Saturday, February 25, 2023

Ulster Wargames Society - Field Of Battle 3 'Markkleeberg' scenario

As planned I put on the Markkleeberg scenario with FOB3 at Ulster Wargames Society today.

Had 4 players involved with Dave T and Jeremy M commanding Russo-Prussians against Dave B and Ian as Polish-French defenders (I lack the required Polish figures so French used as surrogates).

What an exciting and dynamic game this turned out to be going right to the wire with both sides having exhausted their Morale. 

French had gone to zero morale earlier than Allies but had then pulled it back from brink completely depleting the Allied morale pool (despite having been 'gifted' 1 chip), but they were ultimately undone when they pulled 2 Army Morale cards in a row (as last 2 cards of a 5 card initiative) passing the first test but failing second, We checked the unused Allied hand and they had 1 Army Morale card upcoming.

The game had been close throughout with action all along the line of the central stream.

As always with FOB a lot of tense dice rolls and as ever some unexpected results such as......

A unit of veteran Allied Hussars had forced back a unit of Chasseurs then charged into rear of a unit of Cuirassiers narrowly failing to Rout them. Subsequently the Chasseurs rallied and managed to charge into rear of the Hussars whilst the Cuirassier hit them in front but after 3 rounds of melee the Hussars managed to repulse the two enemy (a 4 on a D4 vs a 1 on a D8 !!) much to the chagrin of the French players.

Meanwhile on the other flank a lowly unit of Landwehr light cavalry survived shooting and contact by French foot after having failed to Evade and indeed caused the enemy foot to fall back damaged, not bad for Militia types.

Both sides Artillery were fairly effective throughout the game (a lot less firing overall than in the Battle Command try with scenario) causing a steady drain on enemy morale.

Both sides managed to lose a Commander to a roll of 1, the French after a Daring Deed (of which they tried several during game) but as both on same side of battlefield neither side could really take advantage.

Initiative was pretty low today with lots of 1 card each and 5 was biggest 'run' either side achieved. This meant neither side was really able to deal a massive blow before enemy came back at them. A couple of tied rolls saw deck re-shuffles occur.

All 4 players seemed to enjoy game with Jeremy and Ian both new to system (the two Daves are more familiar with basics) and good to see a game actually played to completion once again.

At start with French lining the stream as Allies deploy in attack columns

French right wing

Later as Allies have pushed across stream on right and in center and French reinforcements have just arrived to rear. 

Note both nearest Brigades have temporarily lost their Commanders (black marker) hence the concentration of Disordered units (yellow markers) 

Also at club Phil had a 20mm 1941 Eastern Front game ongoing. Not sure who all was playing besides his son and Leslie nor do I know how it turned out but I did overhear that a Russian sniper was crushed under Panzer tracks at some point.

I managed to take more and better pics of this game at lunch than of our game !

Friday, February 24, 2023

Battle Command - 'Markkleeberg' scenario

Am intending to play 'Markkleeberg' (16th October 1813) scenario at club on Saturday with Field Of Battle, and so decided to give it try out with Stephen but using Battle Command for a further delve into rules.

Stephen used French (technically Poles) with 17 units and I was attacking with Russo-Prussian force with 25 units.

After usual waffling (mostly about upcoming GDA2) we got into game.

++NOTE++ afterwards I discovered that I had omitted the Move card from my deck !! and for what I can only put down to brain-barf we forgot to roll for multiple Move segments on any Move option until well into game. I was wondering why my lot seemed stuck in mud !

Not going to go into game as not wanting to spoil for Saturday but some further brief thoughts on Bat Cmd.

Probably highlighted by lack of Movement early on we noted that the defender can avail of a lot more Artillery shooting in Bat Cmd.

Stephen rolled really well with his D12 General on the Action Matrix generally rolling high and evens thereby gaining lots of options (the strength of new system) of which he frequently chose Artillery Firepower and was able to pound one of my Brigades seemingly relentlessly (and some of his rolls at long range were amazing).

Conversely I was able to use Leadership more often as well although I was more hampered by lower rolls/differentials (D10 General) and odds results which is much more limiting.

This is a different dynamic than in FOB3 with its default 3 Artillery Firepower or 3 Leadership cards etc per Average deck as once you use them they are gone until deck runs out (barring a re-shuffle) whereas in Bat Cmd these can appear as Secondary Options on other card types.

Using Tactical Advantage Card is tad different (not in effect but in timing) as it is not retained when a shuffle required which occurs much more frequently in Bat Cmd, due to small deck of 8 cards (or 7 in my dopey case) and with so many more Initiative rolls the chance of a tied result (ie shuffle) is more frequent, think we had 3-4 tied rolls.

Interesting stuff that just takes a bit of getting used to after years of FOB system.

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Battle Command - 'Dawn at Chickamauga' ACW scenario played

Game using Battle Command today at Stephens using his lovely 15mm ACW troops.

He had adapted an old Johnny Reb scenario involving early stages of Chickamauga and I commanded Rebs (under Bedford Forrest) against his Federal force (under Thomas).

Quite a large game with some 60 units on table so a good test for rules.

We waffled a good deal throughout about how best to model the large amounts of dismounted cavalry present, as rules count them as Skirmish units which we were unsure worked in a scenario with so many (fully half my foot units were dismounted types). 

Leave them as pure skirmishers ? make them same as Line but with lesser firepower ? or as Line but with only 3UI ?  in the end we just used them as standard line but armed with Carbines.

Mind you every foot unit in ACW period is allowed to use Skirmish by default (which again we debated). 

Like FOB, Bat Cmd is easily tweaked to accommodate our interpretations of such period specific stuff, its just a matter of agreeing what we think is best and minimizing such tweaks (KISS principle definitely best).

The card Decks and Action Matrix got a really good outing today as we went through decks several times and had lots of choices/options/restrictions with new Initiative system.

We both like new system for two players as an improved version of FOB system but again felt it was less optimal for multi-player than FOB3.

So much debate and waffle we failed to finish game but Rebs were bleeding Morale pips at much higher rate than Union and were facing some Union counter advances.

Great stuff with another excellent iteration of Piquet system.

My Brigades under Wilson and Ector at start (Wilsons lot proved to be very tardy movers)

Rebel right with dismounted Cavalry units of Armstrong and Pegram moving forward

Union artillery starts to ping my units as they advance through light woods (Class I and no speed reduction but visibility restricted to 12")

My reserve Brigades under Walthall and Govan deploy on my left

Union begin to advance in centre after having retired a couple of moves.

Wathalls Brigade swinging around heavy thicket (Class II and cover)

Thursday, February 09, 2023

Battle Command - 'Franquemont's Attack' scenario

Game with new Battle Command today using a converted GDB scenario 'Franquemonts Attack' part of Bautzen 1813.

Stephen was French/Wurttemberg commander (as he has Wurttemburg figures and they have not seen action for ages) and Dave H took the Prussians, I have not seen Dave in 5+ years so was great to catch up again and was his first visit to my gaff (hopefully not the last).

Decided to use Bat Cmd to see it in 'proper' action and I umpired, Dave was new to rules but picked things up quickly.

Despite being on defence as such Dave launched his Prussians right into face of enemy which proved costly as French artillery seemed to have a field day and inflicted multiple losses.

Stephen was then able to push into weakened Prussian lines and soon racked up a steady stream of Morale losses.

Inevitably this saw Prussians lose all Morale and fail the Army Morale Roll quitting the field.

A good outing for rules and good to see the multiple decisions/opportunities players had with the Action Matrix.

The system plays pretty much like FOB3 overall but the Action Matrix is a very different method than the 27 card deck of FOB.

I really like it as less 'dud' phases, but this play through confirmed for me that FOB3 is the more multi-player friendly system.

Got so engrossed in chat and play I only took one poor photo !

View from Prussian right

Thursday, February 02, 2023

Shako - Utitsa scenario

Game at Stephens today and he choose to use Shako II and the Utitsa scenario (which we have played a couple of times) with me as attacking French and he as Russian defenders.

We managed to play through 6 turns (out of 12) with no real problems this time (we seemed to have brain barf last couple ot times we used rules) just having to check a couple of rules our recall was weak on.

Tough for attackers in this one especially as the objectives of Utitsa village and the steep 'Mound' are well defended by Russian Grenadiers. 

Artillery is potent in Shako especially as hits cannot be rallied off and Stephens heavy stuff caused me grief early on. 

I did manage to destroy 1 battery on the Mound with my Lancers which was of course only mildly satisfying. 

A unit of Cossacks charged an infantry unit in Line but were shot up and then destroyed as one would expect.

Game really turned when I charged in one turn with 10 units of Infantry and only managed to close with 2, this was particularly annoying against the Russian Jager Division on my left of which I had managed to stagger every unit with artillery and musketry fire. 

All but one of my charging Battalions were repulsed staggered and some with hits by good Jager volleys. 

Elsewhere not so surprising that I mostly failed to close as the Grenadiers in the village and on the hill were mostly undamaged and indeed I lost a unit destroyed outright due to accumulated casualties.

I did manage to force one Jager to Fall Back as did a Grenadier unit (huzzah !) but both recovered (of course) and these were minor isolated successes.

My infantry force was mostly staggered (which cannot be rallied off close to enemy) and several had hits so I felt unable to gain much more offensively and so at end of 6th turn I called it (playing time was running out as well).

Shako is a good system overall although we found some 15mm moves can be a bit fiddly (trying to measure 2/3rds of a 4" move is just a tad awkward), the doctrinal support rules for foot units work really well.

It certainly has the 'feel' of a Corps level encounter.

French push towards the 'Mound' 

Staggers and hits from effective Russian artillery cannonades mounted fast

French columns try to avoid artillery, my own artillery was pretty ineffectual 

French reserves form up 

On my left I am ready to charge en mass having staggered all the Jager and having suffered naught, but all except the unit on extreme left failed to make contact and were repulsed damaged !

Utitsa village a tough nut to crack (note I have deployed into Lines to try to lessen artillery effect)

French Lancers on my right have recalled blown having destroyed an artillery battery (was just where Cossacks are)

Highwater mark for French just prior to massed charges are repulsed almost everywhere