“Marines at Guadalcanal” due for release at Cold Wars 2013!

The latest Fireball scenario book is on the way! ‘Marines at Guadalcanal’ contains 14 historical scenarios following the three main Japanese offensives to recapture Henderson Field. The mini-campaigns break the action down into: The Battle of the Tenaru, The Battle for Bloody Ridge and the October Offensive. Desperate Marines try to repel determined Imperial soldiers launching vicious Banzai charges. Some scenarios feature heros like John Basalone and Mitchell Page.

Here are some of Jerry’s illustrations as a sneak peek!

Canal Illustration 1

canal illustration 2

Canal cover b&w

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Historicon 2012 and going forward!

The release of Fireball Forward was a huge success! The rules and scenario book went like hotcakes and the players all seemed to have a good time at the games. I want to thank all my fellow Fireball fanatics and new gamers for making the weekend a success. We ran countless demo games and 15 event games. All well attended … including the 9am thursday games!

Here is a picture of the DAK’s armored assault in ‘Rear Guard at Agedabia’ ..one of the demos.

Now that the rules are out in the world I have begun adding stuff to the website to help support the game. You will notice an errata section to help clarify typos and omissions. The Downloads section also has pdfs of the charts so you don’t have to damage your rulebook.

Going forward I am planning on a few things:

1. Scenario books. We have a bunch in various stages of completion including Operation Sonnenblume -Africa 1941, Villers-Bocage – Normandy, 1944, Guadalcanal – 1942, Operation Crusader – Africa, 1942. I have started researching the drive on Prokorovkha – Kursk, 1943 and plan on starting that after I finish up Guadalcanal. After these we will see where things go but with WW2 the options are almost limitless!

2. How to design scenarios and basic OBs for Fireball. A few people have aske dme for guidance on creating their own scenarios so I will try to put together some info for download.

3. Free scenarios. I hope to post the occasional free scenario on the website as time permits.

4. Fireball variants. I have already experimented with Fireball in Mogadishu and Fireball with Zombies ( my nephews loved that one) and will eventually come out with variants. Besides the above two there has been talk of Korea, Vietnam and the Arab-Israeli Wars

Thanks again and have fun with Fireball Forward!

Mark

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Here it is! The first copy of FIreball Forward

Here we are…the very first copy of the first edition hot off the presses!

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Off to Historicon

Well …it has been a long road since we first experimented with Fireball Forward back around 2003. Since then we have had many many hours of exciting World War Two games (and a couple games of a zombie version of Fireball that we call Fireball Apocalypse.) Now here we are ready to release the game to the world. Jonathan and I are proud of what we have created and hope that it brings as much fun to all of you as it has to us.

Several vendors including Brigade Games and On Military Matters will be carrying the rules and the St-Lo scenario book which both retail for $25. We will be running two demo games three times a day as well as about 14 scheduled games at Historicon…so stop in and try it out! The demo games are Easy Company’s assault on the German guns at Brecourt Manor and a tank battle in africa.

Look forward to seeing everyone at the Con!

cheers,
Mark

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The finished cover for the ST-LO scenario book,

Here is the final cover for our first scenario book. Jerry and Tom did a great job!

It will be available at Historicon!

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Sneak Preview of the ‘Panzer Lehr at St-Lo” cover art

Hi All,

As we prepare for the roll out of the rules and first scenario book, ‘Panzer Lehr at St-Lo’ I thought I would give you a sneak peak at Jerry Frazee’s awesome illustration that will adorn the cover of the scenario book.

Here it is

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Fireball Forward Release is Imminent!

Well…the blog has been quite as of late but that is because I have been so busy getting the rules ready for publication. The good news is that everything is on track to release the Rules and the Panzer Lehr at St. Lo scenario book at Historicon in July.

I feel really good about the rules as we have spent the last year refining and playtesting the heck out of them. We have also been running lots of games at conventions and the response has been positive. We are looking forward to sharing the complete rules with the wargame community and giving 21st century gamers a good game that fits their time constraints while providing a fun and exciting tactical game about WW2.

Here is a sneak peek at some of Jerry Frazee’s illustrations for the rulebook. They look great and echo Rodger MacGowen’s artwork from the original Squad Leader.

See you at Historicon!

Mark

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Fall In Fireball Report

Fall In 2011 was loads of fun despite 6-inches of snow on Saturday! Overall there were 10 Fireball games run over the course of the weekend. 4 Panzer Lehr at St Lo, 2 Villers Bocage, 2 Sicily, 1 France ’40 and 1 Guadalcanal game. They were all well attended and everyone seemed to have a blast. As usually new players were able to pick up the game in about a turn and then focus on the tactics and the fun. We had alot of Flames of War players which was interesting because almost universally they were a little taken aback by the opportunity fire. I can see that as having played FOW that is one of the biggest differences between the games. But after a turn or two they caught on and liked it. The other big question is whether they could use their figures as based for FOW. They were universally pleased when told they could.

I ran two scenarios: Taming the Tiger, Sicily 1943 and Bungle in the Jungle, Guadalcanal 1942. The Sicily game is fun because it is the first time I used sudden death victory conditions and Guadalcanal saw the first extensive use of jungle terrain. The jungle rules are really working well. Here are a few pics from those two games.





Sean Barnett ran two games. The Death of Whitman and The Brigade Box. Here are a few pics.



Jerry Frazee ran two scenarios from the Panzer Lehr at St Lo scenario book. They are quickly becoming classics!

Mark Stricker ran a France ’40 game about the Royal Tank Regiment at Calais. Mist that was rising and falling made for a confused fight!

Well…next on the docket is playtesting my new Africa April 1941 book: Operation Sonnenblume. It follows the DAK’s arrival in africa, destruction of the British 2nd Armored Division and the stand of the 9th Australians Division at Tobruk. Lots of new things to try out there. I will plan to run a few of those scenarios at Cold Wars.

cheers,
Mark

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Fireball Forward at Fall In

‘Fall in’ at the Lancaster Host is only a few weeks away and there will be tons of Fireball games to be played! Over the past two months we have been playtesting the various scenario we will be running as well as refining the rules. Here’s what is on tap for Fall In:

I will be running to scenarios: ‘Taming the Tiger’, Sicily 1943 and ‘Bungle in the Jungle’, Guadalcanal 1942. Both have dedicated terrain boards and will have been well playtested. Taming the Tiger is a seesaw affair with the US paras led by General James Gavin attacking a bridge…and if they can’t take it quick enough the Germans roll on a bunch of Tigers. It is a fun scenario that uses sudden death victory conditions as well as more traditional victory. ‘Bungle in the Jungle’ is a confused jungle fight on the first day of fighting for Bloody Ridge. Stalwart Marines trying to hold back a tidal wave of surging Japanese Banzi Charges.

Jonathan Miller is running “The Horseman’s Heart’ which models the last cavalry charge in US history. A great scenario with fantastic terrain. See a previous blog post for an AAR.

Jerry Frazee, from Fireball South, is running a couple of the the Panzer Lehr in Normandy scenarios. These games from the upcoming ‘Panzer Lehr at St Lo’ scenario book are becoming (at least in our circle) the ‘classic’ Fireball Forward scenarios. Well balanced, well playtested and always a blast. Check them out.

Sean Barnett is running his latest Villers Bocage scenarios. The ‘Death of Whitmann’ and ‘The Brigade Box’. Both see lots of great tank fighting in the British sector of Normandy. An AAR of the ‘Death if Whitman’ is also on the blog.

Finally, Joe Seliga will be running one of the Panzer Lehr scenarios…one of the classics.

Please stop by and play or just chat. We are always open to ideas and thoughts.

See you at Fall In!

cheers,
Mark

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The Last Cavalry Charge

The sounds of thundering hooves echoed throughout the gameroom on tuesday as we played Jonathan Miller’s latest Philippines ’41 scenario titled, ‘Horseman’s Heart.’ It models the final cavalry charge made by the United States Army’s 26th Cavalry. Recent scholarship and Eureka’s new 15mm figures has brought this event to the attention of gamers. So, in an effort to give gamers a reason to use those new figs Jonathan brings us this and all of his other Philippines scenarios. As for Fireball Forward it is the first time we used the cavalry rules. We were eager to see how they felt and how much drama they created.

The scenario depicts a Japanese infantry company trying to cross a river and take a small town centered around a stone church. The Americans had originally held the town but due to a mix up had abandoned the position. A small advance force of Japanese had moved into the town when the 26th Cavalry was ordered to restore the situation. That is were the action begins.

The Japanese were played by Curt Daniels, Sean Barnett, Tom Bierschenk and myself (Mark Fastoso.) The Japanese victory condition was to get six squads across the river. If the US occupied the stone church then seven squads were needed for victory. Our advance force of four rifle teams was spread out along the streets of the town while the rifle company was approaching the river.

The US players (Bruce Weigel, Bill Kreig and Mike DeCarlo) started the game with the cavalry charging onto the board and bypassing the village to take up positions at the river bank. Feeling that the Japanese infantry company moving towards the river was the bigger threat they left the Japanese advance force in the village free to occupy the church. The cavalry charged through with one squad’s horses becoming blown but the other making it into position.

As the troopers took up positions along one end of the riverbank Japanese infantry began to appear on the other side. A brisk firefight broke out as the Japanese company headquarters tired to make its way across a very rickety bridge…with many planks missing it was slow going and they took alot of fire.

It looked like the US might get the upper hand in the firefight as the Japanese were getting pinned down and finding it hard to cross in the face of the cavalry’s firepower. Then…more thundering hooves were heard as a second cavalry platoon and the company headquarters roared onto the battlefield. Deciding that the riverbank was secure they took up positions on the edge of town facing the church. But the Japanese teams ensconced in the town were able to put down fire on the troopers manning the riverbank defense and pretty soon 10 men were either dead or wounded. Then word went up and down the firing line…does anyone have ammo? The trooper’s fire slackened as runners headed back to the horses for more .03 rounds. (Mike DeCarlo who was playing 1st platoon went on a sting of rolling 1’s…six in all…and caused no damage to the Japanese on the riverbank allowing them to recover.) Getting the upper hand in the firefight the Japanese surged across the river and managed to gain a foothold on the American side.

The tide seemed to be turning. The cavalry position on the riverbank was growing desperate as more and more Japanese pressed to cross the river. Down stream two more platoons appeared and there was little the Americans could do to stop them from crossing. Realizing that they needed a strong fall back position and wanting to free up troops who were tied down in a firefight with the Japanese in the church the US Company Commander ordered an immediate assault to retake the church. The remnants of 1st platoon fixed bayonets and charged. In a confused melee they broke into the church but could not drive out the Japanese. They held one part of the church and the Japanese the other. The Company Commander realized the fight hung in the balance and lead his headquarters group into the fight. That did the trick and the Japanese were forced out.

But would that be enough or was it too little too late? 1st platoon could now try to help stabalize the fighting on the riverbank…but the Japanese were pouring over the river. In the end it would prove to be too late. The Japanese had created a sufficient bridgehead in strength to guarantee the rest of their battalion could cross the river and mover through the town. The cavalry’s last hurrah was for naught.

In game terms the Japanese needed 6 squads across the river or 7 if the US held the church. The Japanese got 10 across. Everyone agreed that the US could have won and the game was fun, fast paced, full of tactical choices and exciting. The cavalry rules worked out very well … we can’t wait to try it again!

cheers,
Mark Fastoso

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