Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Skirmish Wargames Weekend Pt. 3

On Sunday the terrain was changed by adding a mass of adobe buildings and a landing dock with a ship. One party of mountain men were at the dock to make a sale to the ships captain, while the others were out to prevent the sale! As I was running the rules my characters held back and did not get too involved, although one leapt on board the ship as it sailed away, inadvertently joining the ships crew!
The highlights for me was Beth and Pops arguing and fighting among themselves, despite being nominally on the same size, and the man mountain throwing his opponents left and right as if they were rag dolls.
Mikes chili then finished off a great gaming weekend.

Skirmish Wargames Weekend Pt. 2

Saturday saw us transfer to the Florence Nightingale hall, a short drive from Mikes, and set up the table for the weekend. With a bit of creativity Tom and I managed to get the floor laminate converted into a nice irregular river front, with a wide open desert adjacent to it as we travelled to the Sudan. Mike has been lucky enough (and we hate him for it!) to get one of the magnificent William Britain's Sudan river gunboats. This formed one part of the Allied forces, with a cannon and machine gun, while at the far end of the table two 3 man units of the Royal Sussex under Captain Winsbury and Sgt. Tom Chard were collecting fuel in a small wood. And then the Mahdists arrived

Arriving randomly along the board edge opposite the river the majority of the forces seemed to arrive at the opposite and of the table from the wood patrol and found themselves under fire from the machine gun and can in mounted on the steamer.

My force was quickly annihilated, but others managed to do better.
Ted managed to make it to the foot off the steamers gangplank before he was cut down. At the opposite end if the table two groups of Mahdi had arrived nearer the patrol and were cautiously advancing having seen the devastation wrought on their compatriots by the Europeans weaponry. They finally managed to engage the British infantry in melee, inflicting a number of casualties, including Sergeant Chard. Despite this the carnage from the machine gun had won a clear victory for the Anglo-Egyptians.

The second game for the day was supposed to continue in from the morning, but hadn't quite worked out correct, but we persevered none the less. The British were again deployed in the woods, but this time they had been cut off and had a camel corps force coming to their rescue.

While a number of Mahdi engaged the enemy directly, I was in ambush in the mosque and burst out as the camels rode past to attack them.
I was brushed aside by the Camel Corps although our forces against the British fared better in viscous melee, cutting down Sgt. Chard again!

Skirmish Wargames Weekend Pt. 1

I travelled up to Derbyshire to stay with Mike and be joined by a number of other skirmish gamers for a weekend of 54mm gaming. Friday afternoon saw myself, Mike, Ted and Alan G gathering at Mike's to play a Pavia game hosted by Ted with a mix of old Britains, some newer ones and some figures from the various Russian collectible ranges, including some of the most beautiful pavises I have ever seen. The detail was amazing.

The rules were the Foundry Conditorri rules and as I had seen nothing of them other than a fairly neutral review when they were first released I was interested in seeing how they worked. They are not really true skirmish rules, rather a small unit actions, we used half sized units, so foot were 8-12 and cavalry in groups of 5. The playsheet with the rules has masses of missing information, but Ted made up a much better additional set that included everything you needed to know.

I was the defender, with Alan and Mike attacking, while Ted umpired. All the units were laid out and I got to pick which ones I would use, and the attackers go the rest. I decided to go with the big pike block, with crossbowman and aquebusiers to flank them, a medium gun and a light gun. I added a unit of knights to this and a unit of mounted crossbow, which I made my veteran unit, with excellent shots.

As the attackers moved through the gap in the wall and advanced towards me, I rushed my mounted crossbow forward to one flank and began to borrow bolts into the advancing units, much to Mikes consternation, while Alan advanced up the opposite flank with the majority of the enemy foot.

Then things took a turn for worst. Conditorri uses random event cards, and Mike drew and played 'Fog'. Very accurate for Pavia, but the massive reduction in shooting range really hurt me. I committed my knights against the remains of Mikes foot that had been shot by the mounted crossbow, who had to redeploy as they found a swamp in front of them (another random event card). I ran this unit down, and the heavy gun behind them, but then Mike committed his own knights, who were the attackers elite unit and gradually got the upper hand in the combat.

Back on the ridge another random event card affect my crossbow men, who decided this wasn't looking too good and almost all of them fled from the table (although we maybe should have tweaked this card to allow for the smaller starting size of units)! By now Alan had remorselessly closed on my defenders and although the Pike was holding, the handgonners were being decimated. I committed the mounted crossbowmen to the rear of the melee against the pikemen to swing it in mu favour, but my pike block was then hit in the flank and the aquebesiers collapsed completely, while the mounted troops got charged in turn and a massed melee ensured in which I was at a serious disadvantage now my pike was not fighting just to the front and I was eventually defeated, although the casualties I had inflicted on the enemy were much higher than they expected, and that was with the fog hampering my firing.

The only thing I might have changed was the cards we used for wounding. Ted had a lovely set of period cards, which added a great flavour, but I kept getting confused as to what the suits corresponded to in the rules!

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Club Night 17th February

I played new club member Dan (yes, another new club member, we have gained three new members since the start of the year, which is great) in a game of 40K. Dan is still learning and getting going and had played some smaller games against Mike last week, so we decided to play a 1,500 point game, with him using my Tau and me my Blood Angels.

The Tau army I provided was fairly balanced, a commander and his bodyguards and another unit of crisis suits, backed up by two fire warrior squads and some pathfinders in devilfish, a sky ray and two units of sniper drones for some serious anti-marine fire-power. Against this I used the same list as I sued for the club league as it was fairly balanced, and other than a couple of landspeeders is all jump pack equipped which makes for a terrifyingly fast attack force.

We set up the terrain with a big ruined fort in the middle at an angle with small hills, a crashed ship and some palm trees scattered around the outside. This reduced lines of fire, but not too drastically and also should restrict where I could deep strike, so should be an even set up. The mission was take and hold with objectives in opposite towers if the fort, one in the supply dump in the middle and one on the crashed ship. With diagonal deployment, Dan choose to gab the zone with two objectives in it and one near it, leaving me with the opposite one, with an objective just outside and having to hunt down the rest.

Dan deployed a unit of fire warriors on each flank supported by a unit of sniper drones, with the pathfinders in the middle and the sky ray set back for fire support. The battle suits loitered more centrally, but could easily move to support wither flank or attack in the centre. In my zone I set up just two full strength assault squads with sanguinary priests and a supporting landspeeder, each group hugging cover to avoid being shot up by the Tau. But then Dan had his first bit of bad luck, I seized the initiative and was able to start advancing before he had been able to deploy into a firing line. Each of my groups moved out to the opposite flanks, continuing to hug the cover. Dan then started to deploy the Tau warriors and moved the battle suits forward centrally.

This fortunately played into my hands as it meant that I was able to engage the Battle suits in melee and avoid getting shot at. A quad attached each unit, the Tau commander falling relatively easily over a couple of turns, but the other quad proved much more troublesome. As my reserves began to arrive I started to overwhelm the Tau warriors on close combat, taking relatively light casualties and demonstrating the ferocity that the Blood Angels are renowned for.

With Assault squad rolling up each flank and the Death Company and veterans chewing through the centre, Dan conceded the battle. This was a fun game, although quite a steep learning curve for Dan. I gave him as much advice as was sensible, and he really only made one small mistake in putting the battle suits where I could charge them. The only other thing that really cost him was my seizing the initiative, which is the first time I have ever managed to do this. I look forward to my next game with my Blood Angels who I really enjoy using. There is even a rumour that Ken has been painting figures for his Grey Knights...!*

*Ken is known at the club for owning masses of figures for his Grey Knights, but only having a small army painter, which I did for him about 8 years ago!

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Club Night 10th February

Steve K organised a Black Powder using our 6mm troops from the Battle of Alma the club put on a while back. The scenario was based on Inkerman, with me taking the Russian Naval Brigade, new club member Lyndon, the two regular brigades adjacent to me, while Bob took the later arriving brigades. Against us Steve and Ben took the British, with a Guard and French Brigade in reserve.

It started badly for me with my unreliable units not moving, once I got them moving I made slow progress, and even blundered ordering my gun, so four turns in it had retreated back to where it started! The other Russians were not doing much better, making slow progress, although their artillery was proving surprisingly good at suppressing the enemy artillery with counter battery fire.

We finally pushed forward to the tiny units of skirmishers holding the ground ahead of us, only for them to fall back, although we eventually caught them. By now Bob had arrived and was having about the same luck we did in getting his force across the bridge on the post road and deployed ready for battle.

Then my sailors suddenly got three moves and swept up the ridge behind Lyndon's troops, attacking and destroying an artillery battery on the flank and a unit of skirmishers. Meanwhile some of the main British force had advanced and Lyndon was valiantly fighting it off on the road up the hill, however he then launched a counter attack, which was repelled with a unit destroyed and the supporting units streaming backward.

On the other flank Bob had made it up to the high ground and was gradually forcing Ben back, although Lyndon was giving spectacular support from his artillery and rifle armed battalion, the British refused to break (rolled double-6 twice for break tests at a hefty -4 modifier).

By now the evening was advanced, and with the French and Guards coming up, while the Russians were battered ad quite spread out, it did not look like they would be successful and it was declared an allied victory.

This was a good scenario by Steve, although the skirmishers seemed a bit too effective (they were a tiny unit with a stamina of 1) and we will need review the rules and check we were doing them right.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Club Night 3rd February

After a long break for one reason and another I headed up the club without a planned game to join in something that was on. Colin, Steve K and new guy, Dan, were playing a small (just 3' x 5') ACW with Fire and Fury scenario for the battle of Spring Hill from a very old Wargames Illustrated. They kindly let me join in , so I joined Steve as a Confederate.

The scenario was very interesting, with the confederates needing to get across the table and cross the turn pike for a victory, or bring it under musket fire for a minor victory. Although they had a numerical advantage it was not that simple as turns 4 and 5 where dusk, applying a -1 modifier (on a D10) to command rolls, reducing all firing to 6" and command distance to 9". From turn 6 to the end of the game in turn 9 it was dark with a massive -2 modifier on command, half movement and command and firing limited to just 2".

Steve started with the cavalry and on table infantry and I took the reserves, mostly because one brigade was commanded by a Jackson! The cavalry moved forward and dismounted screening our right, with the infantry advancing on the union regiment on the wooded hill in the centre. My first reserve unit hurried forward and the artillery unlimbered on a nearby hill to make maximum use of its range for as long as possible.

My infantry moved forward to a small wood and started a firefight with the enemy cavalry who had been driven behind the woods by my artillery and dismounted. In the centre Steve launched his first attack, but was repelled. As my forces moved up Steve launched a second, more successful attack and pushed the enemy out of the woods.

In the fading light the Confederate pushed forward, although one of my divisions seemed to be a bit lost (the negative modifier to the manoeuvre rolls makes a difference, even with fresh units, when you roll 1's!). My other division finally pushed forward, while Steve consolidated his gains in the centre. On the right flank the Union had decided to advance and had attacked and driven back our cavalry.

By the time darkness fell we were able to attack without the defenders getting supported due to the reduced fire ranges. Although the Union had moved round our flank, the darkness and the intervening rivers slowed them down from turning our flanks, while Steve had attacked and overrun the Corps artillery, while I had pushed through and taken the orchards adjacent to the road.

Steve pushed on and I launched a final attack. Although our troops were getting battered we had driven the majority of the Union back and were across the road, and with just one turn left the Union conceded that there was no chance of them driving us back and it was more likely we would wipe them out, so the Confederates took the victory.

This was a fun little game and showed that you don't need a massive table and lots of troops to do a game and I look forward to playing one of the other scenarios in the series that Colin had soon.