Monday, 29 April 2019

And finally some pain in Spain.

Just before my overnight guest had to leave for his train on Friday morning, we had a quick game with my "If You Tolerate This" Spanish Civil War rules.

I gave John a small Italian brigade. He asked for tankettes (why not) and some Carlists (I was going to give him Falange). I had some battalions of Asaltos, and a few International Brigades to defend a small town.

The hedge lined road represents a sunken road. I put it there to give John a form up position. I'm nice like that.

He rushed his units into the road as quickly as he could, and was lucky in that he passed all of his activation rolls, so I was unable to give him any interference. I was also working from an old set of rules that some how hadn't been thrown out, so things weren't being run entirely as they should have been.

John massed his Italians supported by their armour on my right, to force me out of the olive groves.

It was hard fighting, and my brave IB's held them at first, even inflicting a hit on the tankette squadron (each model represents three vehicles) with an infantry attack.

As John developed the attack on my right he was unable to get his Carlists out of the sunken road due to sustained fire from my units in the buildings. However, John's artillery was proving to be very effective.

I was being forced back steadily in the olive groves...

... and more fascist armoured support was arriving too.

Heavy fire from the Carlists succeeded in driving me out of the front left buildings, - the perils of forward defence, I suppose- enabling him to advance when needed.

I was being cleared out of the olive grove quite effectively too, as my counter-attack had been bounced, incurring casualties.

The right hand town strong point was now under severe pressure.

I was soon driven out of that as well, as some Carlists stormed over the open ground and into the buildings.

My Asaltos counter-attacked and threw them back, however.

Then the Italians were back, and they managed to capture the church, albeit at the cost of their flame-thrower tankette.

Which enabled me to take the church back again, with my last fresh unit of IBs.

It had been a to and fro battle, to say the least, but I was down to only a few viable units, so we called it a win to the Nationalists.

IYTT plays well, and I'm quite pleased with it as a system. For this game, as mentioned above, I was using a really old set of rules, and the game suffered accordingly although I don't think John noticed. Mainly because he was winning most of the time.

And then it was time for some lunch and for John to catch his train home.

Sunday, 28 April 2019

...and then we did Romans

As the Taiping Rebellion game was drawing to a close, Phil arrived with his DBA Telamon armies, and Will. It was good to see Will for what was probably his first Shedquarters visit of the year.

If the board looks familiar it's because it's the one Phil uses for Zama and Pharsalus, but with added hills.

I was the Gauls. John had the Romans at the bottom of the picture, and Will, as Regulus, was at the top. In common with Phil's other games of this type, each side consists of two DBA armies, an engagement army and a main force army. You fight until one engagement army is broken, then both are removed. The difference in elements is added to the victor's main force army. Yes, it sounds a bit odd, but it works.

My plan was to leave a Gaesati holding force facing Will, and throw everything else at John to create a breakout from the encirclement. After my first turn setting this up, Phil told me that wasn't in the spirit of the game. So I stopped. BTW those chariots count as war wagons in this scenario.

Most of the action was at John's end of the table, as Will was more circumspect in his approach (he later claimed it was so our visitor could have all of the fun).

I had a bad run of PIPs, so my army sort of started to break up a bit.

And I lost most of the combats, too.

Eventually, once Will got involved, my Gaesati engagement army was broken, but luckily enough I only gave away a one element advantage.

So we reset for the second phase, and I put my Warbands in double depth to get the +1 in combat.

And then it was all over quickly. in a series of stunning engagements, handled with tactical genius rarely seen in a Gaulish leader*, I smashed the Roman line in double quick time, and came out winner, breaking through the Roman lines to freedom.

And my camp gave praise for the Victory.

And it all ended happily ever after. For me.

There'll be a more detailed write up over on Ancients on the Move, when Phil gets back from the Battlefield Trust AGM and has time to edit his pictures and get his thoughts together.

* I rolled lots of good combat dice. Who needs PIPs?

Saturday, 27 April 2019

Taiping for EVA

A friend I know through WD came for a visit as he'd been booked to talk to the Battlefields Society about the SOE & OSS missions that were flown out of Northamptonshire. As he'd have to stay overnight because of the distance travelled it meant we could squeeze in a few games. Besides he'd never played a game in Shedquarters, so that was an omission that needed rectifying. He'd also never played "Taiping Era", so that was another gap in his education that needed filling. And the Ever Victorious Army has only had one previous game, so why not?

John got here in time for lunch, as neither of his trains was delayed in anyway. We then repaired to Shedquarters, where he took the role of "Chinese" Gordon (who I still need to find a General figure for, so the Colonel of the Royal Dragoons stood in for him again). I had the Taipings, defending a small village from "liberation" by the EVA.

I felt pretty secure, with my flanks covered by some compounds with Pagodas in them, and paddy fields to slow the EVA down. I even had a gun, which I fired at them as they advanced.

It wasn't as effective as their artillery, and also their infantry had more modern rifles, and were able to engage me at longer range and inflict a bit of damage. It's been a while since I last played these rules, and I have to say that John grasped what was going on and how to play them quicker than I did. And I wrote them. The little mah-jong tiles behind the units show when a unit's self confidence ("Moral Vigour") has been degraded. The most effective units on my side seemed to be the ridiculous jingals concealed in the Pagoda compounds, which caused a bit of damage.

John pressed forwards in the centre, General Gordon being in the thick of it all.

He softened me up with some intense rifle fire before charging home.

After a brief period of confusion over how the melee rules worked, we were soon matching steel bayonets against bamboo spears. The little tile on the left represents 2, and on the right, 4. Next time I fight I will need to roll less than each of those numbers on a d8.

Still, my jingals have driven back the unit threatening them, so not all bad news.

The resilience of my defences on the other flank are forcing John to transfer increasing numbers of troops to deal with them.

Then one of my units in the middle breaks and flees (yeah, didn't roll less than two. What a surprise)

No matter. My other two units in the middle turn to their left flank and fall upon the cocky EVA fellows who think they have the upper hand.

Curses! They do, and I'm bounced back to my starting square. Meanwhile, top left, you can just see my cavalry coming in to view, preparing to ride down that unit of conscripted lascars. Hah! They don't stand a chance.

Dammit. A couple of volleys are enough to see my bamboo wielding lancers streaming to the rear.

More of my centre seems to be going backwards as well. All very annoying (although out of shot my right hand jingals have managed to do enough damage to the unit threatening them the encourage them to leave the field, no doubt carrying news of my triumphant victory and the death of all their colleagues with them!!!!)

Well, it's all over now. The left hand compound has been cleared out by rifle fire and everything else is going backwards too. A well deserved victory to my visitor, who pronounced himself impressed by the rules and the game. Not at all influenced, I am assured, by the fact that he won.

What a pleasant way to spend a wet and blustery afternoon, and there was more fun to come...

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Love at first (Jaco)bite

After a month or so of not too intensive painting I had enough Jacobite rebellion units ready to try and have a game. My attempt to adapt my Fight/Fright/Flight Sumerian mechanism was floundering around in metaphorical deep water, so I sat down on Good Friday (I know how to live) and typed up a half page of amendments to put Highlanders into "Va Te'n Guerre", my WSS set of rules from last year. I wasn't entirely sure if this would work, as they were written for really formal warfare, and the Jacobite Risings sort of aren't.

I don't know what everyone else thinks is "Old School", but I've got Airfix figures, the Airfix cottage, Merit Alder Trees and a cloth draped over some hills.

He's some loyal Highlanders, placed on the Government forces' left flank in an enclosure.

Here we have a close up of some of the "bonny lads" all ready to fight for the King Across the Water.

The Jacobite commanders confer (Richard on the left, Tim on the right) before launching an all out attack.

"German George's" men pushed forwards to create a defensive perimeter, with our artillery positioned to sweep the enemy with grapeshot. I was joined on this side of the table by Steve.

As the Highlanders surged forwards, the slightly more restrained Royal Ecossois followed up in column, ready to deploy should their more excitable colleagues suffer a reverse.

We were now nearly all in place. The last piece was our cavalry, which was being moved to a more central position to exploit our breakthrough, when it occurs.

After a quick conference we decided to push our infantry forwards, as we might end up delivering two volleys into the on rushing hordes if we won the initiative role (spoiler alert: we didn't win one all evening).

We opened up at slightly longer range that I would have preferred, but we did inflict some damage.

Not enough to prevent the Highland charge, as they rushed on, through their own musket smoke.

Fortunes were mixed. On our left one battalion was driven back, but held together. In the centre we fought the Kilties to a draw. On the right we had a bit of a collapse.

Meanwhile out on our extreme right I was trying to get to the hedge line to form some type of defensive position, although that battalion's left flank looks a little bit up in the air.

Our left hand battalion has gone now, and our routing unit is given no respite. My first volley on the right inflicts some damage.

The centre is holding, but our brave General pays the ultimate price. This is a bit of a nuisance.

Then things start to go our way a bit. The charge on our extreme right is rebuffed with extreme prejudice, and a clan leader takes a bullet to the head.

Alas to the left of this little victory another clan regiment has burst through the hedgerow and driven back our battalion...

... which then breaks, as does our valiant unit in the centre. This is game over, as the Government forces had taken over 1/3rd casualties and so passed their break point.

All things considered it went really well. The battle looked like a Jacobite Rebellion battle. The modifications seemed to work, although I have a few notes, so a tweak here or there. We played this as an early '45 battle, so I made the Highland units all superior quality to the Government troops and I also rated the Jacobite General higher, and they had 2 to the Government's one commander, and that makes quite a difference.

Yes, very pleased with this experiment. Think this might be going to COW.