Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Designing the Chinese Orbat

Hello,

So after my first game of Skirmish Sangin I've been doing some research on the modern Chinese military known as the PLA. I've read some interesting things about them and since there are miniatures that I can use to represent them I think ill continue my work on this. Now I still am new to how Skirmish Sangin works but I will be able to lay out a framework from which the stats can be put in.

As all good research starts out I am using Wikipedia for my base information and then exploring the links that Wikipedia used to get their info.

From the PLAGF Wikipedia page I learned that the standard firearm of the modern Chinese soldier is the QBZ-95. A bull pup weapon of a very unique caliber. They then usually carry a side arm, some (in game terms) light armor, and only 2 communication devices per squad.

One squad, mechanized, contains 12 men in it. 6 riflemen, a MG gunner and crew man, and an RPG user. The dismounted squad includes 6 riflemen, 2 MGs with 2 crew and 2 RPGs. For the mechanized squads I have to figure out what kind of vehicle they are transported in but from the sounds of it it seems like a simple truck.

I found out the weapons of the special forces members is the QCW-05 which is an SMG not an Assault rifle. The QBU-88 is a marksmen rifle used by snipers and the MG that the Chinese use is the QJY-88.

Night vision and body armor for the Chinese PLA should be costly as it is rarely given to soldiers. Its seems as though china is modernizing its force that they still wish to use a superiority by numbers strategy than expensive training and equipment.

This fact I remember from a video I watched a while back, the Chinese military is poorly trained. Now the soldiers that make up the main force would be trained as average just like another us soldier because they are both career soldiers but china has the habit of hiring thousands of people, running then through basic training and then disbanding them or losing them. For the game this means in an all out war a large number of Chinese troops would probably be novice. Average would be saved for team leaders and lower officers while veteran would probably be for veteran troops and some special forces. Elite would be rare for the Chinese player.

Doing this would allow the Chinese player to field alot of troops but would also make morale a big issue for them when fighting.

That's all for now. I'll soon begin work on the pages and pictures for the PDF once all of my information is compiled together as this is just a start.

-''jonah''

Monday, October 23, 2017

Skirmish Sangin - First Skirmish

Hello,

So I had my first game of Skirmish Sangin last night. It was a simple USMC Fire Team vs 8 Insurgents. There were many rule mistakes that happened during my first time playing that I'll outline right now.
  • I learned that morale tests happen on the NEXT phase even if your character received morale markers before he/she got to act on the current phase. 
  • I simply messed up on who acts when during a combat phase.
  • I still have to figure out how indirect fire works as the way I did it doesn't seem right.
  • Later on after the game was declared "over" I re-read the morale rules to see that the game shouldn't have been over as even when they fail their morale tests they do not surrender immediately. They have a chance to but you roll on a chart.
The battle was this:

"A small midwestern town was occupied by pro-red insurgents. Having recieved intel that all civilians had been evacuated out of the combat zone 1st Squad entered into the suburb and began clearing out buildings."

The battle I played focused on "Green Team" clearing out the western end of the town. A 4 man team with a LMG, UGL, and two M16A4s entered from the south. The 8 Insurgents were spread through the northern and western parts of the town. 
The "Midwestern Town"

As the Marines entered the town they soon became under fire from one of the buildings across the way. They settled next to an old brick wall and made their stand. The LMG opening up on the building. Soon one of the insurgents ran outside and laid prone. The Rifleman, with his M16A4, aimed and shot a burst ripping through the insurgent knocking him unconscious.
The unconscious insurgent
This lead to the insurgents in the western part of the town start to sneak towards the firefight. Soon the UGL recieved more fire from the same building and he saw more insurgents approaching. Lobbing a 40mm grenade into the door way was soon met by and explosion that sent some limbs flying out the door. Unknown to the Marines they had just killed 3 insurgents.
Marines holding off at the brick wall.
The Marines then focused their attention towards the approaching insurgents. The team leader opened fire at the insurgent that had crossed the street. The burst managed to hit him causing him to collapse on the floor and begin screaming. (It was at this point I thought the game was over and let me explain why).
Dead Insurgents after a 40mm grenade.
Approaching insurgents with many morale markers on them.
So as you might be able to tell, the insurgents had 3-4 morale markers on them. The insurgent infantry were novice giving them a base morale value of 35%. Having 3-4 markers on them made their morale checks -30%. Both of the leaders were down also (one screaming in pain the other blown to bits). So I rolled for them and saw that out of the 3 insurgents left only 1 of them passed their test. Then I called the game. It wasn't until the next day that I read the rules again and saw that if they fail you roll on the morale chart. For the fun of it I rolled for the two that failed. One of them surrendered and the other just went prone. So if I kept the game going I would have 2-3 Insurgents able to keep the fight going.

Overall the hours of preparation that went into this battle (making the quick terrain, fixing up the miniatures, etc) lead to me completing the game on turn 1 (combat phase 4 I think) which took about an hour. Not bad as even though I messed up a couple times it was still fun and quick flowing. A good game that I hope to keep playing.

Story wise, the Marines were able to clear the western side of town but I want to see how "Blue Team" and "Red Team" do in the other sides of town. I'd also like to be able to finish up the buildings to make them look like typical midwestern homes. You might've noticed that I was using 1/72 US Modern Figures and they actually worked really well with the rules and measurements. I was playing on a 2'x2' board which looked awesome with all the terrain on it!

Hope you enjoyed the read,

-"Jonah"

Saturday, October 21, 2017

10 Days Later

Hello,

Its a mysterious world when you can go from perfectly healthy and working out one day to completely sick and tired the next. Basically what I'm saying is I'm sick today and kinda happy that I am too as I get a break from work. Fever, stuffy, headache, and a couple more symptoms are what plague me today. Anyways  I better summarize what I've been doing the past 10 days.

Nothing much.

I've still been going to work everyday putting in 10 hour days when I can but it has usually been 8 hour days. I went to visit my friends in Missouri last weekend, one in Colombia and another in Springfield. It was fun and I got to see what a college campus was like. Mizzou is huge but I don't know if I'd want to do that right now. The visit to Springfield was way more fun than the Colombia trip as we saw movies, played games, and just hanged out. We watched the old blade runner, the new blade runner and watched Full Metal Jacket. I also got a drawing tablet from my friend and I've been messing around with it and the program Krita. I'm not a good artist but I'm at least trying. I plan on making my own paper miniatures for Skirmish Sangin. I still have to print out all the reference sheets from that game. I've decided to have Office Max print out all those things instead of using my own printer as it is cheaper.

Game wise I haven't done much besides read the rule book some more and start reading Dispatches No. 1. I've decided to do a campaign style of game and am going to be making a rifle platoon of marines. Then drawing each character uniquely with a front and back side to them. I also want to create a base that my platoon will call "home". I have decided to buy the Malatinnii Rangers book with my next paycheck as when my dad returns I think we'll do some Somalia missions together.

Anyways I'm going to go to bed for the 3rd time today.

Just wanted to let you know i'm alive and kinda well.

-"Jonah"

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

First Impressions on Skirmish Sangin

Hello,

So yesterday I was finally able to get my four Skirmish Sangin books in a nice little FedEx box. I have to say that they are awesome. First off is that they are big, not thick, but big with a nice sized font and pictures and designs galore that make the thing look beautiful. They all follow this pattern of amazing design and I can't wait to read them all.

So far I've read up to the spotting rules in the main rule book but a quick flip through of the other books pleases me as they not only have many real life pictures of various soldiers doing combat in environments around Afghanistan but they also have pictures of their professionally painted soldiers and professionally made boards. What I find funny is after all these awesome game pieces you still see the cheaply printed cardstock tokens being used in the screenshots.

Overall the books have made a great first impression and they seem more "durable" than most rule books I've gotten in the past. I will have to print off the Errata for Afrika and all the reference sheets and tokens but I don't think that will be too hard as I've found out it is super cheap to have these things printed off at an office supply store.

While flipping through Dispatches 1 I did notice rules about campaign play and advancement of characters which I find to be an awesome feature. I also love the rules for support and how they do make the difference between Taliban and ISAF gear and training.

Meanwhile Afrika (the fictionalized Africa) looks like a fun read but they did change the design a little bit by changing the color scheme of things. The orange on black is still nice but in a slightly dim environment it kinda blends together for me. Maybe thats my eyes but oh well. What intrigues me about Afrika is the rules for making PMC groups and all the various made up factions that are in there. I think I will buy the Molgadisu Rangers supplement (the black hawk down book) so that I can play scenarios for that and get more rules to go along with Afrika.

Rules wise the game doesn't seem that difficult as it does stick to using d10s for almost everything from damage to skill rolls. D6s are used for a couple things but mostly keeping track of stuff like when soldiers go on their turn. Wounds and other stats are all kept on a character sheet almost like GRUNT or, my dad's own creation, NAM. Since I'm familiar with it I really enjoy seeing this concept somewhere else in the gaming world. Those are my thoughts

I would love to get some actual miniatures for this game but for now I'm working on the terrain only and sticking to my little Paper guys. On the Hobby side I've bought another board (maybe I mentioned this already) and have painted and turfed it up to be a basic flat grass board. Tomorrow I'll clear coat it and probably buy another board on Friday. What I want is to make some terrain to represent:
  • Farms
  • Rivers
  • Creeks
  • Hills
  • Ditches
  • Woods 
  • Ponds
  • Swamps
And many more. Right now I have an idea for the farm fields that involve tooth picks and paper but we'll see how that turns out. What i've noticed is that the Midwest isn't that flat as there are small changes in elevation that, when prone, could be used for cover. Plus the more rural you get you begin to see the rolling hills and dense woods all around that would obviously be difficult to fight in so I want to model that also.  Ditches will be hard but I feel I could come up with something. Maybe a piece of cardboard or cardstock with two "bumps" on each side that once painted would look like a ditch.

Once I get some pictures I'll post them. One thing I've noticed for my rural battles is that I'll need a lot of scatter terrain if I want it to look like an actual forest so I'll have to build things like rocks, broken logs, various lengths of brush, and other small things like that.

Well I think that is all but I've been eyeing some force recon guys from eureka.

-"Jonah"

Monday, October 9, 2017

Has it been a week?

Hello,

Man I cannot believe its been a week since I last posted to this. Man time flies when you only work and sleep. Well I'm still waiting on my copies of Skirmish Sangin to come in. Apparently it was delayed by one day. I was going to post a first impressions on the books but that will not happen today. Instead I guess I'll talk about some recent purchases I've made.

Purchases

Well I bought a 200 dollar BB gun. The SIG SAUER MPX AIRGUN. It is very fun to shoot and feels and looks so real! I will be having a blast working with this and maybe even taking it on some camping trips too.

I've also bought some more balsa wood to make another section for my terrain board. I've come up with a plan to make some simple hills and a river but that'll have to wait until I've made all the boards. I'm thinking I need about 3-6 boards. 3 for a nice linear small game and 6 for a normal 2'x4' board. Usually for Skirmish Sangin you play on a 4'x4' board but a board half the size will have to do as I'm limited to space.

I've bought another book since I finished Dagger 22. Its called The Only Thing Worth Dying For and its by Eric Blehm. Dagger 22 was good but I will admit some parts were confusing and some were written bland. Where I zipped through Zero Footprint in a week this one took about 2 weeks to finish as it didn't have me as intrigued as I thought. I'm trying to read about all different kinds and parts of the military so that when I go into Skirmish Sangin I can get a better feel of how a military functions.

My smallest purchase was a set of black and white Chessex d10s for about 10 bucks because of shipping. They are nice and clean dice. Can't wait to use them.

Hobby

Hobby wise nothing really has happened. I've been playing Ghost Recon: Wildlands and Call to Arms alot recently to get quick games in after work and the gym. I'm also recording these so that I can edit them into an RP series for the video game group i'm in. But as far as painting and crafting goes? Nadda. I'm thinking of printing out the Mayhem paper terrain through a printing service so that I don't have to keep buying ink. That way I can say, "Print 5 of these houses, 2 of these cars, and 5 of these misc pieces", then boom. 20-30 bucks later I have nice quality cardstock images printed. I will probably print out soldiers at home since those are easy to do.

Other

As for other things going on I'm heading to Missouri this weekend to visit friends and then next week heading to Wisconsin to visit family then its off to Halloween to dress up as... something. I don't know what. Work has been a pain as they have been really long days with not much enjoyment. I also keep sleeping in so I don't have any lunches when I go there. I've been losing motivation to go to the gym just out of fatigue but I know if I don't go then my relative that goes with me won't go either and I have to motivate them to keep going.

And really thats all I've been doing is playing games and sleeping after work. Maybe these new books will motivate me to jump into the project again of making paper minis. I have thought of an idea to make the paper cars more sturdy but we will test that out later.

Hope you all are doing well,

Jonah

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Mini-Tutorial: Making long lasting Paper Miniatures

Hello,

I've seen a lot of people using paper miniatures but I wanted to show a way to create long lasting paper minis for a low cost.

Materials Needed


All that you need for this project is:
  • Some sort of glue
  • Some Cardstock or normal paper
  • Wooden Craft Circles
  • Foam Sheets (not foam board)
  • A sharp cutting tool, I used an X-acto knife

Step 1: Printing

 Head over to junior general, or another paper miniature website, and print off sheets for your units. As you see I've printed off some USMC and some Insurgents. Junior General has loads of free models in all periods and even top down views if you want.

Step 2: Cutting

Using your cutting tool cut out some of your soldiers like so. Try to keep it as "Square" as possible as it will make cutting and trimming the foam easier. Then cut along the line splitting the back and front. Keep these together!

Step 3: Cutting Foam

 Now its time to cut out the foam. Place one of your cut outs on the foam and trim around it creating a foam square (or rectangle) of the same size.

Step 4: Gluing

Now you glue ONE side onto the foam piece. If using normal printer paper you will want to use glue that is low in water. A good strong glue stick will work or apply a thin layer of Sticky Tack Glue which dries in minutes.
As you see I did this to all of my cut out pieces but kept the other size "paired" with them so I don't get them confused.

Step 5: Trimming

I don't have a picture for this but this step you trim off extra foam and paper with your sharp cutting tool. Once you have done that then glue the other side. A tip to get it to match is to line up the "green base". You will notice that your other piece might be over the foam because you've trimmed it. Now you can easily trim off that extra paper with scissors or your cutting tool and you will have both sides aligned up real well.

Step 6: Basing

Now you need to grab that bag of Wooden Craft Circles which I found at Micheals which is a craft store in the United States. As you see, in one bag there are many sizes of tokens. A small, medium and large. Grab a miniature if you have one and then see which one is the best fit. For me the medium craft circles are the exact size of a 28mm base.
 Now what you do is simple, just glue your foam token onto the base. What I did was use the medium bases for infantry and then used the large bases for weapon teams. The small bases will be used for counters and possible IEDs and land mines.
Sometimes your infantry miniature will hang over the medium base. (Especially the crouched soldiers) For me this was fine but you can either use long craft bases for this (like cut up pop sickle sticks) or put them on the large base.

NOTE: If you wish to decorate the bases then you need to do that BEFORE you glue it onto the foam so that you don't paint on the foam token. If you wish to decorate them after you've glued I suggest using PVA glue and some flock or rocks. Or you could use Sharpies to color the bases.

Step 7: Final Result

Though these miniatures are slightly smaller than the "heroic" 28mm they fit well with the 28mm paper terrain that I own and are actually pretty durable. After a couple hours of work here is my result:
I plan on to making some vehicles and creating some IED markers out of those small bases. I hope you enjoy this tutorial!

-"Jonah"


Starting 28mm Modern Part 5 - Some Purchases

Hello,

Its been a couple days since the last post of mine but I've been making progress slowly and I've been working on my new job. I've finally purchased a ruleset and I did buy 4 sets of paper terrain from World Works Games. The ruleset I've purchased is not Spectre as originally planned but instead I've bought Skirmish Sangin and almost all of its expansions. Why Sangin over Spectre? Well the real reason is that it seems more indepth and has a focus on individual characters which I enjoy very much. Reading reviews on it and watching videos makes it seem like a simple game that doesn't require a lot of minis but it can as it has support for everything from infantry to vehicles to support like artillery and airstrikes. Meanwhile after reading Spectre reviews and videos it seems it is normal skirmish game focusing on the modern equipment and more "covert" operations like PMCs and Special Forces. Still neat and uses d6s. I might buy that ruleset later but for now Skirmish Sangin is where I'm going.

So what else did I buy? Well for the World Works Games purchases I bought Mayhem Services, Mayhem Streets, Mayhem Greystone, and Mayhem traffic. This will allow me to create some neat looking cities and towns on the boards that I'm working on. I did find Cardstock finally and bought some Tack Glue in order to clue these together. I'm happy with the results so far as I've built one building (still needs a roof). I bought some d10s for Skirmish Sangin and that's really all that I've bought. I'm thinking of printing off some paper minis once I get Skirmish Sangin to play with until I can afford miniatures as after this big week of spending I need to save a couple weeks worth of pay. I'll be using Junior General for that as I've used their paper minis a long time ago and they are good and free!

As far as painting goes I've been practicing one my Imperial guard and T'au different camo themes. So far I'm working on painting jungle tiger stripe, woodland camo and predator camo. I really want to get the predator camo down pat so that I can paint my US Marines with the "Spring Green" Predator Camo as I own a jacket with this camo and really enjoy it. I've also started on the Kroot again, painting the skin color of many of them. Its been fun and a nice break from working all the time and the gym. Other camos I want to paint are the "chocolate chip" desert camo and try my hand at some digi camos like MARPAT.

Since I bought almost all the rule books for Skirmish Sangin I'll have a lot of reading to do throughout the week which might delay me further. I also have to finish "Dagger 22" still but that has been a really fun read. If I really want to use miniatures for my first game of Skirmish Sangin I think I'll use my Imperial guard as whatever I choose. As slow as my progress has been it has given me something to think about at work. Hopefully I'll actually get all my miniatures painted but who knows.

Really I have no new purchase plans. I want to buy miniatures but I don't need to so I'm going to wait. After this post I'm going to print off some paper minis and more terrain but the only thing I'll need to buy for the paper minis is those small plastic discs to glue them on which won't be that expensive as I can get them from Combat Storm for cheap. (I think $5 for 100). I hope your hobby is going well.

-"Jonah"