Saturday, December 28, 2019

Christmas Gaming - (Not) The Death of Gustavus Adolphus

Andy and Ron came over yesterday and we played The Pikeman's Lament with my recently completed Thirty Years War collection.

The battlefield was the extended version of the Lützen battlefield seen here previously.  The Swedes will enter from the right and the Catholic League troops from the left. You can see that there are wisps of smoke and fog drifting across the field.  These served only to block line of sight.

The unit in the centre of the board is Gustav Adolf, the King of Sweden, with his Life Drabants.  That's Gustav, top left, in the picture below...

Ron was His Majesty for the day and also took on the role of Ensign Niels Broden of the Smålands Ryttare.  Thus Ron had a one-unit company of Life Drabants, with the King rated as a "Lion of the North" and an "Inspirational Leader" and a five-unit company of Swedish horse (aggressive gallopers in the rules).

Jamie (as Ensign Per Lungmark) had the other Swedish company - six units of Östgöta Ryttare, also aggressive gallopers.  This meant that all of the Swedish units had the 'Wild Charge' rule!

Andy, on the Catholic left, played Ensign Salvatore Avallone, hot-headed commander of a company of Piccolomini's Harkebusiers (two units of trotters and three of dragoons).

Finally, I took on the role of Ensign Johannes von Altburg commanding a company of Götzen's Cuirassiers (five units of elite trotters).

The picture below gives an idea of the size of the battlefield.  We didn't need the extra leaf in the kitchen table this year!

The game began with the Catholics making no significant progress.  As a result the King was able to make an ordered activation and move away from the enemy (I'd rather hoped he'd be sucked into the action from the start but no-one got close enough to activate his Wild Charge rule).

On the Catholic left, Avallone's dragoons advanced towards the rough ground...

...whilst von Altberg's cuirassiers advanced on a broad front to their right.

Thereafter, I think the phrase "confused cavalry melee" is an awfully apposite one.  The Swedes, as is their won't, repeatedly threw themselves into headlong charges whilst the Catholics stood off and shot.  In the picture below, the a three-man Swedish unit has just charged into the left-flank troop of my cuirassiers emerging from a fog-bank.

Thanks to their heavy armour (Stamina 4 in rules terms) the cuirassiers were remarkable solid performers.

Gustav fought bravely.  An early personal challenge had seen him strike down Ensign Avellone and now he fought in melee against von Altberg's own troop.  The latter's gold-plated steel armour didn't protect him from an unlucky blow (yes, I rolled snake eyes) and down he went.

By the end of the game, I think we had lost three of the five company commanders involved (Andy's, mine and Ron's).  The dead outnumbered the living on this part of the Lützen battlefield.

In the end the victors were the dragoon elements of Piccolomini's Harkebusiers with all three units surviving if not intact then at least able to march off in formation.

Gustav Adolf survived as the last remaining figure of his unit as did Jamie's Per Lungmark.

The Pikeman's Lament includes a table to determine what happens to officers who fall as casualties during the game and I thought it might be interesting to find out.

Ensign Salvatore Avallone of the Catholic harkebusiers died a hero's death in single combat with the Swedish king.  He was promoted posthumously to colonel before being buried with honours on the battlefield.

Ensign Niels Broden of the Smålands Ryttare, unhorsed in the fighting on the Swedish right, turned out to be only lightly wounded.  He returned to the camp with an impressive scar and a good story to tell.

Johannes von Altburg's personal wealth perhaps played some part in his escape from the field.  Although his cuirassiers have previously shown little regard for him, they did on this occasion drag his wounded body from the field and he lives to fight again.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Christmas Goodies 2019

Happy Christmas everyone!  What did you get in the way of pressies?

Just a couple of gaming related acquisitions for me this year.

Somewhat out of my ordinary is this...

My Mum, bless her, doesn't really have a clue what kind of wargaming I do but she did pop into the local branch of GW and pick up the above figure.  She kept the receipt so I can swap it for something else.  I may see what I can trade it in for in the way of paint.

More my cup of mead is this gift from Jamie...

I've been considering Dux Britanniarum for some time as a way of using my Late Roman / Bacaudae figures.  A bit of rules reading is called for, possibly followed by some rebasing!

Monday, December 16, 2019

Christmas Games 2019

As usual I've got a couple of games planned for the Christmas period.

First up is a first run-out for my 6mm Death of Gustavus Adolphus game.

This is to be run using The Pikeman's Lament by Dan Mersey and Michael Leck.

If we get too many players for the Gustavus Adolphus game (always tough to judge as people tend to sign up or drop out at the last minute) I'll run a parallel game of The Pikeman's Lament using by recently rebased (and still to be flocked) 15mm Samurai...

And finally, I intend to run a scenario called Incident at Fearnley Whittingstall, a Second World War skirmish using the Arc of Fire rules and set in the small Dorset village of that name.  No more details at present to avoid spoiling any surprise but here's one of the village buildings that's currently on the workbench.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Steel Lard 2019

On Saturday, Jamie and I along with a collection of the fattest and lardiest gathered at Jury's Inn in Sheffield for the first Steel Lard.  The event was ably organised by Tom Davis.

Tom consults his mobile while Simon and Sammy
consider the tactical position
Tom had arranged things so that all of the players could play two short games and one long game.  I was umpiring throughout but I know Jamie got to try WW1 Chain of Command and Algernon Pulls It Off as his short games and a longer game of Sharp Practice set during the 1812 retreat from Moscow.  Other rules in use included Dux Britanniarum and  Richard Clarke's new Infamy Infamy.

Action from Mike Whitaker's Dux Britanniarum game
Infamy, Infamy!
In the morning I ran twice through a small Sharp Practice 2 scenario based on a solo game I'd originally played when I only had a few Maximilian Adventure figures painted.

Near the town of Tlaliscoya, a couple of groups of contre-guerillas, lost in the dense forest at night, have stumbled upon a deep gorge with a bridge defended by liberal guerrillas.


In the first game we had a narrow contre-guerilla victory with the red-coated contres making it onto the bridge as Tom called time.

The second game was a bit more one-sided.  The contres managed to get to the bridge first thanks to the vagaries of the activation system.  At one point they even managed to form a line formation of two groups.  Again time beat us but this time I was able to call a clear contre win. 

The bridge, by the way, was an emergency structure put together using the Jury's Inn's coffee stirrers wen I decided that the bridge I'd originally planned to use was too short.

In the afternoon I reset the terrain and we played my Menton 1940 scenario.

This was the fourth run through of the game after Crisis Point and a couple of goes at Posh Lard.  I think that's enough now.

This time was the first time we've played the four-player, semi-historical version in which the French get Renault FT-17 tanks.  The game was OK but it got bogged down into a fairly static fire fight after two of the three French tanks had been taking out by a well-positioned Italian anti-tank gun.

A well-positioned Italian anti-tank gun
I'd like to thank all of my players, who maintained a cheerful disposition despite the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

After packing away the toys, Jamie and I joined the merry throng at the Olde Queene's Head for a couple of drinks where Jamie was honoured with the "Hen of the South" award for most cowardly behaviour of the day.

Apparently, during the 1812 game he had refused to order his Russian militia to suicidally charge French grenadiers but had instead concentrated on mounting an artillery bombardment of a column of starving and frozen French civilians!

Monday, November 18, 2019

They've all got it in fer me!

Rich of the Too Fat Lardies seems to have settled on a name for his forthcoming ancients large skirmish game.  Disciplina et Virtus (or was it the other way round?) looked favourite at one point but it seems he's settled on Infamy, Infamy!  Than which, I'd say, there's no name more Lardy.

The rules clearly owe something to Sharp Practice.  Sharp Practice cards and force morale trackers are visible win the pictures on the Lard Island blog.  I believe Rich is also in contact with John Savage who ran a really nice-looking Sharp Practice Ancients game at Ebor Lard.

Between the two of them they really do seem to "have it in fer me".  I'm getting seriously tempted to start recruiting Imperial Romans and barbarians in 28mm scale.

I say Imperial Romans because it seems the rules will have a specific focus on first century combat along the limites of the Empire.  OK, I can imagine myself writing scenarios in that context.

There are early Imperial Romans available in plastic so a 50-odd figure force wouldn't be too onerous to recruit. Or I could adapt the rule to accommodate late republican forces and use my existing Punic War collection.

What I'd really like to do, though, is to make some better use of my fifth century Gaul forces - the Bacaudae and their opponents.

So should I get Infamy, Infamy and adapt it to the fifth century?  But then TFL already do a game, Dux Britanniarum, that's aimed exactly at that period!

Fortunately, I'll be at Steel Lard this coming weekend when Richard will be running Infamy Infamy and Mike Whittaker will be running Dux Britanniarum.  Somehow I just need to avoid being so busy running my Menton 1940 game that I don't get to see anything of the two games in action.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Washed any aircraft recently?

I was quite pleased when, few years ago, I acquired this rather smart wooden box.

Suitably lined with foam it made a great storage box for my 1/300th scale modern aircraft and safely carried them to numerous Cold War Commanders gatherings throughout the UK.

This morning I decided to look out the models I need for a game on Monday evening only to find that the grey foam has "gone off".  It's lost its strength and has stuck to the bottom of the models!

Fortunately it washed off with cold water and I was able to rescue the models without too much damage - just a couple of bombs dislodged from one of the Su-25s.  So, out with the super glue when my fingers have warmed up!

I need to review my storage to see if I've used the same foam anywhere else.  And then I need to think about where to store the aircraft.  They all have magnets on the bottom.  I wonder if Stella would mind me keeping them on the fridge door?

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Holiday Painting

We’re having a week away in Edinburgh and I’ve brought along a few figures to paint. Well, to tart up really.

I’m now in possession of a group of eight Halfling militia.

Now I’m not sure what I’m going to do with a unit of Halfling militia but there you go.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Portable Wargaming - TYW

Inspired by two Swedish wargamers, Per Broden and Michael Leck, I decided to have a go at the Thirty Years War in 6mm scale using Dan Mersey and Michael's The Pikeman's Lament rules.

My eventual plan is to do the Death of Gustavus Adolphus scenario from Michael's blog but for now here's a few pics of the first game with the new collection.

The idea is to create a game that's small enough to take to the pub. This board is 30cm x 45cm and works OK for 24 point armies.  It isn't big enough, though, for the Gustav Adolphus forces, which are about 50 points a side.  I shall have a go at building a second board the same size to go alongside this one.

Jamie and I played on the dining room table at his Grannie's house in Meols and we managed to get through about a dozen player turns despite this being our first try with the rules.

The units, all cavalry at this stage, are based using the 1-2-3 system using 1 Euro Cent, 1 UK penny, and 2 UK pence coins.  Given the small size of the figures (Baccus 6mm) I've added extra distinction to units by painting the rims of the coins in dark red for the Catholics and royal blue for the Swedes.

More pictures to follow as the forces and terrain pieces progress.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Ebor Lard 2019

I had a great day yesterday taking my Sharp Practice 2 game The Virgin and the Rearguard to Ebor Lard, a Lardy game day organised by John Savage.

Tom Davis and I drove up from Sheffield that morning, the car filled with my toys and with the stuff Tom needed to run his game of Kiss Me Hardy.  We arrived to find the venue, Green Hammerton Village Club thronging with gamers and with the local provisions truck doing a roaring trade in proper coffee and hot sandwiches.

I set up the terrain including my new large ridge and just about managed to get everything ready in time for the 10 o'clock start of the first game.

John had allocated players to games before the day so there was no messing around sorting out who would play what - something I might adopt for future Crisis Point events.  

In the first game, the El Picadillo's group of guerrillas made it to the door of the church tower and were confronted by an angry and obstructive Father Diego.

Meanwhile the contre-guerilla player bravely took advantage of the early arrival of his cavalry to push forward and try to dispute control of the village.

However, enough guerrillas had arrived to make the cavalry's attempt very risky.

Meanwhile a significant force of Liberal regulars and state militia had deployed behind the ridge.

The melee was a narrow victory for the guerrillas and the cavalry were thrown back from the village.

Meanwhile the contre-guerilla infantry and artillery tried to punch through the village.  I'd forgotten to bring the cotton-wool I usually use to indicate unloaded units so we ended up using the pdf disorder markers to do the job. You can see one in front of the contre-guerilla mountain gun.

The main French force marched towards the ridge while the Republican cavalry spent ages working its way through the camp to emerge at the end nearer the church.

In this game the three units of Republican regulars had made their way up to the crest of the ridge but had been force back with heavy casualties...

The sudden appearance of the banner of the Virgen de Guadalupe restored their spirit (they lost all accumulated Shock on seeing it) and they were able to stabilise the position.

When time was called for the lunch break the Liberals were down to six points of Force Morale and weakened in numbers but the guys holding the ridge were in fine spirits.  We called it a most enjoyable draw.

At lunchtime I managed to get a quick look at the other games. Richard Clarke was next door with a 1940 Chain of Command game.  Belgium I think.

The Helm's Deep board was apparently build by some school kids.  The new owners are developing a Lord of the Rings Sharp Practice variant!

I particularly liked this Indian Mutiny game.  It's a period I might have done if I hadn't settled on the Maximilian Adventure.

John Savage's ancient adaptation of Sharp Practice looked very pretty.

Then we had Simon Walker's Trumpton Riots game using, I believe, Chain of Command with some Sharp Practice mechanisms thrown in.  I'd have liked to have given this more of my attention but time flies by when you're the driver of another game...

And finally (I think; I hope I haven't missed anybody out) we had Tom Davis's action at Sao Salvador using Kiss Me Hardy, which I'd had the pleasure of play-testing a couple of weekends previously.

The afternoon session saw another group of players attempting to take the ridge near Santa Clara.

Again, the guerrillas approached the church door.  Here we see them just before the arrival of Father Diego...

The contre-guerillas pushed forward their mountain gun.

While the regulars prepared for a major assault on the ridge.

A cavalry melee looked likely...

Grant (right) commanded the main French force, ably assisted by Jeremy in charge of the contre-guerillas.

In the end, the cavalry melee we'd be looking forward to didn't occur.  Grant's Foreign Legion skirmishers pushed up through the woods and poured close range fire into the ranks of the Liberal lancers.  A blast of canister from the hastily redeployed artillery piece then saw the Liberals driven off.

When time was called the Liberals had just managed to unfurl the banner of the Virgin from the bell tower and the French players decided that they could not hope to carry the ridge against the newly encouraged defenders.  We called it a narrow Liberal victory but I suspect with a little luck a continued game might have seen the French drive their enemies' force morale down to zero.

After an hour or so of packing up followed by (non-alcoholic for me as I was driving) beers in the bar of the social club, we decamped over to the local pub for a most enjoyable evening of good food and conversation.  I'll definitely be attending Ebor Lard again.