Saturday, September 30, 2023

Ulster Wargame Society - Monthly meeting and A Distant Plain (solo)


Attended UWS today thinking I was to participate in Combat HQ game but got my months mixed up as scheduled for next month (senior moment) but lots of chat/waffle with others and watched some ongoing games.

Andy and Ian had another Team Yankee practice bash ongoing (competition in Cardiff in New Year) with some new Mdf buildings in use (due for a paint job soon). BAOR vs Czech (?) forces but don't know how it turned out. Not a fan myself of the Flames of War family of rules but players were having fun and that is what counts.

Phil and co had another large 20mm game this time a Zulu Wars game (based it seemed on Isandlawhana ?) with an interesting off-table maneuvering system. Phil had boosted his Zulu forces with some home made figures utilizing Milliput (not aware that was still around) which looked fine especially from a distance. Believe Zulus narrowly won this.

The 'strategic' board

Last but not least the 'Two Daves' had a couple of game using Field Of Glory Renaissance using Italian armies with lots of heavy metal Gendarmes, Pike Keils and Arquebus or Crossbow armed troops.

First game was Milanese versus Maximilian Imperial which was seemingly an easy victory for Milan.

In second game Milanese faced a Florentine (?) force a game which I watched for good while (FOGR enticing to play again) with Milan certainly not having things their own way when I left.


During week I had another solo COIN session this time with A Distant Plain and the medium scenario. Great fun with US managing a last gasp victory by suddenly leaving Afghanistan en mass (hmmm sounds tad familiar). Find these games so immersive even in solo mode.

Friday, September 29, 2023

Regimental Fire and Fury game

Another ACW outing at Stephens this time using Regt F&F and a published scenario set in 1862 just prior to 2nd Bull Run (can't recall scenario name).

This saw me with a 2 Division force of Confederates (Crack or Veterans) attacking Union (included the tough Iron Brigade) through usual broken terrain.

Tale of game was dreadful execution by Union of the Rebs (dice demon in full flow - first 4 shooting rolls were 10,9,9 and 8 !!) throughout every turn with a couple of Reb units Swept completely From The Field (ie wiped out) and huge casualties suffered (stand losses 32 to 3 at end !!). 

Conversely the Reb shooting and combat rolls were mostly dire (only 2 tens rolled were Manoeuvre on one turn)

Despite being high quality and with more units eventually (Brigades arrived piecemeal due to crossing an off board rail cutting), the Rebs just could not withstand the Union artillery (including 1 off board) and the large Iron Brigade units (12 - 14 stands) lead by fierce Colonels.

We tried a slight amendment to rules relating to the Cold Steel bonus, in that only units lead by Brave Colonels or with a Leader attached could declare a cold steel charge otherwise they used the shoot and charge option. This worked fine.

I did attach a Brigadier to a Crack unit to charge but of course charge stopped cold by Union firepower and predictably the Leader killed, the Iron Brigade suffered no such issues and their charging was awesome destroying or routing several Reb units. 

Great fun with a very good set of ACW rules (one of my fav sets)

Rebs trying to gain foothold in field which was Key Position but have been swept away

Reserves arrive on Reb left into yet more effective Fed firing

Chaos in center as Reb reserves arrive just as front line units Rout through them to rear and Iron Brigade advances. Reb mixed batteries on right were ineffective throughout

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Field Of Battle 3 - Markkleeberg scenario played

Game with FOB3 (yahoo) today with Stephen using Markkleeberg 1813 scenario (an adaption from a Lasalle scn) that we played several months ago with Battle Cmd.

I choose FOB3 rather than Batt Cmd for no good reason (I like both sets) other than more familiarity.

I was attacking with larger Prussian/Russian force against the French ensconced on large hill.

I had terrible initial Move rolls (so many ones) so slow getting across table and this allowed French Artillery to cause hits.

When I did get to close range Stephen had a run of cracking rolls in one sequence that fairly decimated my lines.

I came undone further in center when a Daring Deed rallied a Routing unit but saw the Prussian Brigadier killed and it took awhile to restore leadership and cohesion.

I did manage to get Russians on my right across stream but French reserves arrived to thwart progress not helped by my Veteran Russian Hussars being ignominiously destroyed by French Chasseurs.

My Prussian reserves arrived on my left but they too were tardy and where too late to the forward area.

We had to end things before completion but as I had lost 29 out of 35 Morale (but only 3 units actually KIA altough 3 more Routing) whilst French had lost a mere half dozen morale points so it was kind of a foregone outcome.

Game was as is usual with FOB a quick playing, eventful and enjoyable (always a BIG +) time and as always just hits that sweet spot for me of playability, plausibility and flavour with a great narrative to action.

The battlefield before deployments. French to be positioned on right sector

Allied advance is slow bar on the right

French on hill

Twice these two Brigades declined to Move

Progress at last to stream

Russian Jager Brigade across on right but just as French reserves appear

Central Prussian Brigade which is soon to lose its Commander

Losses mounting for Allies

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Holland '44 - Vassal Pbem status at Arnhem

A pic of situation at Arnhem on PM turn of 18th September (ie turn 4) from ongoing Pbem game via Vassal, with Mike (who is currently sojourning near Amsterdam) of Holland '44.

Very interesting game system from the Simonitch series that we are now getting fully to grips with as several sub-routines and special rules to absorb, alongside learning the Vassal module.

I have several titles from series but this is first real try out in 'anger'.

I am playing Germans and struggling to maintain a presence on the southern sectors of board as lots of low factor and single steps units being lost.

Thursday, September 07, 2023

They Couldn't Hit An Elephant - another play test (and new arrival - The Russian Campaign 5th Edition)

Another outing for TCHAE at Stephens today as we try to house rule 'rough' edges to our satisfaction as we both still like the overall system.

Shooting at multiple targets with differing to hit numbers within shooters 'fire zone' and distribution of any hits we are still finding tad tough to resolve easily, but further play test today hopefully got us to decision we will implement.

Stephen favours using lowest target hit number as basis for shooting with some dice therefore being essentially of no use (vs high defence targets - sort of a 'soak off') whereas I favoured rolling dice then using 'total hit value' to select hits as you wish (so you could combine dice to hit 'tougher' target in lieu of 'softer' target).

Either method works with Stephens method making some targets (such as skirmishers) essentially invulnerable unless isolated, but produces more hits on other targets, my method allows (occasionally) the tougher targets to suffer a hit but at cost of less hits on softer targets. 

We are going to apply Stephens method as since we are using his figures etc only appropriate he gets swing vote :-)

Scenario was based on action during Stonewalls 'Valley' Campaign in 1862 but we didn't complete as lots of rules discussion (purpose of game) with comparison as to how TCHAE differs or resembles other sets we have tried.

Whole kit and caboodle Stephens excellent 15mm figures and his terrain, there was a lot of artillery in this scenario (I had 6 batteries out of 18 units).


The Russian Campaign 5th Edition from GMT arrived (felt I just 'had' to upgrade after enjoying old but not very user friendly original) but not had much time to devote to it thus far. 

Initial impression is that it is firmly aimed at the more 'mature' gamer ie those likely to have owned the early Jedko or AH version back in the day (1976/77) as all components are larger than usual, big counters, large map (34" x 44") and hexes and even the play aids and QRS sheets are in larger than usual font. 

Nice addition is odds markers (various from 1:2 through to 7:1) you place on combats as reminder.

All good ideas for aging types with lessening sight and memories of which I now have to count myself one of the club.

Brief skim of rules reveals basic game is essentially unchanged from original (good) but there is a plethora of optional variant units and several pages of accompanying optional rules, gleaned from various sources over the years (such as Moves Magazine). 

Am not offay with all these variants but nice to have the options for variety.

Sunday, September 03, 2023

More Board Wargaming - The Russian Campaign and Donneschlag

Got another couple of solo sessions in with couple of board wargames (on a bit of a kick with cardboard warriors) one an antique another a newbie.

First up was The Russian Campaign from Avalon Hill of 1977 vintage and a game I played a few times back in the day but not for decades.

With several new versions out recently am rather tempted to upgrade so was trying to see if game still holds up.

And lo and behold it most certainly does, with simple straightforward hex and counter game play but with nice overall feeling of the campaign on Eastern Front.

Certainly old school in graphics department compared to modern stuff like No Retreat (a game I really enjoy) especially with the very dated counters and colour schemes (or lack thereof) but still a great game. 

This was one of first games I tried corner clipping but bit of a hash job on the tiny counters

Then it was one of my latest acquisitions again Donnerschlag which is just such a fun game even solo with lovely components (marred somewhat by errata to cards and QRS) and excellent smooth gameplay.

The combat and activation cards and low complexity overall make this very playable even though combat card play not particularly solo friendly (helps to have retention span of a gnat now).