Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Spear & Sword Action: 17th century Poles v. Turks

Poles: Jim with cavalry on their left, Mark with the their infantry on their right.
Turks: Steve with their cavalry on their right, Chris with their infantry on their left.
The Poles are on the right.   The battle started with a  light cavalry skirmish in the centre.  The Poles made a general but measured advance all along the line.  
The main lines paused & watched while the light horse slugged it out.  The assistance of musketeers allowed the outnumbered Polish light horse to destroy the Turkish horse archers. 
With the Turkish horse archers out of the way Poles resumed their advance on their left, with the winged hussars leading the charge & breaking or pushing back their opponents.  But on the far flank it is the Turkish infantry that is advancing. 
The Winged Hussars have not had it all their own way & the Turkish cavalry is fighting back
In the infantry fight the Poles are holding their own though giving ground on the far flank. 
Losses have mounted all along the line on both sides, but in general the Poles have the edge.
The Turkish cavalry has fought back well to even out the cavalry fight, but good coordination of Polish pike & shot has got on top in the infantry fight & it is the Turks who break.

This is our biggest action yet with these rules with 54 units on the table, but battles with these rules really rip along  & it was fought in less than 2 hours.  It's a quite different style of game to Hail Whoever, but they both provide a good fast game.  It will be interesting to see how Hail Whoever feels when we play it again.  

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Spear & Sword Action: Crusaders v. Muslims

Crusaders: Mark & Chris.
Muslims: Steve & Mike.
The next step in the development of Musket Action was to step further back in time & add a Spear & Sword Action appendix.
The Crusaders are on the left.  Both sides deployed all their cavalry on the far flank.  The Crusaders supportted theirs with crossbowmen on their right flank.   The rest of the infantry of both sides was on the near flank leaving a gap in the middle.  The battle became two separate battles.
On he cavalry flank the action started with the light cavalry as the crossbowmen moved up onto the rocky hill
The crusaders lead their attack with the sergeants supportted by the crossbowmen, but this left their knights back out of the action.
In the meantime the infantry was advancing on each other around & thru the oasis.
The sergeants have broken & massed of Muslim cavalry are massing against the knights & surviving Turcolpols.
The crusader bowmen have been driven back & billmen have advanced to the front.  (There are Muslims in the oasis, but not all taken off their trays & put down among the palms).  On the other side of the oasis the bowmen in the village have discouraged the heavy men at arms from advancing & exposing their flank.
The crusader cavalry is hanging on under a hail of arrows. The Muslim horse archers are keeping th crossbowmen busy.
The attack of the first line of billmen failed, but the second line has defeated the levy infantry.  However is now flanked by Muslims in the oasis. 
The knights have broken & the last of the Turkopols are about to be driven off the table. Whne that happened the Crusaders failed their army break test giving the Muslims victory.

The Crusaders lost because they failed to get value out of their best units.  Their mounted knights were not in the action until after their supports were defeated, then they were overwhelmed by weight of numbers. Their dismounted knights in the centre did not get into action at all.      


Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Musket Action: Pike & Shot

As you might have noticed I have a penchant for taking sets of rules into other periods.  Musket Action started off as a Muskets & Tomahawks game, but we have found they work just as well in other periods & for much larger battles. Tonight we tried them out in an English Civil War battle.
Mike's  Scots: 3 lowland regiments (1 pike & 3 shot), 4 highlander units, 2 brigades of 4 medium cavalry & 2 guns. 
Jim's English: 4 pike & shot regiments (1p+2s), 2 musketeer coys, an extra heavy cavalry brigade of 2, & an heavy cavalry brigade of 4.
Steve acted as UN observer.
The English are on the left. In the first turn they held back their foot & their extra heavy cavalry on their left & pushed forward on their right.  The Scots made a general advance, a bit disrupted by a command failure in the centre.  Half their left flank cavalry have pulled back behind the wood on the right, other half is on the flank of the highlanders.
The English right has mostly turned left into a defensive position with just 2 cavalry pressing forward. 
On the far flank the English extra heavy cavalry charged the Scot horse with mixed success, breaking 2 enemy, but losing 1 themselves.  Right of centre the English have become more aggressive, perhaps a bit too much so.
On the far flank the cavalry has clashed again, this time indecisively.  In the centre the musketeers are now slugging it out. On the near side of centre the highlanders caught the careless musketeers in flank, but the English horse has broken the Scots cavalry.  On the near flank, the English have lost a unit, but it took a few Scots with it & they have a good unit left. 
On the far flank the English cavalry has called discretion the better part of valour & fallen back. 
On the near flank the English cavalry has taken out all the Scots cavalry & a highland band as well.
In the centre the Scots still haven't got their big schiltrons into action. 
As the English lapped around the Scot's left flank with foot & horse more English units broke & the Scots army failed its army break test.  The English plan of avoiding the big schiltrons & attacking everything else worked (maybe helped by some good luck with cavalry, but the English commander felt he was owed that by the dice gods given what they done to his cavalry in most recent battles).

These rules have really come together now.  This battle didn't show up any omissions or quirks in the rules that needed fixing.  It was also finished in very good time - under 2 hours with 21 to 24 units a side. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Musket Action: AWI

It was Mike's turn to be introduced to Musket Action tonight.
Mike's Brit v. Jim's Colonials.
The Brits are on the far side. Unfortunately the cameraman missed the first 2 turns.
Colonial Militia has occupied half the village, Hessians have occupied the other half.  British vets have moved up to support the Hessians left.
On the near flank Colonial regulars have moved around the wood to threaten the British flank.
On the far flank the British Indian allies are being faced by woodsmen on the creek line. 
The Colonial commander got a bit careless on the right flank & most of the Colonial Regulars have been ridden down by the British cavalry.
The Militia in the village are holding firm against the Hessians.  To the right of the village the Militia is trying to attack the disorganised British Regs but just aren't aren't well enough trained to do it well.   British cavalry is sweeping around the wood into the Colonial rear.   
On the left the Indians were getting the worst of it & have retreated before losing any units.  The stalemate in the village goes on.  The Militia on the right have had to turn 2 units around to cover their rear against the British cavalry, weakening their front line. 
The British vets have finally got their line sorted & the Colonial left is melting away under their superior musket fire.  Next turn the Colonials fail their army morale test.

The Colonials never recovered from the devastating charge of the British cavalry.  The incident pointed to a possible shortcoming in the inf v. cav rules, but the fact was the Colonial general took a risk he didn't need to take, then threw such crap dice that the rule didn't matter anyway.  With no regular troops apart from 2 light guns left to help, the Militia in the village did ok, but the brigade in the open was outflanked & outclassed.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Musket Action: Napoleonic

Jim's Austrians v. John's French
I forgot to take a photo at the start, this is the end of turn 2.
The Austrians started with an Landwehr division deployed where they still are beside Mitzi. with 2 grenadier battalions & a cavalry brigade on their left.
The French started with a veteran infantry division behind the farm with artillery & a cavalry brigade on their right.  The Austrians have taken most of the plateau, but losses are even.
Both sides also had an infantry division & a cavalry division coming on from the corner at the far end of the table on turn 2.
The reserves have been deploying out of road column at the far end. 
On the near flank the Austrian cavalry has been destroyed, but their grenadiers are coming up.  In the centre, yegers are masking the French guns, but not much else is happening.
On the near flank, the grenadiers are clearing the plateau.   In the centre the French are redeploying their guns to face the grenadiers & deploying their reserves on the far side of the river.  French Legere in the wood are delaying the Austrian infantry reserves.  At the far edge French hussars are bottling the Austrian cavalry up while their dragoons move up on the infantry.
The Landwehr have moved forward to the fence line & faced their right to the river.  The French dragoons are threatening the Austrian infantry on the far slope.  Austrian cuirassiers have swept the French hussars aside at the table edge.
The French dragoons smashed through the Austrian front line on the far hill, but were destroyed in turn by musket fire from the 2nd line & cuirassiers in their rear.  
At this stage the French conceded as it was clear they were going to fail army morale very soon.

This was my first chance to actually play Musket Action v.2019 after umpiring 3 play test games.  I really enjoyed it.  As rules should, it seemed to reward the player's good moves & penalise their mistakes without too much interference by the dice.  It shares a lot with Hail Napoleon, but also has some major differences.  The big one is using the Bolt Action Order dice system to decide the order of activation of units rather than IGoUGo.  The main problem with the BA system for Napoleonics is slow play due to actioning one unit at a time when there are a lot of them.  We have addressed that by having only half as many Order dice as units on each side & allowing group activation of adjacent units of the same brigade. This also had the unintended consequence of providing an automatic Army Break Test.  We are finding that when one side gets close to running out of Order dice they are stuffed & give up - no calculation needed. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Musket Action: Napoleonic

Mark's French v. Steve's Austrians
The French force comprised 2 veteran infantry brigades, 2 regular cavalry brigades & 2 field artillery.  The Austrians had an Inexperienced landwehr brigade, a regular infantry brigade, 2 regular cavalry brigade, 2 grenadier battalions, a yeger battalion & 3 light artillery.
 The French are on the right.
The Austrians advance their cavalry on both flanks.  The French advance their cavalry to meet them on the near flank.
With infantry support the French cavalry are prevailing on the near flank.  The Austrian infantry have begun to advance on the far flank.
On the near flank the French infantry need some sorting out after helping their cavalry beating the Austrian cavalry. The French cavalry are been sent to the far flank. The infantry are closing in the centre. 
The French left have redeployed.  The landwehr have started to advance.
Action is joined all along the line.  On the far flank the Austrian infantry have crossed the creek & their cavalry is threatening the French infantry's flank.
On the near flank the Landwehr have been pushed back, but still hold.  On the far flank the French flank is in trouble.
The Landwehr have held on while the French right has collapsed reducing the Austrians to below half strength & giving the Austrians victory.

Musket Action started as a game for small actions in the French & Indian Wars & War of Independence.  But it has evolved into a general Black Powder era game that also works with larger forces. Our Hail Napoleon is BP era rules derived from Hail Caesar ancients.  Musket Action is BP rules derived from WWII Bolt Action.  They share some mechanisms, but are quite different games.  Although still being refined, I think MA is a better game than HN for small actions.  But I expect that Hail Napoleon will remain our preference for large games where its faster speed of play gives it a big edge.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Musket Action: American War of Independance

It's been a while since we played Musket Action & some ideas for improvement have been germinating & we tried MA v.2019 tonight.  It's a bit less Bolt Action & bit more old school.  The BA order dice remain a key feature, but with some tweaks,while the pins have been replaced by harder to get but more serious Disorder Counters.
British: Steve v. French & Colonials: Mark.
The British are on the near side. On the left, American woodsmen have advanced thru the woods while the British Indians have dithered while mounted infantry galloped over from central reserve. British vets hold the centre with cavalry on their left & light infantry & artillery on their right.  Hessians have advanced into the farm. 
The French vets form the French/Colonial front line with Continental Regs behind & Militia on the far flank.

The skimishers in the woods are mutually destructing. The French cavalry broke one British Cavalry troop but was beaten off by vet infantry.  A slow fire & advance by the British vets supperted by cavalry has decimated the French line. 

On the far flank, the Hessians & artillery are holding the Militia of.  In the centre, the French have broken & the Continental regulars are now being pounded by the British vets.  The French & Colonials concede defeat & order a retreat as night falls.

The rules revisions generally worked very well. The battle showed up a few omissions & some scope for some further improvements.  It was judged a significant improvement even by the loser.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Flames of War: Doubles Event at Kingston Bunker Rats

The Bunker Rats put on a two day event for teams of two players, each with two companies totalling 2,500 pts.  Early war in Africa. on 8'x6' tables.  2 rounds each day over the weekend. There were 5 teams entered, so each played 3 games with a bye.  Only three Camp Cromwellians were available this weekend so we entered one British team with Leigh playing all games with his Infantry coy & Jim & Chris taking turns with a Crusader coy. 
Round 1: Breakthough Mission v. Afrika Korps:  It was tough fight, but Camp Cromwell, as defenders, secured both objectives on turn 6 to win. 
Round 2: Surrounded Mission, Camp Cromwell attacking British in Blue on Blue.  We made  a concentrated attack down the far side of the table & were within 1 move of victory when time ran out.  Only 4 turns had been completed due to the slow play of defenders, but we still lost because the scenario rule is that the attackers have to take an objective to win. 

Round 4: (Round 3 was our bye).  Dust Up mission v. British in another Blue on Blue.  The enemy had hordes of armoured cars on a table with vast areas of hard desert floor that gave them many opportunities for rapid manouvre.  The enemy took advantage of this to make a rapid strike around our left flank into the rear of the town to attack an objective defended by just our artillery battery.  Our Crusaders out of reserve raced to catch them & the artillerymen held on just long enough for the cavalry arrive.  Then Camp Cromwell went on the offensive, but the enemy attack had soaked up so much time that while we had gained a material advantage with no platoons lost to 3 we didn't have enough time to clinch victory.

We only play FOW once or twice a year to support the Bunker Rats events so we find remembering the rules a bit of struggle, but Leigh still plays it often & took care of the tricky tactical details of infantry & artillery while Chris & I simplified our task by taking a list of 3 Crusader platoons.  FOW looks good & I enjoy the wider strategic options you have with the larger scale of action than Bolt Action, but Battlefront lost their way by adding too many special rules to sell supplementary books in v3 & then made it worse with v.4.  The Kingston players use v.3 with a selection of the v.4 rules they like, which is fine for them playing all the time.  The end result is an over-complicated set of rules that is confusing for occasional players.  The FOW fanboys seem to thrive on tactical exploitation of complex rules, but personally I prefer strategic level decision making with simpler rules that don't make my head hurt.  But a team situation with Leigh on board worked well for us & it was a good weekend's wargaming.