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"Roll dice and kick ass!"

Snapshots from JMcL63's lands of adventure (Go to Blogger to find RD/KA! in all its fully-illustrated technicolour glory- jmcl63.blogspot.com).

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Combat Commander: fog shrouds more than the battlefield

John McLintock
Scotland
Glasgow
Lanarkshire
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Still playing our way through the original CCE scenarios, Liam and I turned our attention to Scenario 12: Misty Mountain for Tuesday's game. This is a big scenario, which pits a large force of German Volksgrenadiers with reasonable weaponry, some good fortifications and average leadership, against a much more substantial Brazilian force with poor leadership and plenty of weapons. The Brazilians (represented by the Americans, as I will refer to them henceforth for simplicity) are nearly twice as numerous as the Germans, but a significant chunk of them arrives as reinforcements in the form of 8 Green squads with one command 2 leader. The scenario is also noteworthy for the fog and for the German snipers. The former is a hindrance of 3 which is cumulative with other hindrances, and which reduces by 1 each time a breeze event occurs. The latter are effective at 2 hexes distant from the random hex instead of the normal adjacent hexes.




Random selection gave Liam the Americans, so he got to work on his setup. This is another interesting feature of the scenario: alerted to the impending attack by an untimely artillery attack elsewhere, the defenders get to set up in response to the attackers' deployment, rather than vice versa as is more typical. I wouldn't say this gave me a false sense of security, but it certainly made me feel a bit more comfortable as I contemplated my dispositions.
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Wed Oct 7, 2015 3:24 pm
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Combat Commander: a bit too up close and personal for comfort

John McLintock
Scotland
Glasgow
Lanarkshire
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Liam and I have played 4 games of CCE since last I wrote (not in a single session I hasten to add). Two of the games were victories for Liam: as the Russians in Scenario 8: Breakout Dance, and as the Germans in Scenario 10: Commando School. I was wiped out to a man in the former scenario, which was otherwise notable for a string of 4/5FP op fire attacks by Liam in which I couldn't make a defence roll to save myself, thus foiling my dash for exit VP and victory. Liam finished me off in melee, wiping me out to a man in the process. The latter scenario was notable for the short and brutal exchange of fire between 2 firegroups which set up facing off at 2-hex range. Mine had 18FP- more than enough to break Liam's MG nest every time it fired; Liam's had 13FP, which turned out to equally effective. The exchange came down to who'd run out of Recovers first. That proved to be me, so my 2 leaders and a squad with an HMG bit the dust. Although my Pioniers did for Liam's flanking forces with their flamethrower and satchel charge, Liam won by making a quick exit dash with the rest of his units, thus bringing the game to an early end with him comfortably in front.



Scenario 11: Hold the Line
We played this scenario twice last night. It is noteworthy for 2 reasons, both firsts and onlys in CCE: the appearance of the SS- simply the best troops in the game bar none; and the presence of a tank- an immobilised Sherman represented by a bunker, a crew with a pack howitzer and a leader with a .50 cal MG. The scenario pits a compact but well led and well armed German force against an American force that is frankly puny, apart from the tank. The Americans do get 4 line squads as reinforcements, but these arrive in dribs and drabs and without leadership, so it's doubtful they'll be able to play much of a role in the battle for the hill.
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Sun Oct 4, 2015 3:33 pm
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A Combat Commander mega-session

John McLintock
Scotland
Glasgow
Lanarkshire
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As I noted elsewhere earlier this year, my neighbour Liam is a big fan of Combat Commander, and really good at it too. The last four months have seen us turn to the Pacific, which saw a significant upturn in my fortunes as something about the different factions' play-styles in that theatre of operations just seemed to click for me. Last night however it was back to Europe, which Liam had been keen to see because he basically prefers it. I must confess I was nervous at the prospect because the battle of Stalingrad, the fall of France, Operation Sealion and partisan warfare still loom large in my memories as times of ignominious defeat after ignominious defeat. Still, there are bucket-loads of scenarios Liam hasn't played yet so last night we sat down to what turned out to be a CCE mega-session.





Scenario 4: Closed For Renovation
I'll move quickly through the first game, which saw my Americans make yet another attempt to capture the chateau. I was pleased to be playing the Americans here because the Americans have never won this scenario at my table and I didn't want Liam to have the chance to garner that honour for himself! I was hoping to pull a flanking manoeuvre with a .50 cal HMG group going up my left using the cover of the tree-lined wall. Liam saw that coming and stationed an HMG nest in the trees. I pondered going for it anyway- in the hope that my artillery would cover me, but that HMG was just too intimidating given my lack of immediate cover and I opted instead for an extended line behind the wall.
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Mon Sep 28, 2015 10:00 pm
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New bloggery update

John McLintock
Scotland
Glasgow
Lanarkshire
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I've rehosted "A bit political on yer ass!" to blogger. It already includes new content on Scotland's 2014 independence referendum. Don't forget to update your bookmarks.
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Sat Jan 3, 2015 9:17 pm
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New life on the blogging front

John McLintock
Scotland
Glasgow
Lanarkshire
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"A bit political on yer ass!"- my alternative blog about society and stuff. Enter at your peril. Enjoy. Oh, don't forget to update your bookmarks to follow.
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Fri Jan 2, 2015 12:10 pm
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Ulrika the Vampire: the trilogy complete

John McLintock
Scotland
Glasgow
Lanarkshire
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High hopes

The first volume of Nathan Long's Ulrika the Vampire series- Bloodborn, which I reviewed back in 2010, exceeded expectations sufficiently to ensure that picking up further volumes was a no-brainer for me. Volumes 2- Bloodforged, and 3- Bloodsworn, were duly added to my Warhammer Fantasy fiction bookshelf last year. I didn't know what to expect from these books but my hopes were pretty high after the first volume. Would Nathan Long be able to sustain my interest and excitement as he further developed the tale of the tragic destiny of one of my favourite characters in my favourite fantasy world?

Vivid characterisation

Freshly blooded and still bearing emotional hallmarks of her human identity- a proud young women of position, mature beyond her years by virtue of her martial experience, Ulrika chafes under the yoke of her new elders and betters- the Bloodlines: creatures for whom a year passes in the blink of an eye; who have nothing better to do than bicker, scheme and intrigue while human generations live and die as pawns in their powerplays, and as their prey and cattle. Among these, her new kind, Ulrika finds herself cast down to the status of a mere infant. Intrepid and independent she instinctively rebels against this subservience, launching herself on a quest to survive without surrendering to total damnation.
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Mon Oct 7, 2013 5:46 pm
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On 'The Russian Front- a hit of that digital rush

John McLintock
Scotland
Glasgow
Lanarkshire
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Opening the offensive
I said back in June that I was "going to master the first Operation on CCIII:TRF if it kills me". I procrastinated, as is my wont but eventually got down a couple of weeks ago to 'Blitzkreig: the War Begins', which links together the first 3 maps with which I am well familiar from previous battles with Close Combat: The Russian Front. I felt a bit intrepid: five days across 3 maps with a campaign system metagame of whose workings I have the barest clue- a whole new level of digital gaming ambition for yours truly. Sure, I can win the first map on autopilot, probably the second one too, but what unknown equipment might the Russians bring to the table, and what about factors like attrition, and resting and refitting? I could soon find my small platoon sorely depleted.
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Sun Sep 29, 2013 1:47 pm
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Guilty pleasures and morbid imaginings

John McLintock
Scotland
Glasgow
Lanarkshire
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A guilty secret

The oft-mentioned mellowing effects of age are a true fact, well observed in the case of yours truly. A phenomenon which began with my increasing squeamishness in my mid-30s, the most extreme example of this effect is the case of one of the most hated figures in recent times here in Britain- the late Margaret Thatcher. I shared this hatred quite viscerally, to the extent that, back in the early/mid-80s I used break out into fits of apoplectic rage at the mere sight of her on the TV, and the sound of her in her prime still sends shivers down my spine. And yes, I went to the local party on the day of her death. I didn't sing, I didn't dance, but I'd promised myself I'd turn out and that was a promise I could not but keep, but that's another story.

"Who's got the last laugh now you mad old bat?"

I blame ex-Chancellor and former Prime Minister Gordon Brown for spoiling my party (no, no, not the Labour Party- that had stopped being 'my' party 20 years before the moment in question). No, Brown spoiled my Thatcher's 'death-day' party when, on the occasion of becoming prime minister in 2007, he followed his predecessor Tony Blair's lead by inviting Thatcher for a photo opportunity on the steps of 10 Downing Street. The moment was truly pathetic, this one-time demented ranter cut down by senile dementia and rolled out for all the world like an old-time mummified Soviet Communist Party General Secretary to give her doddering seal of approval to the latest simpering heir to her so-called 'revolution'. And in that moment I couldn't help myself, I felt sorry for her.
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Mon Sep 23, 2013 9:10 am
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Adventures in cabbage #1: "Go for your greens!"

John McLintock
Scotland
Glasgow
Lanarkshire
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I blog therefore I am

It is a truism that our hyperconnected world — this mighty engine of commerce, knowledge and communication in which codebots endlessly war over the dupes, the data and the users' processing power and into whose coffers even our free activity is given — a truism that this incredible techo-social spectacle- the crowning scientific and technical achievement of the 20th century; that this is the original Cyberpunks' mid-80s low-life visions made virtual flesh (virtual by virtue of the lack of ubiquitious direct neural jacking with its resulting sensory immersion- that emotionally empty screen so beloved of the trolls who soil and poison the social networks). When my pal's copy of William Gibson's Neuromancer circulated round to me back in 1984 little did I realise that I was about to experience with unsurpassed intensity a delicious cultural trope- getting in ahead of the avalanche unleashed by a new voice at the cutting edge of a genre-redefining honest-to-god artistic revolution. No sudden impact this. It was a slow-burning mind-bomb the full impact of which only became evident when, after a month's apparent indifference, I suddenly realised that I couldn't get the damn book out of my mind.

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Mon Sep 2, 2013 12:36 pm
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Combat Commander: RSG radio variant reprised

John McLintock
Scotland
Glasgow
Lanarkshire
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This is just not on chaps
I wrote back in December 2008 about my frustration with the way that Combat Commander: Mediterrean’s updated Random Scenario Generator allows only the attacker to start with a radio. This just didn’t work for me at a basic level of historical authenticity. My general reading has taught me that the German army used their company and battalion 81mm mortars as immediate on-call defensive artillery fire. And George R. Blackburn’s monumental The Guns of War is chock full of examples of British and Commonwealth forces in Europe in 1944-45 using artillery directed by an attached Forward Observation Officer to break up attacks in progress. So I just can’t go along with the idea that defenders can only get access to radios via the Reinforcement event, which has a mere 3% chance even with the Americans for whom it is most likely.

All that said I could see that the essential issue was simple enough: while it was plain that either the attacker or the defender starting with a radio worked well enough, making radios available to both sides risks turning the game into a rather uninteresting exchange of big guns: the choice being mutually available, escalation would be very tempting because why not, after all? The idea that the points cost alone of selecting a radio would be sufficient disincentive just didn’t add up for me. More important perhaps is the fact that most of the ‘Artillery Request’ cards are also prime ‘Defender Only’ actions; eg. 6/9 in the American deck, including the 2 ‘Hidden Wire’ actions. On the other hand though, 6/9 ‘Artillery Request’ cards in the American deck are ‘Dig In’ or ‘Hidden Entrenchment’ actions. It is easy to imagine how keen a defender with a radio would be to use these for the artillery strikes. So the alternative uses of the defender’s ‘Artillery Request’ cards strike me as little more of disincentive for artillery escalation than does the points cost.
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Tue Jul 16, 2013 10:22 am
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