collisions galore! One Rhino hits the Ork Kan, the other collides with the fence.
Will Yerl's call for help make it through? Will the Imperial Administration receive the call, and send a relief force? Would nearby patrolling elements of another Space Marine chapter perhaps pick up the distress signal and investigate? Or did the message end up getting filed under "low priority random transmissions" at the desk of some colon servitor at the sector capital? Stay tuned for the continuing campaign in the Battle for Rynn's World!

A big thank you to Dallas for hosting, and to Dallas, Jim, Indo and Byron for their patience and light-hearted spirit with all the Rogue Trader craziness.  It was a fun game, I'm looking forward to the next chapter!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

New Insane Project - Legional Lunacy

Resin - the new crack.  Perhaps we can convince the government to give it away for free under the guise of "harm reduction"?
Say what you will about the pricing (no, really - we do elsewhere in this blog, so you should too), but Forge World seems to be last redoubt for 40k sculpters and designers that "get" the story.  The main GW studio still has its hits (like the pending new Imperial Knight - super cool) but seems to release a lot of turds as well (like this, and this, although perhaps these models grow on you after a while - that Marine flyer seems like it might work with some conversion). The Forge World team seems to have a good grasp of the real pulse of the 40k background, and nowhere is this more pronounced than their ever-growing list of Space Marine Legion stuff to go with the Horus Heresy. And so a New Insane Project for 2014 - Space Marine Legion forces for the Horus Heresy.

I know the FW books are super pricey, but this is probably the best FW book I've seen - worth it just for the fluff and pictures
Between reading Dan Abnett's books in the Horus Heresy book series and seeing a copy "Horus Heresy - Book One: Betrayal" I have been getting more and more inspired to do a Legion project. The opening salvos of the Horus Heresy on the world of Istvaan III provide a lot of inspiration, and Forge World sculpts are truly beautiful - and the range is very developed, as they have been adding new models and vehicles for years.  I remember working with the Elysian models and being very frustrated.  It's not perfect, but the castings seem to be a lot nicer now.  These Legion figures are a lot of fun to work with so far.

Mark IV Space Marines WIP - early assembly stage
There is quite a variety of armour types to choose from for your Legion Marines - from Mark II "Crusade" all the way to the Mark VI "Corvus" (which most would recognize as "classic beakie" armour). The packs are quite compatible with the existing plastic Space Marine bits and arms etc.  I have ordered some Mark IV armour suits & shoulder pads to represent both "sides" of the initial conflict on Istvaan III.   I also have a few Corvus armour sets as well.

I am thinking I will leave the Corvus armour to represent the loyalist Legions. The Corvus suits are not, strictly speaking, "Legion wear" as the armour is meant to be later along in the timeline...but I like to imagine the new suits getting churnred out just as the Heresy broke out, so only the "good guys" got much of it.   The Corvus armour is the armour I remember from that original "Space Marine" game, so it should be in there somewhere, as far as I'm concerned.

Mark VI "Corvus" Marines in production

I first came to the Horus Heresy storyline with the "Space Marine" game, and that vision has always resonated with me.  I like to imagine Horus and his traitors as more of an actual pseudo-political rebellion, in the sense that the supernatural aspects (demons, nurgle stuff etc) did not immediately appear, and the conflict was more of a brother-against-brother theme. Having Space Marines turn on each other is bad enough - why do we need to add a bunch horns and tails?

The Chaos Space Marines today are so spikey and skull-covered that they border on self-parody in my opinion. (YMMV - and let's face it some painters and modellers out there do amazing stuff with them, so what do I know, right?).  The Horus Heresy to me offers a chance for a more interesting "civil war", where the Emperor's pride and joy - his Warmaster, his very own Legions - turn against him. His Great Crusade is stopped cold. The Imperium of Man goes from unstoppable growth and expansion into a kind of plateaued, slow, stubborn decline as the worst war imaginable is fought across countless worlds, the Imperium split nearly in two, the Emperor nearly killed. Cool! Leave the demons to whisper in Horus' ear - they don't need to be on the table for this.

Remember these guys from the original RT rulebook? The Blood Angels looked awesome without wings and bonkers artificer armour etc. I've always loved this picture, particularly the dude with camo armour!
My plan is to start with some troops from the Sons of Horus, the World Eaters and the Emperor's Children, with the latter two being small units that can either represent the (doomed) loyalists on Istvaan III, or combine together with the Sons of Horus to represent an allied traitor side in a game against loyalist forces in some other games.

Blood Angel marine WIP beside a completed-but-not-primed figure - both in "Corvus" armour
Lunacy loves company (is that right? I'll go with it) and I'm pleased to report that Byron has also tilted into the Legion Lunacy as well.  He has some Death Guard slowly taking shape - hopefully he will share a little bit of it on the blog too.  The great thing about the plot developments on Istvaan III is that the Legions were fighting within themselves - Horus was purging the "unreliables" - so you can mix and match whatever faction for whatever side you like.

Crappy photo - sorry - you can see the decal for the chapter symbol (a bit)
The Space Marine Legion army list is kind of off-the-charts bonkers. 30-man tactical squads, anyone? I'll say this - it does a fabulous job matching the vision of the Space Marine Legion - where a "Chapter" is just a small sub-force in an organization with thousands and thousand and thousands of Marines! In this context, whole ten man support squads armed with lascannons and other scary stuff (Volkite blasters, rotary cannons etc) seem to make sense.

But I'm not really getting into this to play within the context of the sixth edition rules - in fact Byron and I are conspiring on how to use Chain of Command for our Horus Heresy games.

I love that studded shoulder pad...

Anyway I've only painted a single figure for now - a test figure of a Blood Angel.  I find the Blood Angel background to be a trifle nauseating (oh, woe is us, we're so perfect and yet cursed, and our primarch has wings!) but on the plus side red is a favourite colour on mine, the Blood Angel Legion was at the forefront of the war against Horus' rebels, not least the seige of Terra and the Emperor's palace. And I always loved the photo of the Blood Angel models from the original Rogue Trader rule book (see earlier in this blog post).

So that's one loyalist ready....
It will take weeks, more like months, before these are ready for the table in any useful number.  But I'm hoping to bring the Horus Heresy to the Fawcett Avenue gaming tables this summer. Stay tuned!

Monday, February 24, 2014

40k Vostroyans

Imperial Guard Vostroyan Squad
Apologies for the couple of weeks off-line.  Work, life, etc. was getting in the way.  But I thought I would try and get back on track with another submission to Curt's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge - a squad of 28mm Imperial Guard "Vostroyans".  These were a Christmas present from my lovely wife.  

Vostroyan rankers - those lasguns are really something

The figure are metal beasties -no "Finecrap" here. An NCO with a pistol, a two-man heavy bolter team and a dude with a flamethrower.  The rest have laser rifles. I think the range was originally released sometime in 2006 or 2007, and as far as I know it is one of the very last "themed" metal Imperial Guard ranges GW ever released. You can still find them in the odd corners of GW's web site as they sell down the remaining stocks (or just wait to have them melted down).

Guy on left was painted like seven years ago; guy on the right painted recently - they match OK

I painted two squads and a command group of these figures back when they were first released.  I maybe used them on the table once...20 guardsmen is not very many figures for a 40k game, so they mostly just stayed on the shelf more as a collector-type thing. I tried to match the original paint jobs with these new figures.

Love those crazy bearskins - and what's with the "bayonet"? That's huge...

I think in the fluff we are meant to see the Vostroyans as paying dire penance through service - the planet has to send all of its first born sons to serve in the Imperial Guard as punishment for denying the Imperium some manner of tithe during the Horus Heresy.  The ornate equipment of the troops is meant to symbolize some level of extra commitment to this cause, I believe.

Officer tripped out with trinkets

Is that really a dark fate? Considering the Imperium's rather grim approach to "governance" - entire planetary populations are often wiped out, or conscripted, or both, and rebels are hunted through the generations and the worlds that support them are pounded to dust - it's hard to feel too bad for the world of Vostroya. I would just assume any world refusing to help out during the Horus Heresy would have been subjected to the "Istvaan Treatment", accompanied with a note along the lines of "since you like Horus so much..." but I digress.

Lots of detail on these sculpts
These figures provoke strong views. People either love them or hate them. I'm obviously in the first camp - to me these castings really capture the dark, dystopian spirit of the Warhammer 40k setting.  Even though they are (relatively) contemporary sculpts, they very much capture the feel of the original Rogue Trader game, much more than any of the other conventional Imperial Guard figures available today.

Flamer-equipped special weapon trooper
Clad in bearskins, bits of medieval style armour, armed with rifles that look as large and ornate as pole arms, to me they are spooky and beautiful.  The faces that are visible are drawn, worn and dark. It's like someone gave a picture of an Austrian Grenadier from 1809 to John Blanche and said "go nuts".  These models are kind of bonkers, in an awesome way.

The spent shells are a neat touch that comes with the heavy bolter team
These seem to me a very fitting portrayal of a "regular" force army that would be assembled in the setting of the Rogue Trader rulebook, either to defend the planetary governor, or slog through a horrible military campaign somewhere in the "grim darkness of the far future".

Many people loathe these same design features, particularly if they already dislike the GW style and the 40k setting. I don't share that view, but I see where they are coming from. At any rate I don't think they will last much longer in GW stock, if for no other reason than I suspect GW will just want to move on at some point and leave these in the ether of history.

So I have about 30 of these guys painted now, and a rummage through the horde has turned up more, including a few heavy weapon teams and other assorted bits.  These were a lot of fun to paint, and I look forward to adding more of them through the year. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

WW1 Take the Farm - Gameplay

After a long time in the works, it was finally time to break out my World War 1 Canadian and German forces for a game of Through the Mud and the Blood.  The scenario was a fictional one looking at the possibility of Canadians taking the initiative early in the war, when historically they fought like hell, but followed orders a little too closely.  A key example of this was demonstrated in one of the 2nd battle of Ypres engagements where the Germans had a machine gun setup enfilade in a farmhouse on a flank that could have and should have been dealt with, but since it was not one of their objectives the Canadian leaders did not redirect any sections at it, not knowing if they had the operational freedom to do so.  What could they have accomplished if they knew that they had some leniency to adjust plans in the field right from the start?

This week we will be re-visiting the “Through the Mud and the Blood” World War 1 rule set that Curt introduced us to last year. The scenario is fictional, but based on several accounts of Canadian breakthroughs of the German lines in April - June of 1915 from the excellent books “Gallant Canadians” and “The Brave Battalion". Several times the Canadian troops rushed the line and took objectives that no one reasonably expected them to take, while taking casualties that would have sent other troops into retreat. Then, being still new to the war and their leaders unsure of how much freedom of control they had, just stopped. Not willing to take the initiative, they instead followed their orders to the letter.

This week we will explore what could have transpired, if one fateful night several sections of Canadians from the 10th and 16th Battalions had decide to advance into enemy territory.

Canadian Briefing: It’s early in the war, shortly after the 2nd Battle of Ypres; the lines are still confused and not quite settled back to their old grinding stalemate positions around the town after the German’s vile gas attack a few weeks ago. In an effort to gain back ground the 10th and 16th were sent forward to objective K5, a trench line on high ground leading to low lying farmland behind. The German defences had not been prepared properly for your assault and they retreated from the line. In fact, less than a mile beyond the line the farmland looked untouched by the war, all the fighting having taken place from the ridge westward.

Sergeant A.L. Lindsay has taken the initiative and ordered several sections forward behind enemy lines in the dark hours of the night, before the Germans can prepare any defence in depth or worse yet a counter attack. The plan is to follow the routed Germans in the hopes of finding a higher level commander and disrupt the chain of command so that no immediate counter attack can be launched against K5.

Just before dawn, and far behind enemy lines in the confusion, your scouts report a lightly defended farm house up ahead where they have spotted several German officers in deep discussion poring over maps. The farm house is located along a crossroad that has hedged fields surrounding it, a perfect place to sneak in close before attacking.

Can the Canadians prove successful behind the lines. or will they end up as more names to be etched on monuments, lost in the mud of Flanders fields?"

The Germans have held strategic meetings in these
ruins trying to regroup and launch a counter-attack

The Canadian commanders would be Kevin, Jim, Brian, and Bill, with Dave lending moral support.  They had 2 sections of 10th Battalion riflemen and 2 sections of 16th Battalion riflemen. Two of the sections were over-sized and had additional assault elements in them. The mission for the Canadians was to break through to a farm where German officers were spotted gathing and planning.  Once there they need to either capture any enemy documents preferably attack maps or plans, or if none are there capturing a German officer will do, as long as you can bring him back alive.The Canadians are attacking at dawn and have excellent cover to advance through.  However, they realize they are deep into enemy territory and will need to retreat as soon as the enemy realizes they are there and sends reinforcements, how long that will take, they don't know.

Pre-game look from the Canadian Side

The German commanders were Greg and Dallas.  They only had 2 small rifle sections, but did have an HMG as well.  The mission for the Germans is to simply hold out and keep the Canadians at bay long enough that re-enforcements arrive to send them scampering off.  While vastly outnumbered, and the enemy having ideal cover to advance against them, the Germans have some small artillery nearby that has already zeroed in on a few strategic choke points.  Unfortunately ammunition is limited and there will only be a few rounds of SOS fire support available. The Germans need to hold out for 10 turns before reinforcements arrive.
Pre-game look from the German side
The Canadians setup three blinds on one side of the table and one on the other, attempting a forced flank manuever up the right hand side of the board (looking from the German side as in the above photo) since it had cover further up the field.  A single section would advance up the other flank, to keep the Germans honest and not  allow them to counter attack on a flank.

The German commanders setup a blind in each building and one just behind and centralized for support options.

The first few turns went well for the Canadians, rushing forward while still under their blinds to get as close as possible to the German held farm house.  On the second turn, the German commanders reveal a rifle section located behind the other two blinds for support, and send a runner to the rear to attempt to initiate an SOS artillery strike.

On the third turn one Canadian blind gets too close and the Germans decide to reveal themselves and attempt to spot the enemy.  The Canadians have been spotted, by an HMG section!  Luckily the officer had to use his initiative to spot and the section would only be firing at the end of the turn.

The news keeps getting worse for the Canadians on turn 3 as the German artillery starts firing against the choke point in the hedgerow that they were using to advance through.  Of the 4 shells that landed that turn, one hit each of the three Canadian units coming through the hedges, and one deviated far enough back to affect the Germans themselves.  Remember everyone - Friendly fire isn't.

The artillery only had minor effect though, inflicting a few casualties on the Canadians and one on the Germans, as well as a few points of shock all around.

On turn four the Canadians, trying to advance out of the artillery fire and into the German lines assaulted on the far right.  However two sections were struck by the continuing artillery fire and left with more shock and a few casualties.  The Canadian players were getting extremely worried with shock piling up and still one more turn of incoming fire from the artillery.

Therefore only a single section could mount an attack. While the attack was swift, if met stiff resistance from the Germans dug in behind the brick walls of the farmyard.  The first round of combat saw only shock placed on either side, but then since it was a draw and a second round was immediately fought, 3 Canadians fell to only 1 German.  The surviving Canadians withdrew back through the hedges with enough shock to bottle.

Along the left flank, the Canadians advanced far enough to trade fire with one German rifle section, forcing the Germans to alternate between dealing with them and the larger threat to the right.

Turn 5 saw the last rounds of artillery landing, once again killing a few Canadians and dealing out shock in large numbers.  The Canadian forces big men gave the troops a stern tongue lashing about staying true to God and Country and they held their position.

Turn 6 saw shots trading back and forth as both sides tried to remove enough shock to accomplish some movement in the coming turns.

Turn 7 saw the Canadians launch yet another assault through the hedges at the HMG squad, this time with the remains of an over-sized sections through.  The HMG section did well, killing a Canadian and inflicting 2 points of shock, but the Canadians having them vastly outnumbered killed 3 and inflicted numerous points of shock.  The few surviving Germans had no choice but to fall back as they lost combat and bottled.

The Canadians had one of the farm houses in their possession, would it contain anything of value?  They moved into the house for cover and to start the search.

The Canadians having moved in and were rooting around in the farm caused concern to the German commander who directed all of his men to fire at them, inflicting 2 casualties and a few points of shock.  The other Canadian sections provided covering fire, but failed to accomplish much. 

The German forces across the road combined forces on turn 9 and launched a long distance assault on the Canadian forces in the farm house. This time the tides were turned, with the Germans out numbering the remaining Canadians almost 2 to 1.

The Canadians however had the advantage of solid cover in the building  and drove the Germans back after 2 bloody rounds of combat.  Leaving 2 more Canadians dead, but also saw 3 Germans fall from the 2 assaulting units. This forced the Germans to fall back from combat but not to bottle.

Turn 10 arrived and having survived the German assault, and having found several planning documents in the farm house on turn 9, it was time the the surviving members of the 16th Battalion to sneak our the other side of the farm house and make their escape just before the German reinforcements arrived.

Overall the game went extremely smoothly.  Early on the Canadians were extremely worried when the artillery opened up as it looked like they would be pinned and killed before they even reached the German lines.  The Germans gained even more confidence when the first Canadian assualt failed and was driven back and Canadian confidence faultered even more.

However, as in real history the Canadians held their nerve through everything and kept on going.

The Canadian assault on the HMG was a major turning point as it gave them free access to at least one building for searching, which turned out to be the correct one.  The Germans then felt good with an assault going against the Canadians with almost 2-1 odds, however Brian (don't tell me the odds) was rolling for the Canadians, and saved the day. 

In the end the game came right down to the wire, as German re-enforcements could have started arriving the following turn.

Hopefully everyone had a fun game, and I will break these figures and terrain out more often now that they are done.