Monday, December 09, 2019

Tank Duel first outing

Played Tank Duel with Dad last night and very fun time it was.
Essentially game is Up Front for Tanks but with considerably lighter rules overhead.
Artwork is terrific (my poorly lit photos do NOT do justice to look of game) and its a very playable card driven system.
Eastern Front only (no doubt expansions for other regions in due course) but lots of tanks included (as large 'battle boards') such as T34 (several models) SU100, JS2 and of course Pz II, PzIV, Panther, Tiger 1 mainly mid to late war types.
A lot of abstraction in rules (to keep it playable) including limited Infantry and Anti-tank gun system but it all gels together well.
The cards (basic battle deck is 100 cards) are gorgeous with some variety included for scenarios (such as substitute terrain cards for city fights).
All game actions are conducted by card play (as per Up Front) and results recorded on the individual battle boards a separate Damage Deck is used for ....well... damage results and Morale tests.
For two players (up to 6 can play) its a minimum of 2 tanks per side.
After going through the helpful tutorial we set up a basic scenario using a PzIVG and StugG versus a pair of T34/76 M43.
Dads Stug proved deadly and hard to hit (has a -10 silhouette) taking out both T34s, lost vehicles 're-generate' (simulates other tanks in battle-group coming to the fore) at end of turn to keep players in game.
In the vein of Up Front/B17/The Hunters things can be quite 'luck of the draw' dependent but does make for an exciting dice-less game.
For second game we had a Panther and Tiger versus a T34/85 and a SU100 using Take The High Ground scenario.
This proved to be a bloodbath for Dads Germans as the SU100 got lucky with several Catastrophic Hit results brewing in the end both the Panther and the Tiger twice each with the T34 adding a Panther kill of its own and amazingly all for no Soviet losses !!
Mind you the SU100 was hanging only with 2 dead crew and having manged to put out 2 Fires and recover Broken Morale twice.
Not a good day for the Panzerwaffe.
Fun light game and first to push COIN games off table in awhile.

As stated above crappy pics as lighting very poor

Initial set up 2 x T34/76 vs PzIVG and StugIIIG

T34/76 battle board showing crew positions and general layout.
This tank is 'in motion' as denoted by Move card showing.


T34/85 in 2nd scenario in the default Field terrain

And the SU100 tank killing machine (The card at bottom left is used for Initiative with lower number cards going first, the cards being numbered 1-100)

Tiger 1 in Woods

Other Big Cat the Panther

SU100 showing first 2 of 4 Kill Markers (beside bragging rights these are used as tie-breakers if Victory Points level at game end)

Friday, December 06, 2019

Bataille Empire solo play (Spring 1813 French vs Russians)

A quick solo game to help get Bataille Empire rules embedded in brain.
They are not difficult as such but have a lot of 'moving parts' and as they say practice makes perfect.
Set up a bash in Spring 1813 using French versus Russians both with 4 Divisions.
For my 40mm UD units I have settled on 150cm x 100cm as ideal for small 200pt game size.
Battle turned out to be an Encounter so only 1 Divn apiece starting on table with others 'marching to the sound of the guns'.
Whilst a solo game it was still rather fun.
Cavalry can move quite a distance in BE moving 8UD in Line with +2UD bonus if charging so some 40cm or nearly half the board.
6pdr guns fire 16 UD but over 8UD its generally ineffective fire or a single attrition (ie half-loss) hit.
Beginning to realise some of the nuances of this rule set although still some book look up required although the QRS is excellent (as is the same authors LADG version).
Pretty much have shooting/movement/shock combat/supports down now but still need to work on Opportunity/Reaction Charges and several outcomes.
Whilst not as slick a terrain/scenario set up as FOGN it has good variety and I like rolling for varied terrain effects as each can have light/medium/heavy effects on movement and/or combat.
I played 6 turns with Russians sort of getting best of situation having taken 2 objectives whilst killing 2 French units to 1 loss of their own.
Another game scheduled for next Friday with Stephen French vs British in Spain 1812.
(Would have played to completion but Tank Duel arrived so cleared table to sort this enticing title out :-) )

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Another double whammy game day (Bataille Empire and Pike And Shotte)

Full gaming day of dice rolling joy :-)

First up was at Stephens as we tried Bataille Empire again this time Stephen took Russians 1812 and I had French.
Another interesting game with this very flavoursome set but it is proving hard to assimilate the rules fully (maybe it because we are both pensioners !?) so lots of checking and re-checking what we are doing or trying to do or how we are doing it.
The rules are however fairly logical overall with nothing odd so far.
One or 2 minor clarifications aside the rules are very complete and they definitely give a good game for the period and scale.
The Russians have a couple of Poor commanders and are poor shooters but are tenacious so in Shock Combat they can hold their own and have a couple more units than the French.
The scenario this time was an Encounter which was also interesting with both sides deploying only 1 Brigade on table the others coming on on turns 2 and 3.
I was able to use Operational Moves with first group of reinforcements but unfortunately Stephen had his Cuirassier Brigade coming on on Attack orders in same area and I lost a unit which failed to form square.
Infantry in Line are essentially dead if they fail to form square or cause significant casualties to charging Cavalry as a Retreat becomes a Flee but Cavalry catch Infantry in first 2 UDs of Fleeing.
We also used our full 40mm UD on a 150cm x 100cm table which seemed to work better for us than 30mm on 120x80.

Only a couple of pics (I took loads but seem to have corrupted on phone)

Then in the evening it was off to Billys (after a generous invite) for a game using Pike and Shotte rules (Black Powder stable) with Bryn, Simon and Mike also in attendance.
Game was set in ECW with Billys New Model Army (assisted by Simon and I) against Bryns Royalists (with Mike in tow).
Figures are 10mm Pendraken and very fine they are too.
P&S is a rather odd set of rules in how it 'models' pike and shot units as a 'standard' units is 3 bases 1 of Pike and 2 of muskets, but which can all operate individually if wished (not always a good idea.
This led to some jarring occurrences with single Pike units charging across the field to hit other pikes being able to ignore their accompanying muskets (as not actual targets of charge) and pikes leading the units as they have better saves.
This would be stymied somewhat with house rule Mike proposed that units in same Regt cannot be more than a base width (or maybe the 3" support distance) apart voluntarily.
When muskets are charged (it seems by either Cavalry of Infantry in P&S) they can form hedgehog with nearby by Pikes becoming an immobile block that can spread shooting hits and fights/dies as combined units (ie add all dice together but hits go on pikes).
Chargers can pull up short.
I kept mistaking the 3 base units as single units initially but once we got going it worked better than I thought (the individual option not withstanding)
I faced off against Mike and we had a good old ding dong with his Cavalry Breaking mine easily but my Infantry grinding his down and breaking them, my successful use of Rally order helped.
In hindsight Mike should have used his Cavalry to 'force' my Infantry into hedgehog as dead meat to Cavalry otherwise but they don't move and musketry is lessened so his Infantry could have out shot me.
A very enjoyable and playable game (cannot fault the BP series in this regard) but maybe more game than history as the free flowing nature movement and long shooting ranges seemed a little out of kilter for this period.
The rules do include Tercios, Dutch Brigades and Swedish Brigades but not really sure how they would operate in the game ?
Enjoyed the hospitality and the game which is what it is all about.

Varied quality on pics as I tried to sort new camera app and lighting variable.

Sunday, December 01, 2019

COIN system 2 more games played.

At my Dads tonight and another two session of COIN magic.
Have both Liberty Or Death and Pendragon in my library now but not had any time to learn so it was Fire In The Lake and Colonial Twilight again.

First up was Fire In The Lake trying the full scenario again and once more Dad with the VC/NVA won an auto victory early in game.
Very hard to Pacify enough of VC Opposition areas or remove bases quickly enough to stop them achieving 35 VP (they start on 29).
A card we have not seen before 'Chairman Ho' proved very powerful giving 3 Free Limited Operations to VC and NVA.

Then it was onto Colonial Twilight again the full scenario this one was as ever much closer although my French twice were 1 VP short of an auto win.
However when last Propaganda card appeared I had just managed to reach 37 VP and win as FLN were still some 10 VP from their victory level. 

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Epic Napoleonic encounter at Ulster Wargame Society using Black Powder

Large (biggest game I have ever participated in) Napoleonic battle today at UWS (again last meeting of the year).
A 15mm bash set in Autumn 1813 with 3 French Divisions (Stephen, Bryn and Mike) against Russian/Prussian 3 Division force (Billy as Russian with Simon and I as Prussians)
Somewhere in region of 60-70 units each side so a lot of stuff on table which measured almost 10' x 6'.
Used Black Powder (with essentially Clash of Eagles amendments) which for me shines with such large
Bryn and I set up a quick table layout table (using Mikes excellent battle mats and then 2 CinC (Billy and Mike) diced for choice of side.
All fields were classed as Rough Ground and Woods as open so also Rough and there where a couple of hills placed under mats.
Scenario as such (devised by Simon) was that each Division had to march on from a roadway and deploy for battle, which was to prove a problem for the Russians with their lower Command and lack of co-ordination within Brigades (essentially needing a separate Command roll for each half of a Brigade).
As it turned out I faced of against Stephen on the Russo-Prussian right wing.
This saw my 4 Brigades (2 Infantry 1 Grenadier and 1 Cavalry) facing some Young Guard, a Cavalry Brigade 2 Infantry Brigades and a Brigade of Wurtemburg troops.
This force included several Light Infantry units with Sharp Shooter ability.
My Line and Landwehr Infantry were large units (8 units total) with Artillery support and a small unit of Landwehr cavalry (pants) and a Tiny unit of Jager (Sharp Shooters and Elite)
I do not really know what may associates had although plenty of Russians and Prussians on my left.
Mike and Bryns commands also a mystery as such although I did hear Bavarians mentioned.
Stephen and I wasted no time deploying against each other with my Cavalry extending flank and Grenadiers positioning themselves on a hilltop (as it turns out hills have no real effect in BP).
David also joined the fray for a time taking command of one of my Infantry Brigades.
After several turns of furious action (although strangely we had no melees on our side !) I had the Cavalry and Grenadier Brigades broken but had retained the hill top and its village and was re-deploying units to shore up flank.
The Russians in centre were by now getting to grips with several assaults in column going in with mixed results.
Our left wing was a mystery to me (even with glasses on) but seems Simon was having best of things against Bryn who had 2 Brigades broken.
Game was fought in 3 fairly distinct areas one player vs one player with just a little overlap in center.
As time was called on the game it was sadly unfinished but (note for Bryn) I think the Russo-Prussian force could claim at least a moral victory as they were not swept from the field by Boneys bunch.
I suspect French view may differ slightly....................
All in all a great days gaming and Stephen and I both were inspired to use BP for upcoming Christmas game (a SYW bash planned) due to the ease of play of BP.
We did get one or two things wrong forgetting in particular early on to deduct -1 for Command tests when close to enemy !
Also my Cavalry Brigade broke too soon (as Light Cavalry don't count it seems) but we easily rectified by just saying I had retired voluntarily.
Once one realizes that BP is a fast and loose set in many ways lacking prescriptive detail of other sets it works really well and not sure any other set (even Field of Battle) could cope with such a large game so readily.
For our own games we will likely not allow units to charge through other units or against unseen enemy and will disallow the follow me order which just seems too potent as written.
Another tweak suggested by Simon is that Cavalry who declare a charge that backs off after a unit Forms Square will take a hit (wont be an issue much in SYW) although I think becoming 'double' Disordered (ie it lasts and extra turn) might be better as Cavalry are fairly brittle ?
Also today my dice were not terrible except for Unit Break Tests of which I failed every one, mind you the dice demon managed to roll 3 Blunders (much to his annoyance) to my zero !!
Hugely enjoyable day and the amount of units on table looked spectacular !
Was great to met Mike as well who is a fellow rules and board game junkie :-)

The battlefield, fairly open with lots of room to manouvre around the dotted villages and woods. The random trees are mine as I hate a bland table.

My Prussians march onto the field

French opposition with Young Guard advancing through woods

Prussian Cavalry deploys on extreme left as Grenadiers invest the hill top

Russians advancing down central road but slowly as Prussian left deploys

The French Light Infantry Mixed Formations in view

Prussian Cavalry Brigade

Infantry Brigades deploy to protect Russian right flank

Overview of battle field from Allied left (note Russians in centre lagging behind)

Prussian Infantry Brigade counter-marching to left behind comrades to shore up line as Cavalry have broken (Billy did promise me a Russian Heavy Cavalry Brigade but these went elsewhere)

French central brigade (Mikes, with Bryns visible on French right)

Young Guard advancing against hilltop church now occupied by Line unit.

My 2nd Infantry Brigade holding their line as Billys Russians are advancing to charge in column.

Final posistions around hilltop

And on my left-center

It proved to be a busy day at the club with our game, another Napoleonic game (using In The Grand Manner) and the completion of a Samurai campaign using FOG (I didnt get any pics of this) and a small bring and buy in operation. 
I think at one point there was some 30 people in the room was was great to see.

The Grand Manner game (no idea of details of this one)

And to top of an almost perfect wargaming day I came home to find Liberty Or Death had arrived :-)