LnL Tactical: Heroes of Normandy

IMG_2223.JPGLnL Tactical System: Heroes of Normandy is a complete game in the Lock ‘n Load Tactical Series. From the Airborne invasion, to the fighting on the Bocage’s of France, all the way to Market Garden. In HoN you are in command of infantry squads, specialists (leaders, heroes, & experts), AFVs, Heavy Weapons, and AT/INF guns. This game/series is great for new-to-wargaming fans, and long time grognards.

Rules: LnL:HoN uses the WW2 Tactical (standard) Series Rulebook, inside of HoN’s scenarios are series specific rules and narratives that focus on the system. Overall, the phases in the system are very straight forward at first, until you begin adding the layers of depth into the system: Terrain, obstructions, tactics, and other operations involved in the gameplay which keep you coming back for more. The three Phases in the LnL Tactical WW2 Era Rules at Rally, Operations, and Administrative Phase. Within those phases are provided functions that one could conduct. During the turns you pass back and forth 3 times with the option to pass per turn.

Gameplay:

Deeper into the game there are capabilities to heal with medics, place snipers to disrupt assaults or slow enemy advances, weapons systems and mortars to destroy your opponent, Leaders to help move the needle, Heroes can be made with a die roll under stressful situations, and AFVs!

Within each scenario is a narrative that provides Special Scenario Rules to provide variability to the gameplay.

From my experiences with ASL, and even CoH: LnL Tactical provides the best of all worlds if you’re looking for something that can be executed within a 30-60minute window and obtain results/satisfaction one would want to have in a tactical paced game. This is in many ways NOT a simulation, but a fun game that once you’ve attempted various tactics throughout the system you come to realize a few major things:

  • Leaders make up the game and the narrative of where and how you want to handle things.
  • The rulebook is easy to digest. You’re fighting in the game, not the rulebook.
  • There are AFVs
  • Infantry units feel like infantry.

 

Material:
(Lock n Load in general) Heroes of Normandy is made with the utmost quality. I am thoroughly impressed with the cardboard, and rules/scenario book and maps. They are solid!

Visual:
VisuallyLnL is appealing. I cannot emphasize that enough – they really modernized tactical games and gave a solid feel and look to it.

Weakness: Very few: (I do like ASLSK/ASL and TCS for tactical games, most people will say CoH is a great game, not a big fan…LnL is up there with ASL and TCS in terms of replay and enjoyment) Here are my weaknesses with LnL Tactical: It took me 4-5 plays to really understand all the rules and gather the depth of the game. I was a bit concerned even after those 4-5 plays that I was still missing some of the minutia that would make the game even better…so I tended to begin reading through as I played which took longer so that I could exhaust whatever it is that I could find.

LnL Tactical is not a Simulation, it uses the WW2 era/errata as a setting/narrative/mechanic for the game. It is a fun game and some of the core mechanics/story are what makes the game a hoot, but if you’re looking for simulation/historical depth, look elsewhere. (I think many are aware of that)

Final Verdict: 
I am keeping LnL Tactical on my list of 2017 games to buy/play/replay. A fun fast paced game that I don’t see going anywhere anytime soon. Look out for AAR’s and videos in the coming weeks.

Thanks to David Heath and LnL Publishing for HoN. A great company!

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Current update! LnL Pub!

Hi Folks!

It’s been a long few months with work, life, etcetera. The good news is that it is that time of year again where things slow down for me and the games start hitting the tables. I recently received an Order from Lock n Load Publishing with about 15lbs of games!

Here is a little clip of me opening up the box and seeing what I have in-store for my vacation!

So far, I have had the opportunity to read through the LnL Tactical Series rules, a great quality product, I must say, just from reading them it feels like the perfect balance of fast action tactical gaming, rules, and layers to the game to keep people playing regularly. I will say, with confidence, that you only need 30-45 minutes to ramp up on the system/and-or teach folks, both new and old to wargaming.

I’ll get into some reviews regarding the first part of my endeavor – the starter guide in my next post, then after that, I’ll pull out Heroes of Normandy and give it a whirl.

Check out the links below and thanks for checking in!

https://titter.com/LnLPub

https://store.lnlpublishing.com/

 

GMT Games – Invasion: Sicily

A GMT/Vance von Borries creation – Invasion: Sicily is a series game that covers the Allied invasion of Sicily from July-August 1943, Codenamed “Operation Husky”.

This series game consists of Four Scenarios (1 learning – Gela Beachhead), one that covers the Operation Husky, a historical Campaign for Sicily July 10 – August 17, and a wide open Scenario that gives you more flexibility to either invade Calabria first, or stick to the plan, invade Sicily.

A total of 240 Full-Color die-cut counters, and a single map (and aid cards). Unit scale is in the Regiment/Battalion size. Time-scale of 3 Days per Turn, and a Map scale of 5.5 miles per hex.

Invasion: Sicily plays very much like most traditional wargames, however, invading scenarios give it a bit more flexibility in decision making. And since I regularly play EFS, von Borries’ system/rules are very close to one in the same, with their slight nuances to the game, theater of operation, and style of warfare. Invasion: Sicily’s focus is heavily driven to what decisions are made by the Allied invader, the Axis, however, decide on a defensive stratagem to position for stopping that very invasion; factors that give the Axis defender the advantage is the terrain, the maneuverability and supply lines they have, and most of all, the potential to evacuate (which some would say is generally bad, but hey, lets live to fight another day people.) from Sicily.

The variability for this game gives both sides to aid, and or, handicap. Point being, for both sides; The Fall of Mussolini, Fascist Revivals (Italian), Air and Naval Transport Determination/Transfers, and Supply.

Given that these rules provide the variability one would often run into in the face of an operation, the other factor of this game that makes things real interesting is the implementation of Efficiency Ratings for units, Beachhead and Port Supply lines for the Allies, capabilities to blow up Port’s, and the seizure of airfield and gun emplacements make Invasion: Sicily a fun, and often focused game.

One recommendation I’ve heard from many to compliment this game is to look into OCS Sicily ii (We’ll see…)

Getting a little into the structure of the game:

The Sequence of Play (Short)

A. Strategic Segment

  1. Special events Phase
  2. Weather Phase
  3. Supply Determination Phase
  4. Air/Naval Readiness Phase
  5. Pre-Invasion Actions

B. Allied Operations Segment

  1. Allied Transport Phase
  2. Allied Movement Phase
  3. Axis Reaction Phase
  4. Allied Combat Phase
  5. Axis Counterattack
  6. Allied Mot. Movement Phase

C. Axis Operations Segment

  1. Axis Transport Phase
  2. Axis Movement Phase
  3. Allied Reaction Phase
  4. Axis Combat Phase
  5. Axis Mot. Movement Phase

D. Reorganization Segment (both players)

  1. Replacement Phase
  2. Special Movement Phase
  3. Engineering Phase
  4. Victory Conditions/Turn Record Phase

 

For those that own the game, I recently threw together some of the on-map rules in an XLS. (The extended play rules will be in another file)

On-Map Rules

I have also submitted it to BGG here

 

 

A fun day for Red Winter.

Howdy Grogs of War,

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to play Red Winter’s full 32 Turn (Dec 8-12: We played 14/15 turns and had to leave due to scheduling) Campaign.

This was the first time I had the chance to play the campaign which went rather well for the both of us.

Red winter is published by GMT games and covers the Soviet-Finnish Conflict of 1939 in the area of Tolvajarvi, Finland.

Things I love:

  • Rules are great for beginner to grog level.
  • Adding the optional rules make the game more fun, I use about 4 to 5 of the options, and I recommend you find your favorites too. It adds to the game.
  • The map is easy to navigate.
  • The Soviets. Maintaining control of the roads is imperative – and armor/arty rocks – Mass waves of Soviets. Bonfires…
  • The Finns. Hit and Run tactics, the satisfaction one would get from sacrificing to the war gods a company of Finns to destroy an artillery park.

Things I dislike:

  • There are little things you need to be sure of, assaults – they are not as great as one would think…
  • Dug-In Finns
  • Soviet Artillery is a multiplier…at times could make it a quick win under the right circumstances, and coordination with armor and infantry, it can be devastating.
  • Terrain visibility: You can see the edges of some hexes – sometimes trying to explain this to a new player can be difficult for them to fathom…I am glad I highlighted it.

Summary: Buy the game if you can, when you can or pre-order it as a p500 asap.

Budapest 45′ – Command Magazine

If you want to play a fun magazine game, check out an oldie but goodie from Command Magazine Issue No. 31. Budapest 45′. 

Super short Intro to Budapest 45′:

The situation in Budapest in January 1945 deteriorated for both sides – The Nazi’s taking the brunt from all Theatre’s, and the Soviet’s high command hesitant of funneling a massive amount of resources into a large city, by-way West through dense forest, wet ground-near-freezing, narrow roadways with minor rivers and the Danube (major) crossings that branch out across > than 150km+ distance W-to-E of Buda.

Hitler ordered Budapest a ‘Fortress’, and with the onslaught of overwhelming forces in the north, and the south of Hungary crumbling, supplies were becoming scarce. Especially fuel*. Units were being moved from sector to sector to help support the recovery of Budapest in this fourth period of the siege.

** Wiki overview: Link** “The Fourth Period (1 January 1945 – 26 January 1945) was marked by a series of strong counter-offensives launched by German reinforcements in an attempt to relieve the siege of Budapest. Some German units managed to penetrate deep into the outskirts of the city, with the most successful ones only 25 km away from the Hungarian capital. However, the Soviets managed to withstand all the German attacks and maintain their encirclement.”

Command Magazine’s Issue Nr. 31 Budapest 45′ covers this period of the battle, which gives you command and perspective on the seesaw battle for Budapest, and coordinated Panzer Drives to relieve the fortress of Buda and Pest (Castle Hill too) as well as the Soviet elastic-defense to bleed the Nazi’s drive for Budapest.

Pro’s and Cons on the game…

Pros:

  1. The Rules/Errata are clear and easy to pick up on. Turn sequences are somewhat asymmetrical.
  2. Special Rules for the Nazi’s such as Heavy Support and Surprise Attacks & for the Soviets, Artillery Bombardments makes the game pace better than I expected.
  3. Panzer Division Detachments are very valuable to cover ground quickly. Their significance is important in feint attacks which can throw off the Soviet Player.
  4. Balance: It is somewhat even keeled in terms of unit count and att/def ratios…The map terrain is the true differentiator.
  5. Bridges! I love destroying bridges…
  6. The map and counters are clear enough to enjoy the game

Cons:

  1. Concentric attacks can be good…however, they are trite. Since this is operational, it feels like two Goliath’s are smashing each other…You’re smashing defensive lines > than 4:1 odds and with these DRMs, it is almost excessive. There is definite positives to this to..
  2. The Map – For the time, it is great! Today, meh, somewhat lacking in details.
  3. Artillery bombardments are not as effective as I expected them to be.

Overall, a fun game. Once you get through a couple turns you’re spending more time book keeping step losses than re-reading rules for clarification. It is definitely a fun game and there are assault tactics that need to be employed at the start for the Nazis, and defensive flexibility/terrain reading/planning for the Soviets. Last words: Keep moving, and you may win…Get stuck, you’re dead.

Book Review: Panzer Battles – F.W. von Mellenthin

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Panzer Battles, Author: F.W. von Mellenthin

Mass Market Paperback: 480 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books (July 12, 1985)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0345321588
ISBN-13: 978-0345321589
Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 1.2 inches

You can purchase Panzer Battles at Amazon


Panzer Battles, A Study of the Employment of Armor in the Second World War – By F.W. Von Mellenthin.

Background:

The book follows FW Von Mellenthin’s experiences from the beginning of the war, from Ic-Intelligence officer to the General Chief of Staff in Poland, France, the Balkans and in Greece.

Mellenthin’s transfer to Africa as the Third General Staff Officer (Ic-Intel) to Rommel from 1941 June to 1942 September, at this time he was to have had been diagnosed with battle stress, but in actuality contracted amoebic dysentery, thus relieving him for approximately one month back home for recovery.  By November of 1942 he was transfered to the Eastern Front until May of 1944. From May until August, General Hermann Balck was promoted to commanding 4. Panzerarmee in Ukraine, and South-East Poland.

In September of 1944, transfer (or the luck of  “promotion”) to Eastern France with his commander Hermann Balck, who was now promoted to commanding Heeresgruppe  G. From September 1944 to December 1944 both men operated in France, during the month of December, Mellenthin and a large number of Staff Officers were relieved due to an unauthorized retreat, during this same month, General Heinz Guderian had him reinstated as a Staff Officer, 28 December to February 1945. During that year as Ic to the 9th Panzer Division, he had the opportunity of participating in the Battle of the Bulge.

Between March and May of 1945 he was chief of staff to General Manteuffels’ Fifth Panzer Armee. Comprised of  piecemeal units defending the Ruhr against American and British Forces, Mellenthin was captured by the British at Hoxter, on the Weser River 3 May, 1945.

Continue reading “Book Review: Panzer Battles – F.W. von Mellenthin”