Friday, December 24, 2010

Harpy Holidays!

Farewell to the King
Outside life has definitely intruded, so all has been quiet here on the blogging front.

As to gaming, I played in an Age of Reason (1st Edition) game set in the French & Indian War back after Thanksgiving. The game itself was pretty enjoyable and went quicker than I expected. I commanded a small brigade of Rangers and light infantry who mixed it up in the woods with French militia and allied Indians. A bit of trivia is that these rules were the first miniatures rules I ever bought, way back in 1991 or 1992. Picked 'em up at their place of manufacture, the Emperor's Headquarters in Chicago, Illinois. Didn't use them for another 15 years though!

Mostly I have been soloing Conflict of Heroes some more. Which has cut into painting time for sure, though I did pick up the brush this month and move my SC Cadets along a bit. It looks like I may actually have a face to face game of CoH next weekend, but we'll see...

 A week or so ago a little package arrived from the UK which contained the Indian Army special deal from Woodbine Design. Since I have a Sikh Platoon that needs completing, I got the figures with Sikh heads. The figures all look great, very clean and endearing. Great poses and lots of character (in the good sense). But I've been nagged by a need to do something different...
I have more than enough unpainted lead for two major ongoing projects (ACW & WWI). I need to really minimize spending. And board-gaming is, currently, just as big an interest. But who can deny the call of new lead...
Forthcoming addition to Pulp Figures Savage Seas Range (click for link)
Both these ideas are not new to me. One is to rebase many of my Maori Wars figs and try to move towards a more truly skirmish game. The other is this vague notion I have had for years to run a skirmish game based around Coast-watcher, Farewell to the King, Papua Constabulary type thing... Long ago I ran a series of games set in the interwar period that involved South Seas adventures, mostly fighting Sulu Seas Moro pirates. At that time I really wanted someone to put out a Melanesian range. Well, in the last year or so Pulp Figures has released a bunch of great figs that fit this bill, and with two more packs on the way, I think I cannot resist. Most are suitable for any time in the last 1000 years.

What I want is to be able to get back to games where I could paint less than 100 figs per side and have a good game. Unfortunately I think that the huge table at the club really mitigates against that. The pressure is definitely for thousands of figs rather than dozens. Also it is really difficult to fill up an 8 x 12 table with jungle terrain! If I do this I think I might use a homemade variant on In The Heart of Africa by Chris Peers.

Anyhow, merry Crassmass!

Monday, November 22, 2010

New Woodbine Indians, coming soon?

Indian Bombers.

 After seeing a post on Lead Adventure Forum by the incomparable Plynkes I checked out the Gripping Beast Headlines page. Apparently Woodbine Designs has three new packs of Indian WWI Infantry on the way. Here are the pics they had, lifted w/o permission.

Indian Command / NCOs?
Very exciting and yet another example of how Soapy's the man. If you're planning a WWI project support this guy. And since these are the figs I've been needing for years, some of my $$$ will be crossing the Atlantic as soon as they release these.

Indian Hotchkiss LMG teams. AMAZING!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Game Report-- "Fritzy" Frost Fails (but just barely)

The goal: Secure the disabled Armored Car in the center of town
Game: Rolls Royce Down!
Setting: Somewhere on the Eastern edge of the Transjordan, October 1918
Rules:  Price of Glory 
Date & Location: Saturday 11-13-2010 at The Yankee Peddler Wargames Club (almost 40 years old)
Forces: British: ad hoc Platoon consisting of elements from the ANZACs and British Army (2 sections, both controlled by Mike), Indian Army (2 sections, Eddie) and Arab Northern Army (1 section, Mazz)all amply supplied with Lewis Guns and Bombs;  assisted by local insurgents (eventually up to 6 or 7 groups, Mazz); 1 Se5 Biplane; 1 Indian Army Mountain Gun (Scott Pasha) and 1 Light Car (Scott Pasha)
Central Powers: 1 large Platoon of Ottoman Turks (5 sections, John and Jim); 1 small platoon of AsienKorps Germans (2 LMG teams and 1 rifle section, Gary); Albatross Biplane
ScenarioScenario begins with a knocked out Rolls Royce Armored Car in the village and it's scout car retreated just outside the village. Lt. "Fritzy" Frost, a rather forward thinking Brit who champions adoption of Storm Trooper style tactics, has been chosen to enter the village secure it for recovery of said AC. He is taking a crack team of former ANZACS, Sikhs, Sharifian Regulars and British Regulars amply armed with Bombs and Lewis Guns into the village to hook up with local "friendlies" (who will be riled but by Political Officer Larry of the TransJordan). Meanwhile José Pasha and sympathetic German Captain Gunter von Prüsspantz commanding  rogue elements of the dispersed Yildirim Army have decided to take the village, kill the women, "kiss the boys" and then take off across the desert to join up as mercenaries with ibn Saud (little suspecting the true fate that will await them if they make it).  
Terrain: Almost all buildings scratch built by Mike.
Figures: Turks: Copplestone Castings, Woodbine Designs, Brigade Games; AsienKorps: Brigade Games, Battle Honors; ANZACS: Brigade Games, Woodbine Designs; Sikhs: Brigade Games; Sharifian Arabs: Artizan; Arab Insurgents: Battle Honors, Artizan, Brigade Games, 
Vehicles: Aircraft: Corgi Aviation Archive; Rolls Royce Armoured Car: Matchbox; Light Car: Company B

Initial  British and Australian set-up
With some prompting by Jim, I ran a Price of Glory game last weekend. It went over pretty well and may have resolved the most recent "theoretical problems" that I have been posing to myself about PoG, namely what are the unbalancing factors? There is a lot of grumbling about Machine Guns, and attacks on defended positions and armoured cars. So... the scenario involved two relatively evenly matched forces who both started in a village, with no HMGs or cavalry or active ACs. 

An Indian Mountain gun dropped shells on the Turks in the center of the village through the entire game.
The Turks and Germans  deployed across the width of the town and began an advance. At first the Turks came under some fairly intimidating shell fire while in some ruins but quickly moved up to occupy  a strong, two roomed building at the central crossroads in town. 
Sharifian Regulars move forward on the British right flank
The Frost's force in some ways mirrored the advance of the Ottomans and Germans. The focus here, though was a little more oriented on establishing effective crossfires and getting Larry's Sharifians into town. Once there they would foment an uprising against the insufferable Turk.
Initial Sikh positions
The Sikhs spent much of the game in an attempt to engage and take the Turkish strongpoint. British victory condition was to secure all four corners surrounding the Armoured Car at games end. Eddie's Sikhs were the most active British units in attempting to directly achieve this goal.
After driving off British air cover, a German Albatross strafes Frost's force
I used the super simple Air Superiority rules from our previous game. It is mostly there as a counterbalance to one side having unrestricted aerial attacks. In this game though there were only two turns in which one side (German) ever had air superiority. The rest of the game was spent in dogfighting. 
The Central Powers forces advance into the village. Note the ruins in which the Turks were shelled.
Little knowing what was awaiting them, the AsienKorps infantry moved up and then pretty much stayed static. After Larry entered the village he and his Arabs stirred up the natives and the Uprising began. Mazz accidentally (mostly due to my being unclear about the scenario rules) placed his first group of "pop-up" insurgents on the table before he could activate them. In other words the Germans fortuitously noticed a milling band of surly locals and dispatched an LMG team to deal with them.

The Insurgency begins. Armed local Arabs activate to the left of advancing AsienKorps infantrymen.
And deal with them they did. The LMG team you see in the foreground above moved to assault the offending Arabs and did them in by tossing some Grenades into the building and following it up with a determined melee. No Arabs survived. 
A Turkish sniper, working in concert with a German spotter,  looks for  a target
Meanwhile... The Turkish command group surveyed the battlefield. José Pasha and his subordinates size up the situation. "This troublesome Frost must be dealt with". He orders the sniper team to shoot down any British officers seen on the field. Unfortunately for them the previously "beneath contempt" occupants of the house reveal unseen weapons and make an attack.
Arabs attack, and eventually kill,  the sniper team 
The sniper and his German spotter are killed. Wisely José turns chooses the better part of valor an d moves out of the building. "So as to be closer to the boys up front.." he says, the bullets flying after him. Sometime around this "advance so as to retreat" his favorite water-boy Achmed is grazed by an errant Arab bullet, an ill omen? Who is to say?
Frost's lads assault the Turkish right and engage in a protracted melee. Eventually the Turkish section is destroyed.
With the appearance of their Pasha, the "boys up front" make a determined stand against an attack by Fritzy's boys. The melee seems to go the ANZAC's  way, then the Turks and back-again. Finally the Turks are defeated... and killed to a man. "In memory of Talal" grumbles the NCO as he bayonets the last remaining Turk.
The Turks seized this building and it became the key position in the game. The three sections suffered at least 50% casualties, including 2 NCOs, by games end. It was constantly being hit by small arms fire, mountain gun shells and grenades tossed by Sikhs in the buildings to the East and South-East
Meanwhile... the other half (well 3/5ths) of the Turkish Platoon advances to occupy their stronghold.
Another, later, strafing run. The buildings in the mid ground were teeming with insurgents.

The table, as seen from the Northeast corner. The seemingly endless dogfight continues above the village.
It should be noted that for almost the  entire game the Germans occupied the same three buildings. They exchanged fire with Sharifian Regulars and Sikhs who occupied the buildings ahead of them and fought off several insurgent attacks from behind. 
Where earlier the Turks were wiped out, now a Turkish counter-assault retakes the building and destroys the ANZAC defenders.
The Turks on the right flank were steadily pressured forward as their rear filled with new and larger Arab units each Turn. Eventually there were about 6 to 7 units of insurgents in the Turkish rear. The Turkish leadership moved forward and motivated the remaining Section to counterattack and eliminate  the ANZACs.

In a desperate bid to take the Turkish stronghold, Fritzy leads his boys across the garden. They were met by numerous thrown grenades, but it's the rifles  that begin to tell against the lads.
The Armoured Car stopped smoking (a hint by me that it was approachable). If anyone had attempted to enter it they would have found that the Vickers MG was operational and loaded. But no one did. While the Brits focused on the central Turkish stronghold (ssen in the mid-ground, far right), José Pasha led the remnants of the right flank Turks around behind the last ANZAC section.
In attempt to secure their hold on the crossroads, and deny the wreck to Frost's men,  the Turks launch an assault across the street. It is doomed to fail under a British / Sikh crossfire. 
John's attempt to secure the North East Corner of the crossroads failed, as was almost inevitable. By this point the constant blast attacks and small arms fire were beginning to tell against the main room of the stronghold (note the suppressed markers and lack of command figures). The situation here was more fragile than it seemed. 
The failed, final,  assault. Led by Frost, the exhausted men are not able to make themselves close with the enemy. Moments later belated lewis gun fire from the Sikhs suppresses the Turks, but it is too late as the game comes to an end.
If the Sikh and ANZAC players had co-ordinated this last assault better, there could have been a victory. The suppressions that resulted from the Sikh fire would have made it unnecessary for Frost's lads to pass a Courage check to close. It was still possible for the Brits to win this game in the last round...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Quick update

1. The Bombers were found three days later with my daughter's help
2. I only finished painting 2 Anzac Bombers, an ANZAC NCO & a Turkish "sniper".All figs by Woodbine Design co. and  All in a much messier style than I prefer.
3. We will be gaming WWI in the Near East this Saturday, in honor of Armistice Day. The scenario will not resemble any real battle I know of, but should be fun...
4. I've played (solo) Conflict of Heroes 3 more times since the last post on it. My opinion is, if anything, even more elevated than before... I've added Storms of Steel and Price of Honour since last I wrote on it.

I am going to attempt to take photos of the game so expect a game report some time in the near future...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Not so funny... a critter in the dark

After a long day parenting I took some Woodbine ANZAC Bombers & an NCO outside and primed them (more on this later). It was dark and I put them, as I always do, on a scrap piece of cardboard on a low wall on my patio. It was dark and chilly. I left the figures to dry and went inside to finish the nighty-night rituals. What I did not do, that I usually do,  was weight the cardboard with a rock.
The wind picked up and several hours later when I went out to fetch the Bombers I found that the cardboard had flipped over into a giant pile of Oak Leaves. I attempted to find the figs in the dark but then heard some scurrying across the yard. Looking up I saw an ugly villainous creature staring at me from about 6 yards away: The Opossum.
Luckily, being a southerner I knew just how to deal with him/her: I hissed. The 'Possum ran off into the dark.
Unfortunately I only found 3 of the 5 figures last night; none today thus far. It will be dark when I return home so there's no way I'll be facing off "Pogo" again.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I'm a Wargamer...

A piece from the original COH game set. How beeyootiful!
In the new expansion they have replaced the pictures of minis
with counter illustrations, but they still look really good 

Sorry that it's been so long since I posted, but it's been a busy month, and not in  a good way.

My ACW painting is proceeding well. about halfway done with my Cape Fear Cadets. Haven't actually played a minis game in almost 2 months but I have played a few solo boardgames, namely the classic Frank Chadwick game A House Divided and the much newer but unbelievably great Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear.
As long time readers will remember I bought COH:AtB in December of 2008 but until this autumn it remained (inexplicably) unplayed. Now I realize what a mistake that was!  This is the (board wargame) system of my dreams. I knew that but somehow convinced myself that it was too complex... wrong again!

I would urge you to go out... right now... and buy one of the COH games if you have any interest in WWII tactical combat. It's not my main period of interest but I have always had a soft spot for WWII tactical games since my days in the early 90s of playing Up Front, Panzer Leader and Squad Leader. This new game is much improved in my humble opinion. Played solo it is positively elegant in play,  quick and thrilling. I'm sure as a two, three or four player game it is even more so. There is a new expansion coming out called Price of Honour which is set in Poland in the 1939 Blitzkrieg. I've pre-ordered it and hope to see it near the end of next week.
More soon.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Cape Fear Cadets, first volunteer

I've finished painting my "guide" figure for my first unit of Rebels. They will be made up of figures from  Perry Miniatures packs ACW30,31 & 36. Confederates in Frock Coats, mostly wearing Kepis. I am not happy with these figures since they have an unacceptably large amount of flash. Up to now I have been painting Renegade, Redoubt and Crusader ACW figures which, for the most part,  had no flash at all.  The uniform is painted in Testors (!) US Navy Blue-Gray [ed. corrected] since it was the only mid-shade blue-gray I can find. The color decision was made based upon several photos of better quality Early War uniforms.
First painted Rebel, From Perry Miniatures pack ACW31
I am envisioning this unit as an early 1862 unit made up primarily of the sons of well to do Low Country South Carolina families. They are still able to maintain their early blue-gray uniforms from the first blush of the war but now some pragmatic elements have made their way in. About every fourth infantryman will be wearing a slouch hat, every fourth or fifth will have non-issue trousers. When I order more flags they will be carrying a South Carolina State Flag into battle.

My intention is to paint this unit up initially as a four stand/ 15 figure unit suitable for use in solo games at home. I'll then add another stand to take it up to 19 figs for use in Guns at Gettysburg games.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Advance the Flag (part 2 of 3), a kind of overview

Cover to Advance the Flag
I've been a sort of fan of Chris Peers' rules for some time. What does that mean? It means I buy lots of them, admire some, play few. As noted previously, I recently acquired his ruleset for big battle ACW games mainly just to see what they were like. I thought they would be a variation on Ever Victorious Armies which is, in it's turn, a variation on Contemptible Little Armies, they aren't. Below I'll attempt to run through the features of these rules, with some minor comparisons to the earlier rulesets I've mentioned.(In large part I'm writing in this kind of detail because I found exactly nothing on the internet when I was trying to find info on these rules.)

Format: First off, until recently all Chris Peers' rules were published by HLBS company, as were these,  so there are no frills, at all. One sided pages with exactly zero illustrations. This doesn't cut the cost very much, I bought mine at Brigade Games for $21.95 US. Secondly, as with CLA & EVA the rules are constructed in a way that may be confusing to some gamers. They look much more complex than they are because, in essence, he starts the rules by establishing the setting and defining (in both historical and game terms) the necessary troop types, weapons, unit composition, etc. One page is used to describe four types of fire-arms, for example. There are seemingly no real rules until the last 1/3 of the book. Really that isn't true at all though. The rules themselves are super-simple, well presented and quickly read but are, of course, contingent on understanding all of what was laid out in the earlier parts of the rules. Effective, and perfectly simple when you understand his method for presenting rules, but different than the standard.

Scale: The game is at Corps level with units of 4 stands representing a Brigade. Stands may contain any number of figures, but the rules are oriented towards 28 mm figs. The rules suggest a stand size (60mm frontage) but frankly there is no need to re-base as long as your basing system is relatively consistent. Divisions are 3-8 Brigades and Corps are, of course, 2 or more divisions. Artillery is represented by 1 stand batteries that are under Corps control. Corps commanders may form larger grand batteries. There are no organizational tables in the book, but these are easily obtained from hundreds of printed and internet sources. One important point to know is that Brigades in this game are maneuvered and operate in formations like regiments in other games, so you don't lose the fun of maneuver warfare.

Command & Control: Unlike in previous games from Mr. Peers, there is no orders system, rather leaders will play an important role in motivating their subordinate units and must stay actively engaged with them. The loss of a leader is one of the biggest events in the game in terms of causing a moral crisis. Most leadership occurs at the Division and Corps level but, as you will see below, there are some important occasions when the quality of Brigade leadership will come into play.  Players may buy a limited number of "Outstanding" leaders at all levels (which allows for the possibility of an outstanding Brigade leader). Players must take a randomly determined number of Incompetent leaders. Leaders  motivate units to move and give bonuses in melee and may rally away disorder markers.

Units: Infantry may be Raw, Veteran, Elite and/or Dashing. Dashing is to some degree analogous to Ferocious in his earlier games, being most applicable to early war Confederate Brigades and Zouaves, etc. They may be equipped with the usual selection of smoothbores, rifle muskets, breechloaders or repeaters. Interestingly rifles and smoothbores are effective in the same range but rifles have a long range which is significantly longer but fire is at a serious reduction to accuracy. Smoothbores do not have a long range and Mr. Peers discounts the effect of "buck & ball"ammo (rightfully in my opinion). Fire mostly inflicts Disorder upon targeted units, but rolls of 19 or 20 (fire is rolled on a d20, all else is d6) is particularly effective and reduces the target by a stand. This is the only way that figures leave the table from fire, unless the cumulative effects of disorder cause the unit to rout or disperse. (see below).

Scenarios: There are three generic scenarios presented: attacking a fortified position, meeting engagement, pitched battle. The first is a 2:1 scenario, the latter two are at the same points value with the meeting engagement involving off-table divisions arriving at random times.

Terrain & Weather: There are sections for weather and terrain. Terrain is fairly standard and pretty simple.

The Turn: The turn is a fairly standard alternating activation (by division) with at least one "simultaneous" phase (firing). Confederate player moves first. Sequence is: Rally-Late Arrivals- Mandatory Retreats- Movement- Shooting- Close Combat Resolution- Morale Tests.

Movement: Movement is a curious variation on Mr. Peers' earlier systems. In past games there was a  random and relatively modest movement rates assigned & rolled for each unit. Now in AtF a standard Divisional general rolls 1d6 and adds a set amount to the randomized number which is dependent on the unit's type (cavalry, infantry, artillery, etc.), formation (skirmish, line,  column) and terrain. Outstanding leaders will motivate more movement (they may roll 2d6 and choose the best of the two rolls), Incompetent leaders less (an Incompetent leader who rolls a natural 6 confuses his unit, which then does not move this round). All movement which will travel through difficult terrain is done at the difficult rate. In short most Infantry units in line will move between 3 to 8 inches in a turn which is on par with most other games of this sort but might be a little slower.

Shooting: Simply said, a d20 is rolled for each stand and modified by a number of variables including whether the target is in effective or long range, if the firer moved, the firers weapon or ammunition (for example, canister). A modified roll of 14+ is needed to score a "hit"and thus inflict a disorder marker, as stated above a roll of 19+ kills a stand.

Close Combat: I have covered this in my previous post. One of the simple strong points of the system.

Morale: Morale has several aspects in this game but all revolve around units becoming disordered. The first aspect is a number of conditions that will necessitate a morale check in the morale phase (at the end of the turn). A morale check is based on quality with Veterans being better than Raw (obviously). A failed Morale Check gives a unit (or in some cases all units in a Division or Corps) a disorder marker. Secondly there is Disorder itself which can be accrued from three main causes: fire, close combat and failed Morale Checks. A unit with one Disorder will go on as usual but at two or three the unit may not close with the enemy, at four Disorders the unit routs and at five the unit disperses. There are no Division or Corps break points. Rallying is done at the beginning of the turn and simply involves any unit which is disordered rolling 1d6, if a 6 is scored a Disorder is removed. Outstanding Brigade commanders may roll 3d6 and Incompetent ones none (so these Brigades will only be able to rally under the influence of a higher ranking commander). Divisional or Corps level generals may attempt to rally units that are within their personal influence.

"Color": What I've included above is the skeleton of how the system works. What I haven't always included is the various tangential rules that give the rules their color. The leadership rules, which I have discussed above,  in and of themselves tend to add character to individual Brigades and Divisions. For example a Brigade could be Raw (and thus prone to failing Morale Checks) but Dashing (and thus likely to successfully Charge) and lead by an Outstanding Brigade officer who could really help remove disorder markers. Brigades will become very effective in certain circumstances and terrible in others (lets say a dashing Brigade led by an incompetent officer which would be good in it's initial Close Combat but would probably become ineffective rather quickly unless shepherded by a Division General). Other areas of "color" include rules for Supply Trains which are very useful to the owning army, but if captured by the enemy can cause Morale Checks throughout the entire owning force (this also gives a legitimate reason for both sides to field cavalry). There are rules for bursting guns, quaker guns, fortifications and field works, balloons and gunboats.

NEXT my (unplayed) conclusions and comparisons

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Advance the Flag (Rules)

Chris Peers 2009 ACW rules (available from Brigade Games)
I just received Chris Peers big battle ACW rules Advance the Flag in the mail today. I thought they would be a variant on his Ever-Victorious Armies which I've had since 2002, but never played. It's not, and so may not be usable for it's intended purpose (solo games at home). I'm still reading the rules but one thing I really liked was the close combat resolution system which may be as simple as three rolls, while still seeming to have good, thematic, flavor. Essentially the attacker rolls to move into close combat (based on morale class) then rolls again with next roll being heavily modified by many attacker and defender factors (the usual: morale class, formation, cover, etc.). The second roll then is read against a results table. I'll reprint one result to give you an example:

3 or less: The defenders stand firm and fire a devastating volley into the attackers faces. The attackers receive two disorder markers and fall back 2d6 inches, still facing the enemy. A friendly Corps or Division commander within 2 inches of any part of the retreating unit must dice. A score of 1 on a d6 means he is killed or captured.

That's what I like. All resolved quickly and appropriately, and often decisively. Think of the time saved in many Horse and Musket games if "melee" was resolved that simply. I can't see why it isn't? I, personally have no more desire to roll for each step of close combat than I do to keep track of ammo in skirmish games.

It reminds me of what I've done in our Price of Glory games. I completely ditched Iron Ivan's method of resolving fire against armored vehicles and replaced it with the Tables used in Chris Peers' WWI skirmish rules (To the Last Man). 

I'll let you know what I think about the rest of the book, once I finish reading it.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The NEW Shiny O'Malley

The new Shiny O'Malley. Figure from Sash & Saber. Not the greatest sculpt ever but it suits the man himself
I still haven't sprayed varnish on due to the high humidity, but soon he'll have a nice shine 
I actually painted eyes. His nose has been given a little "redness". His uniform is a mixture of regulation and non-regulation items, well suited to a Brigade commander who leads on foot. 
Model 1850 foot officer's sword. A respectable paunch and a gloriously white beard.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Stop Me before I...

Stop me before I... buy Redoubt's ACW Naval landing party. I'd like to paint up a unit of sailors and a unit of Marines to use in games set on the coast.

I've been reading the excellent book Success Is All That Was Expected which details the naval operations of the South Atlantic Blockading schedule. It has given me a real taste for coastal ACW operations. Not really the ships, but the smaller scale actions that occurred throughout the war.

Stop me before I spend again!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Shiny's Charge "Game Report"

Shiny urges two Ohio Volunteer Infantry regiments to charge home!

Date of Game: August 14, 2010
Era: American Civil War, 1863
Location: Wrightsville, Pennsylvania (fictional battle)
Rules: Guns at Gettysburg
Scale: 28mm
Players: Scott Pasha (Union Center), Jim (CSA left), Mike (CSA right), Eddie (CSA center), Gary (Union Right), Matt (Union Left)
Victory Conditions: Take and hold the town of Wrightsville
Played at: Yankee Peddler Wargames Club
Game Length: Approx 4.5 hours

My photos are even worse than usual and, again, I didn't take any photos of the general battlefield. As always, click on the photo for a painfully detailed close-up.

Jim ran this game last Saturday. It was a fictional meeting engagement that would have occurred at Wrightsville, PA just before the battle of Gettysburg in the summer of 1863. I was finally able to attend (after missing an exciting colonials game and an 1814 Napoleonics game) with a complete Brigade of my own figures. Shiny was in attendance and was, in this instance, tasked taking the victory location: the town of Wrightsville.
A view from above as Shiny's Brigade takes the town early in the game
Initially the Confederates were slightly outnumbered by 1 brigade, though they received reinforcements late in the game. However the rebels began the game in control of the town, which turned out not to be anything beneficial. The Union forces deployed one under-strength Bde. East of town, Shiny's Bde. (including a 6 gun Battery of rifled Guns) immediately before it and a Division of 8 brigades to the West. We were opposed by one Bde (& a 6 gun mixed Battery) in the East and Center and 7 Brigades on the Confederate left (the West).
Two regiments in reserve and part of a battery of rifled guns
I can make this report simple, because the battle itself was simple. Matt's Bde. on the Union left deployed into Skirmish order over the course of the first 4 turns, but only after combining with Shiny's battery to drive off Mike's opposing rebel guns. From then on it was skirmisher against skirmisher until Matt's troops were forced back to hold their initial line. But that is what they were supposed to do and thus the Union left was kept secure while events played out elsewhere.
The rifled guns begin counter-battery fire against their rebel counterparts
The Shiny's Brigade, in the center, had very simple orders: Assault Wrightsville and hold it. Two Ohio Volunteer Infantry Units moved forward, took a small number of casualties and took the town in a short, sharp melee. They reformed in town and set-up an all around defense.

Once in the town, the Ohio regiments reform and organize an all-around defense
Once the rebel Napoleons were driven off, Shiny's rifled guns moved forward to rake the field

 For most of the game Eddie, in  the CSA center peppered the regiments in town with skirmisher fire, but right before launching his counter-attack he vollied Shiny's Boys and caused some heavy casualties. Both units pulled out of town (over the course of two turns) and were replaced by full strength reserves. Eddie then assaulted the town with 4 regiments and drove Shiny's regiments out.
 Driven from the town, an Ohio regiment (seriously reduced) pulled back to allow the reserves to assault the town. In the background is the other Ohio regiment, also preparing for another Assault.
All the while the OTHER Union division (Gary, on the right) pushed slowly and steadily against the CSA left. I never paid a lot of attention to what was going on here,even though I was the CO, because I was constantly being dragged into rules debates on the Union left (ahem). I do know that after much fighting across the Pike, the CSA had a Brigade collapse and fall back where they regrouped. Gary was able to cross the Pike and slowly drive Jim's Rebels back.
A reserve CSA Brigade arrived in mid-game, but never made it into action.
Shiny helped his lads to rally and in the last turn of the game one of his regiments retook the town. A Union (technical) victory!

Good work lads! Whisky all around!
(You'll note the grainy finish on the command stand, a high heat induced side effect I was unaware of)
The game certainly could have gone either way. The Union left was pretty weak by games end and would have eventually collapsed if pressed, but Mike, CSA right,  had taken some heavy losses as well and his reserves would have taken several more turns to really become a factor. Shiny was never shot, off the table or away from his troops, so that was good.

Anyhow, thanks Jim, for a good game! Huzzah for the Union!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

More (Better) Random Thoughts on Gaming

Thomas Sherman, certainly not Shiny but love that hair!
I wrote this a week or two ago and meant to attach a graphic, but I'd better post it now. As a note of (no) interest,  Shiny will be going into battle this Saturday as long as my fookin' BACK holds out.

1. Officers and Soldiers of the American Civil War and ACW Uniform references
Having purchased the late war French uniform guide from H&C , I thought it'd be a great idea too buy vol.1 of the ACW uniforms book from the same series. It has been out of print (though maybe it's back in? see the link below)so I paid a little too much for it from a "collectible book dealer" (read shyster (this is a professional prejudice of mine)). Unfortunately I feel that though it is an admirable book in a certain way, it does not live up to my expectations. Bad points? The uniforms and flags completely lack context even though the book is presented (implicitly) as an entry level reference. I think a person using this could be badly misled into painting a lot of figures in a uniform that was extremely rare. Good Points? On the other hand if you know a little about the war, it does what it sets out to do and nicely illustrates a good sampling of representative uniforms for both sides. Personally I like these illustrations best as painting references because the colors used are BLOCK colors and you don't have to worry about interpreting how the artist is interpreting a given color. 
That being said, I still think if you were to buy just one reference for painting  it's not coming from Osprey or H&C or anyone like that, what you need is Echoes of Glory  by Time-Life Books (of all people) who have a volume each for all the relevant uniforms and equipment of the USA and CSA. It's all photographs and there's just enough text to explain things. This is what I actually go to while I'm painting. And in the US you can probably find these cheap at any decent Used bookstore.
2. Role-Playing?
No, not really. But I was thinking about my ACW project and it's context. My WWI project is made up almost entirely of figures from my own collection. So they are all precious to me. But in the ACW games I am only, currently, painting one Brigade of one side (the Union). And through a smart-ass remark by a by-stander at an early game  I have also been given a "continuing personality" to lead them in the person of "Shiny" O'Malley. Well what does this do? It makes me love my little Brigade (and their be-sotted, much wounded leader). My paint job on these figs ain't the greatest but I'm doing it how I like, with only the figs that I want and it makes me invest myself just that much more in the games. 
So what am I getting at? Well I like how "Shiny" is developing into a "character" over time. We know this about him: he likes his whiskey (and he likes your whiskey, he likes anyone's whiskey), he likes the ladies, he loves the old-country, he's a Fenian, he's a belligerent leader who'll  stand in the face of an advancing enemy line and d**n them all to h*ll (and for that he's regularly off the table with a bullet in his arse[read: he's very unlucky in the "Risk to General" rolls]). I'd like to know what's happening to him between games. Has he ever been promoted, upbraided or given a good dressing down by his superiors? I do know that in my mind he goes on to be involved in the disastrous Fenian invasion of Canada, so he must make it through the war. As you know I am very fond of the Peter Pig / RFCM style off-table campaign & scenario generating systems found in such games as AK-47 Republic, Civil War Battles and Patrols in the Sudan and (more to the point) the experience system in Chris Peers' War in the Forest....In the latter you gain points after each game toward an advancement of the player through a system of ranks, which allow you (if I'm remembering this all correctly) to gain certain small advantages over time. What's that remind us of? RPGs of course. So I might just think up a little chart system to track Shiny's life... who knows..

Monday, July 26, 2010

Random gaming thoughts....

A card from Legion of Honor (lifted from Boardgame Geek)
I wish I hadn't started paying attention to Boardgames again because there is way too  much going on that I'm interested in. Problem? I currently only play Boardgames solo and not with any frequency. I have two games currently that I LOVE but hardly ever play (Kaiser's Pirates and Frontline: D-Day).   I'd really like to own the recently released Fires of Midway, but can't justify it right now.

I did make my first ever pre-order a few weeks ago. An interesting Napoleonic Card Game/ Wargame/ RPG(?) named Legion of Honor by Clash of Arms Games which reminds me of GDW's En Garde from way back in the the Seventies (I ran it when I was 11 I think).

We have a Guns at Gettysburg game scheduled for August 14th which I plan on attending. I only have to paint 16 figs to complete my ACW goal. Will I be able to do it? No... I average 4 figs a week so not quite...

I am currently working on a command stand of Standing Frock Coat Union figs from Redoubt. I really like these figures and plan (when I recover from medical bill induced Broke-ass-edness) to buy a couple of units from Redoubt

It seems as though my opportunities to do any gaming at all are rapidly shrinking...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Another Test Post

I've updated my OS and thus the problems I've been having with Blogger have (seemingly) disappeared. In celebration I'm posting a previously UNPOSTED (I think) photo from my August 2009 solo Crossfire game. Enjoy (har har)

OOH much better... I'm using the NEW compose functions... very nice!

The figures you see in the photo are from Brigade Games

Thursday, July 8, 2010

ACW Artillery figs

Here is a photo of the Sash & Saber gun crews I painted up a little while ago. Also 2 Twenty Pounder Parrott Rifles. In the end I didn't particularly care for the S&S figs, so I have ordered some Redoubt figs to "replace" them. The photo seems a little dark; click on it to get an unnecessarily large view ("warts and all"). Also the photo was blurry so I sharpened it a little, to bad effect.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


I believe I now actually may have internet at home. This post is the equivalent of a mic check....
tetsing 1 2 3

Since I took this photo I've repainted the NCO with KAR puttees

Sunday, June 27, 2010

New project (tiny)

Months ago I primed a section of Battle Honors WWI East Africa "British Askaris" (read KAR in pillbox hats) and painted 3 figs. They have since languished, gathering dust. Until now. This weekend I started to paint the rest of the section and I tested (successfully) a base treatment (red earth, stones and green static grass as per Tanzania).

Now between two of us at our club we have nearly enough figs to play a WWI in Africa game but I had intended to paint a "platoon" of King's African Rifles (because I think they're cool). I have some BH figs and some more Brigade figs. I think we will be focusing on 1915 so no lewis guns or Armored Cars (big cheer from the players). Now I just need to paint these figs (while continuing my ACW project) and get an African village bought and painted.

I'll post pics when I'm done (so some months from now)....

Sunday, June 13, 2010

I do game... sometimes

Just to show you I do play occasionally here's a little phone-photo of a General de Brigade game I played in this weekend at the club. It was a Peninsular War battle between Brits & Allies (mostly Portugese and KGL) on the one side and French & Friends (Poles, which I commanded one whole Brigade of) on the other. Classic meeting engagement. My little Polish Bde. was on the French Left and I merely tried to delay the British Right which was a little less than twice as numerous as I was. I guess I succeeded at my task though it seemed a close run thing, standing firm in the face of sustained British Musketry and Artillery fire was hard to do . I took lots of casualties but managed to obey my orders and stave off a Brigade morale failure.

Meanwhile the real blood was spilled in the center, where the Portugese attempted a head on assault of a very large French Battery, and on the French right where a seemingly endless series of Cavalry Charges and Counter-Charges and Pursuits were resolved.

The game was resolved by means of a point system after 6 hours or so with a marginal French Victory.

Probably about 1100-1200 figs on the table (I think there were 6 Brigades per side, most infantry Brigades averaging right near 100 figures). None of the figures were mine, shown in the pic to above are Mike's Brits (Hinchcliffe & Connoiseur) facing Jim's Poles (unknown manufacturer, maybe Old Glory). The shot is from the Poles last stand on a hill to the rear of the stream that they were initially defending.
Quite fun.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Oh yes... and there's that von Tempsky fellow

Also last weekend I thought I was going to get in a solo game, but for various reasons it didn't happen. What it did do was make me realize that I need to decide how to re-base my Maori Wars figures. And that, my friends, makes me have to decide what rules I want to use.

I wrote (and finished the core of) a Brother Against Brother adaptation some years ago (which you can find posted on the Maori Wars Yahoo Group). But since my group uses Iron Ivan rules, it probably will be best to use the This Very Ground French & Indian rules with some simple house rules governing Breech Loaders. I think the key to this era is to approach it not like a "colonial war" but more like an "Indian War" (as in U.S. Frontier Wars). To stay thematic you need to really try and play out the differing goals of the three factions (Government, Kupapa & Hau-Hau)involved. In my opinion this makes using a scenario-generation system or a mini-campiagn system (both ala RFCM rules ) the way to go. I tried in some way to do this in my B-A-B adaption, BUT also a certain minimum literacy in the conflicts by the players might be necessary and that is probably asking too much.

(the above photo shows the death of
von Tempsky)

In some ways an adaptation of Patrols in the Sudan would work well because of the terrain placement and hidden placement mechanics. The Patrolling mechanics used by P-i-t-S would simulate the kind of actions which made up most of Te Kootis War and much of the action in the later part of the East Coast Wars which preceeded it.

My ideal would be to be able to comfortably use a small number of stands (around 30 per side) for short solo-games. I'm not sure that I'll run this at the club again since I just don't think that using a giant (8x12) table is in any way helpful in simulating this conflict. But I am still very much interested in these wars and also in the inter-tribal "Musket Wars" of the earlier 19th century which are much more bloody and epic in nature.