Monday, November 22, 2010

News - Bob Rondou injured

Last week Bob took a quick trip with a sudden stop down a flight of stairs.  Initially it was feared he had broken his back but as the swelling goes down we know that's not the case.  Still, he doesn't have full use his left arm and while his right hand has a strong grip the arm is a source of pain.  He's mobile though, so the worst case scenarios don't appear likely.

Per your custom, prayers or well wishes are welcomed.  He will have a long convalescence which is always difficult for someone used to being active.  Get well soon Bob.

Ancients - Might of Arms Game

During Brent's visit from the Twin Cities we put together a trial game of Might of Arms with Bob, Todd, Brent and myself.  Again, no pictures but we got the test game I wanted.  Irish/Celts took on mid/late Romans.  The game system is purported to resemble the venerable WRG Ancients rules and to a degree they do.  Troop types, weaponry, and mounting schemes according to function in the army were refreshingly present.  The combat system is completely different though.

Units are composed of either three or six stands.  Figures are never removed for hits which leads to some slightly annoying table clutter but I'm sure there is a clever way to replace the chits with something more aesthetic.  According to your function on the table your options are restricted.  Light cavalry typically doesn't go racing around the table acting like shock troops and lights of all kinds will attempt to melt away in the face of charges from close order troops.

We kind of messed up due to getting started way later than intended and just put troops out.  This left the outnumbered Romans attacking and things quickly went south for them.  Still, we got a decisive result quickly, even needing to look up rules and have them explained to us.  (Brent has played a few games of MoA.)

Overall I think it's worth playing again, finding the DB[fill-in-the-blank] family of rules distasteful and Fields of Glory to be frustratingly slow.  I've played a lot of ancients over the years and frankly wish for a revival of WRG 6.  That's not going to happen so onward we few, we happy few as we quest for a viable set of ancients rules.

18th Century - Battle of Korbach

The main engagement of the day featured an force of Gallians (French) attacking the Britannian army (British).  In most rule sets standing on the defensive would give you a significant advantage and the attackers forces would be augmented either by numbers or quality.  In our game using Batailles des Ancien Regimes, or BAR as it's more commonly known, the forces were within a point or two of each other with each side featuring guards, grenadiers, armored cavalry, etc.  However, in BAR except for the time spent getting cannoned in the approach, the card system for who moves and fires first negates that advantage.  One can argue the merits of the approach endlessly, but the reality is that a balanced game with chances for both sides can be easily created using the points system.

I found myself in the unusual position of commanding almost all the Gallian cavalry.  A huge mass of heavy, medium and light cavalry was put at my disposal on our right flank, opposed of course by equally determined opponents.  Todd and I squared off as the wing COs.  Isn't that how it always goes?  You travel to a game or convention with a buddy then end up playing against him.  Used to happen to me all the time when I was a tournament chess player.

The Britainnians were in Spiny Norman formation, that is to say a giant hedgehog.  Our Grassins looked to work around on the left while I was charged (no pun intended) with overwhelming the enemy cavalry and turning the enemy on the right.  Todd and I were engaged immediately in a see-saw battle.  Both of us were new to large amounts of cavalry so I don't know if I used better tactics or just got luckier.  But in the end I was able to drive off the enemy cavalry, capture two standards, and even rout a severely depleted Britainnian battalion charged in the flank. 

In the end we were triumphant all across the field and I was given the makings of my first monument, borrowing from the honored traditions of Grant and Young.

Despite the success enjoyed I think I'm just a ground-pounder at heart.  Till the next game.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

18th Century - Battle of Korbach - Prelude

The daring duo of Todd and myself, plus my good friend Brent who came in from the Twin Cities, traveling to chez Protz for a pair of BAR (Batailles des Ancien Regimes) games on October 30th.  I was asked to bring my cavalry for a pre-game game.  Little did I know how much cavalry I was going to see that day.  Regrettably I forgot my camera, so the spectacle is lost to us.

In the first action, from one of Grant's Tabletop Teasers, my force of three light cavalry units, one dragoon and one cuirassier regiment were charged with riding hard to secure a distant bridge.  The scenario called for two of our lights to be dispersed scouting with the main column halted.  Meanwhile, on the bad guy side, they were surprised by our appearance and had to roll many dice to determine their state of readiness.  It could have been pretty horrible for them.  But, Brent was up to the task and rolled phenomenally to basically negate the surprise factor.

Cavalry is a fussy weapon.  Powerful when used right, but often a one-shot wonder.  As our lines crashed together I saw a variety of tactical choices made by players, some of which worked, and others that didn't.  In the end it came down to the saving throws as the bad guy cuirassiers suffered unexpected losses at the hands of my dragoons.  Their force was pretty much in flight within the prescribed time limit.  We then shifted to the main event, a set-piece battle between Gallia and Britannia.  Described, hopefully with pictures, in the next posting.