Sunday, December 14, 2014

A Field Of Glory Ancients and Shogun Saturday with a new arrival....................

Had a quick game of Field Of Glory with Stephen using my Romans versus Carthaginians.
Not much to say about this one as it was straightforward bash in center of table which which went the way of Carthage in the end.
We are finding FOG a great system for quick games when time for preparation is minimal or non-existent and we just want to play a game.

Later it was three player game of Shogun with my Dad and son (home from England for a few days).
Great fun with this game.
Nice components combined with Risk style domination and combat systems make for good game.
I twice managed to obtain services of the Ninja and took out enemy Daimyos including my lads last one whom I then managed to destroy with my experience level of 2 ending the game in my favour.

This also arrived and I hope to get a game set up and played with these asap

Sunday, December 07, 2014

More Imperial Eagle (and a little bit of Combat Commander)

Played several more turns using Imperial Eagle rules.
I like the rules as a fast play set.
Things move along briskly with fairly large moves rates. Infantry in Attack Column move 4 base width (ie 16cm) and Cavalry in Attack Column/Waves a whopping 8BW making them a dangerous proposition.
Firing is simple with a number of D6 per base firing (usually 1 per eligible base with 2 for Artillery Canister/Grapeshot).
Hits are on a 4+ (skirmisher hit and are hit on 5+) subject to a few modifiers for terrain and suchlike.
Every 2 hits generates a casualty (base loss) with odd 'left overs' being rolled for with a 1 causing an additional casualty.
Losses can be marked or bases removed as suits the gamer.
Melees are similar with base dice being 2 D6 per base (only 1 for artillery caught in melee) but with more modifiers to cover Infantry vs Cavalry and vice versa.
Squares half attacking Cavalry base dice for instance.
Heavy Cavalry gain 2D6 extra.
Bonus dice are for things like Guard troops or having a higher Elan rating (Heroic-Valiant-Reliable-Unreliable-Irregular I think) than opponent.
So my Young Guard have a basic 6 dice (4 basic +1 Guard +1 Valiant) versus Prussian line with 4 dice (4 basic and Reliable). 
Skirmishers are well handled with 1-2 'mini' bases out ahead of base unit.
These fire at other skirmishers initially and can soak up hits in lieu of these being inflicted on parent unit but will accordingly disappear eventually.
They 'run' to rear of parent unit when within 2BW of Infantry (6BW of Cavalry) or if unit charged and do not count in melee.
Melee outcomes see loser retreat a half move then test Discipline and if 1 rolled it converts to a Rout with a further half move away and Discipline tests on friends within a danger zone. A quirk is that Infantry routs only affect other Infantry and Cavalry only other Cavalry. Artillery does not rout but is destroyed in place.
The sequence of play is interesting with a Bombardment phase for both sides artillery followed by an Initiative phase wherein the active player can fire Muskets or Charge, enemy can only fire as reaction to firing or charging units.
Then comes a Movement phase for active player during which and can again conduct charges.
Units within enemy Zone of Control (4-6 BW) wanting to change formation must test Discipline.
One rule I do like is the Interpenetration/Passage of Lines with the static unit having to pass a Discipline test to allow friends to pass through directly from front or rear only.
Artillery are no obstacle to pass-throughs.
Then its a Musketry Phase guessed it.....musket firing.
Then Melee is fought.
After this another interesting phase termed Tactical Movement with Brigades possibly activating to move their units outside enemy ZOC.
The Brigades activate on a 2D6 roll under their Brigadiers Command level (7-10) with a maximum of two Tactical Moves (Marching might be better description) allowed.
No firing or charging is allowed in this phase.
Then it is a Rally phase when Commanders can try to restore unit losses (as casualties are Morale/KIA combo) at rate of 1 per Commander for any units outside enemy ZOC.
Another aspect I like in rules is that Cavalry involved in Melee are Blown afterward but can recover in this phase either automatically if outside ZOC or by dice roll.
Turn ends with a Victory Determination phase then its enemy turn to go through these phases.

Rules include several Orders of Battle taken from actual OOBs such as Leipzig, Ligny, Waterloo and several more earlier OOBs.
These are based around a core Divisional with several options of Support Brigades.
Author says he will release more OOBs.
There is also a Competition style scenario generators for encounters (although I found the terrain in these less than inspiring) to be set up or an attack vs defence type game.
Test game I tried had a good deal more units than the generator

Overall I like the rules as a nice alternative to something like Lasalle, Napoleon at War or Shako.
Game seems (only tried solo of course) to tick along nicely with good decisive outcomes to firing and combat.

But on the downside the rules (especially for a set touted as a competition set) do lack a lot of definition of key terms and full explanation of several concepts.
Nothing that one cannot sort in a friendly style game but I fear a competition setting might cause problems.
As an example nowhere (that I can find) is it described how a Square fights in terms of how many dice it uses to fire or melee ?.
Similarly no firm definition of size of built up areas or capacity (although one can glean this from examples).
Also whilst implied (and indeed intuitive and in one example) the rules do not actually declare how many ranks can fire for different formations (author does explain some stuff on the TMP site but such basic stuff really should have been in the rules text IMHO).
A simple glossary of terms would fix this readily and no doubt a FAQ will appear in due course as per just about every other set out there.

Also played 3 scenarios of Combat Commander Mediterranean at my Dads (with 3 wins !!) which was it usual excellent way to spend an evening. 
The French/Minor Allied deck is a frustrating deck to play with but very satisfying when a win ecked out despite it. 
First scenario was French Moroccans defending a sunken road then it was Canadians at Ortona and finally Yugoslavs defending a river crossing.
Great stuff

Friday, December 05, 2014

On the table Imperial Eagle (and watched game of Field Of Glory Ancients)

Have set up a game to trial this latest Napoleonic set Imperial Eagle which I have acquired.
Not strictly able to go with the orders of battle contained in book as I do not have the correct French types but should be fairly balanced I hope.
Rules generally seem to have a Division of 2-3  Brigades with usually 1 or at most 2 Support Brigades but I have used forces a tad larger to try various troops types.
Only played a couple of turns but initial reaction is that I like the overall simplicity of the rules as regards combat and movement mechanics.
Some concepts are not fully defined and have asked a for a few clarifications on TMP (no reply from author as yet). Has very much the look and feel of Lasalle or Napoleon at War game (in fact I used one of the Lasalle maps) but with simpler mechanics overall.
Will flesh out a fuller opinion of rules once I play some more.

Also today spectated a game between the brothers Brittain as they fielded a Scots Common versus Feudal English encounter using Field Of Glory V2.
A fun game with the Scots spear manfully making a comeback after their Isleman Allies were crushed on a wing.
A highlight was a lowly unit of Scots skirmishing bowmen shooting to Rout a unit of English Superior Knights (!!!!!) as they rolled 2 dice 3 times getting 2 hits each time causing 3 Cohesion tests on Knights which they promptly failed three times despite attention of a General.
Not often something like this happens.
However couple of Scots Spear succumbed to English Bow/Swordsmen bringing the army to Breakpoint despite having destroyed or routed a couple of English foot units.
Both armies much more usable and indeed much more fun to field in FOG than DBMM was overall opinion.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

L'Art De La Guerre another new Ancients wargame set tried

Quick play test with another new Ancients set L'Art De La Guerre a sort of DBx derivative by a French author now available in English.

The standard 15mm game is on a 120" x 80" board (sort of like Dbmm 200) with a 200pt army made up into 3 Corps/Commands.
The rules allow for smaller (100pt) or larger 300/400pt games on correspondingly larger table (300/400pt of a 'standard' 6' x 4').

Units are single Dbx sized bases of Cavalry or Light Infantry with other Foot being in 2 or 3 ranks (ie 2-3 standard Dbx bases) with moves being in UD (unit distance) which equates to Base Width ie just like Dbmm.

It uses a Pip type system but somewhat different Dbx.
You roll for each Commander adjust for his quality then halve to get Pips.
Group moves are allowed.

Unlike Dbx suitably armed units can shoot at 1-4 UD (1 for Javelins 2 for LI/LH/Cav Bow/Sling and 4 for foot Bow only units).
Units exchange shots in each others turn with a max of 1 Cohesion loss inflicted.
Units vary from 2 to 4 Cohesion.
Like Sword and Spear they die in place once Cohesion level lost with Rout tests for friends within 1 base.
Any unit with a Choesion hit additionally counts as Disordered

Again like Sword and Spear units can Rally off hits even in Melee but correspondingly easier the further you are from enemy.
Melee is based on a base hit factor then taking account of circumstances such as opponent type, armour classes, Impact, Impetus and the usual sorts of factors.
Units in Melee roll off against each other with loser taking hits based on level of defeat suffered.
Movement is well explained with options for group expansion, turns, charge moves and evades etc.

No real difference between Regular and Irregular troop types but this is shown in the overall Command levels of armies with good (mainly Regular) armies having level of 5-6 most others 3-4.
These command points allow purchase of several types of Commanders from Poor through to Brilliant with a corresponding effect on Pip rolls for their commands.
The Great Captains of history such as Hannibal or Alexander and suchlike can be purchased as Strategists with some additional benefits.
These heroic chaps are only available if listed in their Army listing.

The rules are nicely produced with a good smattering of examples throughout which is very helpful.
The rules also include terrain set up and deployment system and a huge list of armies with associated points costs/options covering from Summerian up to Mid Medieval periods and covering the vast bulk of armies (not quite as comprehensive as the 4 Dbmm lists but close and all in one volume).

I found brief test to be enjoyable with the rules falling in between Sword and Spear/Pulse of Battle and Dbmm/FOG in complexity.
Might be different case when playing bigger battles ?
Whilst they were fairly expensive (£25 + P&P) they compare well to Dbmm and FOG by being an all in one set.

I used Maurikian Byzantine versus Sassanid Persian and Byzantines have excellent Command level of 6 compared to Persian 4 allowing them to buy (Commander other than Ordinary types have a cost) good Command & Control as such.
A couple of quickly made up lists yielded 20 Byzantine units versus 26 Sassanid.
These unit levels are the Army Destruction level with a Routed unit counting as 2 and each Disordered/Left the table as 1, Camps lost count as 4 and lost Commanders vary by type.

Another set well worth exploring further.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

DBMM game: Western Frankish vs Carolingian

Played a Dbmm game today to give Stephen a practice game for Munster competition in January (which sadly I have to miss for second year in a row).
The theme is Armies and Enemies of the Celts but has a broad range of possible armies from all four list books. Stephen is thinking if trying Carolingian and nearest I could field from the theme list was Western Frankish (a sort of a successor army).
He used Charlemagne so his Knights were Regulars. However he used a Croatian ally which is disallowed by theme restrictions but made no matter to me.
My Franks where of course Irregular with a Viking Sub General.
It has been a while since we played Dbmm and both now find we have an 'issue' with several things the most glaring being with the amount of manoeuvre that is possible which we find is way too much for Ancients  period when thought about logically/historically.
After deployment it feels like we are re-deploying every game with the ability to march large groups of 'units'.
It happened today as my Knights found themselves facing diddly squat and marched across table to opposite wing (aided of course by good Pip rolls despite being Inept Irregulars)
The Carolingian knights done similar to switch sides and attack my now weakened flank. Hard to think of too many historical accounts were this happens so regularly.
The standard two Light Horse marched past my open wing into the 'backfield'.
However despite this it turned into a really good game as it essentially became a race to crush opposite left wings.
I was aided by the Croatian ally being Unreliable and allowing me to try to gang up on them. I was however unable to break through the Croatians and accompanying Franks and found my own left wing crushed by the highly mobile Regular Knights.
Dbmm certainly has a lot of variety built in with weather, time of day, and suchlike compared to Field Of Glory but now on balance I think I prefer the unit based approach.
And despite our chatting about how we have gone look warm on what was very much our favoured Ancients set we had damn good fun actually playing !!

The photos do show a good 'look' to the 'battle'.

My center

My Knights start their trek across battlefield leaving a doomed rearguard

Their destination a hill in front of static Croatians

Overview of set-up (note Light Horse at bottom starting their 'outflank')

Knights arrive and begin to form for charge

 Carolingian Knights doing same on opposite flank