Thursday, January 28, 2021

Battle Report: Tanks in the Desert!

Just a quick Bolt Action WW2 AAR.

Recently the tiny COVID restricted band of weary lads got together at Dan's place to play a game in his garage.  I packed up my dice and tape measure and went over for a fun day of gaming.

John Lantz has recently finished up his desert WW2 forces and wanted to host a game.  This was just a tank duel in the desert - keeping it simple, but very fun.  No hard math or thinking much beyond "there're over there, get'em!"

I had a blast - John and I pulled out a victory playing with the 8th army forces.

Before jumping into some pictures - John brought along this super handy and very awesome player aid!  A gaming periscope!  We used this for all LOS and it worked excellently.  I've ordered 4 for my own games!  You to can grab one of these puppies right here.

Just look at those juicy targets!  My dice actually didn't suck for once so I was able to put lots of holes in those German tanks!

Table setup was easy-peasy.  The mat has been rolled up for a while but after about 30 minutes had settled.

Lots of explody tanks on fire.  I lost 3 of my 6 crusader tanks.  John managed to not loose a single Grant of his 3.  It was certainly a change of pace using tanks with light AT ... shells just kept bouncing off the armour.

That's it for today folks!

Napoleonic Scenario: Wagram, 1809

I'm on a good roll with my Napoleonic scenarios.  The weather here hasn't been great so has kept me mostly out of the garage this week so I turned to my trusty books and have been working on this scenario (Wagram) and some others (Friedland, some updates to Borodino and Austerlitz).

I have a large painting in my garage (over the bar) of the battle of Wagram.  This is a battle that will have me finally update/finish up my Austrian army.  This is all in theme with my push to finish long standing projects (AWI and ACW finished this last year).  Wagram, Friedland and Borodino will put the finishing strokes into my Napoleonic collection, which spans the French, Bavarians, Dutchy of Warsaw, Wurttemberg, Saxons, Russians and Austrians.  Dan Kerrick from our group is in the last stages of finishing the Prussians (we'll have Wavre on the tabletop this year for sure along with several other Prussian oriented scenarios).  Roy Scaife covers the British (+1815 allies), Spanish and Portuguese.  That's essentially all the coverage of Napoleonic's one could ask for.
Ok, enough of all that, on to the scenario.

Design Notes

Just a little bit of background on this scenario design.  My goal with Empires at War is to be able to play complete/large battles in 28mm - generally on 6 foot by 16 foot for most battles (sometimes larger, I tend to think in increments of 6 foot by 8 foot).  Much has to be compressed when looking to do this in a reasonable size footprint (something you can fit in a standard garage (in California a standard garage is 20 foot by 20 foot).  

The French army significantly outnumbered the Austrian army, which is also the case in orders of battle for this scenario.  That being said, the French are on the offensive.  Additionally, the Austrians have a high proportion of "large" units as compared to the French (who really only have large units in the Imperial Guard).  While pure unit count is very much in favor of the French, the Austrians make up for it with larger units.  I've done much to compress the armies and units down into something in line with the historical orders of battle while making small adjustments for balance of play (e.g. adding Uhlans in the cavalry reserve for the Austrians for some added punch given the the French have a major cavalry advantage - historically this would be instead a unit of Hussars).

Lastly, if you play this scenario you can certainly substitute certain units (e.g. the "insurrecto" I list - this is a unit I have in my collection and like to use - it's essentially the same as legion infantry from other places).  When I design scenarios I do take into account my collection and I try to avoid the need to buy/paint "one off" or seldom used units.

Scenario Map and Special Rules

Deployment:  The map serves as a general guide for the deployment areas for each corps.  Each square represents a unit from the corps, however each player may deploy units within the general corps area in any way they choose.  The Austrian player must finalize deployment of all units before the French player.

Table Size:  6 foot by 16 foot

Below you will find the scenario map with the starting areas/dispositions for each corps.  

Game Length:  8 Turns

Victory Points:  Standard victory points apply (units shaken/broken).  All towns are worth 15 points to the side that holds them at the end of turn 8.  If a town is contested at the end of turn 8 then 10 points are awarded to the Austrian player and 5 points to the French player.

River:  The river is fordable at all points.

Towns:  Each town is capable of holding up to 2 units.

The Wagram:  Austrian artillery units deployed on the Wagram (hill) are in fixed positions (add earthworks in front of the unit for cover).

Order of Battle - France

C-in-C: Napoleon

Imperial Guard
  • 2 x Young Guard (Small)
  • 1 x Grenadier a Pied (Large)
  • 1 x Chasseur a Pied (Large)
  • 1 x Grenadier a Cheval
  • 1 x Guard Chasseur a Cheval
  • 1 x Empress Dragoons
  • 1 x Guard Foot Artillery (Large)
  • 1 x Guard Horse Artillery (Large)

II Corps (Oudinot)
  • 2 x Light Infantry
  • 5 x Line Infantry
  • 1 x Chasseur a Cheval
  • 1 x Foot Artillery

III Corps (Davout)
  • 2 x Light Infantry
  • 5 x Line Infantry
  • 1 x Hussar
  • 2 x Dragoons
  • 1 x Foot Artillery (Large)
  • 1 x Horse Artillery (Large)

IV Corps (Massena)
  • 1 x Light Infantry
  • 6 x Line Infantry
  • 1 x Chasseur a Cheval
  • 1 x Foot Artillery (Large)

Cavalry Reserve (Bessieres)
  • 1 x Carabiniers
  • 5 x Cuirassiers


V Corps (MasDonald)
  • 3 x Line Infantry

VI Corps (Grenier)
  • 1 x Light Infantry
  • 3 x Line Infantry
  • 1 x Foot Artillery
  • 1 x Chasseur a Cheval

VII Corps (Wrede)
  • 1 x Bavarian Light Infantry (Small)
  • 2 x Bavarian Line Infantry
  • 1 x Bavarian Chevauxleger


IX Corps (Bernadotte)
  • 3 x Saxon Line Infantry
  • 1 x Saxon Schutzen
  • 2 x Saxon Grenadier
  • 1 x Saxon Cuirassier
  • 1 x Saxon Foot Artillery (Small)


XI Corps (Marmont)
  • 1 x Light Infantry
  • 2 x Line Infantry

Order of Battle - Austria

C-in-C: Charles

Advanced Guard (Nordmann)
  • 1 x Hussar (Large)
  • 1 x Jager
  • 2 x Infantry Regiments
  • 1 x Grenzer Infantry
  • 1 x Horse Artillery

I Korps (Bellegarde)
  • 4 x Infantry Regiments (Large)
  • 1 x Jager
  • 1 x Foot Artillery

II Korps (Hohenzollen-Hechingen)
  • 4 x Infantry Regiments (Large)
  • 1 x Jager
  • 1 x Foot Artillery

III Korps (Kolowrat)
  • 1 x Infantry Regiment (Large)
  • 2 x Infantry Regiment
  • 1 x Uhlans (Large)
  • 1 x Jager
  • 1 x Foot Artillery

IV Korps (Rosenburg)
  • 2 x Infantry Regiments
  • 1 x Landwehr Infantry

VI Korps (Klenau)
  • 2 x Infantry Regiments
  • 1 x Grenzer Infantry
  • 1 x Insurrecto (Legion) Infantry
  • 1 x Landwehr Infantry
  • 1 x Hussar (Large)
  • 1 x Foot Artillery

Reserve Korps (Liechtenstein)
  • 4 x Grenadier (Large)
  • 2 x Cuirassiers (Large)
  • 2 x Dragoons (Large)
  • 1 x Uhlans (Large)
  • 1 x Horse Artillery

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

AWI Collection: Dress the Ranks!

This evening I took stock of my AWI collection.

I started planning this project last February but actual worked commenced in March of 2020.  Counting the planning this project started from nothing just under 1 year ago.

British (and Native Allies)

Here is the overview shot of my British collection with native allies.

Forces include:
  • 11 regiments of foot (including Highlanders, Marines, etc.)
  • 1 Grenadier command stand (for combining the Grenadier companies from the above units)
  • 2 units of Light Infantry
  • 1 Artillery battery of 2 guns.
  • 1 Artillery battery of 3 guns.
  • 3 Generals
  • 2 Native allied units
  • 1 Native chief
  • 1 Legion cavalry unit (mounted and dismounted)

I'll be adding a unit of 16th Light Dragoons (mounted and dismounted) and a unit of Queen's American Rangers.

Some closer shots of some units ...

Hessians and Brunswick Units

Here you can see my collection of (mostly) Hessians with some Brunswick units.

Forces include:
  • 3 x Generals
  • 1 x Jagers
  • 1 x Artillery Battery
  • 1 x Grenadier Regiment (I'll add 2 more in the future)
  • 2 x Fusilier Regiments
  • 5 x Musketeer Regiments
A couple of closer pics of some units that haven't been seen on the table yet ...

Even though I'll add a couple more Grenadier units in the future (no rush), I think this is a great force that will allow me to do a wide range of scenarios.


Lastly, but not least, here is my American collection.

Forces include:
  • 3 x Generals
  • 2 x Riflemen
  • 1 x Lee's Legion skirmishers
  • 1st Continental Light Dragoons
  • 2 x Artillery Batteries
  • 13 x Continental units
  • 12 x Militia Units
A couple of closer pics of some units ...

That's everything done and based.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Wargames for 2021

I've spent some time recently planning out the games I'll run this year -- with a target of getting these games to the tabletop all before the summer.  All of these games are well within my power and capability to deliver before then.

In no particular order ...

Austerlitz, 1805

Not too long ago I posted the scenario for Austerlitz.  I have 80% of the miniatures done for this scenario and the main focus on my painting efforts now fall to completing the remaining 20% - all Russians.  The great news is all the Russians I need to finish are all needed for Borodino as well.

I've compressed the map into a 6 foot by 16 foot table (was 20 foot wide).  The gap down the middle was too large for any of the allied forces to have any chance of attempting to reinforce Pratzen.  This will greatly improve playability of the scenario.  Very much looking forward to finally getting this scenario on the tabletop and putting myself into a realistic position to get Borodino on the tabletop perhaps by late this year (if not late this year, very early next year).  Borodino is a *massive* battle that will be taking almost my entire French and Russian Napoleonic collection - including Dutchy of Warsaw units, Wurttemberg units, and other key units like the Zastrow Cuirassiers and Saxon Guarde du Corps (using the beautiful Eureka models for those two units).  There is light at the end of this tunnel.

War in Rohan

With the final batch of Rohan, Dunland and Isengard forces in hand the basing/rebasing will commence immediately.  A large number of War in Rohan scenarios are unlocked by this milestone.  First and foremost though will be the battle of the Fords of the Isen.

Rather than creating a one off river, I'd invested in a great modular river from Tabletop Modellbau.  I've really impressed with the different sections in this range (I'm having him make many of the straight sections more plain).  The waterfall section, various turns and the end piece are excellent sections to really make this set stand above others I looked at.

I'll use the Y section to create the small eyot (little island in the middle of the river where Théodred makes his stand).  This should work out well.  I figure it will be about a month though before I have the river in hand as he is still working on the order and it needs to ship from Europe.

I'll also be doing a smaller engagement I'm calling Defence of the Westfold.  This will be a more plain battle with very few (if any) characters and will be centered around Dunland forces looking to burn the buildings of a Rohan village.  I already have the buildings done/painted for this.  I can also upgrade this to an attack on a fortified village/town if I want as I have all the fortification sections complete as well.

Last but very much far from least is Helm's Deep.  My 3D printer is already hard at work on printing off the Helm's Deep files (these are sadly no longer available).  This will be the pinnacle battle for my War in Rohan series.

Battle of Brandywine Creek

The very last two AWI units I'll get completed for my collection is a unit of British 16th Light Dragoons and a unit of Queen's American Rangers.  Both of these units round out the forces I need to run a game for the battle of Brandywine Creek.

I'll be using the same river mentioned above to create this tabletop.

Battle of Freeman's Farm (Saratoga)

I have everything I need already done to run the battle of Freeman's Farm from the Saratoga campaign.  The only thing I need is the same modular river (man, that river is going to get a lot of use!).  This should be a lot of fun as there is a hefty bunch of Hessians in this battle and even some native Indian units I'll be using for the British side.

Casey's Redoubt (Battle of Seven Pines)

The only thing outstanding for me to run this scenario is to finish painting the two white buildings that are the landmarks of this battle (well, outside of the redoubt).  I'll be using the same earthworks I used for Vicksburg and Breed's Hill to create the redoubt for this battle.  All troops are done and ready to go.

Wrapping Up ...

Looking at all this now that I've written it down seems like an impossible amount of gaming to bring to the tabletop - but to be perfectly honest - outside of Austerlitz (~80% done) I'm like 95-99% done on every other scenario I've listed here.  All of this is VERY honestly and realistically achievable in the first half of this year.

So stay tuned to the blog as there is much to come over the next few months.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

General Update: More LOTR Models

A quick post today.

While I've been hard at work on finishing my AWI stuff (very close now), the glorious Steve Dake finished up the last of my Rohan, Isengard and Dunland forces.

They arrived in todays post and I promptly unpacked the models.  Christmas again already?  I snapped a few pictures.

As you can see above this batch is large, clocking in at around 270 miniatures, all stunningly painted by master Dake.

I've decided to abandon the clear basing as it is just too brittle for regular handling of the miniatures.  Also, I'll be able to add secondary pins for those ever fragile plastic GW horses once I get them on mdf bases (with glue, sand, static grass and tufts).

So once I finish up the AWI basing I'll have more basing to do.  I shant complain though as having a backlog of painted miniatures to put on bases is better than a backlog of unpainted miniatures (ha, I have that problem as well, but one thing at a time).

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Some Changes Around Here

Inspired by my long lost brother Ivor Evans I've decided to breath a little new life into the blog with a new look and logo.

I was messing around and came up with the following new logo.

I'm not 100% sold on it but figured I would give it a spin for a little bit.  It looks a little Wargames Illustrated'ish ... but hey ... I like the WI logo so cool.  I can easily restore the old look.

In other news, I've finished all my Hessian units for AWI ... now just working on the last big batch of basing for my Continental units that are done.

So, the new look/logo ... crap?  Good?  Don't give a hoot?  Let me know.

Friday, January 8, 2021

To 2021, And Beyond!

Happy new year!  I'm a little late with this post, but better late than never.

I finally took a moment to reflect on the last year and I must admit, while I made a lot of progress on finishing projects, such as starting and completing AWI, from a gaming perspective I'm a little underwhelmed.  On the bright side ... the Mandalorian is F'ing awesome.

With all the conventions cancelled and it generally being hard to get anyone together, I'm sure I'm not the only one who's be stuck inside most of this past year. Oh, and kids home schooling ... yeah.

Ok ok ... enough ... on to some reflection here.

The highlight of this year - which was done just before COVID wrecked everything, was CabinCon.  We didn't know it at the time but this would be the last time we all gathered together for some big games and some concentrated gaming time.

That being said, CabinCon was a hoot and was the first running of my Siege of Vicksburg game for ACW.  I did run this scenario again outside on my patio with just the main part of the group.

At least I got some great pictures of the Vicksburg game.  I do enjoy going back to see the pictures and remember the fun that was had playing the game.

I also finally got a game of Blood and Plunder in, which of course is a really fun game.  I have some more I'd like to do on this front but alas it will be a little bit before I get back around to it.

Roy Scaife brought his 1:1200 scale WW2 naval game to the tabletop.  Solid rules and fun with ships that are a good size so as to not feel "dinky" like the normal 1:2400 scale.  Roy continues to fill out the ships (getting a lot done now) and has added observation planes and various fighter/bomber squadrons since we played a couple of games a little while ago.  Looking forward to more naval action this year with Roy.

Despite getting a very large number of Russian and Austrian Napoleonic completed this year, I've not really played that many Napoleonic games (which is one of my favorite periods!).  Again, I blame COVID.  However, all my progress with the Austrians and Russians have put me in a great place to be able to get Austerlitz on the table this year.  Borodino is still very much on my main list and I continue to get units done for that game.  I sorta shot myself in the foot there when I expanded the scenario to include the Poles and additional Russians.  As a result I have to get some Duchy of Warsaw units done now :-)

Getting my Middle Earth Battles rules and troops on the table was a big accomplishment.  I'm weeks away from having my Fords of Isen scenario done and ready to play --- but of course, can't play with anyone at the moment so I don't know when I'll actually get to play it.

Steve just finished up the last of my Dunland force and Rohan expansion (primarily foot troops).  With that I'll be able to base/complete the rest of my Rohan and Isengard forces.

Last but certainly not least is AWI.  This one the period that came out of left field for me.  That mis-shipment from Perry earned them lots of additional revenue ;-)  lol  I was happy to throw more money at the Perry's though.  

Getting Guilford Courthouse on the table and playing through it was really great.  I'm really happy with how everything turned out for this period.

Right before the end of the year I was also able to run my Breed's Hill (aka Bunker Hill) scenario which also was a grand time.  I'm looking at running two additional scenarios this year for AWI, the battle of Freeman's Farm (from the Saratoga campaign) and Brandywine.  There are of course many more I can run.  The last units for AWI I'll get done are some American Rangers, British 16th Light Dragoons, and another unit of Hessian Grenadiers.  After that I can't think of anything else I would need.

Admittedly I've found myself with plans for this year but currently a serious lack of motivation to get cracking on them.  There are AWI, ACW, Middle Earth and Napoleonic games I'm going to finish and run this year - I know it for sure (you know, if society doesn't collapse this year).  

Hopefully my motivation will come back soon.  Right now when I sit down at my paint table I feel like a storm trooper taking a leak - stay on target!  I guess the real question I have is what will be this year's squirrel project?  I actually hope it doesn't happen ... but I don't have a good track record on squirrels :-)

Well, that's enough for now.  It looks like there is finally a light at the end of this COVID tunnel ... and I can't wait until we can all get back to some real gaming.