Sunday, May 30, 2021

At last a ‘proper’ game out of lockdown ! - Lasalle 2 French vs Austrians

First face to face game since lockdown restrictions eased here in N.Ireland allowing such activities indoors. 

Last such game was back in early October which seems an eon ago!

Played a 15mm game of Lasalle 2 with John (as normal opponent his brother Stephen recovering from a nasty infection which had him hospitalised for a period) and we decided to try Lasalle 2 as John looking to see them in action.

John choose Avant Garde scenario (first I think) from rules with an Austrian 1809 force facing my French (both smaller 250pt option).

Lasalle 2 is so very slick and easy to teach (at least using basic rules) and we both got into swing quickly.

We did however only complete 5 of scheduled 8 turns due to lots of catching up and associated waffle before we got going. 

The Momentum system is excellent being easy to use and yet leading to lots of decisions to make best use thereof, and this coupled with free flowing movement and very playable shooting and combat systems, means this rule set has a lot going for it.

Not much in the way of ‘chrome’ compared to several sets (and openly designed that way) but the game is just plain fun whilst retaining a core Napoleonic ‘flavour’ and certainly high on playability/ease of understanding factor which is an aspect I find increasingly attractive (and likely why I enjoy Piquet sets so much).

John also enjoyed the rules liking the fast playing style and easy assimilation of the basic systems.

Hope to get more play with these (and try some advanced rule options) and hopefully with Stephen when recovered sufficiently.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Ulster Wargames Society - Zoom presentation by Barry Hilton

Just finished a Zoom meeting via UWS club which had a guest ‘speaker’ in noted wargamer Barry Hilton (of League of Augsburg/Beneath the Lilly Banners fame) about warfare in Ireland in period 1688-1689 (hopefully more to come about rest of the period 1690 onward)

What an excellent idea and an equally excellent presentation it was.

Barry was very pleasant to listen to with great graphic back up (which I was not expecting) I particularly  liked the use of 28mm (?) wargame figures to show infantry and cavalry units on a 1:1 scale, great stuff

Very much a quick overview but with lots of wargaming content and on a sound historical basis.

Couple of screenshots to give a just a flavour

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

L'Art De La Guerre - new version a solo outing

New version (4th Edition but only second English language version) of L'Art De La Guerre arrived and after a good read through (found this tough on fudged brain cells despite already 'knowing' the set) I decided to try a quick solo game.

I used my Punic Wars Romans against a Gallic force (both the standard 200pts).

Thankfully once I got going the basics of the system came back to me and not really that many changes to the unit types I was using.

Terrain set up is a tad different with 1 or 2 (?) more terrain pieces potentially on table but nothing drastic.

A few amendments to troop interactions such as Spearmen vs Mounted, and a few changes to some Light Horse activities, but all easily found on the ever excellent QRS.

However upon browsing through the copious Army Lists (300 separate listings) I did note several changes to the armies I can field.

Some changes to points with some Medium Inf a point cheaper for instance, but some more significant (?) changes to troop types.

My Mycenaean heavy infantry no longer get Missile Support (ie a back rank of bowmen) for reasons unknown and other lists have some changes to minimums and suchlike.

But no doubt as and when (soon !...soon !......he cries !!) I get back to gaming (and relentless drubbings I expect) with Stephen more changes will become apparent but in the main I found only small amendments to rules with a goodly part of new text in rules being by way of clarifications.

Am torn between this set and the also excellent Mortam Et Gloriam as my go to Ancients rules as both generate very fun and playable games, despite being of more complex fare (their competition friendly pedigree shows through) than many recent rules sets I have taken to.

My game was rather bloody with both sides suffering significant losses.

Romans defended and managed to get decent terrain to form around, however their right wing was crushed very quickly before Legionaries got into main action.

Once they and the Gallic warriors (a mix of Medium and Heavy Impetuous Swordsmen) clashed the body count rose swiftly.

Romans succumbed soonest but Gauls were only 2 unit losses from defeat themselves.

Romans await the barbarian onslaught

Gaestati ally heavy types flank their medium cousins as Velites try to stall them

The Roman right about to be overwhelmed as Numidians face an oncoming horde

Light chariots support another line of warriors

Stoic Legionary Hastati and Principes await supported by Triarii and Extraordinarii (in woods)

Calm before the storm....................

Monday, May 10, 2021

Shadows of the Eagle - solo try with French vs Prussians circa 1813 (wordy and pic heavy)

Managed to set up and (solo just for a change) play through one of the included scenarios from new Shadows of the Eagle rules.

These are by Keith Flint (Honours of War author) and touted as a low complexity/playable set (10-20 units per side) of Napoleonic rules, and indeed that is essentially what they are. 

Units are of the fashionable standard sized (16-24 figures depending on scale used and on 4-6 bases) on equal frontages and as no figure removal this is of course functional and user friendly, and represent Battalions/Regiments organised into Brigades (up to 3 units can operate independently) with a standard sized game being roughly Divisional (options to scale up to Corps level).

There is no points system but a section does give guidelines for unit types and ratings for various periods and campaigns of the Napoleonic period, with things such as Old or New Regime army types, variance from the standard units, such as units being rated Inferior for Training but Superior for Motivation or visa versa to allow variety to portray units such as Young Guard, Landwehr, Provisional troops and suchlike.

Standard D6 used (Average dice for recoils) with 4+ to hit/activate etc with several modifiers for shooting, combat and so on.

Units are rated as Standard, Inferior or Superior with number of Morale Hits/Casualties they can sustain based on this and subsequent level at which they become Weakened or Routed (destroyed). 

Units are rated for 'Fighting Ability' ie number of dice they roll based on formation or number of bases in contact for Combat.

As an example Infantry in Line fire with 4 basic dice, those in Attack Column use 1 dice whilst in Combat a Line still uses 4 dice but a Column uses 2 (although 2 Columns could make contact). Squares can be 'wrapped around' to maximize dice but they always fight with 4 dice and are a tough proposition to break as they do not recoil and achieving hits on them is difficult. 

Cavalry is divided into Light and Heavy with lights being bit faster and heavies better in combat.

Artillery fires with 2 Dice with hit number of 4+ adjusted for range, weight of cannon and can achieve 'Grazing Fire' (ie bounce through) with ball shot. Artillery seems rather under powered compared to some sets but not played enough to be sure.

Skirmishers appear as units of suitably deployed Light Infantry types or as Skirmish screens to individual Battalions.

Sequence of play sees and Initiative Roll to determine who can go first then its Side 1 Moves (including Charges), Side 2 Moves, both fire (simultaneous results), both conduct Close Combat, then both can Rally.

Charges are simple being a function of movement but are resolved in the same Move Phase with units either recoiling (usually if one has been weakened) or remaining in contact and Light units can Evade.

The standard formations of Line, Attack Column, March Column and Square are all present and seem to interact as expected.

Movement is fairly free and easy outside close range of enemy units with bonus inches for differing types/formations/changes of formation etc. As example in 15mm (2/3rds of 28mm ranges) a Line Infantry unit moves 4" with 2" bonus if in Column and halved in difficult ground (Infantry fires to 6", Skirmishers to 8")

Command and control is represented by Commanders (Brigadiers and a C in C) that exert a Zone of Control with units outside their Commanders range being required to pass an Activation test to operate normally, otherwise no Orders System as such. 

Commanders can also join units to assist in Rallying off hits (2 hits are permanent) and with Standard units being Weakened on 4 hits and Routed on 7 hits this is an important function for Generals.

So overall nothing really 'new' in the rules but nothing jarring or odd encountered, they sort of fall into a similar vein and level of complexity to Rank and File, Imperial Eagles, Black Powder or Over The Hills (basic version). 

They are well presented with decent illustrations and the actual rules themselves are fairly short with rest of book (hardback by the way) consisting of Army outlines, good examples and Designer Notes which I always enjoy reading.

Obviously only a very brief overview of the rules here with several aspects skimmed over or not mentioned, and on balance I do prefer the recently released Lasalle 2 and it innovations for same 'scale' of game, but these are a perfectly playable alternative set with a sort of old school feel. 

Scenario has one side defending a river line and its bridges/fords with bulk of force arriving as reinforcements over several randomly determined turns on set road entry points. 

For this I choose French as attackers and Prussians as delaying side circa 1813. I keep units as standardized as possible for ease of play and similarly with Generals (who can be Inept, Average or Inspiring).

French have 3 Infantry Brigades with Foot Guns and a Brigade of Chasseurs (Light Cav) and a Brigade of Dragoons (Heavy Cav) with a Horse Gun Battery as an Independent unit.

The Prussians start with 3 Independent units to the fore being 2 units of Fusileers (Light Inf) and 1 Uhlan (Light Cav) with an Infantry Brigade and a Hussar Brigade in support (in the towns). The Prussians have 2 more Infantry Brigades and a Dragoon Brigade to arrive.

Importantly the river can only be crossed at the two bridges and two fords (one of which starts under French reach), these plus two towns are objectives.

The field of battle from French side

French deployed (with Dragoons in reserve off table)

Later action as French Dragoon columns threaten Prussian Hussars in line.

Overview as Prussian reserves arrive

Prussian Fusileers in skirmish order delay in wooded areas as Uhlans bounce of a French square

Another unit of Fusileers suffer as they try to delay in centre.

Prussian Infantry reserves deploy to protect a ford

Attack Columns clash on French left on approach to large town

As final Prussian reserves appear along road.

Units start to weaken (yellow 'puffs') as hits inflicted

Prussians trying to keep French pinned back

Prussian Dragoon Brigade struggles to find room to properly deploy

French have numbers in centre

But Prussians massing on right

Overview from Prussian right

Prussian Fusileers under severe pressure 

Don not fancy Hussars chances against French Dragoons.

Unlikely to finish this game as new edition of L'Art De La Guerre has arrived and keen to get to grips with its changes.

Roll on face to face gaming, which will hopefully be 'legal' from 24th of May here in N.Ireland, we are allowed to play outside in a garden but as the weather has been consistently awful (such a contrast to last year !) this has not been an option.