Monday, June 29, 2020

First game out of 'lockdown' - Field Of Glory Renaissance

First face to face game since Covid Lockdown back at start of March (that seems sooo long ago !) today........yee hah......

At Stephens and he chose to use FOGR with a Selujik Turk force against which I used my Thirty Years War German Catholic 1618-1632 (being as it is only Renaissance army I have) with Later Tercios.

After a lengthy catch up/waffling session and bitch about the world we finally got down to playing and very enjoyable it was too.

Solo play is great for rules learning but nothing beats 'competitive' play.

With late start we failed to finish but Turk firepower was coming to the fore as my Horse units struggled to contact the evading Turk Cavalry.
I did catch one unit of Saphis with my Cuirassier and gave it short shrift but the Janissary Infantry are potent shooters and had decimated a unit of Reiters and my Dragoons and I had lost a Tercio to Turkish guns.

FOGR is a decent set of rules which has nice interaction of troops types and period specific formations and is very playable.
The FOG family of rules lack any real form of inertia/chaos (mainly due to being competition biased I suspect) compared to newer systems (ie no orders, no Pips, no activations or cards), but they do what they say on the tin and the lists are always fun to play around with within the points system.

We were playing with the last batch of updates and all played pretty easily as nothing truly radical in terms of changes for the armies we used.

Game booked for next week at mine and likely to be a try out of FOB3.

All pics from early stages as my phone died mid-game

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Combat Commander - solo play

Short solo session of Combat Commander (just to keep my hand in with rules) with initial scenario 'Fat Lipki'.
And damn it was fun even solo with a lot of Events and fluctuations of fortune before Russians emerged as Victors.
Such a great game system.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

A Distant Plain - another solo play through

Managed a game of A Distant Plain solo today with the Medium scenario.

Whizzed through to completion on 5th Propaganda card with a victory for the Coalition who scored a -1 (mainly due to a timely use of Surge to get stuff out of the country) narrowly beating the Warlords on a -2.

Both Taliban and Government some ways back.

Another fun outing with the COIN system which is enjoyable even in solo (non-Bot) mode.

I really ought to get Pendragon and Falling Skies to the table as neither more than fiddled with thus far.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Colonial Twilight solo play (or chasing off the 'Black Dog')

Managed a full solo game of Colonial Twilight yesterday and what a cathartic time it was.

I played the Medium (4 deck) scenario which I have not tried before.
Game went along at a cracking rate and I just did not notice the whole (wet and dreary) afternoon disappear.

Game was narrowly won by the French Government (score -10) over the FLN (score -14) on 4th Propaganda card with some 9 Event cards unplayed (out of 48 in scenario).

I do so enjoy the COIN system even solo

++ Here in N.Ireland our Covid-19 restrictions are be eased and from now we are allowed to gather indoors with friends (groups of up to 6 with distancing) so 'proper' live wargaming back on the menu.
Game planned for next Monday with Stephen after a hiatus with our last game being on 12th March, which seems an absolute age ago !!
Not so sure when club meetings will return ?
Also hope to get back to face to face board wargaming with my Dad, but with he and my Mum both being in more vulnerable group (over 70 but no major medical conditions) we will need to discuss and maybe delay.
But certainly looking forward to getting back to some form of normality to counteract the depressing deluge of crap ongoing at present. ++

Friday, June 19, 2020

A bit of online Wargaming

Couple of screenshots from PBEM ongoing games to bring this Blog back somewhat on track !

Combat Mission (an oldie but goodie) with a Sherman menacing my Pz Grenadiers near Lingevres in Normandy.

No Peace Without Spain board game via Vassal showing overall at start of 1704

And a zoom in with Prince Eugene threatening the Bavarian Elector at Munich as The Duke in a bit of a stalemate with Villars in Flanders locality.

On a sad note........

There is something about the death of Vera Lynn that is almost a sad final closing of a book on that volume of our history. 
It made me realise that, as we saw with the Great War veterans twenty years ago, we are witnessing an end of an era. 

(Stolen from TFL tweet)

A Mild Rant (in lieu of gaming activity)

As a man, I used to think I was pretty much just a regular person, I was born white, into a two-parent household which now, whether I like it or not, makes me "Privileged", a racist & responsible for slavery.

I am a fiscal & moral conservative, which by today's standards, makes me a fascist because I plan, budget & support myself.

I went to Grammar School, joined the rest of the working population and then joined the police and am now retired, I now find out that I am not here because I earned it, but because I was "advantaged”.

I am a happily married heterosexual, which now makes me a homophobe.

I am not a Muslim, which now labels me as a Crusader and an infidel

I am a flawed individual who believes in (but fails to follow) the basic teachings of a poor carpenter from Nazareth which makes me a fundamentalist Christian talking to an imaginary being in the sky.

I am 56 making me a useless idiot who doesn't understand the culture of today and a grumpy out of touch old git (plead guilty on that one)

I think and I reason, and I doubt nearly all of what "mainstream" media tells me, which makes me a "Right-wing conspiracy nut”.

I am proud of my heritage & our inclusive British culture, making me a xenophobe.

I believe that there but 2 genders which means I am not “Woke”

I believe in hard work, fair play, & fair compensation according to each individual's merits and efforts, which today makes me an anti-socialist and selfish.

I believe our system guarantees freedom of effort - not freedom of outcome or subsidies which makes me a borderline sociopath.

I believe in the defence and protection of Great Britain and Northern Ireland for and by all citizens, now making me a militant, and a fascist

I dare to have a hobby in which I collect, paint and play games with model soldiers making me a warmonger or at best eccentric.

I am proud of the Union flag, what it stands for and the many who died to let it fly, so I must be an imperialist and a racist.

I am against Irish Republicanism in any form be it via Sinn Fein or whatever, which makes me a sectarian bigot.

For me BLM should stand for Babies Lives Matter which makes me anti-female, anti-choice.

I believe in the rule of law (despite its flaws) and know the difference between peaceful protest and unlawful rioting, making me out of touch and once more a racist.

I have sense of humour which makes me often inappropriate or insensitive

Please help me come to terms with the new me because I'm just not sure who I am anymore !

If all this nonsense wasn't enough to deal with we currently have Covid-19 to deal with !!

Monday, June 08, 2020

Field Of Battle/Seasons Of Battle - First battle completed and post battle adjustments

Finished off game today with the Russians failing their Army Morale at first attempt.
This then leads to a Post Battle Adjustment phase in Seasons Battle which I will outline here.

Russians finished with of course zero Army Morale with Prussians on a mere 5 remaining but with having 8 'awarded' from Russian pool, as once an AMP level reaches zero any further losses are transferred to enemy as 'boost' to their AMP level.

Both sides calculate effect on their Campaign National Morale Points which is a combo of original AMP, lost/gained AMPs and VP level of Engagement Area if winner.
Will not bore you with the simple equations/calculations suffice to say the Russian NMP plummeted from 63 to 38 whilst Prussian victory at Blomberg saw their NMP adjusted to 40 from 44.

A Margin Of Victory is established based on a ratio of remaining AMP for victor vis starting AMP.
In this case the Prussians were deemed to have won a Decisive Victory (levels possible are Marginal, Decisive or Crushing).

The Russian Commander then checks to see if he is replaced rolling an adjusted Leadership dice vs a D12, but in this case Fermor remained in command.

Rolls on a D12 (sometimes adjusted by use of Discretionary Points -see below) are made for Eliminated units, units that Routed Off-table, units Routed but still on table and for Leaders, with a 1 indicating degradation of unit or a 12 an upgrading.

A winning side gains what are termed Discretionary Points after battle essentially his total remaining AMP in this case 13 (5 plus 8 'transferred' from Russian pool).
These can be used in a couple of ways namely:

1- to assist in Pursuit of remaining on-table enemy by allocating a max of 3 points which are added to 1 then a D12 is rolled and if equal to or under this Pursuit Level the enemy drops one Quality level (or Combat level if a minimum D4 quality)

2- as Recognition Points with again a max allocation of 3 points being added, this time around, to a D12 roll for a friendly unit with any total of 12+ granting recipient a Up1 to quality level to max of D10 (or to Combat Level to max of C12+1 if at max quality).

In my example the Prussians had no Eliminated or Routed status units (!!) at game end but still roll for possible adjustment.
I allocated 3 Discretionary Points to Recognition for 1st Artillery Battery (started out a lowly C6 D6) but no change occurred.
But vagaries of dice rolls saw NR17 Musketeers and Dragoon Regt 5 both degraded (they then roll anew of Unit Rating table for next battle) but Kuirassier Regt 2 upgraded to a lofty D10 (however they turned out as C10 D10 overall, still petty good as the D10 with give them an Up1 in melee combats).

The Prussians allocated 2 Pursuit points to 5 Russian units to try to downgrade them but not a single such unit was affected.
However in other adjustment rolls the 2nd Grenadiers who had been destroyed are now permanently lost to the Campaign (ie roll of 1 when Eliminated) and Serbski Hussars were downgraded and additionally will miss next Engagement (returning as C12 D4 instead of original C10 D6).
++ In my previous post I stated that I thought there was less Routing units in FOB3 this proved to be a fallacy for the Russians at least who ended up with 3 units Eliminated and a further 6 units Routed all told !! ++

Leaders are also rolled for POst Battle but in my case none were affected on either side (they can go Up or Down 1 Command level).

Bit of confusion re what happens after battle on Campaign Map (queried with Brent) but I decided that the Prussians could advance the Engagement marker one Region.

So that completes one Full Season of SOB with one battle generated and completed.
Next it will be to re-deal the SOB cards and play another Season and its battle at wherever this may occur.
Found it all slick and easy to pick up (just a matter of following the rules !) and indeed play through and a tad more difficult to outline succinctly.
It is tempting to think "I could adjust this or that or add this or that" to system but I do think the KISS principle is best as it works as is and as stated (ie quick battle generation system).

However if not playing a full SOB campaign I would likely use FOB2 Fate system as bit easier for stand lone scenario/game.

Hopefully some insight to SOB for the uninitiated and I hope to proceed further with it at future date but couple of other projects in my tiny mind at present (not least a game with FOB WW2)

The game ending Army Morale roll, although a sensible Russian would likely have yielded voluntarily on this card to avoid further 'Campaign' damage.

Cossacks  have managed to out flank Cuirassier but not able to immediate melee

Russian losses mounting

Two of these three Routing units ended up off table

Battle of Blomberg concluded

And in other 'news'...........................

Sunday, June 07, 2020

Field Of Battle/Seasons Of Battle - Seven Years War solo bash update

Managed a couple of sessions with SYW game generated by Seasons Of Battle system and being played out using Field Of Battle 3.

After deploying both sides the Prussians have managed to gain the Initiative consistently (a D12 vs a D10) and have thus far made most of it too !

Their forward deployment gained through SOB meant they kept Russians out of the town sections which their skirmishing Frei Korps unit promptly occupied (I included a unit of skirmishing Infantry purely to test new skirmishing aspects of FOB and for variety as not a very widely used unit type by any SYW army bar the Austrians).

On Prussian right their Cuirassier Brigade had mixed fortunes with one unit smashing Russian Serbski Hussars outright by inflicting 4UI losses over 2 combats.
However a lowly unit of Cossacks forced their supporting Cuirassier unit back (twice now !!) despite seeing another Cossack unit Rout (this has now recovered).

In centre both Infantry formations have clashed with Russians suffering greater losses including a unit of Grenadiers shot to destruction.
One Russian Infantry Brigade has failed to activate and engage the enemy.

On Prussian left their Dragoons and Hussars were assaulted by Russian Cuirassier and Horse Grenadiers but despite being forced back initially they managed to Rally and Rout 3 Russian units.

Only Prussian Cavalry can use Assault Column in SYW in FOB3 which I thought was of little use (bit easier to manouvre) as now no upward dice level benefit in Melee but it does mean that when charging 2 Prussian unit can contact frontage of 1 Russian unit in line.
This garners a Down 1 for defenders, as outnumbered, so potentially potent as it so proved.

Charging Infantry in Line in this period is a hiding to nothing for Cavalry (unless foot well disrupted) as the foot gain an Up 2.

As it stands Russians in real difficulties with huge losses and currently no Army Morale left meaning Rallying is tougher to achieve and in danger of quitting the field on an Army Morale Card.

Prussians have taken significant Morale Losses but have managed to Rally off most hits on their units and have 'received' some Russian Morale Points (this can have an effect on level of Victory in SOB).

Will be interesting to see how this all works out in the SOB campaign.

Only second outing for FOB3, it being all brand new and all, and so far again liking the changes (particularly to the Period Specific rules).
I am using only 2 House Rules namely:-
1- Russian Foot can be upgraded by 1 level to the Quality level (to maximum of D8) at 'cost' of reducing Combat level by 1.
This generates Average units as C8 D8 units (compared to C10 D6) which I feel better reflects their Stoic reputation and preference for cold steel and their poorer firing abilities.
2- Close Artillery Range Bands I have reduced slightly as I believe Artillery in this period not as effective as later Napoleonic types (Up 2 at 0-4" and Up 1 at 4-8" with no change at 8"-16")
Otherwise playing rules as is.

My impression is that there seems to be less Routing Units than in FOB2 .
Rallying is a bit easier, especially for Routers and there a few differences I need to keep checking but nothing vastly different.
The new cards are well laid out and good aids to game play

I did like the old Pursuit rule of take a single hit if rolling odd, as now only Impetuous types (think British Napoleonic Cavalry) Pursue and they now take equal hits to those they just inflicted on defeated enemy.
In my game I have classed only the Cossacks as such Impetuous maniacs.

I have tried to limit my use of 'Daring Deeds' with my Officers and thus far none have suffered ill effects !

As ever FOB is fast playing even when soloing.

Session 1 - Prussian Cuirassier unit has pierced Russian Lines but friends have failed to do the same falling back from some mean Cossacks

General clash in centre around Town

Russian right wing

Frei Korps holding barely holding on to the town as Prussians envelop flanks

Session 2 - Things unchanged on Russian left as Prussian Cuirassier fail again to deal with lowly Cossacks

Action intensifies around the town

Disaster on Russian right as Infantry fail to advance and Cavalry broken or dead...............

Russians have had 3 Units Destroyed (2 on the field and 1 Routing off field)

Russian Mounted in desperate need of a Leadership card to attempt to Rally.
These Routs to table edge were caused by turning a Move card after winning a Lull.

Overview of poor Russian predicament.

Friday, June 05, 2020

Seasons of Battle system tried solo

Having just received FOB3 I have set up as planned a SYW Campaign using the new Seasons Of Battle system included with rules.
Russians versus Prussians and using the generic Campaign Map included with Region names taken from board game 'Prussia's Defiant Stand'.
Prussian Home Base is Berlin and Russian is Warsaw with numerous Regions including Kustrin, Thorn, Kolberg and suchlike.
One could redraw the generic map to better reflect geography but sufficient as is for flavour.
Each Region is assigned (through card play) an overall Terrain type (Open, Moderate or Dense) which dictates which sub-set of Terrain Cards one uses if fighting a battle therein and can effect Movement between areas.
Regions are grouped into several which can effect supply and other aspects depending on how close or far zone is to Homer Base.
Victory Points (awarded if winning a battle in region) are also allocated for each region.
Each Home Base/Capital has VP of 10 the others range from 4 - 9 VP.
A marker is placed on the central region in my case Blomberg to denote the 'Engagement Location ' for both armies.

The Campaign Map and SOB cards played

Army list/Roosters are drawn up for both sides as per standard FOB.
I have fielded 22 Russian units against 18 Prussian, with Prussians under Frederick having a D12 Leader dice and a Superior Deck against Fermor with a D10 and also a Superior Deck (FOB3 now has only 3 deck types - Poor, Average and Superior).
Armies also have National Morale Points which track the progress of the Campaign with  losses of Army Morale Points in each battle, region Victory Points effecting this NMP total.
Losing your Home Base or having NMP reduced to zero losing the Campaign.
Campaign is divided into 4 Seasons these can be standard Spring to Winter or could be Months or Weeks as desired.
At least one Battle will be fought in each such Season (SOB is more of a battle generator than a true campaign system)
A Seasons Of Battle deck is compiled for both sides comprising 2 sets of identical cards (coloured differently) including Move, Battle, Operational Initiative, Supply. Panning and Preparation and Weather cards.
As per FOB a dice off determines who turns first card and tries to act on it.
The opponent has access to a pool of 7 'Opposition Dice'  (a mix of D6, D8, D10 or D12 varied by Army General quality).
So the active player rolls his Leadership dice (sometimes modified by Region or Zone and colour of card) against a chosen Opposition Dice and if active player wins dice roll he can use the card.
As an example on Move card he could move the 'Operations' marker one region (these are linked to 2-3 other regions) or on a Battle card he could force a Battle (or hold to force at later stage of campaign).
In my Campaign I have thus far seen Prussians move East then Russians move back West to Blomberg.
Prussians gained an Operational Initiative card which allows 1 of 3 Tactical options in a Battle (choosing orientation of map, extra Deployment squares or extra Initiative Pips once per battle).
Weather cards were turned but no change in weather occurred (poorer weather effects can adjust dice rolls).
A Battle card appeared which Russians won and they have forced a Battle at Blomberg which is an Open terrain area worth 5 VP.
A Battle Set up dice off occurs with the difference generating (from a chart) a number of effects for attacker (winner of roll off) or defender which includes the number of Terrain Cards attacker gets to choose from.
In my case a difference of 7 in favour of the Prussians allowed 5 Open cards to be drawn (I picked Map 5 a very open card) a 25% Force Increase (not extra units but extra army Morale Points) and 4 Extra squares of Deployment on the battlefield.
The Russians gained 2 extra squares and ability to Remove or Define one terrain piece (they chose to remove a large hill in Prussian deployment area).
And so the battle is now set up ready to go with Force Morale, Deployment adjustments etc in place.

Armies deployed with Prussians (on left) taking advantage of extra Deployment 'squares' to deploy forward.

All in all pretty slick to play through the SOB system (quicker than my pre-amble above might indicate) and faster than play test version I tried a couple of years ago, which had another deck to generate the Battle Set Up and a more fluctuating (but ponderous) method of generating the battlefield.
Bit more to it than I have outlined but hopefully you get the gist.

Testing of the FOB3 system to come at Battle of Blomberg................

Field Of Battle 3 in the house

FOB3 and card decks arrived today (many thanks Lancs  Games) and so I set up a SYW bash using the new Seasons of Battle system.
More to follow on this but much changed from version I play-tested couple of years ago.

Thursday, June 04, 2020

Not much to report..............

Not done much in gaming realm this past week but herewith a short update.

Ulster Wargames Society had a Zoom meeting on last Saturday of May in lieu of actual Club Meeting and was great to see the same old faces and we had a fun History quiz using an app called Kahoots.

Couple of rule sets on order but none delivered yet (post still slow).

Have SYW Russian and Prussian forces set up ready to try out the new Seasons of Battle system from FOB3.