Saturday, January 26, 2013

Gonna Wait 'til the Hussite Hour

Apologies to Wilson Picket, but the Hussites certainly had their hour in last night's game. The Hussite War was a new period of gaming to me, and the game provided plenty of enjoyment, even if my Hungarians got beaten like a gong in the end. The Austrian side of the Imperial reactionary forces did much better, but the game rightly went to the opposition. My wife enjoyed it too - she commanded the Hussite center!

The prominent feature of the Hussite army was their use of Wagonbergs - a horse-drawn cross between a wooden fort and an armoured personnel carrier. These are tough beggars to tackle, being stuffed full of missile troops, all tucked up nice and cozy behind their wooden barriers. About the only weapon that can crack them is artillery, and we had little of that.
The Imperial Austro-Hungarian army was so impressed by the wagonburg they began copying it for their own forces. An example can be seen in the photo above. Also featured here are Hungarian noble knights; Serbian light cavalry; the earliest form of Hussar in the shape of bow-armed light cavalry; armoured infantry, and bowmen.
The game was fought to the club's favourite Impetus rules. My plan was to try and feed my hussars through the woods beyond the hill in an effort to get behind the wagonburg and destroy the supporting infantry. Unfortunately my initiative rolls were not of the best, and the saving throws allowed when a unit gets hit by missile fire or combat almost invariably rolled "six." Under Impetus, the lower the die roll the better.

The dreaded wagonburg. I had visions on the night of lines of these forming up opposite each other and blasting away, like the old sail of the line in Nelson's day. 

Thanks to Stuart, Steve and Chris for letting us play with the wonderful figures.  

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Back to Daftest Africa

Today, I got the new brushes and paints out to slap pigment on some worthy recipients from my Darkest Africa collection. These figures have languished long enough. In the case of the wildlife - two wildebeest, three hyenas and a vulture - it's been several years since I bought them at the Salute show in London. I mislaid them, but now they're safely gathered in and undergoing a paint job. I'm lacking a few paints - most of my stuff is in the US, and the local shop was out of a decent brown - but I'm getting there.
The wildlife look a tad large for their nominal 28mm figure scale to my eyes. I'm afraid I forget which make they are. Even so, it's my campaign world, and if the creatures in it are bigger (and fiercer) than their real-life counterparts, that's for the player to worry about, not I. 

Next up is a platoon of those sons-of-fun, the Belgian Force Publique. These are Foundry Miniatures, bought as a multi-pack discount lot back in the day before that venerable company Saw the Light and became reasonable to their customers again. 
Commandant Bertram de Wooters, aboard his mule, Ludmilla, boldly leads an advance. 

These chaps will certainly make an appearance in my campaign world. Historically, the Belgian Congo was friendly to the British Empire. In my world, I think they might prove a headache to the new British colony of Ukraziland - and vice versa.

I've also uncovered around thirty or so Zanzibari slavers and two dhows, so it looks like the wily Sheikh Yabhouti will make an effort to retake his lands... 
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Lastly, I'm afraid a pernicious outbreak of spamming has hit this blog in the last few weeks. There were four posts yesterday alone. In deference to those who detest the code system used to weed out the spambots - and seriously, who doesn't find those blurry numbers and spidery texts a pain to read? - I'm imposing moderation of comments until farther notice.

Friday, January 18, 2013

From the archives

The bad weather across the UK has led to the regular Friday night club meet being cancelled for safety's sake. I'm taking the chance to update my blog, sadly neglected for a couple of weeks for various reasons.
Another foray into my shed turned up some Darkest Africa figures along with my ACW collection. The six naval ratings and officer will be welcome as crew aboard my Colonial vessels, and I have a hunch there might be a few more sailors lurking somewhere. These are Reviresco figures. As much as I admire the company's ship fittings range, the crew figures aren't the best I've seen. Even so, they have a certain charm and they'll be put to use.
I'm not sure how the three British infantrymen came to be overlooked when their fellows of the Barsetshire Regiment marched off to America. I'll put it down to an administrative mistake instead of desertion. Two officers of German persuasion also appeared, along with a solitary seebattalion chap. The rest of their troop was sold last year, but I'll press these fellows into service as adventurers in the service of the Kaiser.

The explorer's camp is 25CL9 from those fine folks at Frontline Wargaming, built onto a thin ply base, with the cooking pot being part of 25CL8 African village. Some of you may be familiar with Frontline's excellent 25CL1 "African Princess" steam riverboat.
Next up are my Killer Angels, the 2nd, 3rd, 7th & 8th South Carolina regiments of Kershaw's brigade, McLaws' division, 1st (Longstreet's) Corps, Army of Northern Virginia. These fine fellows have won every game they've taken part in, putting to flight a regiment from the famed Irish Brigade and taking a battery. The cannon is a 12pdr Napoleon.   
Up against them is a largely generic brigade of Union troops, the sole named regiment being the Garibaldi Guard. Composed of Italian immigrants, often recruited straight off the ships in New York harbour, they saw extensive service. They wore the distinctive Bersaglieri-style hat, and fought under a tricolour in the Italian national colours with the legend Garibaldi Guard in the centre. I made the mistake of accepting one pundit's view that the flag had horizontal stripes. I found out later they were vertical. It goes to show the value of extensive research...

The Union cannon is a 10pdr Parrot rifled piece. All figures and models are Dixon's Miniatures.

We did get good games in at the club last week. In a French-Indian War game, my better half took command of a native American force allied to the French. Being of Blackfoot and Cree descent, she's probably better qualified than most gamers in the UK to handle such forces! Much to her delight, her side won the game, completing their objectives of destroying the British blockhouse and several settlers cabins. The rules used were Musket & Tomahawk.

Over on the other table, my fellow commanders and I had difficulty leading the Macedonian army to victory over the Indian army of Poros. Our canny opponents used their infantry to soak up the brunt of the Macedonian attack in the centre, giving them a chance of weakening the phalanxes to the point they'd be easy meat for their elephants.  

The phalanx and hypaspists crushed the poor quality Indian infantry quicker than our opponents expected, but I balked at taking on the elephants until the closing moves, when victory hung on a whisker. A number of poor dice rolls on both sides led to interesting results at times, but in the end Alexander's personal leadership saw a win for his army. The end of the battle presaged the victories of Pyrrus by a good few years! The game was fought to Impetus rules.

More in a few days, as farther figures come to light...


Saturday, January 5, 2013

First Game of the New Year

After an easy trip spent mostly on expensive public transport, my ladies and I arrived at the New Buckenham club for our first game of the New Year. Up for grabs was a Roman vs. Gauls game, and a SCW game run by Nigel of View from the Duck Pond blog, using some of his excellent collection.

My stepdaughter and I opted for the ancients game, me donning a Roman commander's mantle, and Amanda the war garb of the Gaul. In honour of the occasion she was given the new nickname of Boudicca, a local girl. Yes, I know she wasn't Gallic, but anyway... 

The rules are Impetus. Both sides were apportioned forces. According to the rules, the Romans began the game light by one ballista and some cavalry. The Gauls chose to deploy first. Somewhat surprisingly they chose to form up on the table side with the most difficult terrain, which took up their right flank - where Amanda's force deployed.
 Opening Deployment. My cohorts are from the top of the hill running to the left.

The center lay pretty much open to all comers and saw the most action. Our legate adopted an aggressive policy and the Roman line surged forward with a steady tread.
I was a bit surprised by this. Under Impetus rules, as in real life, attacking a Roman legion is like sticking your face into a buzz saw. Romans can attack, but lose some advantages when they do. Oh well, te morturiti, etc. No doubt the lack of some units drove his decision.

The Gauls came on and commenced aggressive attacks on the Roman center and right wing. A to-and-fro battle between auxilia and warband ran through most of the game, with the Romans rolling plenty of dice compared to the Gauls, but failing to get any significant advantage in scores.
 Auxilia and legionary cohort alike take the brunt of the fight in the center.

On the Roman right, cavalry came to blows in a long-running engagement that saw the eventual destruction of the Gauls.

Over on my flank I continued to advance, whilst Amanda struggled to extricate her forces from the marshes. Finally, her cavalry freed itself and advanced handsomely. The lead auxiliary infantry came under ineffective fire from skirmishing tribal youths, but a swift charge destroyed them.
My cavalry attacked their lead tribal counterparts, but were flung back. Another attempt to close went the same way, and, although I managed to shake off the disorder, the Gauls charged and stomped my cavalry flat.
In the center the battle had definitely gone in Rome's favour. The whole issue hung on just a few farther contests.
The end of it all. 
The accusing finger of an angry Celtic deity wags from on high at the victorious Romans.

The Gallic cavalry had emerged victorious but bloodied from their battle with my cavalry. They lay exposed to my archers, who promptly shot them to pieces. Simultaneously two warbands attacked my auxiliaries in the woods. The combat stretched for two moves and resulted in the auxiliaries emerging triumphant. Break point had been reached and surpassed. The Gauls decided to retreat to fight another day.

Thanks to all who took part. My commiserations to Amanda, on her first loss in a wargame.
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Although I was busy with our game, I did manage to get a shot of the Spanish Civil War game over on the other table. Nigel will no doubt write it up on his blog later.
  Somewhere in Spain. Republicans nearest the camera.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

I would like to thank the Academy...

Well, if this doesn't make a great start to the New Year! Out of the blue I received this nomination for the Liebster Blog Award from 'Wardi-la' of By the Orders of the Great White Queen blog.

I'm flattered, especially as I've not been able to post as much as I'd like these last few months. It's a pleasure to get the award and I hope all who visit this blog take something useful away with them.

Now, by the rules, I must nominate five others for the award. In no particular order they are as follows...

1/. The Duchy of Saxe-Bearstein. Jeff has been at the forefront of the Imaginations movement and his current determination to continue in the hobby we love whilst battling ill-health is inspirational. 

2/. Land War in Asia. Donogh McCarthy's excellent blog covers an eclectic range of periods

3/. Confessions of a Blonde Writer. A great author of fiction, reviewer, wargamer, wife of a wargamer, and mother of a wargamer. 'Nuf said.

4/. Lead Gardens. "Little John's" blog covering a wide range of topics, including his latest pre-Dreadnought scratch built project.

5/. Axis of Naughtiness. 'Dr. Vesuvius' and his great blog also cover a wide range of topics of a VSF nature.

My thanks again to Wardi-la for the nomination. Here are the rules for others to follow.

Copy and paste the award on your blog linking it to the blogger who has given it to you. Pass the award to your top 5 favorite blogs with fewer than 200 followers by leaving a comment on one of their posts to notify them that they have won the award and listing them on your blog.

Sit back and bask in that warm fuzzy feeling that comes with knowing you’ve just made someone’s day!


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