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 :-)

Friday, November 29, 2019

Elimination Club outing

Attended Elimination club tonight for end of year bash (church halls being used on run up to Christmas).
Played a very nice Wild West game with Billy and grandson think it was called ‘The Way Of The Gun‘ being from the old Warhammer Historical stable of rules.
Quick easy to pick but with decent flavour.
I had the ‘goodies’ including Wyatt Earp with his brothers Virgil and Morgan backed by sone honest citizens against Lucky Luke with his band of miscreant Cowboys.
Fast and furious action with Luke out shooting me big style.
Wyatt later decided losses were such that his ‘posse’ should run for the hills.
Enjoyable stuff with Billys as ever excellent figures and terrain.

Couple of others games ongoing was Bryn with a tanks only Flames Of War (meh) game that managed to attract some passing females (must be Bryns charm) and they got very competitive  !
Tim had a 28mm WW2 game with a set of rules called (again I think) ‘Hammer of the Gods’

Pendragon a run through the tutorial

Set up Pendragon today to follow the tutorial blow by blow.

A beautiful looking game with usual top notch components.

Still COIN system of course but with several twists probably the biggest being the inclusion of a battle resolution system with associated dice rolls (very nice themed dice included)

Will be very interesting to play this one.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Board Wargames inbound

Had my 'official' retirement shin dig tonight and they bought me Pendragon from the COIN system and gave me enough Amazon vouchers to enable me to get Liberty Death also, very generous indeed and so much better than a 'gold watch' type gift.
My brother has kindly ordered me Tank Duel as well.
All due in next few days so a very Merry December and Christmas for me !! :-)

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Bataille Empire - first face to face play

Game with Bataille Empire today with Stephen.
We used 200pt forces on the small 120cm x 80cm board using 30mm UD despite our units being 80mm wide (works fine on small board).
I fielded my Prussians and Stephen used French both lists taken from Spring 1813 options.
A very nice game was generated although with struggled with a couple of concepts in particular just exactly when Opportunity Fire is used.
Rule a bit ill defined in some ways but we came to consensus that only to be used if a target passing through firing arc or retires to longer range essentially.
Otherwise when a unit moves into range its a simply standard shooting/firefight or reaction fire.
Everything else was addressed clearly in rules and once we stuck to following play sequence for activated commands it all made sense.
We did use Orders which worked fine.
Think we covered most things with Charges/Counter-Chargers, Preparatory/Final Fire, Reserves, Orders and various types of Combat addressed along with Movement/Formations and Control/Morale tests and all pretty straight forward in execution.
Stephen did try a Flank March but needing a 5-6 to appear it is risky (it failed to arrive) but did make me turn a couple of units to face its possible arrival.
We both had 2 units each destroyed but I had a few Disordered which is difficult to Recover as you need to be outside 4UD of enemy and have 1 or 2 Pips left to recover Disorder and Cohesion hits respectively.
Compared to FOGN this has more tactical nuances and depth but consequently slower playing but all Napoleonic combat boxes ticked and like any new set a few more plays would quicken things up (we failed to finish game).
Both sides had 14 units and this seemed fine on table size.
Expect these will see more action in due course as the lists are rather good.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Vassal PBEM games ongoing

Have a couple of Vassal games ongoing (both for several months) via Email.

One is 'Thirty Years War' wherein I am playing Protestants and we (bloke in England) have just started the penultimate turn.

Also ongoing a game of 'The Dark Valley' (with US chap) which has reached August 1943.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Bataille Empire solo initial try

A quick solo effort (due to game planned for Tuesday with Mr B) using 200pt (3 Commands) on a 4' x 3' table using forces of Prussia vs France, Spring 1813.
After reading through the rules I thought it best to try to get concepts into brain cavity with a solo run through.
Being a Napoleonic set there is quite a lot to them (certainly compared to Ancients version) as it covers Line, Column, Square (and Closed Column) along with Infantry Cavalry and Artillery and associated interactions as one would fully expect.
Similar to LADG in respect of Commanders, PIP dice for Command and Cohesion levels but similarities pretty much end there.
Units are multi-base (I was using 2 bases as per Shako) but accommodate most basing conventions as measurements are in Base Widths.
Units are rated for Morale Level (Militia 1-3 Line 1-3 and Elite 1-3), Status (Guard Line or Poor), Type, Special Abilities and Cohesion levels.
Commands (Brigades/Divisions) are activated based on Orders (optional but recommended) and a dice off to choose to activate 1st or 2nd.
Activated Commands can then use Prep Fire (skirmishers and artillery only) Charge (into Shock Combat), move/maneuver and issue Final Fire.
Units that fire, fight or multi move are marked with an Action Marker (cotton puff) restricting them to reaction fire/combat only.
Charges include, supports, safe flanks, emergency formation changes (Control/Manv Tests) feints along with retreats, flees and routs.
Units can stop retreats or flees behind rear supports (I like this in GDA too).
Firing is straight forward enough with small amount of modifiers depending on type firing inflicting Attrition (essentially 1/2 hits) or Cohesion Losses.
Have not played enough to use all aspects of rules but they seem rather good and I expect once learnt the QRS will be sufficient to control a game.
As an all in one volume a points system, scenario generator (and a couple of historical scenarios) and a huge amount of army lists (some battle specific) are included and so like LADG whilst rules are not cheap (I paid £35 including P&P) they do include everything without need for supplements.
More once played face to face.

After a Cavalry combat French Dragoons and Chasseurs have fled from Prussian Cuirassiers (Dice is Cohesion loss, yellow is Disordered and white Action Marker)

Assault scenario so only 2 of 3 Prussian commands on table at start (3rd arrives on Turn 4)

The flags denote Objectives 

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Fire In The Lake and A Distant Plain played

At my Dads last night (had to forgo Elimination Club as family Gets first dibs) and we played both Fire in the Lake and A Distant Plain !

Fire in the Lake was first up and despite using the long full war scenario Dads VC achieved an auto victory on 3rd Coup by 1 point.

Then it was A Distant Plain which we did not finish but all 4 factions were in very poor VP status.

Such great games these and never the same each play due the large variation of tactics, cards and events.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Field Of Glory Renaissance - Imperial Catholic versus French

Game at Stephens today using FOGR (he was inspired by games at Warfare) which we have not used for ages.
I fielded my Early Imperial Catholic force and Stephen choose French.
A very good game with a set of rules that whilst on the complex side of things generates a very plausible Thirty Years War game.
Terrain fell ok for me which allowed me to place my Field Guns in newly acquired Redoubt (Field Fortifications).
I massed my mounted on my left hoping to break his flank which was mostly Impact Horse whilst sending my Late Tercios to contest center and essentially refusing my right flank.
Things actually started well once contact made with Stephen suffering from several Death Rolls but tellingly he managed to pass associated Cohesion Tests and I could not break through his mounted wing.
On my right it was fairly static until one unit of French Shock Foot routed a Tercio despite being down to 4 bases.
This seemed to inspire his other foot how took out my center Tercios in a couple of turns (my horrible Cohesion rolls not helping as I went down 2 levels in a couple of key combats).
Try as I might I could not get rid of his horse despite out fighting them with my Kuirassiere.
I did manage to Fragment a couple but at this stage my Army was defeated.
Enjoyable game overall and surprisingly we had no issues recalling rules despite several changes (all for the better we both thought) to troop interactions and suchlike.