Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Big CWC Game!

Not content with organising a game for the kids on Friday I've today started making arrangements for a huge Cold War Commander game next April!

The event will be at Dungworth Green Hall, Dungworth, near Sheffield on Satuday 21st and Sunday 22nd April 2012.

The game will be a refight of the Battle of the Lippe and the actions around Roermonde from John Hackett's books The Third World War and The Untold Story.  I hope to get around twenty people taking part playing on at least eight full-sized tables.

To cover the costs of setting this up (hall hire and insurance mainly) I need to charge £10 per person for the weekend but any surplus will be donated to the local branch of the Royal British Legion as a contribution to their excellent work for HM Forces veterans and their families.

Please let me know if you can make it to the event because I need to know if it's viable so I can confirm the booking and make arrangement to cover the insurance costs.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Plains of Chaos

At the moment I’m working on something a little different - a Song of Blades and Heroes multiplayer game for the kids attending the Christmas Fair at my daughter’s primary school.
The basic principle is that parties of adventurers and the like from all across the multiverse arrive through dimensional gateways on the Plain of Chaos in search of certain magical or otherwise valuable items.  
There will be four gateways; red, blue, green and black as shown here:
The aim is to get from your gateway to the centre of the board, pick up a treasure (preferably the one you came for) and make it back to your gateway.  However, there will be a random event table that allows for the gateways to move!  
I’m planning on bringing about half a dozen warbands and my young neighbour George has a copy of the rules and is looking into how he can produce a few more from his Warhammer armies.
I’ve decided that the best way to make sure everyone gets a go whilst keeping the game suitably chaotic is to use a very simple card-driven initiative system.  I shall put one card in the deck for each currently active player and a card to remind me when to roll for random events.  I’m not going to use what the Two Fat Lardies would call a Tea Break card (i.e. one that ends the current turn) as I don’t think youngsters will appreciate the idea of not getting a fair crack of the whip.
We’ll be playing on a standard 90cm square board so there should be plenty of scope for clashes with up to six warbands on the table at one time.
At present I have the Ronin (for simplicity I’m dropping the Ninja).
The Goblins used by Jamie in our try-out game have been redesigned to make them more fun to play and more Goblin-like (i.e. more likely to activate but less individually powerful in combat).
There are also some Phugs (Peter Pig aliens; notionally in 15mm scale) of which there are five Warriors (Quality 4, Combat 3, Short Move, Tough) and the Queen (Q2, C2, Magic-User, Leader, Short Move).

Then we have my Pantangians: three Pirates (Q2, C4, no special rules) and two Tigers (Q3, C5, Animal, Savage, Long Move).

A couple more Warbands are going to be needed.  There’s a group of Orcs and another of Dwarves that I need to stat up before the weekend.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

I've Been to the Pub...

... and I've arranged for next year's Hordes of the Things Royal Tournament to be held at the Royal Hotel in Dungworth, near Sheffield, on Saturday 23rd June 2012.

Add this date to your diary at once!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Battle of Charlbury , 14 hundred-and-something

Today's Saturday Afternoon Wargame (TM) was a Wars of the Roses bash using Basic Impetus rules.  We had four players; Carl and Jamie were available from the start whilst Andy and Richard would be along later.  I decided that the best way to handle this was to make the battle an encounter one with Andy's and Richard's commands arriving later.

The battlefield was largely open with a village and woods at the eastern end and a hill at the western end.  I'd been sneaky and allowed the Yorkists to deploy one unit hidden in the woods (Jamie chose his light horse) whilst on the opposite flank the road which appeared to run behind the hill (as the Yorkists saw it) in fact ran in a gully in front of it.  Carl positioned the earl of Wiltshire's bills hidden in the gully.

Jamie, as Richard, duke of Gloucester, and Carl, as the earl of Northumberland ended up facing each other at the western end of the field.

Jamie charged forward and managed to rout Northumberland's borderers with well-aimed archery but then started to take casualties from Carl's superior numbers of missile troops.

Andy and Richard arrived and joined in at the eastern end of the battlefield as the earl of Warwick (Yorkist) and the duke of Buckingham (Lancastrian) respectively.

Here, Carl and Richard ponder their next move.

Whilst Jamie and Andy stare defeat in the face!

With Jamie's command disintegrating under a storm of archery, Carl decided to reveal the true course of the road and deployed the earl of Wiltshire's bills.

In the centre Gloucester and Lord Howard pushed forward.  The larger markers with shields or discarded livery jackets show "disordered" status whilst the numbered rocks show losses of strength points (VBU under the Impetus rules).

Meanwhile Andy's organ gun advanced s l o w l y.

At this point Carl prepared to face Richard of Gloucester's men at arms with his archers and declared, "I really need to roll three sixes"...

Shortly after this feat of dice rolling Jamie lost his light horse to a charge by the Lancastrian knights and was forced to flee to keep the remnants of his last archer unit intact.

Meanwhile the Lancastrian men-at-arms fought an epic back-and-forth melee with Warwick's billmen.  This fight saw Impetus at its best with repeated falling-back and pursuing before the two sides fought each other to a standstill.

Finally, the Lancastrian knights ploughed into the Yorkist line causing heavy casualties.

The Yorkists broke and fled the field leaving Carl and Richard to contemplate their victory.

We had started at 1 o'clock and were finished by 3:30 despite none of the four players knowing the rules.    We agreed that the game had looked good, had captured the feel of the period and had been fun to play.  We shall definitely try Basic Impetus again.  Carl was even speaking of sabot-basing his old ancients with a view to trying to the rules at home.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Battle of Charlbury Tomorrow

Saturday Afternoon Wargames(TM) return to stately Crawley Manor tomorrow with the battle of Charlbury - an encounter battle in fourteen hundred and something.

We'll be trying out Basic Impetus for the Wars of the Roses.  A full report will follow as soon as possible.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I Blame Simon...

For a couple of years now Simon Miller has been drip-feeding me a steady diet of images of beautifully painted Imperial Roman miniatures in 28mm scale.  I was OK, though, as my self-imposed rules didn’t allow me to do anything other than Hordes of the Things in that scale so I couldn’t be tempted.
But then I discovered Basic Impetus and started seeing photographs of lovely miniatures on big (12cm frontage) diorama bases.  I decided to paint up my old Lamming 25mm ancients and see how they looked.  And here they are.
But still, no pressure; I can stop anytime.  It’s not like I’ve got a load of research material on Romans that would encourage me to go out and buy more.  OK, I still have my copy of Armies and Enemies of Imperial Rome because it didn’t find a buyer when I put it on a bring and buy.
However, in an idle moment I decided to examine the pile of old, leather-bound books that Stella has acquired over recent years.  What’s that?  A two-volume illustrated edition of Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire?
And what’s that book in the Broomhill Oxfam shop?  Graham Wheeler’s The Roman Imperial Army of the First and Second Centuries AD for just £2.99?
Oh, Gods!  Here we go again.

Friday, November 4, 2011

From the Archives

Digging through some old files I found the following.  Some years ago we played through Omaha book from Skirmish Campaigns and for the first scenario I tried to have a go at writing some orders in the form of a Tactical Appreciation.  Actually, it's in British style culled from an Indian Army publication but it seemed to work OK for American troops - we won the game!

Sadly, I no longer have the map with the locations of the code-named features but I think it's an interesting read anyway.  The rules were Arc of Fire.

The enemy is probably below platoon strength and is thought to be composed largely of regular German infantry.  They are likely to be at least as good as our troops in TAC and Morale terms.  We have the advantage of superior firepower at 10” to 20” range due to our self-loading rifles but their LMGs are superior at longer ranges and they tend to have a high proportion of SMGs giving superior firepower close-to.  Large enemy tank forces are not anticipated but armoured carriers and/or self-propelled guns may be encountered.
My assessment is that the enemy will seek to defend as many of possible of the positions Doc, Minnie, Bashful and Grumpy.
2nd/116th Infantry landed this morning on Omaha Beach and after taking some casualties is now moving out to extend the beachhead.  Own force is in approximately platoon strength (three squads, MMG team and flamethrower team) and is made up of elements of F and G companies.  Our orders are to secure exit (by 15 men) from at least two of the four sunken dirt roads leading away from the beach in the general direction of St Laurent.   Speed of advance is important but should not be allowed to lead to unnecessary casualties.
The open terrain around the beach quickly gives way to farmland broken up by high, embanked hedgerows.  These provide Cover (-1) to fire at troops immediately behind them and block line of sight to/from troops further back.  They take one whole card’s worth of movement to cross.
The crops are approximately waist high.  They make it harder (automatic to 10”, Tac roll required to 20”) to spot troops moving carefully (3” per card or less) but provide no cover.   If shot at while moving cautiously in crops, keep moving unless the fire is absolutely overwhelming.
The platoon will move quickly forward to positions from which it will determine enemy deployments, engage the enemy by fire and probably close assault and will then move through the enemy position to exit the battle area on two of the four identified exit roads.
The enemy is unlikely to have sufficient forces to adequately guard all four exit roads.  On the other hand they cannot afford to not contest any of the exits.   We will establish a strong central position with a view to (1) identifying the centre of enemy resistance and (2) destroying by fire and manoeuvre as many as possible of the enemy’s forces. 
The platoon will move forward to hedgelines Droopy (two squads) and Bugs (one squad).  One squad and the flamethrower team will move forward to position Daffy with a view to destroying enemy forces in the vicinity of position Minnie.   Taking Minnie will provide a base for fire and manoeuvre in either on easterly or westerly direction as enemy deployments permit. 
The squad at Bugs will engage by fire enemy troops at Bashful and/or Grumpy.  It may be necessary for them to use manoeuvre in order to prevent the enemy laterally reinforcing the Minnie position.  Given the likelihood that they will have to operate in relative isolation from the rest of the platoon it is proposed that this role be given to the larger 1st Squad.
The remaining squad and the MMG team will manoeuvre along hedgeline Droopy Green with a view to taking up firing positions around the junction of Mickey and Droopy Green.  It may be necessary for part of the squad to advance on the eastern side of Droopy Green so as to provide fire support to the assault team heading for Daffy.  On arrival in suitable positions, the team will engage by fire enemy positions in and around features Doc and Minnie.
Anti-armor plan – enemy tanks are not anticipated but any supporting armoured vehicles (even tracked carriers) could pose a threat.  Troops facing them in the open should find cover and stalk the enemy vehicles aggressively.
Troops behind Mickey intending to exit roads Matthew and/or Mark should move across the hedgeline on GT5 at the latest.
Troops behind Droopy cannot exit from Mark unless they move off no later than GT4.
Troops at Daffy must start moving on turn 5 if they are to exit at Mark or Luke. 
My own HQ will advance with the central squad.
Remember that verbal and handsignal communication range is 6” but you can use a chain of figures to achieve this.
The full list of codenames is as per the map.