Thursday, September 18, 2014

Where is Camelman?

Last night at the NWS I took the Airco DH.4 for its second flight, this time escorted by a Sopwith Camel flown by Mark B.  Facing us were three German aircraft piloted by the two Stephens.  The objective of the game was to fly over a beacon behind enemy lines.

The big picture.  I take the heavily armed DH.4 off to investigate.  The Sopwith Camel decides to defend our beacon.

First intercept.  Dealt some damage but guns jam.

Extra fire from the tail guns, which promptly jam.

Second intercept.  Fire breaks out aboard the DH.4.

Objective in sight, but third intercept is making its approach.  

It only took one extra bit of damage and down goes the DH.4

To find out what happened next see the report on the NWS blog site:  

The Airco DH.4 is shaping up as a bit of a lemon.  Perhaps it is time for a different pilot?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Seven Pines with Fire and Fury

This has been a major objective for 2014 for me - use my figures to play a game of Fire and Fury.

About ten years ago I was playing Fire and Fury with a group in Canberra.  I had some figures of my own, but not enough to do a scenario.  One of the group decide to sell his 15mm ACW collection and, using the justification that my partner wanted to move to Perth, I bought it.  The rationale being that I would still be able to enjoy the game when I moved, without the risk of not finding players who used the rules and same scale etc.  It has just taken me a while to get my act together.

A second objective was to try out the terrain mat concept to see how it went as I have need of it for other battles.  The surface played well, looked good, was functional.  The only addition would be to secure the joins with tape on the back for the duration of a game.  As luck would have it we ended up fighting on the very spot where the four mats joined.

Apart from adding magnetic stripes to my figures to allow safe transport, the one new thing I needed was some abatis.   I should have done a separate post on them as I am quiet pleased with how they look. They are basically cut back tree armatures from Woodland Scenics, hot glued to pop-sticks and painted brown and flocked.  I still have to make some of those snake fences, but that will now be a project for another day (or year).

For labels I went with white text on blue and grey for the Union and Confederates respectively, sticking them to steel paper.  They looked better than white labels and were generally practical (a few fell off during movement, but didn't really cause much trouble.

What I wanted was a game that would fit within the parameters of a club night.  I found the scenario for Seven Pines under small scenarios for Fire and Fury.  I expected the game to take three hours, all up it was five including set up and packing up.  Here is the link to the WORD document I created for the scenario and have put on my Google drive.

I had drummed up more interest than possibly I could handle; my apologies to Mark B who had to leave before his command became available.  The Confederate offensive was run by Andrew C, with Simon C taking the job of commanding Casey's Division of the Union Keyes' Corps.  When Couch's  Division of Keyes' Corps was triggered command of the Union fell more and more onto the shoulders of Stephen N.

I hadn't played for a good while (my last game was a demo game at Cancon probably five or more years ago).  Simon C knew the rules, but the rest I think were experiencing their first Fire and Fury game.  The advice I gave them was throw tens.

DH Hill's Division arrives at 13:00 and Rodes' Brigade goes in on the south against Palmer's Brigade while Garland's Brigade goes to the north, being disordered crossing the abatis and hitting Naglee's Brigade.  Simon C took my advice to heart and threw tens for both fire defensive fire combats.  Both of the Confederate exceptional brigade commanders leading the charge were killed.  The combats saw what was Rodes' Brigade attack falter while what was Garland's brigade had its attack checked.  I thought at this stage it was going to be a quick game with the Confederates soundly thrashed.

At 13:30 two more rebel brigades arrive and push on to the Twin House redoubt.  The Union had pulled back, perhaps a bit too much as they had limbered up their artillery in order to get it resupplied.  They weren't expecting the rebel reinforcements (all players were ignorant of what, when and where reinforcements appeared).

Naglee's brigade fights on, and is assaulted by the reformed Rodes' Brigade with DH Hill cheering them on.  GB Anderson's brigade has pushed on, attacking the Union troops who had fallen back to the second line of abatis.  Rain's brigade sets up for what is expected to be a long firefight.

GB Anderson is across the abatis.  Couch's division decides it is time to take action and prepares for a murderous volley and cannonade to drive the rebs back to Richmond.

And murderous it was too, with another ten being thrown.  At the time this seemed an excellent outcomes, but the resultant low on ammunition situation caused the Union problems.  It is now 16:00 and RH Anderson's division has arrived, including Jenkin's brigade in a surprise entrance on the Union left.  The Union had their own reinforcements in the form of two brigades of Kearney's Division, Heintzlmann's corps appearing out of the swamp on the Union right.

The Confederates bombard the Seven Pine Crossroads redoubt with some success.  It is starting to look very bad for the Union.

The Confederates start to drive in the Union right flank, which is held only by spent troops facing the fresh troops of Kemper and Jenkins.

The Union made desperate attacks on the Confederates right trying to retake the Crossroads, but they were driven back and as night fell the Confederates where closing in on the Williamstown Road, cutting off the Union's line of retreat.

Phew, what a battle.  This was meant to be a small scenario, but there was still a lot of figures to move (I always find Fire and Fury games look a bit messy as brigades never seem to dress their lines neatly).  It went well over expected time.  Part of that was the club situation with commanders on both sides being asked to adjudicate on other games being played.  Even though the combat mechanics are very simple, I still found myself double checking the calculations, often finding I'd missed a factor and then only to find it made no difference.

The only thing that seemed funny was when we had a combats between those massive Confederate brigades and lone, limbered or silenced Union batteries.  The batteries were destroyed, but more due to good die rolls than significant factors.  Perhaps it was that the Union artillery was not expertly handled, however they were going to get caught sooner or later.

I thought the game worked well and that seemed to be the case for the players as well.  Umpiring is interesting, but it allows for a smoother game (determining which stands are in arc for example) and also provided a decent dose of fog of war.  Not sure I would try it on a club night again.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sails on an Ice Blue Sea

The third game for me at the NWS games day was Sails of Glory, my kit this time, but using a different board, one that we'd found and was done for what I think was some fantasy game (ice orc hockey perhaps?)

This was just the table we quickly populated so as to claim the space for what would be our third game of the day.  Other games being played were a big Impetus game of Sassanids vs Romans, a WW1 game and a game called Slaughterloo which was most disturbing, but looked great

Two ships a side.  I was the British with HMS Vanguard and HMS Trepischore. facing Stephen with the Generaux (the rebased third rate) and a nameless frigate that the HMS Vanguard has just unleashed a devastating broadside on.  Prior to this I'd had some trouble maneuvering my ships and with my revised collision rules, we were dead in the water.

Did I say devastating?  The poor French frigate was wrecked in one go (two fires and a leak are very bad news).  Never seen that happen before.  We had deliberately left the First Rates out of the game as they are bad news for frigates.

We sailed around and ended up coming in bow to bow.  Entanglement ensued and I chose to board.  I had worked out the Generaux was loaded with double shot and had superior musketry to the HMS Vanguard.  Sadly boarding took its toil and my crew withered to such an extent I was forced to strike my colours.  My frigate scarpered.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Bombers of Glory

The main feature for me of the NWS games day was to get in a big game of Wings of Glory.  Stephen has a massive collection and when I arrived he already had a lot out on display:

A brand new Airco DH.4 plus two De Havilland DH4 off to bomb a place protected by Albatri.

The Airco explodes upon receiving its first hit.

However the other British bombers shoot up one Albatross, setting it on fire, while getting a marksman shot on another with a double pilot wound resulting in one out of commission German pilot and a rapid descent of his Albatross.

The remaining two bombers approach the target while the flaming Albatross explodes.

The Hun desperately trying to stop the bombers.

One bomber makes it, but the other has a rudder jam that stops it from turning to make its run over the target.  Doh!

More Albatri arrive while the bombers turn around (no Immelmann turns for them).

The successful bomber heads for home, but has engine damage, splutter, splutter.  The other bomber made a second pass but its bombs failed to explode.  Double Doh!

End of game.  Lots of destroyed Albatri, one downed bomber and two lucky escapes.

Chaironeia in DBA - Take 1

Background to this battle and scenario can be found here:

In a bit of perversity, I started the NWS games day with this game even though it is the subject of the next games day or battle day (Saturday 8 November 2014).  We also played outside - seemed like a good idea at the time, but as soon as we were ready to go the rain set in and we had to shuffle things to be as close to the wall, under the eves, as possible.

I offered Stephen the choice of sides and he decided on the Greeks as the more straightforward of armies.  This meant I took the Macedonians.  Terrain was not standard DBA, but we had  a marshy water feature on the Greek right and the walls of Chaironeia on their left (a BUA).

The two opposing armies.  I really must do something about my camps.

The Greeks came forward but then pulled back when they realised they were at risk of being outflanked by the Macedonian cavalry.  The Greek auxilia however came out of the marsh looking for a fight and got one.

The lines clashed and things happened.  In a somewhat historical move Alexander and the companions burst through.  The Macedonian Hypaspists were destroyed and the Greek auxilia kept fighting on, eventually aided by some hoplites (this combat drew at least twice)

Alexander couldn't kill the Greek psiloi and the Theban Scared Band had destroyed one of the pike blocks, but the Macedonian light troops were ultimately successful giving a 4:3 victory

The two opposing generals.

The gap left by a destroyed pike block.

The winning combat, a somewhat confused brawl.  A bit hard to tell who is who when all the figures come from my collection of figures from the Tin Soldier Hellenistic range.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Photographs of Glory

Tonight at the club our Wings of Glory mission was to conduct a photographic reconnaissance.  I had control of a Sopwith Snipe and Bristol Fighter, the latter carrying the all important camera.  In support was a Sopwith Camel piloted by Greg. His plane was fresh out of the box and had just been purchased today, neat.

The British faced three Fokker triplanes under control of the two Steves.

The Bristol Fighter with its two escorts heads towards the target (lower left hand corner).

The Bristol Fighter survives the first pass of the Fokkers and has a clear run to the target.

Snap.  The first part of the mission is accomplished.  Note wreck of a previous attempt to photograph the location.

The Fokkers swarm the Bristol Fighter, hoping to down it before it can return home with its precious photographic plates.

The Bristol Fighter toughs it out.  One of the Fokkers starts to burn.

A Fokker explodes after being shot up by the Snipe.

Perhaps it is time to head for home?

Nah, there is time for the Camel to get in its first kill - great result Greg for your Camel's maiden flight.

Snipe and Camel.

The last Fokker takes more damage from the Snipe and goes down in flames.  Game over.

We were playing with altitude, but all started at the same position and no one dived or climbed.  I thought about diving with the Bristol Fighter when it started its home run, but considered that wouldn't be sporting.

For this game we were using opportunity fire.  Basically, if planes could have got in a shot during their movement, we allowed them a single card shot if they didn't have a target at the end of their move.  If it was a head on, as can be seen in the first photo, we allowed a double card shot.  In that particular case the planes end up with their bases just overlapping.  Under the normal rules this would have meant no shot, but clearly they had plenty off opportunity to fire on their approach.  Opportunity fire seems to work, but more games are needed to confirm practicality of the mechanism. 

All planes and terrain from Stephen N's extensive collection, but the Camel was Greg's.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Imperial versus the Royal George

Wednesday night at the NWS I had a game of Sails of Glory, my first rate Imperial and a frigate versus Stephen's Royal George and a frigate captained by Greg who was having his first of what is hoped are many games (the understanding being that he has the Sails of Glory starter set coming for Father's Day - nice one, I'm expecting aftershave).

In a first, the Imperial gets to fire both broadsides at once, well, foresides as we weren't square on the foe.  The newly captained British frigate fared badly, but the bow raked Royal George got off lightly.

The double shotted Royal George returns fire.  Ouch!

Collision time.  Using the modified rules - the three ships have now struck sails and risk entanglement.  Some close range musketry ensures.

The Royal George might be entangled with its companion frigate, but it has reloaded and blasts away at both the Imperial (which is busy trying to comeabout) and the French frigate, destroying the latter, but not before it in turn put paid to the British frigate.

The Imperial gets in a long range shot, taking out more of the Royal George's crew and creating problems for her ability to perform actions.

Another long range blast and more of the Royal George's crew are hit.

And again, more long range fire from the Imperial hits the George, breaking a mast and causing what crew she has left to start manning the pumps least she sink.

A close range volley this time.  The Royal George has again loaded with double shot.

Back to long range and the Imperial scores more crew hits.

Ineffectual fire from the now seriously compromised Royal George.

The killing blow.  A final close range blast from the Imperial wipes out the George's crew ability to continue the fight and she is forced to strike her colours.

It was an epic struggle with lots of moves required to turn the big ships about so they could reengage.  The above pictures only capture the intermittent bombardments that occurred during the game.

Also note the new flag on the Imperial.  It is made from printed paper and wire and replaces the original "thick" molded flag.