Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Wind on the Wadi

We continue to test "1916" by War Times Journal.  In this attacker-defender game we gave the former a near 2:1 advantage in units.  However, in the variable dice rolls the Commonwealth side got wire, trenches, mines and four on-table field pieces.  So big chunk of the numeric advantage was negated.  The German/Turkish force got a pre-game bombardment and both sides got three pre-registered call-fire spots.  Here's the table:

Commonwealth view of the left.  Some troops entrenched, some prone.
The pre-game bombardment took out a machine-gun nest on our left flank, which apparently was to be the main focus of their attack.

The far right.  The Central Powers could be no closer than 400
yards, or 20".

The left again.  Note the entrenched unit and mines in front.
One turn two the Turkish cavalry unit was unleashed.  We all expected them to be shot to pieces but inexplicably passed morale and savaged the first British unit defending.

The rampaging Turkish uhlans take huge losses but sweep on.

The enemy tried advancing by rushes, crawling prone, and just walking.

Having swept over the infantry, the uhlans hit the 75mm guns
and engineers attempting to dig them in.
Hitting two units were weren't sure how to resolved the assault.  After discussion we made the not universal decision to roll for each unit in contact.  The uhlans still won but narrowly and were wiped on in the subsequent fire phase.  Being so rare for cavalry to do anything, it's not surprising that the rules were vague.  But since we plan to stage most of our games in the Middle East, we'll need to pin it down.

The Indian troops in the palm trees are driven off, so the Highlanders
redeploy to the right from reserve.
1916 is a d6 game with a half-dozen possible modifiers, most of them hurting your "to hit" chances.  Unmodified, a roll of "one" gives no hits while a "six" kills three stands.  Quite a range of results on a d6.

Things are mighty thin for both sides on the left.  The mines
were effective though.

We are down three infantry units on the left and one 75.

Down one unit here, but heaps of Germans are out there, including
the feared flamethrowers.

After about eight turns the Germans and Turks had shot their bolt and called off the attack, the surviving Commonwealth forces were only too happy to see them go.  But more games are in our future.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Sand Gets in Everything!

We got together for a Flames of War 4th Edition game.  The mission was Annihilation and for the four (eventually five) of us we fielded roughly 200 points per side.  Fabric is really two tones of tan and brown but for some reason in my photography it comes out looking like snow.  Something about the artificial lighting I suppose. 

The British were tank-heavy with Grants, Crusaders and Honeys in abundance.  They/we also had two four-gun batteries of 25pdrs, mortars, 6pdrs, 17pdrs, Bofors, Universal Carriers and a little infantry with sticky bombs.  The Germans had one Tiger, long-barreled MkIVs, MkIIIs, MkIIs, a pair of 88s, Marders, Bisons, a pair of 105s, self-propelled AA and infantry.  Hurricanes and Stukas were available for the game as well.

Now that is an intimidating sight.

Honeys, Cruisers and Grants, with a pair of 17pdrs in the foreground.

On my side, two Grants were quickly lost and the third failed
the "Last Stand" test.
The Tiger drew a lot of attention and died quickly.  A trio of Stukas arrived but the Bofors shot down two.  British artillery ranged in quickly but hardly did anything all game. 

Outnumbered in armour and out-classed, the Germans suffer
on our left.

Lots of burners, though the 88s take a toll.

Time to get out of the bombardment and advance the reserves.

The aftermath of a pair of cannon armed Hurricanes air attack.

Elsewhere we can both hit (sometimes) but can't finish off the tanks.

The German self-propelled AA banzai charge and eliminate the
17pdrs. in a statistically unlikely result.  But the 25pdrs put an
end to them firing over open sights.

Infantry is pretty hapless/helpless against armour, so when they
assault the results are predictable.

We finally get the upper hand on British right.

With the Germans down to one tank, one 88 and some beat up infantry we quit.  No need to actually annihilate the enemy.  Though it ended rather lop-sided it really was a close game.  British got aircraft once in six tries and the Germans only twice.  Had either side gotten hot with firepower rolls it could have been over much sooner and differently.  I think we're starting to get the hang of the new edition.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Culloden Moor

On the 16th of April, 1746 the Jacobite army of "Bonnie Prince Charlie" met the Hanoverian government forces under "Billy the Butcher."  Or at least he will come to be know as that in some circles.  On the 1st of October, 2017 we undertook a replay as part of a playtest for a potential convention game.

Rules are Final Argument of Kings by Dean West and was played on a 6x6' arena.

The Prince's army in the foreground
Special rules were in play for our test.  On the first turn Highland units would only follow orders on roll of 5+ on a six sided dice.  This was to reflect the lack of leadership and the fact that most of the clans operated more or less independently that fateful day.  The dice roll increased in subsequent turns but never got about 3+ which made coordinated attacks neigh unto impossible.

Chaos rules as movement was spotty and artillery was deadly.

Charging home against an artillery battery.
All game my forces consistently failed to execute their orders, giving me the choice of standing under fire while hoping the others would come up, or attack piecemeal.  As my units started to rout under artillery fire I chose the latter.

"At 'em lads!"  The green markers are camouflaged order chits.

Though much diminished the Jacobites break through.  To
meet the second line.

The left flank swung to and fro with units routing and sometimes
rallying to return.

The government first line is largely gone on the left, but reserves
are ready to repel us.

The casualty figures show the way the battle progressed.

Although some Highlanders have broken through and are
reforming in the enemy rear, the battle is lost.

So the battle ends with history repeating itself, if perhaps we did better than historical.  So Scotland will have to wait till 1999 to have a free and independent government since 1707.  Of course, had Charlie won, his capital would have been London and not Edinburgh.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

An Unholy Alliance

For 250 years the Ottoman vassal state of Vaneria has existed on the borders of other (Imagi-) Nations.  Disputed lands between Odessinau and Latveria being a constant source of friction.

Now Nazir Wafeer has dispatched troops and hirelings to test the mettle of rival powers.  Rising to meet the threat is a conglomerate army.  Rules as always for our Imagi-Nation games are "Batailles de l'Ancien Regimes" by Bill Protz.  Click to enlarge pictures.

The allies right is held by forces of Procland, a traditional foe.
Each "army" was composed of approximately 300 infantry and 60 cavalry figures with a smattering of artillery.  Besides the Vanerians, Latveria provided mercenaries.  The allies comprised a Prussian and Proclandian contingent.

Prussians deploy in depth next to the empty fortress.  Cavalry is
all in the center.

As part of the occupation, one Russian vassal unit
was present.

Light cavalry, medium guns, regulars, Janissarys and lights.

The Duke of Alten and the newly raised Pzormyal Wespe regiments.
BAR is card driven.  Cards are flipped and the appropriate commander picks a command to move.  After all movement it is repeated for firing purposes.  If you are awarded a joker, you may "trump" another unfriendly turn of card.

The Varnerian army steps off aggressively, the allies less so.

The Latverians try to contain the Prussians before they can clear
the fortress.
The Prussians, with four new cavalry squadrons and their Polish friends were charged by the Latverian cavalry and Vanerian Spahis.  In all the melees the allies were successful, with the Polish Winged Hussars breaking and dispersing the Spahi unit.

Having ridden the Spahi to extinction, the Poles are deep in
the enemy ranks.

Having pushed back the Latverian heavies, both sides prepare to
feed in fresh cavalry.

A third Prussian cuirassier squadron and Latverian dragoons impact.

von Kleist Jagers and Croats protect the flanks.

The Latverian infantry begins to tear up the Prussians.

Janissary and line against von Kleist lights and Prochland infantry.

A fresh Prussian unit advances and is routed before firing a single shot.

Von Kleist horse grenadiers hit the Janissary flank.

Figuring out the best way to finish off the stubborn Prussians.

The battle begins to go the allied way on the right.

Failing to break the Janissary unit, the horse grenadiers retire.

The Russian vassals have run off from flanking fire.

All the Prussian infantry have routed and rallied.  Much weakened.

Prochland forces getting the clear upper hand over the Vanerians.

Prussian heavies have re-ordered and are ready to pursue.
The Vanerians had lost two of their (smaller) units and the rest were in a bad way.  The light cavalry had expended itself in running off the Prochlandian artillery for a time, but were now gone.  The battered remnants of the Latverian cavalry had rallied and re-ordered but were just going to cover the retreat since one of the line regiments had finally routed away.  All three Prussian units were technically on table, but any losses would trigger increasingly difficult moral tests so they were pretty much a spent force.

A good, tight game that had lots of ebb and flo as units went forward and back and forward again.  I sense an arms race starting since although numbers were even the smaller Vanerian units didn't fare well against the larger Proclandian units.  And more importantly to me, my four new Prussian cavalry units all performed well.