Sunday, 26 July 2015

"The Choices of Command" - Napoleonic Vignette

The vigntte/command stand put together for our Waterloo Day

One of the great things about the web is the ability to seek out the images and ideas of many very clever wargamers and modellers around the globe.  What I have increasingly noticed is the wonderful use of what one would traditionally call "vignettes" in games to help add some style and character to tables.

Some of the very good ones that I have seen also go a step further and allow the base to also be incorporated into a very real part of the game in the form of a command stand.

I have seen such wonderful ones from modern style gamers such as Tarletons Quarter, JJ's Wargames, Von Peter, Chris Gregg and Djokers wargaming etc.

I have also been gaming long enough to vividly recall and have images of, the wonderful vignettes from Peter Gilder, John Ray, Doug Mason, Bill Gaskin and Dave Thomas to mention too few!
The Generals ADC's look like they are high on decorations, perhaps less so on strategic suggestions.

This was the intent with one of my cuirassier divisional stands.

Taking advantage of the wonderful, characterful figures from the Perry French 1815 range, I wanted to depict some decision making at a strategic level by a General whilst his senior staff assisted.  In addition, his escort were to be on the base, being depicted by hard, veteran troopers and NCO's used to "Hurry up and wait" orders from senior officers their entire military lives.

One of the Emperors staff rushes into the scene.

I also wanted to depict one of the Emperors couriers or aides rushing up to the scene and quickly dismounting in order to deliver an urgent message to assist our brave general in his next decision.

Had a lovely beer and met some very friendly locals at Brane L'Alleud.

"We all told him that there is a bloody big ditch over there but does he listen?"

I think that the mix of figures works well without being too busy and tells a story in itself which was my objective from the start.

The size of the command base for gaming purposes is not all that relevant as I tend to measure command radius from the head of the general in all my games to encourage colourful, characterful command stands.  However, there is a point where one can go to "big" of course however we haven't come across that yet.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

To The Strongest - Sassanids meet Romans in a classic ancients tussle

The set-up with small black and white buttons denoting the grids.

Peter "Guido" and I were keen to give the much talked about "To The Strongest" Ancient rules by Simon Miller (lovely chap by the way!) a run at the NWS on Wednesday night.

For those not familiar with the rules concepts, there are no dice and tape measures making for a much quicker game...though we did our best to disprove that let me assure you!

The units are based, Impetus style, with several figures on a larger, in my case 120mm wide, base to help enhance the overall depiction of troops. 

Initial set-up from behind the Roman lines of Peter.

Clear view of the grids on a 6 x 4 table

The command of the famous Persian Noble Carloz Pyjamaz

A unit of Persian bow armed cavalry with ammunition markers in the centre

Raw foot defend the...ahem... makeshift camp.  Need to work on that one...

The Persian right flank makes it move with Elephants in support

On the Persian left the huigh ground is taken and we prepare to shoot those pesky Roamns from afar

The actual shooting and melee system is based on the turn of two combined decks of playing cards with no court or jokers in them.  This allows for surprisingly quick results.  Movement is also determined the same way.  What we did was a combination of the cards method and the chits supplied online from Big Red Batcave drawn from a bag. 

It worked very well.

A view across the Roman lines - Peter seemed to know what he was doing far more than his Persian enemy.

The advance continues across the front

Persian reserves prepare to be moved, however not necessarily where I thought I could use them!

The Persian left is about to go astray as those damned skirmishing Roman cavalry get lucky!

Sorry about the lack of focus, not only in the picture by the way, as the Persian heavies take the hill

"Who can stand this mighty host?"

Surely these Legios feel slightly intimidated?

The Roman centre advances whilst the Persians look to hold them up anyway they can muster

Cataphracts prepare to take on Roman Equites

The blue counter represented that the unit had received a wound and was disordered.  Certain units have differing
amounts of damage they can take from shooting and melee.

The mighty man himself

"Running out of ammo lads!"

This particular melee became a tough, tough struggle.

View from the Roman perspective

Those elephants just could not break through
When we called time at 10.15 pm the game was slightly in the Romans favour though the Persian cavalry reserves were starting to offer new resistance in the centre of the field.

This was a very enjoyable game and I am sure after a few more tussles we would get through the game in half the time with minimal reference to the main body of the rules.

Well done Simon on an innovative and fun set of Ancients rules which we continue to play.

If you would like to find out more about the rules, see other games in action or just ogle some of the most magnificent ancients on the web, visit Simon's famous blog here:

Great time had by all.

Until next time.


Sunday, 19 July 2015

Quatre Tres - Blacks' triumph over the tricolour!


"Who put that bloody big counter there Armand?"

Well my last post, if you recall, had the French centre and right attacks being thwarted by the sturdy and somewhat surprisingly, cocky, young Brunswick commanders.

It must be said that the French General Staff had hoped that the fraternal efforts to roll the initiative dice and assume overall command of the tactical strategy would be the Brunswickers undoing.

My spies had let me down and I made a mental note to have them shot in the morning!

On the French right the Brunswickers manouvre to maximise firepower on the advancing columns

After some sustained fire one of the Brunswick columns routs from an adverse morale test.

Some excellent fire had caused the 2nd Light battalion to lose its nerve and make a run for the rear lines.  This provided a brief opportunity for the French to advance and exploit the gap.

They need to not rally.

But of course, they did!
A view showing the centre and left of the field of battle.

The Brunswick 3rd battalion was still in command of the church but weakened.  Time to send in the third battalion of my mighty attack column.

That is disappointing chaps I have to admit...

The excellent fire from the church causes issues for the battalion and it falters.  However the other French columns who had been repulsed have rallied forth and are ready to come again.

The French advance across the "misty" (read fuzzy focused) field and prepare to charge the 1st Brunswick line.

The result is a retreat to the Brunswickers as they lose the combat despite a stout resistance.

Mmm...not good.

In the centre the weakened 3rd Brunswick battalion continues to fight outside of its weight division and holds up the entire attack...again!

"Having fun boys?  Excellent.  I am soooooo pleased".

Overall view as the central columns retreat and the French try and force the left.

The staus of the game was one where the French were now starting to feel the effects of their "Forward to victory" strategy as detailed in the initial post for this battle...remember that?
My lads certainly do as does this old salt. 

French guns have put a barrage onto the stables but to little effect.

French legere attempt to take the fields but once again a stalemate is rolled.

At this stage it was obvious that the Brunswickers were in a resilient mood this day and were not to be moved from their defensive positions.  The French minor successes on their left were just that, minor, and to push on any further would have been an invitation to the Brunswick Hussars and Uhlans that was simply not worth the risk.  The inability to punch through the centre was a blow that the French could not overcome with their limited numbers.

The Brunswickers had defended soundly and with intelligence.  Alex had set up well on his left, the French right, with good initial positions that were well supported and took advantage of the terrain features within his deployment area.

Ben had also defended in depth and realised quickly that though he had a cavalry superiority, it was the French who would need to make the running in this particular game.  A reserve, no matter of what quality, was vital in order to deal with the expected French break-throughs that never quite materialised.

Too say that I was incredibly pleased by the game and the fun that the three of us had on the night would be an incredible understatement.

For years I have always looked forward to games in my favourite period with my two sons much in the manner that I had read about for luminaries such as Charles Grant Senior and son and now that has also passed through to his son as well.

I look forward to many more games and campaigns with Ben and Alexander as the years continue to pass.

"The Duke passes on his congratulations General.  The French will not pass through today!"


Tuesday, 14 July 2015

The Battle of Quatre Tres - Part Two

Brunswick Horse artillery maintain their fire on the French Hussars

So the last post had the very confident French commander going in for the kill.  No screening of troops in defensive positions, manouvreing majestically to focus a hammer blow on one point only.

No, subtle was for another day.  This was an action to show the lads how the French, the cocky, self-assured French do battle against the Brunswicker in modern Europe.

Perry Miniatures Brunswickers' - the finest models you can buy of this nationality by far.

An over-view showing a very calm Brunswick Brigade commander and the wide spread all out attack from the French.

Just to prove that I do give "Support Orders" on occasion.

The French massed columns are taking a lot of fire as they approach.  Those dastardly Brunswickers' keep
rolling 11's and 10's.  What happens to the threes and fours I roll with those same bloody things?

The keenly observant amongst you, of which I am certain would be 100% of those currently reading this post, would have notice the hexagonal casualty markers that I have been using for many years.  These are about to all be updated with the excellent dials sold by Warbases oer the next few months. 
Moment of truth on the far right flank of the French as the Brunswickers' are well covered.

In the centre the French prepare to assault the church.

On the French left the skirmishing has gone in their favour and the columns approach the fields.

On reflection, a very well put together defensive position for a chap in his first independent Napoleonic command.

Another view of the attack being prepared on the French left

Lovely model of a church purchased many years ago from Nathan at Lonely Gamers.

"Come on lads, we can stand against these frogs!"

Crunch-time approaches on two of the three fronts.

The main assault on the church

We wonderful dexterity and poise, the two central French columns take fire from the Brunswickers' defending the church but both pass their morale tests to charge home and close.  No need for formation tests this time!

I would have loved to have sent in the third column as well however in General De Brigade a general can only order so many charges in a turn.  This Brigadier was of average rating and thus could only order in two charges.

Should be more than enough as the Brunswickers' will never stand with their 2nd Class line morale and then I will...shivers... they rolled a nine.  They stand.

"Into them lads!"

The 3rd battalion yells enthusiastic support for their compatriots "Wish we were there with you Pierre".

Columns, even French ones, are limited against built up areas however these are Veteran battalions and...Ben rolls a 9 to my 5.


Not to be deterred the French left continues to advance in echelon

Despite the mild set-back in the centre all is still good. 

French attacks are preparing to hit the Brunswick right, their cavalry has still not moved and the Brunswick left, though well defended, is still of dubious quality.

Onwards to victory men!