Saturday, April 25, 2020

Blucher AAR - solo

A wonderful solo game has been posted HERE at Storm of Steel.

the 6mm minis on special shaped bases along with numbered and named tags that he uses on the tabletop

Blucher is the final game version of what I use Fast Play Grande Armee.

my own FPGA bases at Ath with the same SP indication system on the bases

Thursday, April 23, 2020

ECW Campaign - War in the West - Scenario #1 Glastonbury

Going against the grain of history, Parliament had won at Stratton, yet due to the difficult nature of the troops, the bulk were untrained raw and the few veterans had been bloodied and not paid for weeks, so Stamford decided upon a safer course of action and withdrew with the guns and what good order troops would still follow him across Devon to Exeter.

Hopton, meanwhile was able to withdraw in good order from Stratton and still hold on to the bulk of the Cornish forces.

On May 14 Hopton read orders from the King that he was to march and meet with forces under Prince Maurice that had been dispatched to the west from Oxford.

Royalists assemble in the muddy fields near Glastonbury
 It was a striking tribute to Hopton's hold over his Cornish troops that they apparently made no serious murmur about the prospect of marching far from their native county.  The Royalist forces crossed the Tamar on Whit Sunday (21 May) heading first from Okehampton, they were there joined by Grenville's regiment [and the new conscripts he had mustered].  Approaching Exeter, Hopton once again summoned the town to surrender but on its expected defiance wasted no time in attempting to take it.  Leaving two companies of foot and one of dragoons at Columb St John, three miles to the east of Exeter, in order to contain the garrison, the Royalists continued their eastward march and on 4 June linked up with Hertford and Prince Maurice at Chard.

The independent existence of the Cornish Army was at an end, and this union with the wider Royalist world inevitable led to changes.  The most immediate was a step down in authority by the Cornish Army commanders, thought he resulting command structure was hardly more clear-cut than previously.  Hertford was General.  His role was, however, fairly limited, partly through his personal inclinations and limitations but also because of the forceful personality of his Lieutenant General, and second-in-command, Prince Maurice.  Hopton and his officers had to be slotted into this new arrangement, and Sir Ralph, as 'Field Marshal General', became effectively third in command of the united forces.  Hopton did not complain of this arrangement in his memoirs, but he deplored the effects which joining the forces from Oxford had on the discipline of his own troops.  He was described by his friend, Clarendon, as 'a man superior to any temptation, and abhorred enough the license and levities with which he saw too many corrupted.'  Nevertheless, while he had partly succeeded in keeping his Cornish troops in check, he found the situation very different among the Oxford horse: 'there began the disorder of the horse visibly to break in upon the prosperity of the public proceedings . . . the Generals were never able to repress the extravagant disorder of the horse to the ruin and discomposure of all.'
It is only fair to add the comments about he Cornish made be Captain Richard Atkyins of Prince Maurice's Regiment of Horse:
... the Cornish foot could not well brook our horse (especially when we were drawn up upon corn) but they would many times let fly at us: these were the very best foot I ever saw, for marching and fighting; but so mutinous withal, that nothing but an alarm could keep them from falling foul of their officers.
 Atkyns confirms Hopton's view of the mutinous nature of the Cornish infantry, but it is at least possible that some of the animosity resulted from the natural jealousy felt by the foot soldier towards the advantages held by a horseman when it came to obtaining loot.  Atkyns says as much when he recounts an incident which occurred shortly after the armies joined; "[While] observing a hole in an elder hedge, I put in my hand and took out a bag of money; which if our foot had espied(who were also upon the search) they had certainly deprived me of both it and my life."

For the moment, however, animosities were diminished by action.  Parliamentarian forces in Somerset were in some disarray -- no match for the united Royalist army.  Parliament troops initially in Somerset were 1000 horse, 400 foot and some 2000 Somerset Trained Bands.  Also on his way was Sir William Waller, the Parliamentarian commander who had recently made a name for himself with a string of victories along the Welsh border.  He was, however, held up for a week in Gloucester, trying to obtain pay for his troops, and did not reach Bristol until 6 June.  Even when he arrived in Bath two days later, he would spend the next three weeks organizing his forces.
 ~ from The Civil War in the South-West by John Barratt pp. 38-40

So now the stage was set for Glastonbury, a Cornish foot and Oxford horse force was to face off against the Parliamentary forces under Waller ...

After some maneuvering Waller found that his army needed to withdraw, and sensing an opportunity Maurice 'pounced'.

opening of the battle, Royalists (to the lower left) must get three units off the north end of the field (upper right) - to stop them a rear-guard must hold off the Royalists for more than 12 turns

Royalist foot man the hedges and the Royalist horse prepare to dash through any holes in the Parliamentary lines

only newly recruited (wavering) troops are available for this first rear-guard action, though one trained force holds a flank position (red flag)

Alexander Popham is in command for Parliament

the hedges were crammed with pike and shot to hold off as long as possible

dragoons hid along a flank to make good a delaying action

Popham had a horse line to back up these foot and no plans to withdraw, forcing the Royalists to fight for any ground
(the pebbles you see are used to indicate ditches that cross the muddy fields)
the action began immediately with volley fire

exchanging shot for shot with each side

Parliament were lucky with saving throws

dragoons on the west side of the fields also had a ditch and hedge forming a natural 'trench' to fire from

Royalist musketry did not slow

though many casualties did mound up for the Royalist (Cornish) foot
Field view on turn 4

the center Parliamentary foot had fled the field (wavering unit)

while Royalists continued to pour on the musket fire
Field at turn 7

a wavering raw unit of foot had managed to continue to stand under the Royalist fire

While Parliamentary horse made ready to attack

the last of the pike and shot units melted from casualties
turn 10 saw an amazing charge-counter-charge with the Prince Maurice's Lifeguard horse first being driven back

then completely failing in a charge
the combat die rolls - Royalist on left :: Parliament on right

the morale test for Prince Maurice's Lifeguard (flee off the table!)
Watching the Lifeguard of the Prince did not go well for the rest of the Royalist army, as the Cornish foot might have realized they were going to be sacrificed so that the Oxford horse could make good an escape?

turn 12, when it was determined that no Royalist units could expect to cross the north end of the field in time as the horse were all spent

Parliamentary dragoons continued to lurk in the west

Royalist horse could no longer advance on the enemy as too many of them were broken or shaken morale

Cornish foot were angered by the failure of the Oxford horse to gain the ground

Parliament forces that escaped from the field intact.
Game was played out February 9, 2020

The cottage game location seen in wider view
Campaign is now in a holding pattern, until the wider medical conditions change.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Command Zone VIRTUAL wrap up

The plan was to do some connection with both local, regional and international tabletop historical game players and the interested community.

That plan came out in spades!

freeze frame from a hold screen on the third day of games
I managed to get in three tabletop games in as many days and also connect with game players in a fun and entertaining way.

started with Victory Without Quarter on Friday night:

Table during deck 4
same view showing more of the 'tech' to keep the data flowing

troops view at the end, Alpia was defeated by the Knights and horse of Vile Stagonia driving them back

the little town became a zone where the two forces swirled

the sky cloth got a full workout this weekend, as did the streams in my terrain set

Alpian General Nate was a good sport about the way the cards fell ...

Saturday was to be the Main Event with a slate of players and viewers from as far away as the UK

The game was a historical battle, Ripple Field, with the Black Powder rules set used Pike & Shotte

table at game start, with the Royalists under Prince Maurice along the north side (where the sky cloth is) and Parliament deployed in some depth behind the small hill in the center of the field
We had Rob doing the book 'rules lawyer' to keep me honest, as I have not been 100% on the rules set.

Plenty of action on the top of the ridge line as the Royalists CHARGE! hit home
Big shout out to Rene Charbonneau for taking on the role of Parliament Commander Sir Willam Waller and for accepting to announce 'gamer's GAME ON!' in the same way as he does from the stage at the Salute convention (which was cancelled this weekend) so as to provide an ambience similar to the Burnaby annual event (which Rob and I had won awards at the past two years).

our UK observer asked for a 'flying camera' view of the field and I took this shot at the same time (hence the tripod slightly in view)

near game end, the Parliament had held the hill!

both sides were much damaged, the Royalists under Maurice were not able to move forward any further due to losses in the battalia

a 'troop level' photo that managed to capture the parliament dragoons in great focus

Rene, as Waller, reversed the historical outcome of Ripple Field
Then Saturday night was a round-table of discussions about various game topics, we came up with a design to go after a 15mm 'army' for Hordes of the Things - sort of like a Callahan's Cross-Time Saloon meets Game of Thrones meets Rome.  Mix it up with whatever 15mm miniatures you have or borrow some from the other players.

There were more laughs and more ideas shared with an interest coming with the game potential once the CV restrictions become relaxed.

Sunday brought out SHAKO II and a Napoleonic tabletop battle with a full set of players who have never faced off before and I had played game with  in years past.

table at start of SHAKO 2 meeting engagement
It was a 1:1 battle, with slight variations in the types of units, under the formation of the Divisions as they would appear historically in 1813.

Chris ably commanded the French, as he had with the Royalists and the Stagonians!  Chris certainly takes the top player award for coming out to nearly every event in this improvised game convention.

Nate, down in the USA was the opponent, commanding the Austro-Russians.

French Command

Austrian Division Commander
Italian and French artillery in front of the town with some Italian light infantry and a battalion of Irish "Wild Geese"
After 8 turns of battle, the Russian Division broke and fled the field, leaving the victory to the French at 7-6 final score.
a view of the forest of my 'weeble trees' with the dead from the advancing Russian columns.
this was a French 'victory', only at a great cost and in no way a one that could be 'followed up'
once again, this very first painted "Saxon" French Hussar unit finds itself on the table on the winning side ... could it be a good luck charm?
I was hoping for some connection and a few laughs with old friends and to find a few new ones.

I had this happen.

I call it a win!

May you find time to game where and when you can.  If you are seeking a different possibility contact me as there are some loose plans to do at least some more 'remote' board-games.

Gamers - GAME ON!