Wednesday, January 4, 2023

2023 Wargaming and 2022 Reflection

Buckle your seatbelts people, it's 2023!  I hope the holiday season has treated you all well in your part of the world.  If you are new to the blog or have followed along for longer, thank you so much.  I continue to insist that this is primarily a documented history of my wargaming exploits, but I've also met so many fellow wargamers in different parts of the world through doing this blog, so it has yielded far more than I ever thought it would.

I'll break this - long (apologies) post - down into some sections:
  1. 2022 Reflection
  2. 2023 General Thoughts
  3. General d'Armee Napoleonic's
  4. O'Group WW2
  5. Never Mind the Billhooks
  6. Hail Caesar Dark Ages
  7. Closing Thoughts

2022 Reflection

So 2022, what can I say.  I find myself disappointed.


Don't get me wrong, I played some spectacular games at the conventions I attended and got to push lead and roll dice a little outside of those events.  That being said, I went stone cold between KublaCon in late may and other than PacifiCon in September, didn't do any gaming outside of PacifiCon until Thanksgiving!


That just isn't acceptable, but I have a few reasons for that ... primarily work was crazy, but my son playing Volleyball (general life stuff), and perhaps most of all, I felt a little confused about which rules to play for certain periods.  I confess I'm a little tired of Bolt Action, which is why WW2 fell to the back burner for me.  I was also distracted by all sorts of random, well ... craziness.  I think mostly I just felt a little lost for most of the back half of the year, unable to focus, unable to get motivated.


But, just before Christmas I found myself getting my mojo back.  I squeaked in the Trenton games and started getting motivated to do all sorts of things with my existing collection, and cut down on the distractions.

2023 General Thoughts

I'm still on vacation this week and trying to make the most of it.  I'm committed to playing more games this year, and I really mean it!  I do need to spend a little time doing some terrain TLC though and I've already started that.  Below you can see my project for this week, getting my new road set completed.  Pictured are the narrower roads - all these are from Total Battle Miniatures.  I have the wide and narrow roads ...

I've ordered a few more buildings from Grand Manner as well that will do great for Napoleonic battles in Russia.  For gaming I really want to put some time into revising and streamlining This Hallowed Ground for ACW.  I've settled on the excellent (and slightly modified by me) Live Free or Die rules for AWI.  General d'Armee is my go to for Napoleonic's now.  I'm excited about using Never Mind the Billhooks for War of the Roses, and Hail Caesar for Dark Ages (Saxons/Vikings).  Finally, my War of the Ring collection is nearing full completion and other than some terrain projects for that, it looks like 2023 will see the completion of that collection.

General d'Armee

Funny enough, the other day I was sitting down to put together some scenarios for Napoleonic's, specifically around the first part of the French invasion of Russian in 1812.  I would be looking a building out some Russian rear guard scenarios.  While I was working on this I was playing videos from the various YouTube channels I subscribe to for wargaming when the new scenario book for General d'Armee was highlighted.  I immediately dropped everything and went to the Too Fat Lardies site to purchase the 1813, The Battles for Germany scenario book.

Excellent, just excellent.  I have everything for the Russian, French and Austrian components of all the scenarios.  Roy Scaife is hard at work bringing the Prussian army to our merry group of gamers.  Even without the Prussians for the moment, I have 3 scenarios I can play, today, right now, without having to do anything else.  This is what you'll see next up on the blog.

More than that, a 2nd edition of General d'Armee is due to hit the interwebs and bookshelves in the early summer.  From this thread, the changes sound great and I'm really looking forward to the new revision - while also being happy to use v1 for my games in the meantime.

O'Group WW2

Reviewing the O'Group battalion level wargame rules for World War 2 have inspired me to try these using my 28mm collection.  I'm unsure it these will work well for more than 2 players, but I'm still reading through the rules and at the very least I will use them for 1v1 games at my house.


28mm you say?  Yes!  I'll use the 20mm distances in the rules, but I think it is fairly easy to use these for 28mm.  Essentially a 10 figure section in Bolt Action becomes a 10 figure company in O'Group.  Each platoon is 3 figures (representing the 3 different sections), and the 10th figure is the company commander.

In order to make this work, I've ordered some movement trays from Charlie Foxtrot Models.


For the platoons (3 figures each) I ordered the movement trays pictures above (link).  3 of these bases will represent the 3 platoons in a company.  If a platoon loses a section (KIA) then take a figure off the movement tray.


For the company commander, which is a single figure, I ordered the movement tray pictured above (link).  While only a single figure, the back of the base will allow me to indicate which company (e.g., A Company) the models is commanding.

I have everything I need to run the scenario that is included in the main rulebook.  Once I get the movement trays in from CFM all I need to do is sand/paint them up and this game will be going on the tabletop!

Never Mind the Billhooks

I have all the miniatures acquired that I need to do Towton.  I already have one of the battles (divisions) completed with 5 more to go.  I've had a long time desire to play WotR and this is a project I will see through to completion this year.  The long pole here is assembly.  All those Perry Miniatures plastics have a lot of different parts and it really slows down the assembly process.

I'm even more motivated for this as the deluxe rulebook for Never Mind the Billhooks recently released and is just a beautiful tomb of wargaming fun.  I have the new cards and really just need to get this game on the table.

Hail Caesar Dark Ages

I had such a blast playing in the Dark Ages game at Conquest Sacramento that I just could not resist the urge to take my SAGA collection and expand it into a proper mass battle collection for the Dark Ages.  I have the movement trays from Charlie Foxtrot Models and and healthy start to the painted figures (about 120+ painted already).  Of course, I'll need about 500-600 figures when all done - but I've already got them from Gripping Beast.

I'll be using Hail Caesar with the Shieldwall Dark Age supplement.  I'll also be adopting the cleaver rules changes from Stew that he used for his game.

Closing Thoughts

So there you have it ... lot's of plans as usual.  I will get through these projects, likely with some distractions along the way.  We do what we can but I'm determined this year to get in more games and continue to knock down these projects.

I'll leave you with the most likely first distraction of 2023 - 10mm English Civil War using Pendraken Miniatures.  I even painted up a 10mm building ...

I'd like to start by having enough to do the Battle of Edgehill, which shouldn't require too much effort (comparatively speaking to say a large 28mm project).

So stay tuned, keep on painting, and go roll some dice!

Saturday, December 31, 2022

War of the Ring and Haystacks

Just a short post today.  I hope the holiday season is treating everyone well.  I've set out to get several terrain related projects done.  But, first up I needed to finish the basing for these two beauties below.  Once again, the excellent Bohdan painted these up.  Two Great Beasts of Gorgoroth with howdahs teaming with Orc crew ...

I've taken advantage of the Grand Manner sale and have picked up several buildings and other scatter terrain.  I painted up these hay stacks which I'm really happy with.  These will go great for my planned Russian Napoleonic scenarios for the 1812 invasion.

Finally, I've been having an absolute blast playing through the Undaunted Stalingrad campaign with Roy.  I highly recommended the Undaunted series of games, especially Stalingrad with the campaign.

I'm busy working on some new road sets.  I have some new river sets from Charlie Foxtrot Models I'm looking forward to finishing.  I also have a butt load more LOTR basing to finish.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

AWI Trenton Part Deux and Rules Updates

After we played Trenton the other weekend my brain went into overdrive.  I really liked how the Live Free or Die rules played during the game. That being said, I spent the week tuning the rules to suit more what our group is used too.

My tuning really came down to the following:
  • Making combat more deadly.
  • Adjusting the turn sequence.
  • Clarifying some obscurities.
  • Aligning orders of battle to my collection.
What I describe above might sound like a lot - but it really isn't. After making the changes I reset the Trenton table, adjusted the OOB slightly and we played it again this past Sunday.  I'll cover the changes I made to the rules and OOB first below, then I'll cover the refight of the battle with some pictures.


You can download my rule reference here.  Note the ranges are all for using 28mm miniatures since that is what my collection is - but the original rules are written for 15mm miniatures (which meant I had to make my own QRS anyways so I could adjust ranges).

The rules reference incorporates all my changes and covers essentially everything you'll need to know when playing the game.  I highly recommend purchasing the PDF or physical copy of the original rules to "fill in the gaps" in preparing for the game, organization, etc.



Let's go through the changes I made:
  • Units suffer a casualty (base removal) after taking 6 DMZ (originally 5).
  • Artillery has 3D6 base for shooting, with a +3D6 for shooting at a column.  Field guns roll 5D6 base at 20" or less.
  • Muskets are 12", rifles 18".  Skirmishers roll 1D6 per base.  Formed infantry that volley use 3D6 per base, or 2D6 per base for hasty fire.
  • Artillery bounce through allows 1/2 dice to be rolled, needing 6's, against a unit within 6" behind the original artillery target.
  • In melee, base dice are 1D6 per base (versus 1D6 per 2 bases).  Only skirmishers generate 1D6 per 2 bases when fighting against non-skirmishers.
  • Charge bonus is for any infantry, +1D6 per base - or +2D6 per base if cavalry.  The other melee modifiers increased slightly.
  • Combat results are the same, just with slightly increased losses (DMZ).
  • It takes 3 CP to charge - no other CP is needed.
  • Closing fire is always hasty fire for formed infantry.
  • Infantry charge 4D6", cavalry 6D6" (going from 15mm to 28mm).
  • Charges and movement are done in the same Orders Phase (charges then movement, in initiative order). Shooting is moved to the Combat Phase (shooting then melee).
  • Reforming costs 1/2 your movement.
  • A unit can volley if they move 1/2 their movement or less.
  • Redress the ranks is any unit 24" or farther from enemy can recover D3 DMZ.
That's really it.  Everything else is essentially the same, just with clarifications added.

I'm happy to report that the refight went very well.  The Americans pulled out a last second victory over the Hessians by securing 2 of the 3 town sections along with road Z.  Both sides rolled a different set of random events - with the Hessians getting a British field gun and regiment for reinforcements from Princeton.  Washington survived unscathed this time, but Sullivan was gunned down leading a charge.

You can see the initial deployment and positions below ...




I adjusted the OOB for the scenario slightly - mostly breaking out units that had been combined in the original OOB as most of my collection is units of 4 or 5 bases.

HESSIAN OOB

Colonel Rall (Leader, 4 CP, 2 stars)

Rall's Brigade
  • Grenadier Regt. Rall, 2nd Class, 5 bases
  • Grenadier Regt. Rall II, 3rd Class, 5 bases
  • Regt. Von Lossberg, 2nd Class, 5 bases
  • Regt. Von Knyphausen, 2nd Class, 5 bases
  • Regt. Von Knyphausen II, 2nd Class, 5 bases
  • Jagers, 1st Class, 2 bases (SK)
  • 3 pounder, 2nd Class, 1 light gun
  • Queen's Dragoons, 2nd Class, 1 base
The Hessians rolled and got reinforcements from Princeton:
  • Cornwallis (Leader, 4 CPs, 2 stars)
  • 17th Foot, 2nd Class, 5 bases
  • 6 pounder, 2nd Class, 1 field gun

AMERICAN OOB

Washington (Leader, 5 CP, 3 stars)
Greene (Lieutenant, 3 stars)

Stephen's Brigade
  • 4th VA, 3rd Class, 4 bases
  • 5th VA, 3rd Class, 4 bases
  • 6th VA, 3rd Class, 3 bases
Stirling's Brigade
  • 1st VA, 3rd Class, 4 bases
  • 3rd VA, 3rd Class, 4 bases
  • 1st PA Rifles, 2nd Class, 4 bases (SK)
Mercer's Brigade
  • 20th CT, 3rd Class, 6 bases
  • 1st MD, 2nd Class, 4 bases
  • 5th MA/CT Militia, 4th Class, 5 bases
Fermoy's Brigade
  • German Regt., 3rd Class, 4 bases
  • German Regt. II, 3rd Class, 4 bases
  • 1st PA, 3rd Class, 4 bases
3 pounder, 2nd Class, 1 light gun
6 pounder, 2nd Class, 1 field gun

Sullivan (Lieutenant, 3 stars)

St. Clair's Brigade
  • 5th Continentals, 2nd Class, 3 bases
  • 2nd Continentals, 2nd Class, 4 bases
  • 8th Continentals, 2nd Class, 4 bases
Sargent's Brigade is unchanged from the original OOB.

Pictures below of the game.























Another fun game and close fought battle.  The rules changes worked out really well.  We'll be sticking with these rules for AWI moving forward.

Saturday, December 3, 2022

AWI: Battle of Trenton, 1776

Tis the season for some treason!  Ah yes, the American revolution hangs by a thread in the winter of 1776.  With a full understanding of the dire situation in which the continental army is in, General Washington undertakes a bold action to save the revolution!  The battle of Trenton is the most one-sided engagement of the revolution.


I hosted this game at my place with the crew - our official "Christmas season" game (Roy Scaife, Dan Kerrick, Matt Hilzendrager, Thomas Foss - with John Lantz being out sick).  In addition to dice, miniatures, terrain - there was eggnog, Santa hats, and ugly Christmas sweaters!  This is my favorite time of the year.  Are you ready to barf out some Christmas joy?!  Well, let's go!

Alright, the battle of Trenton - a most one-sided engagement you say - why would you wargame the battle if that is the case?  A good question dear reader!

I was inspired by Little Wars TV for this game.  I was specifically on the hunt for a game that I could run that would be winter/Christmas themed and I ended up watching the YouTube battle report for Trenton by Little Wars TV (watch it here).  A great battle report and history surrounding the battle.


I decided to use the Little Wars TV rules for this game - Live Free of Die (available as a PDF download).  The rules are very straight forward being only 4 pages in total.  Additionally, the rulebook itself comes with some excellent scenarios.  But wait, there's more!  They also have an outstanding scenario book for AWI that I also picked up that is packed with 10 more scenarios (including Trenton).

While the rules are written for 15mm (and LWTV play it with 10mm), I'm using it for 28mm since that is the collection I have and it is large enough to do the battles they have detailed out in the scenario book.  I did have to update the ranges/distances.  Effectively any distance that is 3" in the rules as written I changed to 5" - along with some of the ranges.  

The 28mm version of their quick reference sheet you can download from here:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/wirf2u8g7xy4pz3/live_free_or_die_qrs_28mm.pdf?dl=0

The scenario for this adds some very creative options into the mix for the players.  The folks at Little Wars TV drew on some of the factors around the battle that almost did or where likely to have happened but did not in order to provide a great set of random events that occur during the battle.  I don't want to give it all away here, I highly recommend purchasing the PDF scenario book, even if you already have a set of AWI rules you like.

HESSIAN ORDER OF BATTLE

Col. Johann Rall
  • Grenadier Regt. Rall
  • Grenadier Regt. Rall II
  • Regt. Von Lossberg
  • Regt. Von Knyphausen
  • Jagers
  • 3-lber Light Gun
  • 16th Queens Dragoons
Depending on random events determined at the start of the game, and based on both sides choosing their battle strategies, additional Hessian and potentially even British reinforcements are possible.

AMERICAN ORDER OF BATTLE

General George Washington

Major General Nathanael Greene

Stephen's Brigade
  • 4th VA
  • 5th/6th VA
Stirling's Brigade
  • 1st/3rd VA
  • 1st PA Rifles (Skirmishers)
Mercer's Brigade
  • 20th CT
  • 1st MD
  • 5th MA/CT Militia
Fermoy's Brigade
  • German Regiment
  • 1st PA
Attached Artillery
  • 3-lber Light Gun
  • 6-lber Field Gun
Major General John Sullivan

St. Clair's Brigade
  • 5th Continentals
  • 2nd/8th Continentals
Depending on random events determined at the start of the game, and based on both sides choosing their battle strategies, additional American units may arrive to help OR some units from the above OOB may have a delayed arrival or not arrive at all.


American pre-battle decision was to "delay the vanguard for one hour - two at most - to allow time for the rest of the army to catch up, avoiding the risk of a piecemeal engagement."  The Hessian pre-battle decision was that "fortifications are unnecessary and would weaken the morale of the men.  Double our patrols outside of town and keep the pickets on high alert."

American random event resulted in the artillery not making the crossing - being removed from the American OOB.  Additionally, they rolled the result for Sargent's brigade to arrive at entry point V on turn 5. The Hessian random events resulted in no effect and Von Donop sends aid from Bordentown - on turn 4, one regiment from his brigade arrives at entry point Z.

The game lasted for 8 turns.  The American objective was to seize the "three" sections of the town of Trenton (divided by the road).

I'll summarize the action after the pictures below.  For now, enjoy these pre-game pictures I took on the eve of battle using my nice camera ...
























The American's advanced to volley range and opened up on the Hessians who were holding at the edge of town.  The engage of shooting lasted several turns.  On turn 5 the Americans realized they need to start charging to push out the Hessians who had stood in place against the American shooting.  Successive charges by American units and counter charges from Hessian units saw one section of the town fall to the Americans.  The main section (in the shape of a pie slice) was being held just barely by the Hessians when the game ended.  The result was a minor Hessian victory - but honestly had there been even just 1 more turn I think the Americans would have carried two town sections and won.  Washington was wounded during the battle and carried from the field in turn 8 after supporting a main American charge that secured a section of town.  We all had a blast and enjoyed all the variability of the scenario that allowed us to see a different outcome from the historical outcome.

Pictures below of the battle in progress throughout the turns.







Mobile phone pictures taken throughout the battle below ...



















I was a bit busy during the game so didn't get that many good in progress pictures.  One of our crew was sick so I ended up playing 1/2 of the Hessian force.  I had originally just planned to be the GM and take pictures ... oh well, I really enjoyed playing and hosting.

A fun little game.  Happy holidays folks!