Monday, 21 August 2017

Website Improvements - August 21st, 2017

Today's article is just a quick administrative post to let everyone know that I resized all of the images on Must Contain Minis. Now, these resized images make a difference on Tablets and Computers. The experience of reading this site on a smartphone remains unchanged.

For those that don't know about the site called Blogger, when one uploads a photo to the site for use in a post, Blogger automatically inserts the photo into the post in its size category called "Medium" by default. That is how I originally made all of my posts. I just went with the defaults.

Frostgrave Apprentice. Original Blogger Size.
Above is the default size of photos in Blogger.

But, to make the site more visually appealing, I decided to make the images larger. By clicking on the image in my editor, I am able to change the size of the photo. I went to the largest size in the options called "X-Large." In so doing, I get a larger image. Below is the same photo resized as "X-Large." 

Frostgrave Apprentice. X-Large Blogger Size.
The Resized Image. It makes the site much more of a visual medium. 

To make the change is a manual process, and Must Contain Minis now has 219 articles and over 2,300 photographs on the site. I even had to change the layout of the site slightly to accommodate the larger photos - so this little project was a lot of work.

Hopefully, the larger photos will allow readers to better appreciate the beauty (and in some cases - imperfections) of the miniatures pictured on this site and the paint jobs on them. Again, below is a size comparison of one Battle Report photo to another. 

The original sized photo. 
The resized photo. 

If you are interested, please head on over to my Review, Showcase and Battle Report pages and re-read your favourite stories with the newly changed images.

The changes were made across the entire site, but I believe that there were one or two articles where the changes would not hold. For those with a technical mindset, the reasons the changes wouldn't hold in one or two articles is because early on, I experiment with different Blogger editors before settling on the on-line editor within Blogger. One of the programs that I used will not accept the change and I don't want to get into the coding of the actual HTML at this time. 

My next project to tackle for the site will be to update the Review, Showcase and Battle Report pages to be more graphical.

Until next time, Happy Gaming Everyone!!!

For anyone looking to buy PDF copies of rules (or paper terrain), a portion of the sales goes directly to supporting Must Contain Minis if you buy from DriveThruRPG or the Wargame Vault after using one of their links on this site.  


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Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Broadsword 4 is Next Weekend!!! (August 26, 2017)

Broadsword ran by Barnaby Ore is one of the local area conventions that I have enjoyed attending of late. Barnaby is at it again and running Broadsword 4 at the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry Veterans Association (in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada) next weekend (August 26, 2017) from 9am to 11pm.

Broadsword 4 Event in Hamilton Ontario
A collage of pictures that I took at Broadsword 3

This is a fairly fun event, and I enjoy myself each time I go. At Broadsword 3, I played my first game of Blood & Plunder. At Broadsword 2, I played a most an awesome Call of Cthulhu Game that was ran by Six Squared Studios.

The games listing for the convention this time all look to be fairly exciting. There are Board Games and Miniatures Games at this event. Some of the systems that I hope to play include games of Strange Aeons, Bolt Action, Blood & Plunder, Conan and many others.

I will also be running a game of Frostgrave in the 2pm to 6pm time slot. The event organizer asked that we run the games with a Cthulhu theme if we can, and I plan to have a Cthulhu inspired monster as the main bad guy for the players to kill. It may, or may not be set in snow. I am thinking of moving it to a greener town too.

Overall, it is an event that I am happy to place into my busy schedule. Be sure to head on over to the event's Facebook Page and check out the details for yourself.

The entrance fee for the event is just $10 and free to those 18 and under.

Until next time, Happy Gaming Everyone!!!


Monday, 14 August 2017

Bolt Action Battle Report (1200 points) - British vs German

In today's Bolt Action Battle Report, 1200 points worth of Germans take on the British in a Late War battle over a little town. Check out this table. Just stunning!

Bolt Action on a Cigar Box Battle Mat
Check out this gaming table. Simply Beautiful!!!

The Armies


My opponent tonight is Jeremy Cada of Forbes Hobbies. Below is his army.

The German Army List for this Battle
Jeremy's Germans are well camouflaged on the cobblestone streets. The items of note in his list include two large platoons of troops, four small 5 man teams, a small 7 man unit, a medium mortar, an MMG team and a StuG. I believe that the entire list is rated as Veteran.
Below is the army that I brought to the table. To be honest, I was hoping to play Sea Lion, so parts of my army are actually kitted for Early War instead of Late War; however, I was able to add a few extra pieces and presto, I had a Late War army with a retro tank hunting unit.

1200 point British Army for Bolt Action
Above is my 1200 point British Army for this battle. In this army, I have two Forward Observers, a 3 man First Lieutenant unit, an anti-tank rifle team, a light mortar team, an MMG team, two 9 man rifle squads with an LMG each, a 6 man Commando team with an LGM, a medic, a Universal Carrier (as an armoured Car Option) and a Sherman. My entire army is rated as veteran (except for the free Observer and his helper). 
Before deploying the armies, we posed them for photos.

Two armies pose before a Bolt Action Battle
This shot is posed, but above we have an onslaught of German Soldiers rushing the entrenched British soldiers defending this little town. 

A great shot of the battlefield with the two Armies - Bolt Action
A higher angle.

For the scenario, we chose to play "No Man's Land." To make things interesting, we discussed alternative optional rules to use with the scenario. We thought about using the "Command & Control Breakdown" rule that I used in my last Battle Report, but instead we decided to house rule a stealth rule.

House Rule

In a regular "No Man's Land" mission, units on the board may start hidden. We discussed how the regular Bolt Action Rules give hidden units a bonus to defence, but you still know what those units are and where they are on the table. Knowing where the units are means that we can keep our tanks clear of any hidden anti-tank assets.

Deciding to do something different, we discussed how other games deal with hidden units and ambushes. Being a collector of rules, I have a lot to draw upon. We settled upon a rule inspired by "Blinds" from Guy Bowers' Black Ops.

The crux of the rule is that you don't 100% know where the enemy units are. To represent this "Fog of War," one can use cards. Not having regular playing cards, we improvised by using Magic Cards and wrote on them what units they represent.

A House Rule for Stealth Units in Bolt Action
A picture to demonstrate house rules for the "Blinds" or stealth units in Bolt Action. We decided that there would be no observation checks and that a "blind" unit would be revealed if any unit gets line of site on it. Line of site from cards would be drawn from any corner. If any corner can see three or more corners of an opponent's card, then it is revealed. We also decided that "blinds" would be revealed when an opponent got a certain distance from them.  

Each side would be given four units that they could hide as a "blind" and four fake "blinds." In this way, the opponent sees 8 cards, knows that four of them represent specific units and four of them are distractions. My "blinds" were one 9 man Rifle team, an Anti-tank Rifle team, a MMG team and a Forward Observer.

To keep the opponent guessing, we gave each "blind" an activation die. This means that both sides had four extra activation dice for the game. The extra would be removed from the game (and not counted as a casualty) when the "blind" is revealed.  

A Stealth Unit is hidden in that house
In this house, I put down a unit. Jeremy does not know what it is, or if it is one of my four fake units.

Written on the Card is what the unit represents.
I know it is a 9 man Rifles squad with a Bren and Anti-tank grenades. 

German Deployment in Bolt Action
Likewise, Jeremy placed two "blinds" in this house here. I do not know what they are or if they are one of his four fake "blinds." BTW... as a hint of what is to come, check out how tight Jeremy placed those units. Guess who brought two Forward Observers to the fight!
This extra rule worked out very well, but if we use it again, we will likely use face up playing cards and secret lists. We found ourselves losing track of which cards were fakes with the magic cards used the way we used them.

To keep things simple, we skipped "Preparatory Bombardment" and treated the blinds as normal units, for the most part.

The Battle

Most of the units were set up as "blinds" in houses. Jeremy had a five man squad and mortar team as regularly deployed "hidden" units. I had a single light mortar team as my only regularly "hidden" unit. The rest were kept in reserve or true "blinds."

A beautiful Battlefield for Bolt Action using Plastcraft Games Buildings and a Cigar Box Battle Mat
A repeat picture to give context of the battle ground.
German Deployment
Jeremy's 5 man squad and medium mortar team started the game as hidden units rather than as "blinds." 

British Light Mortar Team
My hidden unit was this light mortar team here. Everything else was either a "blind" or in reserve. 

Right off the top, the British light mortar team fired at the five man squad. I rolled a 6 to range in and even happened to kill one of the men in the unit with a couple more 6s.

5 Man German Squad
I scored a hit on this unit right off the top!

Germans take the first casualty.
Even killed a man with the light mortar round. Unbelievable! 

In retaliation, Jeremy fired his popped a sniper and killed my mortar team with a single shot.

A German Sniper in Bolt Action
One of the blinds was revealed to be a German sniper and took an expert shot at my light mortar team. 

Bolt Action
After that, no light mortar team remained.  :(
Jeremy then fired off his medium mortar at the house containing my MMG team "blind." He missed. I then revealed my first Forward Observer and called in a barrage.

A German Medium Mortar Team
These guys started to range in on my unrevealed units.

The Forward Observer in a PlastCraft Games house
I then revealed my Forward Observer and called in my first artillery strike. 

At the end of the first round, the Germans are winning one kill to none, but that would change soon.

Bombardment called in for Bolt Action
That coin in front of the house is where I called in the artillery strike. Around that marker, the Germans have one five (now four) man squad, a sniper team, three binds, and a mortar team. The barrage hits hard and places pins all around. It also manages to wipe out the medium mortar team and crashes down the right side of the duplex killing a "blind" distraction card and a "blind" mmg team. 

The sniper is still in the building and uninjured from the artillery barrage. The British draw the first die and bring their Sherman out from reserve. They fire a shot of HE at the building with the sniper. Bang!!! No more sniper!

Bolt Action
The Sherman advances onto the board and nails the sniper with a round of HE.

Bolt Action
Eliminating the sniper issue!
The Germans then tried to bring on their StuG, but its crew didn't feel like fighting yet. The British now have three kills to the Germans' one. The rest of the round consists mostly of troop movements and the British revealing their "blinds" to fire at units in the open.

A British MMG team from Bolt Action
The British revealed this blind to be an MMG team.

German Casualties in Bolt Action
They open fire and kill two men from this 5 man squad.

Bolt Action Forward Observer
The second British Forward Observer runs onto the table with a clear line of site to the same bombardment region as what was used on the first round. I was certain to not draw attention to this unit being on the board (not that Jeremy had anything in range to attack it anyhow).

British Bolt Action Soldiers
Some infantry move in and use the Sherman for cover.

German soldiers in Bolt Action
More Germans enter the battle.
Bolt Action AAR
I revealed this "blind" to be a nine man squad with a Bren. They open fire at the Germans running across the street to assault my "blind" unit in the adjacent building. 

Bolt Action Battle Report
One of the soldiers is killed from the gunfire. 

Bolt Action
They enter the house to find that the unit they assaulted was one of my fake "blinds." An easy win for the Germans. Pffft.... A rifle shot takes down one of the four soldiers in their newly acquired house.

WW2 British Figures by Pulp Figures
The British Commandos come out of reserve and take shots at the unit in the house. 

I notice now that my Universal Carrier is a little closer to the enemy than I want. Moving it will be one of my higher priorities on my next turn. As a note... the house in the street is not really there. It is the top floors to the house on the left. 

House rules for Stealth in Bolt Action
The "blind" above is my Anti-tank Rifle team and I move it along cover so it would not be revealed. 

The round now ends with the British leading three kills to one. For the next round, units would continue to whittle each other down, but the key action is below.

WW2 Heavily armed German troops
The Germans advance a 7 man unit of heavy firepower. They are leading with two LMGs there.
Bolt Action - Forward Observer calls in an artillery bombardment
The second Observer calls in an artillery barrage...

Just a little to the right of the first one in hopes of hitting the house on the right. There is also a unit in the "ruins" directly in front of the coin. 

Bolt Action AAR
The Germans Race a StuG up the road to take on the Sherman.

At the end of the third turn, the score would not alter; however, the Germans would suffer their second direct hit from a barrage of British guns.

11" was rolled as the blast template, which basically catches everything Jeremy had in the area. Another unit is killed.


Bolt Action - StuG vs Sherman
The British move their tank up to take a side shot on the StuG and Miss. 


Bolt Action Battle Report - StuG vs Sherman
The StuG reverses, fires and also misses. 

The British Anti-tank Rifle team advances and fires on the StuG. They also miss.
As an extra unit to deal with the StuG, I place a unit of 9 soldiers in a near by house. They have anti-tank grenades. I wasn't too worried about the StuGs gun on the infantry squad because it was running with an anti-tank gun instead of a howitzer. 

At the top of the 5th round, the score is 4 to 1 for the British. The battle rages onward, but the key piece of action this round is that the British take out the StuG with the Sherman. The score is now 5 to 1.

Sherman Kills a StuG in Bolt Action
The Sherman takes out the StuG.

Sherman Kills a StuG - Bolt Action Battle Report
As a smart technique planed by the Germans, that StuG wreckage now blocks the Sherman's access to the battlefield. This would be the last useful hit that the Sherman makes this game. This image was taken by Jeremy Cada of Forbes Hobbies

The next round would start with some fire between buildings.

PlastCraft Buildings in Bolt Action - AAR
A large German squad occupies the house to the left. In the house on the right, is one of my 9 man squads. They take a lot of fire and receive a pin and a wound.

Bolt Action Medic
But wait a minute... There is a medic behind the building! I roll a six and the wound is negated!

Bolt Action AAR
Back on the other side of the table, my last two Commandos succumb to heavy German fire. The score is now 5 to 2. 

Germans advance on a Universal Carrier - Bolt Action Battle Report
In desperation for more kills and in hopes of a turn 7, Jeremy rushes what is left of his smaller squads across open ground. His hope is to get the first die on turn 7 and assault that Universal Carrier. Lucky for me, there would be no turn 7. The dice certainly favoured me tonight.
And there you have it! The British win in a 5 - 2 victory over the Germans. I had a blast playing this game and Jeremy was a great sport. He might have turned the score around if we made it to round 7. The fact that I rolled so well with my Forward Observers really helped my side attain the victory.

I hope that you enjoyed this battle report. To end, I would like to leave you with something that you don't see much on Must Contain Minis. That's right, it is a Picture of me! Thanks for being such a great opponent Jeremy.  :)

A picture of a happy Bolt Action player
That's me, Jacob Stauttener, of Must Contain Minis enjoying an excellent game of Bolt Action!
Image taken by Jeremy Cada of Forbes Hobbies

Until next time, Happy Gaming Everyone!!!

Discloser: There is an embedded link within this article to the Wargame Vault and if you make a purchase there after clicking on one of those links, a portion of the sales goes to supporting Must Contain Minis.
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