Sunday, 27 November 2016

Game 48 - First Saratoga (Burgoyne's Gambit, 19th September 1777)

So, a quick post for a game that we managed to fit in despite a busy time (it will lift soon, and we’ll get some proper gaming in).

I’d picked up a few hex’n’chit board games, one of which used the Musket & Saber system. Reading this, it made sense to do the game with hexes and miniatures.

(Actually, I want to try the same scenario with Black Powder, as I need to give BP another go).

Best parts of the rules? Well, of course it’s an IGO UGO, so modern miniatures gamers will reel back in horror, though there were a couple of nice touches:

  • The obvious one where tactical movement could be used (double move could occur outside the enemy’s range).
  • The more subtle aspect, where a unit could respond with defensive fire in the active player’s turn, if it had not been fired upon. Sounds simple, but it meant that it was important for the active player to maintain fire across the line and try to target every unit – otherwise there would be a return of musketry. This is actually quite clever and forces the player to think as to where he might concentrate fire.

Enjoy the pics – we’ll be back soon.

 The British Centre

The American centre and left. Which would see the focus of British attacks.

Some American regiments about to fall back to the cover of the high ground.

 'How come he always gets a pic of us Zeke, huh?'

British troops massing for the assault.

 Attack on the American centre.


 While the American right maintains a stalwart defence.

In the end the American centre/left folded under British pressure, but it was nice fast game, which seemed to have some logic in the result.

 RANDOM PIC...the 'Supermoon' on the 14th November. (I had nowhere else to put these pics LOL)

More random pics...I picked these 'artificial grass samples' up from B&Q recently for £2 each. They're great! (B&Q is a hardware store in the UK, for our US viewers). They make great fields.

Back soon :)

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Game 47 - Again with the Hexes, Fame at Last, and 1689 and all that...

So time is in short supply until Christmas (it's a real day job/course/lecturing kinda thing...and it's pretty hectic).

With that in mind, we opted to go adventuring with the hexes again as it keeps set up minimal and arguments few.

I've looked at Command and Colours options back in the day, and my eldest daughter was a big fan of Battlelore when she was eight. She's eighteen now, and of course too cool for such trivialities (her Dad is not)...and yes folks, it's been 10 years since Battlelore! Where the heck did that decade go? the point! The Prometheus in Aspic blog has a fantastic version of C&C Napoleonics, complete with cards, BUT designed for the English Civil War. A few tweaks, and it became 1689 with hexes...(Check out the blog. It's excellent.)

Now as MSFoy also mentions, there are some relevant links for other people doing the same thing, and while perusing the latest issue of Miniature Wargames (Henry's final issue sadly ), I noted that the famous Arthur Harman has also got a nice set of rules called Memoir 1643 (see what he did there?) in the magazine. So we'll be returning to this style of game.

And now the fame; I noted with interest that this very blog gets a mention in Henry's 'Blogs of the Month' in his last MW issue (402). Thank you kindly sir (and I promise to fix the title text) really. (last minute edit - New title block by youngest daughter - clearly she is better at this stuff than the old man.)

The battle was a minor affair - some Dutch and some French, a few Irish and English brigades mixed in, victory to the first side to eliminate five enemy units, five command cards each....and FIGHT!

A couple of small forces, ready to roll the dice...I mean draw the cards.

Early French mercenary (Irish) attempts to break the centre...end badly.

Cavalry battle, which would last all day, developing on the Dutch left.

The first French assault.

'Give it to 'em lads!' English brigade first fire.

"Pour la Gloire mes amis! Pour La Gloire!"

A lot of focus on the French left. Swiss Guards and French elites in action.

...while they ignore the elite Dutch guards making inroads on their right ... the cavalry is kept busy in their own fight.

 But by this time Allied fire has worn down the French, and they only need one more stand to win. A few vollies and it's over.

Great game, great timing. Really intuitive set of rules - with no time lost with movement/measuring. Hexes trump tape measures.

The 'Chaunce' cards add really nice random elements too. Inspired system, with an inspired adaptation for 17th century.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Game 46 - AWI with Maurice

So, we appear to be getting better at Maurice. We've even started pronouncing it Morees (as per its proper French vernacular) rather than our preferred Morris, so clearly the system is leaving its mark!

The games are becoming very close run things, and we are remembering more in relation to the nuances of the turn sequence, optimisation of card play benefits, movement - and thus use of commanders, and offensive/defensive tactics.

And, here's the thing. The more you play if it, the more you realise what a fine design it really is.

Highlights this time:
  • Rallying can really amount to saving the the line when it is about to collapse - but it's using precious resource, and by adopting a rally stance, you can do precious little else.
  • Keep your forces together, but then you can't always...and it's using time and resources.
  • Focus your attack and defence, but then you can't that is using up resource...

There's a theme there of course. The key here is initiative. The design and card mechanic (your resources) really make you think about where you need to focus in order to drive down enemy morale and/or protect/reach the objective. We've said that before, but then in other games it's either arbitrary or more random. (Black Powder, I'm looking at you). You have 'choice' in Maurice, and yet each choice is a clear dilemma, and you can't do it all.

Here's the gem of this system. You start to think like a Horse & Musket commander. I want to drive the enemy from the field, not waste my time on the left when I know the weakness is in the centre, yet I simply can't exploit every opportunity that is there, and of course my opponent is trying to do the same.

Wonderful game, and very intuitive. It's mastering the nuances that takes a little time.

Another AWI clash, with a strong British thrust in the centre.

Two militia regiments are the last line of defence for the objective.

The American right, where a strong brigade faces some light infantry and British regulars. We had a bit of a hodge-podge battlefield here, a la Freeman's Farm, where units were in place, moving and just arriving as the battle started. Nice challenge.

 British push in the centre.

A thin 'blue' line, though despite British advantages with advantages related to musketry and bayonet, the fences and walls, giving cover to the Americans, would make a real difference.

The American left held valiantly against the Hessians. the Grendiers pushed forward in the centre...with a tow ro ro ro ro ro ro....

Mid battle, and this was where rallying really saved the day for the Yanks, but luck was on their side.

Action shot from our correspondent - clearly not up to using the camera's focus yet.

The flanks hold under increasing British pressure - though concerted attacks are wearing them down.

It's an open field, with only the milita left to protect the objective in the centre and left. All other units have fled.

It was pressure on the right that would wear down British morale...

 ...meaning that when the movement began in earnest on the left, the momentum of the attack would melt away, helped by the militia's excellent initial volley.

Very close game, and as stated, we appear to be remembering more and more, and thus applying more subtle methods with each game. Like Field of Battle, there are nuances which can only be discovered through play.