Monday, March 30, 2020

Vassal game of Combat Commander

After several failed attempts I managed to set up a Vassal (and Face Time) game with my Dad with the ever excellent Combat Commander.

Bit of a 'struggle' to get him set up with the modules and so forth but once we got going all went smoothly.

Game saved part way through and hopefully easy enough to restore progress.

Not face to face but hopefully it will help him get through his self-isolating phase a bit easier.

Time certainly flew !

We did try TCP/IP connections with both old Combat Mission and Campaign Series PC games but with no success sadly.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Still here............

Not much gaming done again this week as still under a lethargic cloud as free hours just seem to drift by in between, eating, cleaning, eating, watching goggle box, eating, delivering to oldies, eating and sleeping... Oh and enjoying my dogs, definitely mans best friends................
Am reading tons and listening to a lot of music but just do not seem to be able to concentrate on miniatures stuff (did manage to buy some Basetex online) in any aspect.
Couple of ongoing PBeM Vassal games only other gaming input
Lots of plans in space between ears but just not coming to fruition.

After finishing A Distant Plain (Government win) I set up and am intermittently (very) playing WWII Barbarossa To Berlin.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Quick update

Must confess I thought that this ‘social distancing’ would lead to a burst of painting, virtual or solo gaming but not felt much like doing very much in past few days as in a sort of what is best described as a limbo state of mind........ plenty of ideas but no action.........

No real health worries for my wife or I, or youngster over in England (but possible financial issues) but am concerned re older members of family circle and indeed society.
Feeling blessed and relieved to be Retired as thoughts of trying to Police people in current situation just awful, so many idiots !

+++ Sincerely hope all of you and yours come through this unscathed. +++

Anyhow the above not withstanding I did manage to get A Distant Plain onto table today and get a few turns in and nice to divert mind from outside world.
Hoping to get online with my Dad later for a game of Eastern Front (from old Campaign Series) as he is just not into Vassal.

Game bathed n sunlight

Lucy one of my dogs helping out

A beautiful day outside

Sunday, March 15, 2020

A round up after busy weekend

Been off line couple of days so quick round up of wargaming activity.

Attended Elimination Club (last meeting for a period due to Covid-19 issues) briefly on Friday where a 10mm League of Augsburg game using Black Powder was being played by Bryn and Shane.
No idea as to result.

Quick solo game of Colonial Twilight on Saturday and what an enjoyable time again with the ever excellent COIN system (I could happily self-isolate with these games alone never mind all my other options)

And game tonight with my Dad of Combat Commander with the ever excellent Barrikady Factory scenario from the Stalingrad Pack.
Right down to the wire with Dad narrowly failing to out number my Ivans in factory (20 units each) as Time ran out.
A good third of the factory was rubble of blazing.


My parents are both over 70 but in otherwise decent respiratory health, but are worried and concerned by UK plans to combat Covid-19 by having them self-isolate for 4+ months and I fully understand why.
I am behind (or at least understand) UK Government plans thus far, but do think they need better information dissemination to at least try to allay some genuine fears and concerns.
Bottom line is that for some sadly this pandemic will doubtless have a fatal outcome and maybe for others a life changing impact physically, mentally and otherwise (think the economic issues are yet to be fully revealed/assessed) 
I did try to explain that they pretty much keep to themselves anyhow (not big into social activities) so maybe not too much of a stretch with support from me and Jan.
Strange times and am just thankful I am no longer a Police Officer as the temptation to baton to a pulp the 'bulk-buyers' and 'doomsday merchants' would be just too much for me I fear !!
The despicably selfish behaviour by some 'members' of society is truly infuriating to say the least.
If only Covid-19 targeted the stupid gene rather than elderly/infirm............

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Piquet: Cartouche - SYW Austrians vs Prussian - another 'blast from the past' game

Seven Years War game today with Stephen, with his Austrians versus my Prussians using original Piquet with Cartouche II supplement.
Another rule set we used to play a lot but have neglected for 15+ years !!
We gave Austrians 20 units and Prussians 16 (for no reason other than it feels right and was what we always done) and pre-rolled the units stats and Strategm card additions to Sequence Decks.
Must say this was a good deal of fun in itself.
I ended up with all Average Officers but some good Eager and Determined units with couple of extra cards into deck (Missile Re-Load, Melee Resolution and Officer Check) along with 34 Morale Chips.
Stephen had 42 Morale and a couple of extra cards including a Poor Subordinate and a Brilliant Subordinate card.
We used alternate Impetus dice system of opposed D12s (ie both roll D12 and you get what ever you roll as Impetus points) as bit more interactive than standard D20 system.
Game was simply deploy and test the rules.
Not anywhere near as slick as Field Of Battle but with some nice touches that we both liked (the Tactical and Cavalry Morale challenges) and a nice feel to the game.
We both liked that you tend to concentrate on a specific area of tabletop rather than generally advance/engage.
Took a bit of getting used to some of the systems not helped by lack of recent play and that we were flitting between original set and Cartouche supplement.
Main downside was probably the amount of unit markers required for the various outcomes/situations, such as Loss markers, Unformed, Disordered, Routed, Blown, Out Of Command, Officer Risk.
Austrian Artillery had a couple of devastating opening volleys causing 5 Stand losses on 1 Prussian Brigade, who then promptly lost their Officer putting Brigade out of command !
Thankfully the replacement turned out to be Skilled (2 x Brilliant Subordinate cards added to deck).
Shooting was generally pretty good as defender always rolls a D6 no matter their quality (in contrast to FOB)
As per FOB it can be difficult to Rally especially near enemy even with better quality units as having to beat a D8 (as per FOB).
The use of Impetus is very different as everything costs in PK in contrast to just Card Turns in FOB.
Of course I had one of my usual horror rolling sessions with the best unit on the table, namely the Prussian Garde Du Korps Cuirassier, who were beaten in Melee (despite initiating melee and being D12 +2 vs D12) and then were subjected to Tactical Morale Challenge.
Stephen rolled a 7 on his D8 but I managed to roll 1 on a D20 +5 !!!!!
This saw Garde Rout and then fail to Rally and then of course a Cavalry Move Card appeared to they left the table.
Such tales of woe are my wont..............................

We called game early but Prussians had lost 30 Morale to Austrian 21 (several spent inflicting Morale Challenges as opposed to losses inflicted however).

Overall a nice fun game and actually as good as old memories said it was.
We both agreed we would happily play Piquet again but whether we will within next 15yrs is another matter !
Personally I prefer FOB as a somewhat easier and more dynamic system, but original does have its attractions for smaller engagements.
Found it very interesting reading Piquet, the Cartouche supplement, then Command Piquet and lastly FOB, as one can see the steady progression/evolution of a very good rule set into a great rule set.
When I read the design notes of Bob Jones (Piquet author) and Brent Oman (Command Piquet and FOB) they do sit very well with my outlook of narrative game style and level of rules complexity and level of historical flavour/simulation.

Roll on FOB 3....................................................................................

The table (from one of Season Of Battle cards) from Austrian edge.
Also note new 'cheap as chips' (ie under £18 from Amazon including P&P) fleece I was trying out as portable option for club games. I added a few 'marks' but otherwise as is.

Initial set up. Note hill has come out from cover :-)

Prussian right wing Cavalry Brigade (including ill-fated Garde)

Grenzers manage to  'sneak' into town after double Move with Heroic Moment (yes folks he is demon/lucky with cards as well !!)

Prussian left wing Cavalry

Austrian Central Command with nasty Heavy Guns in support

Central Prussian Command with lots of losses and under pressure

I have managed to mostly Reassert Command but losses remain.

These two opposing Infantry Brigades did not engage (just not enough Impetus to go around) nor did Cavalry, although I was poised to charge in as we finished.

Monday, March 09, 2020

Field Of Battle 3rd Edition nearing publication

Brent Oman author of Piquet Field Of Battle (my favourite set of wargame rules by far) posted on 'Bakebook' the following image of his proof copy of Field of Battle 3rd edition to whet the appetite (or annoy my very soul !!) for upcoming release.

Rules extended now to cover 1642-1900 AD to include English Civil War period.
I believe several other additions and tweaks to an already excellent rule set are included and I wait with baited breath to part company with some dosh to obtain these.
Lancashire Games I understand will be UK/EU distributors but PDF version will also be available (expect I will end up with both).

I heartily recommend the rules even sight unseen as the FOB system is excellent being a superb balance of playability, low-medium complexity, historical flavour, 'tweakability' and good plain damn fun without being dumb, and best I have encountered overall.
Not a set for 'total control' freaks but an excellent battle set generating a great game narrative.
It is also a super set for solo play for you now trendy 'self isolaters' out there !
Of course your mileage may differ but if so I think you are missing out or just plain daft :-)

Sunday, March 08, 2020

Combat Commander - three Stalingrad scenarios played

After last weeks disappointment with Old School Tactical Dad and I went back to our perennial favourite Combat Commander.
We played 3 scenarios from the Stalingrad battle pack and what a joy they were to play too !
No AFVs but you know what you actually do not really miss them in this excellent Infantry game.
We have played the Stalingrad pack before but these were still fresh and exciting scenarios to play.
First had Ivans defending 'Dom 31' a fortified house near the Barrikady.
Dom 31 partially set ablaze but thankfully I was able to hold on to it and other Objectives for a win.
Second game set in one of the gullies near the Volga and bit of a shooting fest as rather open terrain.
Ivan win again by forcing Huns to surrender through losses.
Third game was back in streets of the city and a ding dong game it was.
Germans won as Dad managed to take a couple of objectives whilst inflicting heavy points losses on Ivans.
He got 2 extra powerful Pioneer units with satchel charges via event and also got 2 used satchel charges back also via event (lucky auld goat !) and simply blasted Ivans were they stood.
A key melee went his way as he had base 8 and rolled a 10 whilst I had a base 14 but only rolled a 3 losing two units and a leader (see lucky auld goat !!)

Great stuff.

Friday, March 06, 2020

Regimental Fire & Fury at Elimination Club

Game with ever excellent Regt F&F tonight at club.
Billy brought along a scratch force of Yanks and Rebs (3 Brigades aside) for a quick outing with rules.
He had used these Brigades in a Stones River game so already labelled up.
Somewhat surprisingly the rules worked really well for such an ad hoc non-scenario game.
Maybe not 'balanced' but fun anyhow.
Billy and Paul controlled the Yank force and Hugh (on first visit to club) and I the Rebs.
I had a Brigade of Veteran and Crack units backed by 3 guns which faced one of Billys 2 Brigades on our right.
Hugh faced the other two Brigades with 2 of ours on left and center.
Very quickly got into swing of system and we got to grips fairly quickly.
I charged two units of Crack Rebs supported by a Veteran in a large Green unit of Yanks also supported.
Billys defensive fire done absolutely nothing and it looked grim for the boys in blue.
However I managed to roll a 1 whilst Billy rolled a 10 and my units bounced off in melee Disordered.
This was high water point for Billy units though as after Rallying I came in again and this time Billy had awful rolls throughout shooting and combat seeing his unit Swept From The Field, broken and indeed spent.
They then rolled awfully again and Routed taking catastrophic losses and his flank collapsed.
Paul had a ding dong with Hugh in a wooded area gaining marginal upper hand but fresh Reb units on hand.
Billys losses were so severe we called the game with Yanks withdrawing.
Great stuff with a fine set of ACW rules that were also fairly easy to teach to 2 new players.
My only real 'beef' is that you need a ton of stands to play the game properly but certainly looks the part when so many on table

Also on going at club was a game of Flames Of War involving several players, with some fielding freshly painted/acquired units.
Not my cup of tea at all (FOW way too much 'game' and too little history for my tastes) but the chaps certainly had fun (beating Bryn may have been main reason ?) which is what it is ultimately about.

Trust me they are actually having fun !!

Thursday, March 05, 2020

Shako II a Seven Years War playtest

Stephen has been making some amendments to Shako II for SYW games and we gave them a bit of play test today.

Used the SYW armies from Shako 1 (but by heck are they huge and not very historical !) and I fielded Prussians against Austrians.

Nothing too radical mainly making supported Formed Infantry better able to stand frontally against Mounted (without recourse to Square) by being able to stop Mounted closing into melee if Staggered by 'closing fire' and with Cavalry reduced by 1 for each class to help achieve this (we both feel 6/2 Cavalry is too good in Shako).

All this worked fine although we ended up changing 'battle' Light Cavalry (eg Prussian Hussars) to count a -1 versus medium or heavy types.

Austrian Croat units fielded as Skirmish stands seemed a bit too Napoleonic so we have decided to field them as single Skirmish stands (rather than 2) but not sure whether to keep them as 1 hit wonders or give them 2 hit defence ?
We also gave them a +1 combat bonus in rough terrain such as woods.

One thing we could not really fathom (despite reference to numerous text books) is whether SYW Artillery was the equal of later Napoleonic types (is a SYW 6pdr equal to a 6pdr from 30 or so years later ?) or just less numerous and less mobile ?
We went with only allowing them 'bounce through' to a second rank as opposed to standard Shako limit by range, but not sure if correct ?
Not sure artillery could dominate in SYW the way it could later ?
Artillery in Shako can move (in lieu of firing) as far as Infantry so maybe just having SYW types immobile once they deploy would limit their use sufficiently (which is what I do in FOB), hard to know best approach within Shako system.

We did not use Shako orders system for simplicity but discussed that if a Brigade was entirely made up of Light Cavalry it could have an 'Engage' order allowing them to use Evades.

More play testing required I expect to flesh out some stat interactions as reduction/increases in Combat stats also effect Rally/Stagger outcomes, but otherwise the basis seems sound.

Quite fun discussing the various changes and interactions, consequences and our historical outlooks, especially for two eternal rules tinkers like ourselves :-)

Stephen also got to use a new 'fleece'mat he acquired and with which I was impressed enough to order from Amazon (a green fleecy blanket thinner and less 'shaggy' than the one I have) for under £20 for 150cm x 200 cm.
Having 2 will aid us for club games.