Friday, November 24, 2017

Pub Battles - Antietam

I recently had a chance to play a new game (for me) at my friend Gordon's hobby shop - Adler Hobby.  The game is "Pub Battles, Antietam" by Command Post Games.  This is a unique board game system with a canvas map - no grids, no areas to control movement.  You use a couple of movement and range sticks to determine how far you move and shoot.

The play pieces (see photos below) are wooden blocks with stick-on labels with unit type and command designations.  The unit types include infantry, cavalry, artillery, supply and commanders.  The units represent infantry and cavalry divisions.  Artillery reserve "divisions" are also represented as are supply trains.  The artillery provides fire support to attacking units and the supply trains help rally units.

The game has a historical limit of deployment, but players get to chose the actual location of each unit.  Each Corps on the board has a command token which is put into a bag and drawn out one at a time.  When the token is drawn, all of the divisions in the Corps moves and fights.  When a division loses a round of combat, it is turned on its side to represent that it is reduced in strength.  If it loses another round of combat before it has a chance to rally, the division is destroyed and removed from play.

In this game the Union are in the role of attacker and the Confederates are in strong defensive positions.  The Union has a very large numerical superiority but the Confederates have interior lines and can move troops quickly to meet the Union attacks.

Here are some photos that we took during the game:

Defending on my left, I start a strong push on my right.

The first attacks are met with strong resistance.  The units with designations turned up have been defeated for the first time.  If they lose another round of battle before they can rally, they will be destroyed.

The attacks on the right start to make headway.  Also, I made a successful attack on the sunken road in the center of the Confederate line!  It was a huge surprise to me and really put the pressure on the Rebels!
 

The end of the battle.  I have cleared Sharpsburg and there are only a couple of depleted Confederate divisions between my forces and the Rebel lines of communication.  We deemed it a significant Union victory.


During the game that I played I was the Union commander.  I was able to use the superiority in numbers to overwhelm the Confederates on their left, my right and fight my way into and through Sharpsburg.  I even forced the crossing at Burnside's Bridge!

Overall, this is a really interesting game system.  There are now several battles available including Brandywine (American Revolution), Marengo (Napoleon in Italy), Little Bighorn (American West) and now Antietam.  The games are a bit pricey for a board game as far as I am concerned, but they are simple and fun to play.  Overall, I would encourage you to give them a try if you have a chance to play.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Rebasing New 28mm Figures

If you look at my Hobby Activities you might notice that I have added quite a few figures to the "28mm figures rebased" section.  That is because I recently purchased 48 painted cavalry figures and 24 painted infantry figures as well as 8 painted artillery figures and two guns and two painted mounted officers.  These figures have substantially increased my French Napoleonic forces.

The cavalry figures are four 12-man regiments of the Imperial Guard Cavalry.  I have taken pictures of one of the regiments, the Empress' Dragoons.  I also have the 1st (Polish) Cheveaux Legere Lancers, the 2nd (Dutch) Cheveaux Legere Lancers, and the Chasseurs a Cheval de la Garde.

Here are some photos of the Dragoons:

The regiment in line.

The regimental commander and trumpeter on the left and the color bearer and escort on the right.  All I have left to do is get a proper regimental standard for the Eagle and get it mounted on the color bearer.


A close-up of a couple of Dragoons.

The bases include an area painted with metallic paint.  Unit markers for each squadron is mounted on sheet magnets and cut out.  The unit makers include identification as well as training level (in this case Elite) and special capabilities (in this case Shock Cavalry).  These designations are part of the rules set we use at our club - Napoleon's Rules of War.
I have been looking forward to collecting these units for many years now.  My specifics in Napoleonic gaming has always been with the cavalry and the Guard Cavalry represents the best of the best of French horse during this time period.  I am glad that I was able to finally find them painted and ready to base.  I am looking forward to their first time on the battlefield!

I will post photos of the rest of the new troops when I return home from the Thanksgiving holiday time with our daughter and son.


Monday, October 23, 2017

Northern Conspiracy Game Day 2017

Our good friend, Ed M. planned and executed a wonderful Napoleonic themed game day at our local club.  The game was simply MASSIVE with several hundred figures on each side.  Prussians vs. French with the Orders of Battle from the Waterloo Campaign and the terrain we fought over was the field of Ramilles of 1706 fame.  We used Napoleon's Rules of War written by our very own club member, Charlie G.  It is a great set of rules with the main maneuver element being an infantry battalion, cavalry squadron and artillery battery.

For this event, I had the honor of playing the role of Marshal Grouchy, Commander of a reinforced French Corps d'Armee.  In the weeks leading up to the game day itself there was a lot of planning.  We set the order of arrival for each of the divisions (3 line, 1 Young Guard, and 1 Reserve Cavalry - Dragoons) along with an artillery reserve and an attached Hussar Brigade.  Along with the sub-commanders I was able to develop a general plan to assault and secure the town of Ramilles.  The plan also included the deployment of four advanced guard detachments each of a Legere Battalion and two squadrons of Chasseurs a Cheval.  During the approach march on game day we were able to adjust our assault plan on the fly, but there was not much that we needed to modify as we had a pretty solid plan.

The table-top game was a hard fought affair and we wish we had more time to really get to a conclusion.  We had the typical ups and downs as determined by General Dice.  We were not able to push the Prussians in the North as much as we wanted, but our Hussar Brigade was able to hold off a major push by a full Prussian Brigade in the southern part of the field.

Overall the battle was adjudicated to be a draw, but it was a tremendous amount of fun for all involved.  Many thanks to all of the hard work that Ed put into the preparations of the game and for Ed and Charlie for running a great game.

Following are a few of the photos I took of the game in progress:


The Prussian opponents from across all three sets of tables.  Closest is the French (our) approach table, the center main battle table and then the Prussian approach table.  Players were nominally not allowed to go to the center table until they had troops on the main board.  No one from the French table was allowed to go to the Prussian side of the table during the game.

The indomitable French command team.

The French approach table.

Friendly conversations as the first units arrive on the main table.  The conversations would soon turn into banter between commanders locked in the grip of mortal combat!

An advance guard force composed of a battalion of the 36eme Legere and two squadrons of the 4th Chasseurs a Cheval.
The French advance guard forces move onto the main battle table.

The French 2nd Division maneuvers south of Ramilles.

Prussian commanders look over their options on the game QRS sheets.  In the foreground is the French 2nd Division.  In the middle distance left is the French 1st Division moving to secure the town of Ramilles.

From the top of the table is the French 3rd Division moving to secure the Corps' Left (North) flank.  In the middle 1st Division and the Young Guard move to secure Ramilles while 2nd Division moves just south of the town to put pressure on the Prussians covering on Ramilles and to secure the French Right (South) flank.  In the foreground is the heroic separate Hussar Brigade which held off a combined arms attack from a full Prussian brigade.


The Young Guard and reserve cavalry move on the French approach table.

Prussian commanders try to figure out how to stop the mass of the French Dragoon division as it appears on the main battle table.

Prussian commanders on the French Right flank as they face yet another attack from the dreaded Hussar brigade.
Another view of the dashing Beau Sabeurs of the French Hussars!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Game Night - Napoleon's Rules of War

Played a game of Napoleon's Rules of War at game night last Friday.  We were playing a practice game for the upcoming Game Day scenario.  It has been a while since I last played NRW so this was a great chance for me to get reacquainted.  As we played the game I began to recall why I like the system so much!  Simple to play, but gives a very realistic result if you play using authentic Napoleonic tactics.

Here are a few pics of the evening's festivities:


The Prussian commanders begin their deployment. From left to right, Pete, Byron, Bob and Mike.  They did an excellent job throughout the evening.  I think they will be formidable foes come Game Day next month!

The French commanders likewise prepare their troops for the battle.  From Left to Right; Rob, Ralph, Earl and Charlie.  It is always nice to have the author on your team!

Prussian National Cavalry lead the attack on the French left flank.  When I first looked, these looked like Dragoons.  Fortunately for our side, that was not the case.  These light cavalry were all Earl could handle as Pete put in a really effective combined arms attack.  Ed has done a great job painting, basing and marking all of these units. I really like the unit tabs Ed has developed as it makes it very easy to track units and use the game play sheets.


Earl's French infantry defend the left flank under heavy attack from Pete's troops.  I didn't take too many pics as I was very involved getting back into the rules.  This picture also shows the unit ID tags that Ed has developed.  Rings on the units represent hits and as a unit gains these hits it begins to 'waver' which affects its combat effectiveness.  As additional hits are accumulated, the unit routs off the board.  A very effective way to limit book-keeping.


The Prussian players in disbelief as Earl rolls lights out and the French left holds firm.  At the end of Turn 1 the French players had the same look on their faces.

Overall the game went very well.  Ed was trying out some slight rules modifications like an additional bonus when defending in line.  Ended up not being such a slight modification and the game really swung on a couple of battles that would have gone the other way if the modification hadn't been made.  I'm thinking that Ed might put it back to the original version for game day.

During game day I will make sure to take more photos of the troops in addition to the players.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Finally Back On-line - Chosen Men Game Report

Well, it has been a long time away, but I am finally back!  I have had a great summer doing some traveling and having many visitors at the house.  It has been a good time, and now as fall is on the horizon and the trees start to change from green to various tones of yellow and red, I am returning to the hobby table.

Last night I traveled to Manchester and tried out the new (for us) Chosen Men rules from Osprey Publishing with my friend Gordon.  We did a pretty simple scenario using my War of 1812 figures.  Gordon played the British and I handled the Americans.

The British had two infantry squads, a Major Commanding Officer and a single Spy (horse mounted). As the Americans, I had a Major Commander, two infantry squads and a half/squad of Riflemen.

Gordon set up a great looking table.  Because we were both playing our first game of CM we took it very slow and basically read through the rules as we played the game.

Here is a couple of photos of the game as we came together at the end of Turn 1.

Americans on the right and British/Canadians on the left.  The Americans defended the wall very effectively and  we used the 'Feint' strategy to make the British Light Infantry squad to break cover and charge.  They ended up being short of the Americans during the charge and were out in the open to be fired on.  Gordon decided to try and shoot it out with the Americans and even with his great rolling, the wall provided enough cover to leave the Americans in possession of the wall at the end of the game.



I did not take any other photos as we were spending so much time reviewing rules and concentrating on the game itself.

The rules themselves are pretty interesting.  We each had four units and that seemed to be about right for what a new player can handle within an evening game for fun.  We played about three and a half hours of actual game time.  We played through five turns during the game and by the end of the game I think I had a pretty good sense of how to play.

The game mechanics are interesting with an alternating of units moving through its actions then an opponent's unit getting to play and back and forth until all units have moved.  That is one turn.

Infantry fire combat is a bit cumbersome with three die rolls, hits-saves-kills.  It could probably be reduced to two rolls if modifiers were inserted at one or two levels, but if you are doing a beer & pretzels type of fun game have fun rolling your hearts out!

The other thing we learned is that cavalry is particularly effective against exposed infantry.  On two occasions Gordon killed several infantrymen with a single mounted figure (including all of the half squad of riflemen).  Infantry needs to be in the correct formation and needs to be under strong leadership to be effective against cavalry to their front.  We think that the Hold and Fire order is one of the potentially effective ways for infantry to confront cavalry.  Once contact is made by charging cavalry, they will be devastating on an infantry squad.  Of course, Gordon was rolling lights out, so that may have been part of the outcome.  Sometimes you can't fight General Dice!

We also noticed that as casualties increase the morale checks come more and more often. Gordon faced this with his Light Infantry in front of the wall.  He passed several checks but as the unit took additional casualties, he had to take more checks and he finally broke.

I like the rules.  I hope to have a slightly larger game sometime soon.  I hope the second game goes as well as this first attempt.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Big Anzio Bolt Action Game

Yesterday, I had an opportunity to participate in a 10-player Bolt Action Game at Adler Hobby.  We we playing a stylized Anzio scenario with five Allied players defending the beachhead against an attack from five Axis players.  Gordon set the scenario in the historical context of the start of the German offensive of Operation Fischfang. This would mean tired Allied units facing strong German units including armor and heavy artillery.  The saving grace for the Allies would be strong artillery units on the beach and a preparatory bombardment called in by a British Forward Observer.  Many of the Allied units would begin the game dug-in giving them the 'Down' modifier while still allowing them to shoot.  The plethora of flamethrower (both vehicle and man pack) in the Axis army would negate most of the benefits of the foxholes, but it would help against other weapons.  Each army was a 750 point base with available extra points/units from the campaign capped at 1000 points.

Here is the excellent beach side of the board set-up by Gordon at Adler Hobby:


The Allies are on the left and the Germans would advance from the right.  The next photo shows the Axis portion of the board.  Each Allied unit began the game with one pin marker to represent the hard fighting they had already done prior to the start of the German offensive.


The Axis side of the board including their initially deployment units.

The Germans would push very hard on both flanks and straight down the road in the center of the photo above.  My forces (Fench CEF) along with a British force would face the center and the German halftracks on the right of the photo above.

The British/French flank of the battlefield with the initial deployment of Axis players.

Bold first and second turn moves by Axis forces (flame tanks) in the center.  The tanks would include riders who as Veterans wearing body armor, would stand around the brown building for almost the entire game.  They caused some significant damage.

British and French forces on the Allied Right Flank.  The German halftracks on the right of the photo would get nearly to the water's edge, destroying many allied units on the way.  But the British troops would give good amount of themselves as would the French in front of them.

The battle proceeded through the first six turns and the Allies were hard pressed with only a few squads and one Sherman tank left on the beach.  The Axis forces were closing in for the kill!

Then the miraculous happened.  All of the Axis units within range of Allied troops on the beach fired during Turn 7.  It came down to one German command squad firing at the remnants of the last French squad.  Only one rifle was left to shoot and the die was cast.  IT CAME UP A "1"!!!  The French survived!  It was just barely an Allied victory!


The two remaining infantrymen from an Algerian Tirailleurs squad who, along with a lone American Sherman tank would secure the beachhead for the Allies. 
This was one of the best games I have played in for a long time.  My hat is off to my Allied co-players and all of our Axis opponents.

At the end of the game Gordon had some really cool awards and raffle prizes.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Huzzah! Game a Success

My game at Huzzah! on Friday night went pretty well.  I had six players and all seemed really engaged and interested in the scenario.  At the end of the game the Freedom Fighters (FF) had outgunned the French/Moan government troops and secured the crashed aircraft.  The dice gods were definitely against the French and government troops during the game as the Freedom Fighters had activation dice drawn consecutively on several occasions.  The FF players took advantage of the fortunes of war and took pretty aggressive actions which resulted in the destruction of government vehicles and several infantry squads.

Here are some photos of the action:

The Moan armored cars seize the crossroads on Turn 1.  They would not move again in the six move game!  

The Moan troops, from the 22nd Airborne Commando Battalion and the 63rd Mechanized Regiment move up to support the armored cars.  

Kitty Hawk down!  The aircraft crashed right near the crossroads.The armored cars had already been destroyed.  The Freedom Fighters have a squad along the wall of the building at the top right, a motorcycle rider at the bottom right and a squad in the building at the tail of the aircraft.  They also have the government troops in the building a the bottom of the photo under fire from several different units.  The French would try to close in from the top of the photo, but they would not be able to extricate the Moan troops from the kill zones.

The French troops coming to the rescue!  Well, at least they are trying.


The Freedom Fighters mass for the attack!

A close-up of some infantry of the Democratic Republic of Moa.

By the end of the battle, the Freedom Fighters had not only secured Kitty Hawk, they had destroyed eight of the allied units and killed or wounded several French soldiers.  The political fallout for the French government may be so severe as to cause the withdrawal of French regulars from the DRM.  What will happen as the Freedom Fighters continue their push south further into Moa?  Stay tuned to find out!