Thursday 31 May 2018

This week’s game. 1672 and all that.

Wednesday saw another gathering in The Burrow for a 1672 Franco-Dutch War game, but this time to play test Paul Stephenson’s new set of rules, “The Panoply of War”. The rules are a generic written and developed by Paul covering everything (I think) from the Pike and Shot era through to the mid/late 19th century. Paul will also be putting something on Youtube once the rules are "live" which should be interesting.

I organised two sides, roughly the same in size and quality, 'ish; more horse and artillery on the Allied side, more and slightly better foot on the French. Paul was here to  keep us on the right track, ‘us’ being yours truly and Conrad. I took the French and Conrad the combined Dutch/Spanish/Imperial force.

The game started with us each deploying a brigade at a time. After this there was a 'fun' phase where it was possible to disrupt the opponent's deployment i.e. actually move enemy units  out of formation. This had the effect of the original nice orderly lines being somewhat fragmented. The Allies suffered the worst of this with their cavalry formations on both flanks jostled around a fair bit with units being moved out of position. There were four objective markers on the table, which we took turns to place, in the shape of two roadside shrines, a big cross and a group of civilians in the church.

This is the battlefield after the deployment disruption phase. As can be seen the French on the right were able to maintain reasonable order. My plan was simple. Both my dragoon regiments were dismounted in the woods anchoring my right in the far distance. All my horse were on my left, with the infantry massed in the centre to punch through the Allied line. Conrad put his Imperial cuirassiers on his left flank and his remaining Dutch horse facing my cavalry. The Allied foot held the centre while his artillery were somewhat exposed between the infantry and his right wing.

The deployment from the other end of the table, showing the Imperial cuirassiers on the Allied left.

The French left wing. Six squadrons of the Maison du Roi backed up by three of the Cuirassiers du Roi.

Facing the French horse were three squadrons of Dutch Horseguards and Lifeguards and four squadrons  of Dutch horse.

The church as seen from the French right.

The Imperial cuirassiers were slow to get moving and their deployment on the extreme flank effectively left them out of the battle. I had planned on them taking far too long to influence the game if they went around the wood rather than in front of it. Thankfully, they went tried to go around it.
The Gendarmes de France (front left) charged the Dutch Horseguards and drove the first  and second squadrons back. 
The victorious Gendarmes were in turn pushed back by the Dutch Lifguards.
In the centre there was no messing about as the Gardes Francais and Suisse advanced towards the artillery. They took heavy losses from the guns and from Spanish dragoons in the houses on their flank but shook them off and stormed the battery, driving the gunners off and capturing the cannon (below).

In the centre the Fusiliers du Roi launched three attacks on the Spanish holding this hamlet.  Despite heavy losses they finally prevailed and forced the defenders out.

Way over on the right wing the Imperial cuirassiers were slowly circumnavigating the wood while being peppered with musketry from my dragoons lurking in the woods.

Back in the centre my attack continued. Dumbarton's Regiment charged a battalion of German infantry, who broke and fled, taking with them another battalion to their rear. 
Royal Roussillon (in red) were also heavily engaged against the Spanish. The Spanish dragoons holding the farm on the left had been forced to retreat and the battalion in the building on the right was shorted to be evicted by the Fusiliers du Roi, as can be seen below.

The cavalry melee continued throughout the game, and a massive, exciting and frustrating whirlwind of a melee  it was too. In the end the French had pushed the Dutch cavalry back, breaking two squadrons and leaving many of the others in disarray. The French Grenadiers a Cheval had lost 50% of its strength, while the Musketeers of the Guard and Gendarmes de France had also lost heavily. Conrad's outnumber horse did well in slowing down the execution of my plan to sweep the enemy from the field with the Maison du Roi while the Cuirassiers du Roi plunged into the gap now the French artillery was overrun to roll up the Allied centre. It never happened of course.
The Dutch Horseguards reforming to face another onslaught by the French.

In the centre the German and Spanish brigades were starting to crumble.
Dumbarton's Regiment in hot pursuit.

Meanwhile my sneaky dragoons had mounted up and emerged from the wood behind the Imperial cuirassiers. (wicked laugh! hehehehe!)

At this post Conrad conceded defeat. I have to say I was quite surprised to have snatched this victory as I was running against the clock. If the Imperial cuirassiers had been quicker they could have taken my guns and attacked my centre from the rear before my headlong assault had time to work.

I warmed to the rules quickly. The set up stage was maybe a bit unnecessary and time consuming but it actually worked rather well I think. The rules appear, from this game at least, to favour an aggressive player, which suits me, and we were able to make the oddities/characteristics of 1670's armies fit in with the rules quite well. More tinkering required re troop types I think, and I shall do this before the next game.

A very enjoyable game and I look forward to another one soon.

Next Game is Monday 4 June. What could be the climax of my French Revolution mini campaign.

Tuesday 29 May 2018

A little late Spring cleaning

Well, now that The Burrow is fully operational if not slightly untidy still, it occurred to me in a rare moment of sanity and sobriety that once I’ve got all my already painted Sikh Wars troops, and the remaining already painted Seven Years War British and Hanoverians, and several regiments of other stuff, that the only way to accommodate them would be to increase my table height by another 6”. Now, many of my Wargames friends are over 6’ tall but several are not. Rather than employ step ladders in order to maintain full inclusiveness, I decided to sell some rarely used and unloved stuff and create some space. Yes, and this from he who said he would never sell another painted collection again!

So it’s farewell to my Russian Civil War collection, who shall soon find themselves fighting in the sweltering heat of New Mexico πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ rather than the snows of Siberia πŸ‡·πŸ‡Ί . It’s also goodbye πŸ‘‹ to my enormous American Revolution collection, that is going in the other direction to Switzerland πŸ‡¨πŸ‡­  . Interestingly for  anyone who likes to record the journeys individual boxes (there must be someone) part of the latter collection is being sent in a box that came to me from Australia πŸ‡¦πŸ‡Ί

This clear out is undoubtedly a good thing, especially as I seem to be expanding my FRW stuff as it creeps towards 1806! I also really want to get the Sikh Wars collection finished and on the table this year. I also have 12 now empty A3 sized really useful plastic boxes waiting for new occupants.

Saturday 26 May 2018

New 28mm French Revolutionary War figures

I picked these up at Partizan on Sunday from Revolutionary Armies' recent Kickstarter, and very nice they are too. French regulars for the early years of the Revolution, 'Les Blancs'. They have also done regulars in bicorns, grenadiers, and have great plans for the future. I now just need to get them painted, all six battalions!

Monday 21 May 2018

Partizan 2018

John the Red and I popped down to Newark yesterday to visit Partizan. 'Popped' is the right word as from Middlesbrough it was a leisurely 1 hour 40 minutes door-to-door, arriving a little before 9:30. Thanks to the organisers here as they had made sure that nobody (often traders) hijacked the disabled parking spaces as is so often the case at wargame shows, and we were able to park within a few feet of the main entrance, and only a few feet more from an ice-cream van. There wasn't much of a queue and the organisers let us in early, possibly wanting to avoid punters from succumbing to the heat while waiting outside. After a brief chat with Duncan at Trent Miniatures John headed off to the book sellers while I trundled in the opposite direction to take a look at the games. Below are the 'photos wot I took' or the better photos at any rate. Those games omitted is not a suggestion that they were not up to scratch, more likely that my photos weren't good enough or I missed them. I didn't photograph many of the participation games. Again, the majority were good, but some were, well, silly.

I think this was put on by Kallistra. It depicts the Battle of Varna but my memory may have failed me. It looked pretty good anyhow.

The assault on Crete 1941 by Mr James Morris and the Lenton Wargames Club.

Like a Stone Wall's depiction of the British in the back of beyond at the end of WW1, near Baku I think. It involved 'Dunsterforce', all in 1/72nd scale, which got me thinking, and later rummaging, among Hat, Zvezda and Streletz boxes. But I resisted.

Caliver Books put on another Back of Beyond game to promote the 2nd edition of Setting the East Ablaze. Very nice train. Great figures and the city was very eye-catching!

Wow! Stalingrad. Superb looking game and so much effort in  putting the ruins of  the city together.  

Steve Jones' depiction of the Battle of Camden 1780 in the AWI. Superb figures, very nice terrain and the Crown forces finally won, but it was apparently a hard slog.
The Very British Civil War Forum put on this colourful and entertaining looking VBCW game, complete with lady lancers riding side-saddle. Not sure how that would work? 

Tell Lord Chelmsford we've found the Zulus! 'farsands of 'em!' Islandlwana . There were rather a lot of Zulus and the  Imperial forces looked very thinly spread on the ground. Fantastic spectacle it was too.

I don't know who put this on but they were well placed due to the nice breeze coming up from under the open doors behind them. An ACW game. 
The Forest Outlaws put on this splendid looking Napoleonic game. 

More excellent terrain and lots of derring do I imagine. I did like the Italian airbase in the background about to be done over by the Long Range Desert Group.  I think this was put on by the Westbury Wargames club.
(Graham of Cran Tara Miniatures put this game on depicting a 'what if' scenario entitled 'The Retreat'. Lovely figures and a very well presented teddy bear fur cloth. 
Bramley Barn Wargamers' El Cid game. Again, a large battle, lots of troops, simple terrain.

Great War Miniastures' WW1 game featuring Portuguese on the western front which must be a first for a display game.  Outstanding looking game, figures, aircraft, and airfield, lovely terrain and Aly and Dave were happy to talk and explain the scenario.
I think this is the battle of Cheriton in the English Civil War. 

The Biscotti Wars. Set during Garibaldi's expedition to capture Sicily from the Bourbons. The centre piece was fantastic and the figures looked splendid. The free biscuits were also splendid, but I had to have two of each in order to avoid displaying any bias. 
The Gothenburg Gamers' presentation of Suez 1956. I have lots of cousins in Gothenburg so I said I hadn't known there was a club there. "Och Noo Wee Lad!"  The guys are from outside Edinburgh and are based in a pub called the Gothenburg. I did like the aeroplanes.

Derby presented another great looking game, the Battle for Pechory Momastery in 1701 during the Great Northern War.  Great figures from lots of different manufacturers apparently, but I didn't notice. They all looked excellent, and it looked cold.
I don't recall who put this Napoleonic game on but it was colourful and well presented. I am not a fan of hex boards; I think they're a 'marmite' subject.
The Perrys put the Battle of Germantown in the AWI on. As one  would expect, gorgeous figures and superb terrain.
The League of Augsberg and their War of the Three Kings demo.  It was the usual high quality that one would expect from Barry and his chums. I watched for a bit and think I have a better grasp of the rules, which I want to try out for my 1672 Franco-Dutch collections.
Durham Wargames Group put on a Punic War game. I was a member of the DWG for more years than I care to remember, from 1971 till not long ago. I know many of the members very well and have war-gamed with some of them for 40-odd years, both at the Club and at my house. At the risk of offending everyone, the game was not of the usual high standard expected of DWG, and if I was wearing my old work hat I would put them in 'special measures' on the basis of this display. Talking to the guys I think they agreed.

Nostalgia sometimes is good. 'Defending Hyboria'. An excellent blast from the past using a lovely collect of flats.
15mm Napoleonic using General d'Armee. 
A few more shots of Great War Miniatures' April 1918 game. My favourite by a country mile (however long that is). 
The Zulus are in the camp. Time for Messrs Melville and Coghill to take the colours to safety. This was in my top three games.

Well there you have it. Some excellent games on show, both demo and participation. There was a definite trend towards the use of cloths rather than terrain boards. Many of the cloth-based games looked good, great even, but in others the standard of cloths used was a bit poor to put it mildly. Certainly the very good home made ones and the commercially available ones look great, as did many of the terrain board games. Effort is still required whatever your chosen medium, and at Partizan there was oodles if it!

I had a good chance to catch up with and speak to lots of friends and acquaintances from the wargames world. (Charles, did you get me message on messenger with the info you wanted?). There were others who I saw but couldn't catch  up with, and it was rather nice when on a couple of occasions chaps, complete strangers, came up to me to say how much they enjoyed this blog. 

And the swag? A few bits of terrain (impulse buy), plus some pre-ordered terrain for my 1799 Switzerland project. I also picked up six battalions of French infantry in 1792 uniforms from Matthew Fletcher of 'Three Armies' miniatures' recent kickstarter, like I need any more. I also collected 60 painted cavalry off my mate Barry to add to my 1806 Prussian army, and a few tokens from of The League of Augsburg. Oh, and I got another battalion of Polish Legion for my FRW French army. And a book on using an Ottoman army for Napoleonic, and another book on the Austerlitz campaign. 

Thanks to John for driving me down. It was a great day and I am looking forward to 'the Other Partizan' in August. I'm sure Ive forgotten something I meant to say, but it'll come back to me.