Tuesday, 3 July 2018

4cm Hex Desert Mat

Just taken delivery of a 4cm hex 4' x 6' cloth from www.tinywargames.co.uk. The light hexes work really well, and the mat is a lot darker/yellower than the image looks. A bit shiny but that might go. Will rebase all the Rommel units as single vehs on 4cm hex bases similar to  my existing WW2/1985 units, and then look to play BKC3 when it comes out or my own MechWar (when I finish it), or something else suitable.

Rebasing the figures is going to be a pain though....

Also need to think about terrain - do I do hex shaped (which looks weird) or overlay hexes on the sand hills I've got (which is what I've also done for WW2/1985).

Also aiming to use the cloth for Modern/Afghan and SF skirmish combat - be interesting to compare to the 1" 2' x 2' cloth I got at Games Expo.

Monday, 2 July 2018

Battle of Sombreffe - Day 2

This is the latest chapter in a Blucher 100 Days Campaign that Nick, Alan and I started, and now Nick and I continue. Previous posts under the 100 Days tag.

The story so far...

The French crossed the border on 15th June, but rather than split their forces made a bee-line for the Prussians en-masse. Luckily the Prussians were heading W will all speed to link up with the British, leaving a sole Division to guard their supply lines. A tardy Prussian picquet meant that the French caught the Prussians a day too early, and battle was given at Sombreffe on 17th. It was the reverse of Waterloo with Blucher being heard to say "Bring me Wellington or bring me night!" and Wellington duly arrived on Bluchers right flank in time to stabilise the situation with a wonderful whirling cavalry melee.

At night fall neither side was broken, and no one had all the objectives, so the troops spent the night on the field, and at dawn Napoleon attacked again.

Now read on...
Turn 2 underway
Both sides started with densely packed blinds. As French I decided to attack on the flanks, and its probably simplest to describe each sector in turn rather than tell the story chronologically. All directions relative to the French.

Eddie Izzard's Own defend against French Chasseurs (OK Hanoverian Militia!)
Far Left

Aware that yet more British were expected the French pushed fast up to and into the woods, pushing back light British opposition. However the British rolled for the reinforcements at the earliest possible time, so they counter-attacked and push the French out of the woods. A fresh French line moved forward but the British were dogged by low Momentum dice for the whole game and so were never able to capitialise on their advantage on this flank, and both sides troops pretty much then sat out the game.

Guard Horse - this was certainly a battle of forward artillery

A bit more open ground here made it ideal for Cavalry. The French cavalry pushed forward and ran into a couple of British guns. Their horse gun started inflicting damage, but was then charged by British cavalry and the whole day became a tit-for-tat of cavalry charges and artillery pushed forward, of which the French probably got the better of it, ending with all Allied guns gone, and the (weakened) Household Cavalry being seen off by a 1st (Light) Cavalry Division chasseurs!


Nothing to see here. The woods had seen a bit of fighting on the previous day, and a whole weakened Prussian Korps spent this second day hiding behind then until the very last turns. The Imperial Guard also started centrally with the idea that I could go and exploit whichever flank was going best, and so from mid-game onwards it moved to the right.

Cuirassiers about to charge the Scots Greys
Right Flank

The small hill on the Prussian line had seen a lot of blood shed the previous day, and it would be the same today. The initial French move was a bold reconnaissance by a Lt Cav Bde and a Foot Battery (!), the latter coming a cropper as it passed the edge of the wood (bottom right in table photo) and was ambushed by Prussian cavalry. Once the Lt Cav all saw each other off it was Inf and Arty from the French that pushed forward, a delay from some fresh Lt Cav that had to be cleared away, a Prussian counter-attack and then the assault on the hill , the first wave failing but the YG and MG (and even OG) finally carrying the day. One Chassuer unit it to within 2 hex of the Prussian base-line, and again all the Prussian artillery was destroyed.

The French Guard capture the hill on the last turn

At night fall there was no clear victor, a lot of casualties but certainly a sense that the Allies had come off worse as they had lost almost all their artillery and most of their cavalry was weakened.



The final bill was:

French:   4 destroyed , 5 made understrength, 10 reduced in elan (already under)
Brits:   2 destroyed , 6 made understrength, 0 reduced in elan (already under)
Prussians: 5 destroyed , 6 made understrength, 2 reduced in elan (already under)
Allies Total:   7 destroyed , 12 made understrength, 2 reduced in elan (already under)

So whilst the French suffered less damage than the Allies it was close (19 to 21), but the real hit was a) the loss of most of the allied artillery and b) the Prussians now have 14 units destroyed, once they hit 20 the French have won!

Rounding up the sheep ahead of the French advance!
A few comments:
  • Still not in love with the Blucher rules, particularly with different mechanics for firing and melee so you can't remember if your changing dice or DMs
  • Still odd how fast artillery fades
  • Should have had four M0 dice, as for most of the game large swathes of troops (esp Brits) were never activated
  • Played nice and quickly though and we were finished in time to the wives out to a pub lunch!
Rather than risk a Sombreffe Day 3 it was decided that both sides would retreat 1 square on the campaign map, and that the battlefield squares would be out of bounds for the next days moved whilst bodies were recovered or plundered.

Before the game moves on though there's a small skirmish up at Gembloux to deal with where a French flying column has hit the Prussian rear guard!

A few final photos:
Chasseurs at the charge!

The fight on the Right Flank

Prussian Guard defending the wood

Whole table shot around mid-game

Scots Greys try to take out the gun

But are counter-charged by Cuirassiers

Dutch-Belgians defend the left wood - whilst  fox sneaks away behind them!

Prussians and French clash

Tuesday, 26 June 2018


Work colleague using OculusGo

OculusGo came out today. We got our last week to play with and certainly impressed - most usable VR option so far - but miss 6 DOF (Degrees of Freedom - i.e. ability to move laterally). Will see how well it works with my 3D/VR VTT concept - probably not well without 6DOF!

Monday, 25 June 2018

Battle of Hopton Heath v3!

Finally played the 3rd version of Hopton Heath - this time with the non-BOD version of my SLS based ECW rules. It certainly played slightly differently to the other two, it went on a bit longer, units lingered spent rather than disappearing, and all in all I felt worked the best of the lot. The overall shape was pretty similar though:

  • On the Royalist left the dragoons seized the enclosures, pushed the Parliamentarians spent into the rear enclosure and positioned themselves to bring flanking fire on the Parl' cavalry - only time this was achieved
  • On the R flank, the Roundheads beat the Royalist dragoons, and threatened the Royalist runs until the cavalry came to scare them off
  • The cavalry conflicts typically separated after 2 turns with blown horses, neither side having enough of a benefit to beat the other - it was 1 on 1 after all. Also cases of refusing to charge.
  • Artillery fire caused damage, but no excessive
  • The cavalry charging through the warren suffered form both that and first fire which stopped them in their tracks. They tried to walk in and if the infantry had had the sense to go hedgehog then the cav would have run off spent, as it was the cav, reasonably, managed to get in to hack the infantry sleeves, but it was a close run thing.

So I think I'll abandon the BOD mode, but I will play Hordes again on my next Medieval outing to refresh myself on what I liked about it before deciding to stick with that or write my own - and of course I will try a few other rule sets - such as Bloody Barons that I bought a while ago.

Thursday, 21 June 2018

20mm Sabot Bases - Production Line Mode!

Getting ready for the second day of the Battle of Sombreffe in a week's time. This should be the last battle in our Blucher 100 Days Campaign, with me taking over the French after Alan sadly failed his final real-life save roll a few months ago.

I've been gradually working up a sabot design for my 20mm Napoleonics, with an extra deep back bar to take any labels (custom cut by Jim at ProductsForWargamers). For the first big batch the Cavalry were fine, but the Infantry were still a bit shallow (all the flock on my bases adds 5mm when three deep!), so I've had to manually cut off the backs, move them back, restick them and fill in the gaps!

I've now spray painted the lot of them (some ace cheap spray from the local Cass Arts shop - half the price of GW/Humbrol) - and that's about 2/3 of the Inf drying out, and have about half that number of Cavalry ones. Next job is to flock found the edges. The base labels are all lined up on the Excel sheet, so all should be ready in time for the game. Just need to clear the dining room.....

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Battle of Leipzig - 20mm Mega-Game

I was lucky enough to take part in a 20mm battle of Leipzig mega-game staged by Francis Long (of the Napoleonics 20/20 blog) with about 20 players drawn largely from around Reading and the South East and ably umpired by Francis and Tony.

There were around 7000 figures on a three tables, each about 6ft x 24ft, arranged as a horseshoe to cover the N, W and E side of the battle, with Leipzig itself being conveniently the gap in the middle. Elements were battalions more or less representing brigades. The wargame covered only the first day of the battle (16th Oct 1813) whilst things were still quiet open.

The area around Markleeburg

Francis has done a detailed AAR on his blog so I'll confine myself to what I was involved in.

I started out as Oudinot with a Bde of YG under my command, but off table in reserve on the Southern sector. Given the mass of Allies to our front, and the relatively long reserve deployment times it was agreed to pull Oudinot and a Bde of Lt Cavalry onto the S table asap. I arrived Turn 3, between Liebertvolkwitz and Wachau, behind the Galgenberg. Our merry team on the S consisted of Marc on the extreme E holding off the Austrian hoards, Bill (who I've played with for years now at Liphook) defending Liebertvolkwitz , myself, Adrian also coming from reserve to defend Wachau, and Mike and Bob covering from Wachau to Markleeburg.

With battles raging either side of me my first big threat came when Russian Guard Cuirassier (under Mark, who was my opponent for most of the game) came out to try and clear their front. I gallantly sent my lancers and hussars against them, and luckily Francis' rules don't differentiate between lights and heavies too much (just +2 for Guard) so I was able to exchange my lights for his Guard heavies. That then left a bit of a gap so my horse batter came out to play and raked enfilade fire on the Prussians attacking Wachau and helping to relieve the pressure on our defenders who struggled all game to keep the village. By nightfall we still held the key villages, with only Liebertvolkwitz not being hard-pressed, but in the dim light of dusk we saw a Brigade of the Pavlovian Grenadiers and then a Brigade of Austrians line up against us - it was going to be a tough second half.

The Northern Sector
The next day, the sun rose and the Austrians had miraculously been moved all the way out to our far L. The lines were redressed and we still faced the Pavlovians, some more guard heavy horse and a row of batteries on the ridgeline. We started with a few turns of counter-battery, with my Young Guard battery firing over 5 turns and never hitting a thing, although the foot battery next to it, rolled with the same dice, hit every turn. Then it was time for the cavalry to get to grips again, and I now had two Brigades of Guard cavalry, and a series of charges and counter-charges, backed up by some artillery fire, eventually cleared his cavalry away. Nicely all of the cavalry action meant that the Pavlov Grenadiers had to stay in squares, and by the time the melees were over I could still keep them there with my cavalry whilst my horse guns moved up to pound them. Since it was obvious that I was unlikely to face a heavy infantry assault from those boxed up mitres my Young Guard moved R to help defend Wachau.

Looking W over my sector, Wachau in middle distance
As the game drew to a close we ran out of time to really exploit the gap in the centre. The Pavlovs were taking damage each turn, and there was even a gap behind them where my cavalry could swing round the Prussian rear. I'd also handed one Cavalry Brigade off to Bill to help delay the Advancing Austrians on the L flank.

My Horse Battery delivering enfilade fire
Overall a great game, and very genial allies and opponents. The figures and terrain were wonderful, and I hadn't realised how many people were still playing 20mm Napoleonics - great news! The rules were well, far better than the Liphook ones and far more suited to this sort of big game. There were a few things I'd disagree with, but that's always the way, but at least they were quick, led to few debates, and seemed to give mostly realistic results.

The allies assault Liebertvolkwitz

The whole day was graciously hosted by Francis, and everyone was a delight to play with, so a great weekend, and one it would be great to repeat - and the French victory was well-deserved!

Francis and Marc mid-game

Friday, 8 June 2018

Hopton Heath #2 - My Bucket-of-Dice Rules

Every back to their starting places...

Now to play through the scenario again, using the "bucket-of-dice" version of my nascent ECW rules. I tried the BOD approach with my medieval rules after Agincourt last year so thought I'd try them out here. Card based activation and my custom ECW cards all laid out.

A similar Dragoon - on - Dragoon battle on the flanks as before. The opening salvos quite lethal but then with dice lost for open order (firer and tgt) and soft cover (-'ve for Royalists) settle down in Turns 2 and 3. Units can take ~5 hits before breaking, most Dragoons have now taken 3.

The parliamentary foot is again being battered by Roaring Meg (well in fact meg keeps missing and its the light gun which is scoring the hits!)

Left (Royaist) flank with the Roundheads in the enclosures. Every unit dices for Troop Quality ONLY when they first need to know it. A good smattering from +2 to -2 with most at 0 as expected.

Not hanging around so the Royalist charge (gallop) forward to meet the advancing (Trotting) Roundheads - and no mistakes about column! The Roundheads have a TQ of -2 so unsurprising they get routed by the Royalists. The victors roll for the follow-on and get advance but not pursue and so gallop into a risky spot in the midst of the Parlimentarian units before they run out of puff.

Actually feeling less keen on the BOD model as it does give big swings each turn, may go back to my custom D8 - but actually the +/- die I picked up at Games Expo are working very well for determining Troop Quality so I may use those. Will run this game to conclusion and then try with the "old" ECW set - I think with this few DMs the BOD approach is maybe superfluous.