Sunday, September 28, 2014

Send in the Marines - a Play Test

Last Saturday, I ran a play test of my game for Colonial Barracks ( link ).  With the theme being "Two Battalions of Marines" I dusted off my Between the Wars China Marines and constructed a scenario using bits and pieces of several different periods for the figures - 1920s/1930s China Marines, Victorian era civilians and African porters, 1930s Chinese warlord troops, Darkest Africa Belgian askari, 1880s American Apache Indians, and 1700s Caribbean Maroons (escaped slaves).  All together they have a very eclectic and "Hollywood" look.  Just what is needed for a "The Sword and the Flame" based convention.

Our brave Marines have been sent to rescue some missionaries from the clutches of a notoriously unstable warlord in some third (or maybe fourth) world "banana/mango/coconut republic" sometime in the late 1920s/early 1930s.  The scenario, with a few tweaks seems to have worked well so we'll see what happens in November at Colonial Barracks.

And now onto the action:

The battlefield with the trading post in the far corner.  The missionaries must reach this and board the steamer before the notoriously unstable warlord can get his hands on them.

The trading post along a pestilent river.  The steamboat brought the Marines and the seaplane is there, primarily, for set decoration.  It is a 1936 Keystone Loeing amphibious plane model made as a bank.  It is currently available in several guises on eBay.  The bamboo huts are from a posting on Miniature Wargaming (see my blog posting about them).

Hmm, a stranger has mysteriously arrived.  Will he influence the fight or his he just there to sight see?"

The Marines set out to find the missionaries.

They encounter part of the notoriously unstable warlord's army.

While the Marines are fighting off part of the notoriously unstable warlord's army, his mounted contingent attacks the missionary party.

After the Marine command element gets involved, the attack is stopped but at the cost of the Marine Captain Jack Kelly and his bulldog.
 
That's all the pictures I had time to take since I was running the game.  If you're coming to Colonial Barracks in New Orleans in November, I'll be running the game on Saturday morning, the 8th.
 


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Fight for the Supplies

On Saturday, April 19, 2014, the Jackson Gamers met at Jay's house for a Very British Civil War game run by Col Campbell.  We used the "Went the DayWell?" rules for the first time.  Each of the four players had a unit of 35 figures or so, plus three of them had support weapons.

The Royalists and British Union of Fascists were led, respectively, by John M. and Jay.  Each unit had a headquarters element of 5 figures, three 10-man rifle sections, and a heavy machinegun team.  Two of the Royalist sections included a 2-man Lewis gun team.  The BUF Bolton Rifles had a rifle grenadier in the headquarters and one in the third rifle section.

The East Bergholt local forces were led by Ed S.  He had a five person headquarters section and three "rifle" sections -- East Bergholt Hunt Club of 10 men including a Lewis gun team, the East Berholt Constabulary of 8 men, and the Squire's retainers (10 men).  Allied with them were a unit of the Harwich Maritime Defence Force (revolutionary sailors) led by Sean P.  He had a 5-man headquarters element, three 10-man rifle sections, and a truck mounted naval gun with 4 crewmen.

Both sides were after the supplies scattered about after a goods wagon had derailed on the rail line between Colchester and Ipswich near Manningtree and the River Stour.

The battlefield looking from the southeast.  The Royalists and Bolton Rifles will be entering from the table edge to the left; the East Bergholt forces from the far corner where the road disappears; and the Harwich sailors from the right side of the picture.  The derailed goods wagon is in the center.  Unfortunately I put too much restrictive terrain along the stream and that impeded the Harwich sailors movement too much.
 
The battlefield from the northwest.  The East Bergholt forces will enter from the closer road while the Royalists and Bolton Rifles will come in from across the board where the gray troop box is.  The Harwich sailors will enter from the far left corner.  The terrain on this side of the table was much more open which aided the Royalists as you will see from future pictures.
 
The derailed goods wagon with supplies scattered around it.  You'll notice that there are some green colored petrol drums in the mix.  Gotta be careful and not hit them with a rifle grenade or a machinegun burst!
The rail car is from a set I purchased a number of years ago.  I still need to do some painting and detailing of it for future use as those red road wheels just aren't going to work!
 
 
The BUF Bolton Rifles advance towards the goods wagon.  Closest are two rifle sections.  In the distance are the headquarters element, heavy machinegun team, and other rifle section.  The Royalists are beyond the railroad tracks.
 
In the distance, the East Berholt local forces begin their advance.  On the left are the members of the East Bergholt Hunt Club including a Lewis gun team.  In the center are the Squire's headquarters element (himself, his wife and daughter, his brother, and the Squire's Ghurkha batman) and the East bergholt Constabulary.  Behind the trees on the right are the Squire's retainers.
Sean P., the Harwich Maritime Defence Force commander, shows his colors with his red shirt - how appropriate!
His sailors are advancing along both sides of the road with the gun truck on the road.
The Bolton Rifles approach the scattered supplies and exchange fire with the Squire's retainers.  The background the Royalists begin to outflank the East Bergholt Hunt Club.

The Constabulary try to get into the woods before the Royalists.  On the right, the Squire moves behind the wall to put his wife and brother out of the fire after loosing his daughter and his batman to BUF fire.

Looking from behind the Royalists as they attack the hunt club.  The Royalist Vickers gun on the left has just been set up and is awaiting a clear field of fire.

The Bolton Rifles left flank section also trades fire with the Squire's retainers.  between them and their comrades on the far side of the woods, including a Maxim machinegun team, slowly attrite the retainers.
 
The Harwich naval gun truck has slewed around in the road and trained on the BUF.  Unfortunately their first shot was wild and they didn't hit anything.

A section of the Bolton Rifles shelters behind a fence and opens fire on the advancing sailors and the naval gun truck.  Behind them you can see the BUF Maxim machinegun team set-up on the railroad tracks.

And quickly put paid to the naval gunners - killing first one, then the other three with some lucky shots.  Needless to say, Sean was very discouraged about this turn of events.

In final actions, the Royalists bring two rifle sections, one with a Lewis gun, and the Vickers heavy machinegun against the hunt club.  They quickly blast them into oblivion, forcing the remaining members to scamper away.
This ended the action since the Squire decided that to run away and live to fight another day was the best course of action.  With the East Bergholt forces withdrawing, the Harwich Maritime Defence Force decided that they couldn't make any further progress either, especially with the loss of their gun crew.  So they also announced their withdrawal back to Harwich.  This left the Royalists and BUF in control of all of the supplies.  Minus, that is a petrol drum that had been punctured by a stray shot but didn't catch fire or explode.
 
Rules comments:  This was the first time we had used "Went the Day Well?" rules.  It was rather slow going, especially with the sequencing and adjudicating the weapons fire.  We never got to a melee, perhaps fortunately since I'm still not sure I understand all that is supposed to happen with hand-to-hand combat.  I'm sure we missed things as we proceeded.
 
Both sides closed at the run of the first two turns so I limited them to walking for another two turns before they could run again.  I think we played a total of five or six turns before the local forces were so understrength that they couldn't continue.
 


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Smash & Grab - August 3rd, 2013



June 16, 3064
Bialyian Desert, Carver V

A report from Corporal Johnathon Teach, support staffer of the Second Argyle Highlander Regiment:

We’d been hit hard these past two weeks.  What had been the entire Second Argyle Highlanders regiment protecting the planet has been reduces to just a single lance.  Forced to hide out in the desert, we thought we’d been lucky to find this abandoned germanium mine.  Walled in and located in fairly defensible terrain, we hunkered down to wait for reinforcements, or, if worst came to worst, make a valiant last stand for Prince and nation.

It started at 0837.  That’s when we first detected the short company on long range sensors.  By 0900 we knew that it was more than just a patrol as the started entering visual range.

Sir Nevel Kingston-Brown’s custom Black Knight and Jeff Nemo’s VTR-10D Victor stand guard at the gate while the Lyran forces enter sensor range.

The Lyrans were smart.  They came in from the Southwest, well away from the front gate to the mine complex.  Leftenants Dan Linkan and Markus Nesevo had departed to do a patrol to the north and east to see if they could catch any flankers, leaving Captain Sir Nevel Kingston-Brown and Leftenant Jeff Nemo to guard the complex itself.

Leftenants Dan Linkan, in a DVS-2 Devastator, and Markus Nesevo, in a CES-3R Caesar, return from a patrol to find the mine under attack.

The Lyrans had split up into two groups.  A lighter, faster scout force that came in south of the small mountain chain that dotted the desert, and a larger, heavier attack force that came in slightly north of them.

The Lyran scout force: Ben Corbett’s WSP-1A Wasp, Kevin Jaeger’s STG-3R Stinger, and Keith Morris’s COM-7S Commando.

The Lyran heavy lance – Brevet Hauptmann Camille Ulffson’s modified Axman, Charles Paine’s BSW-S2 Bushwacker, James Van Elson’s HCT-6S Hatchetman, and First Leutnant Hermes Gherardini’s modified Battlemaster – begin their attack on the mine complex.

Now, Captain Kingston-Brown was no fool.  He knew the only thing that would allow his 'Mech’s to stand up to twice their weight in enemy ‘Mechs was the wall surrounding the complex.  That, and some good-ol’ Davion fire discipline, allowed the two of them to blunt the enemy’s charge and even knock out the lead ‘Mech.


Hauptmann Ulffson’s Axman is the first, but not the last, casualty of the day.

But that’s when things started to go downhill.  We got word from Markus and Dan that they hadn’t start moving yet – apparently they overestimated the max range on the gauss rifles their ‘Mech’s carried.  Then we heard the unthinkable: Jeff’s ultra AC had jammed, the deep thunk of the machine’s ammo feed failing seemed to reverberate throughout the battlefield.  Thinking himself done for, the boy then leapt out of the compound straight into the enemy formation.  Even tried to do a Death From Above on one of the enemy.  Too bad he failed.  Coulda won us the battle right then.

Leftenant Jeff Nemo attempts to DFA the enemy Battlemaster.

Then the Lyrans started getting the idea to jet their own jump-capable ‘Mechs in the base.  First off was one of those little Hatchetman.  Tried to engage Sir Nevel in close combat.  Guess he didn’t count on a Triple-Strength Myomer enhanced sword slicing his ‘Mech neatly in half.

Sir Nevel Kingston-Brown and James Van Elson engage in honorable melee combat inside the mining complex.

Meanwhile, the other half of the Davion force races – as much as a 100-ton ‘Mech can race anyway – to join the battle.

And that’s when Jeff fell, his entire torso completely destroyed by the combined firepower of the rest of the Lyrans.

Jeff Nemo’s Victor falls over, just as the Lyran lights join the fray.


The Lyran Wasp and Stinger jump into the mining compound…


Just in time to see the Hatchetman bite the dust.


Jeff Nemo’s Victor’s entire torso is obliterated by Hermes Gherardini’s Battlemaster.

I guess it was then that Sir Nevel got a little flustered, and the three Lyran lights managed to get shots at his rear armor.  Now, his head had already been hit earlier, stripping it of its armor and damaging the sensors, but then one of those little guys managed to hit what was left, and, well…

The three Lyran lights manage to get back shots on the Black Knight



And manage to destroy the head section, killing Captain Sir Nevel Kingston-Brown.

I thought it was all over when Sir Nevel died, and the Lyrans began shooting at the mine entrance, collapsing it.  But that’s when we heard the unmistakable sound of Gauss rounds and PPC bolts overhead as the big boys got into the fray.

The two remaining Davion BattleMechs enter the fray.

Now, I don’t need to tell you what happens when a 100-ton Devastator attacks a 20-ton Wasp.  I’m pretty sure that thing’s arm flew a good kilometer or so before it landed.  PPCs and gauss rifles can take three lights apart pretty quickly it seems, especially because they decided to go after some mine skips fulla ore rather than skedaddle like bugs should when a big boy comes to play.  I guess that the Lyrans didn’t have too much fight in ‘em after that.  Their last two machines, a Bushwacker and what looked like a modified Battlemaster, had been worn down by trying to deal with Sir Kingston-Brown and Leftenant Nemo and they suddenly found themselves facing two pristine ‘Mechs, both armed with gauss rifles.  Started retreating right then and there, though Leftenants Nesevo and Linkan didn’t even bother trying to chase ‘em down.  Guess they were too worried about Sir Nevel to put any thought into the catching them.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Battle of Pine Hill, July 6, 1863

Today (July 6, 2013), the Jackson Gamers fought a pair of post-Gettysburg "what if" battles based on a vigorous pursuit by Meade's Army of the Potomac of Lee's Army of Northern Virginia.  I was a Confederate commander of one of the battles and this report concentrates on some of that action.

The scenarios of both battles were similar with Union forces attempting to cut Lee's line of retreat to the Potomac River crossings.  In the battle which I fought, the Confederates already held a strategic hill while in the other battle, the Union forces held the strategic hill.  The mission of the opposite sides were to either defend what we already had or take it from their opponent.

The Battle of Pine Hill pitted four brigades of Confederates under Lieutenant General James Longstreet against five brigades of Union troops.  John A. (young novice son of Jay A.) assisted me while we were opposed by Travis M. (overall Union commander) and Sean P. (my son).  On the other table Jay A. (overall Confederate commander) and Jerry Lee A. (his older son) fought a successful battle against the Union forces of Ed S. and Bill H.

Looking at the Confederate battle line with Pine Hill in the center upon which were placed two artillery batteries supported by a regiment of infantry.  John A. commanded a brigade of infantry and an artillery battery of the right (left of picture) while I commanded the center and left flank brigades.  We had the fourth brigade in reserve.

A full Union brigade of three regiments in column assaults the 4th Texas of John's brigade.  After a fierce struggle the Confederate regiment fell back precipitously, pursued by one of the Union regiments.  On the right, John's artillery battery lends fire support.

Sean P., a stone-faced Union commander, launches overwhelming attacks against John's other two Texas regiments.  After inflicting some casualties with their rifle fire, both regiments withdrew in front of the Union attackers.  Travis M. (back to camera) places casualties from his part of the Union forces back into their boxes.

The aftermath of a ferocious fight in the center.  After loosing his artillery battery to a Union assault, John counters with a furious counterattack by the 2nd South Carolina against two Union regiments.  The Palmetto boys beat both Federal regiments then turned against the Union regiment to the left facing the 17th Tennessee Infantry, scattering it with a fierce Rebel yell.

On the right flank, three of John's regiments from two different brigades face off against three Union regiments but in the background three more are moving around the copse of woods.

Meanwhile on the left flank I'm slowly withdrawing against very light Union pressure as I begin to send regiments to shore up the center and right of our line.  There were two Union batteries to my front and I didn't want to risk a mini-"Pickett's" charge against them.

At this point we stopped the action, with the umpire judging that the Union forces didn't have the strength to push our troops off the Pine Hill.  Travis' two Union brigades just couldn't close because he rolled lousy on his movement die rolls.  We decided that his troops had made a hard forced march the night before the battle and then encountered very muddy fields, slowing their advance.

I don't really know exactly what happened on the other table but the Confederate forces did successfully attack the Union held hill and severely beat them up, pushing them back along their front.  I know Ed S. took pictures so I hope he'll post them here shortly.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

With Massena against the British

And here are some views and comments on our Fog:N game at Phil's from the French point of view.  The pictures and dialogue are courtesy of Phil.  Please click on the pictures for a larger image.

The 1st Saturday of the new  year saw some of the Jackson Gamers exploring the relatively new Field of Glory Napoleonic rules.   The scenario was a 1518 point French army  under Massena  versus a 1380 point British army under Wellington somewhere in the Spanish Peninsula.

Wellington has utilized a flank march with his British cavalry, whose presence, flowing  around and through the large village on the French left,  causes some concern for Massena.  In FoG-N a small unit of cavalry consists of 500-800 men.  The French are looking at least 2000 British sabres on their flank.  This brings them no cheer.



The French cavalry commander peels off one unit of dragoons to slow the British light cavalry moving left of the village.



The British heavy dragoons assault the French dragoons before them and break both units, depriving their attached officer as well of his continued existence in this game.  The légère in skirmish order on the right flee into the woods without a chance to fire upon the British cavalry.




The remaining French dragoons on the French left force the British light dragoons back.  But in their pursuit of the withdrawing British, they run into the KGL light cavalry who defeat the French in the resulting melee.

 
The leading French unit of the left-hand Corps waivers under very accurate British artillery fire.  Although the French have massed their artillery, they can accomplish very little with it.

 
After evading the British dragoons, the légère unit in skirmish order attempts a flank move through the woods, but they just can't quite get to the edge and into point-blank musket range.


On the far left, the remaining French dragoons flee from the victorious KGL cavalry who will catch them and break them.  The lone French cavalry general (center beneath village) has failed to rally a single unit.  The triumphant British cavalry are unopposed.  They are some 6 to 7 turns away from the French LOC (some 26” = a mile).  The French infantry to the right have begun to form square in anticipation of being attacked.


View from behind the French lines.  Their infantry is struggling to advance.  The large units of Portuguese and Spanish in the center of the British defense easily absorb the French fire.  On the British right their infantry have refused their flank to the légère in the rough terrain.  The remaining French cavalry on the far right (all light) try to weave between rough and difficult terrain.  Awaiting them are Spanish lancers and British light Infantry, who avidly await the chance to fire at them then evade, confident that the lancers will intercept any assault in their direction.  It is a first class defensive position for Wellington, & Massena now knows his effort is futile.