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.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Oshkosh Game Day

Just for our group, the Fox Valley Wargamers.  We had different gaming interests last Sunday so we went to our favorite shop, Adventure Games in Oshkosh, WI and used two of their tables.  One for a Russo-Japanese War game and another a mid-war Flames of War North Africa game.

The RJW game was the historic action at Port Arthur immediately following the Japanese "sneak attack."  Rules were Naval Thunder: Rise of the Battleship.  The Flames of War had slightly less than 100 points of Germans and British squaring off.

An "annihilation" battle, much of what you see wasn't on table yet.

Battleships leading, cruisers following.  Russians at zero movement.
The action was the Japanese attack on Port Arthur the morning of their destroyer attack on the anchored Russian fleet.  While the Japanese did not immediately know, two of the battleships and one armored cruiser were "hors de combat" and could not fight.  The others had steam up and could begin moving on turn 1.  Historically Togo formed two columns of major ships and ran in close before the Russians could make much speed, daring the shore batteries (marked on the table with thumbtacks).

Russians slowly getting underway.  Advantage lost.
We quickly found that outside of 20" it wasn't practical to shoot.  So the long range plan of Togo would be for naught.  It also negated the Japanese range advantage with main guns.

Battle is joined.  Game mat is gorgeous.
Both sides had recon to do an initial move forward, but soon came under heavy fire from large numbers of tanks on both sides, particularly the British as their tanks are much cheaper than German.

Wasting no time starting fires.
The British pushed on their left and tried to hold in the center.  The Germans had no trouble hitting the British armor, but had a lot of trouble blowing them up (fire-power test).

Closing the range, Japanese AC prepare to attack.
My command was the three Japanese armored cruisers.  Six Japanese battleships squared off against five functional Russian, three armored cruisers and the shore batteries.  I left off a Japanese cruiser division for play balance.  I thought the shore batteries would have a significant effect, but I was wrong.  Historically Togo was very concerned about them.

Germans can't buy a firepower test.  Lots of hits, little destruction.
The Germans began to be whittled down as the British made critical dice throws when they really needed them.

Taking evasive action while trying to close to torpedo range.
I had considered giving the Russians a -1 to hit due to their historic abysmal record, but nothing was needed today as the Russian dice were colder than a glacier.  Only the Japanese damage control rolls were keeping them in the game.

An engine room hit forced one AC to fall back, but the Russians
are all tangled up and masking each other.

And then they were over.  The Petropavlosk got a second severe list result and rolled over and sank.  The rest of the fleet began to run for the inner harbor.  On the other hand, as we rolled out the damage results even though the game is over, both the Mikasa and Fuji succumbed to flooding results.  This information would not be known to the Russians immediately though, so they would likely stay in port.

The Germans were cleaned off the table in the other game.  I didn't witness the end but one turn they were fighting and the next they were picking up.  Both players seemed satisfied however.

Seven players gathered to roll dice and Adventure Games were fine hosts as always, providing the tables.  Till next time!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Battle of Cressey

The invasion and attempted annexation of Rondovia by the militant nation Latveria has not gone well so far.  Despite easy (foregone?) wins early and holding the Arsenal, defeat at the Battle of Four Bridges left them needing a win to continue.  At the beginning of the campaign we were asked to allocate forces for the coming battles.  As fate would have it, the Latverians are attacking a superior force in this critical battle.  Three Litharusian regiments of 60 figures each combine with the Rondovian Augsburg regiment of 48 and the Grafenwhor light battalion of 30.  This against three Latverian regiments of 60 each and the glorified brigands known as the Grey Foxes.  Each side has four squadrons of cavalry but the allies have three of cuirassiers, while the invaders only have two armored squadrons.  Finally, a Rondovian medium gun rounds out the order of battle.  Rules are "Batailles de l'Ancien Regime" (BAR) by Bill Protz.  Release the hounds of war!

The allies wait while the lights scout forward.

"For whom the bell (tower) tolls."

The invaders got to see our deployment, then march on table.

On our left the Phull Cuirassiers immediately charge and melee.
In BAR potential casualties are plentiful but saving throws can negate them.  In the above match-up between Rondovian cuirassiers and Latverian hussars, it should be an easy win for the heavies.  Better numbers in the melee coupled with a superior save, 3+ on a d6 vs. 4+ for the hussars, make the cuirassiers the odds-on favorite.  But, that's why we use dice.

The cuirassiers are thrown back, but pass morale.
It was a tough day for morale tests.  I do not believe a single infantry unit passed a morale throw.  Only the cavalry (sometimes) knew how to make a successful test.

As usual, the Latverians got the early first fires and together with
a trumping joker inflicted a lot of potential casualties.
All day my saves were either unreasonably high or unreasonably low.  So I suppose they balanced out in the end, but early on when it mattered most my dice were on fire.

"Run away!  Run away!"
The Rondovian lights, with their only shot of the game scattered some Latverian hussars, only to be charged by cuirassiers.  In open order they had no chance of standing so successfully evaded.  Round two of the melee had the cuirassiers push the hussars back, but their morale held.  Only one more round of melee is possible.

Abysmal saves by the Latverian commander made the first of
several infantry regiments on both sides rout.

Hack 'n slash, hack 'n slash.

Now it the turn of a Litharusian unit to have to test and of course
rout.  A reserve unit filled the gap.

The Rondovian infantry, sensing an opportunity, advance without
Now we came to the critical point.  Each side has lost an infantry regiment on the right and all are damaged.  Each side has had some cavalry rout.  But, the allies have been given a joker by the deck of cards, so a critical first fire is ensured.

Routing the Lilienberg hussars, the cuirassiers pursue, catch
and destroy them.

The melee continues as the Rondovian infantry advances and the
lights reorder behind them.
We all assumed that the odds would catch up to the hussars, but the third round of melee saw them win again and the Rondovian cuirassiers, below 50% strength, could not stand.  Elsewhere the Latverian cuirassiers showed how it was done by routing Rondovian hussars and catching them in pursuit.

The remaining Rondovian cuirassiers have had enough and rout.

Confident, the Litharusian brigade comes to grips with the enemy.
As the Litharusian infantry advanced, their two cuirassier squadrons maneuvered to charge and put an end to things.  On the other wing the Rondovian infantry and 2nd Battery put the final touch on an enemy regiment, which forced to test morale, routed.

Rondovian front is cleared, cuirassiers are ready to charge.  The
lights have reformed and protect their backs.

General Gogal and his AdC have reason to be pleased.  General
Orlov will be denied his chance to charge with the heavies.
It was now two shot-up Litharusian regiments and the fresh Rondovian infantry against one line and the small light battalion.  The Litharusian regiment that routed, who will remain un-named to protect their honor, rallied in the midst of Cressey amid the whistles and jeers of the populace.  The Latverian cavalry was either routed, retreating, or far removed from the main battleground.  So their commander ordered a retreat.  If there was another battle to follow we would have vigorously pursued and perhaps captured or destroyed them.  But there was no reason to shed more Litharusian blood for Rondovia, so we let them go.

In the days that followed the battered Latverian army limped home, only modestly pursued by the victors, happy instead just to see them go.  The only combat now was diplomatic in nature as Count Lippe of Litharus went to work to secure the future.  In the end, the final treaty ensured that Rondovia would come under the protection of Litharus while retaining its independence.  Litharus will provide garrisons as requested to guarantee the security of Rondovia and the Rondovia military will serve with Litharus in time of need.  The question of war reparations and the store of missing gunpowder from the arsenal were left for another day.