Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Black Powder ACW at Entoyment

It's been a while since I have posted, mainly due to being either very busy or rather ill again. So, here goes again. I have done a bit of gaming, a bit of painting and a bit of struggling not to snap peoples heads off when they annoy me.

Highlight of the gaming came last Sunday when we had a trip to Entoyment in Poole to play a Black Powder ACW game of the Battle of Fredericksburg. Panjo, Nathan, my son Christopher and I all went up and played with several other like-minded lunatics gamers. The sensible ones picked the Confederate side, while the fools went for the blue coats. I was in the middle of the Confederate line, just to the right of the sunken road/stone wall on the heights. Christopher was to my right and Nathan was on the far right with lots of very static cavalry. The far left was ably commanded by Mel while my immediate left was commanded by Lee(not the real one), Mel's husband. There is a better report of the game on their blog, Battlebunker.

Hood's Division stands ready to see off Billy Yank
 I had command of Hood's and Pickett's divisions of Jackson's Corps. Spread thin was the thought that came to mind, I had very very few reserves to support my thin front line.
Early commanded the far right, waiting on Stuarts cavalry
 As more and more Union types crossed the river we all sat and waited for Stuart to spring into action. It turned out to be a long wait as rasping Nathan "Wandering Star" Marvin kept rolling 11's on his command rolls.
Damn Yankees just kept on coming!
 Meanwhile his opposite number had similar issues as he kept moving alternate brigades each turn.

Longstreet's Division goes to sleep in their sunken road.
 Lee(not the real one) commanded loads of troops holding the most defensible position on the table. Sensibly the Union boys stayed as far away from him as they could and all headed for my thin line of grey clad fighting men. It was so quiet on Lee's(not the real one) section that he even told his men to have a nap!
Union troops filtering through Fredericksburg
Facing Mel was Jamie, her son. There is no love lost between those two when it comes to wargames.  He kept on charging and she kept on slapping him back down the hill. Luca faced Lee(not the real one) initially, but quickly moved over to charge Pickett's thin line.

More yanks crossing the river, there are a lot of cavalry over there!
Over on the right Stuart failed to move again and the Yank cavalry streamed over the river and prepared to do some damage. However, once over the river everything seemed to slow down over that side.

That's not gun smoke, it's Longstreet's troops having a cigar break!
 On the left Lee's(not the real one) men had woken up and lit the "fine southern tobacco" cigars provided by General Longstreet. They are not firing, well not going by the lack of damage caused anyway!
Stuart finally moves forward....a bit
  Stuart finally moved forwards, once! The next turn saw yet another blunder by raspy Nathan and the cavalry all moved left to stand in front of their own infantry so they couldn't fire. Something about not letting them get any of the glory I think.
Pickett's Division is holding against ever increasing odds
 Meanwhile Pickett was fighting a valiant defence against ever increasing odds. His position was the weakest of the hill top defenders, with a stone wall to his left and a fence to his right, but no cover for his troops at all. Despite the best efforts of the masses of blue coats he was managing to hold while he waited for Lee(not the real one) to do anything.........
Oh look, there is still nobody attacking Ransom's Division!
 As my troops weathered the storm my left flank was eerily quiet. Except for the sound of coffee being drunk and cigars being lit that is. Nobody there Lee(not the real one), any chance of you passing a command roll today?
Finally Lee(not the General) springs(wanders) into action!
 Shock and horror, Lee(not the real one) moved some troops to support Pickett. To be fair the timing was fortuitous as my unit was forced to fall back the very next turn, but don't believe him if he says he planned it like that. The next turn say a sweeping advance by Lee(not the real one), but it wasn't planned. He rolled a command blunder and his troops decided to charge forwards!

Lucky timing though as it enabled the fresh, well rested, nicotine charged troops to roll up the flanks of the attacks to both sides of them and win the day.

All in all it was a cracking day with great company and a fun scenario. Thanks to Paul and Carl for letting us play with their troops and putting on a great game. More thanks to Pete and Entoyment for hosting us. I can thoroughly recommend a visit to the shop as it is an Aladdin's cave for wargamers! Extra thanks to all the other gamers, even static Lee(not the real one)!  😉 Good to meet you.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Chain of Command 29 Lets Go Campaign

For the last few weeks/moths I have been running the "29 Let's Go" Chain of Command pint sized campaign for some of the Devon Wargames players. Primarily this was to show them the way the game is played at its best, one platoon against one platoon.
Picture stolen from JJ's blog
As I have said previously, the best place to see the battle details is JJ's blog. He has taken many pictures and put up a few reports already. I am now putting up the final result and the details of casualties etc.

In the campaign the Germans get a single platoon for the majority of the actions while the Americans get a new platoon for each game. This gives a big advantage to the American player as they get three squads of twelve men for every game while the German has to husband his resources and try to minimise losses while still stopping the advancing enemy.

The campaign is fought on 5 maps in a ladder sequence. It is possible for the Americans to win in 5 games, put unlikely if the German player is sneaky careful. As it was, this run of the campaign took 9 games as Ian managed to pull a few sneaky wins and one completely flukey one.

Above is the map of the battlefields as they appear on the ground. Maps 1, 2 and 5 are defended by a single platoon of Germans. Luckily maps 2 and 3 are off the advance route and are held by other platoons, so they just serve to delay the advance. 

In the campaign the games went well for the Americans initially. They won game 1 and 2 on maps 1 and 2, then lost game 3 on map 3 and had to refight it in turn 4. Turn 5 on map 4 saw a major back step for the Allies when, despite getting 6 phases on the trot before any Germans were even on the table, they failed to get a chain of command dice and the concentrated German firepower broke their force morale very quickly. The battle was lost for want of a single 5 in 7 phases of play.

That set them back to map 2 on the main road. The original German platoon was well rested by now and called up reinforcements, giving them a full platoon again. They went on to win and consolidated their position. This also caused the American Colonel to waver, requiring a visit for General "Dutch" Cotter to get him moving again. Game 8 and the Germans inflicted a few casualties and then pulled back to maintain their strength. Game 9 was the final round and would decide if it was a major German victory or if the allied advance would continue. As it went on, this final battle was a very cagey affair and it went right down to the wire. Both sides lost many men and force morale fell, reducing chain of command dice until, finally, the Germans broke and the American advance could continue. However, all the Germans except for the defending platoon had escaped and the ongoing fight would be harder for it.

Below is a table detailing the losses after each game. Losses are not all dead, 50% are dead or badly wounded enough that they are counted as dead, 25% are wounded and miss the next game while the final 25% are lightly wounded and are available for the next game.
The different coulours on the German column show the losses for the other platoons. In total German losses were 86 infantry, 2 NCOs and 9 support weapon crew. That works out as 43 dead and 43 wounded. American losses were 103 infantry, 1 Senior NCO, 3 NCOs and 6 Shermans, giving 52 dead GIs with 51 wounded.  All told the losses were fairly equal, except for the 6 Shermans!

It was fun to run the campaign for the lads, especially as  I got to see their tactics and planning change each time they played. I can recommend the pint sized campaigns to any one who like Chain of Command, it makes for a very different game to the usual game as you have to be more careful with your losses. 

That's it for now, I am off on the yearly pilgrimage to Partizan tomorrow so expect news of that next week. Catch you all later.

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Legionary 2019, To the Strongest game

Yesterday was the local Exeter wargames show Legionary, hosted by the Exmouth Imperials who are as fine a group of folks as you can hope to meet....at least in Exmouth! 😉😁

As we usually do, Nathan(aka Stumpy) and I put on a game. Sadly we couldn't do the game we originally planned so we decided to do a 28mm ancinets game using the "To the Strongest" rule set. These rules use no tape measures and no dice, so Stumpy was at a disadvantage as his usual rubber tape measure would be of no help to him. Sorry mate, I had to get it in, hehehehe.

The game was Romans(nasty invading types) marching into Dacia and being surprised when the locals got all shirty about it and started shouting "What have the Romans ever done for us?"

The forces were 180 points each, just to give some extra scope for an all day game. The Romans had 5 generals, 6 Legion, 4 Auxiliary, 5 skirmish infantry, 2 cavalry and 2 light cavalry units. They were marching along the road and had to react to the Dacians arrival on the flank.

The Dacians had 4 generals, including a Sarmatian and a Bastarnae in command of their own country men. Their troops were 8 units of warriors, including 2 Bastarnae, 2 skirmish infantry, 2 light cavalry and 4 Sarmation lancers. 

Below are some pictures of the game as it went on. Things did not go too well for the Romans!

Bastarnae units getting as close as they can to the Roman column
The massed Dacians advancing through the rough ground as
quickly as they can.
A view from behind the Dacians, with the Basternae
way ahead on the right
The massed ranks of Sarmation cavalry, but even they couldn't
keep up with the Basternae

Turn 2, the Basternae failed to move as their General
pulled an ace. Oops
They did manage to chop some Romans up a bit first though.

The Dacian mass struggles through the rough ground as the Roman
 general "Minimus" and his dog "Rex" look on

On the left flank Roman arrows spelt doom for one of the Dacian
light cavalry units
The right flank was going well though as the Sarmatians
drove the Roman light troops back

Battle was joined in the centre as Roman gladius
met Dacian falces
Where are all the Roman veterans?
Oh dear, the Sarmatians are coming!
The Roman cavalry was trying the same on the left flank though. 
The Roman light troops do their best to slow down the Sarmatians
The Roman cavalry is threatening the left flank........
Oh, no it's not. 
The last of the Roman light troops prepares for the worst.
Basternae look on as the Sarmatians claim all the glory
Veteran lancers on the flank, it's not looking good for the Romans
as General Myxamytosis looks on
The Roman last stand as Dacians, Basternae and Sarmatians
all roll up the flanks
The Romans fought back valiantly after initially getting a right good kicking. At one point they had 3 medals left and the Dacians had 18! At the end the Dacians only had 5 left as the Roman camp fell. The MVU(most valuable unit) was the Sarmatian "Red Lancers", who rolled up four Legion units including both veterans. The best Roman units were two of the Auxilia, who did all the real fighting.

All in all it was a cracking game to watch. After a couple of turns I let my son Christopher take control of the Dacians and Nathan managed the Romans with Andy as a unwilling subordinate. Thanks for playing the game lads.

The show was good again, seems to go from strength to strength each year. See you there next year.

I am still here

Sorry for the lack of posts, I have been a bit down and just couldn't be bothered. However my wife said "Beatings will continue until morale improves" so I am back, hopefully the bruises will start to fade now. 😉

Games have been played since I last posted, but not as many as I would have liked. I have been running a Chain of Command campaign for a couple of the Devon Wargames Group fellas so they can play the game as it is designed, rather than in a multi-player game as the club games tend to be. Best place to see what has been going on is over at JJ's blog as he has been photographing and documenting the games, and the learning curve, that have been played. It's been most enjoyable to watch how the tactics have evolved as the campaign has gone on. Ian, commanding the Germans, has gone from "Get everything on the table" to "Wait, wait, let them come closer" while JJ and Steve have developed from just going for general advances to picking their target, setting a plan and then using all the assets they have to push through. I hope they have enjoyed it as much as I have.

I have also played some cracking ancients games using To The Strongest. I really like these rules and would recommend them to anyone who doesn't mind not having 100% control of things when you game, if you like Too Fat Lardies rules you will probably like these too.  We have also played a couple of games of For King and Parliament from the same author.  Again, these are a lot of fun and have inspired me to go through my lead pile for the Renegade ECW figures I bought a few many years ago. We played the game using some very old 15mm armies borrowed from a friend, but they looked good and the game was very entertaining. Here are a few pictures of the game.
The forces are arrayed, Royalist to the right and Parliamentarians opposite.
Things are heating up as the lines close for battle and the flanks get all confusing

Anyway, that is it for now. I will do another update later about yesterdays Legionary show in Exeter, where Nathan and I put on a game of To the Strongest using Romans and Dacians.

Later folks and thanks for sticking around......if anybody did.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Sons of Mars Gladiatorial Combat rules

I have been away on holiday with the family but have returned. Sadly my father-in-law passed away last Wednesday so it wasn't the best week ever.

Wargames wise, I have bought yet another set of rules. To be fair these are probably the least demanding in terms of figure requirements, but it's still wargaming. I have played several Gladiatorial combat systems over the years but never found anything I was happy with.

The most recent was Warhammer Historicals Gladiator set, now long out of print and very pretty. However they didn't do it for me, so they were consigned to the shelf and the figures I had were put away in a part finished state.

Then Northstar came out with a newsletter including a new set of Gladiator rules called Sons of Mars and the preorder deal included a pack of Crusader Miniatures Gladiators of your choice. A few quid was quickly spent and I eagerly awaited the postman.

So a quick review is in order I guess. The book is a decent quality softback and reads nicely. The rules are only a few pages, less than 20 in all excluding character skills. The rest of the book covers the Gladiator types, 17 in all, beasts, skills and a very nice campaign system to build up your own Ludus. There are even tables to allow solo play, with the actions of the opposition being determined by their best capability in a fight.

The basic system is opposed dice rolls using D10's. Initiative is diced for using Agility, so the lighter(and quicker) fighters tend to gain an advantage. However a +2 modifier isn't overpowering, so there is always the chance that the heavy weight will sneak in and attack unexpectedly. You can appeal to the crowd to gain a favour dice, but if you fail it may give the extra dice to your opponent!

The basic Gladiator stats give the core capabilities for your fighter which are then modified by their weapon choice and their skills. The skills are what makes the system for me, the ability to get an extra dice for that crucial fight, reroll an armour save or even breakaway from a fight all make your fighters different. Do you equip your man with a Gladius, good in a sustained fight, or give him a longer Spatha which will give him an edge if he charges? Does he take Impenetrable, allowing a single armour reoll, or Shield Bash, allowing rerolls in all Push tests in the combat?

I really like them, so much so that I got my gladiator figures out and painted up the unpainted ones, then rebased them all to use for this system.

Rebased West Wind and EM4 figures
Here are the previously painted ones. Some even came painted from EM4 miniatures many years ago. Not 100% sure but I think that these are mostly West Wind figures(now OOP I think), plus the four from EM4.

Crusader Miniatures Gladiators
Then we have the newly painted ones, all by Crusader Miniatures and very nice they are too. All told I have 27 figures now covering all the main types I can see me needing.

Clovis, Drakon, Atticus and Britannicus
As I said earlier there is a campaign system and tables for controlling the opponent, so I have been playing with myself (ooh err missus). My Ludus has gone from two fighters to four in three game months. Of the original pair Clovis the provocotar is unbeaten with 7 wins and is a regional champion. Drakon, a hoplomachus, has a record of 5 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss. In March they were joined by Atticus, a dimachaerus with a record of 2 wins and 1 loss. Finally Britannicus the secutor was bought and has won his only fight so far. The Ludus has a balance of 90 coins but is at its maximum capacity for gladiators, so 200 coins will upgrade to a capacity of 6 and allow me to hire specialists such as a doctore(trainer) and medicus etc.

It is a good game and provides plenty of fun, even on your own. If you like gladiator games then consider this one.

That's it for now, I am off to the hospital again tomorrow for the results of tests and to see where I go from here. Six months of pretty continuous infections in my stomach is getting very wearing now. Sadly I will not be able to go to the Other Partizan either, due to my wifes father passing away. Ah well, I doubt that he did it on purpose. Catch you all(or both) later!

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Clotted Lard and To The Strongest

As a long time attendee at the OML days up in Evesham I happy to share this forthcoming event in Exeter. The Devon Wargames Club is teaming up with Too Fat Lardies to host a day of Lardie games on September 8th. Details are included above, but there will be nine or ten games put on ranging from ancients, pike and shot, Napoleonics, Colonial and World War 2. It's all about having a fun day out and moving toy soldiers around a table.

Saxons on the right, Britons on the left.
Last Saturday the DWG club meet included a game of To The Strongest, put on by yours truly. A force of nasty Saxon raider types was out to cause mischief, but had been intercepted by the heroic Britons in all their Romanised glory. I have only watched the game played before so it was a bit of a dive in the deep end, as none of the others had played it either.

I sorted out the armies from my recently expanded Dark Ages figures, although options are limited for the Saxons. They can have warriors, warriors and more warriors, plus a single unit of cavalry and two of skirmishers. So the Saxon force was three generals(one senior) with three units of warriors each. The senior general had the single unit of noble cavalry and the other two each had a single unit of javelinmen skirmishers.

The Romano-British had a few more options. They had a senior general with three units of spearmen with added bows and one each of light cavalry and skirmisher javelinmen. General two had the same force except the skirmishers had bows. General three was mounted and led the cavalry arm with three units of javelin and one of lance armed cavalry plus another unit of light cavalry.

The game went fairly well, the Saxons gained the upper hand quite early as neither Jack nor myself could hit anything.  Luckily the youthful generalship of Charlie(aka son of Jack) was doing better against Christophers Saxon warriors. Jacks center line managed to steady after some good hits and my cavalry managed to lure some of JJ's warriors out of the woods and then outflank them on both sides.

Nasty Saxon Warriors ready to pillage etc

The sole unit of Saxon cavalry

Massed ranks of British cavalry

The British center, a thin line of spearmen

British right flank, deployed with a bit more depth

The woods are full of hairy Saxons

And so are the hills!

Nathan's warriors chase of the British skirmishers

They are just bullies really. 12 against 3!

Roman light cavalry try to get around the left flank

Saxons occupy the hill and dare Charlie to charge them.
In the end the game was won by some really unlucky armour draws by the Saxons, as the flanking cavalry routed two units and then Charlie saw off another. I like the way the rules play, it gives a fairly quick game and doesn't take long to get the system into your head. I plan to get my Republican Romans out and restart painting them, so more may be seen of this set of rules soon.

Thanks to Jack, Charlie, Christopher, Nathan and JJ for playing the game and JJ again for the pictures.