Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Nick & Chris

Another FOW tournament practice game. US Infantry vs German Fallschirmjagers. Nick attacking in a breakout.

The dice gods did not like Nick. On turn 1 he failed to dig in, failed to range in, failed to get aircraft, and lost 1/2 his infantry. Chris quickly moved to guard the objectives, as Nicks main attack just disintegrated. Then Nick's reinforcements failed to arrive till the last possible moment. However, when they did arrive, they arrived together and Nick managed to position 4x M10 behind hedges on one side of the field containing the objective, while 5x Stuarts massacred one platoon of fallshirmjagers. The Stuarts eventually fell to the German Tiger -- but the the Tiger wasnt going to advance and risk the M10's. The M10's on the other hand werent going to advance and risk bogging on the hedge, turning the fight against the Tiger in the Tigers favor. A stalemate developped, with Nick shelling the Germans while Chris pushed his AT guns foward to take on the US artillery. Eventually both sides agreed to a draw, as it was getting late, and a competition game would have called time.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Nick's on Friday 25/09/09

Jetstar, bless them, robbed us of Carl & his 28mm Wars of the Roses figs, we can only hope he ejoyed his wait at Tullamarine. But Steve stepped up with his e-bay 7 Years War 15's to fill the gap.

Field of Glory battle:
Nick's Byzantines v. Leigh's Arabs

It was Leigh's 2nd FOG & Nick's 3rd & it was slow going with endless searching through the rule book for that rule cunningly placed where you would least expect it. There is obvious advantage in learning a commercially successful set of rules & for some perhaps the mastering of an arcane set of rules is a satisfying, if machocistic, end in itself, but it's a pity FOG are so ordinary in every way except presentation. Nevertheless, hard core as they are, Leigh & Nick enjoyed their battle. Leigh gained some advantage in the deployment as Nick's best infantry was left hanging out on a flank a long way from the action. But in the end it was Leigh's better dice winning a 50/50 cavalry fight in the centre that won the battle.

Koenig Krieg 7 Years War battle:
Steve's Prussians v. Joe & Jim's Austrians

Steve's 15mm e-bay troops look magnificent & the Koenig Krieg rules are a beautifully printed set of rules (out of Queensland I think). Unfortunately, Steve had not done enough homework before the battle and things went terribly slowly as he struggled with rules. Things sped up a bit after we downloaded the summary sheets Steve had forgotten to bring, but there was no way the battle was going to get anywhere in the night. The battle didn't go far enough to make a fair assessment of the rules.

Comment from Nick: To be fair on Koenig Krieg, Steve put the battle together with only an hours notice, so he had no time to really read the rules or otherwise prepare. The game played on after Jim left and the two remaining participants seemed to think the system showed a lot of promise as they got more familiar and discovered some misinterpetations they had used earlier. So we will see how the rules really work at some future battle!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Nick in Launceston

Nick vs Darren, Flames of War mid war US Infantry vs German Panzers. Hold the line.

Nick defended, and set up M10's in quasi ambush and AT guns in ambush. On turn 1 both ambushes were sprung, but they didnt damage that much. The AT guns were destroyed. The M10's struck back and killed a panzer platoon -- but then the panzer II's killed the M10's. Nick's reinforcements hadnt arrived, his CinC wasnt on the table, and hence Nick failed morale.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Paraitacene 317Bc

Eumenes (Mark) v. Antigonus (Barrie, Joe & Byron)

Scenario from Lost Battles by Prof Sabin fought with Camp Cromwell Rules.

Afterwards Mark said it all went according to plan. He used most of his elephants to help his cavalry get the upper hand on his right while the rest of them supported peltasts, argaraspids & hypaspists on his left. He held back his heavy infantry in the centre behind a cloud of skirmishers. When Antagonus' phalanxes finally got to grips with Mark's centre, throwing some hot dice, the center of Mark's line developed some cracks, but the cavalry from the right arrived in the nick of time in the enemy rear, Antagous's phalanxes broke and that was the battle.

It was a long hard fought battle. It took over 3 hours, partly because it was a very big battle (over 40,000 men or 400 figs a side), but also because there was a good deal of pussy footing around, skirmishing & manoeuvre. The rules worked well except the consensus was that the bow fire wasn't quite effective enough. I'll adjust that.

1st pic shows Antigonus & staff advancing their horse archers on their left.
2nd pic shows Eumenes getting his left on the move.
3rd pic shows the battle about to reach its climax.

Eumenes (Mark)
Hypaspists: 3,000 1x4 Confident Vet Longspear Armoured CR 7
Silver sheilds 3,000 1x4 Elite Confident Vet Longspear Armoured CR 8
Mercenary phalangites 6,000 1x6 Reluctant Vet Longspear Armoured CR 7
Levy phalagites 5,000 1x6 Reluctant Conscript Longspear Armoured CR 5
Peltasts 8,000 4x3 Confident Trained Spear Javelin Protected CR 3
Light infantry 10,000 4x8 Reluctant Irregular Skirmishers 1 Bow, 2 Sling, 1 Javelin
Bodyguard cavalry 900 1x3 Elite Confident Veteran Armoured CR 7
Companions 900 1x3 Confident Veteran Armoured CR 6
Heavy cavalry 3,000 3x3 Confident Trained Armoured CR 5
Light cavalry 1,500 2x4 Reluctant Irregular Unprotected Sword Javelin CR 0
Elephants 125 4x3 Reluctant Warrior Protected CR 4
Inf 35,000, Cav 6,300, El 125
Eumenes 3 dice + Eudamus 2 dice.
Antigonus (Byron, Barrie & Joe):
Macedonian phalanx 8,000 2x4 Confident Trained Longspear Armoured CR 6
Mercenary phalanx 9,000 2x6 Reluctant Vet Longspear Armoured CR 7
Levy phalanx 8,000 2x4 Reluctant Conscript Longspear Armoured CR 5
Peltasts 3,000 2x3 Confident Trained Spear Javelin Protected CR 3
Light infantry 5,000 2x8 Reluctant Irregular Skirmishers Javelin
Bodyguard cavalry 600 1x2 Elite Confident Veteran Armoured CR 7
Companions 1,000 1x3 Confident Veteran Armoured CR 6
Heavy Cavalry 4,700 4x4 Confident Trained Armoured CR 5
Light cavalry 4,300 6x4 Reluctant Irregular Unprotected Sword 3 Javelin, 3 Bow CR 0
Elephants 65 2x3 Reluctant Warrior Protected CR 4
Inf 33,000, Cav 10,600, El 65
Antigonus 3 dice + Dimetrius 2 dice.
Battlefield is a plain with scrubby hills (difficult ground) on Eumene's left, Antigonus' right.
Ground scale is 500mm per km on 8x6 table.
Free deployment in own rear 1/3 with maps.
Core units for army morale test are the heavy infantry (phalanxes) for both sides.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Nick at Chris's

Nick and Chris in a trial for the upcoming FOW tournament. Nick (US Infantry) vs Chris (German recon).

This was one of those games that swung wildly. First hit was to Chris when his planes damaged Nick's M10s and his recon raced for an undefended objective. Nick hit back with his Stuarts eliminating the recon that were pushed foward (though this was several turns of swirling action). Nick then assaulted the other objective with his infantry, destroying the German artillery, only to have a German counterattack destroy the US attack.

Both sides calmed down and waited for reinforcements. The US forces got theirs first and started another attack, only to have the German reinforcements arrive and destroy the attack. Then more US troops arrive to destroy the German counterattack.

At this point the US had only lost one platoon (though most others were badly damaged), but the Germans were down to 3 platoons of their original 8 (surviving because two platoons had marched off as 'sole survivor'). Then in one turn the game changed when the Germans destroyed the US stuarts and AT guns in one turn, and the game swung in the German favor. Finally the Germans got to the US objective and the US didnt have enough troops within range to contest. An amazing game!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Nick in Launceston

Only one historical game at the club in Launceston -- it seemed everyone was too busy chatting!

Daniel vs Nick R. 1500 pts mid war Flames of War -- German tanks (Daniel) vs US Paratroops (Nick R). The game started badly when 3 of Daniels tank's were destroyed in an airstrike on the first turn. It got worse when his assault on the paratroops was repulsed with the loss of two tanks. Then a second airstrike killed another tank, and Daniels second assault fell into a maelstrom of bazooka's. The net result was that Daniel conceeded by turn 3 with only 3 tanks left, having only killed one team of paratroops.

At Barrie's on Thursday 17/09/09

Jim & Barrie’s US Mech v. Joe & Adam’s Falshirmjager

1730 pts HTL on 6x4, Germans defending.

The line of half tracks & Shermans backed up with half dozen Priests looked very intimidating compared with a lone Falshirmjager platoon on the objective & neblewerfers in rear. But that changed quickly on the German’s 1st turn when 4 Pak 40’s in ambush evaporated the Shermans & half the centre Mech Coy was blown away by Neblewerfers. The Yanks pressed on with the plan sending the other Mech Coy down the right flank towards the rear objective. The lead half track did take it, but the platoon did not survive the Marder ambush supported by Neblewerfers & recoiless artillery. It was Kasserine Pass all over again.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

7 Years War at Camp Cromwell

Jim's Prussians v. Mark's French on 8x6 table with map deployment - Camp Cromwell Rules.

The French deployed with a massed battery in their centre, infantry behind & on each side, cuirassiers on the left and dragoons on their right. The Prussians put all their heavy cavalry on their right, hussars on the left & infantry in the centre. Their artillery was in 2 batteries, 1 in the centre one on the right of the infantry line.
The Prussians advanced on their right with cavalry, artillery and infantry echeloned. They also turned their hussars around and moved them right across their rear. The French advanced their cuirassiers to the edge of a ridge to gain an uphill advantage then halted. They also redeployed some infantry to their left and began moving the dragoons towards the centre. The Prussians paused their advance to open a bombardment on the cuirassiers. After a lucky volley got 2 hits the Prussian cuirassiers charged uphill to be met with a French countercharge. The French had 3 brigades to 2 plus uphill advantage, but the Prussians hoped the artillery casualties would redress the balance. But it was not to be & the French slowly got on top. However the Prussian cuirasiers bought enough time before they broke for the hussars to slip past the French flank while their infantry resumed their advance on the French left centre. When the Prussian cuirassiers finally broke, the Prussians had their second line of dragoons waiting with artillery support to meet the victoriou French cavalry & hussars in their rear. The victorious cuirassiers were destroyed by counterattacks from 3 sides.
The French tried to counterattack in the centre with their dragoons, but they had to expose their flank to do so & suffered badly from artillery & musket fire as the Prussian left advanced on them. One hussar brigade charged the left rear of the French infantry. The brigade at the end failed to form square & was hit in flank. Some of the pursuing hussars then hit the rear of the enagaged line & the French left disintegrated.
With their left in tatters & their dragoons being shot down in the centre, the French called sauve qui peut.
I spent much of my spare time in France reviewing the Camp Cromwell Rules. This was my first battle with them since - it showed up a couple of minor issues, but in the main the revised systems worked a treat. I was very pleased with the way it went (not just the win). It really was a fun battle to fight & so easy to do compared to the other rules I have used recently. The basic systems all work well & after a little more play testing to fine tune a few things I will make a pdf to distribute to those interested.

Nick vs Chris

Given thr tournament is coming up, Nick and Chris had a practice Flames of War game. However, given we only had late war troops available, we went for a late war game.

The terrain was a typical normandy countryside setting rolled up beforehand. Given the terrain we decided one force would be Americans, and rolled dice to pick the opposition. The dice chose SS Panthers for the opposition -- 7 x elite Panther tanks vs a motley force of Shermans. The scenario rolled up was a breakthrough -- hard on the Panthers as they were defending and had to start with only one armoured platoon on the table!

The Shermans had a trick up their sleeve -- being from 2nd Armoured one unit gets a 'recon move'. The Shermans charged at the Panthers. For the normal moves the Shermans kept going, and got into the Panther's flank /rear. Meanwhile the Sherman 76s moved up to engage the Panthers from the front. The Americans were lucky, popping one Panther from the front, but unlucky to miss all of the shots at the rear armour. However, by turn two there were two burning Panthers and only two burning Shermans -- the battle looked well in hand for the Yanks. Unfortunately, then the remaining Panthers arrived. Within a turn the Shermans were smoking hulks or fled.

However, while all this was going on the US infantry had marched up and taken one of the objectives. The Panthers could not get there in time, and their only hope was to cause the Yanks to fail an army morale check. They charged at the US artillery and Sherman 76's, killing two of the Priests and a Sherman 76, but not enough to cause a morale failure.

A good quick game. Chris was rusty with the rules, but they came back quickly.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Visit to Kingston

The Kingston group appears to be thriving. There were 10 FOW enthusiasts there this Thurday (as well as your reporter). It has just started a Bagration Firestorm campaign. 4 Firestorm games were set up & fought, 3 on the billyard table and one on a tressle in the garage.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Napoleon's Battles - Marengo at Nick's 04/08/09

Carl umpired a Marengo scenario using his 15mm troops & the Napoleon's Battles Rules. Jim & Nick commanded the Austrians, Leigh & Cameron the French.

The battle started badly for the Austrians when they found out how devastating a charge by good cavalry can be against unlucky infantry in these rules - well placed cavalry with the right dice can continue charging on repeatedly after beating infantry. 3 Austrian brigades were routed by Leigh's cuirassiers before they reached one with enough dice to form square & stop them. This somewhat slowed the Austrian attack on Victor as Jim had to spend a lot of time rallying & reorganised his corps (and beating off more French counterattacksattacks). But Nick continued on with the original plan, his right deploying to bombard Victor while shielding the advance of his left on Bonapart. (See pic).

Nick's left smashed Bonapart's force, but command issues prevented follow up. Bonapart reformed his Corps & received valuable reinforcements. Eventually, the Austrians stopped Leigh's counterattacks on their right, reformed their forces and slowly drove him back. They were then able to spare some valuable cavalry to help Nick's left now hard pressed by a counterattack.

Unfortunately we ran out of time (about 1am). At that stage, Victor was in trouble & Bonapart's counterattack had been stopped in its tracks. Leigh's aggressive defence had disrupted the Austrian plan, but they stuck with it & it may have been successful in the end. It looked touch & go as to whether the Austrians could force a French Army morale Test before the next wave of French reinforcements arrived to change the balance again.

The battle took longer than it should have due to Carl being the only one familiar with the rules & having to run everything. The rules are dated in some ways (being from the 80's) & the print's too small for old eyes, but they move along pretty well & do provide a good Napoleonic flavour. It was hard to love them early on while most of my infantry was being ridden down by a lone cavaly brigade, but as the battle went on they got a lot better.

The Command & Control rules involve having Divisional & Corps general figures on the table & the players have to careful to maintain command distances between units & commanders, then between commanders up the chain. But while this means you have to do a lot of petty geometry to maintain command chains, it doesn't do much to control opportunistic manoeuvres & I'm not sure that restricting command distance is the best parameter to reflect commander ability (or even that commander ability should be a major factor - isn't that what us wargamers are for?) Manoeuvre is restricted by speed penalties for various tasks.

The firing system is reasonably simple - generally both sides throw a 10D, then add & subtract factors. If the firer wins they cause 1 casualty, if they win by 2x they inflict 2. Close combat is similar except the highest score wins & causes casualties & if you lose by enough & you can rout or be destroyed. Indecisive close combats are repeated in the same turn until they are decisive. Cavalry v. infantry is more complicated - the crucial issue being if that the infantry are in not in square they have to pass a test to get into it. It's pretty much a case of squares win, otherwise the infantry lose. Routed units can move with little if any restriction & then can be rallied by generals & returned to the fray if not followed up - this tends to prolong the battle, but also means that to make a decisive breakthrough you have to plan for exploitation. Casualties are recorded with caps then whole stands removed. Units are destroyed by big combat loss or if casualties = 50%. Units are disrupted if they lose 2 casualties to single action - they then have minuses & can't move so far.

National variations are built in with different troop types having different speeds in different formations & different +/-'s in combats. In some ways I think they overdo it & introduce a lot of unneccessary complication (eg: does it really help the game to have one unit move 14" and another similar one 15" on the basis of a very disputable opinion - or is it just something else to have to remember or continually look up?)

In the main, the rules do as they purport to - that is allow the fighting of big battles without too much tactical detail to slow it down. There are some inconsistencies - like the tactical details about squares being vital, while there is little advantage for flank attacks (though on the other hand it can be far too easy to make a flank attack sometimes as you can quite likely advance, wheel & charge in one turn).

10D are used throughout. Apart from my predjudice against them, this has some bad side effects: 1) the rules are very dicy - the 1 to 10 random range can easily overwhelm tactical issues. 2) The single dice each for each action reduces the opportunity for bad dice runs to even out (as they do at least in theory in fist full of dice rules).

The basing of cavalry is a bit odd - on 2 rank stands - so even when in line cavalry units look like columns.

I rate the rules similarly to Fire & Fury, maybe better. They provide a good game & have a bit less unecessary crap than some rules. I would have liked just a little more tactical detail (more skill & less luck in it) compensated for by a bit less finicky differentiation between unit types & generals.

Edit by Nick
It is worth pointing out that the Austrian commander went to extraordinary lengths to be historically accurate. He snoozed during the game briefing, and was obviously not on the top of his game -- just like the real Austrian commanders. It was very generous of Jim to get himself jet lagged just to help the game :)

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Nick in Launceston

It was a thundery evening, with power out in some parts of Launceston. And the club was packed -- all tables were in use!

There were three Flames of War games -- Nick (US) vs Les (SS), Nick R (US Paratroops)vs Starn (German), and Keenan (German Sperrverband) vs a friend of his (Russian Tankovy).

The plan was that Nick was to play Liam, who wanted to use a king tiger force. But Liam found 40K more interesting, so Nick played Les as a pick up game. Nick also supplied troops for two of the younger players -- Keenan and friend.

Both Nicks were winners, as was Keenan. The younger kids seemed to really enjoy FOW -- Keenan was playing for the third time and knew the rules well enough to teach his friend. There was a swinging game, with lots of spectators and laughter from the other 40K players. Even some parents watched!

Elsewhere there was a massive fantasy battle for 40K type monsters that seemed to attract a large audience.