Monday, December 31, 2007

DANG Recap

December 28th was Dave's Annual Naval Game, or DANG for short, hosted by the Schuelers each year at about this time. There is always a different theme, and this year's game was based around the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the actions at sea. Arthur Brooking, Dave Creager, David Sullivan, George Kettler and I were the participants. David Sullivan and Dave Creager ran the Israelis and George, Arthur and I volunteered for Arab duty.

We Arabs knew we were all in a hard way. I think each of us played the old Yaquinto Missile Boat game, so there were no big surprises. The Israelis would be hard to beat. George took on the Syrians, whom I knew would be doubly stinky, and Arthur and I opted for the Egyptians. They were merely bad. We had lots of boats. Mainly Osas and Komars with some lesser vessels thrown in for good measure. As with all DANG games, it was run as a mini-campaign. In this case, we had daily missions to run, some required, some optional. Unfortunately, on Day One we drew a required patrol off Haifa, which we knew would not be fun.

The actions looked a lot like this: Syrians or Egyptians encounter Israeli boats. Israelis slaughter Syrians or Egyptians. Scenario ends. The Israelis had some significant advantages. One was that their boats were simply larger than the Osas and Komars. They mounted heavier guns, more missile launchers, and missile reloads. Another plus, was that they were technologically more advanced. They had ECM capability, and also had decoys and chaff to defend against our Styx missiles. Our advantages were A) more boats--not an inconsequential factor, and B) our Styx missiles had greater range than the Israeli Gabriels, and greater hitting power. The problem was getting them to hit.

The rules we used were David Manley's Bulldogs Away. Dave and I ran them at Enfilade, and they are very easy to use. It allowed us to play through lots of encounters. We ran through five days of the Yom Kippur War, with at least one encounter almost every day. It gave we Arab players plenty of opportunities to test, and improve our tactical doctrine. Unfortunately the doctrine frequently involved launching all of our Styx missiles at one or two Israeli Saars, only to see them diverted by chaff and flying off after a flock of seagulls that happened to be circling nearby. Meanwhile, the Israelis could fire a couple of missiles at each of our boats and we'd be faced with having to remember the next verse to "There's a hole in the bucket."

In the end, both the Syrian and Egyptian navies were wrecked in five short days. The truly tragic part is that in wrecking our navies we were also able to sink or seriously damage four Israeli vessels, out performing the historical record. I think the Arab fleets were able to preserve a few more of their boats however.

Just some quickie notes about the pictures. The first picture shows the ending moments of the game as six Egyptian missile boats encountered an Israeli patrol off the Sinai. We implemented new tactics which, sadly, worked about as well as the old tactics. These worked almost as well as raising one's hand and saying "shoot me." You can see the two Israeli Saar boats in the middle about to do the old rope trick and escape all but one of the red Egyptian missiles. The Egyptian boats, on the other hand, are also surrounded, but they will simply plunge to the bottom of the Mediterranean. The second shows an Israeli Saar boat surrounded by incoming Styx missiles. By the time these sixteen VW sized missiles penetrated the chaff and flare dispensers maybe three or four would remain. By the time we were finished rolling badly the Saar would be sailing back to Haifa with the Big Smile signal flag hoisted in its halyards. If precedent was broken and we actually rolled a hit, it was big nastiness. However, I titled the picture Houdini, because more often than not the Israelis escaped. The last picture is just photo of a couple of Dave's wonderful Skytrex Saar boats.

Struggling through the difficulties did not diminish our good time. Dave and Lynn always know how to show us a fun with comfort and good eats. DANG is always high on my dance card of annual miniature events.

Friday, December 28, 2007

These Eyes

Well, it's off to DANG today. Dave's Annual Naval Game is an Arab-Israeli missile fest using Bulldogs Away, so that should be fun. I should have pictures to post tonight or tomorrow.

We met friends Greg and Carolyn for dinner last night and watched Pat's band play at Jazzbones in Tacoma. It was a good first show and it was great to see G and C. We exchanged belated Christmas gifts and I received an articulated light/magnifier. I confess, I probably need it, but haven't been prepared to do anything about it. I'll try to get it set up in painting land today or tomorrow and give it a try. Anything I can do to help me see those teeny-tiny Hallmark highlanders.

About those highlanders--I finished my first fifteen yesterday, only about eighty left to go. I think I've figured out a strategy for painting, them, just not a very good one. If they were all dressed in Brooks Brothers suits, rather than plaids it would be easier.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


For the past couple of years I've had a LibraryThing account. Virtually all my books are listed there, and I am gradually writing reviews of them as I read. I'm also reviewing my Ospreys, which I think could be handy. In any case, tonight I added the link to my electronic library.

Quiet Week

Not much going on this holiday week. A little bit of painting. I finally finished my Early Roman DBA army. It's the hoplite army the Gauls slaughtered in their 5th century invasions of Italy. I also wrapped some some figures for Space 1889 and some militia for AWI.

Now I'm working on some 15mm Hallmark highlanders. They're tiny figures with kilts--a bad mixture at my age and eyesight. I also have begun working on my first Action Stations miniatures. One is an 80 ft Elco PT boat, and the other is a massive flush deck Destroyer/Transport. I've assembled some German S boats as well, but everything is still ways off from completion. I'm hoping to have a relaxing and productive couple of weeks off. I'll get some painting done, and some reading in.

I've been reviewing the 100+ Osprey books I own in my LibraryThing account. I'll try linking to that.

Mark Waddington and I made a find this week. Stone Mountain miniatures offered up a bunch of old Houston's Space 1889 ships pretty cheap. Mark ordered a passle. I ordered a much smaller passle. They might be here before I go back to school.

Next game: Daveshoe's Annual Naval Game on Friday.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Saturday on Mars and What's Ahead

No pictures today. We had an infantry slogfest at the Game Matrix playing Space 1889 yesterday. I was a British commander trying to control some difficult terrain. Things went badly fairly quickly. Ambushed by some hill Martians, we lost an infantry unit and some Gatlings. Things were pretty much downhill from there. The scenario rules set some conditions that were difficult for us to overcome. It's hard to see how we could have succeeded without a couple of breaks going our way. Aah, better luck next time.

Today I finished my Early Roman DBA army. I've had these guys for a few years, and it's nice to get them done. I'm going to be moving on to working on my 15mm Hallmark figures from the First Jacobite War for Kings War. They'll be different and fun for the period--way different than what the other guys are painting. I have some done already that will need remounting, but lots more of both sides to paint.

I'll be playing in Daveshoe's annual naval game on the 28th (DANG), and then it's off to Drumbeat January 5th. I'll be running Thunderboats and an Ironclads game at the latter. Pictures, I promise pictures.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Thunderboats and Eyestrain

Last weekend five of us got together at The Game Matrix to try the Thunderboat rules once more. Son Casey, rules designer Dave Schueler, Dave Demick, and model maker Sean McEvoy met me in South Tacoma for three heats of racing.

It was my first opportunity to haul all six of my finished boats out on to the game table. It was truly a blast. The rules are just amazing, and the drivers are really forced to make a lot of dangerous decisions. I won the first heat despite a bunch of very aggressive decisions, and the dice were with me. Things did not go so well for me in the following heats. Daveshoe had some astonishingly bad die rolls and I'm not sure he ever completed a lap. There are a couple of differences between this game and Golden Age Air Racing. First, is that it is much more difficult to re-roll out of aggressive choices. Drivers are much more constantly on the edge. It is important to finish laps, and disaster seems much closer for the boat drivers than the air racers. Second, is the chance cards. Chance cards are bad. They are almost always bad, except when they are good--which is about a quarter of the time. Unlike the air racing, I can almost see myself playing it safe sometimes.

I've included pictures of all the boats and some racing courtesy Dave Schueler

I've finished up a few more AWI militia, because one simply cannot have too many. However, I'm going back to 15mm for to wrap up a few more loose end projects. I am finally painting my early Roman DBA army. They are an enemy for my Early Etruscans. The only problem I've ever had is coming up with a suitable color scheme for them, particularly the shield patterns. I'll just have to do my best.

When the Romans are finished, I'm taking on a long time unfinished project--my 15mm Hallmark figures from the First Jacobite Rebellion in 1689. These are beautiful true 15's. I've always wanted to paint them, but have never really had a suitable set of rules. I've decided to adopt the King's War rules by Bruce Bretthauer over DBR, because the latter makes all the highlanders warbands, and liable to being shot down rather ineffectually. In King's War there are some special highlander rules that gives 'em a fighting chance. In any case, I have a enough figures painted for a couple units on each side. I've ordered some Litko bases, as well as a few more command figures to fill things out. It should be fun.