Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Another Tale of Two Battles

On Labor Day we got together for some Flames of War before enjoying a barbeque under the dining fly in the back yard.  Participants were "instructed" to bring a 1900 point force for each side if they had armies and we'd switch tables and opponents.  All lists were to made up using either "Road to Rome" or "Fortress Italy" sourcebooks.  The tables and missions, though not OBs, were taken from "Battles for Italy."

Goums defend at night vs. Panzer-grenadiers.

British attack dug in Falschirmjagers.

Objectives were placed per the scenario.  Bummer for me.

Looks promising for the New Zealanders.

A night game and we rolled very poorly for sighting.  Dan took
advantage of it, as he should.

US tank destroyers killed two Panthers but we failed the "tank
terror" test to assault and so the game ended.

Meanwhile Bob was finding the Panzerfaust armed Germans tough.
After German wins on both tables we switched off.  I shelved the Goums and pulled out a Herman Goring Division Aufklarungs company to face Bob's Commonwealth forces.  Todd took his victorious Germans over to face a new group of Brits.

HG Halftracks roll.

Falschirmjagers attacking into a meat grinder.

Even firing over open sights the artillery couldn't stop us from
seizing both objectives.  Game over.

So as a warm-up for an October tournament, the games were short and brutal.  Following was a BBQ of assorted meats, corn on the cob, cole slaw and medicinal beverages.  A great way to enjoy a national holiday and spend time with friends.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Band of Bumblers

For the game I pulled out the old school Wooden Ships and Iron Men by Avalon Hill (now Hasbro).  Models are 1/1200 scale, mostly a mix of GHQ, Skytrex and NavWar.  We set the date at 1794 while the French still had some captains who knew their jobs.  Seven players, all out of practice or playing for the first time divided up the commands.  The combined fleet featured six French, three Spanish and three Dutch ships of the line and frigates vs. six British ships of the line and three frigates.  We rolled for crew quality with the British most crack and elite as expected, the combined fleet significantly lower, especially with the Spanish (my command).

The disjointed (by scenario) allied fleet sails past snacks.

Dutch in the distance, then Spanish and two French columns.

Meanwhile, the stately "Band of Brothers" sails in formation.

Both fleets started the game with good wind, advancing at a "quarter reach."  As we converged and elements began to maneuver we were required to roll for possible wind change.  Naturally it swung 120 degrees counter-clockwise to place all but the Dutch in "irons."  With the wind beating directly into the sails, all forward movement stopped and the British could now set the time and place for the battle to begin.

Sacre bleu!

In the confusion that followed, there were many foulings.  Most notably when HMS Powerful (84), crashed into the Santissima Trinidad (136).  Grappling hooks went out and the two were pulled together.  Keeping his men at their guns the Powerful only designated a small number of crew for defensive boarding parties.  They were quickly swarmed by the poor, but numerous Spanish.

The trailing British squadron looks for an opening while the Dutch
attempt to close up.

More ships collide and grapple.  The Spanish attempt to get the
Powerful underway.

We use a modified critical hit table and my second ship, the San Telmo took a critical causing a conflagration to erupt.  Bad, but not unbeatable.  All I have to do is avoid rolling a... "Ka-Boom!" as the dreaded six comes up on a d6 and she blows up.

The wreck and a dice to represent how long she will remain a
hazard to navigation.

A broad view of the developing battle.  All order is lost.

As a final insult, we manage to have four ships collide and foul
in the same turn.

Pulling apart and starting to disengage.

The diminutive Helder cannot win this fight.

The captured Powerful attempts to escape.

The Spartiate, which had previously been taken, will be recaptured
in the confusion that followed.

The final tally for losses was as follows:  HMS Powerful - taken.  HMS Pallas struck, but was later recovered.  San Telmo 74 blown up, total loss.  Achille 74, taken.  Bucentaure 80, taken.  Spartiate 74, taken but later recovered.  Helder 32, taken.  The crew quality modifications often represent three or even four table shifts when looking at an elite 74 facing a poor or green 74.  Which all seemed fitting an proper to us.  The game result, especially after the crippling shift in wind, all felt "right" and satisfactory.  Guess we'll have to work more of this into the line-up.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Battle for the Arsenal

The small country of Rondovia lays at a strategic juncture of rivers and mountains, is rich in resources like saltpeter, and is bordered on three sides by Litharus to the east and north, Latveria to the west and north, and Procland to the south.  As such, the passage of armies is not unknown to its inhabitants. 

It came as no surprise then, as dawn broke at the gunpowder arsenal outside Petersville to see the approach of hostile Latverian forces.  A well-trained (by Litharusian "advisors") battalion took station at the firing steps, while the town militia was summoned.  Unfortunately the simple structure, though offering hard cover, could only accommodate one rank of firers at a time.

Rules are our usual "Batailles du Ancien Regimes" by Bill Protz.  10:1 figure ratio, card activation for movement and firing and an old school flavor.  The mini-campaign that this kicks off is driven by one of the publications by Charles S. Grant.

The arsenal on the left and alarmed village.

In the distance, light troops approach.

The eager Latverians waste no time in a summons, but immediately
open fire on the walled arsenal.

Latverian hussars move to cut off any escape as
the Border Foxes deploy and add their firepower.

Slowly tightening the noose as musketeers and grenadiers march on.

Observing the village and enduring the galling fire of the militia
who actually dropped one.

The Border Foxes continue to earn their sharpshooter status.

A wagon rolls, loaded with scaling ladders.

The gallant defenders are taking heavier than expected casualties.

A patrolling squadron of Rondovian cavalry arrives and finds
itself on the flank of the Latverians.

Musketeers form as the ladders arrive.  They will have the honor
of the first assault.

Casualties and the sight of  the scaling ladders brought out the
surrender flag from the garrison.

The Latverian commander, Duke Alten, examines his prize after
the garrison vacates.

The town militia quietly disappeared into their homes, hiding their muskets and evidence of firing as best they could.  Petersville had been occupied before and likely would again in their lifetimes.  So make the best of it.  The Litharusian advisors had slipped away sooner, to carry word of the action and estimates of Latverian strength.  Is this a raid, or an occupation attempt?  Casualties, which are carried forward in our mini-campaign, were light for the Latverians in general. 

Friday, September 2, 2016

Medieval City in Cardboard

Before our last game Bob brought over his collection of cardboard buildings he has brought back from yearly visits to Russia.  I've seen these on eBay and they are amazingly durable.  Pre-cut and colored, they set the stage for a great medieval walled city. 

Beginning the set up.

These "ladies" are from Bob's private collection.  The ones that come
with the buildings are 2D.

Buildings open up and are fully detailed inside.

The main keep.

A bridge over troubled waters?

The wheel turns and inside a mill stone awaits grain.

And when it comes time to storm the castle, scaling ladders are provided.

In Russia these are just a few dollars each.  I saw a nice set on eBay for around $140 which seems pretty reasonable to me.  Since these come flat and have to be assembled one empty suitcase is all it takes.  Treasures from other lands.  Now to plan a game or role-playing session around it.