Commanders, a wargame digest

Commanders, a wargame digest


Dear Diary - a rolling 4 months of comment

3 Dec 2022

Playing the Programmed scenario

Continuing from the below post, the game has now been played and I consider it to have been very successful as a solo experience. 

The Kings of War Historical rules are fairly brutally decisive, perhaps more-so because the Wars of the Roses armies have a lot of Longbow, which are very effective in the system, resulting in high unit loss early on.

Grant’s Programmed Scenario worked very well and i would like to play it a second time to see how much versatility can fall from each scenario.

As usual, there is a write-up and some pictures on the blog. LINK

2 Dec 2022

Programmed Scenarios!

Last year, I bought the new edition of Charles S. Grant’s Programmed Wargame Scenarios - for solo and multiplayer wargamers.

This essentially has a number of scenarios and two campaigns that are described in terms of ‘Red and Blue’ armies. They are set out in such a way that one, both or none of the armies can be managed by the system in a programmed fashion.

I have decided to start at scenario 1, called Hill Line Defence. Blue army is slightly weaker (1250 points) and holding the hill ridge and will be managed by the system. Red army is slightly stronger (1500) and holding the lower ground with a mission to assault and capture the high ground and will the army that I control.

The scenario can fit any period, so I have chosen Wars of the Roses armies.

The first thing to do is build the battlefield. There are 9 potential sectors of terrain to choose from (randomly) to get 3 sectors that sit side by side to give the player a 6’ x 4’ table with a ridge along one long edge (defender - blue).

The three sectors that I rolled for are set out in the photo above, in the order that they were rolled for, giving us a centre and two flanks. Blue will defend on the ridge, anywhere behind the thick line.

For this period, the road is of no practical significance, so I have ignored it.

I am using a 4’ x 3’ table and that seems to work fine with the forces deployed (28mm on 80mm bases).

Anyway, I am now reading through the orders / deployment sections, so more to come.

26 Nov 2022

Refight the bridge scenario - upscaled!

As mentioned two posts down, the Bridge scenario has hit the table again, this time in Epic scale and with a new rule added.

The rule allows both sides a limited opportunity to find a ford across the river. This is intended to open the game up and add another area of opportunity for the game to go in different directions.

Anyway, with the game concluded, there is a write-up and some pics over on the blog. LINK

26 Nov 2022

Antietam on the table

For our face-to-face game last night, we put down The Morning Assault, a smaller scenario from the Antietam game by Worthington Publishing.

It concentrates on the left hand side of the battlefield, with the Union attacking with Dunker Church as the objective.

This is a simple system that allows big battles to be played without dense rules! One of the things that I like as a simple mechanism is that though units are allowed to ‘gang-up’ on a single unit when they attack and ignore other units that would otherwise be in their sphere of influence - before the attack phase, there is a defensive fire phase, which allows all defenders to fire including those defenders that the attacker would choose to ignore.

In this photo Early’s Brigade (1 counter) holds the Confederate left wing, anchored on some woods. Throughout the entire game, they managed to frustrate the Union attack, even against overwhelming odds ….. though the Union did get some runs of unlucky dice.

Definitely one to come back to. 

25 Nov 2022

That generic bridge again!

Taking the muti-period generic scenario mentioned a few posts down, today it is the turn of the smaller scale, allowing me to convert individual units in the original to brigades for this game.

I am using the free Valour & Fortitude rules by Jervis Johnson and they are giving good effect. 

Here in this sector of the battlefield, while the French and Prussians fight over possession of the bridge, Prussian cavalry have managed to surprise the French right, who have been forced into square. Note the 2 additional cavalry units in the field.

More to come.

20 Nov 2022

Testing Rules

Putting my Eagles at Quatre Bras to test. We have a Prussian brigade of 5 infantry battalions on the hill, being assaulted by 3 French infantry battalions, 1 cuirassier regiment and a gun battery.

During the assault, the Prussians were badly mauled, but through even heavier casualties, it was the French brigade that collapsed. 

Each French infantry battalion went to 5 casualties and so the testing of these units in the Retreat Phase started and saw them repeatedly retreat and gain an extra casualty each time.

As the first infantry battalion routed from the field, a domino effect took the other 2 out. The cuirassiers twice approached Prussian squares and twice retreated with losses and disorder, in the end, at 4 hits, losing their offensive capability, they withdrew.

The rules held up well, though the skirmisher aspect was not tested, which is the area of the rules that currently need the most thought.

I set up again to run with the Shadow of the Eagles rules just for playing time comparison, but came to a halt as I have lost my familiarity with them …… I am furiously reading through them now!

Anyway, a useful focussed exercise, more to come.

19 Nov 2022

Epic Cuirassier unit

Cuirassiers from the heavy cavalry sprue in Warlord Games Epic Napoleonic range.

They were straight forward to paint, using the artwork supplied on Warlord Games website for reference.

I have gone with an MDF base, deepened to 25mm (from 20mm) and shortened to 55mm (from 60mm). In the Epic system, a units has 3 - 4 bases, but I am going for two base units, so the four bases worth of cavalry supplied will eventually give me two cuirassier units.

These are primed black, dry brushed white and then block painted and finally given a was with Super Shader from Black Hat Miniatures. This shader is very thin and so tends to keep the napoleonic colours bright. It dries with a gloss, so needs a mat varnish. I had to go back in and restore a few highlights.

Overall, they look good, but I estimate painting time for the unit to be around four hours and I could do with bring that down a bit.

18 Nov 2022

Midway PBEM game cancelled

Unfortunately and somewhat surprisingly, I have not had enough takers (not even close!) to get the Midway PBEM battle up and running and so I will kick this into the long grass for now and perhaps look at it again next year.

I am sorry to disappoint those who signed up. If / when I run this again, those players will of course automatically get a place in the game, with the remaining places being subject to a draw. 

16 Nov 2022

Latest Miniature Wargames is out

December, issue 476 is on the UK retails shelves. A good issue for me.

A good  article on painting Warlord Games Epic figures. The painters detail is better than I could hope to do, but the photos with the article are lovely.

There is a set of rules for army level games by Arthur Harman, in which a base represents a Division! Very useful and just an interesting read.

The Command Decision section gives focus to three battles over a 90 year period of American history, April 1775 Lexington Rd, July 1863 Cemetery Ridge and May 1864 Spotsylvania Court House.

A double page spread (advertisement) heralds the arrival of the new edition of Warlord Games’ Hail Caesar, which if ordered from them gives you a free Richard the Lionheart figure.

15 Nov 2022

Play by Email - Midway

I am planning on starting a play by e-mail battle themed around the Battle of Midway.

This is a carrier battle, ideally suited to Fog-of-War type playings. I am seeking 10 players to get involved. I will be using my own system, with hopefully the burden of admin landing on my shoulders rather than the players - though my HQ will be handling a lot of traffic (e-mails), so I need all participants to be signed up to properly servicing play.

Anyone interested should use the contact button on the left to leave me a message. If more than 10 apply, it will be names in a hat.

11 Nov 2022

Generic multi-period scenarios

I am having a go at making up three or four basic scenario's, you know the sort 'capture the bridge', capure the village' etc, but making them short and fast for a typical mid-week play and also making them usable over different periods.

Anyway, here is a link for the first one one the blog. LINK

10 Nov 2022

Wavre continued and concluded.

Regarding the previous post, I played through the last couple of turns of Wavre today, the final turn being night.

Three moments of interest cropped up. Pajol’s cavalry (French) pressed on beyond Wavre and surprised Wagenh’s artillery, destroying it and displacing Thielmann’s Prussian headquarters to Farm du Rie, but him pretty much out of command (range wise) for the rest of play.

At Wavre, both sides were exhausted, but Vandamme (French) had managed to take all three Wavre hexes and had just enough strength to hold on.

Down at Limale (see photo), you will recall in the last post that Gérard’s infantry had taken a pounding from Prussian guns and light companies. While they re-organised, his cavalry (pink), with artillery support, moved up to the bridge and forced their way over the river crossing at La Motte, routing Stengel (Prussian). Lotum’s cavalry had moved into Limale to defend it from likely French assault.

With the light fading, the French brought up their guns, bombarded Limale, disordering the defenders. Then cavalry, at some disadvantage fighting in a built up area, ejected the defenders from the village.

At the end of play, looking at the pile of removed Prussian units and the fact that the French controlled all of Wavre plus Limale, it was obvious that the French had won. Working out the victory points showed it to be a landslide French win.

A very different game to the previous one, the French got off to a good start and a win for both sides suggests that there is balance in the scenario and that it can go either way, which is good, as my last game had me thinking that this was a tough scenario for the French player.

I quite enjoyed the slow pace of the solo play. It allowed time for the map and place names to be studied and the system delivers results from attacks and counter-attacks that accord quite nicely with an account of the campaign that I am presently reading. Things just being in the right place at the right time … or wrong place at the wrong time, attacks, counter-attacks, contested buildings changing hands, attacks from the flank catching units by surprise and roads crowded with routing troops in places - it was all there.

The much bigger Ligny game is the other half of this package, so I can see that going onto the table soon.

10 Nov 2022

Wavre - 1815

A return to the Wavre game in the Jours de Gloire series.

I have played a few games of this system recently, but it is surprising that on an early return, I still spent quite a bit of time referencing the rules during turn 1. It’s just the daft sort of things like what does artillery do if the unit it is stacked with gets a recoil 1 hex result etc.

I had thought that I would approach this playing differently, taking Grouchy and his command away from Wavre and support attacks lower down with Gérard’s troops at Limale ….. but, the action a Wavre just become too embroiling for Grouchy to be able to leave that part of the field.

This time around, I made more use of light companies, which has a big impact on overall attrition. Both armies became exhausted at Wavre, but with the French keeping enough cohesion to nibble away at taking the town.

In the photo, we are looking down at the situation around Limale. The French made good progress to reach the bridge considering they were out of Grouchy’s command range, but once there, they suffered dreadfully at the hands of Prussian artillery and light companies.

To the right, you can see three of Vandamme’s units routing, reflecting the tough fight still going on at Wavre.

We are about to enter the final hours …. (To be continued)

There is a full AAR of the previous game over on the blog LINK

6 Nov 2022

More 20mm …. Napoleonic

The last of the 20mm orders drop through the door as I spend some time looking at 20mm (1/72).

This time is is napoleonic - A French starter army to be specific. I got this just to see infantry, cavalry and guns relative to each other.

These are from Newline Designs and you get 9 cuirassiers, 4 guns with crew, 2 x 20 figure line infantry battalions and 1 x20 light infantry commander, plus a commander.

They are lovely figures and a lovely size. I have just started clean-up and there is very little flash / mould lines on the figure, but quite a few bases are either crooked or have quite a bit of flash on the bottom.

I have snapped an infantry figure off at the ankles while trying to straighten things out and a horse has a single crack to one hoof, which `I have reinforced with green stuff.

The cuirassiers are cleaned and primed (grey), so I might tackle them next.

For napoleonics, I now have 28mm, the 20mm and Epics ….. not good!

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