Thursday, 5 October 2017

My New Shiny

One of my 6x6 challenge games was Dungeons and Dragons. Except for a few hours playing while driving to Huzzah, I have made no head way in getting this game going. I have had a recent inspiration which I hope will reverse this trend.

I have been watching the excellent "Terrain Tutor" videos on Youtube. I clicked on a suggested title called "Black Magic Craft". This series is produced by a guy in Winnipeg. He makes lots of sweet looking fantasy terrain for his DnD games. He uses insulation foam which is easy to work with and cheap. I bought a couple of foam cutters off Amazon and a bunch of foam and voila!

pink styro - work in progress
 A weekends work
 Also bought a black clothe to lay the tiles on

 Diaz with casket

Hot wire table saw!


This cutter works great. I am excited about the possibilities this baby can produce. I also bought a cobblestone mat from Michael's with the hope of converting it into roads at some point. I trotted out all my 28mm buildings for a photo op.

Dark Age buildings

Some still need paint

I started this blog to inspire and motivate me to play more games. I have accomplished this goal but feel I am missing the artistic and creative side of the hobby more and more. I think next year will be a more balanced approach as I continue to build my terrain collection. I am not adding any more figures except for the odd fantasy figure to keep my painting chops up. I will be doing a terrain wish list in a future post and will likely set some target goals for the new year.

Monday, 2 October 2017

The Battle for Charleroi 1815

I have been reading the excellent and free Ezine "Warning Order". They often publish 2 generic scenarios in an issue. I have been printing these off and putting them in a binder. Today I got to try one of these out. The scenario is called flank attack. This sounds dull but the write up is more interesting than the title sounds. As I read the scenario, I thought it bore a passing resemblance to the opening battle of Napoleon's 1815 campaign - Charleroi. 



French cross the Sambre 



The French crossed the frontier into Belgium at Charleroi at the Sambre River. The Prussians held briefly before retreating. I pulled out a French and a Prussian force to match the suggested list in the scenario. The objective is to capture Charleroi and not take 50% casualties for the French. The Prussians must hold the town and wait for reinforcements.


Prussian cavalry threaten the French advance

Forme Carre!


The Prussians were attacked by a larger French force but held good defensive terrain. The French opened the attack by attacking the hill that defended the towns flank. They also formed up to assault the town. The Prussians did their best to stall the French and had some success with their cavalry.


French flanking force arrives behind the Prussian defenders

Napoleon secures the hill

Prussian reinforcements started to arrive a few at a time but had a long march to get to the front lines.


Charleroi falls!

Prussian lancers counter attack

 Prussian reinforcements form up before withdrawing

The French rolled well and got all their reinforcements on turn three and they were in good position to help the attack on the hill and stall the arrival of the Prussian reinforcements. The Prussians fault valiantly but were eventually ejected from the town and hilltop. The Prussians did not have enough strength remaining to retake the town and withdrew to fight another day...

Friday, 15 September 2017

Talavera Redux

We recently played the battle of Talavera in 15mm using Commit the Garde rules. The details are in a previous post. We agreed that the scenario was interesting enough to try again so I reset the terrain and switched sides to give it another go.

In the first run through of the battle, the French tried to ignore the British and attack the Spanish. In this battle the French plan was to pine the British in the center and break through the difficult terrain on the exposed flank to force the British to defend 2 fronts with inferior numbers. 
French foot face of against British guard cavalry


The French pressed ahead on the flank with 5 infantry and 2 cavalry with Marshall Victor making sure it all went to plan. A large firefight occurred across the stream with both sides taking casualties. The French flanking attack bogged down in the difficult terrain but drew off valuable reinforcements from the Allies. 

The Spanish defending Talavera remained in their field works except for 2 cavalry units who came out to threaten the French left. Slowly but surely the French plan was coming together. The British were having to withdraw badly damaged units and became the thin red line. The French made a breakthrough on the right but were hampered by the terrain and the loss of three generals over the course of the battle.
Wellington's HQ
 British units retreat to the hill for a last stand


Just as the the lines were starting to break up into a free for all, the Spanish cavalry on the French left was joined by the lone Spanish general, broke through the French defenses and proceeded to roll up 4 infantry units, clearing a large swath of the French line. The remnants of the cavalry unit survived to tell the tale and were hailed as the heroes of the battle. French morale collapsed on the following turn.


Remnants of the heroic Spanish heavy cavalry



The battle was a real nail biter. Both armies were extremely worn down at the end but the French could not recover from this cavalry charge on top of other losses. 

For future games, we will add a rule that allows cavalry in good order to evade attacking infantry if they pass a morale check.

Thanks for an awesome game John!

Saturday, 9 September 2017

The Long March to Battle

I finally got to play my Talavera game tonight. I had scheduled a game with some able players but this ended up falling through due to work commitments. I then failed to summon the motivation to play it solo before I left on a lengthy vacation. The battle was left on the table while I was gone.


I was able to reschedule for today and the battle was played to a conclusion this afternoon with fellow Armchair Commanders Jonathan and Martin. Jonathan commanded the French and Martin commanded the British, leaving me with the fragile but well defended Spanish.

We scenario allowed a free set up but we opted to try and replicate the historical deployment as best we could. The French marched the bulk of its army toward the Spanish army, cowering behind their defenses. They left one division to screen the British and sent another division across the river threaten the British flank.
French advance in the foreground and mass troops in the background left

The Spanish sent a rider galloping for Wellesley begging for reinforcements as the French were forming up to push against their fortified lines. The British obliged by sending their light infantry brigade from the reserves to fill an obvious gap in the Spanish defense. The Spanish also sent in an infantry brigade from the reserve to fill another gap as well. 

French view of the Spanish defenses




The French continued their redeployment toward the Spanish. In their haste, they failed to adequately screen the columns. Wellesley saw his chance and sent the British over the river to put in a spoiling attack. This was a little risky as the British abandoned their defensive terrain to do this and could be overwhelmed by French superior numbers. They had good success with the attack and forced the French to deploy 2 divisions against them that ere otherwise heading to battle the Spanish. The French could not capitalize on the British exposed position due to some poor activation rolls and worse reinforcement rolls. 

British spoiling attack goes in, surprising the French in column

The French division trying to flank the British line had some initial success in drawing off units, but was eventually repulsed with  heavy casualties. 

Battle overview


The French probed the Spanish lines but never seriously threatened it. They did not have the reserves they had hoped for to sustain an attack against the entrenched Spanish. a British brigade managed to break through and destroy the French HQ. The remaining British withdrew behind the river due to increased threat from French cavalry deployed from reserve.

View from the French lines as the British withdrew back across the stream


The French morale broke after the loss of their HQ. We agreed that the French numbers had been reduced enough that a successfully  breakthrough could not be achieved.

Victorious British brigade after knocking out Jordan's HQ


Good chance we will try the scenario again switching sides so stay tuned for the rematch results.

ACW and New Terrain


Ouch. It has been a long time since my last post. In my defense, I have been away on vacation for the last 2 weeks. Prior to my departure, I was able to finish a project and test it out with my 15mm ACW figs using Battle Cry rules. I built a frame for Command and Colors games to define the border of the games. This is the gray structure seen below, laid on top of my larger hex mat. I built this by cutting up the 3mm MDF board that was used as a template for the hexes on the mat. I finished it with chalk textured spray paint which I had not tried before. Very pleased with the results.

 I played a solo game of Battle Cry with the Antietam scenario. This was scenario puts  larger Union force against a smaller Rebel force in better terrain. The Rebels won handily 6-2.


Sunday, 13 August 2017

Switching Gears Again

Today I met up with the lads, got out my flying goggles and played some flying games. We had four players up at the local community room for a game of Wings of War (WoW) and XWing. I discovered I had been playing WoW incorrectly and was much happier with the game this time around. I ran a Spad XIII and ended up getting shot down in a nail-biter, head on showdown with Martin's triplane. Great fun and added to my to play list. Maybe add it to my next year 6x6.

Evasive maneuvers!

We also played a game of X Wing. Jonathan and Martin provided the miniatures and I brought my game mat. I played with Jonathan Scum fleet. I had two X Wings that were tasked with getting in the enemy's way and drawing fire from the expensive ships behind me. Martin ran 2 buffed up Tie Defenders. I love the look of these ships. They are too expensive for me to collect seriously but I did enjoy the game. Martin was once again the last ship standing.
Close Quarter Blasting

I lined up the perfect shot but couldn't close the deal :-(

I was going to play my Talavera game this weekend but there are a few people wanting to play so I am postponing until next Saturday night.

I have been watching terrain tutorials on Youtube, especially The Terrain Tutor. I really enjoyed making my game mat last weekend and am inspired to keep adding terrain. I plan to develop a wish list of terrain items to make/purchase and also design a table for a specific battle such as a WWII Italian in 28mm defensive line or 15mm Stalingrad. More on this later...


Thursday, 10 August 2017

Battle of Talavera 1809

I spent the weekend building a new game mat and hills for my hex based games and now it's time to try it out! I looked through my scenarios for Commit the Garde. I went with Talavera. This battle saw Wellington and his Spanish allies facing off against Marshall Jourdan and Napoleon's brother, Joseph, who was recently made king of Spain. As was typical of many Peninsular battles, there was very little artillery, the British have powerful infantry, tempered by their weak allies, the Spanish. The Allied army had taken up strong defensive positions on the outskirts of Talavera and the French are going to try and dislodge them.


Deployment - French on the left
French Centre looking at British held hill


 The bulk of the French are deployed against the British



The CtG scenario allowed a free set up of troops. I used the Napoleon's Battles Scenario to find a more historical set up and went with that. The French are deployed mostly facing the British. They have a significant reserve and could send troops against the Spanish defenses.

I am planning to play this game solo. I recently read "The Solo Wargaming Guide" by William Silvester. He suggested contemplating options for each side and assigning them a probability, then rolling to see which plan they go with.

 The French options are as I see them:
1) Attack the Spanish defenses and pin the British - This is assigned low probability because of the high cost of attacking defenses and the Spanish are worth only half victory points.
2) Attack to the left of the Spanish defenses and attack the Spanish while pinning the British - This is a weak point in the line but would be easily reinforced from each side. It would allow the French to bypass the Spanish defenses and defeat them in detail. This I assign a moderate probability.
3) Attack to the left of the Spanish defenses and attack the British while pinning the Spanish - Again, this is a good place to breach the line. The British are the primary target of the campaign and this would force them to redeploy a little. I assign this a moderate to high probability
4) Attack the British centre and demonstrate against the Spanish - This is playing into the defenders hand as the British are powerful and set up in defense. I rate this a low/moderate probability.
5) Attack the British right and roll up the flank - This bypasses the bulk of the British defenses and would allow the French to cross the stream before attacking the British held hill. The Spanish could easily abandon their defenses and reinforce the British. I assign this a moderate/high probability.
6) All out assault along the line and exploit where the cracks appear - A general purpose strategy but not good for concentrating forces in the attack and plays into the hands of the defender. I assign this a low probability.

The Allies choices are more limited. They have to set up first and start the game holding all the victory objectives. As a result they are waiting for the French to make a move and will react accordingly. There may be times in mid game where I will roll a dice to randomize a command decision.