Sunday, August 24, 2014

Robert's 50th Birthday Gaming Bash

My friend Robert celebrated his 50th birthday this weekend. For his special day he decided to have a mega party with all of his various gaming friends. Some play Diplomacy, some play all types of 'Euro' board games and some play historical miniatures. I do two of the three and enjoyed most of my time with the wargamers, but was able to sneak in three board games late Saturday evening. This was a great weekend, plenty of good people to meet and re-visit, great food and best of all, great gaming.

Saturday morning kicked off first thing with a great game of Charlie's house Napoleonic wing scale rules, Napoleon's Rules of War. Charlie's been working on these rules for a while and they're pretty much mature at this point. We played a fun game with very little in the way of rules questions.

The scenario was a section of the battle of Talavara and featured a portion of Charlie's wonderful 28mm Napoleonic collection which has been entirely painted by himself. I conducted an assault on the British left flank. I had numeric superiority, but Ed's use of some reserve cavalry stopped my flank battalions forcing them to form square slowing my attack. In the middle we had more success breaking several british line units and one battery. On the other flank the Spanish pushed hard and were driving us back. The battle ended up in a classic 'pinwheel of death'. Great fun.

Saturday afternoon and evening we played a game using my Electronic Brigadier rules. I expanded the order of battle for my test scenario to a full OB for Freeman's Farm (1st Saratoga). After struggling to get the WiFi working in the room we were able to (mostly) resolve that problem and play a full game. The British pushed hard and fast with their right advance wing, in the process isolating the British Grenadiers, exposing them to fire from three American battalions. While they stood firm the damage would eventually rout the Grenadiers later in the game.

On the British left flank the Hessian wing had some trouble deploying and got jumped by Poor's brigade. The early advantage eventually resulted in a couple of lost units in that wing. The Americans lost one of the Connecticut militia brigades and suffered some heavy losses in several units, but held firm and eventually caused enough damage to the British for us to call it an American victory.

This was the first time the rules have been exposed to players not involved with the play test. Although I have several things I'd like to adjust in the programming, the game seemed to be well received and I'm quite happy with the outcome - units that suffered the worst losses failed morale and behaved as expected. Combat results all seemed to be reasonable when considering all factors involved in the combat. I'd like to give my sincere thanks to all the players for enduring the technical hiccups with the WiFi and for all their excellent constructive feedback. My lesson learned, bring a mobile hotspot to all future games.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

August 2014 Game Night

Last Friday night was the Northern Conspiracy's August game night. I played in a 15mm French Revolutionary War period game depicting part of the Italian 1796 campaign I believe. To be honest as president the start of game nights are a bit hectic so my details of the game introduction may be off.

The game used Mustafa's excellent Lasalle rules. Lasalle has a non-traditional turn sequence, but produces a nice quick playing game. I like that Mustafa uses a small amount of modifiers which makes playing a game using these rules easier for the first timer to understand.

I played with Charlie and Dave on the Austrian side trying to press across a bridge head opposed by Frenchmen Ralph, John and Art. The French played well in this one and held our bridge heads well in check. Unfortunately we probably needed a few more turns for their advantage to show. I did have some early success in the early cavalry vs. cavalry skirmishing, but I don't think that threatened the French position much with their infantry solidly holding behind their cavalry. Good game, well run. Thanks Don!

The second game of the night was Greg Symko's 28mm Nine Years War game. This one featured Greg's beautiful 28mm figures and terrain and used Warlord's Pike and Shotte rules. I didn't get a run down on the game but there was plenty of fun based on the raucous sounds coming from the table. I even believe I heard George say, "Phil, I trust you." so George must have been having a great time.

The final game of the night was Mark D's war of 1812 skirmish game in 28mm.  The game used the Brother Against Brother rules which our club likes for many different periods of skirmishing in addition to their intended ACW period. This game hosted guest Owen (in the green shirt) and guest and past member Dick (in the blue button-down shirt).

I'm also not sure of the outcome of this one other than Randy's British had their officer picked off with an early 'thwacked' morale check, which slowed the British down considerably. When I got to the table at the end of the game the Americans seemed to be mopping up the remaining British.

Wing Scale Napoleonics Game at Ed's

They say turnabout is fair play. The day after my play test (see my previous post) Ralph, Ed, Peter and I got together at Ed's house to play another play test game of his wing scale Napoleonic rules. I say playtest, but we really just played a game and didn't identify much to change this round as Ed's rules are maturing nicely.

I played one of the Prussian brigade commanders with Ed pushing the balance of the Prussians. Peter and Ralph pushed the French. This was an attack and defense game and the French did a nice job of holding up against our attacks thanks to good play in the towns which anchored each flank. Peter had a single battalion hold off my grenadiers for the entire battle giving them 6 hits while receiving none themselves and holding up to three separate charges. Well done indeed.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Electronic Brigadier - Play test #2

Tonight my friend Ed and uncle Ralph came by to help me with another play test of my computer-moderated wargaming rules, Electronic Brigadier. The battle was a variation of Freeman's Farm. Tonight's game was the first try with Artillery, a section of 6-pounder guns for each side.

The game went more smoothly than the first game. Fatigue tracking is now implemented, and seems to be working well. Next step will be to enable fatigue penalties for morale and combat resolution. With some suggestions we also came up with some other small refinements to both the programming and game procedures.

I'm running a public game with the rules in October at the Carnage convention, so play testing will continue to be a priority between then and now.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Pirate Rules Play Test

Tonight my friend Michael and I got together to work on his house rules for our upcoming pirate game day which will take place this October. Michael is adapting Limeys and Slimies for use with the club's large selection of 28mm pirate ships that we used last year.  

Michael has put a lot of work into his modifications to the rules to make them fit both the scale of our ships but also the club's play style. After doing some test runs of each of the different sections of the rules (ranged fire, grappling, boarding, morale) I can honestly say I think these are going to be a lot of fun to play. Michael and I have some additional work to do. Michael is going to make up a QRS for the rules and finalize some minor changes we came up with and I'm going to get working on some play aids on my laser as well as making up some additional ship kits for new members and some guests that will be coming this year.

If all goes well we hope to have a final play test in my garage this September.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Weekend - 2014

I've just returned from 'The Weekend'. This is an invitation-only weekend of gaming in Lancaster, PA run by Otto Schmidt. It's not as exclusive as it sounds, email Otto and he'll be happy to include you as one of his invited friends, that's how I got to attend last and this year.  'The Weekend' is a non-convention. I like to think of it as gaming with 50 of my best friends, all of whom I may not have known before I met them. There's a casual sitting area to shoot the bull, snacks, beverages, a free stuff table and a bring-and-buy table and oh yeah, a ton of great gaming. The games are primarily historical miniatures games with the occasional board game or sci-fi/zombie game tossed in for flavor. The historical periods run from ancients, which to my pleasure seem well represented, through WWII. There's no signing up for games and I was able to walk up and get in every game I wanted to play in.

The first game I played in was an epically large Siege of Alesia game using hundreds of beautiful 28mm figures and a fantastic set of terrain. My command was bloodied by the Gauls fairly well but all in all the Romans did fairly well. We ended up letting some Gauls out through one area of our siege walls giving them a minor victory. The major victory was getting to play in such a beautiful and well run game.

On Sunday morning I played in a 28mm Black Powder "Seven Years War" game. This was Prussians attacking a castle held by the "local inhabitants" with support from a relief force of Austrians and Saxons. Mike ran a great game and as you can see from the photos and video below, the scenery and scenario were very creative. I played in this one just for my friend Byron, who's an avid Seven Years War aficionado.  Byron, this one's for you :-) Watch the videos first for best effect.

As the Saxon and "Kandi Guard" commander I was somewhat overwhelmed bearing the duty of defending against the main Prussian thrust. My one Gingerbread Man Sepoy charge was repulsed by a fresh Prussian infantry regiment. The other Gingerbread Man Sepoy unit held nicely against repeated Prussian dragoon charges finally crumbling under the pressure (pun intended).

My Saxons did reasonably well but eventually started to show signs of wear from constant Prussian pressure. When the Prussian siege train deployed I lacked the resources to prevent it.  FYI, the scenery and the two special Gingerbread Man units were wonderfully whimsical, but in truth this was a great set piece 7YW battle and reinforced my affinity to the Black Powder rules for large games.

I'd like to thank Otto for organizing the event and all of the game masters who hosted games I had the pleasure to enjoy.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Wright Museum, Wolfeboro, NH

Saturday, with the help of fellow Northern Conspirator Chris I organized a club trip to the excellent Wright Museum in Wolfeboro, NH. This is a museum entirely dedicated to WWII, but not your normal museum containing only military artifacts. Over half of the museum's exhibits focus on the home front and New Hampshire resident's contributions to the war. Don't get me wrong, the museum has PLENTY of fantastic military items on display including a very significant fleet of vehicles, almost all of which are in running condition and are used for parades and celebrations state wide. The Stuart tank you see above is one of two in the collection, the other one is a 'runner'. Chris is a volunteer in the museum's motor pool and arranged for special access for our group which was amazing - thank you Chris!

In addition to visiting to enjoy the museum, the club's members made a significant donation to the museum last year in memory of our friend Leo Murphy. Much to our pleasure, the museum had mounted a plaque dedicated to Leo in their honor roll at the entrance to the museum. It is shown below.

Following are some of the best photos that I took of the trip. If you're in the lakes area of NH I strongly dedicating a few hours to visit this excellent museum.