In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Flying Rabbitman

I just had my first weekend with my new squadron.

They had an aviation weekend planned during which we camped at the Stratford Municipal Airport and learned about aerodynamics, aircraft, aviation and air port activities. The Level 1 cadet in the picture was very excited about her rocket and invited me, as the New Guy, to try it out.

Captain Rabbitman tries the new surface to air missile. Boy, these budget cuts are hell!

We also had a pilot from the civilian search and rescue volunteer group CASARA ( and a Cessna 172 available who took the cadets up three at a time for 20-30 minute flights around the countryside.

We had one left over cadet, so the cadet, myself and my new Officer Cadet got the last flight of the day. The cabin of the plane was very cramped. Fortunately the Officer Cadet is smaller than me!

Ready to take off!

Selfie in a Cessna
The cadet has been taking flying lessons on his own, so the pilot let him take the controls for much of our flight.

17 year old becoming the new COs new driver

I can see my house from here! It's in the top right quadrant of the picture near the big square building and the farm fields 
So that was pretty cool. It was a very busy and very hot day but I learned some interesting things and got to watch the cadets and incumbent staff at work. I was pleasantly surprised at how well-behaved and reasonably tidy they were. Mrs. Rabbitman enjoyed having the car while I was gone for a cadet weekend. I noticed that the driveway was empty when we flew over!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

More Sharp Practice on the Frontier!

The new edition of Sharp Practice has me very excited!

Looking at the Force support options all those characters and vignettes I've  painted up now have a meaningful purpose on the tabletop.

Deployment Points for the Anglo-Indian forces:

A camp would've been too predictable  I think.
Plus the Sikh stretcher  bearers make a nice moveable DP for my Guides to exploit.

The Pathans are trickier. I've got a shepherd  with flock as the primary DP:

And then I thought this snake charmer  will do nicely too

But for their many moveable or dummy DPs I thought some rocks, suitably based so they don't just get mixed up with the gravel I'll  use for dry river beds, would fit into the setting nicely. They're  also cheap and plentiful!

For support options I've got other figures too.

The Physic:

Holy men for both sides:

A bhisti, or water bearer, instead of a water cart:

Radu can be a Silent and Deadly Specialist:

And then there's the sultry spy, available to either side really:

Exercising Heroic Restraint I set about picking my initial force for a training game.

I opted for this, two groups of Guides skirmishers, 3 groups of Sikhs and 2 groups of highlanders. 5 assorted leaders, moveable DP, bhishti and a musician:

Close up of the core of the Force:

 The Pathans  get 9 groups of rifle armed tribesmen and 2 groups of skirmishing tribesmen, comanded by 3 leaders:

I'm using the cards I made for the 1st edition to track which figure is attached to which leader card and what their level is:

The table with DPs  positioned.  Both sides ended up rolling to have their primary DP on the left of the picture. Both sides moveable DPs are edging to the right. The snake charmer is along the far table edge. The flock of sheep is in the nullah at the top left. The Imperial moveable DP  is in the lower right.

First turn. One group of Sikhs  take the hill covering the DP while the highlanders come on to the left.

First Pathan leader with three groups comes on

More tribesmen boil on to the table

I had two runs of Command  cards generating random events. One was non-eventful (the building was too far away to catch fire from shooting). The other had a Pathan leader drop a level at a critical juncture from stepping in dog poop.

Where I left off. Both sides have everyone on table. The Sikhs have formed up on the right of the hill. Highlanders on the left. Guides cover the centre. The Guides and Highlanders have put some good firing onto the leading groups of Pathans, causing two to retreat. The Pathans have three groups deployed from their moveable DP who are maneuvering to threaten the Sikh right flank.

So now that I've got the basic turn mechanics figured out I need to spend some time with the Sharpulator and sort out points values for each side so I can play more with the Force support options and get some scenario balance.


This week saw Mrs. Rabbitman and I celebrate our thirtieth wedding anniversary. Of course the actual date was a cadet night, so a celebratory dinner out got delayed. Something which I think may happen a lot during my tenure as CO of #19 Air Cadet Squadron.

But the delay gave Mrs Rabbitman time to consult menus on restaurant websites and decide where we were going. That is a nice thing about the Digital Age; it's  a lot easier than trying to remember what the food was like or working off vague word of mouth reviews. Plus we wanted to avoid the chain roadhouse places with the clichéd choice of penne in cream sauce, the fish, the chicken, a couple of steaks, several burgers and televisions on every wall.

But daughter No. 2 pointed us to a new place that didn't disappoint. Too many of the nicer places we looked at had weird trendy food. One place, while trying to read the menu I was thinking "WTF? Which is the main and which is the garnish?" But this place had 'normal' food done in interesting ways (my steak came with mushroom tortellini instead of potatoes). And they made a good cup of tea, which I usually avoid when eating out because most restaurants don't know how to do it properly.

Normally eating out is the 2 for 10.99 special at the burger chain or half price pizza night at the pizza chain. So when we do go for a nice dinner out (about 2 maybe 3 times a year), I don't mind paying over a 100 dollars for a good meal.

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Rules

People keep asking about the rules that I'm  using, so here goes.

Activation/Turn Sequence
-I still have to nail this down. So far I've been using the activation rolls from FUBAR. Generally 2+ or 3+ for the Canadians and 4+ for Taliban. 3+ for Tier 1 teams and commanders, 5+ for Tier 3 local force guys. But with a lot of elements on the table  it breaks down and gets hard to remember when a turn ends. Especially with many more insurgent elements than ISAF.
-at Hotlead I "free kreigspieled" things and ran it more like a Role Playing Game with the ISAF players doing their stuff like spotting and moving and me telling them what they see, what happened and revealing  reactions.
-current thinking is to go more like I Ain't Been Shot Mum and have a card or chit for each element to control when they do stuff, if excessive amounts of suppression then they have to roll otherwise automatic

Doing Stuff
-when activated a team vehicle or leader gets to do three things in any order
-do a task (diffuse an IED, call for artillery, administer first aid etc)
-go on overwatch (reserving 1 to 3 unused actions)
-remove 1d6 suppression from a team

Movement per action
Canadians 1d6
Taliban/ANSF 1d6+2
Vehicles 1d6+3 (this is tactical movement not barreling along Route Summit)
Obstacle 1 full action to cross
Take cover/go prone 1 action

Be sensible. LAVs aren't going to be crashing through grape mounds or crossing ditches. That's what the engineers are for.

Spotting hidden insurgents or getting a Positive ID on insurgents moving in open among civilians
Fireteams 5+
Leader 4+
LAV/Leopard 3+
Coyote/Apache/drone 2+
+1 if target moving
+2 if target shooting
-2 if target in a pot field

Shooting dice per action
C7/8 or AK 1d6
C9 or PKM 2d6
UGL or RPG 3d6 (1 action to reload, -1 to cover)
C6 or DshK 3d6
25mm 6d6
Carl Gustav 8d6
120mm or Hellfire missile 10d6

Canadians shooting
Target moving open 2+
Target prone open 3+
Target in brush 4+
Target in ditch or behind wall 5+
Target in building or on roof 6
Grape huts 6 to hit and only roll half dice

Taliban shooting
Target Moving open 3+
Target prone open 4+
Target in brush 5+
Target in ditch, wall building 6

"Take cover" action moves cover up one
UGL and RPG take cover down one
25mm ignore cover except Grape Huts
120s, Hellfire and Carl Gustav ignore cover
Canadians when hit get a Body Armour save of 4+ (hit by the DshK only save on a 6)

Each unsaved hit roll 1d6
1-3 suppression
4-5 wound

Hit by cannon
1-3 wound
4-6 KIA
+1d6 suppression

Anti tank
RPG/Recoilless rifle roll 3d6 hit on 5+ front or flank, 4+ top or rear
Vehicle rolls armour dice each 5+ defeats a successful hit
Coyote rolls 4d6
LAV 5d6
Leopard 7d6
For each undefeated hit roll a d6
1-2 stunned -2 next activation
3-4 weapon destroyed (owner choice)
5 vehicle immobilised
6 vehicle knocked out all crew and passengers bail and take one hit (roll for suppression, wound or kill as shooting)
IEDs attack in the same way if the vehicle moves with 3" attack strength is variable by scenario (I  have sometimes given the Taliban  a 'pool' of points and they can make a few powerful  IEDs or several weaker ones plus dummies)

Suicide bombers attack with 3d6. I let the ISAF  have a reaction roll to see if they get a shot off first. Car bombs would be the same just bigger.

For the SA7 roll to hit
Under 12" 4+
12-18" 5+
Over 18" 6
If hit the helicopter rolls a dice
1-3 evades off table can back next turn
4-5 damaged returns to KAF
6 shot down

That's kind of where I'm at right now.
The FUBAR page has lots of good ideas.
Scroll down to FUBAR-Modern to download the Afghanistan  notes.
Poor old Call Sign 21 keeps landing in the crapper. I'm still trying to sort out rolls for calling  in support, what type and how much and when it  arrives. On paper there's loads of support, enough to shut down any Taliban  attack, but that pretty much ends the game. So the game design  issue is when does this game ending firepower arrive?

Sunday, May 22, 2016


The objective for this game was to try scenario ideas created by my new Taurus ARV and the wrecked LAV  I made early on in the project.

A patrol of Coyote  Recce vehicles has been ambushed  and is pinned down in dense terrain, so a dust off can't get close enough to extract the wounded crew.

Overview of the table:
The QRF enters on the paved road at the  top by the ANA checkpoint. The patrol is pinned down in the grape fields at lower left.

The QRF rolls out. Platoon of infantry in LAVs , lead by a Leopard  2, accompanied by a Bison ambulance and the Taurus ARV. The ANA  with their technical and BTR60 give moral support.

Soon an American  Apache is over the patrol putting down  some covering fire.

 Vapourising a Taliban fire team:
Shortly after this , my never before used Taliban  SA7 team fires at the Apache, damaging it and driving the air cover away.

Ambushed! Taliban recoilless rifle in an orchard brews up CS 21A.

The troops stumble out with wounds and suppression on them. 21B lays a lot of 25mm fire into the orchard.

But wait! There's more! A suicide bomber hiding at the end of the culvert jumps up to explode in the midst of the still stunned troops, killing another and wounding more. Plus two more Taliban teams open up from roof tops knocking out the Bison and wounding all of the medical techs.

The Leopard quickly puts 3 activations of 120mm HE into each offending house.

CS 21 and 21B along with the Taurus pushed onto the patrol, who had taken a further casualty but a lot of the pressure had slackened thanks to the Apache .

After dealing with Taliban  in the pot and grape fields, CS 21C backs up to cover the rear and start loading casualties. Good thing too since a 12.7mm MG opened up from the roof of the market. But like all Taliban heavy weapons it got one round of shooting off and then died in a hail of 25mm cannon shells.

The Taliban still had a few teams and another suicide bomber unrevealed, but it was getting late and it was already a major Taliban victory with two additional vehicles knocked out and 4 Canadian KIAs.

Also by this time we figured anything that could fly was probably inbound to rescue the convoy so the wise Taliban commander would get out while he could. The number of martyrs was big enough.

The boys had fun, I got lots of toys on the table. Rules for air assets and calling artillery are still an issue. The activation sequence I'm using is still rough too. Maybe something more like Bolt  Action with a card or chip for each element?

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Squadron Leader Rabbitman

This week I  met with the ACO (Area Cadet Officer) Air and signed a 324, transferring me to #19 Stratford  Air Cadet Squadron and beginning the transition towards me taking command.

The drive to and from cadets these past years has been getting, well, tiring. An hour and a quarter each way means I'm spending as much time in the car trying to stay awake as I am with the cadets. It wasn't so bad when I was at the Buy Food store. I'd already be clean so it was just eat, change and grab my stuff and be out the door by around 1700-1710. Plus I usually had Wednesday's off so getting home late wasn't a worry.

Being back in manufacturing it's now shower, shave, eat, change, grab my gear and try and be out the door by 1700-1710. And then it's home after bedtime but still needing to unwind from the drive.  The next morning is pretty rough. This was also making it very hard to take on the increased responsibilities of my rank let alone take command. It was also making cadets not so fun.

So once my friend stepped down from command I really started to rethink my situation and started some networking with my CIC contacts.

The local Army unit was full for staffing, but the Air unit was hurting for officers as retirement forced several out. They were facing the prospect of having a lone 2Lt and some civilian volunteers to run things come the fall. So I contacted the ACO Air and offered my services. He offered me the command. 80% of the Cadet program is common to all three elements so it shouldn't be too hard. Besides I like all the aerospace content and they get to launch rockets. So that should be pretty cool.

I've met my new staff. The ACO brought in another officer, so I've got two young eager 2Lts who already have a rapport from taking a course together. I'm going to enjoy working with them a lot I think. But mostly I'm excited to be working in my own community with a 5 minute drive and in good weather I can walk to cadets!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Sharp Practice 2 Arrives

This was waiting for me in the mail box today!

Just ripped it open and had a quick flip through. I expect this will keep me busy for a few days.

The production values are certainly top drawer.

Hopefully I can digest the basics and have a solo game to confirm the rules on the upcoming holiday weekend.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

The Princess of Mars

One of the blogs I follow posts very rarely but when it does it is usually a VSF on Mars game in 15mm. This club has it all in a wild mash-up of H.G. Wells and Edgar Rice Burroughs; green skinned Tharks, Red Martians, eight legged thoats, canals plus the cephalopod Martians with their tripods and heat rays. Plus of course all the Earthly Great Powers who have exported the Great Game to the Red Planet complete with steam tanks.

So I thought I'd read a bit of the source material. I always do like to research properly after all. And after seeing images like this on line, well what's not to like:

I down loaded a copy of A Princess of Mars from my library. It was a wonderful story told extremely badly. I can see why fantasy artists love Barsoom. I can see the appeal of graphic novels (especially with Dejah Thoris bouncing around, if you don't know who that is just Google search images of her).

But Burroughs uses a lot of five dollars words to get anywhere and then very quickly jumps through all the action. So even though Mikey has the complete series and has offered to loan them, I don't think I shall bother reading any more. I suffered through the Conan novels in high school at a friend's insistence. I won't repeat the exercise.

Too bad though. Scantily clad girls with large breasts, flying ships, strange creatures and exotic locales are all good things. But I do like to have them with decent writing.