Playtest of Chainmail Reforged

December 26, 2013

I played a quick play-test of Chainmail Reforged.  I setup a simple game of 4 units each.  The red team had 3 units of armored foot and a unit of crossbowmen.  The black team had a unit of Armored horse, a unit of billmen, a unit of longbowmen and a unit of peasants.  I set them up across the board from one another and placed some terrain including a river.   Changes from the classic game published by TSR Inc:

  1. Missile fire has been changed to be less deterministic.  Instead of rolling 1 die and consult a chart, you roll 1 die per eligable shooter and score a kill based on armor.  4+ vs unarmored, 5+ vs half armored and 6+ vs fully armored.  Casualties are halved from long range, cover and so forth.
  2. Post melee morale is based on a ratio and has been simplified.   When a round of melee is over, each side determines how many figures are left in the unit.  They add to it the morale factor of that unit (Armored horse add 9 for instance) and then the result is multiplied by the result of a D6.  The two numbers are compared to a table 3:2 results in a push-back and the melee continues if the winner had enough move to follow up.  2-1 results in a retreat, 3-1 results in falling back and so forth.
  3. Other minor tweaks and clarifications.
The units started at their respective board edges and maneuvered to this position.

The units started at their respective board edges and maneuvered to this position.

During the next round, black seized the initiative and charged in with his cavalry.  The red crossbowmen fired at the peasants and put them to rout.  The cavalry melee lasted 2 rounds.  The armored foot was destroyed.

Gary Gygax During the next round, black seized the initiative and charged in with his cavalry. The red crossbowmen fired at the peasants and put them to rout. The cavalry melee lasted 2 rounds. The armored foot was destroyed.

Knights rest

The followng turn, Black rests and moves up his longbowmen. They fire upon the advancing armored foot with little effect. The red crossbowmen are turned about to face the cavalry.  meanwhile, black rested their cavalry as they were exhausted from the charge.

Finally, the cavalry come about and walk into the rear of the armored foot.  The armored foot fails the morale check and falls back.  There is enough move left for the cavalry to charge in and strike and the flank of the armored foot.  Red's army morale colapses at this point and the heavy units rout off the board.

Finally, the cavalry come about and walk into the rear of the armored foot. The armored foot fails the morale check and falls back. There is enough move left for the cavalry to charge in and strike and the flank of the armored foot.  The longbowmen do better this time as Red charges them with armored foot.  They manage to force the retreat after taking a few losses.   Red’s army morale collapses at this point and the heavy units rout off the board.

The game played pretty well.  It was quick and bloody as I remembered it.  Rolling many dice for shooting is a good idea as it allows for more variation in results than in the classic version.  The post melee morale worked pretty well too.  Twice, black scored significantly higher casualties in melee than red and twice they rolled a 1 while red rolled something higher.  The retreating footmen in the center was a result of one of those.  I did make one mistake.  the cavalry walked into the second melee so the armored foot was not obliged to make a “charged by cavalry charge” morale check.

I used my VASSAL module for Ancient and Medieval Wargaming.  The units are rigid so I could not do any formation changes.  I originally liked make maneuvering more fiddly but I am kind of happy with the simplified facing change for maneuvering which costs half of a move.

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1/72 Scale WW2 Vehicles in Paper

December 1, 2013

I’ve been experimenting with some World War 2 paper vehicles.  I have made several now and would like to show the results.  I’ve purchased so far from two companies and found one item free on the web.

From left to right: Matilda MkII, Universal Carrier, Stug III, Panzer III

From left to right: Matilda MkII, Universal Carrier, Stug III, Panzer III

First up is a diorama offering from Best Paper Models.  The item comes with a Matilda and a Panzer III.  These tanks were pretty easy to put together.  Simply adhering to some paper modeling “best practices” and you could get these together in about 4 hours each.  This includes, cutting, gluing and touch up painting.  The results are quite nice.  A side note, I felt that the colors were a little bright so I toned them down, making the Panzer III a bit more tan and the Matilda a bit more earthy.  The latter’s colors were clearly influenced by the Matilda at Bovington.  The gun barrels are supposed to be rolled paper.  I managed to roll the Panzer III gun barrel pretty easily.  The Matilda gun barrel is a simpler piece and should have been even easier to roll.  However, for some reason I could not roll the paper into a gun barrel for this model.  I used a toothpick instead.  The last thing I want to mention is that these models are actually 1/87th scale.  I pasted them into a PNG file.  The graphics are actually very high resolution.  I had to shrink the files to 28% size.

On a side note, I did look up measurements for the vehicles just to make sure they were close to scale.  I use www.wwiivehicles.com for most of my needs since the web site owner has done most of the research for me and even lists his sources.  All measurements varried but the Matilda II varied the most, especially with the length of the vehicle.  The difference between the smallest and largest measurement was something like 3 feet!

Matilda and Panzer III from the side.  Note the solid tracks.  No cutting out bogey wheels.  Just one solid foldable piece.

Matilda and Panzer III from the side. Note the solid tracks. No cutting out bogey wheels. Just one solid foldable piece.

The second purchase was from paper Tiger Armaments.  These vehicles are very nice.  The coloring is, perhaps, not quite as nice as those from Best paper Models in terms of texture and detail but a very good model never the less.  There are more details in parts, especially in the track area.  I was not up to the task of assembling the tracks a wheel at a time so I used the tracks from the PZIII from BPA.  I recolored them further to give them a near match to the PTA Stug.

Stug III with tracks from the BPA Panzer III.

Stug III with tracks from the BPA Panzer III.

The final model is a Universal Carrier from J. Friant and is available on his web page.  This was a pretty easy model to build.  There is a good bit of white space in the interior when you look down and at an angle into the drivers compartment.  This can be fixed with some appropriately colored paint.  The coloring scheme is very basic so it would be easy to re-skin it to anything you like before printing.

Universal carrier with the solid track option.  There is also a detailed track option similar to the PTA tanks.

Universal carrier with the solid track option. There is also a detailed track option similar to the PTA tanks.

Final Thoughts

Paper tanks can be slow to build.  I suspect that the process can be somewhat sped up by building multiple tanks.  I have not tried it yet though.  At 4 hours per tank, this is probably a bit slower than preparing some of the quick build plastic models for the game table.  The advantage is the cost.  You can purchase a tank image for $2 to $5 via the web and then build as many as you need.

Best Paper Models Matilda and Panzer III in North Africa

Paper Tiger Armaments Stug III

Universal Carrier from J. Friant