Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Another Live Free or Die Playtest AAR

 Keen to press on testing the game mechanics Steve set up another game for Chris Flowers and I with Chris attacking with the British.

The rules so far have provided fun and intersting games so worth pressing on with despite some minor things we may consider changing (DMZ for a formation change for instance.)

I started the game with a small brigade of two continental regiments and a un on my right and three militia regiments on my left, two green and one veteran with two small units of rifle skirmishers. Reinforcements were planned for later in the game, I had no idea when or what was coming.
Chris had two brigades also on his right an elite light infantry battalion, a loyalist veteran militia regiment and another loyalist unit were supported by a large Jaeger unit and a gun.

On the British left Chris had two good quality British regular battalions and a slightly lower quality Hessian Battalion, again supported by a gun.

So the British had a slight edge in numbers and quality but would need to press on as the advantage wouldn't last.

Steves terrain looked fabulous as usual and the trees and plantation house made for a very atmospheric game. The height of the trees makes them a bit easier to deploy troops into which is useful.
My militia deployed along the edge of a wood to give them some cover whilst the regulars stationed on a hill slightly further back making the British come to them through woods and gaining DMZ's as they came, I much prefer the term disruption points, sorry to be picky.

My two small rifle units occupied the House and orchard in the centre of the table where they could ideally annoy either brigade and fire into the flanks if they tried to bypass them.
The closed down terrain caused some issues for the Loyalists every time they crossed a fence line of wood they were picking up a disruption which would be painful later when the firing started. They quickly deployed the artillery and Jaegers and before I knew it I had lots of disruption on my militia, you can see these marked with little green markers with a tuft of grass in the pictures.
My commanders were kept busy being attached to units to remove disruptions and keep them in the game. On my left eh British came forward aggressively giving me little time to fire at them and the lights were quickly in charge range. On my left Chris was taking his time, I think waiting to see what the other flank did, the Hessians were well in range of my rifles so I was able to start adding disruptions to both them and one of the guns .
Bayonet charges didnt work out too well last time, that wasnt going to be the case tonight. Chris had a great big pile of dice for the charge, I had 2, the outcome never in doubt, my militia was thrown back losing two bases. Their fire had been a little ineffective too so the lights were barely touched and poised to jump onto my next unit of Militia.

On my right eh British had advanced slowly then halted with the Hessians trying to volley the rifles out of the plantation with little success.

The British lights charged the next unit of militia, Veteran Militia this time, I still only got 2 dice though, another convincing win for the British, unfortunately for Chris he had thrown his general in who was mortally wounded in the close combat. This would make life difficult for the British from a command and control point of view. 
On the left my single hit in melee with Chris made little difference and the Militia were decimated and forced back. 
The British lights charged the next unit of militia, Veteran Militia this time, I still only got 2 dice though, another convincing win for the British, unfortunately for Chris he had thrown his general in who was mortally wounded in the close combat. This would make life difficult for the British from a command and control point of view. 

Another unit forced back leaving just the one damaged Militia to face Chris's brigade. 
Move 5 though and a reinforcing brigade of continentals with a supporting unit of cavalry march on to shore up the collapsing Loyalists.

Quite a lot happened at this point and I got a bit engrossed and forget to take pictures....sorry!

Chris moved his lights across to face my last unit of Militia, supported by the British Legion infantry, my two Militia units though mauled marched back to fray with the Continentals in close support,  a volley into the lights took a base off, they passed their morale but without the points to spend they couldn't order a charge.

On the right the British advanced on the hill leaving the Hessians to blaze away at my rifle skirmishers who continued to cause problems for them and the guns.

The two British columns march to musket range and I volley them with my continentals and gun forcing one to retire. Its a minor reprieve when they get back with two battalions against one the firefight wont last but my cavalry are ready to charge into the gap if the continentals fall back.
On my left the Jaegers have been forced back as have the Tory militia by musketry, my left hand continental regiment charges the British Legion and I attach my commander, a resounding success and Tarletons boys are forced to retreat losing 2 of 4 bases.

My right hand continentals pass through the militia picking up a disorder, but next go they are ready to pour a volley into the lights who are in a difficult position only unable to retire slowly at half pace facing the enemy and pick up a disorder or stand fire with the Continentals having much more firepower.
The Patriots have the left of the battle, although there is still a way to go to conclusion. The right is still in the balance but Chris decides he cant win and concedes.

A really good game with lots of swings, it felt realistic, units forced back, re-forming and trying again and the skirmishers were more effective this time too.

Chris had some concerns that units were hammered, pushed back but them came again, and also that a unit fights right done to the last stand, however as units historically were pushed back and tried again and the stands represent the cohesiveness of a unit rather than the number of men left standing I wasnt too concerned by either of these things. It felt about right. Given another 2 or 3 moves Chris may well have pushed me off of the hill and fought me to a standstill in the woods but on balance the Americans probably had the better of it at the end.

Cracking game, thanks very much gents.

Tuesday, 14 June 2022

The Mexican Adventure, Release the Butterfly

I have wanted to do the French intervention in Mexico for a number of years, the beautiful French figures and the bewildering array of Mexican, Austrian, Belgian and other forces make it really interesting and colourful. But I was never quite satisfied with the ranges of 28mm figures available. The Foundry Camerone range showed promise but only gives you Mexican and Foreign Legion foot. Gringo 40's are lovely but dont mix with other ranges and have too many gaps to go it alone, equally the early Foundry range is now quite small compared with more modern figures and uses the traditional (at the time) process of the same figure multiple times over for a unit, not really my thing.

However the recent release of the Perry Triple Alliance and Franco Prussian ranges has given me the confidence that many of the gaps, particularly for suitable cavalry, will be filled by those ranges in due course so I thought I might get some test figures.

It wont surprise you to know I got carried away a little, Only a little though....... honest!

OK so very brief history to set the scene, after a Liberal government came into power in Mexico a bloody civil war ensued, the Liberal government was sucessful but skint to suspended debt payments to European powers. These sent naval forces and captured Vera Cruz to try get their money back. Britian and Spain quickly realised it was a non starter leaving France alone, Napoleon III however decided that this was a great opportunity.

With the support of the defeated Conservative element he sent in the French army then invited the brother of the Austrian Emperor to be the Emperor of Mexico leading to a very bloody intervention with the French only leaving after pressure both at home and from the USA after the ending of their Civil War. Interesting.

My first port of call once I have decided on a project and the ranges of figures is Ebay and Colonel Bills for second hand figures.

I picked up these Zoaves and Mexicans from Ebay, not a great paint job and the basing on the mexicans was awful but essentially the price of an unpainted figure with the benfit that the plastics are already built and the metals already primed.

I also picked up a couple of sprues from ebay, these Zoaves to add to the above along with some generic ACW figures to paint as Liberals in Kepi.

These next are Front Rank Spanish Guerillas, I think they will mix nicely with the Mexican irregulars and the lancers will work really well.
Also on ebay I found this lot of Gringo 40's Contras, apart from the officers they fit reasonably well size wise and will be a separate skirmisher unit anyway. The mini mule train will be useful.
This British officer is from Colonel Bills he has a separate head so a pack of Kepis will sort this out.
These old Foundry Zoaves also from Colonel Bills will flesh out the plastics and give me two units, one of Zoaves and one of Turcos.
This other unit is from Ebay.
A bunch of Foundry Fillibusters from Ebay will give me pretty much enough for a unit of Foreign Legionaires. All from the Foundry Camerone range.
These flags for the Alamo will be great for the Republican forces.
I also picked up a magazine from ebay with an article on the intervention, the uniform guide will be really useful.
I was pleasantly surprised to find the Eagle miniatures have some irregular Spanish lancers who will be great for Mexico too. Oddly the horse advertised to go with them is without a saddle and so are they but I reckon I have others I can press into service and this horse will work with the Front Rank riders.

I also picked up a couple of packs from the Perry Triple Alliance range. These guys in Kepi will be given a white uniform with blue kepi piped red for Republican foRces.

These Argentinians meanwhile are perfect for French and will probably be used for Chasseurs.
Lastly a few packs of Foundry Mexicans mainly in Sombrero to mix in. These will give a lot of character.
I took the opportunity to paint a couple up to share with you too. These two are Foundry Foreign Legion figures, I am not too keen on the chap with glasses, his face seems odd, the officer though I am really pleased with.
A mix of Mexicans to get us started all for the Republican side to start with.
I plan a whole unit in short Shako with blue jackets, need to do some more research to see if the pompoms were all red or different company colours like the French.
Simple uniforms and fairly quick to paint. Look well I think.
This chap may be mixed in with the others in Kepi or not, still undecided.

The Militia in Sombrero will firmly place the range in Mexico, I really like this off white colour.
So there you go, the Butterfly is in full flight with other stuff on the go as well. Out of control? Possibly.

More to follow, until then stay safe.

Sunday, 5 June 2022

First 40mm Peninsular Sharp Practice Game

So with me still basing the last figures 2 hours before the game, I managed to scrape together enough figures for a decent sized Peninsular game with my new 40mm collection. It was great to see them on table en-masse Alongside the buildings donated by Chris and Steve's very large trees.

The game would be a rescue Mission, local Guerilla leader El Calde and a party of British Officers have been Captured by Captain Le Penne and his unit of 6 Skirmishers. Held in the Villa the Allies must rescue them whilst the French must recover and remove them for interogation. Simple enough, but as soon as the cards started to turn both sides completely forgot the objectives and went for each other.
The Allies have one unit of 6 Guerilla skirmishers in the church, 3 units of 6 Rifles and a formation of 4 units of 8 Spanish with a Major and supporting Seargent. All Leaders are level one except Captain Blunt of the rifles who is a level 2.

56 troops 6 Leaders 78 points.

The French meanwhile have one unit of skirmishers in the villa, 3 units of line, 2 of grenadiers and 2 more of skirmishers marching to support the men in the villa. Most of their leaders are level 2 to balance out the rifles other than a sergeant with one unit of skirmishers and a level 3 Major with the line.

So 58 troops, 5 leaders 74 points.

Pretty balanced I felt. Maybe the French needed slightly more?

First move and the Rifles are first cards drawn and they are on their way,. A huge amount of points for these guys and they were to earn their keep in todays game.
Next out the Guerillas who were busy praying in the church, or maybe having their confessions heard, anyway they came out to line the wall and cover the Allied left flank.
The first French sees Chris using the mobile deployment point to bring his Voltiguers on the flank and hidden in some woods, oddly enough not the flank he needed to get the prisoners out but lets see where this goes, a cunning plan perhaps.
The second unit of French Skirmishers and the two groups of Grenadiers quickly follow and march straight up the middle of the table to contest the ground with the allies.
The French lights are drawn but sensibly stay inside the Villa ready to pepper the advancing allies from the windows whilst the prisoners can only watch the action develop.
Turn two and the rifles show they are worth all those points, flaying Captain Macrons skirmishers before they get into musket range leaving one dead and 3 points of shock.
Finally the Spanish deploy on table, about time too.
The rifles however concentrate on Macrons men, with two dead and 6 points of shock they are forced to retire and the French loose one morale point.
The Grenadiers have made it to the Villa ahead of everyone else, things are looking good for the French.
The prisoners look over the walls for rescuers to no avail as the allies dont seem too interested in freeing them. The second French Skirmishers are having a personal little War with the Guerillas who they eventually force out of the Church with heavy casualties.
After a bit of shilly shallying the Spanish are finally in range and release a devastating first volley into the French Grenadiers. The white cotton wool balls denote a unit unloaded.
The Grenadiers take a real mauling but are still standing....just.  Chris chooses to return fire with a controlled volley. At the same time three flag cards are drawn one after the other which triggers an event. One of Corporal Knockers riflemen accidently shoots him in the arse and he becomes a level 0 leader. Oh dear!
The Spanish push forward whilst the rifles concentrate their fire on the Grenadiers.
Its too much for the grenadiers who are forced to break formation and one group retires with double shock. Chris plays three command cards to increase his status temporarily to 5 and take 5 points of shock off halting their route. At the same time the French Ligne step out of the wood and unleash a deadly volley onto the Spanish and Rifles. with all level one leaders unable to remove the shock the Spanish already look shakey.
I remind the players of their objective and it becomes clear that everyone has forgotten the plan to get to the prisoners first. Chris C is the first to react pushing Macron and his remaining 4 skirmishers up to the wall of the Villa. A further volley from the French Ligne into the Spanish pushes them close breaking but not quite. We reach 10pm and decide to call it a day before we turn into pumpkins.

The French under Chris C have come closest to their objective, however the mauling of the skirmishers and Grenadiers has left him with only 4 morale points where the Allies have nearly all of theirs remaining. Another volley or two into the Spanish might have changed all that but such are the vagaries of Wargaming and a narrow Allied victory is declared (By the Allies)

Brilliant to get the new figures on table and thank you Chris, Chris and Steve for some great entertainment. Hopefully we will do it all again soon.