Thursday, May 31, 2012

WW2 Barbarossa To Berlin game on table

Game arrived yesterday and with day off today I had a chance to set it up ready for a try out later.
Usual GMT standard components with a paper map.
System does not look to complicated as largely dictated by card play but there are a number of exceptions to take note of.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

No Peace Without Spain (Vassal) End of 1708 turn

Just finished 1708 turn of my ongoing Vassal game with Norman of No Peace Without Spain. Year started with events phase seeing me pull the 'Minorca Falls' card which gives Allied fleet in the Med a +1 roll making things risky for French to launch their Toulon fleet. French draw was 'Death Of Emperor Joseph' which increases chance of successful peace negotiations by +1 making it more likely for Britain to withdraw from the war in 1710. Both sides then replenished troops and re-distributed Leader for the years campaigning. Bourbon now have overall initiative and so went first this year.

In Austrian theatre French moved on Salzburg and a close battle was fought (7 vs 7 dice) when Eugene intercepted. Eugene came out victorious and Bourbon limped back from whence them came. Eugene later done same to another Bourbon incursion at Linz narrowly winning 3 hits to 2 hits and forcing Bourbons back from approaches to Vienna. Things pretty much stalemated in Austria after that.

In Iberian Peninsula Bourbons having ousted Allies from Portugal began to wear down the isolated Portugese forces.  An Allied army moved around the area capturing a couple of unfortified spaces. At years end Bourbons narrowly failed to capture Elvas and thereby destroy the Portugese (one half Corps remains).

In Flanders I tried to draw out and damage the massive (14 dice) French force by moving Galway and his Army to Lille. Villars intercepted with his 14 dice vs the Galways 7 (I hope to at least cause some damage to his force). However things turned out badly for brave Galway as his troops took 5 hits and lost a Corps inflicting only 2 on the French horde. This meant the first Famous Victory of game to French. I then hurled Duke and his army at Bouchain again drawing the attention of Villars army. This battle had 14 French dice vs 12 Allied but the bloody Duke reverted to his ineffectual self losing 5 hits to 4 hits and limping backwards. Restoring damaged and demoralized Corps name of game for both sides after that.

Despite the numerous Battles neither side lost a 'named' Commander something which strangely has not occurred yet !!
Duke not performing is really hurting Allied cause and route to Paris barred firmly by Villars. Allies need a big success in 1709 before British Withdrawl occurs as Austria and others not tough enough on there own I fear.
Some exciting battles this turn with Eugene and Villars showing their mettle but Duke failing yet again.

Opening moves of the year

End of year in Austria

Flanders near years end with 2 Demoralized Allied Armies (yellow outlines)

Spain at years end

Overall situation at end of year 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Another Board Wargame purchase !! Barbarossa To Berlin

I just cannot resist some of the games on EBay/Boardgame Geek especially if OOP titles or at nice price and so..................

Bought this from BGG and hopefully here by next weekend when I am off :-)

Copy I have purchased is 1st Edition but as far as I can tell only a few minor changes between editions.

Seems to be World War II version of the highly rated Paths Of Glory (World War One) which is still a pricey item.

The addiction continues unabated.....................................

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

DBMM Western Frankish vs Norman

Played a Dbmm game against Stephen using a hastily assembled Western Frankish army versus his newly painted Normans (circa 1066). A good game with two unmaneuverable armies ! Normans got better of terrain selection but had to set up first. They occupied a large gentle hill with dismounted Knights and Bowmen flanked by a mass of Knights a block of Light Inf in a central wood and more dismounted knights holding a gap between woods and a vineyard. On their left they fielded a large contingent of Breton cavalry (whose general counts as a sub-general) My host comprised a central command of Spearmen with Bowmen and Light Inf in support a large Command under the CinC of Knights with a contingent of  Vikings on my right (whose General also counts as a sub-general) and more Knights with some Light Horse on my left.
I set up at an angle to Stephens deployed army hoping that the one piece of boggy ground on my right (placed by Stephen) could delay the Bretons whilst my two blocks of Knights tried to pierce enemy lines.
As suspected the Bretons moved to flank my line and indeed where delayed a couple of turns by the boggy ground (and low Pip dice). Eventually they did flank my Vikings (whose own Pip dice were unhelpful) but the lowly Viking Bondi did sterling service surviving several combats whilst out numbered. In the center I hurled my CinC command of Knights uphill at the waiting foot but had two shot down and two others killed in close combat !! Stephen brought his own Knights forward and whilst they did not die to my shooting they were forced o flee in columns which really messed with Pip usage. On my left two Knight General and entourage attacked the line of foot at first bouncing off but then breaking through the line and breaking the enemy command. Sadly this coincided with my main Knightly array also breaking. When we called time things were drawn but with my Knights if Pips were kind likely to sweep into enemy rear. Vikings were still fighting valiantly (couple had survived rear attacks) but getting badly out maneuvered by the Bretons. In center my Foot were becoming disjointed and in danger but Stephen still unable to bring all his Knights to bear. An interesting encounter between two fairly evenly matched armies full of Inept (all my non lights were Inept) troops and subject to vagaries of Pip dice. KnF are very fragile troop type susceptible to shooting and getting into trouble with lone follow-ups.

Norman deployment

Western Frankish in the open

Initial advance

Bretons begin their sweep

Norman foot holding hill

Norman Knights

Foot holding gap on Norman right

Frankish Knights who eventually broke through

Frankish foot in center

Bretons advance on Vikings

Friday, May 18, 2012

No Peace Without Spain: Vassal game 1707 completed

Another year of my Vassal game with Norman has been completed.
Further year of mixed fortunes for Allies.
Year started with Commisard Rebellion event which allowed me to force Berwick to be withdrawn deal with it (he comes back in 1708 with a fresh corps in tow).
Bourbons drew Altranstadt (Great Northern War) event which removed a Subsidy Corps from my OOB until 1708.
Both sides then recieved reserves and built-up depleted Corps. Bourbon did not launch their Med fleet this year (must have run out of wood or sailors).
Eugene in Austria moved on Inglostadt laying siege to it but retired when a larger French force lead by the able Villars approached and spent the rest of campaigning season at Linz.
The newly raised Savoy Corps also invested Milan which fell to them gaining me 2VPs (much needed). However elsewhere in this theatre Stahremburg was brought to battle and defeated languishing bruised and battered (first full corps of game lost in this battle) at Mirandola in Italy.
French laid siege to Trent which fell to them at years end (-1VP).
In Flanders the Duke advanced yet again on Namur managing to bypass the Fortified Lines. A nearby French force tried to intercept but failed.
The Duke then duly took Namur by force (+2 VP) at last repaying faith put in him by all and sundry (ie me !!).
This saw Bourbons transferring several Corps and a large army into the region most likely to force a show-down in 1708.
No campaigning in Spain at all this year staus quo being maintained.
So a small gain in VPs but some losses sustained and a large build-up of French strength in Flanders and Austria not boding too well for any future gains.
Such an engrossing game this.

The Duke finally (!!!!) comes good taking major fortress at Namur

End of year in Flanders

Spain (static situation) and Italy

Overall situation view

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Maurice a 'proper' game

Played another game of Maurice today versus Stephen using my SYW Russians vs his Prussians.
Used the Army Builder system with two 100 point armies.
I fielded 17 units (1 Conscript 3 Trained &; 1 Elite Regular Cavalry with 3 Artillery and 8 Trained & 1 Elite Regular Infantry) with 'Steady Lads' army ability.
Prussians had 14 units (2 Elite & 2 Trained Cavalry 3 Artillery and 6 Trained & 1 Elite Infantry) with 'Lethal Volleys' and a 'Cavalier' Cavalry Charge Bonus card.
We drew an Urban set up card and I elected to defend (which gives Attacker a bonus Regular Unit which Stephen took as another Infantry unit).
A really enjoyable game ensued with Prussian setting up second and threatening my right wing with his Cavalry.
Ivans then advanced Infantry in center forcing Prussians to react thereby delaying the Cavalry.
This worked except that my Infantry took awful casualties from Prussian volley fire losing in the end 4 units of Infantry !!!
However we later discovered Stephen had mis-read the 'Lethal Volleys' card to allow all missed shooting rolls to be re-rolled whereas it should be re-roll failed Disruptions hits. 
This made the card a lot more potent that it should be (although the re-rolls of failed Disruptions still powerful).
I was subjected to the 'Not on the map' card finding 3 of my Infantry delayed by a marshy area.
Here I made a mistake forgetting that units not in same formation cannot be part of same formation for activations.
We allowed Stephen to discard one of my hand cards at random to compensate for my moving too many units in a single activation as I had units in column and line.
I then decided to launch my right wing cavalry in a death or glory charge against Prussian horse (whose extra ability only counted if they conducted the charge), but I charged without any melee modifying cards in my hand and was subjected to the Prussians playing a 'Stirups Forward' card which gave them +2 in each combat and my horse got mugged.
This left them vulnerable to being charged themselves which duly happened and they melted away taking Russian morale with them.

I learnt a lot today about the subtleties as opposed to bare mechanics of the game.
As defender having a reserve deployed in column is desirable to move to enemy focal point.
I mistakenly placed my Guns on a hill not realizing this gives them a -1 to shooting  (cannonballs digging into ground I assume) and that I should probably have maximized terrain (I chose to use my lower dice roll total) to try to close of a flank and channel enemy.
I also realized that in my solo game I had given shooters too many dice ie 2 per base (ala cannister) instead on 1 per base so volleys exchanges more attritional in nature today.
Also I ought to check enemy cards when used to make sure correctly applied !! :-)

Both really enjoyed the game with its to and fro nature, the card interaction and period flavour thereon, the tough decisions one has to make regarding use of cards and the fast and slick mechanics of the game system.
We went threw roughly one and a half decks today so got see a lot of cards in action.
And had smoke blocking fire, stirrups, deadly fire, a card that allowed me to move one enemy unit to break up a formation, co-ordinated moves, firefights, first fire and several others all generating a nice balance of chaos and narrative.

We are both already thinking how to improve play and army structure and how to apply to more historical type games.
The game has a lot of flexibility in this regard. Both found that a bland reading of rules really fails to convey the nature of the game play.
Very much a 'suck em and see' set. I initially queried lack of shooting for early period cavalry, no distinction between Heavy Cavalry types, no distinction between Rank and Platoon firing methods but once game gets going you realize they are not required in a game of this scope and design and yet the outcomes are and feel plausible.

First time ever we have failed to polish of the 'on-table' snacks during a game and we almost forget lunch so engrossed where we in the game which says a lot believe me !!!!!!

Opening artillery bombardments

The Prussians 

The Russians

Russian right wing horse

Russian center

Prussian right wing

Prussian center

Russian Infantry advance and 'find' that damn marsh

Prussian horse threaten my right

Forced into columns to avoid the difficult ground

Clash of foot in center (which had schewed outcome due to mis-reading of card) Russians have already lost 2 front line units here and 2 more about to go.

It did take Prussian focus away from their cavalry sweep

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Storm Over Stalingrad new arrival

Latest EBay purchase 'Storm Over Stalingrad' by MMP arrived today.
Just set up and ready to give it a whirl.
Nice concise 6 (!!) page rule book and game looks to be very playable as a lot of stuff tied up in card decks for each side.
Artillery, Air Power and suchlike are card 'effects'.
Much lower unit count than in old Avalon Hill title 'Turning Point Stalingrad'.