Monday, April 14, 2014

Review of Osprey Campaign 98: Kalka River 1223

Authors:  D. Niceolle and V. Shpakovsky.
Title:  Osprey Campaign No. 98:  Kalka River 1223.
Publisher:  Osprey Publications.
Copyright:  2001.
Price:  $19.95 (US).

This book covers Subodei's raid into Russia in 1223.  The Russian army and its Polotsvian allies were lured into a trap by the retreating Mongols, only to be snared on the banks of the Kalka River on the steppes of the Ukraine.  Most of the Russian princes were either captured or killed.  The survivors were bound and slowly suffocated to death beneath the Mongols' victory feast.

The Russians had made the mistake of killing the Mongol ambassadors when they first demanded the fleeing Polotvsians, who were allied to the Russians by treaty and marriage.  Not being able to outfight the Mongol hordes, the Russians would have been better off submitting to Genghis Khan while the Mongols were still at a distance.  Alas, that didn't happen.

The Mongols considered the killing of emissaries to be unpardonable.  They got their revenge after the battle of the Kalka River.  However, the 40,000 strong Mongol army was called back by Genghis Khan to help finish off the northern Chinese kingdom.  It was up to Ogedei, Genghis Khan's son, to destroy the Russians in 1237.

Though I still think things would have gone better for the Russians if they'd first submitted to the Mongols when they first came in 1223.  The subsequent dark ages wouldn't have been so oppressive or barbaric.

Recommended reading for starting with the Mongol invasions of Russia.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

My April reading so far....

I'm about halfway done with Death of Integrity by Guy Haley.  I'll save my comments for the next book review when I finish up in a couple weeks.  It's an entertaining book.  But it isn't serious sci-fi.  I could go on.

The problem is there are too few space marines and terminators to do a particular job in this novel.  The Horus Heresy novels, the Space Marines fought as legions of ten to twenty thousand space marines.

In Death of Integrity, the number is a little over several terminator companies to take on a massive genestealer infested space hulk.  Let me put on my suspension of disbelief hat at the door..

That is my complaint.  The author doesn't realistically address the number of space marines they'd need to assault a space hulk.  But what can I say?  It's a game foremost.  The books are there to sell product (hopefully).  People ready the Black Library novels for the fluff.  I only have two more Black Library novels to read this year.  Once called Ravenwing and the other is Scars, another Horus Heresy novel due out in May (naturally about the White Scars).

I also have other fantasy/sci fi novels to read.  More retro stuff like Space Viking, The Martian Trilogy by Rice, another Doc Savage novel.  I did add on two more Vietnam War books.  One is called Hill 488.  The second book won the Pulitzer Prize last year for non-fiction.  That's Embers of War.  I'm planning on moving to other histories that include Ancient Egypt, modern Chechen combat, finishing a biography of Catherine the Great, and other Zulu War history called Like Lions They Fought.

The rest is six to seven books on different aspects of Vietnam told by various authors.  By the time I get done reviewing all the Vietnam books, it'll feel like I lived through several tours by the time I post reviews...


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Will I be joining "Oldhammer 40K?"

I woke dreaming this morning I was playing "Oldhammer 40K" with my friends Brian Bigford, Ahmo, Scott McCoy, and Curtis Turner (Hostile Contact).  I'm not sure what edition of WH40K it was?  I'm thinking 3rd edition.  But I could be wrong.  It was just a dream.  Or premonition of things to come...

I mentioned my dream to my friends who play WH40K at lunch with afternoon.  Scott McCoy said seriously he'd use old 5th edition rules with house modifications if 7th edition WH40K bombs.  I'm having enough trouble with 6th edition WH40K.  I haven't kept up with all the new codexes and supplements.  I can't afford to keep my armies up to date.  I sold off a 40K army in order to pay for more super heavy tanks/APCs for my Dark Angel Deathwing Terminators.  I need about $800.00 in Battlefoam for my Chaos and DA Deathwing Company.

The only things I'll be buying for WH40K is a Baneblade Tank kit, a Land Raider Tank kit, and a Deathwing Terminator Command squad.  Most will be bought at local stores.  The rest my mail order.

Maybe I'm ready for "Oldhammer WH40K."  I'm no longer playing WHFB and I'm now learning Warmachine.  Things change.  The problem is I have thousands of dollars tied up in WH40K.  I just can't walk away from it all.  So, I'll probably resigned to playing "Oldhammer 40K" like some washed out Napoleonics player who couldn't give up gaming Empire 1st edition...

What does that say about me?

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Review of The Faded Sun Trilogy by C. J. Cherryh

Author:  C. J. Cherryh.
Title:  The Faded Sun Trilogy.
Publisher:  DAW.
Page:  775.
Copyright:  1978, 1979 (2000, paperback).

The mercenary mri lose a war with humanity.  The mri's former employer, the regul, betrays them on the desert world of Kesrith.  The only survivors are a brother and sister who are joined by a human soldier to retrace the mri's footsteps back to their home-world.

The mri themselves are an honor bound caste of priests, warriors, and civilians.  The novel take off once the three leave Kesirth for the mri home-world.

On a dying desert world, they encounter the other mri who never left for the stars.  The survivors have regressed and no longer live with technology.  It takes the outsiders to show them the benefits of the planet wide AI that still exist (along with planetary defenses).

But the regul show up to finish off the mri.  However, humans intervene.  The regul fleet is destroyed in orbit and the mri reach a compromise with humanity.  They promise to serve as mercenaries in exchange for leaving the mri home-world alone.

I enjoy C. J. Cherryh's writing.  But the desert settings are much like Dune.  It took me a long time to finish this book.  Not that I didn't try, but life got in the way.  I'd hoped to have it read in a month when I started in January.  But I've had to deal with a parent who has dementia issues along with other health problems.  I can't even begin to say how much time I've spent in ER waiting rooms these past three months.

Alas, I didn't have The Faded Sun Trilogy to read when I had downtime.  But I finished it this weekend.  Recommended.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

28mm Warlord Game, 28MAR14: AAR or Battle of the Geezers

Here are photos from a 28mm Warlord game on Friday, March 28, 2014 at Game Nite in St. Louis, Missouri.  There were only three players.  Both my friends showed up late.  They didn't start for over an hour.  They called it before it got dark.  I wanted to call this "Battle of the Geezers," however, both players are old enough to qualify as senior citizens, now.  But that doesn't bode well for me (the mere lad of the group).

                                          Kevin Joyce's Dwarfs take the field.

                                          Don Cox finishes putting out his unfinished GW Empire army.

                                          Opening moves.  Kevin brings out his dwarf battle line.

                                          Don's armored knights are slowly whittled away by the Dwarfs.

Kevin's Dwarfs disengage from Don's archers.  However, his halberdiermen are slammed by more dwarfs.

The dwarfs finally won.  Don called it as he lost.  It would have taken a few more turns to declare a real winner.  However, I get to play both Don and Kevin our next 28mm Fantasy game sometime this month or next.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

28mm Modern Afghanistan AAR, 22MAR14

I ran a 28mm Modern Afghanistan game using Ambush Alley at Wargamers Cave on Saturday, March 22, 2014.  Steve Hood (Combat Colours) and Curtis Turner (Hostile Contact) ran the American and Taliban forces respectively.  The Afghanis were shelling an off board position with a portable rocket launcher.  A squad of US Marines and a Humvee had been sent into to neutralize the Taliban artillery.

The American player had off board air support to call in Hellfire missile strikes.  Once Combat Colours realized this, he rolled like mad to make radio contact with the circling Apache helicopter.  Steve then got lucky with his fire support rolls as Hellfire missiles rained down on the insurgent buildings.  This left cratered remains of buildings.

But I had Hostile Contact roll a 1D6.  He rolled a three.  Curtis managed to shell his off board target for three turns before retreating and claiming victory against the infidels.  However, Curtis lost an entire platoon of insurgents to Hellfire missile strikes!

Blame it on me.  I didn't balance the scenario well enough with limitations on rules of engagement for the Americans or limits on the availability of air assets.  I wanted something similar to real life.  I got it.  The US Marine held off and let their air support tear up the table.  Good simulation, but bad game.  However, I'm learning from my mistakes.  But Combat Colours was the man.  He rolled like God with my cursed dice.  I guess it could have been worse.  I could have rolled for both of them.  That wouldn't have been good, either (given my track record)....

Here are photos from the game:

                                          Taliban artillery position.

                                          Building where the Taliban advanced and then died in the trees.

                                          Combat Colors deciding where to call in air strikes.

                                          Taliban still shelling the ISF off board positions.

                                          Surveying the carnage and ruined buildings at the end of the game.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Making good on a promise...

I made a promise to myself last year to do something about the amount of figures I had in the basement.  I have lots of 28mm historical wargaming projects.  I also have WH40K and WHFB.  I want to keep my my 28mm historicals.  When I posted my open letter to GW, I had 2 WHFB armies and 4 WH40K armies.  I traded away my Warriors of Chaos for a Warmachine Protectorate of Menoth army.  I finished up painting my GW High Elves for use as a large 25mm Warlord army.  I also bought fantasy vikings to fill out my other fantasy race.

I looked at my WH40K stuff.  I own Dark Angels Ravenwing, Dark Angels Deathwing, Blood Angels, Khorne World Eaters Chaos Space Marines and Khorne demons, and traitor guard.  I'm about done with my Blood Angels.  I'm also done with my Chaos Space Marines and demons.  I'd like to add on another Baneblade and Land Raider to my DA Deathwing terminators (along with a command squad of terminators).

The Traitor Guard I hardly play.  It's all infantry with a few vehicles.  I also have all the Ravenwing bikes I need to finish up.  The only army in Battlefoam is the Blood Angels.  I could spend another $800.00 just in foam and cases on my Chaos and DA Deathwing terminators.  That isn't including any new models...

So I made the decision to liquidate the Traitor Guard and Ravenwing bike army.  I'll still have three armies.  All three of them I could use an apocalypse game.  It's just the Traitor Guard and the Ravenwing are going into a local comic book auction at the end of March.  Whatever I get for the figures will go to buy a Baneblade, Land Raider, and whatever Privateer Press Mercenaries stuff I can afford to buy.

That doesn't even put a dent in the $800.00 I'll need to buy in Battlefoam to complete my WH40K forces.  Or the Battlefoam I'll eventually need for my Warhmachine Menoth/Mercs armies, either...