Saturday, 18 June 2016


So we had the playtest, the inevitable buildup to battle, the excitement that I know you were all feeling...and we fought the battle.

Well, when I say we, we were a little short on numbers, however that meant that the two master wargamers  (otherwise known as messrs. Steiner & Stephen) played through their skillful art in a fast paced exciting battle with the fantastic Field of Battle rules, which never fail to impress. (and I watched in awe as they ploughed effortlessly through the rules ...and waited for the Danes to come on...more of this later ).

 It all started innocently enough, with the Dutch moving toward Oldbridge.

 Early Jacobite moves meant that the cavalry can be brought up.

It all seemed so familiar at first.

Then the move cards started to hit in earnest. River crossings began.

Though then the allies really started to make things happen, with move cards and rolls that allowed them three segments - thus crossing and forming in front of the Jacobite cavalry, who just couldn't get a chance to form up for that charge. (I will not, at this juncture, even enter into debate with regard to Stephen's flukey most opportune rolls and card draws ;)   )

...and as if things weren't bad enough - Hanmer's English and Dutch get the same opportunity. It was all going the Allied way.

...and then the firing began.

A spirited battle was developing at Oldbridge, which would see a stalemate of sorts.

 Volleys rippled across the Allied line, decimating the Jacobite elite cavalry. There was a real narrative here with the rules, and every game turns out differently. The card driven mechanic really prevents hedging you moves or actions against loopholes or ranges or known movment distances. It feels so much like a battle - and you can quite literally play the battle and not the rules (yes, I stole that).

Luck was not with the Jacobites. Both Lord Berwick and Richard Hamilton were shot from the saddle at the same time. (The effect on the 1704 Battle of Almanza, with Berwick not there, can be hotly debated elsewhere).

Half of the Jacobite cavalry,  also reluctant to the Allies consolidated their position on the bank.

 A solid 'beachhead'. Every Jacobite charge was repelled.

 ...until the morale was worn down, and the army broke. (My Danes never got to cross the river, though it was really good to watch).

A great set of rules and so different from the playtest. Different players, different card draws and dice rolls, really add character to the battle. There are no other rules really like this that we could think of, and it works for AWI, ACW - everything from 1700-1900 - and very hackable, as outlined below.

So for posterity, I present the specific rules/hacks:

  • The river is Class II terrain - stop at far bank, move on next card, cross in march.
  • Oldbridge is Class II terrain - 4 sectors
  • Donore Hill is Class I
  • Jacobite cavalry deploys in Attack Column and may immediate melee
  • Pike armed troops may increase combat dice up one by deploying 'pikes forward' vs cavalry, but may not then move
  • Richard Hamilton may leave infantry element out of command and become cavalry commander at any time.

Allied Deployment
1st move card- Dutch consolidate
2nd - Hugenots begin to cross (1-3 segements)
3rd - Hanmer's bde
4th - N.Irish bde
5th - Danes (add morale)
6th - Dutch cavalry (add morale)

 And the decks:

The Allied deck emphasised movement and firepower, with a few inept command decisions (lulls).
4 x moves
1 x move one command group
3 x leadership
4 x lulls
1 x advance
2 x melee
3 x tactical advantage
2 maneuver
3 x army morale
4 infantry firepower
1 x artillery firepower

The Jacobite deck empahsised melee, impetuous charges and a bit of withdrawl.
4 x moves
2 x move one command group
4 x leadership
3 x lulls
3 x tactical advantage (less firepower)
2 x infantry firepower (no platoon firing)
1 x withdraw
3 x army morale
4 x melee
2 x uncontrolled charge
2 x maneuver

Friday, 10 June 2016

Battle of the Boyne - playtest for Piquet:Field of Battle

So, with a large summer game planned next week, I did a playtest with Field of Battle for the Boyne scenario that we did a few years back (yes - 2013 to be exact - with the then new Maurice). A few tweaks and changes required, though points to remember below (G, hit me with your thoughts on this...  :) )

  • I have 'tweaked' the cards with some special sequence deck cards - a little more 'uncontrolled charge' and ability to withdraw for the Jacobites and some movement and firepower bias for the Allies.
  • Reinforcements at river crossing points will be dictated by availability of movement cards during the turn i.e. after first two moves crossing with the Gardes de Voet  - then the Hugenots, next move card Allied/Dutch, then Irish units on next card etc. This gives a nice stepped approach...however...
  • The river is a class II obstacle - and needs 2 moves to get across, so rolls will be required to cross it and form line on the bank in the same turn - there may be a dangerous temptation to get troops across in column on a single move, though with elite Jacobite cavalry 'hovering', this could spell disaster (just like the actual battle).
  • Pike armed units can increase defence vs cavalry by one step by forming 'pike defence', though can't then move without formation change (a period flavour inclusion). Units without pikes are great for firepower but poor in defence dice. (Hugenots)
  • Allied Army Morale points will increase as the Danes and Dutch cross the river. (If the Allied Army Morale has not been driven down by this stage, the scenario becomes a real Kobayashi Maru for the Jacobites).
In this game, the Jacobites ran out of morale points and failed a test, while the allies had 5 points left. Somewhat unbalanced so may need a few tweaks, though the Jacobite cavalry was devastating!

Action around Oldbridge.

 Jacobite elite cavalry 'aligning' itself.

Moving toward the river.

As allied reinforcements start to mass.

Mid-game, with Oldbridge becoming a meatgrinder as the Jacobite cavalry charges in the centre.

Not a good day to be a dismounted cavalry picket.

Action during the epic charge in the centre.

A hole in the Allied centre, though it has cost the Jacobites dearly.

 By game end, the allies are securing their flanks, and the Danes have crossed (fresh troops at top of pic). By this stage, Jacobite infantry was starting to flee, though the cavalry was still of use.

Will the centre hold next week?
Will the Jacobites be forced back to Donore hill as they were historically?
Will the Allies be stuck trying to ford a river into the cold steel of enemy horse?

It's a great ruleset and really gives you a feeling for the ebb and flow of battle with card and multi-sided dice mechanics. Very quick resolution too. I recommend these rules, and I'm liking them more and more for the entire Horse & Musket period; they even have room for some early period tweaks.

Stay tuned...

Friday, 3 June 2016

Axles and Alloys - part Deux

More from the game with nutters in cars!

Pete joined us for the second game - and what an orgy of destruction it became.
  • The table is too big. 8'x5' is great for Waterloo, but allows a degree of movement here (at high speed) which doesn't necessarily force the cars to engage the way X-Wing or similar would. Smaller table next week.
  • Some of the rules need some clarification with house rules, and we're developing a QRS.
  • The games needs scenarios, though an 'Autoduel' style game in an arena with winner takes all style rules, and random entry gates in gladiator style, would also work.
Other than that, more madcap excitement!

Steve & Mad Mike's excellent Blue Streak. Superb rust detail on the turret - and it moves!

Panzer Pete's beautiful Red Rampager. Look at the lovingly welded front ramplate, and some nice bullethole chique.

Steve-o's Gigapede . Fantastic finish and suspension work.

The Low Rider. Hey, gimme a break, I spent nearly 15 minutes on this one!

 Some flamethrower action. (Clearly I like the flamethrower :) )

Rampage heading for town.

This doesn't look good... brakka, brakka, brakka

Gigapede manages to evade the smash and drops oil...control roll time.

SMACK! into the Gigapede drives nonchalantly & wave.

Straight into the rear minigun turret arc of the Streak...wait, didn't we agree that the rear turret arc would be restricted to ...BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRP.

Javelin reappears from last week, but only to help finish the Giga.

 Round and round and round we go... the air tonight.

 Fuel tank hit. Oops...damage uhh...does a lot of damage.

Daisy Duke settles on a temporary alliance with Rampage as they chase down the Streak.

As Steve plots the trajectory of the Nitro upgraded Interceptor as it hits the ramp...

 ...straight into the side of Daisy Duke. Control roll time again.


 Streak reigns supreme. Rampage tries a 'handbreaker' on the corner.

Another great game, but we need a scenario focus or an arena style game for future episodes...and a few rules tweaks.