Sunday, September 28, 2014

Pirate Rules Play Test #2

Yesterday we got together to do a full scale test for our Pirate Game that we'll be having at the club in October. Michael and I did a test earlier using tabletop miniatures, but we wanted to make sure the movement and shooting ranges would work with the full size models in a room so we got a group of Northern Conspirators together to do a play test in my garage.

Since we only had seven testers plus Michael as the GM we scaled down to only three Islands and had a column in the middle of the garage take the place of the government ship. The play test went well and we were able to iron out the last of the small details for the game in October. The October game looks like it's going to be a great one.

Thanks to Michael for running the play test, Ross's wife for the delicious apple bread and everyone for helping testing.  My friend and fellow blogger Mark D was at the play test and has posted even more photos and a write up over on his blog.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Electronic Brigadier - 5th Play Test

Tonight we got together for another round of The Electronic Brigadier and my venerable Freeman's Farm scenario. Helping me play test the rules were Byron, Ralph, Phil and Owen. Since Owen was new to the rules I played with him and Phil on the American side while Ralph and Byron chose the British as last time they were both Americans.

Since the last play test I've cleaned up a lot of the smaller problems in the programming and adjusted the casualty and morale calculations based on previous play tests and feedback from the players. Tonight's game seemed to be the best yet and may be the end of any significant adjustments in those calculations. We identified a couple smaller problems that will be addressed before the next play test.

For the game Byron led out with his right wing, the cream of the British forces. Byron quickly attacked Moran's rifles who surprisingly held. On the other Flank Ralph deployed the Hessian artillery and infantry in a solid line with the artillery on his left flank. The pain train for Poor's brigade began as the guns started their work.

In the center the militia were swept away early by the British simply through a few volleys of fire. The militia would eventually rally but too late in the battle to be a serous factor.

Owen used Learned's brigade to good effect eventually turning away the British and Hessian light units and finally the 24th foot. Honors for the game definitely went to Learned's brigade. On the Hessian flank Poor's brigade eventually lost both New York battalions and one New Hampshire. Although it looked like Poor's brigade was to be swept from the field the same could be said for the British advanced wing, a much higher cost. All in all a tangible American victory, but well fought and close until the end.

The game end statistics:

British Forces
  • Army cohesion: 44.5%
  • Total Casualties: 394 / 3512 (11.2%)
  • 4 units dispersed

American Forces
  • Army cohesion: 62.3%
  • Total Casualties: 333 / 3525 (9.4%)
  • 2 units dispersed
  • 1 routed units
  • 1 shaken units

Left, Owen entering Byron's British moves. Right Phil entering Ralph's British Moves.

Left, the British, Byron and Ralph. Right, the Americans, Phil and Owen.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Electronic Brigadier Community on Google+

For those of you interested in keeping up to date on my computer moderated horse & musket period wargaming rules, I've created a Google+ community for it. You don't have to be a Google+ member to bookmark or read the site. If you are a Google+ member you can also comment and share on the community. Feel free to view or join at:

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.