Monthly Archives: November 2013

TANKSgiving 2013 – Early Tanks

GrogHeads TANKSgiving

Author: Lloyd Sabin, November 26, 2013

Very Early Armored Vehicles

It’s the most wonderful time of year! When else do we get to discuss the benefits of century old armored oddities? Probably all the time if you’re a grog, but this is more special because we say it is.

Early motorized vehicles are fascinating enough…apply an inch of armor plate and a gun turret and it’s a real party. The below vehicles are some of my new found favorites…each has that certain something and they all look to have stormed straight out of a steampunk imagination. So put on your goggles, put a rag over your face and let’s see what all the kids are screaming about when they discuss very early armored vehicles. At least my kids, anyway.

Romfell Armored Car

romfell_5The Romfell was built in Austria-Hungary around 1915. That gives it a slightly exotic air. In 1915 and 1916, only two existed, but they both survived the harsh conditions and combat in the Balkans against the Serbian Army, and went on to engage the Italians and Russians. That gives it a tough reputation. In 1917 dozens more were built and deployed, its successful combat record making it somewhat of a legend.

Each Romfell armored car had a crew of four, was powered by a Mercedes transmission and was armed with a Schwarloze machine gun that could be used against both air and ground targets.  Reliable and fast for the era with a 26mph top speed, the Romfell is a popular vehicle for modelers.

It’s hard not to be intrigued by the Romfell. It’s very modern look, pedigree and durability guarantee that historians or car aficionados will quickly fall in love.

Fowler B5 Armored Locomotive

Fowler B5Armored cars are one thing…armored trains are another.

Now don’t get the wrong idea, the Fowler B5 armored locomotive did not go into combat during the Boer War at high speed with guns blazing. It did, however, deliver heavy guns and supplies for the British Army against the Boers starting roughly towards the end of 1899.

To tow these guns, the Fowler factory in Leeds, UK, produced a handful of B5s with close to 125 horsepower! With that much strength, heavy slab armor was applied to the engines to protect them and their drivers from attacks by Boer raiders. Three or four of these heavy armored locomotives were used by the British during the Boer War, some with armored railroad cars as well.

Prototypes of gun carrying armored Fowler B5s were developed but as far as I could research, none were ever deployed in a combat role. It would have been quite the scene if they had been – there’s no telling how effective they would have been at fighting. For protecting and delivering heavy equipment and guns, though, they were very successful.

TANKSgiving 2013 – Flashpoint Campaigns: Red Storm AAR Part 1

Scenario: A Test of Wills

Author: Jim Zabek, 28 November 2013

Flashpoint Campaigns: Red Storm has done something for me that no wargame has done for a long time. I am wholly absorbed in it. It’s the only game I want to play. I’ve been addicted to other games (just ask around the forums about Orcs Must Die! 2), but it has been quite some time since a wargame really grabbed me like this. Strange? Perhaps. But there it is.

Normally when I select an AAR I like to choose one I’ve never seen before. It adds to the drama as I don’t know what’s coming and I think it’s a more authentic story to give to an audience. However, With this particular scenario in Red Storm I have played it at least a dozen times and continue to love it. The AI always keeps me guessing. Although I’ve beaten the AI each time I’ve played it, I never feel like I’m winning until after the game is over. The crush of the Soviet horde is hair-raising to the NATO player. The come on almost like a zombie apocalypse: incessant and seemingly innumerable.

In this particular scenario, A Test of Wills, the player is tasked with fending off the Soviets at night. The scenario opens with a heavy rain that limits visibility to 500 meters – one hex. Eventually the rain will lift. But when it lifts can make an enormous difference to the NATO player. In one game it didn’t lift for five and a half hours. As a result the Soviets crawled right into my defensive positions before I could see them, negating my advantage of seeing at night and using ranged weapons like the TOW. I won that scenario, too, but it had me sweating the entire time – I had placed my defensive units in solid overwatch positions to take on the Soviets at range; when they failed to appear I had left some of the roads to the exit points unguarded for an approach in zero visibility. It was probably a worst-case scenario.

In most games the rain lifts sooner – sometimes by the third turn. But the weather isn’t the only thing tossing me curve balls. There are three major avenues of approach for the Soviets. The southern approach has the most victory points and always sees the most action, but the middle of the map also gets a lot of attention, and the northern end sometimes gets heavily tested, too. The AI seems to never do the same thing twice, which keeps this scenario fresh for me every time I play it. And that’s why I keep coming back to this scenario. It’s a mid-sized scenario with lots of uncertainty. So far I’ve won every game I’ve played but I’ve never felt any confidence until the last shot was fired. There simply aren’t enough NATO troops to go around and once their artillery starts to rain too many units get destroyed for anyone to feel confident.

So here I go again. We’ll see what happens.

TANKSgiving 2013 – Tuesday Screenshot^(s) – Steel Beasts

A great set of pictures from the Monday night shootouts attended by Dr James Sterrett

Screenies by Dr James Sterrett, 26 November 2013



TANKSgiving 2013 – Getcher Tank On

Kicking off our annual TANKSgiving week celebration of all things armor, enjoy some tank pr0n…


Discuss TANKSgiving in our forums >>

Hull Breach – First Impressions!

Chris Caran heads to Charlotte, NC for MACE 2013, and discovers a nifty card-driven game of interstellar warfare now on pre-order.  How awesome does he think it is?  Read on….

Preview by Chris Caran, 23 November 2013


A mixture of cards, dice, and strategy, Hull Breach is a sci-fi deck-deckbuilder with great tactical nuance.

While attending the MACE convention this year in Charlotte, NC I got the chance to play a demo of Hull Breach, a new deck building space warfare game from Not So Broken Games. According to the two-person NSB Games team, it was so new it hadn’t even cleared customs yet.

The game’s premise is that each player represents an interstellar faction vying for galactic dominance. Each player has control of their own space station and associated modules. You deploy ships of different sizes along with associated fighters, drones, and marine complements. In addition to the unit-type cards, there are also various upgrades and options for your units as well as generic galactic events and tactics to give your faction the edge.

It is a resource-building game as well, your resource (raw material) and currency (funds) generated each turn by your station, attached modules, and other breakthroughs or upgrades to modify your turn-by-turn abilities. That being said, it’s pretty simple to keep track of and there was never any point of confusion as to buying power or reach.

In place of miniatures and maps, the combat mechanic takes a cue from CCGs and has a “Magic: The Gathering”-like assignment of attacking units towards another player’s space station.  Once in combat, the game brings more complexity to the table – in a good way.