Saturday, July 23, 2016

[AAR] 3 vs 3 Stars & Crosses Game

Our Friday night 2 vs 2 game turned into a 3 vs 3 when my nephew asked two of his pals to come over and join the game. I wasn't going to do a beach landing but when they saw the beach terrain they wouldn't take no for an answer. I spun up a scenario where the US Army, having already secured a bridgehead, had to drive the Wehrmacht from a town that was just inland from the beach. The Wehrmacht had to keep at least one unit in the town to avoid losing. The youngsters took the American position and the old gray veterans took the Wehrmacht side. One of the youngsters got advice over the phone from his dad, an ex-Marine who studied iPhone shots of the battle and gave advice.

It was a kitchen-sink affair with several expert rules, most prominently air support and called artillery fire. The Germans had two FW 190 ground attack aircraft, and the Americans had a B26 Marauder and could call in naval gunfire from offshore.

1. On the first turn, the Marauder bombed the church where the Wehrmacht command post and spotter were sited. Sacrilege! The FW 190s had a grand time strafing at will and would keep it up until they were out of ammo and low on fuel and headed back to their distant Flughafen.

2. The Americans assembled an armored force and squeezed their way laboriously up the only exit from the beach. The lead M4 tank was felled by a Panzerfaust hiding in the woods, and the other tankers lost their nerve, stalling the attack. The fact that there was an 8cm flak cannon just down the road may have also contributed to their hesitation.

3. On Turn 3, two Tigers and a Stug III assault gun trundled onto the inland side of the board and clanked toward the stalled American armor attack, hoping to mop it up and push the survivors back to the beach. It didn't work out that way, as you'll see. Enough US infantry were able to crawl their way over the bluffs that the town didn't seem nearly as safe as it had just a few turns earlier. The Tigers and Stug III crossed the stream and make a left hook into town. A lone bazooka team stood them down across the bridge and managed to avoid a blast from the lead Tiger. With nerves of steel, the bazooka fired and brewed up the Tiger, leaving its mate vulnerable on the bridge. Another Marauder bombing run tumbled the bridge into the stream, taking the second Tiger with it. Suddenly we weren't feeling so sorry for Team USA!

4. Weight of numbers and devastating naval gunfire began to take a toll. An American LMG team and rifle platoon crossed the stream and managed to dislodge the German mortar team and HMG ensconced there.

5. A secondary line of defense on the far side of the town square kept the Americans from taking the whole town, but at that point, it became clear that they could grind down the remaining Germans with called artillery fire. The Germans left town and conceded the game at about 11 pm.

Here's an annotated map of the battlefield, with some other terrain shots. 
Overview of the battle

Thursday, July 21, 2016

D-Day Beach Terrain with Town, Bocage, and Polder

A good camera and natural light are your best friends when taking shots of miniature terrain. I also like using a narrow focus to highlight particular terrain elements and create a sense of depth. Ready for tomorrow's 2 vs. 2 game!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

D-Day Beach Terrain

This weekend I designed prototypes and then quickly cranked out a ten-hex-wide beach for D-Day style Stars & Crosses action. I have landing craft on order from GHQ.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

[Terrain Tutorial] Make a Road Hex

Here's another tutorial about making modular hex terrain. This one shows you how to make a road hex. [Link to YouTube video].
The video mentions that print-and-cut templates are available. Here it is: 

[Terrain Tutorial] Make a Grass Hex

In the first of a series of tutorial videos, learn how to transform a GHQ Terrain Maker styrofoam hex into a realistic looking grassy field in minutes. (YouTube video link).

Review of Stars & Crosses on Hobby Games Recce

Peter over at Hobby Games Recce was kind enough to write a lovely review/after-action report for Stars & Crosses. The link is here.