Commanders, a wargame digest

Commanders, a wargame digest


Dear Diary - a rolling 6 months of comment

16 Jul 2022

The Peach Orchard

Had a face-to-face game last night of the Peach Orchard scenario, from Flying Pig Games’, A Most Fearful Sacrifice, which uses the ‘Black Swan’ system, a sister design to the Blind Swords series by the same designer.

The board is quite a spectacle, though our scenario used just a small window of it, with just four turns.

At game opening, the scenario looks like a tough ask for the Confederates, but half way through, the confederates had out flanked the Union position and it looked grim for them.

But this system holds a lot of chaos and during turn Three, the Union had recovered enough that it was clear that the Confederates would no be able to take the victory hexes.

It made for a good game and brigades did give that sense of burning out after being in action. A scenario, play fits into a single session, so that is a success, but the board is so big that these smaller scenarios taken from different areas on the board, means that opponents can not always sit opposite each other, making some seating arrangements a little awkward.

14 Jul 2022

Aspern - Essling JdG

Just arrived - probably my most anticipated boardgame in ages, the re-print of the Aspern-Esslling 1809 game from the JdG system.

Another small footprint game, the map is 59cm x 41cm and only 1 countersheet is needed to include all units and game markers.

There are 4 scenarios altogether and I can see this pushing its way to the front of the playing queue.

13 Jul 2022

Epic Napoleonic

I have put up a blog post that looks at getting a starter box from sprue to base, reducing base numbers per unit and gaming with unpainted plastic while units cycle through the painting queue. I have no doubt there will some strong views on that! :-)

You get a lot of stuff in one of these boxes and i think the reality is that you need to start using it rather than waiting for everything to be painted.


10 Jul 2022

The Guard Advance

I got the Vae Victis (issue 161) game to the table last night and played out the last turn this morning. As play progressed and the situation deepened, a ton of nuance fell from the game, with move and counter-move.

A tough fight for both sides and a well balanced scenario with some interesting special rules. The game scale is quite low for this series, with 100 metres to the hex and 20 minutes to the turn.

The game has been written up as a post on the blog. LINK

6 Jul 2022

Waterloo, Waterloo, Waterloo!

Everything is a bit Waterloo at the moment.

I have some Warlord Games Epic figures on painting sticks and after 3 playing of the Quatre Bras boardgame under the Jours de Gloire system, I am about to put The Guards Advance game onto the table, which is of the same system and comes as the included game in the Vae Victis magazine issue 161.

There are some other Waterloo based games in the pipe, so ….. Tim Clayton’s Waterloo has at last been pulled from the shelves for a proper cover to cover read, for a fuller / deeper understanding of the battle.

Saul David (Evening Standard) describes it as ‘The best book on the battle’, so I have high hopes and much to look forward to.

4 Jul 2022

La Garde Advance! 1815

On the back of the success of the Waterloo / Quatre Bras package, I ordered issue 161 of the Vae Victis magazine from ‘The Little Corporal’ (they are now up to issue 163).

This is a French magazine and this issue carries a small game using the Jours de Gloire system, covering the final hours of the Guard at Waterloo (1910 hours - 2030 hours) and the map is framed by La Haye Sainte, Hougoumont and La Belle Alliance.

The map is on a light card, sized at 11” x 16, the counters are on heavy card and die cut. A lovely little rulebook is supplied, it is in French, so  will be using the English version of the rules from my Quatre Bras game (but English version rules are downloadable anyway).

I have downloaded the English version of the scenario rules. This looks a really nice compact game that I think at 5 turns will suit our face to face sessions and it looks very portable for taking away on vacation etc.

I like that there is a replacement counter for their Three Days of Glory -1805 game (the Austerlitz package) ….. because the game counter icon has the 1810 Carabinier uniform and this replaces it with the 1805 one!  Nice touch, though I would have never noticed.

Since I still have the rules fresh in my mind, I think this one will jump the queue and be played soon.

2 Jul 2022

Face-to-face Quatre Bras

We played the Quatre Bras game face to face tonight. Always interesting to see how another player does things slightly differently. Mike sent the French cavalry up the left flank, while his main attack was weighted to the right. Wellington responded by reinforcing the Coalition left and the whole battle pivoted slightly ….. leaving Quatre Bras a little exposed for a while.

The French took 3 fortified farms including Gémioncourt, but did not reach Quatre Bras. Brunswick made 3 failed attempts to re-capture Gémioncourt.

Again the Coalition position became too strong for the French to win and the game was called at the start of turn 6. We probably spent 3 hours getting to that point and this time, I seldom needed to consult the rules this time around.

All Good and the game handily demonstrated that this sized scenario was at the upper limits of what we can comfortably do to conclusion in a single session - a slight shame as it likely puts Waterloo beyond our reach for most occasions. 

1 Jul 2022

A banner and shield transfers

Arriving in the post today, a banner and shield decal set from Little Big Men Studio. I am not showing it here for copyright reasons, but it is quite eye catching. The shields are said to fit Griping beast shields with rims.

I have two command models that have shields, but they are rimless, so I am hoping that I can still get a fit, even if that requires a paint job to merge them.

The banner is very colourful and will be used by the standard bearer from Gripping Beast that I bought from Colonel Bills.

With the metal command pieces on painting sticks right now, I need to go through the plastic sprue boxes to see whether I can find suitable figures to ‘fill out’ some of the command bases.

30 Jun 2022

Observations and AAR for Quatre Bras

The write-up for the game and scenario have now been put up on the blog.

I’m almost certainly going to play it again this week, but may use the variant that allows d’Erlon’s I Corps to arrive on the battlefield as a reinforcement - that will certainly shake things up!


30 Jun 2022

Two games under my belt

The Quatre Bras scenario has visited the table twice now, with the rules being a lot easier the second time around.

I am increasingly liking the system. There are a lot of decision points, which makes for a good game, though the same is likely to slow our face-to-face games down to the point that only the smallest of scenarios will be able to serve our meet-ups, but I will still enjoy the in-depth bigger game that I can do solo.

So at the moment, thumbs up!

I am just concluding a write-up for the blog of the first battle and drawing that article to a close, at over 4700 words, it might help insomniacs :-)

26 Jun 2022

Quatre Bras

Been running through a game of Quatre Bras. In the Jours de Gloire series (boardgame).

The rules are not particularly long, but they have a lot of nuance and the ruleset has been constantly in my hands - though it has given rewarding play.

I have read through the rules several times as they embed. The game was good enough to justify a write-up, which will follow over the next few days.

23 Jun 2022

Command figures for 1066

The new command base mentioned below has arrived and it is splendid. A couple of unpainted command figures were ordered at the same time and I have just primed William, Harold and his two brothers.

So all of a sudden, I have a full complement of 1066 command as a starter to the project.

Details of all the figures are on the blog in a new post. LINK

23 Jun 2022

Preparing for Quatre Bras

This is the double package (Waterloo and Quatre Bras) that I picked up from the Phalanx show on Saturday.

A boardgame in the Jours de Gloire series from Canons en Carton. This is an updated edition of the 2015 (anniversary) game.

I have just started going through the rules, which are a little involved,  but they do seem to reflect the period nicely and I think once a few turns are played, it will click into place.

There are two counter sheets, so the first was cut and clipped last night and the other will hopefully get done today, so that there are no obstacles to getting this to the table.

One of the things that I really like the look of is that formations are activated when their chit is drawn from a cup, but the last chit is never drawn, so one formation will not get to go. Some formations have two activation chits, which ensures that they will always get to go, even if it is their ‘other’ chit that is the last to be drawn.

21 Jun 2022

Adding railway terrain

The 1/72 Pocket Armies project has been in need of a terrain boost, so the bits gathered over time to do a railway have gone onto the workbench.

I have made enough for 6’ of track, with a side branch to an engine shed, plus a stand alone signals box.

There is a post over on the blog that discusses the building process. LINK

1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7