Wednesday, 6 June 2018

A Marlburian Shake Up

So I read Nosworthy, and it set me to thinking. He doesn't exactly disagree with Chandler, but then he doesn't exactly agree with him either. It did clarify my thinking a bit about the tactical philosophies used by the opposing armies and how it might be embedded in the rules even more than now.

So as I was sitting waiting for my Monday Night opponent to arrive I started to  make a few adjustments, focusing on whether troops were trained to rely on musketry or cold steel. I was only part way done when Phil arrived, but by the end of our evening's session my ideas were well enough formed for the rewrite I put together afterwards.

I threw together some bits and pieces for a simple encounter battle. French to the right, British to the left.

I'd set the armies up a bit off set. No one was in column, so we advanced towards each other in line.

My cavalry in the centre got the worst of a volley from Phil's foot, and retired behind my infantry line. One other of my cavalry units came unstuck and were soon being pursued off the table.

Bottom left Phil tries a frontal attack on my infantry, only to be held at bay by a combination of musketry and hard fighting.

On the right flank my cavalry mass came up against some steadfast infantry

Bottom left Phil throws in some more cavalry to try and deal with my recalcitrant foot. Elsewhere volleys are exchanged.

The extra horse do the trick and my line stumbles backwards.

Elsewhere we have a stalemate favouring the British, so we called it a night. We'd been speaking of other things, and so only got in 4 or 5 moves. None the less I got a lot out of the game from the point of view of game mechanics, so an evening well spent.

Monday, 4 June 2018

Battle Day 2018 Delayed

Well, we finally got round to this game. The Society of Ancients Battle Day for 2018 was Parataikene, the monumental draw between Antigonus and Eumenes. I was intending to do the game with Basic Impetus, and I also got a load of figures painted so I could swap out the interlopers from previous games. No Assyrians or Gauls lurking in the background for this one.

Then, of course, Mrs T and I booked our epic holiday to New Zealand, which happened to clash with the Games Day. That meant that rather than run it on the actual day I would need to put aside some Shedquarters time to do it.

The obvious choice was 19th May, well away from TV shows and street parties commemorating the Royal Wedding. My protagonists were Chris A and Phil. Alas Will was unwell, so we thought there would only be three of us. Luckily MNG irregular Graham S phoned Chris part way through and unveiled his availability (well, he was looking for someone to play a board game with actually), so he joined us - of which more anon.

Eumenes is this side, Antigonus opposite. Phil and I ran Eumenes, and Chris took Antigonus along with Graham S when he arrived.

Taking the advice of the Battle Day organiser I made a big open space on the Eumenid right wing. This meant that the Antigonid light horse could pull out wide and occupy the Eumenid heavies. As you can see from the picture players never like the historical set up, and Phil is moving his right wing elephants across sharpish.

Chris' peltasts take on one of Phil's elephants. Note that the elephant is a modified BI unit, - I've added light infantry bases and changed the factors. I also put in a rule about horse not being able to charge them. This gave a better result compared to the base rules, but still isn't perfect. However unlike some of the early play throughs elephants weren't the battle winning weapon, which is more authentic.

In fact, the peltasts did for the elephants pretty quickly.

Out on the other wing it was a bit more crowded and cagey.

In the centre the Antigonid peltasts were lining up to have a go at the Eumenid phalanx.

This didn't go well for them, and they soon retired behind their own phalanx. BTW I up-gunned the Silver Shield/Hypaspist factors for this game, as those in the base rules don't allow them to perform as well as they did historically.

The peltasts had broken up the neatness of the Eumenid line, but they got stuck in anyway.

Graham S turned up, and his first action was to roll three sixes which caused my Companions to break and flee. BI has a form of catastrophe mechanism which, on reflection, turns the game into a bit of a crap shoot.

The Silver Shields are starting to have an effect. That should be a two unit deep block on their left, and they've driven the whole lot back, including their neighbours, killing a unit in the process.

Elsewhere in the middle another elephant unit comes unstuck...

... as does one on the left flank.

Over on the right I'm doing my best to compensate for the shock loss of my Companions by covering my cavalry's flank with a elephant, to scare off those pesky light horse.

The left has turned into a maelstrom of whirling cavalry actions.

The elephants are a busted flush, but the veterans in Eumenes line are performing as expected.

The left wing is opening up, but some outrageous dice rolling is throwing up some odd outcomes and what our DBA friends might call "quick kills".

On the other flank a dual attack on a cavalry unit with elephants and flanking cavalry fails to break them. Repeatedly. What is going on here?? (Phil was kind enough to say that my decision here may have cost us the battle.)

Look. They still won't die, and that light horse is coming round our rear.

The Antigonids have finally unlocked their right flank, and are bursting out to attack our infatry.

This sort of thing never bodes well.

And then the left wing fell away.

The Antigonids posted a win but the Silver Shields/Hypaspists survived to fight another day.

I'm aiming for a proper write up for Slingshot, with full army lists, rule amendments and critique. In summary we had a good game but whether it was Successor Warfare or not is a moot point. That may not matter to many (after all I've just downloaded Pike & Shotte for free from Warlord games and reading through confirms what I thought, - that's got nothing to do with renaissance warfare, but people love them any way), but I think it means that this experiment has now been closed down as far as the Monday Night Group is concerned.

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Partizan - May 2018

Barely a week after we packed up a Milton Keynes we were unpacking again this time at Newark, for the first Partizan on the year.

We were positioned in the "History Zone". I'm not a fan of this idea as it puts all the similar organisations in a ghetto together. It is better for us to be amongst the traders/participation games as we offer all of that as well as the historical stuff. Plus the area was blighted by a no-show from the Pike & Shot Society. You can see the big empty table on the right of the picture.

Here's Phil putting out his flats which again attracted a lot of interest.

The Waterloo Uncovered project was just round the corner from us. They are promoting the Waterloo Replayed event which is happening in Glasgow next June. It is aiming to put on the biggest 28mm figure game. They are using "Black Powder". It's not the way I would have done it, but best of luck to them. The chap in the cap is Prof Tony Pollard, who was one of the Two Men in a Trench.

There was a good range of participation/demonstration games. Well, there were a lot of games amongst which there were some that looked a bit different.

There is a tendency for people putting on big scenery games, like the above.

This lot were putting on two linked games, I think, but I didn't have time to follow up with questions.

This was an ostrich hunting game using Playmobil figures. Well, it's different and eye catching.

Simon Miller was there with his ECW modification of his square based "To The Strongest" system.

This has a lot of things going on in it that appeal to me. Squares & playing cards being two of them. I picked up the rule book but couldn't get the sense of them from a quick flick through. They suffer like most modern rules from the matey style of writing that needs you to commit to reading the whole lot to get an idea of what is happening. At £20 they're in the normal price range, so I might be tempted in the future. Be nice to have a game first.

I liked the look of the SCUD hunting game.....

.... and kudos to anyone who puts a glider on the table too.

The Peterborough boys who do the Dambusters Game were there with Mimi and Toutou. On another very long table.

Interesting subject and another long table with lots of stuff and some bi-planes.

Finally two shots of the game from my old friend's Hoop's Great Yarmouth group. More big terrain, but an interesting Victorian Gothic twist.

Here some top pointing draws my attention to detail that is significant if you're from Great Yarmouth.

We had a decent day, and chatted to a good few people. I got in a few purchases and even picked up a bargain from Dave Ryan (yes, I know, not very likely but true).

Brent Nosworthy's book is a bit of the Holy Grail for WSS wargamers. Alas it is usually only available from the USA and the postage pushes the sale price up to £50-£60.

Dave had one at £30 and seems to have not picked up the on-line price has to have postage added. Anyway it was soon in my swag bag, along with some other odds and ends.

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Normal Service Will Be Resumed

Been a bit quiet here due to a major PC failure that required my machine to go into the repair shop to be reloaded from scratch. I had a boot loop that I couldn't by pass even by reinstalling Windows 10.

Any how I got it back yesterday morning, and spent most of yesterday setting it up again. Due to decisions made about using gmail and OneDrive I didn't lose any data, and it was just a case of reinstalling those links and a bit of software.

So, I'm back up and running with quite a few things to catch you all up on.

Be back soon with some updates.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

MK Campaign - 12th/13th May 2018

And so May rolls around and it is time for Campaign in the shopping centre at Milton Keynes.

I love this show. I have written before as to why I think it is such an important show for the hobby. To put it simply, - it is free to get in and it is run in a shopping mall. Members of the public who know nothing about wargaming can, and do, just chance upon it and learn about our wonderful hobby. There isn't another show like it, and it really deserves our support.

Our local group (well, mostly me and Phil) wear many hats at this show, - Northamptonshire Battlefields Society, Naseby Project, Battlefields Trust and the Society of Ancients.

This is me, running the Battle of Northampton game on the Sunday. The young lad playing the game and his mother were just there for a bit of shopping in John Lewis'. The young lad got really into this, and badgered his Mum to buy a copy. Who knows, - perhaps he'll go on to become a "proper wargamer". The older couple in the background  live around Northampton, and knew nothing about the battle. You can see from this picture exactly why I think this show is important. (If you look closely you can see they also got medals for bombing the dam.....of which more later).

On the Sunday we were joined by some other NBS committee members, notably Peter, who is a medieval re-enactor, and a fletcher. We had quite a big stand this year, as you can see, so it is good to have a few more bodies to caver the floor space.

Our display of armour and equipment always garners attention, and we had a good selection of young people having their photos taken in one or other of the helmets. Someone even insisted on trying on the mail coif.

This gentleman summed up some of the reasons why we go to these things. He had hundreds of questions about bows, longbows, arrows, armour and anything to do with medieval warfare. He spent at least an hour talking to Peter, and then another 20 minutes talking to me. Hopefully he has gone away much better informed and will spread his enthusiasm to others.

For the Battlefields Trust & the Naseby Project we had Phil's Naseby model in 15mm. The model uses an array of older figures, but they still look good. The flags are by "Fluttering Flags"

Here are some eye-candy shots of the figures, starting with Cromwell's Ironsides.

This picture, and the next one, are taken of the Parliamentarian Battle line.

The model always provokes interest, and provides a talking point. Always a pleasure to work with it at a show.

For the Society of Ancients display Phil brought along his flat collection. Or should that be "collection of flats"?

The flats are from the collections of Tony Bath, Phil Barker and Deryck Guyler. They are the ones used in the ancient game in Don Featherstone's book "Wargames". Phil has gone for a retro look, with the table being simple boards with emulsion paint, and block hills.

As these were Tony Bath's there's lots of elephants. Phil Barker's figures were mounted on multi figure bases made of corrugated cardboard. Tony B's were originally individual figures, pushed into ad hoc sabots. Phil S has rebased them onto corrugated card.

I'm not a fan of flats, but these are a piece of history and do look great. From side on.

There's even a catapult and some general figures.

The number of traders isn't anything like Partizan or Salute, but you can get a good range of wargaming/gaming products.

For a show with allegedly few trade stands I spent a lot of money. Mostly with Dave Lanchester.

There was an interesting array of demo/participation games. Some were eye catching, some were interesting and some were just lots of figures with people playing commercial rules. The latter aren't my favourites.

The Peterborough boys' Dambusters game is a peach.

Apparently it was difficult to sight the towers at times because the light was so bright. No problems on this bombing run.

This game postulated the idea that the Fellowship of the Ring flew to Mordor on eagles and encountered Ringwraiths in aerial battles as they tried to destroy the Ring.

Interestingly Tolkien rejected the first film treatment sent to him  partly because the Fellowship use eagles to fly everywhere. Draw your own conclusions from that.

The Dastardly and Muttley "Stop the Pigeon" game was there.

It seemed to be busy most of the weekend. I have no idea if the subject is a complete mystery to young people, or if the cartoons are on repeat on some digital channel.

Kids seemed to be having a good time at the Monsters-Smash-Up-A-City game. Good to get people involved.

Near to us were a couple of tables using "CONGO" and some nice figures. I'm not sure what this was about, as it looked to  to just be a lot of club members having a good time. Didn't see a lot of the public involved, which if it is true is a shame.

So a good weekend all round, although it is hard on the feet. Off to Partizan next weekend. Maybe see you there?