Thursday, June 28, 2012

Field Of Glory Napoleonics first try out

Had a bash today with Stephen using the Field Of Glory Napoleonics rules which we have both had since publication and not used (one of many such sets !!). I used my Prussians in 1813 incarnation with 3  'Brigades' against Stephen's French of 3 'Corps'. We used the terrain and deployment from the rules which is standard FOG with selections, dice for placement, dice to move/remove and deploy 3 units each in turn. Only real difference is free but compulsory presence of a road down central sector and one gentle hill for defender. Gave us a fairly plausible table layout.
My Brigades comprised 3 Infantry 'Regiments' 1 Medium Artillery Battery and 1 Cavalry Regiment each.  1 Landwehr (Large units) per Brigade and Cavalry were 1 Heavy Dragoon, 1 Light Hussar  and 1 Landwehr Lancers (Large). Each Brigade had 'attachments' in form of 1 Rifle Skirmisher, 1 Medium Artillery and 1 Cavalry base (these attach to units replacing a base generating varied benefits/bonuses). My units were all Average Line except for 2 Veteran Infantry and the Landwehr types which are all Conscripts. French had several Conscript foot couple of Veteran Light Foot 1 Veteran Heavy Artillery Battery and 3 Medium Batteries with 2 Light and 1 Heavy Cavalry. They had only a few skirmishers attachments (I think 1 per Division) plus 1 Officer. Both sides had a Corps Commander and 3 Divisional Commanders but French Corps leader had 2 Cmd Points value as Skilled whilst all other leader were Competent with 1 Cmd Point each.
As just learning rules we skipped flank attacks and reserve commands and simply lined up for a bash. French as defender cannot move voluntarily forward of their deployment zone (exception to occupy villages withing one move) for 2 turns and my attacking Prussians (who failed to get possible 1-2 extra units as attackers) cannot do any retrograde moves for 2 turns.
The Command point system seemed to work well and we could see that it would reward a good initial plan and concentration of effort. The single French bonus more significant that seemed apparent as was the Officer attachment (as he essentially gives the unit he is with an inherent CP in addition to Combat bonus and Rally ability). Movement is straight forward enough with anything complex requiring a test and use of a CPs. Standard wheeling, formation changing etc if outside 2" of enemy.
Firing again fairly easy to calculate as its FOG style number of dice per unit plus bonuses then To Hit numbers with +/- Points of Advantage. Generally 5/6 at anything but short range. One change from FOG/FOGR is that the +/- POAs only count for own unit (ie not + to you = - to enemy as well).
I did manage one assault into a village which was rebuffed (you have to Break defenders to chase them out) but managed to shoot them to destruction following turn (rolled 5 hits out of 8 dice !!).
Rallying easy as well if a Commander attaches and  such Cohesion tests are different to standard FOG as instead of needing 7+ or whatever on 2 D6 one now rolls 2 D6 needing to score 5+ or whatever on any of these. Usual bonuses to numbers of dice or required numbers or re-rolls for being Guard, Superior, Veteran or Poor in most circumstances.
Sequence of play worked well with CP allocation phase - Assault Phase (Active player but other can react) - Firing Phase active player first - Movement Phase active player only - Combat Phase (ie Melee) - Rally/End Phase.
We quite liked the game despite being bit slow (our own fault to a degree as neither of us had read in anything approaching any depth prior to game !!) as we learnt as we went. I suspect not as slick as Lasalle but possibly more variety to the game overall ?
Biggest bug bear probably the usual FOG 'pertinent rules all over the place' effect as often slow to find what we were looking for as referenced in several sections. QRS a bit cryptic until you get hang of it then  works okay.
The attraction of a points system to enable quickly setting up for an evening game will likely bring us back to this set again. Whether they reflect Napoleonic warfare to a degree enough to satisfy us remains to be seen.
All in all a fun first outing

French lines

Prussians opposite

French defend town

Prussians showing off their attachments (Skirmisher, Cavalry and Artillery)

More Prussians

French on hilltop

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

WW2 Barbarossa To Berlin game played 2 player

Played the excellent Barbarossa To Berlin game with my Dad and we managed a full 7 turns even though his first try and only my second.
Really good game with Barbarossa being pretty much blunted, as my Dads dice rolls not great, although Leningrad did fall in early 1942.
In my Dads words 'N.Africa is just a drain on German actions and resources' as I used the British and commonwealth forces here quite aggressively (mainly due to having Mandatory Attacks forced on me though) giving Rommel and Pz Armee Afrika a bit of a bloody nose.
I launched Op Sledgehammer in 1942 opting to land at Calais on French coast but this beach head was soon crushed by arriving German Panzer reserves (But this did divert them from Eastern Front).
When we ended we had just one turn with the Total War cards added to deck but I was about to launch Op Avalanche in Med theatre whilst Germans and Soviets were both cranking out new Panzer/Mech armies ready for showdown in the East.
I really like this game as it does feel likeone is playing with a historical time-line (some players de-cry the amount of 'scripting' that occurs) without being uninteresting or lacking in options.
Great for what it is a strategic card driven game of European Theatre 1941-45.
Am tempted to buy the deluxe/mounted map board and possibly the updated cards as I see us playing this one some more.

Initial turn (note my Dad wearing garment that matched his 'checkered' career in Russia)

Initial Barbarossa assaults 

North Africa as Pz Armee arrives (having replaced Afrika Korps)

Ill-fated OP Sledgehammer landing at Calais

Pushed into the sea by Panzers

Russian Mechanized Fronts bust through Army Group South as their Comrades try to contain Army Group North at Leningrad

Pz Armee re-appears in Triploi having been destroyed earlier outside Tobruk

Monday, June 25, 2012

Red Storm Over The Reich 2+ turns completed (pic and waffle heavy)

Had a solo play through of Red Storm Over The Reich today (see earlier entry re Set-up with Pics and Video). First turn inevitably slow as I referred to rules. Not a complex game by any means in terms of systems used and the various Game Charts etc make things fairly straightforward. Lots and lots of opportunities for both sides to move in the game governed mainly by a movement 'matrix/level' generated by dice rolls with differing vales for Soviets and Germans and for Infantry vis Mechanized types (some units have set moves or limited opportunities). Different to play a game wherein Soviets have initiative from the get go. They get to initiate Move and Assault (with some limited German mechanized Reaction) phase first then get a Breakthrough phase before the German Move and Assault phase and then also get first dibs in the Exploitation phase (during which Overrun attacks can occur) and the finally go first in the Redeployment phase. Only as I played through first turn did I realise the extent of the dangerous posistion this puts the Huns in ! Their line is held mainly by Infantry Divisions (who if stacked alone cannot initiate attacks) and who die in droves although there is a nice KampfGruppe rule where on a certain result the 'dead' Inf leaves a KG/Cadre (a similar KG rule for Mech units) behind instead of being removed totally meaning potentially more delay to Soviet steamroller. The caveat is that these results are not certain on CRT and KG cannot be formed if unit is Out Of Supply. And this I soon learned is how the Soviets gain upper hand very quickly as any initial breakthrough soon becomes as series of nasty cauldrons of surrounded German units. Now the 'cauldron' units can still move, indeed ignoring ZOCs, but at half move allowance in limited direction (basically the 3 'rear' hex sides) and cannot end up adjacent to Soviet unit. If still OOS in the Attrition phase at turns end they lose a step which is often enough for ant damaged unit even the vaunted Panzer Divisions. The Germans do get a load of reserves and some re-placement points but they are generally low combat values and start on board edges or in towns/cities.

In my game I played two full turns which are in Frost conditions meaning Soviets are at their best for movement (in particular crossing rivers and lakes) and get full air support, the next two turns are in Mud which slows things down and ground the Soviet air force (mind you Huns only get one air 'barrage' counter but they do get Herr Rudel if only for one turn). The Red Army simply blew a massive whole in German centre that they would struggle to plug in any meaningful fashion as far as I can tell. The few surviving German units in the centre where relentlessly surrounded and immolated in turn. The German did have a small hedgehog in the South around the Silesian factories but this was under threat. They did do better further North in East Prussia where terrain is denser being pushed back but maintaining a more cohesive line of defence. A few other features in game with counter representing German surface ships Prinz Eugen and Admiral Scheer in Baltic (they can bombard like artillery) and counter for Refugee columns whose passage to safety aids German VPs. Germans are also hampered by Fuel Shortages wherein the Ivans can place 6 maximum markers on German mech units cutting their potential moves on half. Ther German get 2 Fuel Supply counters (if unit adjacent they cannot take or lose Fuel Shortage marker)From turn 2 onward German have to roll to see if Hitler demand attacks and whose failure to undertake costs VPs. One can see just how futile such attacks were with such weak German units in the face of Red Army might.
I called time mid way through turn 3 as I could see no real hope for Germans (hindsight reveals that they must pull back PDQ to try to preserve some units to shore up a defence line in the Mud turns). Next turn the Ivans would also cross the 'Soviet Supply Limit' line which for 3 turns cramps their style a tad but I still felt too much damage done to Hun cause.

I enjoyed this game and will give it another outing as it had a good 'feel' to it generating a real sense of the  Germans at this stage of the war of simply having too little too late and often in wrong place. 
Germans will not push Red Army back into Russia but must hold out better than they did historically to gain a victory.

Pics from Turn 1

Soviet Juggernaut in action with the light reflection pretty much mirroring their main attack axis in centre (and note the sudden lack of German units here !)

Southern area again showing paucity of Germans

Northern sector around East Prussia where some Germans remain

Germans desperately trying to form a defence around the Upper Silesian Industrial Area

Soviets fanning out in Western Poland as paltry German reserves try to stem the tide

East Prussia again with Germans shortening the line

Pics of Turn 2

Soviets adopting a 'broad front' strategy as they approach the Supply Limit Line 

Eastern Germany and Berlin lies open for the taking with only some lowly Garrison forces defending their cities

East Prussia still in German hands but potential to get cut-off becoming obvious

Silesian factories being surrounded

Large German losses just off-map (there about same again in the cup which are used for random Infantry replacements at rate of 4 per turn)

Silesian factories situation again

Not much to stem the Red tide in centre and yet another 'Cauldron' in trouble

Sunday, June 24, 2012

No Peace Without Spain Vassal game ends in 1710

1710 Year finished with this excellent Vassal game against Norman.
Year started with Desertion & Disease event allowing me to reduce 2 enemy Corps in Rugged areas. Then usual reinforcing by both sides prior to campaigning.
Bourbons elected to let Allies go first this year. Spain was a lost cause for Allies and they lost Cadiz by years end giving Bourbons control of Mediterranean (Allies must retain control of Lisbon or Cadiz). Austria fairly stagnant as Eugene fixed in place defending approaches to Vienna with strong French forces around him.
Allies had minor gains in Italy taking Naples for 2VPs (off set by Bourbon gains in Spain). A Savoian force did venture into France taking Lyons but were soon ousted and the city restored to Bourbon control.
In Flanders The Duke again failed to make any impression.
He did lay siege to Bouchain but only because the large French army refused to give battle, as no real need to (this would have been a whopping 15 vs 13 dice encounter) Duke then failed to take the fortress. Galway and minor leaders did fight battle against marginally stronger Bourbon forces but lost every encounter (I think at one point I had 3 demoralised forces on the board at once).
As this was 1710 at years end the French were able to offer concessions (ie VPs) and roll for British Withdrawl and of course the treacherousness curs managed to bribe Perfidious Albion at first attempt. With VPs standing a 8 it was an auto Victory for Bourbons (Allies would have needed 14 VPs to stay in the game)

So very well done to Norman.

I think Allies were up against it when Duke under performed (The Tower for him upon return !!) in early years both by failing to take forts and losing battles, as once the Bourbon reserves come in gains are much harder to achieve here.
Flanders a tough area to campaign in with so many tough fortresses to overcome and yet its where Duke seems best suited and bulk of Allies tend to congregate.
Bourbons have strategically easier task with interior lines and not being forced to fight a battle except on their own terms.
I think they can afford a few more mistakes/set backs than Allies maybe ?
French Generals are pretty good overall in game and have just as much chance of causing 'hits' as their counterparts.
Amazingly we did not lose a single named Leader throughout and yet in my solo games they seemed to drop like flies.

As my first outing with Vassal system I found this a hugely enjoyable experience (against a gentleman of an opponent) with a very good and Vassal friendly game in No Peace Without Spain.
Norman has offered to re-play as Allies and am more than willing to have another go as the system is such that no two games will play exactly the same.
But am also willing to lose to him at another title so watch this space..................................................

Duke amasses huge force at Bouchain but French refused to fight (cowardly curs)

End in Flanders (note VP level)

End in Italy/Austria (Note Savoians chased back home by Elector)

End in Spain with Cadiz back in Bourbon control

Overall End game situation

Friday, June 22, 2012

iPad video of Red Storm Over The Reich wargame and yet another Ebay purchase !!

Testing out video function on iPad with Red Storm Over The Reich board wargame in my best 'Hollywood' shaky cam style and dulcet Ulster tones :-) 

Also managed to acquire this game on Ebay for under £20 all in. It gets good reviews and its concerns an interesting period with Mssrs Montcalm and Wolfe et al.

Red Storm Over The Reich set up

Spent a good portion of afternoon setting up this new game for a solo bash. Really big map but looks rather good. Now I just need to read the rules !!

Lines drawn up January 1945

Not much behind German front line

Only a few units initially on approaches to Berlin

The charts for game

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

DBMM Sassanid versus Late Roman

Another Dbmm game at Stephens as practice for him for local Celtic Cup competition on Sunday (which I cant attend due to working- boo hoo).
He is (possibly) using his Late Romans so I fielded my Sassanid Persian for a contemporary match-up. Two quite evenly matched armies these in Dbmm.
A really good game helped by my Irregulars getting fairly good Pip dice rolls for once and the Roman Regulars fairly poor rolls.
Terrain pretty much perfect for the Romans mind you and so I decided to flank march on my right with my Hun Ally command.
They threw a six first turn so arrived on second ! not my usual fate with flank attacks.
They caused Romans several problems but were broken by tough Roman Auxilia.
However on opposite flank I managed to break the Moorish allied command (another bunch of mainly Light Horse).
The B@~+$"d Roman artillery mounted on wagons (of which there were 4) did not cause many casualties (1 KnX) but did disrupt my lines badly meaning I could not get a solid charge at his Legionnaries.
A dust up between my AuxS and more Roman AuxS (with advantage of hill) saw my chaps cut down almost to a man.
I had in one turn two enemy Generals hard flanked and failed to kill either !!
We had to end as midnight came upon us (too much pre-game waffling) and game undecided but looking like Romans might gain upper hand.
After so many games of Dbmm we amazed ourselves by discovering a rule we had been doing wrong all along regarding Pip costs of moving Inept troops less than full move straight ahead.
We always costed a single element move short as 2 pips but somehow realised that the +1 only counts for Groups moves in this instance.

Some fairly ropey iPhone pics as not great lighting

Sassanid deployment

Romans opposite

Romans on one hill.....................

And on another..............

The valley defenders with those annoying ArtF

Persian Cataphracts line up in centre

Persian left with couple of Pachyderms

Right wing supports Cataphracts

Moorish allies of the Romans

Asavaran (Clibinarii) lined up

Cataphracts being disorganized by Artillery

Struggle for hill

Moors about to get clobbered

Huns arrive

And get right into trouble