Combat Commander After Action Report – Scenario #53 – Deeds Not Words

There’s nothing more Christmas-like than a battle for the ages just off the beaches of Normandy in World War II.

At least that’s what Combat Commander fans think!

Yes, it’s time for the December game of the Combat Commander Ladder, the monthly play of one of my favourite games.

The Ladder is run by the distinguished Patrick Pence of Patrick’s Tactics & Tutorials fame.

This month’s scenario takes us back to the beaches of Normandy, France, in 1944. Well, not quite the beaches. Instead, the American troops are trying to silence German heavy guns that are inhibiting the unloading of supplies onto the beaches.

This month’s opponent was Dave D, insuring that Dave would win this battle, no matter what!

Last year’s Normandy scenario saw me falter badly as the British trying to storm the beach.

This year, I’m the Germans (Grey – Me) trying to stave off the American (Green – Dave) advance.

Could I do it?

(Don’t forget that you can click on a picture to make it larger)

The Germans have some setup requirements. Sgt. Bohlen and two squads have to set up in the village on the southeast side of the map. The rest of them can be set up anywhere 8 hexes deep (though most of the time all of them, or maybe all but one, are placed in the bunker complex in the northwest as those two bunkers are worth a bunch of points).

Dave set up his American forces to stay on the right side, obliterate Bohlen and move off the right side of the board. He had a token force on the left just to make sure (I guess?) that I didn’t try to move my guys down off his left side.

I have to note that the Normandy rules make it so all of the hedges (the green lines along hex sides) are Bocage, meaning they are +2 movement and cover instead of the normal +1 for hedges.

Also, for this scenario, Objectives 3 & 4 don’t exist as on the board. Instead, Objectives 3 & 4 are the two German bunkers.

How’d it go?

It was a marathon, that’s for sure. Over 4 hours!

Let’s take a look.

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Quilts & Cats of Calico from Monster Couch Coming to Digital

Exciting news in the digital boardgaming world came yesterday from Monster Couch Games, the developer of the wonderful Wingspan app.

Quilts & Cats of Calico (which is basically the board game Calico from Flatout Games and AEG), which is a tile-laying game where you are trying to make the best quilts that will attract cats!

It’s a game I’ve never played so I can’t give a lot of information on the game play, but basically you have three “patch” tiles in your hand. You’ll place one on your board and draw another one.

You’re trying to create attractive colour combinations that will attract cats, let you sew buttons on to them, and score lots of points!

Anyway, here’s a couple of screen shots from the Monster Couch announcement.

The artwork does look amazing, which I assume is true of the actual game itself.

It has Beth Sobel artwork, so how could it not?

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New to Me – November 2022

November was an interesting month for boardgaming.

I went to my second convention this year, a relatively small (compared to SHUX, anyway!) local wargaming convention where I was finally able to get a bit of wargaming done!

Considering how many wargames I now have, that was probably a good thing even though none of them were actually mine.

The month ended with me not having played a game in over a week, which means I managed to squeeze a lot of gaming into a short amount of time.

And it did!

Surprisingly, I played a total of ten new to me games in November. One of them was even ancient! (Well, 1998, but might as well be ancient).

That satisfied my fellow Cult of the New to Me members enough that they didn’t try any kind of coup.

This month, at least.

December is going to be shortened by Christmas and it won’t have a convention, so I’m sure it won’t be as packed as this month was (though it’s December 5 and I’ve already played 3 new to me games, so maybe?)

So without further ado (all of my ado flew away in the brisk Vancouver wind anyway), let’s get started!

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Imperial Struggle – More Great Storage From Rails On Board

Last week I did a post about the wonderful storage trays made by Rails On Board (Cube4Me) for my copies of Commands & Colors: Ancients and Commands & Colors: Samurai Battles.

The lockable trays that will keep everything organized is just amazing, and the ability to hold all the trays together without the lids popping up, I just love.

But I did say that I hadn’t done the trays for a game with counters instead of blocks to see how that would work.

I have now done my copy of Imperial Struggle and it just reinforces my love for these trays.

I somehow had a GMT storage tray (did it come with the game two years ago, as I don’t usually have trays?) and everything was very tightly packed into that one. It was all separated, but putting it back together after playing would not be fun.

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November Gaming

November was a good month of gaming, even with missing my final week’s game day and it being harder to get games in at work.

Thanks to BG Stats for these images!

I’ll of course talk about the “new to me” games in this month’s post (probably next week) but I wanted to touch on some of the highlights of the month.

I was amazed that I played 26 different games last month, though a convention and a 7-game Sunday Game Day definitely helped on that front.

Here’s 25 of them!

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Empire’s End from John D. Clair – on Kickstarter now!

I’m kind of backing off some on the Kickstarter gravy train.

While I did back Halls of Hegra a couple of months ago after some amazing video footage from my good friends Zilla Blitz and The Players’ Aid, I have come to the conclusion that I don’t really need all of this stuff. At least not as huge and overpriced as typical Kickstarter games are.

My only exceptions to that will be Garphill Games and the South Tigris trilogy games (and future trilogy games as well).

I was pretty comfortable with that decision!

Until I got an email from Brotherwise Games about John D. Clair’s new Kickstarter project, called Empire’s End.

Of course, I’ve been a Clair fan for a while now.

I had heard a little something about it, maybe a few weeks ago, and how it uses a No Thanks mechanism in a new and unique way.

I went and watched the Before You Play video (linked on the Kickstarter page) and was blown away.

This looks amazing!

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Review – Viscounts of the West Kingdom

Anybody who follows this blog even a little bit knows that I am a big Shem Phillips/Sam MacDonald fan.

I was first introduced to Shem with Raiders of the North Sea (a game that has fallen a bit in my estimation but I still really enjoy) and their first collaboration (Architects of the West Kingdom) is in my Top 10 games played of all time.

Paladins of the West Kingdom I definitely enjoy, but its length plus the fact that my fellow players didn’t really care for it means I haven’t played it enough to really get a feel for it.

The third in the West Kingdom series, Viscounts of the West Kingdom has many fans who think it’s better than Architects.

Would I agree?

I’m not sure yet, but let’s take a look.

Viscounts of the West Kingdom is once again designed by Shem and Sam with art by The Mico. It’s published by both Garphill Games (where I got it from on the Kickstarter) and Renegade Game Studios.

It was published in 2020 and plays 1-4 players. This review is only for the 2-4 player mode as I have not tried it solo yet.

Shem and Sam both really love playing with game mechanisms, making each game in a series have a unique feel even when some of the iconography and artwork is the same.

Viscounts is no different as this one does deckbuilding but adds a unique spin to it.

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Excellent Game Storage From Rails on Boards (Cube4Me)

My good friend Michal from the great gaming blog The Boardgames Chronicle turned me on to a great series of storage solutions for some of my games (mainly wargames).

Rails on Boards has created a series of game trays and card trays that really looked cool when I saw others talk about them as well (like the Players Aid and Zilla Blitz).

Having a few of the games that they offer storage for, I had to check them out!

I have bought Commands & Colors: Ancients, Commands & Colors: Samurai Battles, Time of Crisis, Imperial Struggle, Versailles 1919, Almoravid, and Fields of Fire 2 but so far have only done the two Commands & Colors ones.

But what a difference they make!

Here is my Commands & Colors: Ancients box, before and after.

There is very little lid lift! (Say that three times fast). There is a little bit, but not much. It’s more noticeable if you have it standing on end rather than lying flat.

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Combat Commander Europe – After Action Report – Scenario #41 – The Commissar House

What’s this?

A Combat Commander ladder after action report that’s not on the last day of the month?

Alert the media!

Yes, it’s November and it’s time for another adventure from the Combat Commander ladder, the chance to have a monthly play of one of my favourite games.

The ladder is run by the magnanimous Patrick Pence, of Patrick’s Tactics & Tutorials fame (you gotta go check that channel out!).

This month’s game is from the Stalingrad battle pack and unlike last year’s outing, actually takes place in Stalingrad and thus has the Stalingrad rules!

That came back to bite me a couple of times.

I’ve been on a losing streak the last few months.

Would I be able to end it?

This month’s opponent was new, Greg L. He mentioned that he’s played the game a few times over the years but he’s not an expert. I’m not sure if he’s new to the ladder or not.

Anyway, Scenario #41, The Commisar House, has the Soviets (brown – Me) facing off against a massive German (grey – Greg) assault trying to take an impregnable stronghold.

I say impregnable because so far nobody’s been able to actually take it.

Here’s the setup.

The red-circled building is the Commisar House. It’s worth a massive 20-point swing (it’s worth 10 points).

The trick is, though, by scenario special rule the Germans can only enter any hex in the house through the front door or through a rubble hex, essentially meaning that they have to rubble the entire building (or eliminate all Soviet units and just enter one hex).

It seems that the house is kind of bait that the Germans maybe should try to ignore, instead either going for a Surrender victory (killing 10 Soviet units) or exiting a bunch of units off the edge of the map.

Another scenario special rule (which I kept forgetting about) is that if a Soviet squad in the building would break, they can break a support weapon they are holding instead.

Hence all of the molotov cocktails in there!

A special Stalingrad rule is that satchel charges or infantry guns can possibly rubble a building hex with firepower. For satchel charges, that’s if they roll an 8 on their firepower roll (which would give 20 firepower barring any other modifiers).

So with that setup, what do you think happened?

Let’s take a look.

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Expansion Review – Smash Up Micro-Expansion – Penguins

Welcome to the second in a series (of four…that’s a series, right?) of Smash Up micro-expansion reviews for one of my favourite games from Alderac Entertainment Group.

If not my favourite, it’s certainly one of my most-played, mainly due to the variety of expansions and the multitude of possible faction combinations.

Last time I reviewed the Goblins, so let’s look at the Penguins this time!

These micro-expansions are available from the Alderac store for $10 plus shipping.

Is this one worth it?

Let’s take a look.

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