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Commanders News

8 Aug 2020

Replay - 1st St. Albans

Having had a test run with the game, I set up 1st St. Albans and ran through the scenario properly.

The Yorkist army has an advantage in terms of numbers and also the activation ratings of their formations, but despite this, it gave a very interesting game, with the Lancastrians having ‘their moment’ a couple of times.

I have put some observational notes over on the blog, together with a photo supported AAR. There are also some additional comments on complexity for fellow blogger Steve from his Sound Officers Call blog, to pick up on.

Blog Link

8 Aug 2020

 More 1st St. Albans

I had a bit of a knock around with the scenario for around two hours, while getting to grips with the various mechanics.

With that done, another full read of the rule book pretty much had the system embedded and a full playing of the 1st St. Albans scenario has been played out and recorded for a blog  presentation, which will likely go up over the weekend.

The battle makes for a very good into scenario, though an uneven fight for the Lancastrians, yet despite this, the way the system uses activation, the Lancastrian do get their moments.

5 Aug 2020

1st Battle of St. Albans

Up on the table today the 1st St. Albans scenario from GMT’s Tri-Pack for Men-of-Iron. This bumper reprint package includes three previously published full games from the series, Men-of-Iron, Infidel and Blood & Roses.

Blood & Roses covers the Wars of the Roses conflict and 1st St. Albans is the smallest game in the package, so very good to break into the system.

The system is quite straight forward, but for whatever reason the rules on 1st reading have not sunk in, so I am playing through te sequence of play a few times to try and get a feel of things and will then go through the rules again.

Here it looks like Henry VI (top left) is about to be captured by Salisbury’s men as they have successfully worked against the Lancastrian right flank.

More to follow as I get into this.

3 Aug 2020

The study of the simple game!

Steve, on his Sound Officers Call blog has just posted the first of a series of posts that explore the nature of the simple game, from the perspective of encouraging play and maintaining enthusiasm.

In his efforts to tabulate his thinking, he has posed a number of questions to other AAR writers that will help him define the nature of ‘simple’.

As my contribution, I put out a small ACW game using the Perry Firepower rules, did a brief AAR and then answered Steve’s questions in full. All of that goodness, including a link to Steve’s article is up on my blog now.


31 Jul 2020

Retro rules for ASL

Scenario 5 (Clearing Colleville) from the ASL starter kit 1, sees a U.S. attack on a German held town, with German reinforcements racing up to support the understrength defenders. I used the Retro rules from Minden Games rather than the ASLSK rule set.

With Retro, the weakened CRT makes taking buildings tough when using firepower alone, you need to get lucky on the dice - the alternative to meet the tight time frame of the scenario is to Close Assault, which is often costly to an attacker.

So ‘capture the town’ type official scenarios can be problematic with the Retro rules ...... as it was in this instance.

23 Jul 2020

Take the Farm - ACW Firepower rules

The Zouaves were the last of the units that I needed to paint to complete the Perry 28mm ACW Battle in a Box set ....... I’ve only had it 5 years!

With all the forces in the box now painted, it seemed fitting to play Scenario 6 from the Perry Firepower rulebook that uses all six units on both sides.

This is a meeting engagement that has a farm as the objective for both players.

There is a short AAR up on the blog. LINK

23 Jul 2020

Latest Magazine

Vol 10 Issue 3 is a treat for all Dark Age gamers, with a lot of the magazine content given over to the Battle of Brunanburh (subtitle ... looking for a long lost battlefield).

As always, very visual with some lovely artwork.

There is also part II of The Armies of Charles the Bold, covering arms, armour and artillery.

Also included, The Sack of Nantes, Contarini on Lepanto, the battle of Yan Island and an article on the trebuchet.

All-in-all, a well rounded good looking issue and well worth the cover price. I picked up my copy from WH Smith (UK high street newsagent).

22 Jul 2020

An excellent book on Bosworth

Richard III and the battle of Bosworth, by Mike Ingram and published by Helion in their new ‘from Retinue to regiment 1453 - 1618’ series.

It is a superb wargaming resource and nicely meets my ‘all things Bosworth’ mood that I am currently in.

The book gives a background to the battle, but from a wargamers perspective, has excellent information on weapons, armour and tactics, plus a detailed account of the battle from the revised battlefield location.

In particular there is a renewed insight into the elements of treachery (the Stanleys) and the question of whether Northumberland had committed himself to the Tudor cause.

Anyway, a boss book, gifted by a family member and to be treasured, a worthy item for anyone’s bookcase who is interested in the battle / period (and at £20, good way to help a Wargamer friendly publisher during these strange times).

19 Jul 2020


A work in progress, still on the painting sticks.

28mm Perry plastics, the last unit from my ACW Battle in a Box set and more work I had thought likely.

I’m not sure why, but in addition to the 18 shown here, the box seems to have thrown up an extra 6 figures, which can make another base, but that will have to wait for another day, but will be useful to represent an additional company to show a large unit.

As soon as I get these washed, highlighted, varnished, based and flagged, I will explore a Neil Thomas type scenario using the contents of this boxed set ....... and hope that the random army selection throws up a unit of Zouaves!

There is just the small matter of doing a bit of snake fencing to help with the look.

18 Jul 2020

More Sword & Spear

I continue to dabble. This time with a bigger wing of 10 units each, set out on 80mm sabots, which is the base size that I am considering (though 100mm is also a possibility).

The Yorkists were given artillery and the Lancastrians had a unit of mounted Men-at-Arms. So of course the question was ...’what would a cavalry charge against the artillery look like’?

The cavalry can move 4 Distance Units (DU), so could reach the gun in two turns, providing they get allocated sufficiently good dice.

The weakness of the MAA is that they have a strength of 3, so 3 hits and they are gone. Also, even though they are heavily armoured, that counts for ziltch against artillery fire.

The artillery have good range, but only a strength of 2.

On the first turn, the artillery fire and miss and the pending disaster causes the Yorkist side to manoeuvre archers into position to shoot at the approaching MAA and a retinue Bill armed unit moves to support the right flank of the gun.

The MAA charge home, striking the gun and overlapping the archers and in melee, they get full the value of their heavy armour.

But the dice are not kind an they inflict 1 casualty on the gun, but suffer one in return, which added to the 2 they already have, causes them to rout from play.

The presence of the artillery is causing the whole Lancastrian line to advance and close the distance as quickly as possible - there are a lot of nuances falling out of this test game, increasing my appreciation of the rules.

17 Jul 2020

New rules from Peter Pig

Bloody Barons 2 has just been released and it is a totally different game from the 1st edition.

The rules include scenarios for all of the Wars of Roses battle, with each being played out on a 4 x 4 grid (or zones as they are called), with a 15mm game fitting on a 4’ x 3’ and a 28mm game onto a 6’ x 4’ table.

The interesting thing is that each zone is a ‘place’, so where exactly your troops are within the zone, doesn’t matter to the play. Units have a build strength of 8, from which casualties are taken.

More interesting is that the system deals with the organisational issue of exactly how these armies fought by having each unit as a combination of bow and melee foot, so every unit can melee and every unit can shoot, without issue of exactly where the bow are and the need for interpenetration rules for the differing roles.

What is important is which of the three grades is applied to the unit, Levy, Retinue or Household.

Anyway there is plenty here to explore.

12 Jul 2020

Wars of the Roses

Having a go at the Sword & Spear rules, setting each side up with 6 bases, 3 archer and 3 billmen, to represent a wing and just seeing how the rules play out.

There is an interesting problem for me, as the archers cannot fall back through the billmen, as in the rules, only light infantry and interpenetrate and archers are classed as medium.

There is a bit more discussion on this over at the blog, LINK

7 Jul 2020

Sword & Spear rules 2nd Ed.

This is an ancients / medieval set from Great Escape Games and I have dragged them down off the shelf to see whether they will be a good fit for my Wars of the Roses Pocket Armies project.

There are some unusual and fun looking mechanisms, which bring a degree of interactive play to the game. They use strictly separate formations, unlike Hail Caesar which has a rule for combining two unit types that worked together, making a large unit.

I am trying to decide to what degree I should allow the archer groups and melee groups to be separate entities and how the contingents would co-operate.

For the 1066 stuff, it becomes a more critical question as the Anglo-Saxon army had Housecarls along the front of their army, giving the Thegns a hardened face (at Hastings), so I need to think of a mechanic that will allow for this sort of thing.

4 Jul 2020

OST Pacific - Banzai Charge

When you set The Piva Trail up, it just looks like a face-off between a heavy line of 20 Japanese units (plus 2 Sappers) and 10 Marines, a sort of wall-to-wall scenario, but it quickly develops into a nuanced scenario.

I tried out the Banzai rules with the Japanese right flank and they are cleverly effective with minimal rules overhead.

In this system, being in the river is very punishing, with a -2 to your defence strength, something I had failed to appreciate as the Banzai charge  crossed the water into contact!

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