Friday, August 19, 2011

Some Colonial Campaigning

Faced with some really messy jungle areas I put the Ghurka troops on the left front and split the Highlanders with the officer leading the larger group on the left while the sergeant performed recovery duty with the ponies (you can see some wounded still on them at the start of the action).

All of the Pioneers are massed together to back stop the Ghurka, while the remaining Brits (in Khaki) are to be first cover force and be ready to form firing line immediately.

Somewhere around these jungles are some Zulu like spear forces with my objective to put the village to the torch.

The Ghurka got into action much faster than anticipated, they did well however they were forced to flee with casualties that ~ in this territory ~ are not easily accepted.

One thing I will say about card systems that include any sort of 'end of turn' card in them. They take away very much of any players freedom to plan or act. What they do create is a sense of 'what is most important to move' as you may only get ONE unit to move (or maybe NONE! ~ something that really BITES and I take umbrage at such a rule as one bad luck with the cards and you end up standing around getting whomped ~ not much fun nor is it any sort of 'recreation'). Thankfully I had moved most of what I wanted to when the dreaded HALT! card came up TWICE! in as many turns with less than 1/2 of my force moved.

The Zulu guys came at my flank after the poke at the vanguard. This time there were two major forces that could fire as they came out into the open. Only three of them made the first charge home, the total of 8 got into hand 2 hand. Then they ran away, only 2 from the charge. Combined with the remaining 6 was less than 1/2 survivors ... they started to flee.

Then the crazy move cards created a rear attack potential, something that my recce had indicated was not possible.

At least the cards gave me the ability to get the leading two units to "ABOUT TURN!".

Once again withering fire, fleeing Zulus. This time only 1 of 20 even got away.

We prepared to engage the village, still not certain that I had dealt with all the opposition...

That was when the one British officer got wounded. Lucky shot from the one rifle armed Zulu.

All in all a good start to the campaign action ... we shall have to see what develops for the others now.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

...A Near run thing!

Last Wednesday my youngest son and I had game time together.

He said that he wanted to play a game on the table with the 'red men', meaning my British Napoleonic forces.

So I asked him did he want to attack or defend? He said attack.

Then I set up a 13 unit vs 9 unit British attack on a French force, I took the French.

My youngest son then wanted to write out his own plan and get it all going his own way...this took some time to write up, then we put our minis out on the table and started what turned out to be the closest match of SHAKO I have yet played to date!

We ended up setting up asymmetrical to each other with my Dragoons on my far left more or less centered on his main line infantry battalions.

Since the British had all of the movement arrows, they moved first every turn.

My son chose to push his light infantry forward first, to see if he could get into the town sector I held. My move was to drive at his infantry line with my Dragoons before they could move out of the way of the light batteries on the hilltop.

The counter move-was with his cavalry, to smash them into my light infantry holding the edge of the farmers fields...

The rest of the British forces simply moved up along their attack arrows.

This was the major test of the early game, the British chose to fire, and failed, the French chose to form emergency square, and failed!

From this the British Light Dragoons drove across the fields, while the French Dragoons shattered the British line and then half of the attached light artillery!

This put my young son into a panic, he was down 1-0 (needing 5 to win and I needing 7) and felt that his situation was not recoverable ... I warned him that in another two turns he could be in a position to win the game with some luck. He chose to continue after some time away from the table.

On our return to action, my Dragoons got to smash into the other half of his light Cavalry force, while his light Dragoons took out my light Infantry battalion. This caused a Division roll for me and him. He got a "2" and had to fall back to the board edge with his light Dragoons, I got a "5" which meant carry on.

Every turn so far when my artillery got to fire I would roll "1"'s on turn three this changed ... with devastating effect. Three "6"'s caused mayhem in the line Infantry advancing. Then the French Dragoons had to attack (or just be shot to bits), this they did, and failed utterly. The Highlanders fired getting 2 hits and then the charge was a 6-1 result destroying half of the Dragoon division, now another morale roll ... a "1" = rout! The French Cavalry and 1/3 of its artillery were in flight from the field...suddenly my young son was ahead 3-1!

Now the pressure to get the win for the British side was on!

The British Lines poured forward to musket range and hammered out shots, trading with French units at the river, the difference was that the French had artillery. Now the tide began to turn as the British units steadily lost men, while the French were only temporarily disordered.

By turn 5 there were too many casualties in the British lines, they had lost 75% of the division, this meant immediate rout for the Highlanders were the only unit left.

As the French commander I was relieved as the British Grenadier forces had crossed the stream and were now BEHIND by left flank! If I did not get rid of the infantry facing my Grenadiers then they would be either fired on the rear or most likely charged from the rear!

Thankfully for the French this did not happen, meanwhile more French losses had happened outside the town, now a Division morale roll was needed, this time a "2" and I only had to fall back to the board edge... Score at this point 5-3 each of us needed only 2 more units to break and run to get a win.

The French had re-set the guns to face on the former left flank and my Grenadiers turned about in time to fire on and disorder the British Grenadiers, they did not rally! This meant that the Royal artillery battery was going to be vulnerable.

In order to give the advancing columns time to get up and to press the attack my young son committed his Grenadiers to a wild column attack against a steady French Grenadier battalion in line. What a reversal!

Over in the town sector the French were being forced out of everywhere, except for the corner of the fields, where a greatcoat wearing battalion charged and routed off the field the British unit that was holding them down.

Again it was time for morale rolls, this time the British did not fare so well ... a "1" sent the 1st Brigade of the light Division off the battlefield, combined with the other losses, this brought the action to a close at the end of turn 6.

Final score France 7, Anglo 4.

Without a doubt this was the closest fought action using the SHAKO rules that I have ever played and was pushed to the limit by a five year old!

Bravo to my young son!

Enjoy the eye candy (click to see them larger) and please leave your comments or discussion items.

Update October 6, 2011:
This game turned out to be the last on my gaming table at home.
The space has been sold now.