Monday, May 22, 2017

Special Board Game Session

I've had a loss in the family recently and my good friends Mike, Scott and Josh decided to come up to play some board games and visit. There was pizza, margaritas and root beer floats to help make the evening even better. Since it was a week night we chose two shorter games. We started off with a co-operative game, Dungeon Fighter. This is a fun beer-and-pretzels game of throwing dice onto a board, sometimes with unusual requirements, like doing it blind, or over the shoulder. The game came down to the last turn with the last roll only needing to hit the board. Mike, who had been fantastic all night blowing dice off his hand for extra damage, took the 'easy' shot of a normal roll......which didn't make it to the board! We all die! AIIEIEEEEEEEEEEeeeee...... Still very close to a win and good silly fun.

The second game was a more traditional competitive game, Explorers of the North Sea. A Viking themed ocean exploration game, this game to me is Carcassone, fixed and with more fun. Scott schooled us all with a 'collect all the livestock' strategy and judicious island control. I ended up a distant second with a less focused approach.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Electronic Brigadier at Huzzah! 2017

This past Saturday, I hosted a game using Electronic Brigadier at Huzzah! 2017. The scenario was my Bemis Heights scenario, Gates Attacks! My previous play test report for the scenario can be found here.

I had several players return from previous EB convention games and a few new players. Everyone took to the rules and tablets quickly and seemed to have a fun time. The scenario was a close-fought affair with both sides losing units during the game. In the end, although the Americans were doing well, the British kept control of the redoubts and held the field for a marginal British victory.

The American commanders discuss their battle plan before the first turn.

The British commanders recording on the tablets while the Americans take their first turn.

Additional in-game photos below.

Final results at the end of the battle:

British Army
  • Army cohesion: 64.6%
  • Total Casualties: 577 / 4920 (11.7%)
  • 2 units dispersed
  • 1 routed units
  • 2 shaken units

  • Honors to: 104 - Rangers and Marksmen
American Army
  • Army cohesion: 66.1%
  • Total Casualties: 640 / 6800 (9.4%)
  • 1 units dispersed
  • 2 routed units
  • 1 shaken units

  • Honors to: 224 - 2nd New York

During the morning session I was also able to sneak out and get two photos of Earl's game. Apologies to Phil, as the photos I took of his game came out too blurry. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Battle of Dybboll, 28 May, 1849

My friend Ed M. from Ed M's Wargames Meanderings Blog and fellow Northern Conspirator, invited several of us to his home last Friday to play test his game for he's hosting at this month's club game night. The game was a post-Napoleonic scenario from the 1st Schleswig-Holstein War (1848/49). Ed thinks this conflict is much more interesting for wargamers than the more well known and popular 2nd Schleswig-Holstein War due to the former having many more 'fair fights'. This scenario represented the Battle of Dybbol, 28 May, 1849 which featured Danish and Prussian forces in a back-and-forth battle over several days. The scenario represents the final phase of the conflict. For a more detailed report of the battle with additional annotated photographs, I cannot more highly recommend you read Ed's report over on his blog.

The figures, all painted by Ed recently for his upcoming 'Chocolate Box Wars' project were beautiful, and masterfully selected from many different lines from several manufacturers. I'm very much looking forward to more games with these figures and Ed's Chocolate Box Wars rules.

Bob and Ralph were on the attack as the Prussians, with George and I defending a line of three towns with the Danes. George's plan was for us to defend our right flank as heavily as possible as that's where we expected the main attack. Even with shifting right, Ralph and Bob did a great job of wearing both of our commands down eventually securing two of the three towns with the third sure to fall very soon when George and I capitulated. Well played by Bob and Ralph.

More eye candy below of the game in progress. Thanks to Ed for hosting such a fun and pretty game.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Greece vs Levant - HATG Campaign Game

Last Friday we got together to play another HATG game in our ongoing campaign. This battle pitted the often battled Greek and Levantine forces. Greece brought a Pyrrhic model army and Levant brought a middle Republican Roman model army. 

Mike's Pyrrhic army featured a heavy dose of Elephant terror units. On my right Earl used his effectively to flank the Romans, doing some damage, while also peeling off most of a Roman wing to deal with him. On the left Bob's elephants were less effective, being dealt with quickly by the Romans. In the Center Mike's two spear phalanx waited for our flank attacks to go in.

Levant was having none of the waiting game and charged in strong and my pike wing! The pike held up well for a couple of turns due to their deep ranks, but on the third turn of attacks, two of the pike dispersed along with some hypaspists who were assigned to guard their flank.

 My pike battle line before....
and after. Great job by Charlie coordinating the attacks of two full legions on my one battle line, dismembering it in detail, sealing the victory.

Recently in HATG the Romans had suffered from some rule changes that reduced their power. Recent changes have adjusted things a bit more in the legion's favor. In this game Charlie proved if played well, the Romans can now be quite effective.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Technical Difficulties - Please Stand By

I'm sorry for the lack of posts recently. I've been alternatively, sick, on vacation then sick again. I'm finally on the mend and should be back to painting and gaming soon.

Not dead yet, I've been getting better......

Monday, April 3, 2017

The Force Is Strong With This One

Last game night Ralph ran a Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures game. Our club doesn't play a lot of Science Fiction, but who can resist pre-painted Star Wars miniatures that also have a fun rule set to play with? Not me, that's for sure.

Recently I've saved up a bit of 'mad money' income from my side-business selling R/C glider kits that I design and make. With the strong temptation of pre-painted miniatures, I hit up a couple large lots on Ebay and augmented that with a few singles auctions to fill out the lot. Above is my Rebel collection: 4 A-wing wings, 4 B-wings, 2 E-wings, 3 T65 X-wings, 4 T-70 X-wings, 2 Y-wings, 2 T-95s, one YT-1200, one YT-2400 and one Arc-170.

 For the Empire, I have 8 Tie fighters, 2 Tie/FOs, 2 Tie interceptors, aTie Defender, a Tie advanced, a Tie Adv. Prototype, a Tie bomber, a Tie Striker and a Tie punisher.

Since we're playing for fun locally and not doing any 'official' tournaments, I was able to pick up many of these ships cheaply because they came without the upgrade cards that were originally packaged with them. For casual play I can use proxy prints of the cards. I doubt I'll ever play in any tournaments, so no worries on that.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Northern Conspiracy March 2017 Game Night

Tonight was our club's monthly game night. Although our club usually has mostly historical games, tonight I played in a rare Science-Fiction game - Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures hosted by Ralph. Something in this game must have scratched an itch because it was very popular as you can see by the Imperial players at the table in the photo to the left.

Ralph set this up as a series of small introductory games with the first being with 'vanilla' pilots without upgrades - your basic X-wing on Tie Fighter duel with two tables of 4 Ties vs. 2 X-wings. After that we played a second game with each player getting some upgrades and a final game with upgrades and 'Ace' pilots with pilot skills. The games were fun and fast. Everyone seemed to pick up on the rules quickly.

Some close-up of the game and models which come pre-painted are below.

Mike ran a dark ages skirmish game using Saga rules. These are relatively new to our club and the game looked quite fun. I'm looking forward to giving Saga a try.

John ran a 15mm ACW game. Apologies to John as his game was in the dark end of the room and my camera had trouble getting good photos of his table. 

Sorry for the brief report, I'm heading out of town tomorrow for a week's vacation so I wanted to get this out before I left. Thanks to everyone who ran great games.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Bemis Heights Play Test - Electronic Brigadier

May 20th I will be running this scenario at the Huzzah! convention in Portland, Maine. The game is #306 and will be during the Saturday morning 9am-1pm slot. When I run convention games I prefer to play test the scenarios at home first to insure that the scenario is well balanced so that everyone at the convention has a good time. After having to cancel this game TWICE due to having a bad chest cold, I was finally able to run the play test with the help of five friends from the Northern Conspiracy. I was fortunate that all were experienced with the rules so they were able to handle the seven commands of the scenario with ease.

Kevin and Rob were the British. Kevin was the advanced wing, Rob was the center (Hessian) wing and they split the third command, the reserve wing.
Bob, Ralph and Mike were the Americans. Mike had the American light brigade, Ralph and Bob had Learned and Patterson's brigade with all three splitting Poor's brigade, Mike getting the majority of Poor's troops with Bob and Ralph taking one regiment each.

This scenario starts after the initial British advanced guard probe has been contacted and pushed back by the American light brigade. Starting the battle any sooner would cause several players to have to wait a long time for their troops to come into play. This way all seven commands can be used on turn one. I've kept several units that didn't fight during the actual battle out of the OB to keep the game clean and for balancing purposes. The Americans have orders to drive the British from the field, and with a 4:3 advantage in brigades, my hopes are that they have the resources to make that task achievable. This photo shows the troop locations after the British have taken their first turn.

 The British plan was to defend in depth with the advance wing along a pair of woods at the north edge of the wheat field. Bob's center column would support this and use the woods to the east of his redoubt as an extension of this line.

The Americans would have Mike attack the advance wing while flanking the British redoubts to the east with a majority of their force. Mike's initial attacks pushed the Queen's Loyal Rangers skirmish line away initially but had more trouble with the British Light infantry which surprisingly held to a charge winning. Across this area for the next couple of hours (game time) Mike and Rob continued to firefight heavily. In the end Mike's NY militia headed for the rear, and after a counter-charge, the British 20th line also routed to the rear. Morgan's rifles also drove off the gunners of the British howitzers, who found themselves uncomfortably exposed as their infantry support fell back.

On the British left multiple attacks went in against the Hessian Grenadiers, who stood resolute in their woods, turning back several coordinated American attacks. Eventually the Grenadiers wore out one American regiment and bloodied at least two others, causing well over 100 casualties across the combined attackers at a loss of just over 40 to the Grenadiers. This defense earned them the honors for the battle.

On the British far right, Bob's flanking units were able to finally get around the British flank to threaten the redoubts from the rear. Rob was forced to rush his only reserves, the British Grenadiers into the gap. This attack was met harshly by Bob's flanking regiment causing significant damage to the British Grenadiers. Due to their high quality, the Grenadiers held and stopped the American attack. Elsewhere on the British left flank the Canadian loyalist militia, having fired their three volleys, was driven from the line. They later rallied and re-deployed, but were not looking like they would be very combat effective for the remainder of the battle.

As we called the game due to time, the American attack had been successfully defended by the British. In terms of the overall campaign situation, the British victory was not enough to save Burgoyne's position in New York, so this was at best a Phyrric victory for the British. The post-game statistics, which were heavily skewed in favor of the British early in the battle, were definitely shifting in favor of the Americans towards the end of the battle.

Of particular interest to me is the American army still retained an advantage in army cohesion even after having to maneuver and attack. I think this speaks to the efficiency of how the American troops were handled compared to the pressured British, who needed to use more double-time marches to react to the attacks. Here are the end of battle statistics:

British Army
  • Army cohesion: 69.3%
  • Total Casualties: 353 / 4920 (7.2%)
  • 1 unit dispersed
  • 1 routed unit

  • Honors to: 124 - Brunswick Grenadiers
American Army
  • Army cohesion: 72.4%
  • Total Casualties: 517 / 6800 (7.6%)
  • 1 routed unit
  • 2 shaken units

  • Honors to: 221 - 1st New Hampshire
I would like to thank Bob, Ralph, Mike, Rob and Kevin for helping me play test the scenario, and for giving me constructive feedback that will allow me to fine tune the scenario in preparation for Huzzah!