Friday 26 July 2013

Two wargames in one day! Part deux

There was a temporary lull in the SYW campaign at the Club so I had been asked/offered to put on a TYW game. Slightly weary from the battle in the afternoon I took my hastily repacked Swedes and my Poles down to Durham and set up a multi-player game, again using Pike and Shotte. This was likely to be a slight  (?) challenge as while there are a number of 'fans' of the Black Powder concept,  few had played Pike and Shotte.
The basic scenario was that we were in the late 1620's and the Swedes were blockading one of the routes into Danzig/Gdansk (take your pick). The Polish army had to drive them off. Fairly simple for what was almost everyone's first game.

Yet again it was an incredibly hot and muggy evening so we started as soon as there were enough players. Paul Stephenson and Conrad Cairns took the Poles, the latter with great enthusiasm, to be joined later by Shaun and Jim. Dave Jarvis, Bob and Matt took the Swedes and I decided to umpire/adjudicate. The Polish plan seemed quite straightforward; pell mell cavalry charge with hussars and pancerni on their left to drive off the Swedish horse and roll up the line, while the infantry and lighter cavalry held the centre and  right. I'm not sure what the Swedish plan was but they probably had one. Well, the Polish attack on the left took quite some time to get going due to some unhelpful dice scores, but eventually the hussars and pancerni crashed into the Swedish and Finish horse. However, the commanded shot intersperced between the horse squadrons and lining a hedgerow on the Polish flank took its toll and managed to cause enough casualties and disorder a couple of units, therefore blunting the attack.  The Swedes had pulled back one of their mounted brigades to provide some defence in depth, and this proved to be a wise move as their front line was crushed by the hussars who then thundered into the second line. A massive cavalry battle carried on all evening, with the Swedes slowly giving ground, although, despite being very tough, especially the hussars, the Poles didn't have it all their own way due to the fire from the commanded shot on their flank who managed to keep a number of units either disordered or shaken and therefore unable to exploit the gaps in the Swedish line. Conrad also threw double 6 for one of his hussar units and they blundered, winning the dubious honour of the dung heap. Towards the end of the game, Conrad threw another blunder when trying to use the Polish C in C to move one of his units, so the dung heap was passed on to  the Polish king! (see the first photo). The end of the game saw the Swedes on this flank grimly hanging on, with one brigade of horse smashed and the other being beaten back bit by bit.

Meanwhile on the Swedish left I have to admit I don't really know what was going on. Bob made slow progress but did eventually swing round and engage the German mercenary foot on the Polish right and forced their light cavalry to retire. The German 'yellow' regiment was all but destroyed by the end of the game.

In the centre Dave and Paul entered into a ferocious firefight with the German mercenary 'blue' regiment and the Krackow militia. The latter managed to hold up the veteran Swedish 'Yellow' regiment for most of the game by throwing an impressive number of 6's. There was a brief melee between the militia and a Swedish gun and elements of the 'Green' regiment in which the Poles came off worse.

Despite the success on the left, the Poles had failed to drive off the Swedes. Given that the latter had lost one brigade of horse and were likely to loose a second one, and the very brittle state of the Polish right and centre, I believe the outcome was a draw. I am sure the players may have different views..... ;o)

I hope eveyone enjoyed the game. I know the rules take a little getting used to conceptually, which is often hard for some gamers to grasp, but from my point of view the whole purpose of the game, any game, is to have an enjoyable time trying moving little men aruond the table in what may or not be a reasonably accurate historical representation. Thanks for the positive comments about the figures too. Feedback welcome.

Two wargames in one day! part 1

Well, I had a really enjoyable and very tiring day yesterday. In the afternoon John came up and we played a smallish TYW Swedes v the Imperialists game We used Pike and Shotte, rules I have not played for some time although I am a big fan. This was also the first table-top outing for my 28mm TYW armies.

We rolled for sides and and I got the Swedes. The scenario required the Swedes to hold the bridge and supply depot at the farmhouse until the agreed time to end the game. They had a brigade of two veteran Swedish/German foot rgts, a  brigade of two rgts of Saxons and two brigades of Horse, one Saxon and the other Swedish/Finish. There were also some commanded shotte and a couple of guns. The imperial army contained three brigades of foot ( two rgts each), a 'brigade' of four sqdns of Croats, a brigade of Harquebusiers and one of cuirassiers, each of four squadrons. They also had two units of dragoons, some commanded shot and a gun.
I'll describe the action by table top sector rather than chronologically as this'll be easier to follow. On the Swedish left, the Saxon horse advanced against the Croats in order to prevent them from influencing the game in any way. Throughout the game, the Saxons proved to be generally courageous in charging the Croats but it took them all afternoon to break two out of the four squadrons, but only at the final cost of becoming a spent force as the entire brigade was either shaken or broken. Their (my?) mistake was to use the follow through rule when invariably pushing the Croats back but then being beaten in the subsequent combat by newer, fresher opponents. Throwing really bad dice didn't help much either.
On the Swedish right, four squadrons of horse were facing eight of Imperialists, half of which were cuirassiers! The Imperialist advance was slowed by some poor command throws from John, including a 'blunder' when trying to activate his dragoons who promptly turned about and galloped off the table. He therefore became the first proud using of my blunder dung heap!  The stream flowing into the river across the Imperial front also delayed their advance.   My Finnish horse thundered into the first cuirassier unit as it was crossing the ford. Predictably they lost the combat, but as well as succeeding in forcing the cuirassiers into 75% of the available table space, did slow them and split the brigade up so it was not always possible for units to support each other. What followed was a furious series of charges and counter charges that while delaying the Imperialists, eventually wore out the Swedish horse until they were almost all broken or shaken. Another spent brigade. The cuirassiers didn't get it all their own way as one squadron was lost and the others had taken casualties but they were now in a position to threaten the Swedish centre. Worthy of note was the Swedish gun guarding the far side of the bridge which failed to hit anything until the very final turn when they succeeded in driving some Imperial dragoons off with canister, thus saving their end of the bridge.

In the centre, John's three brigades of foot advanced but made slow progress. The right hand brigade took forever to get into a position where they could deploy into line and trade shots with the Saxons. The centre brigade and the commanded shot did better but were soon held up by the other Saxon regiment and the commanded shot in the farmyard. Most of the troops in the centre became disordered and shaken due to the large number of 6's thrown by the Swedes and Saxons causing disorder among the Imperialists which effectively stopped their advance in its tracks. The left most Imperial brigade crossed the stream but was met by heavy fire from the Swedish 'Blue' brigade and halted.

At the designated time I threw to see if any Swedish reinforcements would arrive. I was successful and when I threw my dice to see where they would appear threw a '4' which meant they would enter the table on the far side of the river by the bridge. With all that Imperialist horse milling about on the other side of the river that was where it would stay as well, but at least the bridge was held. John's only hope now was to try and roll up the flanks now that my horse had been driven off but sadly time was our enemy so we had to call it a day.  John managed to throw three blunders during the course of the game, so the dung heap got plenty of use during its first outing.

Verdict: Lots of action in a fast moving game. The rules worked well and we both had an enjoyable afternoon. I was also pleased with how the armies looked on their first outing. No units disgraced themselves either. My camera expired during the game so sorry about the lack of photos and the quality of some as I had to use my phone.

Wednesday 24 July 2013

Blundering Dung Heap

I bought this off Architects of War ages ago with a view to using it as exactly what it says on the tin as random scenery for my AWI  games. It came with all sorts of other useful bits and pieces which will see the daylight sometime. Came across it a few days ago in the 'drawer of doom' and decided to give it a quick paint job. In one of the magazines (Flames of War Illustrated I think) recently someone was describing a First Carlist War game using Black Powder where they used the 'Blunder Donkey', which was placed next to a general who had thrown for command and blundered, the idea being that apart from all the donkey jokes they would have to endure, they would get -1 on all subsequent command roles until someone else threw a blunder, when the token would be passed on. Now, I do have a donkey model, but I thought replacing it with a representation of steaming pile of manure might be equally appropriate, as would any comments about a general's ability to get their troops to do anything so here it is. I shall try it out tomorrow. Thankfully it doesn't smell...

Monday 22 July 2013

Krackow Militia painted and based

One advantage of working from home is, when I am home, I can do my work at whatever time of day I like as long as it is (a) done, and (b) I am available during 'ormal' office hours. This results in many an opportunity to spend 30 minutes here and there on various painting projects spread over the course of my waking hours. I tend to have quite a few things on the painting desk at any one time, which means that every now and again I get several units/items finished almost all at the same time. Basing marathons apart, that works for me as, for example, I currently have some TYW dragoons, SYW Cossacks and various vignettes, FIW settlers by the score and some Carlist War British Auxilliary Legion and French Foreign Legion. The Army Painter quickshade is also a Godsend for my approach to getting units painted and 'table ready.'

Pictured here and completed quite a few weeks ago are 32 TAG Krackow militia in natty western dress from their Polish renaissance range. All my infantry units for Pike and Shotte are in 8's which while it works for Swedes and Imperialists I am unsure as to whether it will with my Polish infantry. Putting together bigger units might be the answer and would reduce their effectiveness significantly when shooting. The flags are off the net but I know they are not anywhere near 100% accurate, but they are Polish and I think they look rather good en masse.

Sunday 21 July 2013

Not a funny hat in sight! 1st Carlist War units

Pictured here are the first of my 1st Carlist War units. Top to bottom they are a British Royal Marine battalion, the British Auxiliary Legion Rifle battalion, the Isabellino Royal Guard Grenadiers and a Royal Marine rocket battery.

I have plenty more units to do but plan to take my time getting them finished.

Friday 19 July 2013

Heat stops play outside Konigsburg

 Above and below the armies deployed ready for battle

 Russian right flank squashed against the river in a musketry duel with the Prussians.
 Above is the nearest thing the Russians got to breaking the Prussian line. After pushing back their opponents they were unable to exploit the opportunity due to some appaling dice throwing!

Last night's game at Durham was the Russian/Prussian clash from the SYW campaign. We (the Russians) were pretty much doomed from the start as the 'random' terrain generator created a funnel-shaped battlefield with the Prussians holding the narrow end with their flanks secured by river, hills and woodland. We outnumbered the Prussians 15 to 10 in infantry and 4 to 1 in horse but unusually the Russians had fewer guns. Nigel gamely ordered us to advance, which we did as quickly as possible. The Prussian front was too narrow to try and focus on one end or the other. Paul took his cavalry across the river on the Prussian right but needed to do something nasty to the Prussians on the flank if his mounted troops were ever to get back over the river. Sadly, the club's wargames premises do not boast air con or even working windows so, with the heat wave we are experiencing at the moment, the room became uncomfortably hot and smelly (although it is often quite smelly anyway...urgh). The Russian attack was suffering heavy casualties especially from the Prussian artillery, and despite some local successes on Paul's flank and because of some desperately bad Russian dice throwing, it was not looking good. By 9:00pm it was all over as there was no way the Russians were going to do any more damage to the rather static Prussian line and we were melting. The photos shows the early and middle stages of the game (slightly out of order I think), and hopefully show off Nigel's beautifully painted troops. Photos of the end of the game appear to have been purged..........

Verdict: we manned up and played the game but the rules (der Kreigskunst) really don't do it for me or, for I suspect, an increasing number of other members. I know you can't blame the rules completely, but they make artillery far too powerful, favour a static defense, give Prussians superhuman powers, are very inflexible and clunky and IMHO a bit anal in terms of some silly and very non-18th C rules. But these were the rules of choice for the campaign and we have won some and lost some so it can't be all bad. The heat didn't help either and give it 3-4 months and we'll be complaining about the snow! However, and as a complete aside, one of the other rooms at the community centre is used by a pole-dancing class. You have to walk past it (several times in fact if you keep 'forgetting' stuff in the car) to get to our room and they always have the door open, so yesterday evening was especially hot in more ways than one!

Tuesday 16 July 2013

What the ****have I done?

You might ask, and so did I! Over the past couple of months I appear to have started not 1 but 3, yes 3 new projects! OMG! No wonder the dog looks like an RSPCA advert and my daughter is walking around in rags.....well last year's season! Utterly mad, specially as I still have a few TYW figures and more than a few SYW and AWI figures to complete. So what have I done?

Well, the original plan was to do some Muskets and Tomahawks figures utilising some spare AWI figures, as in Drums Along the Mohawk. Bought a few buildings, a stockade and some additional figures...not many as I have lots of excess AWI rebels, civilians, Indians and a few loyalists and Brits.

Next, somehow, I seem to have acquired the beginnings of a Crimean War collection. The British are well  on the way although the Russians are taking their time (true to form perhaps).

Finally, I started painting the last of my long-mothballed 1st Carlist War collection.

Well I can't really justify continuing all 3 projects. One at least has to be put on hold and back in the box for another day.  So what will it be? Suggestions welcome.

Sunday 14 July 2013

By Fire and Sword

I pre-ordered these while I was away from North Star at a discounted price of £31 if I remember correctly. Have read through them a couple of times and absorbed the wargamers' porn; loads of fabulous photos. Not sure I will ever use the rules, we shall see, but the info on the Polish-Lithuanian and later Swedish armies is just what I was looking for so I can put the finishing touches to the former and see what if anything I need to do to my TYW Swedes.

My last post suggested that I would return to a refight of Gettysburg at the Durham club. This has been postponed rather than interrupt the momentum of the Seven Years War campaign. Last week saw the start of a new campaign season. The Russians advanced on Konigsburg and the Prussians elected to fight them. The latter are outnumbered but have a very strong defensive position flanks by woods and rivers on both sides which will mean the Russians risk being channelled into a killing zone if they are to close with the Prussians. Der Kreigskunst rules favour the Prussians in command, moving and firing so it will be a tough one for the Russians.

Tuesday 2 July 2013

A quick update

Still on holiday but we come home on Thursday. While I've been away I have managed to keep in touch with goings on at home and also managed to buy a few bits and pieces off eBay and a couple of manufacturers, which I trust will be waiting for me when I get back. I picked up loads of painted Russian Crimean  figures off  eBay over event weeks and these will need rebasing, as will the British I bought off Foundry's sale a few months ago; the latter have been sent off to be painted by a pro figure painter as a treat to me from me, at very reasonable prices as I have more than enough to keep me busy.

My last post alluded to a forthcoming battle in the SYW campaign being run by Nigel at the Durham club. Apparently, well according to Dave the French C in C, the French gave the Hanoverians a damned good thrashing, which is great news but a shame thatI was away in Portugal basking in the sunshine and going on suicide dolphin cruises.

Yes, a bit of advice for anyone going to Vilamoura in the future. If you choose to go on a daytime dolphin cruise in a glass-bottomed boat take the following advice:

1. Make sure boat has a glass bottom. Ours didn't as once at our destination we were decanted into much smaller boats with glass bottoms,  in a 4 to 6 foot swell that made getting into and out of them quite, er, exciting. Best of all was that we had to put our life jackets on AFTER leaping into said small boat and takes off BEFORE making the return leap!

2. Take a sea sickness pill as the Atlantic is not friendly like the Med. Half the passengers spent most of the cruise throwing up their breakfasts, beer, pop, ice cream etc all over the boat and the crew spent most of the time swilling the puke off the decks into the scuppers and lower cabin. Lovely. NOT. The crew passed black bin liners round so I guess they thought we could share sick bags and give them back when they were full. Urgh.

3. Decline onboard hospitality. To top it all off the crew then even offered us all a bacon butty which not surprisingly was declined by most and precipitated another bout of vomiting by many. The lunchbag came in handy though. Killing us with kindness as one Aussie holidaymaker said!

4. Dont expect to see any dolphins.

Anyway, should be back in time to go to the club Thursday. I think we are starting a refight of day 1 of Gettysburg. Whatever, it'll be good to be home to the rain and cold and affordable alcohol :o)