Thursday, 5 September 2019

Hooray for Hereward!

Time again for our local show, Hereward at The Cresset in Peterborough. It's a really good middle sized show, with an excellent atmosphere, a friendly set of organisers and a good mix of traders and participation games.

We were there with Edgcote 28mm, having succeeded in getting both the show stand and three people plus the Edgcote game into my car. A notable feat.

We were able to do this partly by leaving Northampton 1460 behind, but that's had a good run over the last few years, so time for it to be given a rest.

After rushing around and picking up some more bargains (mdf buildings from the bring & buy/table top sale area), I had a quick look at the games on offer. I really like this 6mm Culloden, which I'd have loved to have had a go at.

This mosquito attack game up a fiord was imaginative.

Next to us were the Great Yarmouth boys, with a Wacky Races game.

In the other room there was some type of sci-fi competition going on, I think.

This was some dystopian future shoot out in the Underground.

These two guys were developing a generic medieval skirmish game, but were using a Game of Thrones scenario as a hook to get the punters in. One of them was a bit of an obsessive. Don't get involved in the Lannister chat if you aren't interested.

Next to them was a Cavalier highway robbery game.

See, it looks like a proper show, not some soulless event in an aircraft hanger.

Nice looking Gangs of Rome game. But that's the point with these 28mm skirmish games. If they don't look nice, why bother?

We were never overwhelmed but always had some one to talk to, so quality over quantity.

Here's my Banbury barmaid vignette. It probably needs the basing re-doing to match the other figures.

We played the game through once, and got a Redesdale win.

And people said nice things about the set up, and a few people bought my book. So, not bad for a Sunday, all things considered.

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Prestonpans Parting Shot

Having said Falkirk was my last game of this development cycle, it turns out I lied*. I needed a game for the West Country visit, and having left it to the last minute, grabbed the nearest set of rules and cobbled together some scenario changes for Prestonpans.

There are some small sized units which don't work well under "Va t'en Ecosse" as written, and there are some other issues with the artillery, and the fact that the Jacobites come out of the morning mist. I made some changes, although I didn't test them and didn't really get them right. And when I set the board up I put the trackway in the wrong place. I moved it for later pictures.

My main mistake was setting the armies up too far apart. That gave the Government forces too much time to react to what was happening, even tho' George "Chris" Murray went of lickety-split as per the original battle.

Perceiving that the centre wasn't threatened initially due to the laggardly approach of the Jacobite middle under Prince Charles, Phil & Gary bowed out their infantry to try to enfilade the on-rushing Highlanders.

Murray's men were soon stuck in, easily weathering the one round of firing from the artillery.

One of the cavalry units on this flank was beaten back by the charge, but didn't rout.

This enabled Phil to deliver some volley fire...

...before charging with his reserve cavalry squadron.

On the other flank Richard, as the Duke of Perth, went for an oblique attack, whilst Prince Charles finally made an appearance.

A brave attempt by the artillery guards to hold off the rushing Highlanders failed, sending them tumbling back, together with the death of their Commanding Officer.

Richard succeeded in hitting the Government both the left flank cavalry squadrons simultaneously.

He bounced them all back, and helpfully measured the retreat distance for Gary.

Mixed fortunes on the other flank saw the Redcoat cavalry win a melee and drive back one of the clans.

Musketry finally broke out on the Jacobite right.

The cavalry was now putting in a charge or two, out performing their historical counterparts (passing the new "let's just get out of here" die roll easily).

In the centre the Redcoat infantry closed on the clans and delivered a devastating volley, that rocked them back on their heels, and enabled an advance to contact.

The stunned Highlanders were steadily driven back.

The Government left had now finally sort of collapsed.

It all ended in a bit of a mixed bag. The Government forces had clearly done much better than historically, but had still taken a beating. If dinner had not been calling, and if we'd played to the bitter end, I think that Johnny Cope's infantry would have finally been ground up having put on a decent show.

In conclusion it all took longer than the 6 minutes of the actual battle and it didn't really run as expected. It is a tough call to re-jig things enough to keep the Redcoats interested without making the game something other than Prestonpans. If I ever publish the rules and scenario booklet I'll need to give this a lot more thought.

*Thus proving I am cut out for a career in politics.

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

There's something fishy going on.

After our Roman adventures we headed for modern times and the far north. Chris had a new game. The Cod Wars of the 1970s, between the UK & Iceland. Gosh. That brought back distant memories.

You did read that right. David Manley has published a set of rules/guide, and Shapeways have made the ships.

It took a while for Chris to lay out the terrain. No, only kidding. He took the time cutting out the turning circles.

Here are the trawlers, with their nets out. There were three trawlers, with two RN vessels protecting them, and there were two Icelandic Coast Guard vessels trying to cut the nets and drive the trawlers off.

That's me near the bottom of the picture looping round the back of Phil's Leander class frigate at close to full speed.

Here's fellow Icelander Richard trying to line up a trawler. This was by no means easy.

Having said that, I played a blinder, which was a surprise. I'm usually completely useless at Naval Games and getting the turning right, when you have to write it down beforehand. This picture shows me cutting straight across the bows in perfect position to cut the net as the trawler tries to turn away.

Unluckily I failed the cutting roll, no worries. My trajectory lined me up with the next trawler.

I got her side newts as I rushed past, also ramming her stern and causing loads of damage.

Ripped away the other nets as I turned past her.

Richard succeeded in lining up a ram on the first vessel I had a go at.

And here's me running rings round the Leander.

Phil is quite rightly looking very perplexed. The RN have a really tough job.

This is quite close to the end of the game. The last trawler is hauling in her nets and all are heading for home. I lined up a final charge and rammed her. Can't recall if I got the nets, - I think I did.

So, a win for the Icelanders. This is a very tricky game for the RN & the trawlers, and they probably needed to be more aggressive. We were told that if you sank an opposing ship you lost, and we were all a bit shy of full on full speed ramming. However, the vessels were tougher than we thought, and probably most of us could have been more aggressive. Except me. I had aggression turned up to 11.

A very interesting game, with a lot of food for thought. Chris wants to get away from writing orders, and was talking about using the movable hexes like in Hammering Iron II. I think full hex grid is best avoided as it makes lining up attack runs too easy. Chris was also keen on the campaign game in the rules, which hopefully we will try in the future.

Excellent little game.

Monday, 2 September 2019

Romans in the West

Oh look! It's that time again. Yes, it is time for our quarterly catch up with our wargaming friend from the West Country.

Richard (for that is he) has been tinkering around with a march encounter battle for Romans in Britain about the time of the Boudicca revolt. This game was a try out ahead of a Society of Ancients conference session, and he was using Peter Gilder's Sudan Pony Wars variant as a skeleton to run the game. We were all Romans (Phil, Chris A, Gary & me), with the Britons run by the umpire & reaction tests. We nominated Phil as our overall commander

He deployed us and gave us our orders. I had the right wing/advance guard. Mostly cavalry and archers.

It's a big table. It looked like a long march.

Gary is still new to some of this. Phil told him to hug the river line and use it as a flank guard. Then a packet of Skittles appeared.

The figures are mostly individually based, so Chris helped Gary out with his movement.

Gary has been ordered to cross the river with his legionaries.

Chris sends some Numidian cavalry into the woods, and discovers some Britons.

Oh no! A warband has appeared in our rear. A covering force of Auxilia are faced about to keep them at bay whilst the legionaries cross the river.

Chris' Numidians are bested in the fight, and make a hasty withdrawal.

The warband engage the Auxilia. To be honest, Chris makes a real pig's ear of his dice rolling. This will not end well for us.

Meanwhile I am facing off some chariots and warband, my archers causing large amounts of damage (we suspected at this point that Richard might need to adjust the firing factors a bit.) My Numidians are showering the chariots with javelins.

Having provoked the chariots to charge, I then evaded the Numdians out of the way, and counter charged with my Auxilia cavalry.

Gary has now got all of his cohorts across the river.

I'm winning against the chariots.

On Chris' flank it isn't going well for the Auxilia. They're taking heavy losses, despite Phil committing the reserve cavalry.

Having seen off the chariots, time to deal with the warband on my flank.

To cover the advancing columns, one of the cohorts deployed, flanked by cart based bolt throwers.

Over on Chris' flank nearly everyone is dead.

More British chariots arrived in my rear, but I about faced my archers and shot them up.

I was also making good progress with the warband I faced.

By this point we'd been playing for 3 - 4 hours, and we'd blunted the Briton threat, without achieving our objectives. Richard reckoned we'd got enough out of the game, and anyway he was encroaching on the time allocated for our next piece of entertainment.

This was a nice concept and sort of almost worked. We had a long discussion about it later on over dinner, and I think Richard will do a major re-think and has asked for some input. I think that "Science v Pluck" would be a better model for the scenario, so that might provide us both with some food for thought.