Friday, July 27, 2012

Task Force A does it again!

A practice for the doubles FOW tournament (Operation Cromwell).

Nick R and Rob vs Nick B and Dennis.

It was supposed to be a different game. Nick R substituted at the last minute for Shane. And Shane and Rob thought they were fighting Russians, while Nick B and Dennis thought that we had agreed to be Americans. All in all a bit of a mix up.

Nick R and Rob had a Panzer force -- King Tiger, lots of Tigers, and lots of Panzer IV's. Nick B and Dennis had a tank destroyer force -- 8x M18 and 8x M10 (using Task Force A and Rangers in Brittany). As Nick said before the game -- 'we will win or lose by turn 3'. It wasnt quite right -- the game went to turn 4.

Task Force A and the rangers attacked as fast as they could. Nick R and Rob were worried -- the force looked impressive. But they sent a small Panzer IV platoon forward to disrupt the tank destroyers -- a move that worked succesfully. Some tank destroyers 'decloaked' and destroyed the small Panzer IV platoon. But then the Germans unleashed an ambush of 6x Panzer IV J and unleashed a pile of woopass on the tank destroyers. The return fire wiffed. The surviving tank destroyers missed. The US artillery missed. The 5x Stuarts getting flank shots missed. And the Panzer IV's happily followed up and removed most of one US company.

Meanwhile, the Rangers with M10 support had managed to kill one platoon of tigers and take an objective. This forced the Germans to take a company morale test, as they had no reseves, so their heavy company had no platoons - just the CinC tiger and 2iC Tiger. They passed. Then they got their King TIger reserve, and the Panzer IV's moved over to complete the destruction of the M10s and Rangers.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Wild, Wild West Launceston

Nick vs Rob over 2 weeks, using Legends of the Old West.

No pics unfortunatly -- the games were too exciting!!!!

Hang Em High

When we left the story, Rob's Rowdies had succesfully robbed a stage coach -- but Kid Brown was wounded, and then captured. Sentenced to hang, Nick's Mountain men guarded the scaffold, while Rob's lads planned a rescue. As Kid Brown was being read the last rights by the preacher, shots rang out. The mountain men moved towards the sound of gunfire, but were hampered by townsfolk running around. Peversly, some folks ran towards the gun shots, preventing the mountain men from getting a clear shot at the outlaws. The outlaws lined up behind a fence, and started shooting at the brave mountain men standing out in the open. The mountain men accepted this disparity, planning that as long as the outlaws stayed behind the fence, they couldnt get to the gallows and rescue Kid Brown. Casualties mounted. The preacher was urged to hurry up his reading. But at the last possible moment, Rob's leader managed to shoot the rope, freeing Kid Brown. The mountain men tried to fall back and aprehend Kid Brown, but with further casualties, they lost heart, and headed for the hills.


Rob's Rowdies werent content with getting away -- they wanted to show the town who was boss! A few weeks later a classic Western Showdown developed, as the outlaws, joined by a noted gunslinger, stalked through town, while the Mountain Men, reinforced with a couple of friends (an indian fighter and a lowlife buffalo skinner who would do anything for some booze) tried to fend the outlaws off. Sneaking around the back alleys, the mountain men got close to the outlaws. Their intent was to launch a co-ordinated, close range assault. But the outlaws struck first. The indian fighter proved to have a glass jaw, and went down with the first swing of a fist. One of the mountain men unleashed his buffalo gun, and felled an outlaw. And then it was fisticuffs for young and old. The mountain men gave better than they got, but were not scot free. By the time two turns had passed, the outlaws were down to the leader and the gunslinger, but 1/2 of the mountain men were down as well. With both sides having to pass 'Pluck' tests, the mountain men failed first, and headed for the hills. (Which was a shame, because if they hadnt they were in a position to totally wipe out the outlaws)

So far the mountain men havent won a shoot-out. They have little money, and an assortment of injuries. But with all those battles comes experience -- some of their fighters have become remarkably tough. And the last battle against the Rowdies did not go well for the Rowdies -- despite winning, four of their band were killed! The mountain men are looking foward to revenge!!!!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Pike & Shotte Sunday School

Steve's New Model v. Mark & Byron's Royalists

The Royalists are on the left with 2 infantry divisions in the centre and cavalry on each flank.  The new model has 1 large infantry division in the centre with horse on their right and Cromwell's ironsides behind the foot.
The royalist cavalry advanced on both flanks while their foot advanced slowly.  Parliament refaced their horse to meet the oncoming cavaliers while their foot waited.
On the far flank the Parliament's horse initially gained the upper hand, but the royalist foot came up to help out and in the end both cavalry divisions broke at once.

On the near flank, the cavaliers fell back on their infantry support as Cromwell advanced.  A short flurry of charge and countercharge resulted in a stalemate as both sides worked on rallying their units.
With the Parliament's horse on the far flank gone the Royalist foot made a converging attack on the Parliament's foot and began eating it up from the far end.

Another cavalry fight broke out on the near flank as the cavaliers tried to support their foot in the centre and Cromwell charged towards the centre to intercept.
Cromwell did break the cavaliers on his flank, but it was too late to save the foot.  The foot broke and gave the Royalists victory.

We again used the Hail Caesar divisional & army break tests.  This made the battle go on for longer, but not excessively so (less than 3 hours).   Under the P&S system Parliament may have won just by breaking the 2 relatively small royalist cavalry divisions, but Parliament was out played and our system definitely gave the right result.

The other house rule we tried for the first time was allowing any flanked unit to make a command test to turn to face if not also attacked frontally. Shaken or undisciplined units have to re-roll passes, and elite troops re-roll fails.  If they pass, they turn to face disordered.  Further, we make a result of fall back become break if the enemy follows up in contact.  (We cannot see the logic in cavalry automatically turning to face, while infantry has to cop it - it makes more sense to have a test favouring better troops).    It seemed to work just fine.     

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Barbarian Big Bash

Mike & Steve's Samartans v. Jim & Tony's Ancient Britons

We decided to try a barbarian v. barbarian battle for a change.  The Britons had 2 infantry and 2 cavalry divisions.  The Samartans had 3 cavalry and 1 infantry division.  The Briton warbands were much stronger than the Samartan foot, but their light cavalry and chariots faced medium cavalry and cataphracts supported by horse archers.
The pics are taken from the Samartan left, Britons on the left.  The Samartans deployed their cataphracts in the centre with infantry behind and their medium cavalry on each flank.  The Britons put all their infantry on their right where there was a ridge to aid defence and all their cavalry on their left.    Varying command dice caused the 2 Brit cavalry divisions to break apart, the central one rushing forward unsupported.  The Samartans immediately attacked the isolated division.
The broke it, but the other Brit cavalry division got onto their flank while they were doing so and now the Samartan right was hard pressed.
Meanwhile on the other flank, the Brit infantry held their line and waited as the Samartan horse steadily advanced.
In the foreground the Brits lost 1 warband, but their opponents were shaken and unable to follow up while the next warband held the line.  In the centre the cataphracts charged home.  One warband broke, but the others held the line.   In the distance, the cavalry fight goes on with Samartan foot archers helping out.
Now the battle reached crisis point all along the line.  The Brit foot were still holding the line against the enemy horse.   On the far flank, Brit cavalry & chariots fended off the enemy horse to allow Boudicea herself lead a cavalry charge into the flank of the cataphracts.  All three Samartan cavalry divisions were within 1 bad test of breaking.  But none of them did - then suddenly in one turn all the last three Brit divisions broke.
We're not sure how the Ancient Britons got to fight the Samartans, but it made for an interesting battle with a mainly infantry army fighting a mainly cavalry army.  It did not look like a good mix for the Brits.  Their enemy had so much more and better cavalry and while the Brits had better infantry, they had no long spears to protect it from cavalry.   But their strategy to hold the line with the foot on their right and concentrate their cavalry on their left might have worked if they hadn't let the centre cavalry rush ahead to its doom. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

English Civil War 15/07/12

Steve's Royalists v. Jim & Mark's Parliamentarians

The armies are the sames as last Thursday.  We also used the same table, but with a few tweaks.
We experimented with a few rules, namely:
Deployment:  After a dice off to decide who went first, each side took turns to deploy a division.
                    The side that placed the last division moved second.
Division Break Test: More than half units broken, or all shaken.
Army Break Test: More than half divisions broken, or both infantry divisions broken.
Pics taken from Parliament's right flank, Royalist left.  The Royalists generally advanced, but command dice resulted in a ragged line as their right advanced faster than their left.
Parliament responded by redeploying their left flank cavalry to face left and redeploying their dragoons in the village to support them and advancing their foot to counterattack the advanced Royalist foot.
In the foreground the cavaliers have charged the roundhead horse.  The roundheads had a little artillery support and won the fight by shaking all the cavaliers while themselves having 1 broken, 1 shaken & 1 ok.  If we were using the rules as written, both divisions would have broken.

On the far flank the cavaliers declined to charge past the dragoons & artillery at the roundhead horse.  In the centre the infantry slugged it out with shotte exchanging fire and the odd pike charge.  
The left end of the Parliament infantry line was hard pressed, but the right end gained the upper hand.
By either good luck as claimed by the Royalists, or good tactics as claimed by Parliament, the parliamentary foot gained the upper hand.  The Royalist left broke while the attack by their right was stopped.

The Royalists pulled their cavalry back from their right to bolster their centre, but it was too late.  The Royalist foot was outflanked and broken by the roundhead foot.
  The Royalists now had lost 3 of 4 divisions and thus their army broke.

We decided that using more Hail Caesar style Break Tests gave a better game.  If we had used the P&S system, both cavalry would have broken on the near side, then the would have depended on a lottery as to which division was the first to have more than half shaken - probably in this case a tie.  Instead the battle went on much longer giving both sides more time to win by better tactics.  Even so the battle took less than 2 1/2 hours and it certainly maintained interest to the end.  So the consensus was that the experiment was a success.  

Thursday, July 12, 2012

English Civil War

Mike's Royalists v. Jim's Parliamentarians

Parliament (in the foreground) deployed 2 pike & shotte divisions in the centre with cavalry on each flak.  They stiffened the cavalry on the left with 2 dragoons & deployed their artillery in the village to support their right.  The Royalists rested their left on the village defended by 2 musketeers and their artillery.  They put one cavalry divsion on their right, the other behind their centre.
 The Royalists advanced quickly echeloned back from their right.  Good cavalry command and the galloper rule got both their cavalry divisions into action on the far flank before the parliamentary cavalry got a got a single command activated.  Parliament's dragoons didn't even get to deploy before being hit by the cavaliers though the horse did better and managed to break one of the cavalier divisions with them when they broke.
In the centre the pike & shotte were now heavily engaged.  Parliament advanced their artillery only to have it blown away by counterbattery and musket fire.  The Parliamentary horse on the right were moving left behind the foot at glacial pace.
 Left of the Parliamentary centre, the opposed infantry divisions broke each other.  We play the army break test as losing more than half as in Hail Caesar, so the battle continued with the unshaken units of the broken divisions still being a pest to both sides.  The remaining  Parliamentary foot was being outflanked and worn down by their opponents so the parliamentary horse charged the remaining cavaliers to try and pull the battle out of the fire.
The result was both cavalry divisions being broken in the same turn.  So both armies broke and the battle was draw.

The Royalists had a good strategy in using the village and their artillery to protect their left so they could concentrate on the enemy left, but Parliament found enough tactical tricks to salvage a draw.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Mithradates v. the Romans

Jim's Pontic army v. Steve's Marian Romans

Having just read He Died Old, Alfred Duggan's book about Mithradates it was impossible not to put the Pontic army on the table again.  You have to love a bloke who hates Rome as much as Mithradates.  From the day he murdered his Mum to get the throne until his son had him knocked off 48 years later he was on a mission.  Even Hannibal didn't make speaking with an Italian accent punishable by death.

Both armies were 500 pts.  The Romans in 2 infantry divisions and 1 cavalry division, the Ponts 1 infantry division & 2 cavalry divisions.  The table was diced up and had a hilly end and plain end.  Not surprisingly, the Romans deployed on the hilly end and the Ponts on the plain end.
The pics are taken from behind the Pontic line.  The core of the Pontic army was its phalanx supported by Thorakitai & bowmen. but it had strong cavalry on each wing.  The Roman legionaries were supported by Auxillia foot and horse, but this time Steve had very few light troops.
The battle was a revolving door.  The Romans withdrew their horse behind the woods on their left and their legions steadily advanced and swung left.  The Ponts sent skirmishers forward to wear down the advancing Romans while their phalanx ponderously wheeled right and their right flank cavalry charged off after the Roman horse.
The cavalry fight was won by the Ponts, but their heavies were badly mauled and had to spend time rallying while the light cavalry tried to take out the Auxilla foot now forming the flank guard of the Roman foot.
The Auxilia flank guard stubbornly gave ground, but would not break as poor command dice held up the Pontic right flank cavalry.  But the Romans knew it was only matter of time before their flank was turned and despite the disruption of the enemy skirmishers charged the phalanx in a ragged line as soon as they could.

The phalanx looked impregnable, but alas for Mithradites, as so often in real life, the dice gods decided it was the time to give the Romans a break.  One phalanx broke, then another, shredding the solid front.  The Romans then got in some flank attacks and the infantry division broke.  Unfortunately, the Pontic commander was so dismayed at the goings-on on the table he forgot to take any pics of the sad events.

But as they do, the dice gods eventually relented.  The Auxilia flank guard finally broke and the Pontic cavalry smashed into the Roman left rear.  The other Pontic cavalry division, which had been withdrawn to support the phalanx, counterattacked before the Romans could sort their line back out after beating the phalanx.
With the dice now turning back in their favour, the Pontic cavalry broke both Roman infantry divisions giving Mithradates victory.

Once again we had a battle with wild swings of fortune.  The Ponts certainly outmanoeuvred the Romans, but then a period where they couldn't throw a hit, couldn't throw a save, & failed every morale throw, while the Romans did the opposite, nearly turned it around.   But, at least in Pontic eyes, justice prevailed in the end.

We tried out new counters I bought in Launceston last week after seeing them at the games club meeting.  We used green for casualties, orange for one off shaken, yellow for shaken, blue for disordered.  They did the job nicely.


Sunday, July 08, 2012

Saga at Barrie's on Sunday

Jim's Welsh v. Barrie's Vikings

We fought the convoy scenario.  The Vikings had a herd of cattle to drive across the table (from the far side) to win.
The Vikings sent their herd down their right side.  The Welsh sent their cavalry around the Viking left, peppered their centre with bowfire and formed a defensive line on their left.
I did take my DSLR to get some good pics, but unfortunately left the memory card in my computer's reader.  So we have to make do with the iphone.  These are some of Barrie's Vikings.  My Welsh are a selection of my Ancient Britons so don't bear close inspection.
The Welsh cavalry succeeded in drawing Vikings away from the herd.  The Vikings destroyed them, but two Viking units were decimated in the process.   The Welsh bowmen's hot shooting provoked the Vikings to charge to their doom against them.  On the left, the Viking bowmen cunningly disguised as spearmen slowly destroyed the warriors to their front (the Welsh never had enough saga dice for them to advance).  But the battle was decided in the centre.  The Welsh queen (played by Anita Ekburg) lead her troops through the wood against the Viking centre.  Two Viking units were destroyed, but Barrie then got a poultice of good Saga dice and attacked Anita with his Warlord armed with a pile of sneaky Viking rules.  She didn't have a hope.  Without their leader the Welsh stopped getting enough Saga dice to achieve anything and soon ran out of capability to stop the herd despite the Viking army being reduced to a handful of figures.

The Vikings seem to have a plethora of nasty attacking capabilities that if the Welsh have a counter to I haven't found yet.      

Friday, July 06, 2012

Launceston Gaming Club

I took advantage of a work trip north to attend the Launceston Gaming Club's Thursday meeting.  They now meet at the St Leonard's Memorial Hall, a much smaller and less well located venue the Punchbowl church hall they used to have, but they compensate by meeting twice a week.  There were a couple of dozen attendees playing a range of sci-fi and fantasy games plus Flames of War. I took two pike & shotte armies, but although there was interest, everyone interested had already arranged another game.  I was asked to give more notice next time.  This time I just watched the FOW.

Nick's Soviets v. Shane's Panzer Lehr in a 1750 pt Late War Encounter Mission

Shane (deployed on the right of the table) made a bold strike at the objective behind the cornfield in the centre.  On his turn 3 his Stugs destroyed the scout platoon defending the objective and took it.

Nick was in deep doo doo - to save the day he  needed to throw 5+ to get reserves and 3,4 to get them in the right place.   This he did and 4 IS2's came on to contest.   The battle was nearly over in 3 turns, but instead it now turned into a slugfest that went on until 11.30.

The IS2's wiped out the Stugs, but the German reserves of 3 Panthers, 3 armoured cars & werfers smashed the Soviet infantry on the near flank and the IS2's moved right to face the Panthers.   The big boys slugged it out and with the help of Surmoviks, the Soviets prevailed.

Now it looked like the Soviets were on top, but the German infantry was brought up and attacked the IS2's.  Loaded up with every panzerwhacker they could have the Germans gave the IS2's a hell of a fright, destroying 2 of them including the commander.

But the price was too high.  A counterattack by the remaining Soviet infantry finished off the German infantry.  The Soviets won on morale without setting foot past the table centreline.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Hail Caesar: Carthage v. Seleucis

Jim & Mike's Carthaginians v. Steve & Tony's Seleucids

Both sides 500 pts in 4 divisions.

Carthaginians are on the left.  Their deployment is, from far end: Cavalry (medium, 2 light all small), Gauls (4 warbands + 2 skirmishers), Spanish (5 Scutari, 2 skirmishers), Punic (3 spearmen, 2 elephants, 2 slingers).

The Seleucids deployed their strong cavalry divisions on both flanks and 2 phalanx divisions in the centre.

The Seleucids held back on their left & centre, advancing only their right flank cavalry.  The Carthos advanced all along the line except for their cavalry division where they send forward only their light cavalry as skirmishers.

The first combat was on the far end where the Seleucid heavy cavalry swung left and charged the end warband.  They rode them down and pushed the light horse back.  The Punic heavies had moved out to the flank and while they failed to take advantage, they remained a threat to prevent a rear attack on the Gauls. The Gauls charged forward to get away from the cavalry while the small Punic cavalry units surrounded the Seleucid heavies.

The Gallic warbands charged the phalanx head on, but their left flank was exposed and rolled up.   The Gauls broke but so did the Seleucid cavalry which had been worn down by their successful charges then finished off by good shooting by the Punic light horse & bad morale dice.  That made it 1 division down each and the action hotted up on the near flank.

On their right the Carthos plan was to outflank the cats with elephants while pinning them with their spearmen.  The Seleucid elephant and light cavalry delayed the 2 Cartho elephants, but couldn't stop them so the cats charged the spearmen.  Initially, the spearmen got pushed back but only one unit broke & the others reformed the line.

In the centre, the Spanish charged the 2nd phalanx division. Remarkably, the Spanish took out 2 phalanxes putting the enemy division on the brink.    

On the far flank, the Punic cavalry was unbroken, but in no condition to do more than pin down a unit or two. 

With the Punic elephants sorted out and on the move again, the cats charged again before they could be outflanked.  One unit broke and the other was outflanked and charged from 2 sides.  When it broke, that was 2 Seleucid divisions broken, one to go.

The Seleucids tried to get their 1st infantry division to the left to rescue the 2nd and they succeeded in breaking the Spanish division but the Punic spearmen & elephants had wheeled left and finished off the 2nd division in the same turn.  The Seleucids had now lost 3 divisions & the Carthos only 2, so the Carthaginians had won the battle.

This was a typical Hail Caesar battle full of excitement and wild swings of fortune giving the losers ample scope to blame bad luck for defeat while the winners could point out that they did actually do quite a few things right tactically.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Pike & Shotte at Barrie's: Eastern Europe

Steve's Ottomans v. Barrie's Poles

We used the same 1000 pt armies as 3 weeks ago but different players.  The Turks had 5 divisions: 3 Jannisaries, 4 Tukekri Fusileers, 4 Feudal Sipahis, 4 Gonullu, 4 Tartars, plus 4 guns.  The Poles had 4 divisions: German mercenaries 2 pike & 4 shotte, 4 Polish Foot, 4 Ratjar with 1 Dragoon, 2 Winged Hussars with 2 Pancerni, plus 2 guns. All pics taken from the Turks right, Polish left.

Turkish deployment from their left (far end):  Sipahis, Turkekci, Jannisaries, Gonullu, Tartars.  Guns in two batteries each side of the Turkekci.

Polish deployment from their right (far end): Ratjar & Dragoons, Polish Inf, German Inf with Hussars & Pancerni behind.  Guns between the infantry divisions.

The Poles cautiously advanced their infantry to the line of swamps.  On the far flank they sent their dragoons forward into the wood on the Turk's left supported by the Ratjars.

The Turks advanced their Tartar horse archers in a skirmish line and engaged the German foot.

On the far flank the fight between the opposing cavalry divisions ebbed and flowed, but ended up with both divisions broken.  But the Polish dragoons were still unshaken in the wood and continued to shoot at the Turkish battery.

After a bit of delay waiting for their Sipahis to get moving, the Turks made a general advance.

The Poles advanced their left, but the Pancerni rushed out in front of the Winged Hussars and found themselves outnumbered 4 to 2 by Sipahis.

The Pancerni were smashed by the Sipahis, but when the Winged Hussars arrived the boot changed feet.  The mighty Hussars just rode over the Sipahis.

The Turks now had 2 of 5 divisions broken, the Poles 1 of 4, so the next division to break would decide the battle.

The Hussars charged the Tartars but the Tartars got good evade dice and got away.

The German Pike & Shotte charged the right hand Jannisary left isolated by artillery & musket fire breaking the centre unit.

The Turks had to shake a Hussar unit to break that division and tried to do so with bow & artillery fire.  But the arrows bounced off and the artillery missed.

The Jannissaries somehow defeated the German pikemen, but it was to no avail.  The Polish artillery & musketeers broke the 3 Jannisary unit and thus the Jannisary division.

Meanwhile, the Hussars had turned back & pincered half the Tartars against the the German foot, but this was now a sideshow as the loss of the Jannisaries broke the Ottoman army.

The lighting isn't good at Barrie's, so as well as umpiring your reporter also experimented with using his SLR camera on a tripod with manual settings to take long exposures with a small aperture to increase depth of field.  Certainly better than the iphone.