Thursday, May 19, 2022

Soldiers of Napoleon - proper tryout French vs Prussian 1813

Game using Soldiers of Napoleon with Stephen today using 800pt forces with Stephens French facing my Prussians.

Being a 'proper' face to face game I learnt a lot more about the rules and their plus and minus aspects.

Used the random terrain generation system which yielded a fairly open but plausible table and we both just diced for Tactical Orders (both ended up on defence) and Deployments (both standard deployment).

Both really like the cards and the decision points and choices each generates and the Victory Points/Objectives system is rather clever meaning its not just 'smash the enemy'. 

Biggest takeaway was that game is best with units of Cav/Inf being a standard 6 bases (we were using 4 bases) as much more durable especially when being fired at by artillery or skirmish fire as with 4 bases units proved very brittle. 

Rules allow units to be 2-6 bases strong (artillery is 2-3) but 6 seems the most feasible overall.

We started classing units as 6 bases after first few turns and found the game noticeably improved as not using Rally actions as frequently as we did with 4 base units.

Intimidation order for heavy cavalry is pretty potent as it effects 2 infantry units and with 3 French Dragoons on table at start this was pretty nasty as potentially 6 units effected each time .

We thought Skirmish fire against cavalry seemed a bit odd but can see how this is needed in game as counter to heavy cavalry.

The move distances are relatively short (even using the 28mm ranges) especially for cavalry so found it took a long time to get to grips but again this was partly as we were loathe to use Quick March as it incurs a Disruption which is quite damaging to 4 strength units not so much 6 strength.

Brigades can also be pushed by being ordered with sequential cards which again incurs disruption penalty but which also again one is more likely to accept with stronger units.

Extended Line we found pretty good formation (although only available to true Light Infantry) as great for movement (same speed as column) and very useful in terrain, whilst retaining same firepower as Line formation, being better against artillery shots with only a minor -1 dice in combat.

Enjoyable game overall (the cards make it) but unsure if is preferable to other more 'dynamic' sets we use for the period but always nice to have choice/options imho.

Only a couple of pics as engrossed in game (always a good sign)

Thursday, May 12, 2022

L'Art De La Guerre - Knights of St John vs Hundred Years War English

LADG game today to give Stephen further practice with his HYW English army for competition in June.

I used Knights of St John army again with a few tweaks (including a pretty useless Heavy Artillery piece) as I really like the list and the ability of the mounted troops to deploy as foot at game start (had not realised the Hv Cav cavalry can also dismount as Armoured Spear) is quite nice ability especially against HYW English.

We had a fun and fast moving game that saw plenty of action (with lucky legs of course killing 2 of my Generals in combat !!) and the English hopefully got another decent workout.

A very annoying marsh broke up my deployment and all my selected terrain landed in English half of table.

The English foot classed as Medium Swordsmen with Longbow are very good troop type.  

Next practice for Stephen I hope to try Hussite to give him a look at massed war wagons in case these are an opponent and worthwhile learning the associated rules for a troop type we seldom use.

Saturday, May 07, 2022

O Group - St Manvieu scenario (completed)

Managed an extra gaming session today with Stephen and we completed our O Group game of the St Manvieu scenario.

Certainly a lot more action this time as units deployed from Combat Patrols and fire was exchanged with our armour reserves also appearing and artillery stonks falling across the table.

As so often happens (in any game with any rules) game pretty much decided by a couple of turns wherein I had horrendous dice rolls whilst Stephen had correspondingly excellent rolls.

The Panzer Grenadier rule came to fore couple of times with extra hit for double 6s and from re-roll for spotted targets, which saw units inflict 4-6 hits which Brits only partially saved seeing Platoons decimated in short order.

My Churchills arrived and later took on the reinforcing Hun PzIV damaging it but they were whacked by a medium artillery barrage and that b*****d sniper (frustrating as hell as you have no method/ability to effect them in any way and can only hope it self-destructs) and were shocked and suppressed.

We quite like how AFVs do not really dominate proceedings in O Group (I personally feel it is and works best as an Infantry game, not really sure how fielding a full tank Bttn would work in practice?)

My Crocodile appeared but failed to get into flame-throwing range (6") before game ended.

Pretty tough for attackers when defenders are in built up areas (even heavy artillery struggles to do meaningful damage) and in ambush as generally they will get first dig which of course is not unexpected and today their fire was accurate and devastating. 

At start of session (beginning at turn 6) we had lost a single stand each but by end (turn 11) the Brits had been slaughtered losing a further 11 Infantry stands and hence 3 Fubars to end game (think Germans had lost a mere 2 stands).

Once Fubars mount and you start losing Order dice it is nigh impossible to maintain any momentum.

On one turn I had a mere 3 Coy orders and had to spend my entire HQ pool to conduct any meaningful activity.

During course of game I would estimate that Germans won Initiative on 7 out of 11 turns and mostly had more orders than attacking Brits, such is how the cookie crumbled.

We both used the Reactive Withdraw order a lot more than before that is for certain especially once the mortar rounds start arriving.

Also got some clarity on our queries ref objectives and consolidation points from the ever helpful author Dave Brown on TFL forum and we were glad to see that we had been playing it pretty much as intended (note I also highly rate his Panzer Grenadier Deluxe rules)

Great stuff overall and we both really like the rules once one accepts the inherent parameters, the Command dice and orders system is the heart of game with the combat being very easy to pick up with its minimal modifiers and overall simple D6 system.

A good deal more photos as bit more kit to see :-)

Brits from Reserve Coy consolidate in woods

As a Patrol uncovers a hidden German Platoon in buildings

Panzer IV takes damage 

Crocodile appears in support of B Coy and pushes forward but too late

B Coy trying to push around German left flank

A Coy came unstuck against Germans in centre and my left

This German Platoon proved deadly and impossible to dislodge in centre

Churchill Crocodile lumbers forward (they are slow.......)

The firing of this German platoon also put paid to British moves on my left

Stuck in woods for lack of orders but at least safe as out of sight

Churchills suffering shock and suppression from German artillery (and that Sniper !!)

Another consolidating Brit Platoon prior to being wiped out

Trying to avail of all the cover available but once 'heads poked out' its a deluge of fire 

Caught at close range and lucky to survive as long as they did (2 turns)

Lack of orders hurt as do I try to extract these or move other units ?

Hun Platoon advances (Peter Pig figs I think)

And Brits suffer (Skytrex and Peter Pig)

Brit mortars target them (and a couple of cows) to stem advance (they were pulled back after a stand loss)

'Beware The End Is Nigh' as Brits 1 stand from game ending 3 Fubars

Thursday, May 05, 2022

O Group - St Manvieu scenario started (to be continued)

Game with Stephen and we tried O Group again having enjoyed last game.

I selected the St Manvieu scenario with my Brits in attack and Stephen therefore fielded the Hun defenders.

We managed to play 5 turns but spent a lot of time discussing (amidst usual waffle deluge) certain aspects of the rules in particular the concepts of Objectives and Phase Lines with Consolidation of Reserves and how one practically enacts this on table top especially with regard to re-drawing Company boundaries and not intermixing Companies.

Both unsure what can constitute an objective beyond the more obvious towns, hills, bridges such as can a crop fields be legitimate objectives ? can a phase line be a stream or a line of fields ? can a Company in reserve be deployed on any captured objective anywhere on table or must your battle plan include which sector of table this Company is to appear ? 

But again the core game is very enjoyable with so many key decisions as to how to use Combat Patrols and when to deploy from them or to reveal an Ambush. I still hate those Snipers !

We have left game in situ to complete next session.

Again with this being WW2 with hidden units/Combat Patrols, O Group maybe not the most photogenic especially in early stages but some pics included

The battlefield prior to deployments

Patrol 'phase' of game begins

Some British Platoons from A Company deploy in woods (at top left) 

First real encounter as Germans spring an ambush after British smoke screen failed.

Action on British left as A Company fully deployed and pushing forward through wooded areas.