Sunday, 25 October 2015

Maurice and the Seven Years War

We were back at Maurice last Wednesday evening with the French facing off against my Prussians. Michael again cursed his loss of the scouting phase which led him to be the defender once more. Fueled withsome new ideas about how to use my horse and infantry i was overjoyed to attack and the Prussian s duly lined up for the advance.

The Prussians first hit the hurdle of the French cavalry who rushed up to catch us in column formation. I lost one unit of infantry, who got into line but rolled very poorly, but i then had the French isolated away from their infantry. From this moment the Prussian's blood was up and we thought of nothing else but flanking and killing. This loss of focus would later lose me the game as i neglected to advance on an undefended objective. 

While the Prussians surged ahead the French were disentanging themselves from the rough terrain they had placed to guard a frontal advance on their line and were now approaching the Prussians from a flanking position. The game was now a race between the rampaging Prussian cavalry and whether the French could shoot their way through the line. Would the bayonet outclass the sabre?

The final images are of the Prussian cavalry smashing on and over the flank and rear of French infantry units. They had reduced the French to a single morale point but it was to no avail. The French had reduced the Prussians to 3 and when another unit was lost their break point was reached. Michael, the Grande Frenchie, pointed out later that had I not been so bloodthirsty i could have ridden straight onto the obective winning the game. OH, well, another great game and another cliff hanger finish .... and i did really enjoy the series of cavalry charges that i was able to launch. 

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Maurice wargaming SYW in 15mm

Just a very quick post on this occasion ... today we played Sam Mustafa's excellent rules Maurice once more. It was my bold Austrians up against Mick's flamboyant French. I easily out-scouted the French, due to the use of Grenzer irregular infantry (which hadn't been used before), and chose to attack.

The five French batteries gave me pause so i surmised my best plan was a huge ouflanking assault that quickly got me out of his firing arc. Nine infantry units and three cavalry encroahed on the French line.

It was at this point that i neglected to take further photographs. We were too engrossed in the game. In any case the French, despite having all their cavalry blasted away by musketry, put up a valiant defence.

They were hampered by poor shooting and eventually were flanked at the other end of their line by grenzer infantry and elite cuirassiers who destroyed two units winning the game. Again, the attacker was victorious in our games of Maurice - but having said that the defender has often struggled with some poor rolls (just as my general - Colloredo - suffered from the gout in this battle but won out despite the discomfort.) I really love the Maurice game and the cards that add such features as 'the gout' and a huge reason for this.

Monday, 28 September 2015

Lion Rampant complete!

I usually find some enjoyment in painting most projects but i found this one to be a constant struggle ... and i don't know why. The Fireforge miniatures are excellent - i bought one box each of cavalry and infantry - and the period provides plenty of scope for freedom in what you are painting. I think i just hit a lull - some health problems did not help.

 In any case my much anticipated Lion Rampant force is complete. I wanted it to be a universal western european style force but i always had my eye on the Baltic or Northern crusades. Probably this stemmed from so many other quality Lion Rampant blogs on this same topic but also due to reading "The Northern Crusades" by Christiansen which revealed to me the scope of this era and it being such a fertile ground for the wargamer. Added to this my collection of over 160 Dark age figures make excellent Baltic pagan stand-ins.

In any case, here they are. Above are my knights. The chap in the white cloak brandishing a mace is my leader. The green/black/white colours emblazoned with the white stag or jumping deer formed the basis of my troops. I wanted a force that represented a main knight on crusade supported by his sons, close family, allies, dependants and footsoldiers in either his service or pay. 

Next are my ... what's the word ... uummm ... other but lesser knights. Just in mail and conical helms. These brave and ambitious men are looking to make a reputation and fortune so have attached themselves to a great man. 

These are the foot retinue of my leader (really needs a name.) Crossbowmen and spear armed yeomen drawn from his troops serving at his castle. These bear the green/black heraldry and the emblem of the white stag or the leaping deer of the leader's eldest son. 

Above stand the foot retinue of the leader's brother-in-law who has accompanied him to the East. Resplendent in red/yellow colours and bearing the lion these men will courageously follow their lord into the dark, heathen-filled forests of the Baltic. 

Finally, some mercenary crossbowmen to round things off. 

There it is, 24 points of Lion Rampant troops. We've played one small game thus far but were so busy talking about Maurice (as we have currently all lost our minds on 18th century wars) we didn't pay too much attention. I liked the simplicity of the system with lots of scenario's and boasts to keep such a skirmish game varied and interested. Look forward to doing it again, this time with the full retinue. 

Thursday, 24 September 2015

865 AD Dark Age Wargame

865 AD ... The Vikings have directed their warrior host at the weakened kingdoms of England. One force, led by Halfdan, has chosen to aim its fury at Mercia and the earls of the Saxons had gathered a force to oppose this advance .... before the Vikings could amass their full force the earls hoped they could delay just enough for their envoys to return with help from the West Saxons.

The Saxons drew up their best troops, including thegns and select fyrd, to face the onslaught of the Norsemen with the less trained fyrd at the rear. A quick loss of these troops would rob the Saxons of vital command dice they could use in combat to boost their fighting ability. Woods flanked the battlefield and each genral tried to use their light troops to drive off their opponents and turn the flank of their enemies line. 

Halfdan ordered his better armed and armoured huscarls to mount a frontal assault quickly advancing to use the woods to guard his flanks. He relied on his two handed axemen to break the line nd hopefully kill the Saxon earls commanding the force. The loss of a commander is crippling in sword and spear and usually leads to defeat as that segment of the field is no longer able to move effectively. The large axes of the Danes would render the Saxon shieldwall useless. Aginst this the Saxons could rely on their courage and the help of the pious monks who uttered constant prayers to garner divine help from the pagans. 

In response to Viking aggression the Saxons chose to rush to control the high ground. This, however, played into Viking hands. The Saxons hastened the battle and used command dice to speed the advance that may well have been used to move moreof their units. As it was the Saxon fyrd were largely left behind. 

The above image shows the now lonely fyrd. 

With good fortune, perhaps from liberal libations to Odin before the battle, the Vikings were able to reach the high ground before it could be dominanted by the Saxons. The remainder of the battle was far too bloody for further photography as the Viking advantages, especially the two handed weapons which sliced through the Mercian's mail easily, led to defeats along the line. A small victory was won on the Saxon left helped by a unit of javelinmen who turned the flank of the Vikings. The result of the battle was the death of most of the earls who oposed Halfdan and with them their brave thegns. Without aid from the West Saxons all Mercia was certain to fall and the Danelaw might well grow to encompass all of Britain. 

Monday, 21 September 2015

Maurice in 15mm

I have always had a great fondness for 18th cetnury wargaming. There's just something about the period. Could be the tricorns, masses of colourful uniforms, more states and nations involved, a panache not offered by the modernised nation armies of the Napoleonic, ... or just those lovely neat linear formations blasting away at each other in such a gentlemenly way. I have dragged all of my gaming partners into this peeiod with an increasing level of success. Might and Reason was well liked by didnt't create the enthusiasm that Muskets and Tomahawks did and that Maurice just sparked. After two games, there are two more gamers who have dug out, rebased and/or purchased new armies to play. A great development for me as an avowed lover of the period ... esp the Seven Years War. 

These images show the second game i recently initiated, the one that started the frenzy of modelling. It features my two armies, the classic combatants of the period - Austria and Prussia. It utilises only part of my collection. On this occasion, the battle of Beersteinia 1761, the Prussians were tasked with driving an Austrian force from the crossroads. The top two pictures show the initial dispositions. Half the Austrians were deployed in formation while the Prussians awaited the order to assault in marching columns. Their commander had thrown away any pretense of subtle action or guile and threw all infantry forward in frontal assault. Just by having units on the objective in Maurice is enough to garner a victory and this was his plan.

Not all went to plan for the Prussians and the frontal assault became a retreat as the Austrian infantry doggedly held then went on the attack with flanking moves from their cavalry. This blog has also not gone exactly to plan as i just realised the above photo was from a different battle. However, i will keep it in place as it does show the exact same tactic, frontal assault, being slightly more effective, by the Prussian infantry on that occasion - due to unprecedented rallying rolls. 

It is the final two images i really like as it shows the Austrian cavalry wheeling onto the Prussian flank. I do love the sight of the blue wall crushing all before it but i do equally enjoy when the valiant Austrians are able to hold out. Four regiments of cavalry in formation bearing down on their barely protected flank (one lone Prussian Dreisen cuirassier unit held out) was enough for capitulation. 

Okay,what about these Maurice rules then? Mr Mustafa has produced a wonderful set of rules that are simple where it is needed (movement, terrain, firing and combat) and thoughtful where it should be - command. The game continually forces the player to make command decisions that require a careful balance of tactical and overall strategic goals. Players must choose whether to ram their attack home with pace (gambling the enemy cannot stand up to this approach) or marshall their forces in a much more integrated manner that may let the initial offensive edge slip away. Cards have been used extremely well to introduce command difficulties, randomn events, battlefield occurances and positive bonuses. Players must carefully husband their hand of cards as spending each bonus card on sight may produce a short term positive situation that will ultimately result in a stalled attack which can then be very open to a counter thrust. In fact the faces of the players of Maurice communicate the agony of commnd as they are forced to choose between using cards which instil an effective bonus or on activating units. Early players often "go for broke" with their cards resulting in games where only segments of armies are used. As experience grows more of each army is utilised as people realise cards come and go but good movement and positioning is the key to any battle success. As it bloody should be!

Friday, 14 August 2015

Death in the wilderness ...
 In a recent Musket and Tomahawks game we had just as much fun and challenge as these rules had always provided for us. The French, under the command of Rochambeau, were pitted against Colonel Gilbert "Spoofy" Thorntwat.

 The French were charged with  the goal of killing the inhabitants of the village to ensure frontier villages sided with the French. The French took the early initiative taking early casualties. But the strong positions of the remaining English enabled them to whittle the enemy down. Despite the efforts of Rochambeau, the doomed leader of the French, these forces managed a final grasp to win back this portion of North America. One of the few victories to Rochambeau, the usually damned ... 

Friday, 17 July 2015

Mud and Blood 28mm African Colonial Report

Continuing with Mud and the Blood ... 28mm Africa approx 1880's.
 This game was firmly set on including my new scratch built steam boat. The scenario involved a semi fortified port at the mouth of the M'Bopo river and the ability to either storm or relieve this site. The forces of Tippu Tib attempted to storm down the length of the table while the Europeans attempted to arrive before this could occur.

The African and Arab forces struggled to make good progress down from the rocky hills and over the redoubt that guarded the approaches to the port town.

 In conclusion the German colonial forces reached the town by forcing the steam boat forward at full pace while raining rifle fire down upon the advancing African units. 

In this game we suspended my special events table and became completely assured that each turn only ended once a second snifter card had been drawn. The core mud and blood rules are very good undoubtedly. I will instill a rule that native African troops will move through terrain at a lesser reductiont to other troops. I would play this game again with less European troops and a delay to the steam boat to allow a real struggle over the port fort to add a sense of real suspense to the game.
 Finally the forces of Tippu Tib were unable to make significant advances upon the town but neither did they take significant losses. They are sure to lurk into the rocky hills to inhabit strong points were they will sell their lives dearly before being driven away from sources of slaves and gun trading routes. 

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

IHMN Egyptian Adventure Wargaming 28mm

These are currently the only pictures i have of my Egyptian ruins. This wasn't from a game but instead from a 30 sec movie i made to raise interest in African and Egyptian adventure gaming. It didn't take much before gamers were lining up to play. Needless to say i just love mixing my two passions of archaeology and wargaming ... a little colonial, Lovecraft and Indiana Jones.

Speaking of my favourite things below is Al-Hurun. I refer to him as the 'Arabic Superhero' simply because of his phenomenal combat record on the table. The image shows him in a bad situation ... but Al-Hurun has faced far worse odds before. 

Why not? One of my scratch built village. I made this from cardboard and foam-card ... very cheap. Removeable roofs. Buildings lift off bases for separate use. Has been under-utilised as yet. 

Mud and Blood in Africa

Looking for larger more historical and unit based games than IHMN was providing I wax led to "In the mud and blood" by the Lardies. I already was very pleased with their Dux Britanniarum and ACW rules and had recently had pleasant experiences as my good friends had begun playing Chain of Command. Thereforce it was a large step to play Mud and Blood. I used the core rules and modified the troop types and some weapon stars to give the game i wanted. Minor changes are still to be made but yhe system works very well. I additionally added a special event card with a D66 table inspired by muskets and tomahawks but all original and African themed ideas.

Just two snaps of the first game. The wagon contained theobjective that was secured by the German marines. This was completed to ensure a draw as the cannibals had previously torched the outpost of the Europeans.  
 Hang on ... have i posted these picys before?

African Colonial Wargames 28mm Riverboat

There is a new power on the M'Bopo river .... a yet to be named steamship was launched to curb the string of recent incursions by the cannibals under the command of Big Chief B'Donga.

Soon orders will arrive to take fire and sword into the heartland of the M'Bopo river. 

True, I'm not the best of scratch-builders but I'm pleased with the product. It is practical and the price was right ... about 20-30 at most. Look for it in future battle reports to be sure. (In addition, the river shown is made from cheap vinyl floor tiles, sand + PVA, a little paint and a scattering of flock.) 

Thursday, 9 July 2015

"In Her Majesties Name Goes Piratical" Wargame

Just to prove what a great set of skirmish rules Osprey's IHMN really is we took it (for the second time) into the 18th century and the world of pirates.  

 This game followed from our previous where a lone pirate, known as One-eyed Mick, made off with the treasure. This time several companies followed Mick as he returned to the island with a new crew. Little did anyone know that the indigenous tribe, the Cayman tribe led by a distant relative of our old pal Big Chief B'Donga, had moved the treasure and only needed a boat to make fools out of all the Europeans by stealing it. This however was not to be as the Cayman people were annihilated. Mick too was struck down and his crew killed. Only the two main folonial powers remained in any force - the British and French. The only pirates to survive lost their leader (Captain Buxom) but sailed off in their ship before either imperialist company could hang them. As all natives died knowledge of the actual where-abouts of the treasure also died vanished. Another game is certain.
 This game once again showed the versatility of IHMN especially in a game with five players. Many rule systems struggle under the weight of that type of player and respective army point increase. We modify things slightly by making muskets reload for one turn. We also added aggressive cayman who probably were the top killers of the evening - notably claiming Chief B'Donga early. Different objectives or misions were also secretly distributed - both minor and major objectives (no one secured their major objective.) Active imaginations also help as each player was eager to feed into the saga of One-eyed Mick. Even at the end of the game talk focussed on how he could have survived to return to the island. It was good to see the rise of two more legends - one ,Colonel Rochambeau, was already infamous for dying without a whimper and he did not disappoint further a new star, Serge Pissoit, proved indomitable as the French second in command. In the next game he may well be promoted.