Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Camp Cromwell's Invasion of Canberra

The campaign started with a visit to the War Museum - mainly to purve on the airplanes.

Team Cromwell for Bolt Action (Gandalf & Gimli ?)
The Bolt Action corner of Cancon.

The first 2 days were a 5 round 1000pts infantry competition with 24 players.  Armies used in order of popularity: US, German, British, Soviet & 1 each of Hungarian, Japanese & Australian.   The terrain was a bit disappointing compared to the beautiful stuff we had last year, but 12 tables would stretch anyone's collection a long way.  Like last year the games were played in good spirit & we enjoyed the experience & had some great games.  Draws were very common, though far from boring - I thought one of my draws was the most exciting game I played.  The winner was the only player with 4 wins, second had 3, then there was pile of 2 wins & 3 draws.  Our Chris with his Soviets came in 4th with that score.   My Panzer Grenadiers were way back in the pack with 1 win, 2 draws & 2 losses. 
Day 3 was 1500 pts Tank War over 3 rounds.  There was a much smaller field with many players only having 2 day leave passes or doing something completely different like Saga on day 3.  This time it was my Panzers (mainly Mk IV's) doing well with 3 wins but I came 2nd on a countback to the Panzer force with mainly MkIII's.  The Tiger based Panzers came 3rd.  Chris couldn't manage a win this time.
The best bit of my tank war day: My Panzergrenadiers have cut their way through the soviet infantry with assault rifles & taken out 2 Soviet tanks with panzerfausts.  They subsequently got the truck as well.
Meanwhile spread out over 3 vast halls a horde of nerds player a vast variety of mostly weird games.  But there were also some interesting demo games.  And of course much shopping.

The top hall (the air conditioned one where we were this time).
The bottom (sweaty) hall.
Ligny in 6mm

Air War off the floor.
 Seven Years War siege in 15mm.
Seven Years War Black Powder in 28mm

Big Chain of Command
Chris & I were kindly put up for the duration by Steve Daniels - and of course too much wargaming is never enough - so we fought a couple of battles at Steve's in the evenings.
After beer & pizza on Saturaday night: Hail Caesar with 28mm.  Jim & Chris' Romans are about to steamroll Steve's Gauls.
On the last night we introduced the Canberrans to Hail Whoever Napoleonics.  (Dale Daniels joined in to a degree from Switzerland via skype on the Ipad in the corner).   Jim's Austrians are on the right.  Greg's French have marched on from the left.  His cavalry division has charged the Austrian cavalry on the far flank.  He is setting up a grand battery on the hill behind the cavalry.  His 4 infantry divisions are mostly still marching into position, one has deployed in the large ploughed area to face off the Austrian left wing cavalry. 
In the cavalry fight, French quantity beat Austrian quality. Then with the right flank exposed and a massive battery about to open up on their right, the Austrians decided they had to counterattack the French centre.  The attack failed while n the right the French cavalry forced Austrian foot into square to be destroyed by the guns.  The French infantry finished them off.  A masterful display of grand tactics by Greg Blake.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Hail Richard III

Jim & Steve of York v. Mike & Chris of Lancaster

Both sides had 3 battles of 6 units, including 4 cavalry each.

York's army is on the near side.  Lancaster has 1 battle on his left of the farm and 2 one behind the other on his right.  York is advancing his right to try & crush the enemy left.

York's centre has made good progress, but his right has stopped short and his left is coming under a lot of pressure.

Chris's cavalry is holding up a whole battle on the near flank while his infantry is still holding on.  Steve's battle on York's left is crumbling v. superior numbers.

 Steve's flank battle has broken on the left, while Chris' is still hanging in there on the other flank.

Chris' flank has finally broken.  York's centre is trying to hold the enemy off until his right can be redeployed.

York's counterattack has begun, given a glimmer of hope by the slow advance of the Lancastrian cavalry on the far flank.

Lancaster's horse finally threw a decent command roll and although the York counterattack was gaining ground, the centre battle has broken and with it their army morale.

Tonight we extended our no-saves rule back another era, having tried it in Hail Cromwell last week.  It worked well in this era too.   Our house rules are morphing into two related systems.  We use pretty straight Hail Caesar for ancients, then we have Hail Whoever for all later periods, which is still basically Hail Caesar, but with bits of Pike & Shotte and Black Powder thrown in where appropriate.  Hail Whoever also has no morale saves - we find that they really aren't needed in the gunpowder era where there are only a limited number of troop & armour types, and that the game is speeded up significantly by not having them.  While the Wars of the Roses has some armour, there are only a few troop types and Hail Whoever works ok.  But medievals can be done in either system.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

More Bolt Action Practice for Cancon

Jim's Germans v.Chris' Soviets:

1,000 pts infantry, Tank Battles scenario.

The Germans are coming on from the near left edge, Soviets from the far right edge.  There are 3 objectives, one on the bridge, one in the near left hand corner, one in the far right hand corner.  Both sides declined the reserves  flank arch options & brought all onto the table in the first wave.

On the left, a small German infantry unit, an MMG & a howitzer defend the objective while the one Soviet infantry advances through the wood.  On the right one Soviet infantry defends the rear objective while another is advancing on the centre.  The Germans are making a big push towards the bridge.  The Puma has been doing a Marder shuffle keeping the Sherman busy.

On the left the Soviet attack has run out of steam, pinned down at the edge of the wood.  Likewise in the centre.  The Sherman has moved across to help out the centre, but too late to be decisive.  There was no turn 7 & at the end of turn 6, the Germans held 2 of 3 objectives so have won the battle.  They were also ahead on the body count having lost 2 units to 3. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Hail Cromwell: English Civil War

Jim's English v. Chris & Steve's Scots

Both sides have 4 divisions.  We deployed by putting 4 red & 4 blue counters in a bag, then withdrawing 1 at a time & deploying an English division on a red and a Scots division on a blue. The English are on the right with 2 divisions of 2 pike & 4 shot, one each side of the hamlet and 2 cavalry divisions of 4 horse on the left. The Scots have 1 cavalry division of 4 horse on their right, a highlander division of 4 clans in the centre & 2 infantry divisions of 2 pike & 4 shot on their left.

The English tried to advance their left & centre, but only the left flank cavalry got 3 moves.  The Scots cavalry also got 43 moves and charged over the hill at the English leftmost division.  The highlanders advanced enough for the second P&S division to move to their right.

The Scots horse has fallen back onto the hill as the English bring up reinforcements.  Both side's infantry is moving only slowly.

Both English cavalry divisions have now attacked the Scots horse.  The Scots infantry has now redeployed with the highlanders between the P&S divisions.

The Scots horse has broken, but it bought enough time for a pike & shot wall to cover the Scot's flank.  The rest of the Scots infantry is finally on the move.

The English cavalry are making little progress against the Scots foot even thought he Scots have taken the brave option of not forming hedgehog.  In the centre the highlanders have charged home forcing the English foot back.

The highlanders & left flank P&S have the right flank English P&S in trouble.  But the English pike & shot division in the centre is counterattacking the now damaged highlanders.  On this flank the English cavalry & half the centre P&S are doing serious damage to the Scots foot.

The English P&S on the far flank has broken, but it's too little, too late for the Scots.  The highlanders have broken under the musket fire from the left of the hamlet.   The Scots P&S on their right is on half strength with an isolated & shaken musketeer unit about to be charged by cavalry.  The Scots concede the battle.

For this battle we tried making a change to Hail Cromwell to make it more like Hail Frederick than Hail Caesar.  Our house version of Hail Caesar is not much different from the book.  Our Hail Frederick rules include aspects of Black Powder and naturally have more significant differences from HC.  One major difference is that we don't use saving throws in HF - instead we just use less dice to hit.  This speeds up the game significantly.  There is one less stat to remember, two less steps in every combat resolution, and it removes the annoyance of throwing a handful of great dice only to see them come to nothing when the enemy saves them all.   The saves serve a useful purpose in HC as they provide more variation is troop characteristics - which are needed due to the variety of armour.  But in the Black Powder era, there is little armour and this subtlety is not needed.  A mathematical analysis showed me that as long as you convert the dice numbers right, simplifying the system makes no difference to either the luck element or the game balance.   It might not sound like much of a difference, but over the many combats in a big battle it adds up to a lot less calculation & a lot less brain drain.   Certainly this battle ripped along at a cracking pace, even better than last week under the old system & was most enjoyable.  With 20 units a side it took us just one & a half hours.  And the game was certainly not 7 Years War in different uniforms.  The tactical nuances of pike & shot were still all there - the paper/scissor/stone of pike, musket & horse was very evident - generated by no more than appropriate choice of combat stats & a few special rules in the brilliant Warlords rules system. 

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Bolt Action Armour

Jim's Germans v. Chris' Soviets:
1,500 points armoured platoons, Operation Supercharge Scenario.  This was our last chance to check out our Cancon lists before sending them off before tomorrow's deadline.  This scenario is from the Tank War book & is one of the ones selected for Cancon.  It's unique features are that you have to check for mines if you make do Run order (would you believe that your unit ran over a minefield) and there is a possibility of a storm reducing visibility to 12" for the rest of game (yes a 1 from a test each turn does it).  As it happened no one was game to do a run move & after a couple of turns we forgot the storm.

The Germans are coming on from the left, the Soviets on the far side.  The Soviet deployment was too spread out giving the Germans the opportunity to concentrate their fire on one flank.

In 2 turns the Soviets have lost 2 trucks & 2 tanks.

The Panzer's continue to advance.

The Soviet left has been blown away.  The Soviets have lost 7 units, the Germans have lost none - making it a decisive German victory.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

English Civil War

Parliament: Jim & Mark
King: Mike, Steve & Toby

Both sides had 2 cavalry divisions of 4 horse, 2 infantry divisions of 2 pike & 4 shot.  The Kings men had 2 light guns.  Parliament had an extra musketeer unit.  We deployed 1 division at a time drawing coloured dice from a bag Bolt Action style to determine order of deployment.

The King's men are on the right.  Both sides put both cavalry divisions at this end.

 Parliament's cavalry advanced resulting a great cavalry melee on the near flank. 

Things are not going well for parliament.

The right wing of the Parliamentary cavalry has been defeated.  The left wing of their horse salvaged a draw & broke off, but with both flanks threatened have been trying unsuccessfully to withdraw for 3 turns.  The King's foot has advanced to engage the Parliamentary foot, but so far the infantry fight has only been an indecisive exchange of musketry.

The second Parliamentarian cavalry division has been charged in flank and broken.  With 2 of 4 divisions lost before the enemy have lost any, Parliament fail their Army Break Test while their commanders bicker about whose plan it was.

Monday, January 05, 2015

Nick's Christmas Painting

Christmas holidays are over, and I am back at work. But over the break I had some serious painting goals. I didn't reach them, but here is a list of what was done:

Some Thracian peltasts

Seleucid cataphracts.  Described by Polybious as 'like statues'

Some roads

British Paratroops

Some mounted archers

Austrian Landwehr

A single archer figure that was floating around

Spanish Scutarii

Hellenestic cavalry

And more Hellenestic cavalry

Austrian casualties

At this point my painting desk was clear of old half done projects. Now to start on the painting goals.

Unfortunately, I only achieved one goal! German forces for the attack on Foy in the Battle of the Bulge -- for use in the Dogs of War competition.

I did get close on goal 2 - US forces for the attack on Foy. Goals 3 and 4 - my WW I armies - will be a panic paint job over the next month!!!!!