Sunday, 30 May 2021

Ramillies 1706 - 'actual'

 Having spent a week setting the thing up, finally got to play it...

This was a test of the new Field of Battle 3 rules, more than anything else, which are certainly  streamlined ( a few subtle changes - which speed up game-play - designer notes in rules refer to changes, with reasoning, which is great), but not so much that any revision detracts from the intent, the narrative and the game.

 I had mentioned to Steve in last post, that were a wargamer without experience to play FoB, before trying any other rules for horse & musket, I'd say they'd be hard pressed to wonder why more staid and 'modifer heavy' systems aren't more like FoB.  The system works, a great game is generated, and the rules are relatively straightforward, with each result making sense rather than becoming 'gamey' like other sets (BP...I'm lookin' at you).

At scale, Ramillies is a pretty big undertaking with 30+ units a side (roughly brigades in the game presented here - but battalions are easily handled too) - though that is the kind of thing which FoB does well, no matter how many players are involved.

There were some historical 'liberties' taken (as usual).  I also reduced units to 2 cavalry stands or 3 infantry stands, due to table width being 7 feet - though it still worked well - as period rules in FoB have 'linear units' for this setting, and units were roughly equivalent widths.

Looking from Taviers, toward Ramillies. A heavy cavalry presence on this flank.

The French centre, which will see considerable action during the day.

Allied cavalry moving up on French left.

Early allied cavalry attacks are easily seen off by French musketry, though movement behind the main attack takes advantage of the French first fire having been used.

The Allied right, which sees forces develop for a later attack, holding the French in check through their expectation of having to secure the flank.

The centre - Allied attacks go in, with Danish troops facing the brunt of French musketry.

Villeroi co-ordinates movements in the centre - French defence in depth here.

Rapid attacks on the French left. Marlborough is d12+1 with Villeroi at d8 - which means that initiative invariably goes to the allies, but it does not all go their way.

The Allied centre is, at times, left dangerously open as they focus on flank actions.

British assault on the French guns in the centre, which, incredibly...actually works, despite horrific casualties.

'I'm outta here mate!!!'


There are still plenty of French units in the centre however. It is clear that the Allies will find it a tough nut to crack. Have the French put too much emphasis on defending here however?

French cavalry start to make moves on the Allied right. a foil to a massive (3 move) assault across the river and onto the far French left - attacking the guns and guard units there.

...accompanied by a massive cavalry attack on the Allied left.

Most of the battlefield - showing cavalry duels on Allied left, held centre, and dynamic right.

French cavalry pour toward the perceived threat at left.

...though a greater issue is developing on their right flank.

'Hello look a bit Protestant to be on this side of the line??? ...could I show you a map perhaps?'

...fierce fighting in the centre.

On the French left, two commanders, Caramon and Bedmar, are shot from the saddle, placing their units 'out of command' and the French left into disarray. if it could not get any worse - it never goes well, when the attacker rolls a 12 and the defender a 1 during melee - despite the advantages that line has against attacking cavalry...

...a gap on the French right - now exploited by waves of Allied infantry.

As morale is worn down, and a potential break point is reached...the first French roll against the Army Morale card results in failure. Villeroi withdraws from the field, and the day is Marlborough's.

Another great game with these superb rules. Must get another game in soon, as I was rusty with a few things, and some fine tuning on the new rules required.

Sunday, 23 May 2021

Ramillies 1706...nearly

Bearing in mind it was the anniversary of the Battle of Ramillies in 1706, I had made stringent efforts to get the table set up, and thereby enable 'first game' with the new (actually not new any more) version of 'Field of Battle' (III), with Marlburian hacks.

Of course, I got nowhere near being ready ...but here are some pics anyway.

There's always next week / month to get this one moving...

Soon ...soon...

Sunday, 9 May 2021

Hyboria Now! Episode 2: Border Shem

 So, having had several posts with nothing to say, here's an actual game!

You'll of course remember that Princess Zenobia was dramatically rescued from the proscribed organisation known as the 'Children of Doom' in a hastily organised  (and hastily criticised), border incursion into Kush. Turanian appears, are none too pleased.

'We interrupt your favourite soap opera for a news update...'

'Thanks Belit...the firing you can hear behind me, is coming from Turanian forces who have engaged our own 'Task Force Eagle' overnight, with fighting going on until this morning. This task force is formed from the Poitanian Guards Armoured Cavalry regiments operating out of of Fort Shamar south of the capitol ...and have been based in Eastern Shem on peacekeeping operations for the last three years - keeping the so called 'green zone' between Shemite and opposing Turanian forces 'intact'. That ended this morning with a surprise attack by a Turanian task force, with T80 tanks and Hind helicopters opening fire against Aquilonian peacekeepers at the border research station. 

I'll bring you more information as I have it, though I am assured by Colonel 'Hammer' Verentius, that the peace treaty is not at risk...and that Shemite forces need not become involved directly on their own border. Colonel Ari Harish of the Shemite Defence Force is due to hold a press conference this morning.

Turanian Official State News Agencies are calling this 'direct action' against the non-sanctioned Aquilonian / Nemedian operations in Kush that resulted in the rescue of Princess Zenobia, who we understand is still ill with a bad flu... '

In order to keep things fluid and moving, in a modern (albeit alternative reality game), and due to the fact that I am very keen on GDW 80s rules tech right now, I've used the 'Battlefield Europe' variant of the GDW First Battle series. Roughly similar to what we know about Team Yankee etc. - the main changes are use of a d10 vs a d6 for variability in combat, platoon scale rather than single vehicle, and introduction of variants such as reactive armour vs missiles (which needs to be 'blown off' , though can still be defeated with the right dice roll). As with most of these rules, new variants do not overcomplicate the rules. Morale is based on a 'yield' point of sorts, where enough damage will initiate a retreat.

A sound system based on a very logical, yet difficult to master, turn sequence. You 'gotta know when to hold em' as Kenny would say.

'Begin the attack..hehehhehehhhhh!'

So I used the hexes at half scale - i.e. all rules are in place, though my hexes represent 'two' in terms of the boardgame mechanics. I used actual counters at the side of the table to keep stats right.

Unbelievably, despite having been in a state of readiness for years...Force Eagle is surprised. Overnight movements have remained undetected, even at the Forward Ops Post ...something has gone badly wrong in terms of intel here...   
'Ranger 6...this is FOP Alpha...permission to engage ...permission to engage over!!!'

'This is not a DRILL!'

'What the hell! MOVE PEOPLE!'

Surprsied in turn 1, Force Eagle begins to wake up.

Turanian Red Air takes out soft armour on the high ground - one less ITV to worry about...

Despite not having permission to engage...Force Eagle forward operating troops know when they are being shot at...

T80s have reactive armour...which helps vs tac misslies

'Get to Point Alpha NOW!'

Accurate Turanian firing, and the rapid movement of Red Air, is playing havoc with the surprised defenders

Here they come...

Horrible casualties on both sides at the forward Aquilonian position on Hill 611

A good defensive position on the high ground

Despite holding their left flank, Aquilonian armour now needs to engage with the larger threat on their right

Not looking good on the Aquilonian right, though Turanian forces could reach their break point quite rapidly if the defenders get organised.

Aquilonian armour moves to reinforce from the high ground on their right flank...just in time, and with Blue Air now (finally) ready to engage with Hellfires

Turanian massed assault on the Aquilonian right...

Turanian motor rifle troops flood the factory and research areas, despite having lost most of their armoured support to Aquilonian attack choppers

The Battle for Research Station Gamma becomes a hell of fight, with remnants of both sides becoming embroiled in bitter infantry actions within the station and factory... Luckily for the defenders - Red Air is taken out by Stinger fire.

Blue Air - saves the day on the Aquilonian right flank

The Aquilonian left: a wasteland of smoking metal...

Turanian forces are eventually driven off, but they were in the Shem/Aquilonian research station for a long time, before being driven out with heavy casualities...

...but it has not been a good day for either side...

'We held them off this time ladies and gentlemen...but things are going to escalate very quickly...stay frosty!'