Saturday, November 22, 2008

Comments on 2HWG's Colonial Adventures Rules

While at MilleniumCon last weekend, I played in a game using Ed Teixeira's new Two Hour Wargames rules Colonial Adventures. The scenario was titled "The Raid" and was run by Al Maurer of Askari Miniatures using his lovely North African colonial figures.

From the events list description: "Players take command of French Foreign Legionnaires conducting a raid of a Berber village. Can you find and capture the leader of the rebellion?"

Actually the players were divided into two groups, the French and the Berbers. Along with Bill Protz and two other gamers, I played as a Berber clan chief. We each had a unit of 20 Berbers armed with muskets (three units) or rifles (one unit). Our senior leader was hidden and the French would have to find him. Likewise all our units started out hidden as well.

There were four French players commanded three 20-figure units of infantry (one FFL, one Tirailleur Algerien, and one allied Arabs), one 15-figure unit of mounted troops (Chasseurs d'Afrique, I think), and a mule borne mountain gun.

The French clearly had the Berbers out manned and out classed. All of Ed's games use a technique known as a "Rep" to classify units, to determine when (and if) they can move and how well they fire. The FFL, gun, Tirailleurs, and cavalry were all Rep 5, meaning they could move when a 5 or less was rolled on a D6. The French allied Arabs and three of the four Berber units were Rep 4, while my unit was a Rep 5. There were a number of turns when none of the Berbers could move because we rolled more than a 4 or 5 on our D6 activation roll.

The first action involved Bill Protz's unit of rifle armed Berbers against the French cavalry around a rocky knoll with a cave in it. The melee lasted for several turns with the French losing heavily at first until the die rolling turned to their favor and gradually Bill's Berbers melted away and fled the table. The melee started when the cavalry sighted Bill's Berbers, who then fired. The cavalry then charged the Berbers and the melee ensued. All of these activities were determined by reaction die rolls, with the unit commanders having little to say in what their unit did.

Here is a closer look at the melee. As you can see, the figures were nicely painted and the terrain was well done, all resting on a battle cloth of regular patterned fabric like Travis Melton uses.

The main Berber defenses were around the ruined buildings with my unit (somewhat elite) occupying the two buildings on the right, another unit the building in the front center, and a third unit some rough terrain further to the left. The French allied Arabs were in a skirmish line that moved through the palm grove. It was gradually shot to pieces by the Berbers and either died or ran away. The units to the right of the palms are the mule gun and the FFL. the Tirailleurs are behind the palms on the far left and are hidden from view. The FFL were in close order line and could use a volley fire advantage which hurt my unit a little bit.

Because of casualties, I was forced to abandon the first building and retreated back to the second. Here I made my stand. Since I could only fire a few men out of each face of the building, I was normally only rolling 3 firing D6s, needing a 1 to hit anything. Needless to say, my abysmal die rolling resulted in fewer French casualties than I desired to inflict.

Finally the FFL assaulted my last stand building with cold steel. Although I killed a couple of them, they were too powerful for me to resist and so my last three guys (out of 20) ran away. I did kill one of the FFL leaders, but they also killed my leader in the melee. This completed my participation in the game, so I don't know whether the French were able to find our hidden leader.

OK, you ask, how did I like the rules? Well, they are advertised as a two hour game and we played about two hours before my unit fled and I left. But there were 8 players and we each controlled only one unit, except for one of the French players who controlled the FFL and the gun. With more units to control, the game would, I think, take longer. There were some errors on the quick play sheets that we used (note: each type of unit had its own, unique QRS with different results for the reaction checks.) so Al had to consult the rule book a number of times. It appeared that there wasn't enough quality control there. For the most part, once a unit is committed to an action, movement, firing, melee, the player tends to loose control over what the unit does. All actions are laid out in the reaction test tables and are dependent on passing die rolls. I'm not sure that I like loosing that much control, even though I've played in a number of games using various varieties of Ed's rules. Anyway, it was an interesting close to a long day of SYW fighting and I'm glad I got to experience these colonial rules. I doubt if I will get a copy as I'm pretty much a Sword and the Flame guy.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Texas Big Battalions Game

As many of you frequent readers know, I recently returned from MilleniumCon in Round Rock, Texas, where I participated in the Texas Big Battalions SYW game. Although the Electoral forces lost, it was a very enjoyable game, especially since I had the honor of playing opposite Bill Protz, author of the rules we used, Batailles de l'Ancien Regime (BAR). You can see several battale reports, pre-battle background, and post-battle reports at these various sites:

ColCampbell's Barracks

Emperor vs Elector

Der Alte Fritz Journal

Texas Big Battalions Blog

Landgraviate of Hesse-Fedora


Monday, November 3, 2008

Marching off to War

Please visit ColCampbell's Barracks over the coming week as I post pictures of the armies of the Margraviate of Carpania, Duchy of Courland, and Duchy of Sachsen-Wachsenstein leaving for the Champs de Mars in Round Rock, Texas at the Texas Big Battalions game.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Renaissance Battle in Italy

On Oct. 18, Jay Stribling treated us to a Renaissance game using slightly modified Fields of Glory rules. Using troops of Jim Pitts and his own, Jay set up a fictitious battle in northern Italy between the forces of the French king and the Holy Roman Emperor. Players were:

French -- Jay Stribling, Bill Hamilton, Sean Pitts, and Ed Sansing

Germans -- Jim Pitts, Travis Melton, Phil Young, and Larry Reeves

The center of the battlefield with the Germans of Jim Pitts
on the left and the French/Swiss of Jay Stribling
and Sean Pitts on the right.

Jim's attack progresses against the French.

Final fighting in the center

So who won? Common consent was (if I remember correctly) the the Germans would win since they had collapsed the French left flank and penetrated the center, threatening the French baggage park. There is now a full report on the Jackson Gamers web site, see link to right.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Re-Basing Mania

I've heard that all gamers, if they stay at it long enough, will look at units they have completed and decide to re-base them. I have now come to that point. I recently completed 2 Mex-Am War (MAW) Mexican regiments and Larry Reeves painted 2 more for me and I am wondering whether to change my method of basing. I have been using Wargames Accessories metal bases. What I plan on doing is using plywood on top to the base so I can put the name of the unit on the back so they are easily identifiable.

When I started my 15mm MAW army I based them in accordance with Fire & Fury rules. I used 1 x 3/4 inch bases for infantry. I mounted 3 figures per stand, since in F&F losses are by stand not by figure. Cavalry & artillery are on 1 x 1 1/2 inch stands. I used Musket Miniatures line and their packs have 24 figures each, so my units were 8 stands.

In the games we have played unit sizes have been, at the most, 6 stands, so I have toyed with the idea of re-basing the units 4 figures to a stand. If I do this I could also use these units with Brom's Standard rules for MAW.

What I am wondering is can I mount 4 figures on the size base that I have been mounting 3 without it looking to crowded? Here is a picture of a test. In the foreground is the new 2nd Lt. infantry, with 4 per stand, and in the background is the older 1st Lt. infantry, at 3 per stand.

I am looking for comments on which unit looks best.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Mayhem in Plasticville

John Switzer treated us to another of his specialized games, this time "Mayhem in Plasticville." As Ed described in the previous post, the Zombies were loose! But that didn't phase Baron Samdhe and his gang of toughs. They knew the redneck motorcycle gang from the local trailer park would come calling. Nobody was going to horn in on their turf!

Here we see the Baron (in the middle in his voo-doo leader garb) and his peeps (from the left) - Shades, Rasta, the Kid (who defected to another gang), Stripes, Levi, Boomer, and Rainbow, the Baron's girl.

The Zombies are coming!!
"There's thousands of them, Mr. Rico!"

Leaving Stripes and Levi to hold the fort, the Baron and his troops advance into the street for a showdown with the motorcycle gang. Notice that the police are more interested in chasing the punks on the skateboards than worrying about what the Baron will do.

But things didn't work out too well for the Baron. After he and Boomer were killed by the bikers, his peeps wiped the bikers out. But there had been too much shooting for the police, so after all the Zombies had been dispatched, they turned on the Baron's boys and shot Shades and Rainbow in the backs. I guess Rasta, Levi, and Stripes will have to "discuss" who will take over from the late, unlamented Baron.

But maybe he will rise from the dead! You never can tell with those voo-doo practioners.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Plasticville's Finest

A picture of my group of cops from our Mayhem in Plasticville game last Saturday. They belong to John Switzer and were really well painted.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Hubcon 2008

The wargamers in Hattiesburg, Mississippi put on a small regional convention in September of every year. Hattiesburg is known as the "Hub City" for all its intersecting roads and railroads so the convention is called Hubcon. This year a large contingent of 11 Jackson Gamers descended on the city to play games, renew friendships, and buy wargaming stuff.

Here a number of the Jackson Gamers gather around a 25mm Franco-Prussian game run by Robert Whitfield, a former resident of Jackson and now living in Hattiesburg.

Other Jackson Gamers take part in a WW2 game using the Command Decision rules.

Jay Stribling, one of the charter members of the Jackson Gamers, ponders his next move in a WW2 Memoir 44 game.

Hilton McManus (on right), a New Orleans area wargamer and a sparkplug behind the Bayou Wars convention, looks over his options in the Field of Glory tournament.

Three of the four Russian commanders (Robert Whitfield, Jay Stribling, and Steve Wirth; your photographer was the fourth) plan their defense of Mother Russia against the French in a 15mm Napoleonic game set during Napoleon's 1812 invasion. We used Travis Melton's set of Napoleonic rules, Sabers & Muskets, which have been designed for convention play.

The four French commanders (Joshua Brown and his dad Mark, Billy Middleton, and Phil Young) plot their attacks on the Russian defenders. Travis' rules are simple and easy to pick-up, perfect for a convention.

From all appearances, a good time was had by all. Our thanks to Tim Broome and the other Hattiesburg gamers for an enjoyable day!

Jim Pitts, your friendly narrator and photographer

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I just finished a very good read on THE World War I naval battle: "Jutland - The German Perspective" by V.E. Tarrant.

Previous books that I found valuable in the same Genre were "Castles of Steel" by Robert K. Massie and "The Great War at Sea 1914-1918" by Richard Hough.

No one is apparently as interested in WWI but I thought that I would just inflict this on all of this blog's readers.


Saturday, September 6, 2008

Modern Afghan Game, Sep. 6, 2008

Game Master -- Ed Sansing

Coalition -- Jim Pitts (force command, sniper, Scottish platoon)
Sean Pitts (Royal Marine troop, mortar support)
Bill Hamilton (American infantry platoon, machine gun support)

Afghans -- Phil Young (force command, two fighter sections)
Ed Sansing (headquarters team, one fighter section, machine gun team)

A Scottish squad advances over a scrubby Afghan hill on its way to Jellybad.
(Note: Click on pictures to see a larger image.)

The Coalition force's mission was to search the village of Jellybad and find and destroy the opium cache of the local warlord. The local warlord's mission was, of course, to prevent the infidels from finding and destroying his opium.

Force Strengths:

Coalition -- one Royal Marine headquarters team (5, including a medic)
two Royal Marine squads (8 each)
one Royal Marine light mortar with crew (3)
two Scottish squads (8 each)
two American infantry squads (9 each)
two American light machine gun teams (3 each)

Afghan -- one headquarters team (5)
three fighter sections (12 each)
one light machine gun team (3)

After deploying a smoke screen, the Scots rush towards cover, dragging three of their wounded. Another Scottish squad is cheering them on from behind one of the buildings in Jellybad. In the distance is one of the Royal Marine squads. The Americans came over the big hill in the background and assaulted Jellybad from that side. Unfortunately the war correspondent was with the Scots and did not get any coverage of the Americans.

While one Afghan section puts down long-range covering fire from a ridge outside Jellybad, another section occupies two of the buildings on the town square. Most of the Scottish casualties came from the Afghans on the ridge.

Looking down into the town square, you can see the garage across the square where the opium was hidden with the warlord's command team hiding behind it. A wounded Afghan from the opium guard section lies in the square. You can also get a better view of the other building occupied by part of the Afghan force.

After gaining cover behind this building, the Scottish squad that took the most casualties couldn't be budged from its cover. They were recruits newly arrived in country. The red marker indicates that they are "broken." The Royal Marine medic is helping tend to their wounded (and in fact patched two of them up sufficiently to allow them to return to action. Immediately behind them is one of the two Royal Marine squads, with the second one in the building across the way.

Unfortunately the war correspondent's camera was up to full working order (batteries were very low) and these were all the photographs taken.

So who won? The Coalition forces killed almost all the Afghan fighters, including the warlord himself, captured two of the fighters, and found and destroyed the opium cache. This was accomplished with the loss of one Scot killed and three Scots and one Royal Marine wounded. The Americans suffered minimal casualties of one man slightly wounded and returned to action.