Sunday, February 7, 2016

28mm Samnite 'Colorful' Legion

Despite having one of the most productive months at the painting table this past January, this blog hasn't shown it. It's been VERY cold and snowy here. Since I take my photographs outside with natural light, the to-be-photographed lead has been piling up. Today we got a small window of warm-ish weather so out I went to clear the photography queue. I'll be posting units over the next few days, mostly in order of how excited I am about the units. So here's the cream of the crop, a 28mm Samnite 'colorful' legion. These are based for Hanibal at the Gates and would actually represent a half legion, or a 'division' in HATG terms. Eventually if I ever plan to field these as part of a complete Samnite army I'll paint the other half legion. For now these will be used as mercenaries in my Carthaginian, Phyrric or Roman armies as needed.

The figures are Old Glory from their Italian Wars ancients line. I've added the characteristic Samnite shields which I ordered from Crusader Miniatures. An aside about Crusader Miniatures, their customer service I found to be excellent, even ordering directly from the United States. I'm putting these down in the painting totals as 25 figures. I painted one extra musician (not shown) which will be used in an upcoming re-basing effort.

The figures are comprised of three stands of peltasts, classified as 'soldiers' in HATG and three stands of psoli classified as 'foot skirmishers'. I've mixed in plenty of striped tunics and wildly colorful shields and helmet decorations to represent a Samnite colorful legion as opposed to the Samnite linen legion. The latter will be the subject of a future painting project which is currently on the table.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

NROW Play Test #4 at Charlie's

Last night a group of us got together at Charlie's gaming loft to continue our testing of his Naploeonics rule set, Naploeon's Rules of War. Pictured to the left, the French contingent, Ed, Ralph, Byron and Robert. On the Austrian side were Charlie, Peter Bob and me.

Charlie has made some good improvements, streamlining the close combat procedures. We found a few places where the +/- factors need to be tweaked a little, but the new procedures are a huge improvement both in speed and ease of play.

For the game Charlie picked two similar sized forces withe the French being higher quality than the Austrians. Given that knowledge of course the Austrians decided this is a perfect time to attack! Bob led our assault on the right flank. On the left the French turned our flank with a regiment of curiassers while  launching their own assault against a position we had on a hill. My job was to assault through a gap in two hills. You can see the one attempt I made below to the right.

Both Ed and I had some difficulty assaulting each other. There were some wild dice across the board with a lot of snake-eyes to boxcars rolls going each way. Most of the column assaults were repulsed and costly, but eventually the French brought up their reinforcements before we did and my command was all but eliminated at the cost of only one French infantry battalion. On the right, Bob was more successful but not enough to call the game anything but a solid French win.

Below, to the left 'before' - the high water mark of my Austrian attack. To the right the 'after' a hole in the line where my regiment once was.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Chain of Command at Greg's

Saturday several of us travelled south to visit my friend Greg at his house for a game of Chain of Command. Greg, Byron and Dick have been playing this rule set and enjoy it a lot. The rules emphasize command and control both in the pre-game deployment as well as the orders system. I found myself being stymied from time to time by the order dice I rolled, but I guess that's the point. The largest mechanic that I think impacts the game is when one player rolls double sixes (on five dice) they get another turn. Earl on our side got three turns in a row once and two turns another time. Each player on the other team got a second turn at least once. The turn Bob, opposite my command, got his two turns he essentially put me out of the game, eliminating an entire 'fresh' specialist squad as well as a Bren gun team. The other mechanics of the game seem solid enough, and as you can see, Greg's terrain and figures are amazing.

Greg had the allies (British and French) of Earl, Byron and I, attacking Germans commanded by Dick, Ralph and Bob. Early on Earl's three turns in a row allowed him to jump on Ralph's troops defending a barn and heavily damage them. After that it was all German firepower on my flank with Bob tearing my Tommies up with Hitler's buzzsaws. Our French attack in the center also was blunted by heavy MG fire from all three German players, especially from Dick in the center. Once the Allies had removed several squads we capitulated, the assault wasn't going to succeed. Well played by the Germans.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Mediterranean Tyranny - Punic Wars Campaign Start

Friday we got together to kick off a new ancients campaign using my uncle's new campaign rules, Mediterranean Tyranny. We met to bid for starting locations on the Mediterranean map. In this campaign it's not necessary that you play an army that historically was located in your starting country, but knowing I was planning on pushing a Carthaginian army I bid on and won the rights to start with my capital in Carthage. Byron has graciously agreed to be my Hasdrubal, second in command.

Players weren't required to declare their armies at this meeting, but the other players are:
  • Bob in Latium (Rome) pushing either a Gaul or a Roman army with a heavy Gaul allied contingent.
  • Mike in Greece, who I expect to push a Greek or Syracuse army, with Earl as his 2iC
  • Charlie in Levant who hasn't declared his army, but I suspect either Roman or Syracuse
  • Rob in Egypt, probably Roman
I'm looking to expect a heavy dose of Roman armies to face. Hopefully Hannibal and his veteran African spear phalanxes are up to the task. If not each player has one chance during the campaign to conduct 'military reforms' and adopt a new army list. Either way I expect to have fun and get some more use out of my recently completed Carthaginian army. Maybe this campaign I'll even get to use my elephants!

After the campaign set-up meeting we adjourned to the basement for a warm-up game of Hannibal at the Gates. Ralph had set up a game of Romans vs. Seleucids. Bob, Mike and Earl as the Macedonians and Charlie, Rob and me as the Romans. Rob was our attacking force of two legions up the left flank, I held the middle with one legion and our extrordinarii and Bob was on the left with a legion and our ballista.

Charlie launched his scythed chariots at our lines right off, but Bob and I weathered the storm and sent the chariots to the rear (or Valhalla) with our counter attacks.  On the right Rob was successful, but there wasn't much of substance opposed to him so his success was with little gains in terms of enemy core units killed. In the center the Seleucid phalanx stood up well. We called the game a draw at the end of the evening with several of us having an early morning drive for a Saturday game the next day. See my next update for info on that game.

Northern Conspiracy Game Night - January 2016

Last Friday evening, our club got together for the first game night of the year. I played in Mark D's modern bolt-action game.  Mark has added in modern weapons and vehicles, but otherwise kept Bolt Action as-written. The key is getting the squad size just right to balance the added firepower of the modern squad composition. I think Mark has done a very good job of doing this.

The game pitted Charlie and Ross (shown above) as Serbian insurgents and Phil and me as the French/UN peace keeper force. The scenario had 5 objective points, three worth one point eacy in the terrain surrounding the town's cross roads and two points for controlling the cross roads.

The Serbians jumped onto all three of the outlying objectives while my UN command, in their very impressive looking white vehicles, rushed to grab the buildings on our side of the town. Phil on our right flank set up to assault the right most objective, while Ross quickly blew up Phil's Jeep silencing its 50cal MG.

I took a pasting on the left from Charlie's 'technical' civilian pickup truck with a 50cal MG on it, and from his infantry from a wood edge. In the town I did better, eventually occupying three of the four buildings and blowing up Ross' armored car using a LAW. Still it was advantage Serbians 3-2. Towards the end fo the battle Phil's troops made a mad suicide charge on the only contested objective. It was costly, but he prevailed. The Serbian counter-attack was stopped by the combined firepower of one UN armored car, my troops in the town and one of Phil's squads on the hill. Very close game right to the end and a lot of fun.

I didn't get any photographs of the other games, but I did shoot some videos. First video is an overview of the room and all three tables.

Next up is a view of Earl's French & Indian War table.

Finally, a view of Ralph's Hanibal at the Gates table.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

HATG Scenario Play Test at Ralph's

Last Friday a bunch of us got together at my uncle's for a play test of his game that he will be running at our club's game night this Friday. The game uses his recently published rules, Hannibal at the Gates and is a hypothetical battle of Alexander's attack into Persia. The scenario involves pressing across an established bridge head. I played the Macedonian left phalanx and left flank guard. Opposite me were Peter and Earl. Peter commanded a large Persian cavalry force and Earl the Persian guard infantry and cavalry.

My phalanx took it hard early with attacks from multiple elephant and scythed chariot terror units. Eventually they weakened my left most pike unit to the point where Earl's infantry mopped them up easily. On the left flank my small flank guard delayed, and took out a couple of cavalry units, but after that a flood of hooves were let loose on our rear.

Luckily for the Macedonians, by the time the flank collapsed, my remaining pike had eliminated the last of the terror units it was facing and was able to about face to meet the oncoming cavalry. Our other pike phalanx, commanded by Byron was left to mop up the Greek mercenary spear phalanx. On the extreme right, Bob expertly commanded our large cavalry force, neutralizing the Persian cavalry on the right flank.

This was a Macedonian victory, and gave Ralph the feedback he needed to adjust the balance of the scenario for club game night.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

NROW Play Test #3 in Charlie's New Gaming Loft

Last Friday a group of us gathered at Charlie's for another play test of his most recent changes to Napoleon's Rules of War. It was a great turn out with 9 players plus Charlie making 10. I played on the French right flank with Rob to my right. Our plan was to defend a river bank while the left flank of the French army attacked. During the first turn Rob and I decided to try to counter Charlie's flank attack with a division crossing the river. At turn two it became clear that Charlie's Austrian advanced corps had the jump on us and a retreat back to our side of the river seemed prudent.

Rob switched to the center attack when Ed had to leave, leaving me to take a severe beating from Charlie "momma needs a new pair of shoes" G. Our attack in the center, while successful early stalled and Charlie's successful attack on our flank paired with an Austrian re-deployment in the center sealed the victory for Austria.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

2015 - Year in Review

Last year I neglected to post an end of the year wrap-up post. I regret that as when I make the first post of each year I reset my painting and gaming totals on this blog. 2014 was a very active year but I've lost the statistics for it. That's water under the bridge. This year, 2015 was EVEN BETTER!

As far as painting, I've included as the title photo for this post, my Austrian Napoleonic artillery, my favorite unit that I painted in 2015. I did well painting 176 28mm figures, primarily Republican Roman figures, but with some British WWII and the above mentioned Austrian Napoleonic figures tossed in for variety.  I purchased 179 28mm figures and two tanks. The figures were an even mix between Napoleonics and WWII. Each year I strive to paint more figures than I buy pre-painted. I will call this year 'close enough' to be a success as far as that's concerned. I also re-based 88 stands, mostly my recently painted ancients collection to adapt to the changing basing standards of Ralph's Hannibal at the Gates rules.

As far as gaming is concerned it was a banner year. I hosted 11 games myself, all of which were using my Electronic Brigadier rules. I'm very happy where the rules are for AWI at this point and will now be focusing on getting the ACW, 7YW and Napoleonic periods working. The latter is the primary reason for my recent flurry of 28mm Napoleonic figure painting. I also attended 28 games hosted by others. Some of these were at conventions and my local club's monthly events, but a majority of them were either Hannibal at the Gates games or Napoleon's Rules of War games. The former was split evenly between Mike's First Punic War campaign and play test games at Ralph's. The latter were all hosted by Charlie. Adding both the self hosted and attended games I averaged 3 games a month - an embarrassment of riches!

Here's looking to another great year in 2016. Next up on the painting table are some 28mm Austrian Grenzers followed by some 28mm Austrian command personality figures.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Hannibal at the Gates Rules Published

For those of you who've been following all of the game after-action reports and my ancients miniature painting, Ralph has published his excellent rules, Hannibal at the Gates that we've been using for these games. The rules cover ancient warfare in the period between the Battle of Marathon to the Roman reforms of Marius.  For those interested on obtaining a copy of the rules, they're available through here. It's a complete set of rules with diagrams and many color photographs and complete army lists for all of the involved armies.

For more photos of my painted units and photos and write-ups of many of our play test games you can access my other Hannibal at the Gates blog articles here.

Steady Boys! Play Test

Yesterday I visited my uncle's for a rare weekday mid-day game. A few of us are off for holiday shutdown, or retired so we were able to come up with enough players for a game. Ralph is working on a new set of rules for ACW continuing on his success of Hannibal at the Gates, Nexus and Charlie's Napoleon's Rules of War. All three sets use a two D-6 roll as the primary mechanism with similar combat resolution procedures. Steady Boys! is the ACW variant. Units are regiments made of a varying number of stands based on the regiment's size. Basing is flexible enough to use what you already have. In Ralph's case units are made up of multiple Volley & Bayonet stands.

The scenario we played was a hypothetical meeting engagement. The Union were Peter, Charlie and Rob. Mike, Bob and I (all not pictured) were the Confederates. The Confederate plan was to defend in the center and right where the fences and terrain made attacking difficult, and load up on the right pressing over some low hills across a relatively open area.

The Union also chose to defend on our left (their right) while putting a massive battery on the hill that dominated our path of attack. Bob bravely pressed forward into the valley of death. His troops fared poorly losing an entire Brigade plus heavily damaging two others. The exchange eventually cost the Union one full battery on the hill and the other was eventually withdraw, being heavily damaged.

My attacks on the far right were first repulsed by Rob, then partially successful, but eventually I was stalled by Rob's Zouaves on the right.  In the center with their battery destroyed, the Union switched to the attack, but were treated similarly by our hilltop batteries as we were by theirs. The end result was both sides felt they had payed to dearly for a battlefield not won by either army. A hard slug fest of a game. In the end, possibly a slight edge to the Confederates, but in reality best to call it a good old fashioned tie.