Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Musket Action & Cruel Seas

Tonight I set up the room with two small tables. 
I introduced Simon to Musket Action on one while Steve & Mark did Cruel Seas on the other.

Musket Action: French & Indian War
Jim's Brits: British line battalions (4 line coys, 1 grenadier coy, 1 light coy) supported by 2 coys of woodsmen, 1 light gun & a troop of light dragoons.
Simon's French: French line battalion of 5 line 1 grenadier coy supported by 6 bands of Indians.
The objectives are the two farmhouses & the bridge. 
Both sides put their regulars in the centre with light troops on the flanks.
The Brits advance boldly & sieze the bridge while their dragoons drive the Indians away from the far farmhouse & their light troops defend the woods on each flank.
The dragoons have dismounted & taken the far farmhouse.  French grenadiers have driven the Brits off the bridge.  Both British flanks are under pressure from Indians.
The British grenadiers re-took the bridge only to be blasted off it by French musketry.  The Indians have cleared the British light infantry & woodsmen out of the woods on both flanks.
Outflanked on both sides, the Brits on the bridge are about to break.  Indians have over-run the British gun.  In the 6th turn the French re-take the bridge & their Indians take the near farm to give the French a decisive victory.

Cruel Seas:
Steve had 4 S-boots & a Flakship to escort 2 merchantmen across the table.
Mark had 4 Vospers & 2 Fairmile's to intercept them.
 The S-boots charged forward to attack the MTB's
A collision between 2 S-boots was a big own goal for the Germans.  2 MTBs got through to launch torpedoes at the merchant men & one is sunk, but the rest of the Brits are sunk.  The remaining S-boot & the Flakship were more than enough to encourage the remaining 2 MTB's to break it off & 1 of the merchant survived intact.  So a drawn battle.
I found the maneouvre ruler supplied with the game awkward to use & devised this alternative.
Above, the ruler is in place ready to make a 13cm move step with a turn to starboard.
Below the boat has been moved & made a maximum turn to starboard.
The other side of the ruler is a mirror image & is used for starboard turns.
The red side is for 45 deg turns, the yellow side for 30 deg turns. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Cruel Seas

We had some new boats painted, so had to have another go at Cruel Seas.

Game 1:
3 S-boots are escorting a disabled U-boot back to base.  (The U=boot can't submerge).
6 MTB's are trying to finish off the U-boat.
The U-boot is a 3-printed model made for me by Stewart.  It came up well. 
The Germans made a mistake splitting their force.  The 3 MTBs on the left took out an S-boot & closed in on the U-boot.  The leading boat's torps missed.  The 3rd boat shot their off to close to work, then ran into the U-boot & sunk. 
The torps failed, but a hail of gun fire from 5 boats sunk the U-boot while the other 2 escorts took out an MTB, but were too far off to help much.

Game 2:
Steve had made up a Minesweeper & a Flak-boot, so we had to use them, giving them an escort of 2 S-boots.  7 MTBs attacked them.  We used our hex blue hex sheets to give us a bigger area.
The germans sight a swarm of MTBs coming for them.

The S-boots go right through the swarm of MTBs with no serious damage either way.
Although the S-boots are now circling around & out of the action the MTBs are learning that they shouldn't get too close to bigger boats.  If they get too close & they can't use their torps effectively  & the bigger boats many guns are deadly up close.
The Minsweeper has taken one torp hit, but survived & th germans sail on through the wreakage of most of the MTBs.  The Germans win this time.

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Napoleonic Naval

British: 2 squadrons of 4 ships commanded by Renfrey & Mike.
French 3 squadrons of 3 ships commanded by Chris, Mike & Steve.
Rules: Our own Men o' War rules.
The Brits are in the foreground with yellow hulled ships, Mark on the left, Renfrey on the right.
The French are downwind with Chris on the right (in the van), Mike in the centre, Steve on the left.
The Brits have the weather guage 
The French turn to port & start forming a battle line.  The Brits split their force.
The lines converge
Renfrey's flagship truns away, but he sends his squadron straight at the French line.
Most of Renfrey's squadron passes through the French line coming under heavy fire as Mark's squadron is left largely out of the action. 
Renfrey's squadron has two ships badly damaged & forced to break off (on the far side).  The French having passed thru the British line are tying to turn back into the action. Mark's squadron is milling about in the centre.  
Mark turned upwind towards the camera & passed Chris' squadron going the other way.  Both are now turning.   Mike's squadron has a damaged ship breaking off to the right.  Seve's squadron is seeing Renfrey's off the far table edge.

We were out of time & adjudicated at this stage.  Both sides have had 4 ships critically damaged & forced to break off.   But Renfrey's fleet is a mess with 3 ships critically damaged (including 1 dismasted) & the other verging on critical damage.  The French are in hot pursuit & Mark's relatively intact ships way behind them.  It is judged a French victory.  The critical factor being Mark's ships being left out of the action too long.  Renfrey was actually very lucky to get thru the French fleet without much worse damage than he got as the French blew some opportunities to really hurt him with showers of bad dice. 

We made one rule change on the way thru adopting the Bolt Action system to determining order of fire of the ships instead of simultaneous fire.  It made it much easier to keep track of things.  The movement is still simultaneous in accordance with pre-set orders.

Sunday, January 06, 2019

Cruel Seas

Dave & Stewart made the journey from Molesworth to try out Cruel Seas. 

Game 1:
Germans (Stewart): 2 A tug towing a disabled U-boat is escorted by 2 E-boats.
Brits: 7 Vespers have to take out the U-boat.
The Vespers split into two to flank the Germans.
The right flank Vespers destroy an E-boat & go in for the kill. 
The 3" guns on the tug & U-boat are singularly ineffective.  Gunfire sinks the tug & 2 of the 4 torps launched hit the sub & explode sending it to the bottom.

Game 2:
2 E-boats v. 4 Vespers.
The Brits used the islands to get in close with their shorter ranged guns. That & a rudder hit on an E-boat got the Brits on top.
The crippled E-boat goes down as the other circles an island.
The 2nd E-boat returns & sinks a Vesper, but there too many Vepers & it too goes down.

Two good games were had.  The islands made things interesting by providing more tactical options.  We used the rule (removed in the errata) allowing torps to hit small boats but at -2.  We liked it.  The chance of a ht was small, but it gave the torps some point even if it was just phsycological.

The tug & U-boat models were made with Stewart's 3-d printer & looked as good as bought ones.

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Action on the iNyezone: Zulus

To celebrate my 71st birthday we played a slightly modified version of the Action on the iNyezone scenario in the Black Powder 2nd Ed book, using our Hail Queen Victoria variant of Hail Caesar.
Zulus: 3 Impis of 6 warbands (Renfrey, Maike & Jim).
British: 2 brigades of 2 British infantry & 1 mounted inf
             1 brigade of 2 batve inf & 1 Natal volunteer mounted inf
             1 brigade of 2 British infantry
             1 gatling gun, 1 rifled cannon & a wagon train.
All units command 9.
The british column is moving out of their camp over the ford in the iNyezone River.  The smaller brigade is still breaking camp.  They know there are Zulus about. There two ridges along the near side of the table & a wood in front of the column that could be hiding them. The Brits have to get theri column & baggage down the road & off the table.
After 3 turns the last brigade has broken camp & formed up.  Still no sign of the Zulus.
Suddenly there were Zulus everywhere.  The commander of the left horn was so excited he forgot to take a Photo in the turn his Impi burst out of the woods just off the bottom of the pic as Mike's swarmed over the ridge through the village & Renfrys showed up on the far ridge.  The native infantry & volunteer cavalry at the head of the column were overwhelmed & destroyed in one turn.  Only the lead British mounted infantry stood firm against the onslaught.
The infnatry of teh lead British brigade counterattacked & Zulu centre was pushed back while the left Impi seemed more interested & finishing off the wounded than continuing the attack.   The right Impi is swarming forward in the background.
The Brits form a defensive box as their last mounted inf delay the right Impi, the  Zulu centre renews their attack & the left Impi still dithers.

Half the British rearguard has broken but most of the right Impi are for now busy pillaging the baggage.   The centre Impi has been pushed back again.  The left Impi has finally renewed their attack.  
On the British right 1 infantry unit has formed square. The other has been pinned frontally, attacked din rear & broken.  The British force is below half strength (counting only British inf & cav), so the Zulus have won according to the rules, but we were having so much fun we agreed to institute a the or glory rule & fight to a finish.
The last 4 British units are hanging on grimly. It looks hopeless, but the Zulus are still dying like flies & running out of un-shaken units.
The group of shaken units has beaten off another attack & the isolated square hangs on.
The square has finally broken & the yet another swarm of Zulus charge the last survivors breaking the square (the last un-shaken Brit unit) the finally overwhelming the last stand.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Cruel Seas #2

As Xmas was on our usual Tuesday we convened on BoxingDay afternoon this week to have a second go at Cruel Seas.
Game 1:
Four Vespers are escorting a freighter with 3 E-boats attacking.
The E-boats split up. 
While one E-Boat gets sunk in the centre, the flanking boats get past & launch torpedoes.
The freighter skillfully avoided the torpedoes, but the E-Boat's guns throw plenty of 6's & the freighter is sunk by gun fire before the Vespers can turn back to help her.

Game 2:
4 Vespers take on 3 e-Boats head to head.
One E-boat takes on the Brits head on, while one lags back & the other goes on a high speed flanking run.  It didn't look like good strategy, but E-boats are tough & the bunny survived & then the pincer took out 2 Vespers.  The survivors then conceded the fight & ran for it.

We enjoyed the games, but are looking forward to getting some bigger boats.  Torps are fun, but the MTB's can't be hit by them (too shallow draft) so you need some bigger boats around to make them useful.  We decided that the points system needs tweaking.  In the MTB action the Brits seemed totally outclassed even with similar points - but they had to pay 40 pts each for 4 torps which were totally useless in the scenario, whereas the Germans could choose to have only 2 torps each & waste only 20 pts.  Also the German 37mm guns cost 10pts, the same as the Brit twin 20mm but while they have the same firepower, they have range 70cm cf 50cm.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Cruel Seas

We tried out Warlords' new WWII naval game, Cruel Seas, playing two small games with a boat or two per player.

In the first game 2 E-boats attacked a British Freighter escorted by 3 MTB's.   The tanker took a torpedo hit which almost sunk her, but the two E-boats were sunk before they could finish it off.

In the second game 3 E-boats escorted a freighter while 5 MTB's attacked it.

This time the attackers got 2 torpedoes into the freighter & sank it. 

As none of us had played Cruel Seas before we were feeling our way with the rules & systems, but even so everyone enjoyed it.  It is not a complex game & easy enough to pick up & play.  The rule book is pretty, as always with Warlords, but also reasonably easy to use with a QRS & index, though the QRS could be improved with less pictures & more information.  The models are cute & a good scale for the small ships it is intended for, & the game looks great.   The dice in the bag system for actioning boats one by one works nicely as it does in BA.  The movement system is simple, but provides scope for skill.  The combat mechanisms are simple but effective with scope for skill, but also a lot of luck involved.  The ship cards with stats for recording damage work ok.  It's an exciting little game with the sort of efficient mechanisms & suitability for team play that we like - in the same vein as our Modder Fokker, Men o' War & Dreadnought rules.  Our first impressions were good & I think it may become a regular addition to the Camp Cromwell menu.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Bolt Action

Chris is going to Cancon & wanted a practice match.  I'm told there are already 70 entries for the BA comp.  Chris' Soviets v. Jim's Germans in 1000 pts Surrounded scenarios, Germans defending.
The Germans started with a light gun & nest of LMG squads in the wood & farmhouse near the centre.  The Soviet first wave came on from the far side of the table. The German reserves were all brought in on the near side of the table to reinforce the first line.  The Soviet reserves came in from either flank.  The Soviet advance was too spread out against a tight defence which allowed the Germans to pick their units off one by one. We called it off after turn 5 when the kill ratio was 7 Soviet to 1 German.