Tuesday 29 January 2019

The Cavalry for Elizabethan Ireland

Finally finished these figures for the Elizabethan Ireland Project.

The last two figures are both Redoubt Reiters on Perry plastic horses from the Wars of the Roses Range.
The other four are Demi Lancers from Hoka Hey, lovely figures. There is just one Demi-lancer so I have done head swaps to make the figure look like different characters and again used mainly Perry horses.

The newest two command figures are not quite as crisply detailed and the heads are not fantastic but they still have a lot of character and I am happy with them.

The musketeer is the second of the Assault Group figures I picked up and a lovely figure. Simple but elegant.
The Demi Lancers mill around the manor before setting off no doubt to pursue a bunch of Irish rebels or cattle theives.
No sooner have they left than a bunch of Irish light horse ride in. The musketeer having sensibly locked himself in the farm house.

All six of these are redoubt enterprises Irish on the correct horses, however all six have head swaps with various manufatcurers. The newest two are extreme left bareheaded which is a head swap with a dark age Crusader irishman and extreme right which is a head swap with a Foundry Spanish Conquistador.
I like the bodies of the men and the horses are nice too. The Irish had no saddles just a pad and no stirrups so its hard to find troops to replace them with. The only thing I am not keen on is the wicker shields, still I think they look OK.
After milling around the yard a couple of shots from the farm house sees these raiders beat a hasty retreat looking for easier pickings elsewhere.
As the Irish ride off the musketeer and a couple of his mates run out to have a pot shot at them
 Yes thats right. Before my gear was away the basing department turned up with some more finished figures I just had to throw into the shot. Forgive the pun.

This project continues to move forward. A few more shotte for both sides might take me to a point where I can try a small game.

I will keep you posted.

Friday 25 January 2019

Getting there with GNW Another AAR With Black Powder

Tonight we tried out the amended rules again with a slightly different scenario to see how they coped.

As we are now pretty happy with our heavy amends to Black Powder I thought we might share the detail with you and also the stats of the various troops as we are using them as I have been asked for these.

Todays game had a brigade of Swedish foot cut off and forced to retreat, these would be slightly less useful than usual due to this, but still pretty good.

They were pursued by a brigade of Russian foot, two brigades of Saxon foot with a gun, a brigade of allied horse and a small briagde of Polish horse.

Sent to break the brigade out were a Brigade of Swedish Guard infantry with a gun and a brigade of cavalry. The Swedes should still have the edge, just, and the Allies should get a decent game and stand a chance of defeating the Swedes if they got lucky. Very lucky!

The Allies

The Russian foot consisted of one regular and two cossack battalions, For the purposes of the game they were classed as poor and had a poor general, clearly for other games we can have average and good Russians to reflect the veteran units and the guard units. I gave the Russians 2 firing dice to reflect their smaller battalions that also had one fifth pike, but to reflect their musketry generally being superior to the Swedes I gave them a re-roll of one failed shot. Thanks Phil for this idea. So Russia Stats were:
Hand to hand Shooting Morale save Stamina Special rule
RUSSIAN FOOT POOR 6 2 5+ 3 Re-roll one failed shot

For the Saxon foot we had 4 average battalion and 2 good battalions with one good in each brigade of 3. Generals were average and the good units had first fire giving them an extra firing dice for their first volley of the game. Their stats were:
Hand to hand Shooting Morale save Stamina Special rule
Allied Foot Average 6 3 4+ 3
Allied foot Good 7 3 4+ 3 First Fire
Allied horse were pretty much average but I gave them a good general so Chris could do more with them, 4 units and their stats were:
Hand to hand Shooting Morale save Stamina Special rule
Allied Horse 7 0 4+ 3
Lastly for the Allies was the Polish horse, these generally (but not always) performed pretty dismally so the stats reflect this, a poor general, lower stats and the Wavering special rule requiring a break test every time they take a casualty. For light horse I am also tempted to include the Cossack rule we made up that does not allow charges to any formed infantry frontally unless shaken or disordered, I didnt on this occasion use that though. The stats were:
Hand to hand Shooting Morale save Stamina Special rule
Polish Horse Poor 6 0 5+ 3 Wavering
I didnt do a stats sheet for the obligatory unit of biscuits (thanks Steve) however we did rate them as excellent!
The Swedes

The first Swedish command had been badly mauled and retreated before the start of our scenario so the below stats which apply to most Swedes have Ferocious charge and Elite 5+ removed for this particular game. Their commander was also rated poor which hanidcapped them. So this brigade is still potent but not nearly as nasty as most Swedes.

Hand to hand Shooting Morale save Stamina Special rule
Swedish foot 7 2 4+ 4 Elite 5+ ferocious charge

The Guards Brigade however are very good indeed, for their stats we beef them up just a little and they are very, very difficult to stop. Sorry Chris.

Hand to hand Shooting Morale save Stamina Special rule
Swedish Guard 7 2 3+ 4 Elite 4+ Ferocious charge, FIRST FIRE

I made the Swedish cavalry standard Swedish Cavalry which are still very good, stats were:

Hand to hand Shooting Morale save Stamina Special rule
Swedish Horse 9 0 4+ 3 Ferocious charge

Our Rules Amends

Our rule amends are fairly heavy now covering many areas, the main one is a complete re-write of the command and control so it is less extreme but also firing before moving, reduction of movement and firing distances etc. Rick Priestly wrote these as a framework to build your game around and these changes have been playtested a fair bit now so we are happy with them.

The sequence of play is:

1. Charge orders
2. Rally Casualties
3. Command and control / orders
4. Moving
5. Firing
6. Melee

Our new command and control looks like this (Apologies not sure how to get the excel cells to copy over properly, but you get the idea)

Command Roll Chart D10

Ability 0 move I move 2 moves 3 moves
Poor 1,2,3 4,5,6 7,8,9 10
Average 1,2 3,4,5 6,7,8 9,10
Good 1 2,3 4,5,67, 8,9,10
Excellent 0 1,2 3,4,5,6 7,8,9,10

Other rule amendments include:
Allied Foot may not charge unless enemy shaken or dis-ordered
Allied foot may not charge cavalry
Fire before moving
Rally casualties on any and all units 6 for Poor or Average commader, 5-6 for Good and Excellent
Brigade break tests rather than automatic break
Cossacks may only charge flanks or rear of formed foot unless shaken or dis-ordered
Movement is at 2/3 of rules 8 inches foot, 12 inches horse
Firing is at 2/3 of rules 12 inches musket
Field guns limbered may move 6 inches

Anyone who is not familiar with the Great Northern War might be wondering why anyone would play against the Swedes, they look unstoppable. Its a fair point. We are trying to get a balance between historical accuracy and playability. You could argue that the Swedes were often even better than we have portrayed them. Giving them different commander abilities will make a big difference. We generally give them good commanders so they can get a real shift on which reflects their tactics, if they have a poor commander they are likely to take a lot more casualties as they advance on the enemy as they will be moving slower. You can also balance Swedish forces by giving them poor quality Polish allies.

Balancing a game will however mainly come down to the scenario, the Swedes very often attacked when outnumbered two to one or more and very often won against those odds, reflecting this in your scenario and sometimes giving the allies defences to fight from will even things out.
So back to the game. I took the battered Swedish Brigade so Steve could get a move on with the main force coming to rescue them and Chris Flowers took the allies.

We played on a 9 by 6 feet table, the battered Swedish brigade at one end blocked in to the rear by a wood, the rescue force at the other end of the nine feet and the Allies along the long edge essentially with the Swedish main force in front of their left flank.

As my brigade began dis-ordered I had nothing to do. The Swedes rolled and went first. Both brigades got two moves, the Cavalry pushing forward and closing on the Allied flank whilst the foot marched straight up the middle of the table. The gun already starting to fall behind the fast marching foot which is historically accurate.

The Allied foot then rolled with the poor Russians getting one move and the Saxons getting two. The Saxon horse was now lined up opposite the Swedes and a clash was inevitable, Chris had deployed his Poles on the right flank of his Saxons to take advantage of any weakness in the Swedes.
Next move and predictably Steves Swedish Cavlry charged Chris's Saxons, the ferocious charge re-rolling all misses meant Steve was pretty much guaranteed to win these first melees. But Chris was inflicting casualties and also rolling good morale dice so retiring from the melee, Steve then took a sweeping advance into the next rank of Allied cavalry. This time things were not quite so bad for this allies. Chris had 7 dice hitting on 4's because he had been unable to counter charge. Steve had 9 dice hitting on 3's as he was winning but crucially did not get the re-rolls for ferocious charge as the Sweeping advance is not a charge. Both allied horse are forced back but now both Swedish units are shaken from casualties so unbale to charge or counter charge and although three of Chris's are also shaken one isnt.
My poor commander fails to get his brigade to do anything, Steves Guards Brigade moves another two moves leaving the gun even further behind and the Allied foot also trundle forward another two moves

Next move and I am able to shift my brigade for the first time, edging close to Steve and starting to re-align to be able to react to the Allied foot. Steves foot move closer again and the cavalry start trying to re-orgnaise. Chris meanwhile throws his last unshaken allied horse at a unit of Shaken Swedes and his first unit of Poor Poles at an untouched Swedish unit. The Saxons and Poles are thrown back but more casualties inflicted on the Swedes, a sweeping advance by the untouched Swedes into the second unit of Poles see that unit broken but the third Swedish unit are now shaken and Chris has managed to rally casualties off two Saxon units so is actually in better shape than the Swedes at present.

Last couple of moves for the night. The remaining Swedish untouched unit charges the Saxons and breaks another unit. its Sweeping advance forces a further unit to retreat. The Guards move up to charge range but cant fire and are volleyed by the Saxons.

My brigade charges the main Allied foot, the inital rounds of combat see three draws from three melees, The final turn however sees the Russian unit and one Saxon unit forced to retreat and one Swedish unit forced to do the same, I am now 2 damaged Swedish units against 4 fresh allied units and a field gun.

To my right the almost untouched Guards briagde is ready to pounce on the Saxon foot facing it. With the ferocious charge re-roll and saving throw on a 3 they will certainly remove this brigade from play in short order, however if they recieve too many casualties they mau not have enough punch left to save my brigade.

Although the Swedish Cavalry have now broken half the Allied cavalry they are in no shape to take advantage of this and withdraw slightly to reform. It will be at least two more moves before the Swedes are in a position to deal with the remaining Allied horse and probably two more befire they can join the fray against the foot.

So with the night drawing to a close the game is still fairly evenly balanced.Chris still has the chance to destroy my brigade and Steve will be hard pushed to get to me before its too late.

Despite some truly awful dice from Chris on occasion he was still in a position to win the game if only his luck would turn.
At that point we called a halt so we could have a proper chat about how it had played. It felt pretty historical and played really well. The addition of the rallying of casualties meant that cavalry had more of a chance of recovering after a series of melees given a little time so could still influence a game. Removing the ferocious charge from the Swedes makes them much less powerful and this is good to use in specific scenarios, despite being Poor the Russian foot and Polish horse were all still useful in game terms.

Overall a great sucess and I think we have pretty much found the formula we want to progress with. Thanks very mcuh Chris and Steve.

I look forward to playing this again in th every near future.

Wednesday 23 January 2019

Strange Contributor to Wargames Illustrated

Wargames illustrated popped through my letterbox yesterday, very interesting as it is themed around the inter war period which I am very interested it.
Some fantastic articles, Really interested to read the one on the Russo-Polish War 1919-20. The Sprue of WW2 British in shorts that comes free looks awesone I have to say, not sure about figures with no bases but I might just give these a go at some point, I have some part painted Japs for the Far East somewhere.
And then as I turn the pages I reach this page, ahhhhh whos this? OK complete self promoter its me, but first thing ever published so I am a bit giddy. The photography provided by WI really sets this article off, very pleased I have to say.

Just to be clear I am no expert this is meant as a bit of an introduction for wargamers not serious historians, I hope that comes across in the article.
Hope you enjoy the read people.

Back to gaming now, AAR for our Dark Age game this weekend shortly and a Great Northern War game tomorrow to also report on so watch this space.

Monday 21 January 2019

An Eclectic Workbench Again

st My wargames butterfly has been in full flow recently as I flutter from one project to another. I can see you all nodding.

Once we get back to gaming Great Northern War in a couple of weeks I am sure I will be inspired to finish off more Saxons, Swedes or Poles but for now I am just enjoying painting and making some progress with other projects.

Below is the latest group of finished figures being varnished before they they are sent off to the basing department in York

This mortar crew is actuallyfor chum Chris Charlton for a joint Third Afghan War Project. Paul Hicks scults from Empress and very nice indeed.
Two riflemen to take my contribution so far to eight, long way to go but throughly enjoying painting these.
These two cavalry are actually for the Sikh Wars project but equally usefull for the NorthWe
The Elizabethan Irish have also had some attention with four horse and two foot finished.
Add caption
I have continued with the approach of takign Redoubt Irish Light Horse and changing their heads, this head is a Spanish Conquistador from Foundry. Almost a 100 years early but I think a good fit.
The standard bearer for the Demi-lancers is also Redoubt, a figure that I bought without being able to see the image on the website if I am honest. Whilst his armour is very early I actually really like this chap.
he Officer is a Reiter from Redoubt, again the head is not all that but the shiny arour kind of makes up for it.
A last Irishman with a Crusader Dark Age Irish head swap.
The photography isnt great on this one but two more shot for the English. To the left is a musketeer from the new Dutch Militia packss of the Assault Group. A lovely figure, slightly smaller than Foundry. It will mix but probably not with the evn larger Graven Images figures. The second figure is a Foundry caliverman a chunckier figure as you can see.
More afghans/Pathans this foundry figure will ride out with both my sikhs and my 1919 Afghans.

These two are much later with modern rifles, both are Empress and not really as nice as the foot figures for some reason. As I have stacks of Foundry and Perry Afghan horse I am unlikely to get any more of these.
And lastly a bunch of Russian Cossacks from the 1812 retreat from Moscow range, I had some of these part finished for a while so blasted through them in a day or two to get a unit of 8.

The Cossacks inspired me a little and I have been painting Russian Grenadiers for 1812 and a Polish Standard bearer hope to have these finished soon and able to share them with you all painted and based in the near future.

Just before posting I finished these chaps for the 1812 retreat project. A base of Poles and 3 bases of Russian Grenadiers for the 1812 retreat from Moscow project. Initial thoughts are to have 4 bases make a battalion for Black Powder and 2 bases a unit for Sharp Practice so I can use the figures for both. The Grenadiers are just missing a command stand, as are the Poles as it happens.

Watch this space.