Saturday, December 30, 2017

Black Powder: Glory Hallelujah game

Game of Black Powder today at Stephens using his ACW figures and as an opportunity to try out the Glory Hallelujah supplement we both have.
Scenario was from the supplement entitled 'Blacklotts Farm' (IIRC).
I took the attacking 4 Reb Brigades and Stephen his Federals 2 Brigades at start with 3 following.
All units were standard types with the Rebs having Rebel Yell trait (a +1 bonus to close combat dice).
Yanks fielded a 6 gun (ie large) Battery to test this out.

Game played really well and quickly with the various supplement rules adding good period flavour without changing the essential systems or bogging game down.
I like that units can only Move once if they wish to Fire and this pretty much allows use of standard sequence of play without moving Shooting phase to before Command.

The river slowed the Rebs allowing the Yanks to get their Reserve Brigades on table and into the line.
Game really hinged on 1 turn wherein I took 15 casualties across the line and failed to save a single one !
This left units weakened and close to becoming Shaken (3 hits for all Infantry) and I then quickly lost 2 Brigades to failed Morale (we play that a Brigade becomes broken at over 50% losses).
I tried to Break an enemy Brigade on my right with a charge but only managed to force them to Retire and a Shaken unit in my Brigade saw me lose the game as 3 out of 4 Brigades broken.
One Union Brigade was also broken and a Battery of guns lost bit otherwise their lines held and a 5th Brigade had just arrived as Rebs withdrew.
We enjoyed BP again for its fast play aspect and whilst I find the orders/activation system a bit arbitrary it works within the system as a whole.

Back to Freddies last stand tomorrow with Season of Battle/Field of Battle (where at least I am guaranteed to be on winning side !)

Note in later pics below the proliferation of Disorder (yellow) and Shaken (red) markers on my units.......................

Friday, December 29, 2017

Season of Battle second solo encounter with Field of Battle

Played through second battle generated by Season of Battle today (with third in process).

First encounter saw Russia increase its National morale whilst that of Prussia fell.

After each game you roll for units and this saw two Russian units being 'Left out of Battle' (off rejoicing or reforming?) whilst two other fell in quality.
Conversely the losing Prussian side retained all their units and had one unit increase in quality !

After a brief Campaign Action Cycle (playing solo I randomized the battlefield card selection a tad) a new battle was drawn up with Russian gaining some extra room to deploy (see last post) whilst Prussians got to realign a couple of commands (again see last post)

Fought the battle to a conclusion today with the Prussians getting completely trounced this time with a Crushing Russian Victory.
This allows Russians to advance up to 2 Areas on Campaign 'trail' in the case right to a decisive encounter in Prussian Home Base area (I termed Berlin).
The after battle resolutions this time saw Prussia have a unit go AWOL whilst Russians retained their force now with earlier absentees returning.
So Russia back to its initial 22 units with Prussia reduced to 17.
However this time several Russian units increased their elan whilst a couple of Prussians felt the weight of defeat and reduced in quality.
A consequence of winning also generates (based on Victory level what are termed Discretionary Points these can be used to Pursue enemy units or to Recognize your own units.
Essentially points are allocated (1-3 max) to amend a D12 roll to try to reduce enemy quality in Pursuit or try to increase own units quality.
A nice easy to use but flavoursome rule.
Russia failed to induce any of its own troops to improve but did manage to reduce a unit of Prussian Cuirassier by one quality level.

Russian presses forward on left wing with Grenadiers to the fore,

A holding action on their right wing

Center beats of Prussian attack

Usual Cavalry melee

Prussia starts to withdraw (waiting the fateful Army Morale Card to quit the field)

At battle end with Russians pressing forward everywhere

So next game see Prussia in basically 'last stand' mode as any form of defeat in their Home
 area ends the campaign (although with a mere 14 NMPs left they are in severe difficulties anyhow !)
Again Russia has managed to use its Action Cards to procure some extra Deployment Zones whilst Prussian managed to have a potential boost to force moral level on day of battle (sadly a low roll means they are on basic 18 level ie 1 per unit)

Battlefield and Campaign Action cards used to generate next encounter.
Prussians have refused battle once (trying to get favourable terrain card) but are forced to battle on next Action Cycle using map of Russian choosing.

Forces arrayed for final (?) clash.

Russians again deployed forward (into 2 zones)

An unfordable river on one flank  and a dense wood in center is channeling forces

Prussian right wing of 2 Infantry Brigades (now of somewhat mixed quality)

And their left (with Freddie) with Grenadiers and 2 Cavalry Brigades

Russian right with Cavalry in support to rear

Prussian right again

Russian Center and Right with Grenadier Brigade in lead once more

Russian Grenadiers up close

And a Musketeers Brigade (with one unit now Elite quality)
Gun Battery facing to rear to denote limbered status

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Season of Battle for Field of Battle solo play testing (and Santa pressies)

Brent Oman has kindly (I think ?) asked me to help play test his Campaign/Battle Generation system to be known as Seasons of Battle for the Field Of Battle rules.
I do not wish to give too much away other than to give a brief overview to whet appetites.
The aim of system is to generate battles (using Battlefield Terrain and Campaign Action cards) in a linked Campaign.
The Campaign is limited (might be expandable ?) to a linear set of areas 5 in total with both 'ends' being home base, one might call it a mini-miniatures-campaign !?
However the areas can be related to a real Campaign or Map fairly readily.
Forces consist of a single army each the composition of which does.not vary within the Campaign except for units be up or down graded or potentially absent from some battles if lost or routed in previous battle.
Once forces are mustered and 'rolled up' as per FOB then the central area becomes starting point for a Preliminary Battle (this needs some 'jazzing up' to quote Brent) and then subsequent battle flow from this.
Areas can be advanced into towards enemy base area depending on level of victory in a battle.
A Campaign ends when losing a Battle in your Home Area or when National Morale Points (a National Will of sorts) drop to zero, the NMP total is determined at Campaign outset based on army size and rolls on a table.
Losses in a battle can effect NMP total which in FOB terms means variable difference between winner and losers remaining Army Morale Points.
After each battle units are rolled for to see if they attend next battle or are up/down graded in quality (ie FOB dice types) which is linked to winning/losing and if they were Routed/Eliminated in the battle.
The table top battles are generated by use of a 54 card Battlefield Card Deck with 10 randomly allocated to each Campaign Area (with 4 spare one of which is used for Preliminary Battle).
A Campaign Card deck (again 54 cards) is used to generate the battle conditions and to select which of the 10 battlefields in an area is selected.
This 'action card' cycle can take place several times if forces try to avoid battle in unfavourable circumstances but eventually a battle will occur (even if only by going through the Action deck).
The Action cards have standard playing card symbology (Diamonds, Clubs etc) and are valued as per Black Jack as playing cards totaling 21 is the limit.
Additionally they can have Campaign actions such as Advancing to another battlefield card or indeed re-orienting a card 180 degrees (a hill is on enemy side of table ? not any longer !) or adjusting Deployment, Strength and such like depending on suit played and other factors.
This may sound complex but in practice its fairly slick and generates a nice background narrative to the table top encounters.
For those owning FOB2 this has some elements similar to the scenario generator in the rules (done with dice types rather than cards).
The Battlefield cards alone may be worth price of admission (no idea what this is to be ?) being based on a 9 x 5 grid (ie 1ft squares as per Brents table) but easily adapted to other table sizes and indeed the whole system could be used for other rule sets with a bit of tweaking I suspect.
They do not need to be slavishly adhered to either as Brent acknowledges that player terrain collections will vary from his.
So a hill mass could be rendered with several hills in same general area.
Cards are also not prescriptive as to density of terrain eg wooded area can be light to heavy as agreed or rolled for.

Sample battlefield card

I have tried setting up a solo SYW Campaign using FOB to get a feel for system and to play est as requested and several queries/clarification issues came up with draft rules but at its core the system is complete only rough edges/wording needing sorted. .

I had a Russian army of 22 units with 53 NMPs and a Prussian army of 18 units with 46 NMPs.
After initial battle which Russians won as Minor victory (next battle in same area) but increased their NMPs by 11 whilst Prussian NMPs fell by same amount.
Second battle now set up on new battlefield and with Russians having several extra deployment areas but Prussians being able to re-deploy some Command Groups.

Cavalry clash on uplands (note use of multiple hills to denote a large hill area)

Prussians push mounted forward on their right

The waterway I designated as a minor stream but it could be anything up to a major river

Russian horse moves from right to left wing behind an embattled Brigade of foot

Overview at preliminary battles end with Prussian center smashed

Set up for second battle with Russian able to deploy into face of Prussians. However Prussians able to re-deploy their mounted commands to threatened left wing. Both these 'actions' enabled through card play. Note also new battlefield and again use of multiple hills to denote large central ridgeline.

Now to Santa pressies (at least the wargame related ones)

Besides getting Dunkirk Blu Ray and a couple of Russian war movies on Dvd (Battle for Moscow and Battle for Smolensk) my main pressie was:

And of course some rules !! :-)

And a board game (sort of wargamey)

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Might & Reason: Paltzig scenario played

Seven Years War game using Might & Reason rules played at mine today with Stephen as Prussians against my Russians defenders.
Scenario depicted Battle of Paltzig (or Kay) July 1759 and designed for M&R.
Great game with Russians stymied by poor Commanders whilst Prussians had excellent Commanders despite having a poor C-in-C (Wedell).
My right wing force of Irregular Light Horse performed sterling service holding up the Prussian Cuirassiers and Hussars (very much battle cavalry in this period).
However once the very maneuverable Prussian foot got to musket range they simply blow away their opponents (they score hot on 5-6 rather than just 6 which is a BIG advantage) destroying 5 units of Russian foot in course of 3 turns.
I did manage to push my heavier cavalry from my left to right flank but their counterattacks were tame to say the least.
We did not finish the game but Prussia was in the ascendancy.
Great set of rules with very nice SYW flavour for the grand tactical scale they are set at (units are Brigades) and one can see the genesis of authors Blucher set in much.
Prussian shooting is maybe a tad overpowered but it sure works to show an advantage.
The system has enough inertia/unpredictability to satisfy my 'war is chaos' leanings but with ways to mitigate (through judicious use of Command Dice) some bad luck but with few guarantees.

The battlefield Prussian set up on right beyond the stream

Russian army in 5 'Forces'

Prussians cross the stream on their left

Russian right wing awaits (ie fail to activate)

Russians center (also immobile)

Russian center and right wing

Fermors force defends Paltzig on Russian left

Prussians under Kanitz fail to cross river (they did later but failed to advance)

Mounted action on Russian right

Prussian Cuirassier threaten Russian foot

Defenders of hill on Russian right

Russian left wing mounted force transferring in column to right wing