Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Napoleon's Battles in December

It’s the day after Christmas; you know you are going to be bored of your relatives and looking for a lot of GAMING EXCITEMENT.

Well look no further….

Saturday December 26th,
10 AM until we can’t take it no more.
The Source Comics and Games

Napoleon’s Battles in 15mm
Wagram (Light!)

In a desperate attempt to avenge his first defeat Napoleon has called up every military asset he could muster and is now ready to throw everything, including the KITCHEN SINK, a few BATHTUBS and if he had them a couple of Hot Water-Heaters at the defending dogs. Those mangy mutts won't know what hit them.

The Archduke Charles knowing that Napoleon and the entirety of the Military Might of France is crossing the river is counting on the Imperial Army, two dozen drunken collegee students on summer break from University of Vienna who think they are going to Key West, a couple of pickle farmers from down the street, and 12 boys from Siiberwald to hold them smelly froggies off. We'll see who lets the dogs out! Where oh Where has that little Archduke John gone?

I must be honest, it won't be completely Wagram, as we would need nearly 250 square feet of table space and we only have 100 square feet, but gosh darn it we will make do. Besides I have a freshily painted Bavarian Corp that needs to see the tabletop for the FIRST TIME, not to mention like 30 Regiments of Austrians that have never been on the tabletop.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Horse Musket and Gun

Over the last couple of days I spent many hours pondering, considering, postulating, pontificating, and slamming my head against the wall over Horse Musket and Gun. There is no question that the rules are very close to the finished product, yet a couple of small incidental little "bugs" or quirks haunt the game.

In reviewing the previous versions of the rules, I am on the ninth rewrite and I have yet to really finish on version, I am really at a loss as a consider how close I am, yet how far away I feel. I kind of like running a marathon (Well I guess it is like running a marathon since I have only run a couple of half marathons) 25 miles down, 1 mile to go, but you may as well have another 25 miles for as little as in your tank.

Let me recap my problems:

Artillery the queen of the Battle Field is over powering the game. It is too effective. I know that for at least one of my loyal readers that probably doesn't seem possible. Yet Artillery alone stopped two brigades of Prussians and held a Division of Austrians at bay in the last game. In the game before that a couple of batteries at long range messed up the French defense so bad we might as well not have played. So the question is why is Artillery so effective? Good Dice, Cautious players, is Bombardment to effective, are players miss reading the charts, are the ranges to short?

I at first played off the Austrian Artillery as just good dice and might have played off the French Artillery as good dice, but it wasn't. Well at first for the French it was, but simply rolling 10, 11, and 12s was enough to hold off a Austrian Division

The Austrian players in the last game were a little worried about a few fatigue, yet the Prussian players attempted to push forward, and in the other game it was offensive Artillery fire.

In the last game only the Russians put a heavy battery in bombardment, the French never considered it.

I went through the charts two dozen times, it seemed like the French were reading the charts properly. However the scale of the game just put them in to long range early on where distance modifiers didn't seem to matter. Okay I cover the last two options in one paragraph.

I suppose there is another option, there could be too much artillery, however we are representing who batteries that actually existed in the period, I mean in 1812 we'd also have French Regimental Guns for a number of Corps, that just gets to be too much, but that isn't the period we are currently playing.

To me it seems like it is a combination of all factors are conspiring to make artillery to effective, so the question is what to do.

I have over the past several months making it more difficult to move Artillery, requiring Divisional, Corps and Army Assets to have an ADC attached to limber and reduced the prolong of all artillery. But that makes Artillery more difficult to move not less effective when it fires.

So what else can I do?

In Bombardment we are change x2 fatigue to +1 fatigue. This still makes Bombardment 33% more effective and since fire is completed before movement can be an effective measure on either the defense or offense.

I am looking at a way to reduce or should I say remove the fresh marker on artillery. I had considering giving artillery a different kind of bonus, but my goal has always been a simple game without 97 different bonuses or modifiers, but I seem to be getting that way anyways. So rather I am proposing removing the Artillery's Fresh Marker at the initiative stage (which I am renaming Administrative) on any turn the Artillery fired in the previous turn. I realize that in some game play the players may take advantage of that, but trying to monitor three phases seems too difficult. So after some thought my suggestion is to a check in the Administrative Step in turn after the artillery battery has fired the turn before. On a pass no changes, On the first pass the artillery loses its fresh marker, on the second fail it takes a -2 low on ammunition (which can be removed via a pass in the next administrative step.)

I am going to adjust the ranges of the artillery, shorting the ranges for Effective and Long Range, while increasing Extended and Extreme Range to make up the difference. I have pulled up the work of Chandler amongst others to evaluate what distances are, rate of fire, rounds in the caissons, and so and so forth.

A 12 Lbs can fire canister 500 yards. However its overall effectiveness decreases by 50% for every 100 yards (see Chandler). So if Canister is 100 percent effective at 0 yards it is 50% effective at 100 yards, it is 25% effective at 200 yards, 12.5% effective at 300 yards, 6.25% effective at 400 yards and 3.125% at 500 yards. So how would you map this out on the tabletop? In the 1830's the British Army did an extensive study on Napoleonic Artillery, I never understand why people always study the last war, rather than preparing for the next war, however I am going to refer to this test.

At 0 to 100 yards a single blast from an artillery battery would effectively kill or injury 64 men, at 200 yards this would decrease to 32 men, and at 300 yards 16 men, and so on and so forth. The rate of fire is approximately 1 round every minute, and Artillery only had a high point of slightly more than 95% effective at 0 yards (miss fires, bad powder, shells exploding, or worse guns exploding) With all this I created a complicated spread sheet modeling fire, and I got to say I was surprised at how well it lines up with the British Documents. In all I shortened the ranges of the artillery, Light Artillery ranges are changed to 0-4, 4-8, 8-20, 20-40, Medium Artillery 0-5, 5-10, 10-25,25-50, Heavy Artillery 0-6, 6-12, 12-30, 30-60 for Effective, Long, Extended, and Extreme.

Another change is to increase the bonus to +4 for effective range, this make the math against the chart work out to where I would like it to be. This is one of those changes simply to make all the math work out.

The way this works out, at Effective Range with a Fresh Heavy Battery should be doing 2 fatigue per round (10% no fatigue, 35% 1 Fatigue, 35% 2 Fatigue, 16% 3 Fatigue and 4% for 4 fatigue).

Another minor change, counter battery fire was so common in the last couple of games (with so much artillery on the table and as effective as it is) I have added the requirement that only Artillery on Bombardment orders can fire counter battery fire. Again I refer to both the writings of Chandler (and Richard Hook who I am sure is using Chandler as his source) that it took an hour of extensive fire to silence an enemy Artillery Battery, too few targets in too large of space. Followed on with "brigade batteries" rarely (if ever) fired upon enemy artillery because they were more concerned about supporting the infantry in case of a surprise attack or in case of a charge. To me this is a case that it happened so rarely that you probably don't need to model brigade batteries and should be concerned with divisional, corps and army assets. And we already have a solution for that, bombardment.

The Math on this puts most attempts in the -3 to -5 modifier range (55 to 45% effective doing 1 fatigue or no fatigue on a roll of 11). This also adds in the fact the counter battery is usually two batteries against one hits the fact that 3 fire phases should produce 2.7 to 3.4 fatigue, which I think is right in line with where it needs to be.

I am also reevaluating my Scenario, instead of allowing the defender 18 to 24 inches to deploy I am reducing the deployment zone to 6 to 12 inches. This puts more of the board in play and hopefully allows the attacker to better prepare an attack while under minimal fire.

So to recap

  1. I have increased the modifier for fire in the Effective (Shortest Range) by 1 to +4
  2. I have decrease the ranges for Effective and Long Range to be in line with British Study in 1835
  3. I have now requiring Counter Battery Fire to be in Bombardment Only
  4. I am changing my scenarios to give less depth to the defender.

Let me know what you think.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Upcoming Game at the Levee Café

Tentatively I am planning on a late April (17th or 24th) game at the Levee Café. The game again will be 25mm Napoleonic's using Horse Musket and Gun; and again because of figure availability we will be revisiting the Fall Campaign in Germany 1813, as we refight The Battle of Dresden.

Joel Gregory, Jim Fitzgerald and I have already agreed to work to providing as many figures as we can for the game. While I don't expect to put out 12,000 figures I am hoping that a slight bathtubbing will get us to around 5,000 or so figures. Additionally the tabletop will be right around 200 square feet.

At this point it looks very do able.

Game at the Levee Café was another great success

I am happy, as well as greatly relieved, to say Saturday's game of Horse Musket and Gun (infantry action of the Battle of Liebertwolkwitz) was in my opinion a stellar success.

I need to provide a great number of Thank You's for the success.

At the Levee Café I got to start with my brother Brian Johnson, the Executive Chef and General Manager, who opened the Café early, made a special breakfast and laid out our lunch, as usual my brother thanks. For the other staff whose names I don't remember we do appreciate you going the extra mile and poor Emma who had to deal with 20 Geeks all day and did so with a smile.

For the figures I have to thank Joel Gregory, who provided the lion share of the figures including a number of buildings on the table top, Jim Fitzgerald who provided the Russians and a couple of brigades of French, and Keith Dalluhn who provided the Bavarians; Jeff Knudson who provided some of the buildings on the table top.

Everyone who showed up to play, as everyone should know I am so bad with names I am always happy to remember my own name on most days.

We had at the height of the battle I believe we had 20 players pushing slightly more than 3200 figures on 152 square feet of table top. We completed 6 turns (18 phases) in just over 8 hours. I am happy with 6 turns, even though I wanted 8 turns. Considering most players were new to the system six turns isn't bad.

I feel I also learned a lot about running such a large (25mm) game and the space requirements. We could of used another 24 Square Feet and that might have change the flow of the game some.

I'll post more on the game later.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

November 21st - Horse Musket and Gun at the Levee Cafe

On Saturday November 21st, 2009 at the Levee Café in Hastings, MN advance elements of the Army of Bohemia will clash with the elements of the Grande Armee in a recreation of the infantry action around Liebertwolkwitz, (October 14, 1813). The battle features 3 French Infantry Corps plus some cavalry vs. 4 Allied Infantry Corps plus some cavalry which occurs after the more famous Cavalry Battle.

Everyone is welcome to attend and play, there is no cost to play and all figures will be provided. As usual we will be paying for the room via services in kind, IE buying drinks and eating meals at the Levee Café. We have made special arrangements to have breakfast served on Saturday at the Levee Café as the Resteraunt no longer serves breakfast on Saturday; however I will need a head count before hand for breakfast.

The battle will be refought using Horse Musket and Gun in 25mm. http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/Horse-MusketandGun/
In the next day or so I will have a short version of the rules posted and will continue to be turning my notes into full blown rules.

Figures will be provided by Joel Gregory, Jim Fitzgerald, and myself with the possibility of a few others bringing their own commands.

On Friday evening we will setting up the terrain and preparing as many figures as we have available for the game. Jim and I are planning on eating supper around 6PM with the rest of the festivities occurring after dinner.

Saturday morning we will get special access to the Levee Café at 9AM, with breakfast around 10AM. We will be pulling and preparing as many figures as they arrive.

There will be a rules overview at 9:30 AM and the Game will start at 10:30. My goal is to get in two turns (six phases) before Lunch.
For Lunch I have ordered a buffet style meal which will be available for a donation or you can order from the Menu.

The Levee Café, 100 Sibley Street, Hastings, MN 55033

If you have any questions please contact me via email the_goldy_gopher(at)yahoo.com.

Hope to see you all there.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Austrian Artillery,Generals and upcoming painting.

On Saturday I received my latest order for Litko, bases which will be used for my 25mm Austrian Artillery and Generals and ADCs first.
The Heavy Artillery Batteries are now mounted on 2 1/2" square bases with four artillerists. Three of the four bases have a 12 lbs artillery piece and the fourth has a large diameter howitzer.
The Medium Artillery Batteries are now mounted on a 2 1/2" wide by 2" deep base with three artillerists. They have a variety of 6 lbs and 8 lbs guns.
My Light Artillery Battery is also mounted on a 2 1/2" wide by 2" deep base except it only has two artillerists on the base. I have used 2 smaller 6 lbs guns because at the moment I do not have any 3 lbs or 4 lbs guns.
For the Generals I have mounted up Two Divisional (or other Senior Commander) bases with three mounted Officers, six brigade commander bases with two mounted officers and now have an even dozen singly mounted Officers.
A couple of the single mounted officers are Generals once I pick up a few more ADC figures will be remounted as Brigade Commanders or higher. But I had to make do with what I had.
I am looking at my box of unpainted lead and trying to determine what I need to paint up next. I will be ordering a few figures from Foundry in a couple weeks to fill out my Light Division Cavalry (A couple command packs, a few packs of Dragoons/Chevaleger, and two packs of Uhlans.) But between now and when they arrive I should get something else painted, especially for the Allied Side. I think I am going to focus on a Battalion of Austrian Line Infantry for the Ruess-Greitz Regiment. I have the Command (eight figures) and 24 musketeers, which is slightly more than one battalion, so I may add in three packs of figures to complete the regiment when I order the figures.
I also have at least three battalions worth of landwehr that I should at least consider painting, a number of Jagers and Grenzers but not enough to do a battalion of either. So the Line infantry are probably my priority.
On the French Side I mostly have unpainted or half-painted guard to work on, while I remount a number of figures from Tom's Collection that I picked up a while back. While I would like a few battalions of Line and Legere I just don't currently have the figures.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Future Gaming at Chez Johnson

After the success of our last game I have received my wife’s special permission to host a game about once every two months at our house. So in pulling out the calendar and check the busy social schedule for the rest of the year, I only wish I was kidding on the busy part, here are the dates and plans for the upcoming games.

Saturday September 26th: 25mm Napoleonic Gaming using Horse Musket and Gun
Friday November 27th: American Civil War using Fire and Fury

The goal for each of these games is to have about 8 players give or take a couple. The gaming table is 16’ long and if I can get off my ass 6’ wide. If we assume a deployment space of at least 4’ wide that gives us a space for about 4 players a side. That is on the tight side of course, where 6’ is a much better deployment zone but beggars can’t be choosers.
The biggest challenge faced is parking, a downfall of living in a Rental Community I guess. There are only about half-a-dozen parking spots nearby and another dozen within a couple blocks. I would love to see some carpooling action, make life a lot easier.

The Napoleonic Game will be open game and we will use any available 25mm Napoleonic figures that are mounted similarly to mine or are close enough that we can make do. Right now between myself and Fitz I think we can field the following:
Austrian: 2 Commands / -
British: - / 1 Command
French: 3 Commands / 1 Command
Russian: - / 1 Command

That gives us roughly four commands per side. We might be a little light here and there but it should be doable. Several others have indicated an interest in painting figures and bring theirs along which would greatly “increase” the size of commands back to regulation sizes.

For the American Civil War game I have just listed Fire and Fury and not a scale. I have about six regiments of 25mm Figures painted and another six somewhat ready but needing the final detail work. Of course I have no Dismounted Cavalry and no Artillery at the moment, but that is a something fairly easily added. So that being said I would love to do the game in 25mm, but I need to get more figures painted. There is some time yet to make a decision on the final plan for this game.

As a full back plan, I have more than enough 15mm Confederates Painted (Okay I can field most of the Army of Northern Virginia at 1:33) and a decent amount of Union so if worse come to worse the game will be in 15mm.

Luther Con

HMGS-Midwest (a group out of Chicago) is hosting a new Fall Gaming Convention, in addtion to the Little Wars Spring Miniatures Convention, called Luther Con. So named because it is at Luther High School.

Luther Con – 2009! Announcing Luther Con – 2009! HMGS-Midwest in
cooperation with Black Sun Games is bringing to Chicago a TRUE LOCAL gaming
This two day gaming extravaganza is scheduled for the weekend of
Oct. 3rd and 4th (Saturday, Sunday) to be held at the Luther NorthHigh School
located in Chicago's Northwest side.
This gaming convention is meant to bring together all facets of the Chicago gaming cmmunity, historical, fantasy, and Sci Fi table top wargaming, board gaming, CCGs, and RPGs. The future of gaming is with our youth and we want to attract all to this new convention.
See the website for more details.

I certianly wish them the best of luck.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Why my wife is incredible!

As a wargamer I, like many of my wargaming brethren, have many ahhh umm unique qualities. Like the 57 boxes of Historical Books that I had to move, or the boxes of figures. The person who has to deal the most with these idiosyncrasies is my wife. I can’t tell you the number of times she has asked a question and was left shaking her head in either amusement or befuddlement There are times I am not sure I can tell those two sentiments apart when it comes to my gaming.
I have explained in the past it is either gaming or drinking in the bar with friends and I let her choose which choice. Having seen way too many of our friends marriages fall apart, gaming doesn't seem so bad.

After moving into our new Townhouse last week my wife asked me a simple question. “Now that you are going to host a game or two, on what are you going to playing on?”

When I tried explaining tabletops I got the amused look. Her response was simple. Unless your tabletops are going to magically float 30 inches off the ground; Menards has Folding Tables on sale go by a couple.

And that my friends is just one of the truly many reasons why I love my wife.
While I only picked up two tables, another two tables will have to wait for another time.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Swedish Army for the Seven Years War

Over the weekend I spent some time thinking about how I was going to configure the Swedish Army for the period around Seven Years War. Here is what I am thinking.

Left Wing (Light Division) – Maj General Sprengtporten
Volunteer Light Cavalry Regiment (600 Cuirassier from the 6 Swedish Ryttare Regiments)
Jamtland Ryttare Regiment (Dismounted)
French Fribataljon (I did not make that one up)
Jager Corps
Bluhussaren Regiment

Left Wing Front Line
Spens Varvade Regiment
Upplands Indelta Regiment

Left Wing Second Line
AboLans Indelta Regiment
Nylands Indelta Regiment

Left Wing Cavalry
Bohuslands Dragooner Regiment
Nylands Dragooner Regiment

Center Front Rank
Kungl Livgardet Regiment
Posse Vavarde Regiment

Kungl Livregiment
Lowenfels Vavarde Regiment

Center Second Rank
Sodermanlands Indelta Regiment
Dalarnas Indelta Regiment (1 Battalion)
Narke Varmlands Regiment (1 Battalion)

Ostgota Indelta Regiment
Halsinge Indelta Regiment

Center Cavalry
Adelsfanor Regiment
Vastagota Regiment

Smalands Regiment
Ostragota Regiment
Norraskanska Reiment
Sodraskanska Regiment

Right Wing
Vastgota Dals

Right Wing Cavalry
Livregiment Dragooners
Karelska Dragooners

Right Wing Light Division
Bohnen Fribataljon
Gul Hussars
French Frikorps Cavalry

For such a small project I am amazed at the number of figures I will need, actually the number of horse is what I find staggering.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Campaign this Fall - Plan Made

After much discussion with people and looking at sources I think the most interesting situation to campaign will be “The Periphery Campaign” of early World War II, AKA “Wavell’s War”. “Wavell’s War” constitutes the actions in North Africa, East Africa (British Somaliland), The Balkan’s, and The Middle East (Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon) that were fought while Archibald Wavell was the Commander and Chief British Forces in the Middle East (1939-1942).

The campaign will not be a campaign in the strictest sense but rather a series of games representing the campaigns and operations that mark Wavell’s War. Some of the games may be interconnected (The Italian invasion of British Somaliland followed by the later British Counter Attack) where the results of one battle may have an effect on the victory conditions and organization of the following battle.

The games will be played using “Spearhead” with 15mm Figures.
I understand the scale of Spearhead is not necessarily in line with the scale of the games that may be played and that some orders of battle may be adjust to allow for playability; however my end goal is to run a relatively large battle sometime late winter or early spring 2010. This big battle would be on the order of 4 divisions aside fought on 40 linear feet of tabletop, I hope that is more than a pipe dream.

For this I am currently committing to providing:
Italian Colonial Command ~12 Battalions of Colonial Troops, 3 Battalions Black Shirts, 1 Armor Battalion
German Ramcke Parachute Brigade - 4 Battalions of German Fallschirmjagers (Basically already completed)

Fitz tells me he is interested and has approximately one British Brigade for the Desert and would be willing to expand.

If enough interest is generated I probably will paint more figures but for now this is what I have committed to.

If figures are available we may do some of the action outside of what is normally considered Wavell’s command, West Africa, South East Asia, South Asia, and the Pacific Rim.
For this I have approximately two divisions of Imperial Japanese Army and some IJN ground forces.

Let me know if you are interested. I'll be honest I am looking for people to paint Infantry for both sides. Historically there were 10 infantry battalions to 1 armor battalions in the theatre so you will see a realitivily few armor (and similiar) commands on the table top for these games.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Campaign this Fall

I have decided that I would like to run/play a series of connected games or a campaign of some sort this fall (2009). That was the easy part the difficult part is what comes next; what the hell do I want to run.

The Lion vs. the Dragon (Clan War in 25mm)

Ancients using “Field of Glory”
Punic Wars (15mm)
The Wars of the Triumvirate (Caesar’s Civil War in 25mm)
First/Third Crusade (25mm)

French and Indian War – Drums of War along the Mohawk in 25mm)
Seven Years War – (Koenig Krieg in 15mm)

Napoleonic – 1809 Campaign (in 15mm)
Napoleonic – 1813 Campaign (in 25mm)

American Civil War (Fields of Honor in 15mm)
American Civil War (in 25mm)
Franco Prussian (Fields of Honor in 15mm)

Great War
Eastern Front (Great Wars Spearhead in 15mm)

World War II
Wavell’s War (Spearhead in 15mm)
Sicily/Italy (Spearhead in 15mm)
A Bridge too Far (Spearhead in 15mm)

That’s a pretty long list, considering it doesn’t include Modern Micro Armor, a few other fantasy games, and more weird periods than I can count.

After some thought I am leaning towards doing something a little out of the whack for me, okay not out of whack, just my usual I don’t have figures painted up for it but it sounds interesting, Wavell’s War in 15mm. I am not exactly sure how to make it work, but I am still working out the plan. Of course I would need to paint up Brits, Italians, and Germans and maybe something else. I am thinking the Red Bull Infantry Division would be entertaining, but that is too late in the war for now.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Horse Musket and Gun - Game this Fall

It's been suggested that we try and run a larger game of Horse Musket and Gun this fall.

I believe a reality check is in order before getting too excited about the prospect.

1) Is there enough interest among potential players to cover the cost?
2) Do we have enough figures to provide a playable force to each player?

Right now I figure there are about a dozen players interested in game of 25mm Napoleonics at the scale we are playing. That would be about a three or four short of the number we would need. Could we get the additional players by this fall, probably, but I am not going to hold my breath. Twelve players would require a $17 fee per player, either in food and beverage or payment. Twenty players drops cost per player down to $10.

Assuming 15 players, that would be 15 divisions worth of troops needed.
Austrian Light Division – 2 Regiments of Grenzers, 2 Cavalry Regiments, 1 Battery
Austrian Division – 4 Regiments of Infantry, 1 Regiment of Landwehr, 2 Batteries
French – 12 Battalions of Legere/Ligne Infantry, 2 Batteries
French Cavalry Brigade – 3 Regiments of Light Cavalry
Prussian Brigade – 5 Regiments of Infantry of Some sort.
Russian Infantry – 6 Regiments of Infantry/Jagers

Austrian Light Division – 60 Foot Figures and 60 Cavalry Figures
Austrian Division – 325 Foot Figures
French Division – 180 Foot Figures
French Cavalry Brigade – 40 Mounted Figures
Prussian Brigade – 120 Foot and 12 Cavalry
Russian Infantry Division – 136 Foot Figures

So with those numbers in mind
6 French Infantry Divisions, 2 French Cavalry Brigades = 1080 foot figures and 80 mounted figures
2 Austrian Divisions and 1 Austrian Light Division = 710 foot figures and 60 mounted figures
2 Russian Divisions = 300 foot figures
2 Prussian Brigades = 240 foot and 24 mounted figures.

Between Jim and me we have the following figures:
French Foot = 500 foot + 176 Guard foot
Austrian Foot = 192 foot, 28 Grenzer + 28 Jagers, 192 Grenadiers + 72 Landwehr
Russian Foot = 96 Foot
Prussian = el zippo

At this time we just don’t have enough figures.

I’ll look though my pile of unpainted lead but most of that is not plain jane basic infantry, which is what we need at this time.

I realize the Joel Gregory has probably as many figures as I do, probably more but that still leaves us too many short for the big game and Hastings is probably outside of his range to drive to.. We would have to get the Tom Zwirn, Kevin MacDonald, and Jack Ladd Painting services very very busy for the next six months. I am afraid I just don’t see it happening right now.

However that won’t stop me from drawing up a potential order of battle :)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Horse Musket and Gun - Game April 18th

Today I rolled out the latest version of the “Horse Musket and Gun” Rules for public trials to see how they played and how the game flowed beyond conceptional discussions and lots of dice rolling. I am again amazed at how well the game flows and how fast everyone seems to pick up the basic concepts.

Of course with all trials the one issue that I have been so concerned with reared its ugly head again.

For the 200th Anniversary of the Battles along the Danube during the Austrian invasion of Bavaria the game today featured what else, an Austrian and French battle.

The Austrian IV Armeekorps faced off against the French 2e Corps. This battle put several differeing twists into the game that the players needed to account for.
The 2e Corps was a newly reformed formation in the spring of 1809, every battalion was a 4th Battalion from either Ligne or Legere regiment, mostly filled with new recruits of the class of 1809. The French units were smaller than many players were expecting and rated as 2nd Rank Line.
The Austrian IV Armeekorps was a veteran formation in the spring 1809 and was probably as close to paper strength as you ever see Army going into the field. The large Infantry Units were supplemented with a number of Archduke Karl’s Legions and two light brigades.

Austrian IV Armeekorps – FML Rosenberg
Division Dedovich
Brigade Grill
IR Ludwig - 3 Battalions 24 Figures
IR Koburg – 3 Battalions 24 Figures
6Pdr Battery – 2 Stands Medium Artillery
Brigade Neustadter
IR Czartoryski – 3 Battalions 24 Figures
IR Ruess-Greitz – 3 Battalions 24 Figures
6Pdr Battery – 2 Stands Medium Artillery
6Pdr Battery – 2 Stands Medium Artillery
Division Bartenstein
Brigade Riese
Mittrowsky IR – 3 Battalions 24 Figures
Bellegarde IR – 3 Battalions 24 Figures
6Pdr Battery – 2 Stands Medium Artillery
Brigade Waldegg
Chasteler IR – 3 Battalions 24 Figures
Archduke Karl Legion – 2 Battalions 20 Figures
6Pdr Battery – 2 Stands Medium Artillery
Division Somariva
Brigade Stutterheim
Grenz Regiment 12 – 1 Battalion 24 Figures
Vincent Chevaulegers – 2 Divisions 12 Figures
3Pdr Grenz Battery – 2 Stands Light Artillery
Brigade Radivojevich
Grenz Regiment 13 – 1 Battalion 24 Figures
Stipsicz Hussars – 2 Divisions 12 Figures
6Pdr Cavalry Battery – 2 Stands Medium Artillery
IV Armeekorps Reserve Assets
12Pdr Battery – 2 Stands Heavy Artillery

French 2e Corps D’Armee – Oudinot
Division Seras
Brigade Conroux
6th Legere – 1 Battalion
24th Legere – 1 Battalion
25th Legere – 1 Battalion
9th Legere – 1 Battalion
16th Legere – 1 Battalion
27th Legere – 1 Battalion
Brigade Albert
18th Ligne – 1 Battalion
24th Ligne – 1 Battalion
45th Ligne – 1 Battalion
94th Ligne – 1 Battalion
95th Ligne – 1 Battalion
96th Ligne – 1 Battalion
Brigade Jarry
4th Ligne – 1 Battalion
18th Ligne – 1 Battalion
54th Ligne – 1 Battalion
63rd Ligne – 1 Battalion
Division Asset
6Pdr Battery – 2 Stands of Medium Artillery
Division Claparede
Brigade Coehorn
17th Legere – 1 Battalion
21st Legere – 1 Battalion
28th Legere – 1 Battalion
26th Legere – 1 Battalion
Tirailleurs du Po – 1 Battalion 32 Figures
Triailleurs corses – 1 Battalion 24 Figures
Brigade Lesuire
27th Ligne – 1 Battalion
39th Ligne – 1 Battalion
59th Ligne – 1 Battalion
69th Ligne – 1 Battalion
76th Ligne – 1 Battalion
Brigade Ficatier
40th Ligne – 1 Battalion
88th Ligne – 1 Battalion
64th Ligne – 1 Battalion
100th Ligne – 1 Battalion
103rd Ligne – 1 Battalion
Divisional Asset
6Pdr Artillery Battery – 2 stands Medium Artillery
Light Cavalry Brigade Colbert
9th Hussars - 12 Figures
7th Chasseurs a Chevel – 20 Figures
20th Chasseurs a Chevl – 12 Figures
Heavy Cavalry Division d’Espagne
Brigade Raynaud
4th Cuirassiers – 20 Figures
6th Cuirassiers – 16 Figures
Brigade Fouler
7th Cuirassier – 20 Figures
9th Cuirassier – 10 Figures
Corps Assets
12Pdr Positional Battery – 2 Stands Heavy Artillery
12Pdr Positional Battery – 2 Stands Heavy Artillery

I instructed or highly suggested that both sides take to the offense on turn one.

The battle didn’t take shape as I had intended, no plan ever survives first contact with the enemy or turn 1 of a wargame. In almost every other previous public games we have played the players have been ultra aggressive. The overall game was just a few too many figures for our table space, but I figured it was okay because both sides have lost brigades early on. In this game all but two players were content to site just out of long range and take pot-shots at one another. This is not something that the rules simulate very well as if no other actions occur it add a fatigue remove a fatigue. It would take several luck rolls to force things to break. The other extremely ultra conservative in-action was one of usual more aggressive players went total turtle defense on turn 1.

On the opposite end of the table top from the Turtle Defense jack Anderson went over the top with his assaults against the French positions. The problem from a game stand point was that he did it with the worst rated troops on the Tabletop, the Two Austrian Light Brigades.

It’s hard to sit back and discuss the flow of a game when such “unusual” anomalies of game play are occurring. However the players understood the system and for the most part the game went smoothly. There were a couple exceptions, twice the kibitzing on the table-end of the game away from me caused some slow-downs.

From a game play standpoint we still have an issue of interaction between cavalry and infantry during the close to combat. I tried again to make the rules as streamline as possible and less gamey, but we end up with too many dice rolls. I think I will reorganize the flow and ordering of the actions.

Another minor concern/problem is that Jim and I weren’t on the same page as were the all the rules were. I suppose we will have a sitdown before the next game so we are playing the same version.

The other noticible issue is terminology. I will have to “clean-up” some of the terminology so that it has less specific connotations in several cases. Light Fortifications will become “Light Cover” as an example.

I think the number of figures probably would be okay for 12" wide table but t 10" wide it is just a touch short in depth. I will have to adjust scenarions accordingly. We will have some more discussions on Frenc Divisional Assets.

I have a number of figures sitting on the painting table that just need basing and flock, that we could have used for this game. No excuse I was just lazy. Eight Austrian Guns, 1 Battalion if Hungarian Infantry, 20 some Austrian Commanders, and gosh knows what else. All needed. Time to get off my ass and finish them up.

In the end I have to thank the players, Fitz, Joel G., Joe K., Tom, Noel, Jim, and Elliot for putting up with my concepts and providing some feedback. While I know a couple players went what the hell did I just play, everyone else seemed excited byt the rules. All and all I have been asked to run another game and will do so, probably in May some time, maybe May 9th.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Game Day Set - Saturday June 6th

After discussing schedules and availability of people, figures, the room at the Levee Cafe' and dates of the Street Rod show in Hastings we have set the date and game for Saturday June 6th. We will be playing a series of Koenig Krieg (Old Edition) games between the Sarcastic Alliance and the Thirty-Third and a Third Coalition of Lunacy; throw in great Pasha Beybey for good measure.

Schedule to appear
Freddie the Adequate: Tom Zwirn
The Self-Elector: Jim Fitzgeald
General "Biggie" Johnson: Jeff Johnson
The great Pasha Beybey: Chris Combs

Awaiting Confirmation
MyLord Earl of Garfield: Jeff Knudsen
Freddie's Lefthand Man Count "by Numbers" Zoltov: Joe Zottola
Lt. General Beej von Kursed: Bart Kersteter
The Lt. General to be named: Joe Knight
Elector Noel the First: Noel Villegas
Duck Jimbo: Jim (whose last name I will learn someday)
The Archduck Jack: Jack Andersen
The Archduck Elliot: Elliot James

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Images of the Guyenne Infantry Regiment

Below are three images of the Guyenne Infantry Regiment showing the four stages (of five) of flocking the base.

The First figure is mounted to a base.
The Second figure has a few tufts of field grass glued to the base. The field grass is supposed to add depth to the viewers perception of the base without becoming a focal point.
The third figure has a light brown ballast glued to the center of the base.
The fourth figure has an outer border of burnt grass flock glued to the base.

The fifth stage, not shown, will be dull coating the entire figure. Because I am using dull coat I tend to use brighter colors because the dull coat "dulls" them out and especially the ground work gets much darker.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Images of Quebec Militia

A picture of the first company of the Quebec Militia for the French and Indian War, circa the Plains of Abraham - 1759

Weekend Projects

I plan on working on the following projects this weekend:
  • 25mm French and Indian War - Canadian Militia
  • 25mm French and Indian War - Langdoc Infantry Regiment
  • 25mm French and Indian War - Guyenne Infantry Regiment
  • 25mm American Civil War - 2nd Wisconsin
  • 25mm American Civil War - 84th New York (20th New York Militia)

    All figures just need to be based and seal coated.

  • I have decided to be a little more fancy with my basing technics for these figures. After mounting the figures I am going to attach some clumps of "Field Grass", glue a light brown ballast to the center of the base, and than use a burnt grass border around the figures. All this extra effort I hope will show off the detail of the figures.

    Saturday, March 21, 2009

    ACW Figures in search of a Project - Follow Up

    Over the past couple of days I have heard from a number of people on the subject of 25mm ACW.
    On an aside I also learned why I get so much private email off my blogs and not as many comments as I’d like, so well I learned something it’s time to get back to gaming discussion.

    I think after several discussions that a number of people are in a similar boat to me, they want to do something but you get so far into the project, stop and ask yourself what he frell am I doing.

    Today I played in a game of 15mm ACW game “Rally Round the Flag” and confirmed why I hate the rules so, but that is another topic. But it did provide a good venue to have some discussions with others concerning 25mm gaming.

    In 15mm I have the complete Army of Northern Virginia or damn close at a pretty low scale, 1:30, and for a period I find the battles so boring I don’t want to recreate that. Whether I play “Rally” or “Fields of Honor” or “Guns at Gettysburg” there is no reason to duplicate it.

    So the question becomes what do I want to do?
    The lowest scale is a skirmish game or some other game along those lines. This is actually the lowest number of figures needed and might be the quickest to get something started. In several games players might only need 20 to 30 figures or maybe as many as 60 in another game. The challenge here is how many players can you get involved and when does the game become unplayable. And I guess more importantly what rules would you use? I am not real happy with most of the rules as published and while many are okay none of them are great.
    In talking with players here there really isn’t much interest for gaming at this level. I figure if you showed up with a game you could players to play and maybe a couple of players might paint figures.

    The next level of gaming is small scale actions. Think about detachment and company level actions involving recon, supply, escape or dozens of other options. There are literally thousand of actions on this level during the course of the war and I suppose it holds the most interest to me. The problem here is the rules just don’t exist. Currently in the Twin Cities there are at least two groups attempting to play at this level, one group is playing up, using modified skirmish rules at a brigade level while the other group is playing down, using a modified version of a regimental game.
    I know BJ will suggest TCHAEATD but after talking with other people and checking out the rules I will tell you I am not interested in them. I found a group that tried the rules and I would like to post a quote, anonymously since I haven’t asked if it was okay. “No doubt they [Too Fat Lardies] developed and play tested in 15mm but I doubt they played a game in 25mm with their basing and scales. The game just doesn’t work [in 25mm]. … We are left trying to figure out if we can salvage the game at 25mm.” I will say the rest of the note was not as kind to the rules. I have seen this issue before, my classic example is “Wilderness Wars” where the game works great in 15mm but seems to fall apart in 25mm.

    When we move up the scale from here we really are left with things that we already have in 15mm. Regimental and Brigade Games; which I just don’t want to duplicate.

    So I am left with 150 painted figures and another 600 or so unpainted figures, going what do I do with these.

    Fitz knows where I have been going for the past couple of months, while he has been “supportive” I am not sure he agrees with what seems to be coming down the pike.

    The idea I have bounced around is to take a game system with many of the same principals you find in the ACW from another period and adopt it for ACW. The game I am looking at is “Drums of War along the Mohawk” by Bill Protz.

    Of course a couple people are going to start screaming hypocrite because of my stand against a BAR or similar level game in the Napoleonic period. But I think there is one huge change between the Napoleonic Period and the American Civil War; the size of the Battalion. In the Napoleonic period battalions regularly number 720 men or greater, while a typical regiment/battalion in the 1862/1864 you are looking at 300 to 350 men. Well under 50% strength of the Napoleonic strengths, thus reducing the number of figures by 50%.
    Additionally another interesting sidebar for the period is in the ACW you have just a few formations, Column of Fours (March Column), Line Abreast, an open line and skirmish. The Napoleonic period I can name four formations for a cavalry defense (Square, Battalion Mass, prone, brigade square) without even thinking about it.
    Of course those that want to call me a hypocrite I understand.

    Well enough rambling for now.

    Wednesday, March 18, 2009

    ACW Figures in search of a Project

    For those that know me it is no surprise that I own a hundred or so painted 25mm ACW figures and have another seven hundred or so unpainted figures.

    Over the years I have listened to dozens of proposals on what to do with these figures. A couple of times I was excited enough to claim I was ready to roll. But alas the figures are still unmounted and no game system been chosen.

    The problem started five years ago when I was offered a large number of Old Glory 25 ACW figures at a large discount. As the ACW is far from my favorite period and I already owned a large number of Confederates in 15mm I Should have said no, but I didn’t. A great deal and I bought 45lbs of unpainted lead.

    To me the problem is more along the lines of I am not really sure what I want to do with these figures. I don’t want to duplicate what I have in 15mm, which is the most of the Army of Northern Virginia at 1:30 but there is little if anything that excites me.

    There are at least four groups in the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota playing variants of “Brother against Brother”, a pseudo skirmish level game. While I have a passing interest in BaB, as it is called in many circles, these variants really leave me cold and uninterested. I have thought about basing my figures up and just running a couple of games closer to the rules as published than the other groups but I am not sure I want to deal with that headache.

    There are a couple of groups looking at the British Rules “Guns at Gettysburg” a variant of General de’Brigade. Again I have a passing interest but there are a couple of hurdles to get over: the game is set at 1:20 which creates a scale problem and also requires the game to use a non-traditional ACW base (four figures on base in a 2x2 formation). The game has a nice look but over the years the more I have played GdB and its variants the less impressed I am with the core rules. They just missed something in the core rules I can’t quite put my finger on making my gut rumble as I play.

    There is a group interested in doing “Rally Round the Flag”, an old standby which got lots of playing in the late eighties in 15mm. The problem is the rules are greatly outdated, being written in mid 1970’s and modern research and writings indicate that a number of the rules mechanisms not necessarily as accurate as once thought. There is a new edition of the rules available but they were meet with a lot of no way in heck am I playing those attitude.

    I have suggested playing “Fire and Fury” which when suggested received the least amount of negativity. Here the problem is more along the lines of I really hate the Napoleonic Version of “Fire and Fury” called “Age of Eagles” and suddenly I find myself putting that same dislike into the original game, even though the reasons for my dislike of AoE have nothing to do with BOFF (Basic Original Fire and Fury).

    So I am left with a Hundred Painted Figures and really no clue what I should be doing with them.

    A suggestion that unfortunately has gotten some traction with me lately is writing my own rules and pissing off all the commercially available rules.

    What do you think?

    Monday, March 16, 2009

    Austrian Roll-Call

    I have the following Figures Ready and Painted Today:
  • 1 - Austrian Mounted Officers (3 Figure Base)
  • 5 - Austrian Mounted Officers (2 Figure Base)
  • 8 - Austrian Mounted Officers (1 Figure Base)
  • 48 - Austrian Grenadiers Stands
  • 7 - Austrian Border Infantry Stands (Grenzer) - 1 Battalion plus command for a Second Batalion
  • 7 - Jaeger Stands
  • 7 - Hungarian Line Infantry Stands (1 Battalion)
  • 40 - Austrian Line Infantry Stands (6 Battalions and 4 loose stands)
  • 17 - Austrian Militia Infantry Stands (3 Battalions)
  • 7 - Austrian Uhlans (2 Figure Stands)
  • 8 - Austrian Chevauxleger (2 Figure Stands)
  • 2 - Austrian 12-pound Artillery Stands
  • 7 - Austrian 6-pound Artillery Stands
  • 1 - Austrian Light Howitzer Stand

    I really don't have a whole lot of unpainted Austrians left laying around. I have roughly (subject to change)
  • 24 Austrian Militia Infantry Stands
  • 24 Austrian Line Infantry Stands - pre-1809 Uniform
  • 36 Austrian Artillery Stands (Short cannons)
  • 20 Austrian Dragoons/Chevauxleger stands - short command figures (2 Figures)
  • Weekend Painting Projects

    I spent the weekend at my in-laws which meant I had some quality time with figures and paint. My in-laws leave an hour from no-where and other than visiting family and friends there isn’t anything else to do, so to keep out of trouble yelling “Packers Suck” in the local bars I paint figures.

    This weekend I worked on 25mm Napoleonic Figures, specifically Austrian Figures.

    I finished up the Austrian 33rd Infantry Regiment, or Infantry Regiment Graf von Colloredo-Mannsfeld if you prefer, a Hungarian Infantry Regiment in Dark Blue cuffs. I don’t remember why I choose this regiment years ago to paint I am guessing because it routinely was attached to the Reserve Corps over the years. However I finished up the last few figures I own and will probably pick up a few more to truly complete both Battalions at 1:30.
    The Figures turned out pretty well, other than the Dark Blue Cuffs look black from more than 6-inches away. I have historically chosen a lighter blue for situations like this but I just went with the more correct color this time.

    The other figures to get paint were Austrian Artillery, I completed three batteries or six stands. This includes two stands of 12-pound Artillery, three stands of 6-pound artillery and one stand of a small howitzer.
    I am not sure why the Artillery took so long to paint, I only had 18 figures but it took a lot of time on Saturday and I am not the most happy person in how they turned out. For such a well sculpted figures (Foundry) they detail was all lost in the painting. I blame the painter, what that’s me.

    I really should focus on the Austrian Cavalry since that is what we are indeed short, but I have such a hard time getting excited about painting something so pointless on the tabletop as 25mm Cavalry. At 1:30 we just don’t have enough space to put out too much more cavalry than we already have and since people don’t want to play Napoleon’s Battles I can’t get excited about painting the Heavy Cavalry.
    I have about 45 Austrian Dragoon’s half painted, I suppose about six to eight hours worth of work left to complete those figures with a game coming in April maybe that enough incentive.

    Wednesday, March 11, 2009

    25mm Napoleon's Battles

    I have been asked to post some more commentary on my views on using 25mm Napoleon's Battles.

    Number of Figures per player
    In my opinion regardless of the game system most commands look alike or are at least incredibly similar.

    Using 1:30 as a scale a typical French command will contain 4 to 6 battalions of Infantry and one Artillery Battery.
    Using 1:120 a typical French Command in Napoleon’s Battles will contain 4 Infantry Brigades, a couple of artillery batteries, and some Cavalry.

    “Well sounds like you need more figures for Napoleon’s Battles.” Yes your typical starting command needs 7 to 8 stands of cavalry and a couple extra mounted commanders. The difference is that with brigade level game players are going to want to add flavor, our first discussion with potential players has already asked “Where’s my cavalry?” And after a few games we see people pushing two brigades (aka a division) in our brigade level games. Typically we have three brigades of infantry and one brigade of cavalry pushed by two players.

    Using Napoleon’s Battle in 25mm in my opinion should see players use “less” figures and it is more inline with what people want to push.

    Table Space
    When you play a game in most Brigade Level games depth and width of the table is important. Depth of the table is important because of the Range of Musket and Cannon Fire. In General de’Brigade for example artillery range is 36” to 48” inches. Thus giving 18” inches setup the table depth needs to be about 7 feet.
    In Napoleon’s Battle depth is less important as Artillery range is 24”, thus a table depth of 5 feet is needed.
    When you look at the tables we have to play on in regular basis it would be easier to play Napoleon Battles than say General de Brigade.

    Regardless of the rules choose table width will be an issue. Players will need four feet of linear table space each regardless of the rules.

    Figure Showcase
    So you want to show case your obscure little unit in miniature. Using Napoleon Battles you get to show case more units but few figures per unit. Six of one, half a dozen of other….

    Let the flaming begin.

    Tuesday, March 10, 2009

    Centurion's Schedule

    March 21st - 15mm ACW using Rally Round the Flag. Tom Zwirn will be presenting this venerable game from the past.

    April 4th - 15mm SYW using Koenig Krieg. Will FdA finally be able to bring the wiley Imperial commanders to battle? Rumors of Gallian troops approaching and a new subcommander for Milord Garfield abound…

    April 18th - 25mm Napoleonics. Yes folks, it’s the 200th anniversary of Jeff J.’s favorite campaign. Come on down for an old-fashioned Austrian slugfest.

    May 2nd - TBD

    May 16th - 15mm SYW using Koenig Krieg at the Levee Cafe in Hastings.

    Horse Musket and Gun - update

    Sometimes all it takes is walking away from something for a short period of time to figure out how to correct something.

    The New Turn Sequence
    -Initiative Phase

    Cycle A
    -Compulsory Movement Side A
    -Compulsory Movement Side B
    -Charging Movement Side A
    -Charging Movement Side B
    -Basic Movement Side A
    -Basic Movement Side B
    -Command and Control Side A
    -Command and Control Side B

    -Stationary Infantry Fire
    -Stationary Artillery Fire
    -Moving Infantry Fire
    -Moving Artillery Fire
    -Close to Combat
    --Emergency Formations
    --Morale Defender
    --Morale Attacker
    --Move Defender*
    --Move Attacker*
    --Melee Combat
    --Combat Morale

    Cycle B
    -Compulsory Movement Side B
    -Compulsory Movement Side A
    -Charging Movement Side B
    -Charging Movement Side A
    -Basic Movement Side B
    -Basic Movement Side A
    -Command and Control Side B
    -Command and Control Side A
    End Cycle B


    Cycle C
    -Compulsory Movement Side A
    -Compulsory Movement Side B
    -Charging Movement Side A
    -Charging Movement Side B
    -Basic Movement Side A
    -Basic Movement Side B
    -Command and Control Side A
    -Command and Control Side B
    End Cycle C


    Yes the system looks a lot like the Seventh Edition version, however there is a small change.
    The way Morale works.
    In the previous versions Morale occured only in a single phase (the end of reactions) now Morale can occur can occur anywhere.

    Units are limited to one Morale check per phase and check morale for two reasons. If you have four Fatigue Markers on your unit at the end of a phase or you have four Fatigue Markers and you wish to do some sort of movement with the unit.

    Units that do not move during any of the three movement phases (Compulsory, Charging and Basic) may remove 1 Fatigue marker from the unit.

    April 18th - "Crisis on the Danube"

    On April 18th the Centurions will be hosting a 25mm Napoleonic Game at the Source to commerate the 200th Aniversary of the "Crisis on the Danube".

    The Battles of Thann (Teagun-Hausen) (April 19), Ratisobon (April 19-23), Abensberg (April 20), Eckmuhl (April 21-22), and Landshut (April 21), or "The 4 Days in April" Campaign. I suppose we would also include Ebersberg (May 3) in the Mix.

    I am tempted to use the revised version of Horse Musket and Gun for the Game, but will fall back to Napoleonic Commander.

    Okay in reality i would like to do Napoleon's Battles, but I figure that will get shot down in heart beat; so I'll just go with a lower level game.

    Monday, March 9, 2009

    Napoleonic Skirmish - revisted.

    Over the past week and a half I have had a number of continuing conversations concerning Napoleonic Skirmish, specifically 25mm Skirmish; and I feel that I should take a few more minutes and attempt to clarify my positions.

    If you are interested in Napoleonic Skirmish, great I look forward to seeing all your figures painted and see how your game is played. Please don’t ask me to rebase my figures so *I* can run a game that you are interested in. This is your project not mine. I’ll probably play a game or two but I do not currently plan on painting anything up or running any games.

    If you ask me for my opinion on your project don’t be shocked when I give you *MY* opinion. I don’t think I have ever sugar coated anything in my life (except maybe some cereal) and I am not about to start now.

    Many suggestions that I have heard *AREN’T* skirmish in my mind. Just because you singly mount a few figures doesn’t make it a skirmish game. In a skirmish game you control each figure individually and each figure can do a unique action during the course of a turn. Many games require your units to operate in unison, all move, all fire, all reload, and so on and so forth; how is that skirmish? Other games your fire factor is figured by the number of figures so it is pointless to shoot single figures.

    Other games are designed for you to put so many figures on the table that there is no way you could operate it as a skirmish game and actually get anything done.

    Other suggestions that I have heard involve the concept of a “heroic skirmish” game. You know the games where your unit of 10 figures of Sharpe’s Rifles take on 250 Spaniards and win easily.
    The best response I have heard to this is the fable of the sandwich.

    Two brothers watch their mother make a delicious sandwich. The first
    brother asks their mother if she is making a second sandwich and she tells them
    no you have to share. So she hands the first brother a knife and tells him
    to cut the sandwich in half. He is greedy so he makes on half larger than
    the other half. Than the mother turns to the second brother and tells him
    he can choose which half of the sandwich he wants.

    This is the issue I see in this suggestion. One player only wants to paint up a dozen figures while expecting the other partner in the game to paint up several dozen figures just so they can lose on a regular basis. How is this fun for the other player?
    Now I understand that in some cases an individual is such an avid painter that painting up 100 figures is nothing so they paint up the entire project and chose to always play Sharpe’s Rifles. But what happens when another player show’s up with his “Sharpe’s Rifles” how will that work?

    Several people have suggested using a skirmish game to use figures they are painting for a battalion level game. IE As they paint up figures for BAR-Napoleonic use those figures for a skirmish game. Sounds good, but I have several questions:
    BAR Napoleonics, at 1:10, is going to require 72 figure French Battalions and 144 figure Austrian Battalions which is well just a little large for most people. Why not play at 1:30 where many people are already playing in the twin cities. The games are more manageable and still have the massive formation look. Plus you don’t need a gym floor to refight a small engagement.
    Second at 1:30 you need 120 to 150 figures for a brigade (small command at Battalion Level) compared to 120 (plus) figures to play a skirmish game (the ones that many people suggest anyways) so ummm you have already painted up virtually everything you need to play a battalion level game we are already playing. How is this using your figures sooner?

    Another issue that anyone who wants to take on this type of project is how do you get people excited about it? Most of the people I have heard from are looking for a partner in crime so to speak. The issue is their vision is such that they don’t match up with other people vision. (Mass Skirmish vs Heroic Skirmish vs Early vs late vs pass through project vs…..)
    As I have stated this is not a project that is going to excite the masses no matter how you paint it. This is a project that one maybe two people are going to have to do and hopefully get four or five others to play. I am willing to play a game or two, but I am not at the moment willing to paint up units for historical Napoleonic Skirmish.

    Now as I have repeated stated one of the interesting options that many of the historical players often over look and shake off, flintloque.

    Flintloque has several nice advantages to it:
    It isn’t historical, no arguments over what is or isn’t historical in the game, it is all Fantasy.
    To me it is the it is the most playable “skirmish” set of rules out there. Players command smaller units (up to 50) figures but more likely 25 figures, a much more playable level.
    The figures all have actions, unique actions and each figure acts independently of other functions. This figure is taking an aimed shot, these two figures are firing down range, this figure is moving over here and firing and these figures are running towards cover.
    You don’t even have to play with fantasy figures, you could substitute historical figures and play without elves, orks, and other fantasy creatures and still have a more playable game than most of the historical written rules.
    Heck I might be convinced to paint up a unit of Ferach Elves for the game, maybe two.
    That is not to say I wouldn't make a couple of small changes to the rules, like changing the ranges from Metric to English measurements, and stuff like that to make it easier for the masses to play here int eh Twin Cities.

    Monday, March 2, 2009

    Why do we "DO" Napoleon's Battles at the Levee Cafe Games

    It is one of the few periods that we have enough figures for that I can easily organize and we have enough interest in players to actually play a big game.

    There are two or three other options on that we could do today, Fitz and I also own enough figures to run a “massive” Clan War game and a largish American War of Independence game, but I doubt Fantasy Japanese Mythos would attract a large enough crowd to be worthwhile, and interest in the AWI period is lagging locally and without other players figures (Tom Zwirn most notably) we are stuck at maybe a 12 player game.

    Besides those games if we aren’t there yet with the number of figures needed to run Koenig Krieg we are darn close, but again there is a huge dependence on Tom Zwirn to provide most of the Prussian Side.

    We also are probably close or getting close to number of figures needed for American Civil War
    but everyone appears to be painting Confederates. Um Guys we need UNION forces. We have several thousand Confederate stands already painted, but Union maybe a couple hundred at most.

    There was some discussion on a Field of Glory themed campaign or tournament set int eh Punic Wars. While no one has a completed army at the moment several of us are within spitting distance (dozen stands here, fitz needs one or tow stands). But I am left "cold" by the concept of a tournament no really my cup of tea.

    Another option would be 15mm Spearhead, but again I doubt we could get enough interest to make such a game worthwhile. However I will be able to do the entire Bridge to Far Scenario in the very near future.

    Levee Cafe' Game Followup - Part 2

    Here are a few random or at least somewhat random things about the scenario we played at the Levee Café and my opinions on the topics:

    I have/had attempted to keep the issue that George had scheduled Recon on the same day as minor or back burner issue. However as much grief as I caught about it I will be much more “open” about it this time. We scheduled our date for this game about a month before George scheduled Recon however too many people believe it was the other way around. Fitz has been an adamant about stepping on this as soon as he sees/hears it, I know think that is what I must do.

    I had personally kept the much of the scenario under wraps as I didn’t want one side or the other to have any advantage outside of the historical context of the Scenario. I think that was a great plus, the game turned out very much like I had anticipated, the allies would try two different approaches to the virtually the same situation (concentrate on one board in one side and spilt forces on the other to fight on two boards.) The French would begin by being cautious and continue feeding corps into two of the boards.
    In the context of the overall Campaign/Scenario they chose to do what Napoleon decided against doing, Napoleon fell back towards Leipzig and concentrate his Army. The result however was much the same, the French basically one the battles but lost the war and would be forced to retire taking the same amount of casualties just in a different series of battles.

    I wish I would have given the players more options to move (more arrows and intermediary boxes) as it would have greatly increased the challenge for both sides overall.

    Marching on to the boards was a challenge; of course my decision on how it would work was implemented 18 different ways from Tuesday. I obviously need to be much clearer. I had to laugh because I knew Jim who was so focused on the words “march column” would be the most vocal about the ‘rules changing’ during the course of the day and I told a couple people early on I would hear about it later in the day. I tried an approach I thought would get the least amount of abuse, of course I was wrong.
    In the next game I already have a plan for a different approach; one I think will get a better result. Now to just to be clearer in explaining how it works.

    The Scenario was designed for 18 to 24 players, we had approximately 36 players indicate they would be in attendance, so I figured cutting that number in half was a safe bet. We ended up with 14 players, while it was playable, it would have been a lot faster with even two more players four additional players would be even more bonus.

    I got too caught up in the number of players telling me they planned on attending, so I kept expanding the scenario and making plans for what happens if everyone shows up. Thus instead on concentrating on the things I should have I was working on other things. Russian Light Cavalry anyone, oh we have 20 stands too many.

    For some reason I thought we had a lot more “regular” French available than we did, otherwise I would have flocked up more bases, not that would have helped the other problems in the order of battle, but at least there should have been fewer unpainted stands.
    I will be adding a few more Saxon and Italians to my forces over the next few weeks, but we need to get other German states and French Allies represented, Berg, Danes, Hamburg, Westphalia, Neapolitan, and of course Swedes for Allies side as well.
    I am in talks with Jack Ladd to see how much it will cost me to get a Bavarian Army painted, I own the figures, but just like my 12,000 other unpainted figures I need to get them done and having an outside painter do it might be the fastest and only guaranteed way to get it done.

    I did a lot of hinting to players about things on Saturday, next time there will be less hinting and more “Here is exactly what I think.” While I purposely avoid stopping people from mistakes (make the mistake, learn from it and move on is my attitude) in several instances it would have helped move the scenario along. And that goes for both sides.

    Levee Cafe' Game Followup - Part 1

    To begin with I would like to thank the people who made this great weekend possible, our spouses and significant others. With so many of us married and with children the fact that our significant others have had to spend so much additional time being the good parents to allow us to attend our “geekfest”. Without their support none of us get to come out and game.
    Many thanks are also in order for those that provided figures (Fitz, Joe K., Trevor, BJ, Dave, Mark, and whoever else I may have forgotten), the Terrain (St. Paul Irregulars) and Levee Café for putting up with a group of geeks.
    Finally I would like to thank everyone who participated in last Saturday’s 1813 Campaign Game at the Levee Café, hearing nothing but good things we already have a tentative plan for the next game at the Levee Café. Gaming to me is a social event and it is almost just as important to have people push figures as it is to have people paint figures.

    We had 14 players playing four games on four tables and the possibility of the fifth game on a fifth table. For as complicated as the scenario was it went fairly smoothly, a few tweaks to the system are coming and for those that played if you have any thoughts please let me know.
    For me it was an extremely busy weekend as I had to work overnight on Friday/Saturday to bring a crashed server back on line so I was going on 2 hours of a cat nap Saturday. As good as the games were (both visually and competitively) I had very little problem staying awake once the dice started rolling.

    Overview of the French Vistory:
    And I must say in the end it was a disastrous victory for the French.

    The French stopped the Army of Silesia from crossing at Wartenburg, but at the Cost of 2 Infantry Corps and 2 Cavalry Corps plus un-totaled damage to the first young guard Infantry Corps that was marching on. A third French Infantry Corps was well on its way to getting wrecked. The Army of Silesia lost one Russian Corps and One small Russian Cavalry Corps. The rest of the forces in the Army of Silesia were well bloodied would be able to continue the fight. The slow grind of Prussian Artillery Grand Battery destroyed the French IV Corps and the a second French Corps was getting mauled by the repeated movement forward by the Russian Right Wing. If the Russian Grand battery could have been saved (lucky for the French it was destroyed early) the table would have been a huge meat grinder for the french rather than just a large meat grinder.

    On the Torgau Board (the one ignored by the Allies) two French Corps were tied up just waiting for the Allies to show up.

    On the Dresden Board the Right Wing of the Army of Bohemia captured I and XIV corps a little sooner than historically setup, but the terrain really slowed down the Allies and what Jim was expecting to do in the morning/early afternoon took all day.

    On the Erfurt Battlefield Jack and Trevor were locked in mortal combat. Jack had a great plan and did everything right except roll decent dice coupled with the fact that Trevor rolled his equivalent of his decade quota worth of 10’s in one day. By the end of the day the French were planning to pull from the board, two Corps effected wrecked. I didn’t do the finally count on the allies on that board but I think only one Allied Corps was in the “wrecked” state and another was damaged but would be back in the fight in a few days.

    So while the French won the day it was at an extreme price, 4 Infantry and 2 Cavalry Corps wrecked, 2 Infantry Corps surrendered out of 12 infantry Corps and 5 Cavalry Corps. Not counting the damage to 1 Young Guard Corps. The Allies lost 3 maybe 4 Infantry Corps and 1 small cavalry corps with 1/3 of the Army of Bohemia not engaged.

    Sunday, February 22, 2009

    25mm Napoleonics

    A hot topic amongst a group of local gamers is 25mm Napoloenics. After much talking, and not enough listening, I would like to try and enunciate my position as clearly as possible.

    I like 25mm Figures, they are extremely beautiful scale. Regardless of manufacture an army of painted 25mm figures is damned impressive.

    The problem with 25mm Figures is there is no consensus on a number of issues.

    For the Napoleonic period there is no reason to mount the figures individually. In my opinion Napoleonic Skirmish is a pointless exercise. There are two problems with Napoleonic Skirmish:
    The first is mission or game creep. No one wants to do a small skirmish action rather they want to recreate larger actions that are well beyond the scope of the rules. I listen to people tell me that you only need “sixty” figures yet when you listen to their plans they want hundreds. You move into the realm of an unplayable game when you go even one figure beyond the scope of the rules. If a game is a one-on-one game and requires sixty figures a side it is NOT PLAYABLE as a six-on-aside game were everyone has 120 figures.
    The second is people only want to recreate “Sharpe’s Exploits”. I shouldn’t need to go any further with that complaint.
    A semi-third issue, one that most over looked, what rules do you want to use? Have you read the rules you are suggesting? Yes that is directed at all three parties. If you are really interested in Napoleonic Skirmish, try Flintloque I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how the rules work and the fun you can have with the game. And heck you can even buy the figures painted.

    So moving beyond Skirmish mounting the figures make the most sense in some sort of multi-figures per base scheme. It took us ten years to decide on the current schema in use and now at least three parties are suggesting other “better” plans. To those let me ask the simple question, why is your plan better than what we already have; why should I remount hundreds of figures?
    Of course the only answer I have received from those three parties so your figures match up with mine. Wait you (might) have sixty figures that you are painting and I have 1100 tell me again why I need to match yours? Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

    Finally I listen to a number of people who tell me why my “plan” and or “opinion” is wrong. I listen politely and then ask a simple question. “Do you realize that is neither my plan nor opinion you are ripping into?” I wonder how people who have jumped to such conclusions expect me to take them seriously?

    What would I like to do?
    I really enjoy Napoleon’s Battles. It is a nice solid system which allows me to recreate fairly large battles in a short amount of time without requiring a gym floor to play. Yes I want to play Napoleon’s Battles in 25mm. This has been my goal and objective for years. However it doesn’t necessarily jive with others in the area desire with 25mm figures. Several want to play battalion level games in 25mm and others company level games.
    So it is all about compromise, and I think I have been on the winning end of those so far.
    Others want a 1:30 scale game, let see if I paint up my figures at 1:30 that gives me four units at 1:120 in infantry and two cavalry units at 1:80.
    In the end there are virtually no rule sets I can’t play with my mounting and everyone else is who is painting 25mm figures is working towards my end goal as well as their own. I really would like to do Leipzig in 25mm for the 200th Anniversary of the battle. But that is four years away. First we have to get through the Peninsula and Russian Campaigns of 1812.

    But what about my 15mm Napoleon’s Battles Armies?
    My French are actually organized at 1:30 and like my 25mm armies it means I use a battalion to be a brigade. And so on and so forth.
    I have been expanding my 1809 Austrians to 1:30 as well.
    In the end I should be well positioned to play lower scale games (1:30) in 15mm and my larger scale games in 1:120 using 25mm figures.

    Well enough venting for now. Later all.

    What's with the lack of Posting?

    Sorry I haven’t written much lately, I realize my three and a half regular readers are probably pretty frustrated about my lack of web venting. Okay I probably don’t have that many readers but a guy can dream can’t he.

    I haven’t done all that much gaming lately; suddenly I don’t much free time. I find that as an over exuberant parent I have my son scheduled for half-a-dozen things during the week and except for Tuesday night, which my wife works, we are constantly running from skating to soccer to Taekwondo to Parent Teacher Conferences to floor hockey. When I get home and finally convince Gunther to go to bed, or just give up, I have spent more time Fishing the Brandywine in “Lord of the Rings Online” or chasing the mythical “Chatter Ring” in “Dungeons & Dragons Online”.

    So without much further ado here is a rant, I mean a couple of posts.