Monday, February 26, 2024

Siege of Hachigata - part 3

Here are some pictures of the latest episode of our occasional campaign based on the Siege of Hachigata. This is a little delayed - we played on 10th February.

The scenario this time was based on my reading about Samurai-age sieges. A measure used successfully at one siege was to dig a trench that drained off the castle's only water supply. The issue with a four-player The Pikeman's Lament campaign is adapting the two-player scenarios in the rule book. In this case I wrote this introduction:

The Takeda clan, under the famous warlord Takeda Shingen, are besieging the Hōjō clan’s castle at Hachigata in Musashi province.

Shingen has brought in miners from his home province and had them dig a trench through some woods near the castle. With a few more hours of digging they can connect the trench to the stream that runs under the castle walls. The trench will drain away the water and deprive the defenders of their main supply of drinking water.

Unfortunately this digging must take place in the open. Shingen has selected Honda Gozemon to lead a diversionary attack on an isolated yagura (tower or bastion). Hopefully this will distract the enemy while the miners complete their task. Just in case, Takeda Mochinaga is to wait in the woods and only intervene if the enemy menaces the miners.

The yagura was a 3D print - my most ambitious so far; it took over 24 hours to print.

In fact the roof sections didn't print properly. I rebuilt them with cardboard.

Andy, as Honda Gozemon, was tasked with launching the attack on the outlying bastion. He would gain three points of Honour if he took it. He would gain one more point if the attack was successful in diverting enemy attention long enough to allow Shingen's miners to complete their task.

Honda Gozemon's company - two units of samurai, one
of ashigaru with tempo (arquebus), and an artillery piece
among the trees.

Mark, as Takeda Mochinaga, was responsible for providing a close escort for the miners.

The new ditch approaches the stream
providing the castle with drinking water.

Phil, in the role of Hōjō Tsebedetsu, was tasked with defending the yagura with up to eight points worth of troops. He chose two units of ashigaru spearmen. Because the model is solid, we placed the defending units in contact with the base. This made it easier to determine which defending unit was being fired at or attacked in melee. 

Meanwhile Ron, who as usual was playing Date Masamune, was simply ordered to be on the lookout to oppose any enemy moves. This left him free to attack the miners when it became clear what they were up to.

Without going into too much detail, it took a long time for the defenders to realise what was going on. by the time Date switched his attention to the ditch-diggers emerging from the woods, they had made significant progress. 

In addition, Hōjō Tsebedetsu seemed reluctant to fully commit to the defence of the outlying tower.

In the end the bastion was captured and the ditch was completed to draw off the castle's water supply. Victory to the besiegers!

Andy/Honda Gozemon, it emerged, had made the "Charge!" boast before the game. He succeeded in declaring the first Attack of the game thus gaining one point of Honour in addition to the three for capturing the bastion and one for the success of the main mission. This takes him to 32 points in total, which in turn saw him gain a new ability. He is now "Patient"- his unit is immune to the Wild Charge condition (sadly there are no units with Wild Charge in the campaign though).

Mark/Takeda Mochinaga's 4 points of Honour (he didn't Boast) put him up to 21 points and he too got to roll for a new trait. He got "Favoured" giving him a fine gift from Takeda Shingen and five more points of Honour for a new total of 26!

Ron/Date Masamune had failed to take advantage of the situation and had also failed in his Boast to "Beat the butcher's bill" by killing or routing more units than he lost. The resulting loss of one point of Honour sees him on a new total of 13.

And finally we learned the reason for Hōjō Tsebedetsu's passivity. He had made the Boast "I shall brandish only my fan". By keeping his own unit out of the fight, he gained a very welcome three points of Honour, taking him up to a total of 10.

I originally planned to follow history, having the Takeda abandon the siege, with later games in the campaign taking place during their withdrawal. However, with all of the games so far ending in victory for the besiegers, I wonder if I should diverge from the established course of things. What do you think?

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Crisis Point, 6th and 7th April 2024

This year's Crisis Point wargaming weekend has the theme "Invasion". It will take place at a new venue, Dungworth Village Hall in Dungworth, and will feature three games set during the Cold War period.


Presented by Richard Crawley

4-8 players. TacWWII rules.

A game for 4 to 8 players set during a fictional Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1948. 

This game sees two Soviet command teams racing to be the first to reach the Czechoslovak city of Stary Boleslav. For the winner there’s the prospect of being awarded the Order of Suvorov (Second Class), while for the loser there’s the very real possibility of being appointed to command the security detachment of a chemical weapons research facility. In Kazakhstan!

Meanwhile the Czechoslovak command team will be tasked with defending two major highways converging on the city. But with what forces? The political situation is confused. Have pro-Soviet elements been successfully purged from the Czechoslovak Army? 

We’ll be using the TacWWII fast play grand tactical rules. They are easy to learn - no previous experience necessary and put players firmly in the seat of the brigade commander while still giving a decent impression what’s happening right down to platoon level.


Presented by Andy Taylor and Neil McCusker

2-6 players. Cold War Commander 2.0 rules.

Another game set during the fictional Soviet Invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1948.

Soviet forces have have crossed the Czechoslovak border from eastern Germany and Poland. One of the main axes of attack is Wroclaw - Hradec Kralove - Prague.  Czechoslovak army elements are defending at Česka Skalice on this route and something of a traffic jam has developed behind the Soviets’ Forward Detachment. The Forward Detachment is ordered to brush these defenders aside and push on towards Hradec Kralove.

Cold War Commander is another easy to learn set of rules, the new edition of which was recently published by Pendraken.


Presented by Mark Kniveton

3-5 players. Modified Chain of Command rules.

D Company, 2 PARA launches a night assault on Argentinian 12th Infantry Regiment positions near Military Air Base Condor at Goose Green on East Falkland (Isla Soledad).

This games uses a Falklands War adaptation of the hugely popular Chain of Command platoon level skirmish rules by Too Fat Lardies and 20mm scale miniatures.

The cost for the weekend is £15, which covers the cost of hiring the hall and lunch on each day. If you'd like to attend the event, please contact me by commenting below.

Friday, February 9, 2024

Muddy River pics

I am able to confirm that my Muddy River Blues campaign exploring the operations of the Mississippi Marine Brigade is well under way and, indeed, has seen its first action on the tabletop.

To keep the players in the dark I can't share a full after action report here but I'll let you have a few atmospheric shots:

A Confederate column in the swamp land

Gunsmoke along the Muddy River

Stand-in river boat model

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Vapnartak and storage

This last weekend was Vapnartak in York.As usual there were some nice games on display but mainly the York show for me is about catching up with fellow wargamers and doing a bit of shopping.

As usual the show that roughly coincides with my birthday saw me making some fairly significant purchases. This year it's a big birthday and a couple of friends and son Jamie had offered to pay for some toys. With the plan to do a four-player Siege of Puebla game I need a few more Maximilian Adventure units so a visit to the Foundry stand seemed like a good way to pick up some stuff that friends could contribute to.

Two units of "Foreign Legion or Filibusters" plus a personality pack will, added to a few similar models I already own, give me the basis of a French line infantry unit in campaign dress. They will fight alongside my existing Turcos in the streets of Puebla.

I also got a pack of Mexican infantry and a Mexican personalities pack. These will serve alongside my existing red-jacketed state militia as an opposing player force. The personalities pack contains a nice general officer figure who will play a perhaps-important role in the game.

The other purchases were:

A Venetian house kit that was only a tenner at the table-top sale. Being designed for big 32mm Carnivale-style miniatures the doors are huge but with a little converting I reckon I can adapt it for Puebla.

Irregular Miniatures supplied some more Franco-Prussian War models so I can play Bloody Big Battles in 6mm. When I've painted them, Froeschwiller should be within my grasp.

And finally I invested in some self-adhesive magnetic sheet from Magnetic Displays. These have already been added to my 6mm unit storage facility. For years I've been keeping my expanding 1/300th scale WWII and Moderns collection in two Ikea filing cabinets mounted on the workshop wall:

The shallower drawers for the armies:

And the deeper ones for terrain:

The nice thing is that the drawers come out and can be used to transport stuff to games. However, I'm running out of space so with the aid of Lego bricks as spacers and PVC board or MDF off-cuts I've made some of my drawers double decker!

A couple of loops of insulating tape let me lift the top layer out and the newly acquired magnetic sheets stop the models sliding off. My 1/300th units are based on artist's mounting board and many are backed with self-adhesive ferro sheet, also from Magnetic Displays.

As you can see below, the extra space is badly needed!

New top layer - assorted Germans

In need of a new layer -
assorted 1940 French

I also picked up some more ferro sheet so I'll be spending some time increasing the proportion of the forces that stick to the magnets!

All in all I really enjoyed Vapnartak. It was great to catch up with so many wargaming friends and acquaintances. The only downside was that I didn't manage to off-load the old SOTCW banner. I really must get it to a current committee member somehow!