Tuesday 31 December 2019

Christmas Game

As usual we had a fun little Christmas game at Chris Flowers barn, followed by a meal at the Duke of Wellington appropriately enough.

13 of us this year.

After making a great success of the last Christmas game amongst a few others, Chris Charlton organised a fun Sci-Fi skirmish game first designed by Terry Joy. You may remember some of the figures.

The premise is a space station on the home planet of the Maskii. Each player has one figure with a sheet showing their attributes. One player is on security patrol near the control room, the rest are on the planet surface when the alarms go off to warn of a Makii incursion. Andy did mention they were perhaps off for Pie and Peas!

The stop watch is set at 75 minutes and players must get from the entry ports to control room and seal the doors to win.

Couple of rules, there cannot be any Maskii on the flight deck and once the doors seal the security system destroys everyone outside, Human or Maskii.

I opt to have a bit of fun and play Maskii along with Chris.

A D10 and percentage dice are used to dictate which of 100 spots on the station the Maskii appear at. The Humans get 6 actions which can be a mixture of moving and firing.

The Maskii get 4 moves and one shot. They are very very poor shots but a little bit nasty in close combat.

Malcolm's character is the dietitian and is the security guard, as the rest of the crew start to make their way from the main doors Malcolm quickly gets to the control room. However once there he realises he has  along wait before he can seal the doors if he is not exterminate the whole crew.

Malcolm decides to go out and take on the nearest Maskii, however in the Maskii turn two more drop into the control room behind him and he is looking to be in a bit of trouble.

In the Maskii turn each one moves 4 squares towards the nearest human, gets one shot at anything ti can see needing a double 3 to hit with a hand gun or a double of any number with the large guns (I did say they were bad shots) they resolve any hand to hand if they are adjacent to a human then we role 2 D6 to see how many more Maskii turn up using the d10 and percentage dice to dictate where they randomly arrive. As you can imagine they turn up just at the wrong place and the wrong time usually.
Malcolm fires at the nearest Maskii and misses, they then close in on him and quickly overwhelm him.
There are groans from the Human players as I get hold of the d6 for reinforcements. 12 more Maskii turn up with a couple landing immediately next to the humans and quickly overwhelming them.
The crew are picked off one by one or break up into groups, each player gets a new Human to start from scratch when his first one is dead. Rich C, Andy and Rich H form a little group and hug the left side of the station covering each other as they advance toward the control room.

With 24 minutes to go they still have nearly half of the station to traverse.
As they close in I roll another double six for reinforcements and more of the human crew are overwhelmed but Rich, Andy and Rich keep coming.
Rich C clears the way to the blast doors and Andy and Rich H get in only to have two more Maskii randomly arrive in there with them before they can start the security procedure. They kill the Maskii but Rich H is knocked over.

With Rich C just two steps from the blast doors Andy hits the button locking him and the security system scours the station of all life wiping out both the Maskii and whats left of the Human crew.

There were literally seconds left on the clock as Andy hit the button.
And here is Richards character looking mildly unhappy at his imminent doom now the doors are locked.
A really fun game to finish off the year and then a great deal of yabber about next years various projects over a lovely meal at the Wellie (I had steak and chips in case you were wondering).

Cheers Chris!

Friday 27 December 2019

Aranzeque Re-Visited

We decided to have a Carlist Black Powder game, however things being busy at work I started running out of time to organise the scenario. As there would only be two players I decided to re-visit a scenario I had done before twice. Straight out of the pages of "All Honour is lost" by Kings Carbine and the pages of real life history was the action at Aranzeque.

An interesting scenario with small troop numbers, Mark and I played it twice as playtests for Nuno who wrote "All Honour is Lost", a starter book for the First Carlist War with lots of information but importantly a load of great scenarios. Now its been published for a while its nice to see a picture of my troops crossing the bridge from our original play tests.

The battle itself was during the Royal Expedition's retreat from Madrid with the 12,000 retreating Carlists being caught and badly mauled by a 25,000 strong Isabelino force.

At Aranzeque the retreating mob of Carlsits, baggage and camp followers is caught by the Vanguard of the Isabelino army and the rearguard of the Carlists has to hold off the Liberals whilst the demoralised army escapes.
The Carlists have 4 units of foot, one of which is slightly superior being the Guides, 3 units of militia lancers and a light gun. Chris Flowers drew the short straw for these.

The Isabelinos have  a horse battery on a hill overlooking the retreat.

The Advance Guard is 2 battalions of foot with a squadron of horse and a mountain gun which all arrives on the roll of a D4. They have 4 further squadrons arriving on the roll of a D6.

Steve had these and rolled a 1 for the move the foot arrived and 3 for the horse.

The Isabelino commander was excellent and the Cavalry commander Average. Both Carlist Generals were poor reflecting the general state of their army.

I gave victory points based on the Carlist ability to get troops off table, they gained a point for each intact unit that got off and lost a point for every unit destroyed, strangely enough both sides felt their task was impossible but having won playing both sides in previous encounters I was happy the game was balanced if players made the right decisions or got lucky......or not.

The retreating infantry units cant join the fighting but all count towards victory points, as they are wavering every time they recieve a casualty they take a break test so targeting these could be the key to victory.
Move one and the Carlists get a unit over the ford and start moving the rest of their army whilst the rearguard starts to shake itself into some sort of order. The Isabelinos make a modest move onto table and the horse gun fires inflicting one casualty which is saved and then comes off the hill to advance with the foot.
Chris lines most of his Carlist foot out on the right of his line but cant get the foot on the left to move at all. His cavalry get themselves sorted out and his first unit is off table.

Chris then decides to charge the Foreign Legion lancers before the rest of the cavalry turn up, this fight does not go well and the Hussars De Arlaban are seen off by the legion who then follow up with a sweeping advance into the Guides. Both sides are shaken by this follow up, the Guides pass their Morale but the Legion is forced to fall back dis-ordered.
Fortunately for Steve its go 3 and his cavalry brigade now enter the table edge rolling two moves they advance quickly towards the Carlists whilst his foot and guns close steadily and the horse artillery finally gets its first casualty on the Carlist horse.
The bottle neck around the ford is causing some chaos in the Carlist ranks but their troops are gradually contracting their line making it hard for the Isabelino's to get to grips with them.
More of the Carlist forces move off table and as Steves foot press forward the Carlists are able to volley and retire making it difficult to properly get to grips with them.
Steve has one flank protected by his horse artillery and the right flank literally wide open, however Chris's lancers cant wheal across the face of the Isabelino's to take advantage of this, he would need to pull right back and begin a slow roundabout flanking march.
The Carlists contract again after the horse gun forces a break test on another of the Carlist units which it passes. A little long range skirmish fire but the Carlists look to be making a decent fist of getting their stuff off table.
Steve plays his trump card now and throws his cavalry brigade forward, it doesnt quite reach the Carlist line but is looking very threatening. Chris throws caution to the wind and abandoning the cavalry on his left the general issues a follow me order and leads his remaining lancers in a do or die charge into the Guard Grenadier Cavalry.
The Guards counter charge but Chris's gamble pays off and the Guards retreat dis-ordered leaving the flank of the next unit, the Princessa Hussars, wide open for the lancers to hit with a sweeping charge.
The Hussars manage to hold the Lancers but things look a little grim for Steve right now.
With a significant proportion of his troops off table Chris is looking like he cant really lose, his intact line of foot is out of musketry range and only two squadrons of cavalry remain available to attack them. Steve concedes that he wont be able to stop them and we shake hands and start to pack away.
Its been great to get the Carlist figures on table again and I do enjoy small challenging games now and again. Both sides started the game thinking it impossible to win. Having played the game twice as a play test for Nuno's book I have seen both sides win convincingly. I have also scaled the game up for 4 players which worked equally well a nice scenario if anyone fancies trying it in future.

In this case I dont think Steve had realised that hitting the retreating troops and breaking their mobs of demoralised infantry was the key to winning.

I hope you have enjoyed our little game, see you again soon.

Wednesday 18 December 2019

The Action at Springfield Church

Today saw another AWI Sharp Practice with Steve's collection and Chris's Iroquois. Chris hasn't been able to play for a bit after a painful knee operation so we wanted to ease him back into things with a fun game.

Steve provided the Umpiring,figures, terrain, biscuits, tea and hospitality and we shamelessly took advantage of them.

I had the Patriots:

24 Continentals level 3 commander
24 Militia level 1 commander
2 x 6 riflemen level 2 commanders
1 gun and crew level 2 commander
Extra level 3 commander in chief

64 figures
Chris was the Tories:

24 Militia level 1 commander
2 x 6 Jaegers level 2 commanders
8 Cavalry level 2 commander
2 x 12 Indians level 1 commanders
Extra Commander in chief level 3

68 figures
So the Tories has slightly more figures but the Patriots slightly better leaders.

This was to be a meeting encounter with victory to the side holding the Church and surrounding area. I had the advantage of starting ever so slightly nearer the church.
We would use a gun for the first time in these AWI games, newly painted by Steve. It was to be manhandled, so throw two D6 and discard the lower, it was going to be painfully slow to get in action.
Two moves saw all the troops on table and my continentals making good time to get into position around the church and the militia lagging behind quite a bit and the gun un-surprisingly crawling along behind. Chris had got most of his stuff forward too but his skirmish screen was blocking the Militia formation, or screening it from casualties depending on your point of view.

First blood went to the Patriot rifles, sniping off one Indian and adding a point of shock. The Natives return fire adding shock to the continentals.
Fortunate turns of cards and dice had got the continentals into a strong forward position with flanks protected by the church and the dubious cover of the wood. This did however leave them exposed to the fire of all of Chris's skirmishers and Indians and shock soon began to mount.
The riflemen pushed to the flank of the Continentals and ignoring the closing Iroquois started to inflict serious casualties on  the Jaegers.
The return fire was slowly wearing the Continentals down though.
Finally the Continentals got their first volley in, 24 dice with presented muskets and first fire and the Jaegers took a severe mauling. With his largest unit unable to fire and taking casualties on his best troops things were not looking great for Chris.
However using a card to "Step out" his Natives rushed my riflemen. My dice were poor and I only took out one of the Indians. Chris's were great and all six of my guys scalps were taken. The flank was suddenly wide open.

The militia now stepped forward and volleyed my Continentals, the two units of Jaegers and the second native unite were also concentrating all their fire on these guys. Despite the best efforts of both my commander and the Commander in chief casualties and shock were racking up. My militia and gun were still dawdling at the back and the tide was now looking set to turn.
The Indians advanced onto the flank of my Continentals and added their fire, now they were inflicting double shock too. It was suddenly quite grim and the continentals on the right of the line had more shock than survivors and the whole took a step back.
AT this point my Militia finally entered the fray stepping forward and volleying the Indians who had already taken fire from my Skirmishers, the concentrated volley was too much for them and the survivors legged it.

My gun now opened up on the flanking Indians, ten dice should have been great but I only got three hits, fortunately Chris's dice were worse than mine, he rolled three sixes to convert all three hits to kills and the Indians were suddenly not quite so triumphant on either flank.
I split the continentals with my level one Sergeant taking the remnants of one unit to face the Indians and the Captain loading the other two in a desperate last stand against the Jeagers and Militia. I should say that through all of the this the Cavalry after taking some casualties and been moving from one flank to the other ready to charge the Continentals when they were on the verge of breaking.
The Indians incensed by the gun decide to charge it, they make it in but being at less than half strength now we are on almost par dice. We roll and Chris kills two of my crew but I kill three of him pushing him back six inches but also leaving him now with double shock to figures and forcing him to run 14 inches to his rear and effectively putting the second unit of Indians out of the fight.
A shot into the flanking Continental unit from the Jaegers forces them to retire. But things are evening up slightly.
Chris has now got his 6 remaining cavalry lined up for a devastating charge but before he can my riflemen now in the church switch targets and empty a saddle adding enough shock onto them to stop them moving and giving the thoroughly shot up continentals a breathing space. My untouched militia step forward again and give rather lack lustre volley to the Torie militia but serve notice that they are welt and truly in the game now.
Its now past my bedtime and things have swung again so that both sides are at a stand off, another hour would see the game settled but I will be asleep by then so we agree on a hard fought draw and shake hands each having an barely touched formation of 24 militia and everything else on table thoroughly beaten up.

Another great game with what are fast becoming my favourite rule set.

I have the Stockton show at the weekend where I will take part in Colin Ashtons re-fight of the First Sikh War battle of Ferozeshah which I am really looking forward to. Chum Jerry also has an El Cid game at the show so that should another very colourful game. As long as I remember my tablet photos and report to follow!