Sunday, August 28, 2022

Ulster Wargames Society August meeting

UWS meeting on Saturday at which I played in an excellent game of Sharp Practice (2nd edition I think) umpired by Jeremy D which was set in 1796 in Italy with Austrians (yours truly) facing French (David S and the ‘other Jeremy’). 

Only played Sharp Practice couple of times but fairly easy to pick up with umpires help. 

Scenario had a wagon load of leather boots that Austrians had to protect and get off table and a French spy hiding in village that both sides were tasked with rescuing or capturing.

Believe this would be classed as a largeish game of Sharp practice with 9 Austrian leaders and 8 French but was manageable for a club outing. 

Austrian morale took numerous hits especially from a charge and melee by a French attack column formation and were soon in trouble (ie losing command cards) whilst French mostly unscathed and subsequently fled the field.

Standard Lardy ‘buckets of dice’ system which can give some narrative building results.

I fired 3 units of Line troops yielding some 28 dice which inflicted 20 hits but French column target managed to roll saves that resulted in only 2 kills and 5 shock (spread across 4 units) which was rather underwhelming from Austrian viewpoint but elicited much celebration in French ranks.

Similarly I had a unit of 8 Hussars that suffered a canister salvo from a French medium gun and other firing which generated a whooping 15 shock but no deaths !

Really fun stuff with very nice troops, ancillary items and terrain (all 28mm but no idea of manufacturers)

Also at club the ‘two Davids’ had a couple of FOGR games first was Milanese vs Florentines then Milanese vs French (no idea how these turned out)

Phil had another of his excellent 20mm games this time a WW2 Eastern Front late war bash with lots of T34s, JSIIs, PzIVs, Panthers, Tigers and lots of infantry and other kit. Again saw very little of what happened but did note that his rules for armour combat was firmly based on old 1973 WRG rules.

Friday, August 19, 2022

Cold War Commander 2 a playtest

Stephen I tried out the latest edition of Cold War Commander with his excellent 10mm US and Soviet forces set in early 80s.

Core systems remain largely unchanged (lots of dice) but by yimmy we struggled with a lot of the other stuff which was poorly explained or indeed contradictory in places.

Built Up Areas/Buildings in particular had us head scratching as one rule says AFVs can enter (and are vulnerable to Infantry) but another says that only Inf and support weapons can set up in Hard Buildings, almost seemed like BUA and Hard Buildings are different beasts despite being described as same (ie stone or brick).

Also appears indirect HE cannot damage BUA (I sort of recall this issue from WW2 version) but direct fire by AT types can which is rather different.

Helicopter deployment took us a while to get sorted as well as initially described as only 2 ways to deploy then low and behold a 3rd way is given.

All very confusing for what is essentially a 4th edition of system not helped for me by only having rules as Pdf on iPad so the flicking back and forth to find stuff was tedious, I like Pdfs for reading rule sets but detest trying to use them in a game situation.

Whilst we expected a bit of a learning curve re modern weapon systems like the helos and ATGW we seemed to spend a lot of time trying to discern what should be simple stuff around BUA and cover types.

Both agreed we would need to house rule a lot of stuff but unsure if we can be bothered, pity as a lot to like in the system and the points and scenario systems seemed fine, new Ambushes and Recce are nice additions.

All kit is Stephens 10mm scale and mix of Pendraken and several 3d printed suppliers

US M60A3s in wood supporting Mech Inf in town

Soviet T64s and Mech Inf deploy in wood as more approach in support

The town (3 x BUA) was the nominal objective

M60 Company (the Bradley is a Command element)

US Inf are concealed in town (even though models on board)

Soviet armour has been suppressed by opportunity fire as infantry dismount in cover

Soviet certainly had the numbers 

Soviet Mech Inf deploying behind hill

The BUAs which caused us no end of rules pain trying to decipher 

Very nice cammo 

ATGWs engaged my M60s who were able to evade the missiles

Overview of battlefield

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Shadow Of The Eagles a solo practice


Been reading lots of rules of late (including Cold War Commander 2 in preparation for game at Stephens) and after looking through Shadow of the Eagles I decided to give it a wee solo bash.

Used the initial small scenario from book with my French facing Russians circa 1812.

Both sides have 3 small Brigades (French 9 units Russians 10) so a nice size to deal with solo.

I tried them briefly solo upon publication but not since.

As per design intent these produce a pretty much an 'old school' style game with some twists.

One thing that stood out was how Assault Columns operate compared to most other rule sets.

They move faster than line and can wheel tighter and are a more vulnerable target to artillery and shoot with 2D6 compared to Line with 4D6.

All fairly standard stuff but when it comes to close combat they still only get 2D6 with no bonus for formation (most rulesets give attack column some form of enhancement once they get into contact) and Line still get 4D6 so really no contest unless you can get 2 Columns on 1 Line and even then its a equal dice off (unless individual unit status adjusts rolls).

Making attack columns too weak or too powerful versus line is a bit of a poser for Naploeonic rules and depends on how one feels the interaction reflects historic record. 

SotE certainly goes for a simple 'solution' compared to say GDA, not saying this is correct/incorrect but just a departure from many other sets regarding this matchup. 

Overall play of game is slick and with minimal amount of factors and troop grades etc to contend with. 

Movement is simple with one side going first (in order chosen by winner of an initiative roll) then other and Charges are the first thing performed as movement with units that 'stick' fighting it out in later Close Combat phase.

Fighting (which covers shooting and melee) is straightforward D6 system with 4+ being a hit with this hit number being adjusted up or down due to usual factors/circumstances.

Close Combat usually sees one side forced to Fall Back with possible Pursuit for winners.

Units are rated as Inferior, Standard or Superior for Training and Motivation which can effect Fighting and Rallying with units becoming Weakened (Shaken) at a certain level of hits (4 for Standard unit) and then Routed (Destroyed) and further level (7 for Standard unit) with ability to Rally off hits (first 2 always remain).

All the standard Napoleonic formations are broadly covered and Leaders exert influence with Command Radii, and Rallying (either when far from enemy or when leader attaches).

Units can activate by passing an Ability roll if out of command (which can occur if led by Inept type) and possibly garner a double move (if led by Inspiring leader).

Several other nuances with army traits, no points or lists as such just broad outlines for differing periods of Napoleonic wars.

All in all a decent set which seem designed for smallish (Divisional) games playable in an evening (options for larger Corps game) and whilst not presenting any great innovations (such as say Lasalle 2 or Soldiers of Napoleon) they do 'what they say on the tin'.

Conversely it was refreshing to have actual skirmishers on table as opposed to more abstracted/conceptual versions of recent sets. 

French Chasseurs and a Horse Battery line the stream

As their Ligne advance in center

French Legere in skirmish order about to cross stream 

Dragoons (heavy cavalry) line hill with Foot Battery

Overview from Russian lines

Russian Hussars in attack column (a mistake)

Russian Line advances with skirmish screens deployed

A Foot Battery duels with French Battery

Jager Brigade moves up on town with one Battalion in 'full' Skirmish order

View from French lines

Hussars getting pummeled by Chasseurs 

Russians column advance

Two columns try to 'gang up' on a single line (but due to Inept leader only one got in)

A further cavalry melee about to ensue