Monday, April 29, 2024

Virgin Queen Again - Completed (More or Less)

The game must go on!

England, with some delay, retook Dublin.  The Scottish nobles rebelled giving Edinburgh to England along with Mary Queen of the Scots.  Francis Drake circumnavigated the world (after a careful reading and rereading of the rules for this endeavour) and is now Sir Francis Drake.  A lovely fleet of raze galleons was built and deterred the Spanish (who were busy fighting the Ottomans anyway).  Unfortunately, the Scottish nobles rebelled again, and Edinburgh went to France and contributed to that country being declared winner.

For the record, France has 24 VPs, almost a win and so close and with our time having run out, won.  The Ottomans were second with 21, then there was a tight cluster with England and Spain on 18 with HRE on 19 (and one key short of automatic victory).  Protestants trailed at the back with 11.

There is a degree of complexity (along with chrome) that made play a bit challenging.  Piracy, once the Spanish have fortified and put out patrols, doesn't seem much value.  No spying/assassinations were attempted.  These things all require precious cards which are in short supply, particularly for England.

Patronage seems good value, and I would say a must. Marriages can be a bit hit and miss, but at least don't cost cards (unless they fail).

A wider view of game events is provided here by Richard (Protestant player):

Ottomans - built the Suez Canal, colony in Mombasa, captured Tunis
fought Spain in multiple gigantic naval battles, nearly circumnavigated.

Spain - Awash in treasures from the New World with Treasure Fleet Card
appearing 3 times, but mired in trying to put down the Dutch rebellion
and ultimately failing, surprised by a late game attack from the HRE
which saw the loss of their Italian capital, Milan, built the Armada but
directed it at Ottoman naval power, fighting it to a standstill. Finally
buckling under the weight of three conflicts in different parts of the map.

England - Elizabeth still unmarried, reclaimed Ireland after a
rebellion, allied Scotland, but lost it to French diplomatic influence.
Regretted making peace with France as this limited opportunities to
recover. A couple of successful colonies and scientific discoveries.
Came up with a novel interpretation of what "circumnavigate" means.

France - Busied themselves organising very successful Valois weddings,
sponsoring artists and scientists, a couple of colonies in the new
world. Avoided Huguenot rebellions. Avoided doing anything actually and
ended up leading at end of play.

Holy Roman Empire - Backed the wrong horse in the religious war at least
initially, although protestant fightback well underway at game's end,
nearly pulled off the first ever military victory across Here I Stand/
Virgin Queen games. Generous to protestants with free mercenaries. 

Protestant - Failed map reading/understanding the power of rebellion
until turn 4. Appalling card draws (one hand full of Mandatory events),
limited cards, pounded mercilessly by Spain, including loss of only
colony, staged a turn around late in the game.

Friday, April 26, 2024

Sui Dynasty Chinese versus Huns

As a learning exercise, I lent my Huns to Karl and used his Sui Chinese.  It took 21 turns, and was rather close, but victory to the Sui.  To spare you 21 images, and after a bit of trouble finding a JPEG to GIF convertor, I created the following.

Searching for JPEG to GIF convertors gave me a few false starts.  I knew I had done it easily before but when?  A search of my blog posts for a GIF brought up, eventually, an example.  I was super happy to find was still around.  Highly recommended!

Sadly, I hadn't taken the photos with creating a GIF in mind and so things move about a bit, but for an investment of ten seconds I think you can follow the action well enough.

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Stolberg Corridor - Day Two

Perhaps not the most perfect recreation of the battlefield from the previous session, but certainly a good fit.  This game saw Simon (US player) and I continue the campaign.  Day one can be found here:

This is the map used for Day Two.  Germans set up in rows 13 to 15 with two units further forward in row 11 adjacent to Zweifal.  Aachen, which is to the left of, but includes the two left hand built up areas on rows 10 and 11 required 3 units of US infantry to cover it off map.  This major city also means that the adjacent hexes were prohibited to US troops.  This makes for a very narrow front, as be fits a corridor.

The deployment.

The US are very crowded while the there are gaps in the German lines as we shall see.  There is also the 47th Regiment, 9th US Division to enter, lower right-hand corner.  German reinforcements will not arrive until near the end of the day.  I expected it to be a quick game, but Simon's ability to regularly roll 1s and produce abortive combat outcomes, saved the day for the Germans.

The view from Stolberg after the US second turn 
(Note: the first turn for both sides had been completed at the end of the first/previous session).  

First of many attacks against the 105th Panzer brigade holding a line of pillboxes in high ground.

The start of fighting to clear the pillboxes before Ellendorff.
While objectives hadn't been specified,
capturing Ellendorf and the high ground behind it
was essential to sealing of Aachen.

Continued attack towards Ellendorff.

The pillbox line under attack again.

The 105th Panzer Brigade continues to be hammered,
but more concerning a battalion of US infantry has worked its way through the marsh,
outflanking the town of Busbach and capturing part of the pillbox line.

Another attack towards Ellendorff.

This is the situation after the third or fourth US turn,
they have been able to breakthrough using movement rather than combat,

Ellendorff again.

The ridge and Busbach.

Rinse and repeat

Something different, an attack on Zweifal by the US 9th Division.

Ellendorff and attack on the pillboxes covering Stolberg.

The 105th Panzer Brigade still holding out,
but a more threatening attack developing to their rear.

Zweifal remains in German hands.

At this stage the German position on the left has been isolated.
It just remains for the US to tighten the noose. 
It's a bit hard to tell who is who so I've drawn in the front lines:
With the exception of the intrusions on the left and centre, the front line hasn't changed much.
The hashed area is where US zones of control isolate the German defenders.
But the 9th Panzer Division will arrive soon...

The renewed attacks on Ellendorff from the US perspective.

And attacks on the ridge taken from the US side.

The defenders of Zweifal still holding out.

The US still trying to clear the way to Ellendorff.

The ridge takes another pounding and there is also an attack to isolate Vicht.

The US keep attacking.

Zweifal keeps holding out.

The noose tightens on the Germans defending the ridge.

9th Panzer arrive and make an attack!

This is such a rarity it deserves two photos,
and yes, the hill was an oversight when we set things up.
The German attack achieved nothing.

The US finally capture Zweifal.

The ridge holds but it is surrounded.

Ellendorff and the heights remain in German hands.

These two photos will be used to recreate the battlefield for Day Three.

The final position as seen from the US side.

The night turn saw both the US and Germans use saved Ops dice as Support Points to rebuild units.  Without any coordination this just happened to be six units each leaving the Germans with 3 Ops dice and the US 2 for the next day (15 September 1944).

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Virgin Queen Again

In an amazing feat of organisation, we were able to assemble six players for Virgin Queen, the sequel to Here I Stand.  We had familiarity with the rules and game, but suffered from time elapsed since our last game, so had to look up and check a few rules from time to time.  That said we got through three turns in about six hours with only a few mistakes.

Pascoe, new to the game, was the Ottomans, Mike was Spain, I was England, Jeff France, Simon The Holy Roman Empire and Richard the Protestants.

The board from the English perspective.

Spain (22) has a strong lead in VPs, followed closely by the Ottomans (20) and French (19).  Then there is a gap to the HRE (15), another decent gap till England (11) and then the Protestants (3) a long way back.  Things can change quickly and iirc a few players are just two keys short of automatic victory.  Plus there a random prizes, some of which are VPs.

From England's history book the war with France was brought to an honourable close, but the Spanish fomented an Irish rebellion which, with the Protestant's prodding, produced a war between England and Spain as well as some ill-advised piracy on the Dutch coast.  Piracy in the New World was more successful, and England also established two colonies, with modest success.   

The was a bit of a slowdown in the middle period as England had very few cards, but things picked up at the end and troops were landed in Ireland to reclaim the island for the Crown.  Unfortunately, bad weather (for which Spain can take the blame) saw this enterprise delayed.

The highlight was a successful marriage between these two:

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Huns versus Sui Dynasty Chinese

Not a revenge match for when my Seleucids lost to Karl's Chinese back in early March, but a serious game in my club's Basic Impetus League competition.

Chinese out scouted.

The Chinese bravely advance as the Huns mass on their right.

Massed Hun horse archers start inflicting damage on the Chinese cavalry,
while some brave Hunnic skirmishers screen their flank.

The Hun light cavalry either evade or (luckily) hold their ground,
as the Chinese cavalry charge.
The Chinese foot has squashed the Hun skirmishers.
The brutes!

The Chinese cavalry bravely fight on, but it does not look like a fair fight.
The Chinese foot march blindly on.

Chinese cavalry dispatched,
now the Huns look for another target.

The Chinese attempt to reform a line.

Those large units are unwieldly and make a big target.

The Chinese start to melt away under the endless cloud of arrows sent their way.

Game over.