Saturday, 11 November 2017

The Moathouse of Blighty Bog

Uh oh! Five weeks and no update... I have had a serious distraction from gaming and posting in the form of a Caribbean vacation and an all consuming terrain project. At times, I felt like Richard Dreyfuss in "Close Encounters", with his obsession in building a cool piece of terrain.

First the vacation - A week on the beach and in the pool in Jamaica. I can recommend the Bahai Principe in Runaway Bay as a great place to visit.

While I was there, I read my DnD books for the first time and many years and prepared to Gamemaster a game when I got home. I read an old DnD module from 1st Edition called "The Village of Hommlet". I loved the art in it and always wanted to model the castle but didn't know how 30 years ago when I first read it. I made some sketches of a bunch of terrain ideas, but also sketched out the castle with a plan to build it in 28mm. I wanted to be able to use the castle for wargaming as well, so I built it in pieces. This would allow me to reconfigure the wall sections and add sections at a later date.

Here is the art from the module

I made use of my Grade 8 drafting class skills

I did not take any "in progress" pictures. I was pretty focused on getting to completion. Also, my sweet camera is on the fritz. These pictures are courtesy of my wife's cell.

This is a scrap piece to show the components. The fa├žade is 5mm foamcore with the paper pulled off. The wall is 1" extruded polystyrene. The base is 3mm MDF. I used a pen and scored in the bricks. I credit Black Magic Craft on Youtube for the technique. Check it out.

This is the main keep and the biggest piece in the model.

The Inner Keep 8" tall

Ruined tower + rubble

Smaller round tower and gate

6" Wall Sections

14" wall sections

2 ruined corners and a ruined wall

Inner and Outer Corners

The Moathouse

Courtyard made from cobblestone matt from Michael's

From the side

The next two pics compare the build to the art

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.