Wednesday, September 14, 2016

"Robbie Con" 2016

This past weekend, a bunch of us headed up to Chester, VT to game Friday-Sunday with our friend and fellow Northern Conspirator Robert "The Rouse". Robert has an old Victorian Vermont home that the company he works for has converted into a conference center. With us all chipping in a few dollars he can rent it for the weekend and game with a couple dozen of his closest friends. This was a half board gaming and half wargaming weekend. The wargaming happened on top of a ping-pong table located in the "creepy clown room" - named for the photo on the wall pictured to the left.

I messed up and didn't have my memory card in my camera until we were wrapping up and doing the AAR for our first game. Apologies to Charlie, who ran a great game of Napoleon's Rules of War - French vs British and Spanish. Ed will have plenty of photos of this game on his blog as soon as he posts his update on Robbie Con.

As you can see by the photo of my sector of the battle below, Robert did an excellent job of destroying my command which was supposed to hold the flank. The troops you see there surrounding Robert's attacking troops are ones Ralph committed from our reserve. Without them we would have been toast.

 Next up was a Galatian vs Ptolomaic battle run by Ralph using Hanibal at the Gates. Rob, Charlie and Ed played the Ptolomaics and Byron, Dave Cheng and I ran the Galatians. Dave runs the excellent convention Council of Five Nations which is coming up in a week in a half. If you're not busy check it out. In this one the Ptolomaics had the run of the barbarians. Early clashes between elephants came up all Ptolomey and the Ptolomaic cataphract and infantry battle lines held strong to combined Galatian infantry and cavalry attacks.

The final game on Sunday was Robert's house rules for Napoleonics. These rules will re-use our extensive collection of 15mm Napoleonics that are based for Volley and Bayonet. Robert's rules have a few similarities to V&B, but for the most part are a complete re-write with new combat and morale systems. Robert has done an extensive amount of work on the rules and every time we play them they get better and are more fun.

In this game the scenario was Ralph, Robert and I commanding the French and Dave, Charlie and Rob command the Austrians. We gave our largest division to Robert with a command to attack the Austrian left. Ralph massed artillery in the center in hopes to support the attack and I held the right with a lesser force hoping to buy time for our attack.

Robert's attack went in hard and fast. It also got destroyed hard and fast (sorry Robert!). The Austrians countered Robert's attack with their heavy cavalry and a series of surgical counter-attacks. In the center Ralph's grand battery just managed to hold, although it was well battered. On my flank I gave as good as I got, but with less assets the writing was on the wall, with the Austrian converged grenadiers moving to my flank to guarantee the job got finished properly. Victory to the Austrians.

Three days gaming with friends. You can't get any better than that! Thanks for a great weekend Robert.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

The Battle of Epirus - Part I

Last weekend a group of us got together to fight the next battle in our Mediterranean Tyranny campaign. This one is taking place in Epirus and pits the ever aggressive Egyptians, using a Roman model army with local pike mercenaries against the Greeks, who recently also adopted a Roman model army. Pictured to the left the Greek monarch Mike (in orange) and sub-commander Bob. I also helped bolster the Greek ranks as the right flank commander. Below the Egyptian monarch Rob (middle) with his ally the Levant monarch Charlie on the right, and Byron on the left as the Egyptian right flank commander.

As the Greek right flank commander I was given a fine Greek (Roman model) legion, to defend against the opponent's legion, converged Triarii and a couple of soldiers from their allied Greek command. My orders - hold out as long as I can while we hopefully could attack on our left flank were we had the superior numbers.

I had some early successes and failures. My cavalry chased down some enemy skirmishers, but then got mired behind enemy lines and ended up being destroyed. My legions gave better than they got early, but in the final two turns of the evening, Charlie reversed his losses and punished my legions heavily. If it weren't for Bob's skirmishers and Pilum attacks eliminating one of Charlie's over aggressive cavalry, the latter turns would have been all Egyptian successes on my flank. As we broke for the evening, my flank is looking quite sparse and weak. Hopefully our fresh legion on our left flank can capitalize there before my flank collapses. We'll find out when we resume the battle in a couple of weeks. At this point it's anyone's game.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Roman Praetorian Guard

My painting output always slows way down during the summer, this year even more than most. I have R/C flying, camping and yard work all to compete with the painting table. It doesn't help that I'm still getting almost as many games in as I do during the colder months! This is a small batch of Roman Praetorian guards. They're from Warlord's Cesarian line, and include one command pack of lead figures, one sprue of plastic command and one sprue of legionaries. I've tried to choose heads that look the most 'republician' since these figures are really meant for the tail end of the period. In Hannibal at the Gates, these will be used with two soldier stands (extraordinarii) to make up a Roman elite division.

Next up on the painting table, some additional Carthaginian mounted officers. My Carthaginian army has become large enough that my original batch of mounted officers can only command a little over half of the troops! First world problems I guess.....

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Bolt Action WWII at Adler Hobby

Yesterday I stopped by the Adler Hobby Boardgame Cafe to do some shopping and visit with my friend Gordon, the owner. Adler Hobby is a full board game and wargame hobby store and also has a gaming cafe, where you can play board games and war games. While I was shopping and visiting, Gordon had a couple of customers come in and request to play his "Italian Steel" Bolt Action scenario. Gordon offered me a spot in the game, and since I had the afternoon free I accepted.

This is a fun scenario, and surprisingly, the small infantry force of elite Australians actually has a fair chance to win against the all-armored force of the Italians. For this game it came down to the last Italian tank available on the last turn to destroy the Australian fortress. Luckily for us, it succeeded. A narrow victory. You can see from the photos below the carnage as tank after tank got knocked out by the plucky Aussies with their anti-tank grenades.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Northern Conspiracy August 2016 Game Night

Last Friday, the club got together for our August game night. Although it was a beautiful summer evening, we still had enough players to run all three games. 

Mark D. and Ross played a game of Axis and Allies WWII ships. 

Mike Coppinger ran his annual "First Man of Rome" mini tournament. This year it featured historic scenarios on each of the tables with scenario victory conditions and in some cases unbalanced forces. I'm not sure who won, but last I heard first-time DBA player Dr. Dick was doing very well (as is the tradition at these it seems). The photo at the bottom of this section may have been the final pivotal game of the tournament, based on how many spectators it had.

I played in Greg's "Chain of Command" early war WWII skirmish game. These rules intrigue me similarly to how Field of Glory ancients did. There are a lot of innovations in it, many of which I don't fully understand. I played on the German side and did well for a while in my sector. In other areas of the battle we were doing well, until a series of rolls allowed the British to have three turns in a row. During this run they rallied their center and used a mortar barrage to destroy ours. The German players morale was crushed possibly even more than the tabletop forces, and the Germans capitulated.

Even with the crushing loss, I went home and purchased the rules. I have to admit, they are fun, even when frustrating.

Greg's game also featured the debut of his early war Germans, which I had the pleasure to have good views of all game long. They're beautifully painted.