Tuesday, September 16, 2014

28mm Ancient Gaul Cavalry (3)

These are two bases of Gaul cavalry and an officer that I picked up on Ebay. They were reasonably priced and nicely block painted. A couple of the figures had a decent wash on them. All of them suffered some damage in shipping. I took the liberty of touching them up, doing some small changes to better match my style and then I gave them all a uniform army painter wash with a thinned wash to not overdue it.

The officer is based like my other ancients officers, with a magnetic strip at the back. The two combat stands will be used to extend one of my other four stand units to a six stand unit when playing Field of Glory. For Hanibal at the Gates these two stands will each be another HATG cavalry unit. You can never have enough Gauls!

Monday, September 15, 2014

September 2014 Game Night

Last Friday was our club's monthly game night for September. We had a huge turnout with 25 members and 4 guests attending. Every game was filled to exactly capacity. I played in Ralph's Bolt Action 28mm WWII skirmish game. This is a scenario he's planning on running at the Carnage convention in November and features elements from an actual attack that his father (my Grandfather) participated in during his service in Europe.

I played the bad guys, commanding a squad of Volksgrenadiers tasked with defending against the American attack. While I had some early success, I ended up losing one of my squads in an attack that got blunted by defensive American fire, then later obliterated by defensive fire from a second American unit. I did end up eliminating my opponent's defending squad, but a 1:1 trade isn't really defending efficiently. Lesson learned, assaults in Bolt Action are costly and should be saved for moments of desperation. In the end my teammates carried me and the Germans won a narrow marginal victory eliminating 4 US squads while losing three.

Charlie ran a large game of his home rules, Napoleon's Rules of War which was well received and entertained eight players.

Peter ran a 15mm War of Spanish Succession game that had nine players and a ton of figures.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

28mm Spanish Scutarii (2)

This is the last of the Spanish Scutarii I had to paint up for my 28mm Carthaginian army. These are wearing assorted randomly-colored 'on campaign' tunics without the characteristic Spanish striping. The shields are again hand painted, with the exception of the officer's hoplon which is a decal. I mixed up the geometric patterns on the shields of this unit which I believe is more historically accurate.

These figures, like the last unit, are a mix from the Old Glory Scutarii pack and the Old Glory Caetreti pack. The latter I feel is what gives the unit a proper Spanish look. Originally I was going to paint this unit as a pair of small Hanibal at the Gates units, but when I finally inventoried all of my unpainted lead I was able to scrape up enough figures for a whole six-base Field of Glory battle group. The final (blurry) photo below is how the unit will be deployed in Hanibal at the Gates; as three soldier units.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Electronic Brigadier - 4th Play Test

Last night a bunch of my friends came over for another play test of Electronic Brigadier. In order to keep the variables to a minimum we're continuing to use my hypothetical First Saratoga (Freeman's Farm) scenario. This is the historical British order of battle, but I allow the German left wing to arrive at the start of the battle instead of getting lost. To counter the extra troops the British have I bring Learned's Massachusetts brigade down from Bemis heights and allow them to fight. Since they were engaged at the second engagement it seems logical to me that Gates could have sent them down. This makes a nice six person game and although the battalion count is fairly close, the British quality and presence of a large number of militia units allows the British to attack.

I've made extensive changes since the last play test. Many were improvements, but I still have some adjusting to do in regards to units resilience. I've tuned the casualties more towards historically accurate numbers, but in doing so the morale system fell a little out of adjustment. Now that I'm done adjusting the combat numbers morale should fall into place relatively quickly.

The battle was still in question when we called the game. The British left wing was having a good deal of success pushing back Poor's brigade, but the British Right wing was fairing less well against Learned's brigade. In the center the militia and Dearborn's light battalion were being pressed by the British regulars but doing so in good order. Morgan's rifles held up the British elites for a while but eventually were brushed away and were reforming in the rear.

For fun, after we called the battle we ended up with the following statistics:

British Forces
  • Army cohesion: 62.8%
  • Total Casualties: 348 / 3512 (9.9%)
  • 1 units dispersed
American Forces
  • Army cohesion: 75.1%
  • Total Casualties: 268 / 3525 (7.6%)
Actual casualties for the battle were British 556, American 316. We stopped a touch early in the game to discuss the rules and adjustments. Had we played the full game I think we'd be pretty much dead on the historical casualties. I'm quite happy with that. I'll be even more happy when I get the morale sorted out.

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.