Thursday, 11 October 2018

More cake and Another BLB3 Playtest

Back to Steves tonight for another bash at Great Northern War using BLB3 The War of The Three Kings. This time we had more troops, more players, deeper table and had decided to double all distances to speed things up. Oh and more cake of course!

Chris had kindly printed off the quick reference sheets and a stack of order markers, cheers Chris.

A fairly similar scenario to last time, I did however mess with the stats a bit to see how big a difference some things might make to the robustness of certain units, or not.

As it turns out this all may have been a bit too ambitious, none of us are familiar with the rules, last week with two players it was easy enough for me to check things in the rules whilst Chris and Steve played, with 4 players I simply couldnt keep up with the list of questions and queries.

In hind sight it was also probably too soon for us to decide to double all the movement rates and ranges. The movement rates in the rules probably suit a 4 feet deep table, doubling them for a 6 feet deep was probably too much.

Ah well you live and learn.
In terms of forces and stats they were as follows.

Swedes, Mark and Chris, Skilled Commander

1 x Brigade of Swedish Horse 4 x Veteren Bullet, 2 added Elite
1 x Brigade of Swedish Foot 1 x Veteran 2 x Drilled Elite
1 x Brigade of Swedish Guard 3 x Veteran Elite
1 x Brigade of Polish Light Horse  3 x Raw Blade
Saxo-Poles Andy and Steve Standard Commander

1 x Brigade Polish Horse 2 x Drilled and 2 x Raw Blade
1 x Saxon Foot Brigade 3 x Drilled all shot
1 x Cossack Foot brigade 2 x Raw all shot in earthworks
1 x Feild Gun Drilled
1 x Saxon Foot Brigade 3 x Drilled Elite all Shot
1 x Saxo-Russian Horse Brigade 4 x Drilled Bullet

I gave the Saxons a brigade of drilled Elite to represent their Guard being a bit tougher to break. We also gave them an extra two foot and two horse units from last time and upped the gun from light to field.

The Swedes had one extra unit of Horse, the Guards Brigade were given the bonus of Elite to also make them more robust.
We added in blanks for every unit that would not get an order, we must have missed this in the rules, No surprise I have probably missed loads.

So with a little more Parity between armies we were ready to begin.
The Swedes advanced steadily although the Poles on both sides held back hoping to avoid a drubbing from the opposing regular cavalry. Andys Saxo-Russian Horse moved briskly forward to try and engage the Swedish Poles. A shot from the Cannon missed and we were onto move 2.
The Saxon Poles above had two units of Winged hussars which I gave drilled to reflect their better quality, the Swedish Guard cavalry below also got Elite to their Veteran status whilst the foot brigade pictured here included 2 units of drilled to reflect the use of Tremanning regiments, although Idid give them elite to stop them breakign too quickly.
The cake and biscuits didnt last long enough for me to get a decent picture, one move in this was all that was left!
Being obvious that the Saxons would charge his Poles Chris gave his orders to charge at the same time as Andy so our first clash was on. Although Andys Drilled troops had a higher dice type, as Bullet they only hit with a 6 where Chris's raw blade hit with a 5. One Melee was won by the Poles who broke the Saxons opposite and then followed through onot te stationary Russians behind, on the other side the Saxons drew with the Poles and were reinforced upon which the Poles were routed. One all!
Elsewhere everyone continued to steadily close.

Musketry and artillery began to take its toll on the advancing Swedes, however the morale rules are veyr robust and the Swedes ploughed on.

The raw Cossack foot were firing to little effect as hits had to be re-rolled due to them being raw.

The reserve Polish cavalry now charged what remained of Saxon Cavalry with unsurprisng results before bouncing onto the Russians in support.
On the other side the Swedish horse were now in contact with the Saxon Poles. A dwiring multi round melee followednwith honours about even.

The guards brigade now charged the Saxons, with double the range this meant 14 inches of charge. The Saxons blasted away causing multiple casualties but the Swedes closed non the less. Another fierce multi unit melee ensued.
It took three rounds of melee for us to be left with one Saxon battalion beating the Guard Grenadiers but left with less than half stregnth and the remaining two Swedish units triumphant but again down to half stregnth.

On the opposite flank both sides reinforced the melees and the Polish casualty figures int he back ground perhaps tell their own story.
There was plenty left to play for, each side had a full brigade of regulars un-commted, but it was geting late and I was struggling to keep up.

So thoughts from tonights game:

1. I still like the rules and want to introduce more Great Northern War specific stuff which I am talking to Barry Hilton about. sorry no spoilers though.
2. Doubling movement before we had throughly play tested was a really bad idea. I think we will need to increase movement eventually but not by double.
3. I need to digest more of the rules and have a couple of the other guys read and play them before tackling multi player games.
4, The morale seemed a little too robust but I have learned my lesson about snap decisions and will stick with them for a few more games.
5, Most players remain convinced that we can use these rules for the period and enjoy them.
6. I need to play the game not just umpire or I wont learn the rules, I learn by doing not reading.
7. We need to stick to smaller games until the rules are second nature.
8. The more I play this period the more I love it.

Next week might be a week off Great Northern War as a bolt action game is planned at the local East Leeds club. I do intend more games and will keep you posted on how these develop.

Thanks for bearing with my ramblings. More to follow.


  1. Thanks for the report and great pics, just a heads up raw troops only re-roll if shaken.

    1. Ah good to know thank you. I plan another game in a week or two.

  2. No worries, been swotting up as playing my 1st game with these rules at show this week. So know how you feel. LOL

    1. I think we just need to slow down and play it a step at a time.

  3. Guys, like anything new, you'll have to put a bit of brain work in at the start to get the flow but after that effort, this system is pretty intuitive. The whole point of 3rd edition was to reduce the number of factors and charts by using the signature die types to take the strain. I agree that morale is considerably more robust than Eds 1&2 but that is deliberate. If you have nice painted toys you have laboured over for weeks it is soul destroying to see them run away on the first throw of the die. Raw troops hang around longer but are mostly ineffective - what I was really trying to achieve here. Tinkering with move distances is personal choice but the distances in the rules are - as they are - for a reason! We have experimented for years with longer/shorter, faster/slower -table sizes from 6 x 4 to 24 x 8 an ended up with this. I have been gaming pike and shot since 1988 and GNW since 1991 and ended up with what we have now. Modifying sections of the rules because they don't fit your view of what should happen is very natural and the prerogative of all gamers however, I will call your mind to the episode of Father Ted when our eponymous hero attempts to tap a small dent out of a car he borrowed from the Dancing Priest! Make a mod somewhere because you don't like something means a component somewhere else may just pop out like a slipped disc! Good luck, hope you can squeeze in the the new GNW mods I sent you Roger and please - do what you like with the rules, as long as you are enjoying ourselves the authoring mission is accomplished!

    1. Cheers Barry, I think the points you make reflect our game. Toning it back for our next game and introducing some of your mods.

  4. Great collection by the way Roger - looks very impressive all together!

    1. Thanks Barry, this is probably about 30% of my collection. Add in Daves Russians and Marks Danes and you will have something of a spectacle. Need to get everything fixed in our heads before we progress to a game of that size. Watch this space.

  5. Mmore cakes please...and more beautiful troops!

  6. I envy!
    Roger. Excellent report. Beautiful figures and table.

    1. Cheers Aleksey, we have another game in a week or so but a Russian Civil War tomorrow.

    2. Good news. Good luck!
      And I will lead Swedes (TYW) to Saxony tomorrow.

  7. Looks like a great game, and the edibles must have been good. I'm looking forward to what happens next.

  8. A great write up,and a fantastic looking game!. Just curious, your cavalry are all based 9 models to a squadron (they look better like this than the 6 per I'm using) is there a gameplay reason for that or just aesthetics etc?.