Friday, May 17, 2019

Nikephorian Byzantine versus Imperial Romans

Bit of a time warp, but Dave and I were giving Impetus Second Edition another go and trying out different armies.  His are old Minifigs and mine Tin Soldier.

I can just make 400 points with my Byzantines, 
but I'm yet to purchase figures for the command stands.
I normally run duplicate commands, but this time I went for one foot and one mounted.
Luckily I won the deployment rolls and deployed second.

We were in action with the very first turn.

We have now learnt how to do reaction fire 
and our game became a whole lot more interesting.

 Whoop!  Subgeneral's expertise locked in.

Turn three and I'm struggling a bit, well a lot,
one of my cavalry units disintegrated, 
however I am working around the Roman's left flank.

 What's not to like about a set of rules that upgrades me to Genius?

I don't need my foot to win, just to hold up,
while my cavalry do their magic.

But it was not to be,
close, but...

On turn five both sides lost a command (as marked by the stars - these units break),
sadly my slightly smaller army and the aforementioned lost cavalry unit, 
tipped my side over its breaking point.

An excellent, tense game.  And I must get some command figures!  The ones I have are all embedded in the units which is fine for Basic Impetus.

And here's an action replay to finish off with:


Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Moving the Mountain

Previously I have posted on my ACW Plastic Mountain and on the few Airfix Confederates I had painted.  In the past two years not one bit of plastic has shifted and I don't see that changing.  However I do know of a good home for them and that is where they will go, along with these figures from Atlantic which I thought I might get around to doing for Pony Wars.

This represents an excellent rationalisation as I have a major investment in 15mm ACW (and a bit of stuff for Pony Wars too).

I can now report that this mission was accomplished last Saturday and this particular mountain, well, shoe box really, is now with the ANF.

The Airfix ACW sets and Wagon Train are quite beautiful, but much better they get some love rather than collect dust.

Battle of Cape Finisterre - 1805

The pressures on.

First it was on the ANF, principally Julian, to come up with a set of rules that would work for grand fleet actions and he has done just that, with the eponymously named Grand Fleet Actions in the Age of Sail set of rules by A and A Game Engineering.

Second and more harrowing, is on me to do justice to the grand game we played on Saturday with this blog post, which I fear is already late.  James got in first with his post here.

The only real challenge we faced, in what is a very large naval game, was ship identification.  There is not a lot of differentiation in the SoG models, but Julian had numbered his ships.  However this numbering was on the shiny black bottoms of the vessels in a shiny dark blue.  To read them required picking up and a lot of peering.  Some discussion was held about adding tiny, numbered pennants. I know for my SoG models that it can get fiddly, but adding flags certainly lifts the beauty of the models.

I still reckon the SoG ships are a sorry tale of missed opportunities.  Having seen how well Zvedza can manufacture things (and Kinder Surprise for that matter), it should have been possible to have removable masts with different sail settings and displaying damage etc.  Also the boxing with all the SoG paraphernalia is a mistake.  However I am sure there were some good business reasons for why things turned out as they did.  End of grumble.

Sadly I do not have the OOB and so I will be naming squadrons after the players, not the historical counterparts.

Each side had four squadrons.  
Julian had the lead French squadron followed by myself, 
then Mark B and finally James in command of the Spanish.
The British were lead by Olivier,
followed by Stephen and Mark W
with their fourth squadron hidden by the fog.

The battle was fought in fog and to reflect this command radius had been halved, which resulted in ships sailing in line astern (I think that is the proper naval term) to keep in command.

Also note, the paper next to each squadron was all that was required to keep records of damage etc. 

Just the British fleet, aiming to intercept and destroy their rivals.

The French fleet seeking to exit the the sea zone.

The French had the wind,
it is possible that this hampered the British,
but we'll see...

As Julian's squadron nears the enemy,
the forward two British squadrons start to open up like a set of jaws.

Julian's squadron gets first shot, against Olivier's ships.

But then it was time for Stephen's ships to come up,
and blast away at Julian's ships.

Olivier's ships get to return fire.

Julian's squadron is now heading down the throat of the British.
Mark W's squadron is coming up to close the trap.
Julian is doomed!

Stephen gets another set of broadsides in against Julian.

But now my squadron has come round to engage Olivier's ships,
which are trying to bear down on Julian's now somewhat fragmented squadron.

Julian is pulling away to port into the path of Mark W's four ships of the line.
However Olivier's ships are trapped between mine and Julian's tail.

Olivier's ships take a pounding.
Worse, his flag is lost in a failed boarding action.
Can it get any worse?

Yes.
Damned fine dice rolling by me causes one of Olivier's ships to explode!

Julian's ships are taking a battering from both Stephen and Mark W's squadrons.
But Mark B has now come up and will give Olivier some more heat.

Julian's two lead ships have been dispersed by Mark W's squadron
 which is now attempting to engage my squadron.
My ships return fire, carefully trying not to hit one of Julian's damaged ships.
Stephen has failed to seriously damage Julian's squadron
and is possible going to Olivier's rescue, or not...

Hopefully the labels make things a little clearer in the above image.
My squadron is the thin blue line, Julian's the slightly thicker line.
Mark B's squadron is now engaging both Olivier's and Stephen's squadron.
However Oliviers squadron is so wrecked and demoralised that it is no longer a real threat.

Olivier's ships struggle down the line, now coming under fire from the Spanish ships.
Mark W's ships have turned to come down on the rear of my squadron, 
but will not cause any serious damage.
Mark B's lead ships are engaged with Stephen's...

My squadron and Julian's have now broken free and 
even some of Julian's previously lost ships have regained their colours.
The British reserve squadron has now come up against Mark B's squadron 
which has broken through Stephen's ships.
(There is actually a bit of intermingling, but it would spoil the image to label it all up)
Olivier has sailed harmlessly past the Spanish who will now engage Mark W's squadron.

And there it came to an end, with Julian declaring he would fight on alone, if necessary.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Ardennes'44 - Day 8, Part of Christmas Day and Closure

Today Richard and I continued GMT's Ardennes'44 (2nd Edition) game to a point of closure.

At the end of our last play the Germans held five victory locations and just needed one more.

 Their best chances were Rochefort ...

... and Dimant.

While Dimant on the Meuse had significant British forces nearby, they were under orders not to cross the Meuse.

 The German hold on St Hubert was also under pressure.
Especially when nearby Panzer divisions suffered fuel shortages.

 After some vicious fighting the Germans were able to get reinforcements into St Hubert.
Would they be enough?

 Midday 24 December.
The US attacks from the south are running out of steam (lower left side of the image),
but those from the north continued ( middle right side).

 The Germans even tried a night attack against Dinant, 
in an attempt to capture it before reinforcements arrived.

 Rochefort continued to hold out.

 And the US kept up the pressure on St Hubert.

 Christmas morning.

 The US have broken through and seized Marche-en-Famenne.
It was a bit flukey, but a hole in the lines, is a hole in the lines.

 Midday on Christmas Day.

 St Hubert is surrounded and no longer counts for German victory.

 Dinant holds out.

 The US forces are driven out of Marche-en-Famenne.

But Rochefort falls.

Perhaps the Germans could have gone on to take Dinant while the British looked passively on, but the situation on the northern front was not conducive to holding their furthest position.

The game played really well, but the victory conditions at the end seemed a bit unrealistic.

Friday, May 10, 2019

A Walk in the Dead Woods

I've been wanting to do some more Songs of Blades and Heroes for a while.  I also wanted to move towards a campaign if possible.  My chance game when my planned game of Impetus was delayed.  Songs quickly stepped up to fill the void.

My aim was to keep it simple, but provide context.  As such the Goblins were all Q4 C3 and the Skellies Q3 C2.  My justification for the difference in ratings were that the Goblins were carefully scouting the area, but better armed against the more ravenous Skellies and their improvised rusty weapons. 

The Goblins, under the ruse of walking their dog, were attempting to scout the wood.  It had six locations and they needed to visit each one and then return to complete the mission.

The dog was on random control.  First throw a dice, halve and round up.  That gives the number of dice to throw for activations for the dog.  It was Q3 and well motivated to sniff out bones...

After throwing the number of generated activation dice and seeing how many passed the Q test, that then propelled the dog in the direction of the various locations, based on a dice roll (each location was numbered 1 to 6 making this very easy).  It would move Long in the direction and multiple actions could see it running all over the place.

If it succeeded in coming into contact with a location it would have a sniff and see if it found any bones.  One dice was thrown and the resultant value used to throw further dice.  For each of these subsequent dice that were equal to or more than the Q value of a Skellie, a Skellie popped up (so 0 to 6 Skellies could appear each time the dog visited a location).

If on its activation roll the dog threw straight 1s, it is considered to have soiled the environment, angering the local Dryad.  A dice was then thrown and the Dryad placed (or moved if already on the table) to the associated location.   The Dryad is a static creature otherwise and is a Q5 C4.  On the turn of her placement she will attempt to lure any Goblins within Long to her and fight them.  The Dryad (and the dog) can not be killed.  If defeated the Dryad is removed to reappear katter if the dog does it business again.  To test the allure of the Dryad, a competitive die roll is made between the target Goblin and the Dryad, each adding their Q value.  If the Dryad wins the Goblin is moved to the Dryad which them attacks the ensnared Goblin.  (I think this process can be improved on using the basic Songs mechanics.)

 This was the set up with the party of Goblins and their dog, Precious, entering on the left. 
The locations were numbered 1 to 6 going clockwise starting at the top left hand corner.

Mark B controlled the Goblins, 
Stephen N the Skellies 
and I umpired, rolled for the dog and the Dryad.

 Immediately the dog dashed to location six
and dug up two skellies who then moved to the centre. 
The Goblins scouted location one.

The goblins then scouted location six while the dog shot off, 
hopefully not to do any more digging or to disgrace itself.

 The Skellies attack a Goblin!

 After dispatching that Goblin they then went after another.
This was the start of a hopeless set of low die rolls by Mark, 
matched by high rolls from Stephen.

 The dog digs up two more skellies.

 The Goblins seem paralysed by fear.

 But they fight back.

 Meanwhile the dog is having a grand old time digging up lots of old stinky bones.

 The Dryad was angered by the dog fouling everywhere, 
but luckily for the Goblins she was too far away to try out her charms.

 Bones on the march,
much to the dog's supposed amazement it is assumed.

 All Goblins dead :-(