Saturday, 18 February 2017

First Game of The Pikeman's Lament - Ottomans and Poles

We tried out The Pikeman's Lament at the last Tring Club night and were very pleased with the rules. We also managed to get almost 3 games into 3 hours playing time (due to unforeseen circumstances we had to cut the last game short, but I reckon another 30 minutes would have seen us to the end of that as well).

1 unit Winged Hussars - Elite Gallopers
1 unit Pancerni - Gallopers
2 units Cossacks - Raw Gallopers
1 unit Dragoons - Dragoons
1 unit Haiduk Infantry - Shot

I thought about making the Hussars Aggressive, but decided not to until we had tried a few games out. I'm still undecided with the Polish light cavalry, Tartars are obviously Dragoons, or Veteran Dragoons, but armed with lances I'm not sure whether the Cossacks were primarily skirmish or melee troops.

1 unit Sipahis of the Porte - Gallopers
3 units Feudal Sipahis - Trotters
1 unit Tartars - Veteran Dragoons
1 unit skirmish musketeers - Commanded Shot

Sipahis of the Porte tended to be used as the heavy cavalry reserve, so I felt Gallopers suited them better. I'm not sure about other Sipahis as Trotters, but that suits them better than Gallopers or Dragoons. I may need to play about with the troop types a little bit here.

The Games

The first game was the Ga Pa scenario. For some unknown reason the Polish Commander placed his officer in one of the Cossack units, which made him quite vulnerable. The Poles put their shot in the centre and quickly moved them onto a hill, where they stayed for the game, mainly sniping at passing Turkish horsemen at long range. On the left flank the Dragoons and Pancerni faced off against a unit of Sipahis and the skirmish infantry, whilst on the right flank the Hussars faced the Sipahis of the Porte supported by the Tartars. The Cossacks were in the centre on either side of the shot, facing the last 2 Sipahi units.

On the left the Dragoons hung back whilst the Pancerni rapidly advanced against the Sipahis. The Turkish infantry ducked into a nearby wood, from whence they picked off a passing Pancerni. The Pancerni charged and we followed what was to become the standard format for melees in this game. The Gallopers won the melee, the Trotters failed their morale test and fell back, wavering. The Gallopers used their compulsory follow-up, winning again. I rolled crap morale dice and the Trotters routed. The Pancerni had only lost 1 man in melee, but the skirmishers in the wood picked off another one, so at least they were down to half strength.

On the right the Tartars advanced into range of the Winged Hussars and killed one man. Now the Hussars charged but the Tartars evaded out of range, peppering the Hussars with arrows. This opened up a gap between the Hussars and the Officer's Cossack unit and I threw my Sipahis of the Porte into the gap, supported by another unit of Sipahis. Now my Tartars attempted to Skirmish again, hoping to kill another Hussar and remain out of charge range. This is where things went really pear shaped as I rolled a double 1, then my Tartars went loopy and charged the Hussars! (On a roll of double 1 or 6 for an activation, you roll on a Good/Bad Things happen table). Of course the Hussars counter charged and smashed the Tartars in melee. The Tartars failed their morale roll and fell back wavering, The Hussars Followed up, won again and, guess what, the Tartars routed!!! Sound familiar?

                                               Tartars frustrating the Winged Hussars...

                                                ....then stupidly charging them.........

                                            ...exit stage left, pursued by Hussars!

Tuesday, 14 February 2017


Last summer the club was generously given a load of older wargames figures. I ended up with 2 Renaissance armies, Ottomans and Poles, and I thought it time I caught up on the Polish contingent. Like the Ottomans, they are a mix of old manufacturers from the 1970s/80s, mostly Minifigs and Hinchcliffe, with a few Essex. I quite like this as it's taking me back to the figures I started gaming with in my youth. Again I decided to pretty much leave the painting as it was, other than where an obvious touch-up was required. All I'd do was give the figures a clean, a dark wash and rebase.

The Poles were not a complete army, consisting of about 22 cavalry and 45 infantry, with only 2 Winged Hussars! The infantry would do, but I was way short-handed on cavalry for a Polish army. I've been keeping my eyes open for old figures to fit in with these and had picked up a unit of  dragoons and a unit of Winged Hussars. As I've recently picked up the new Osprey rules The Pikeman's Lament and arranged a game for later this month, I thought it was time to get the Poles into battle order.

Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures of the figures before I got started, but if you look back at the posts on the Ottomans you will get the idea.

                                                 The whole army (so far)
                                                      The original Winged Hussars

                                                    More Winged Hussars

                                              Panernci/Armoured Cossack Cavalry

                                                        Cossack/Tartar Cavalry



                                                                    More Infantry

Just in time for the game on Friday! A big thanks to Nigel Billington for letting me download his fantastic Polish flags.
Obviously I need more cavalry for a credible Polish army. The Hinchliffe Winged Hussars are still available so I can add a few friends to my lonely pair and make up another unit. I'll just keep looking for some more old Pancerni and Cossack cavalry.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Gaming in Colonial Africa 2

We played some more TMWWBK games at club last Friday, four players using half size units we managed to get three games into about three and a half hours gaming time.

All three games pitted Terrible Turks against Dastardly Huns arguing over who had the right to oppress the local population. As we had two new players the first game was a straight up "Kill 'em All" game, them we played "Get Off My Land" and "Run To The Hills" scenarios from the book.

                                               Turkish infantry shelter in the jungle

The Turks:
3 units Line Infantry (Regular Inf)
2 units Militia (Irregular Inf - Unenthusiastic)

The Germans:
1 unit Colonial Inf (Regular Inf - Veteran)
1 unit Askari (Irregular Inf - Veteran)
1 unit Settler Volunteers (Irregular Inf - Veteran & Well Armed)
1 unit native allies (Tribal Inf - Elite & Fierce)

                                           German Settlers - a mean bunch!

Saturday, 10 December 2016

D-Day +2, Norrey and Putot

At our Games Day on 26th November 2016,  We put on a large Rapid Fire game set in Normandy.

D-Day +2, 8th June 1944
After landing at Juno Beach the Canadians 3rd Division moved inland towards its objective of Capriquet Airfield. Whist moving forward and occupying the villages of Bretteville and Putot the Canadians were attacked by the recently arrived 12th SS Panzer Division. The game was based on the fighting that took place on the 8th of June.

The Germans were played by Mark and Colin. The Canadians by Henry and Graham. Ian Willer umpired.

The Germans plan was for the 12th SS Recce Battalion to attack Norrey. The 1st Battalion 26th SS Panzer Grenadiers attacked Cardonville and the 2nd Battalion attacked Putot.
The Canadians plan was for the Regina Rifles to defend Norrey and Bretteville and the Royal Winnipeg Rifles to defend Putot and Cardonville.

The Recce Battalion attacked Norrey and destroyed the two Companies defending the village. However the Canadian artillery and Mortars weakened the Recce unit.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Balkans War Demo Game Army Lists

There was a lot of interest in the First Balkans War Demo Game we put on at Warfare last weekend.
Several people asked for the related Army Lists, so here are links to them.

Note, these are Army Lists for platoon level games using Chain Of Command rules by Too Fat Lardies.

Balkans Armies for Demo Game -  both sides for the Demo Game we put on this year.

Balkans Greek Army 1912-13 - more options for the Greek Army for other scenarios

Balkans Turkish Army 1912-13 - more options for the Turkish Army for other scenarios

Background and Battle Report - here is some background information about the First Balkans War and The Epirus Campaign featured in our Demo Game. There is also a Battle Report

Friday, 4 November 2016

Gaming in Colonial Africa 1

We played our first couple of games using The Men Who Would be Kings recently.  These were played at the skirmish level using half sized units.

For the first game we played a straight forward encounter “kill ‘em all” game, to get a feel for the rules.

A combined warband of Longshankee and Stumppi warriors faced off against a force of slavers.

Longshankee Warriors and Archers

  • Longshankee Warriors = Tribal Infantry Elite/Fierce
  • Longshankee Archers = Irregular Infantry with bows Sharpshooters/Field craft
  • Stumppi Warriors = Tribal Infantry
  • Stumppi Blowpipers = Irregular Infantry with bows Field craft
  • Escaped Slaves = Irregular Infantry with obsolete rifles Field craft

Chinese Riflemen and Fanatics

  • Chinese Riflemen = Irregular Infantry with modern rifles Elite
  • Chinese Fanatics  = Tribal Infantry Elite/Fierce
  • 2 x Arab Riflemen = Irregular Infantry with obsolete rifles Field craft

The battlefield
The game was great fun.
On one side of the table the two Arab riflemen (or rather one as poor leadership meant that one unit was somewhat tardy) faced off against the escaped slaves and the Stumppi warriors.

The Arabs and ex-slaves exchanged fire at long range, killing one Arab, whilst the Stumppi tried to work their way around the flank. The tardy Arabs finally arrived, only to be charged and wiped out by the pygmies.
Two units of Arab Riflemen engage the Escaped Slaves on the rocky outcrop
but they are charged in the flank by Stumppi Warriors

The Stumppi then failed their attempt to charge the second Arab unit, who blasted them at close range, routing the survivors. They were soon revenged by the ex-slaves who shot down a couple more Arabs, causing them to flee the field.
The first unit of Arab Riflemen are wiped out but a volley from the 2nd Arab Riflemen routs the remaining Stumppi Warriors

On the other side of the table the Chinese fanatics and Longshankee warriors advanced on each other supported by their respective missile units.
Stumppi Blowpipers and Longshankee Warriors and Archers advance on the Chinese

Chinese Fanatics wait behind a rocky outcrop for the Longshankee to get closer.

As the Longshankee Warriors approach the Chinese move out to close the charge range
Off to the right the Stumppi Blowpipers are closing in.

Suddenly the Chinese caught the Natives off guard, by veering the fanatics to the side and racing towards the Stumppi blowpipers. The pygmies killed one of the fanatics, but were then caught by their charge and the last survivors ran back towards their lines for a couple of turns.
The Chinese Fanatics switch their attention to the Stumppi Blowpipers

The remnants of the Stumppi Blowpipers fall back.

A well-aimed volley from the Chinese riflemen pinned the Longshankee Warriors, allowing the victorious fanatics to charger them in turn, routing them. By now the Longshankee archers had crept up to close range (their leaders ability of “short sighted” meant that they could not shoot at anyone beyond 6”!) where they wiped out the last few Chinese Fanatics with a single volley. With the last two pygmies back in the game, the Chinese riflemen found themselves attacked by 3 units. They killed a few of their attackers, but were eventually shot down.
Chinese Riflemen try to fend off Longshankee Archers approaching over the rocky hill

Surrounded, the last four Chinese Riflemen are doomed.

The second game was quite different. We diced for scenario and played Scenario C: To The Last Bullet. The slavers stayed on and were matched against a force of Ottomans.

3 x Line Infantry = Regular Infantry
2 x Militia Infantry = Irregular Infantry Unenthusiastic

The Ottomans got to defend so they dropped a Line infantry unit to make it 18 points.
Ottomans line up at the halfway line ready to fall back on a defensive position
around the hut and the rocky hill

The Slavers have a long way to catch up.

This game never really got going, Apart from the Chinese fanatics, the slavers hardly moved at all. The Ottomans had plenty of time to occupy the defensible position with Regular Infantry (despite that unit’s commander having the trait of “Wheezy” and not being able to move at the double) and form a firing line on the flanks before the first slaver rifle unit was halfway across the table. One of the Arabs and the Chinese riflemen did not move at all for 3 or 4 turns. The Ottoman player took pity on the slavers and gave the rifle units 4 free movements, but still the slavers were forced to commit piecemeal.
The only Slaver unit to get close were the Chinese Fanatics who were mown down by crossfire.

Once the Chinese fanatics were mown down in a crossfire, one of the Regular Infantry units formed Close Order, fixed bayonets and marched forward, alternately blasting or bayoneting everything it encountered. By the time the slavers were down to one unit, the Ottomans had only lost 4 figures, so we called it a day. It had been a disappointing game, but mainly down to abysmal dice on the part of the slaver commander. We thought that this particular scenario was very dependent on the composition of the attacking force. If they had been mainly Tribal infantry it would have been quite a different battle.

Like Lion Rampant and Dragon Rampant, TMWWBK seems a  good set of rules that will deliver a fun game. We will be playing it more in the near future and trying a couple of 3-way games in a week or two to see how that goes.

Monday, 31 October 2016

Vikings v Normans Yarn

Berserkers lead the Viking charge
A fictional encounter between Vikings and Normans using Sword & Spear rules, written by Mark Lewis and published by Great Escape Games.

I'm sure there were disagreements between Vikings and Normans that led to some engagements, but Ian and I played this one just for fun.
My Viking front line units were three units of Huscarls, one unit of Berserkers and one unit of Warriors opposite the central wood. The back row were mainly Warriors. My original idea was to refuse my right flank by blocking the area between the central wood and the area of rough ground, hold the central wood with Warriors and then attack on my left flank. I put some faith into the area of rough ground to protect my right flank and occupied it with just a unit of Light Foot Archers.
Norman line up – in addition to Spearmen, Ian put most of his Knights on his left flank. The Norman lines were wider than the Vikings, but with only one unit of Knights as reserve on each flank. His Crossbowmen units were a threat if the Vikings didn’t close the gap quickly.
Initial Deployment: Vikings on the left, Normans on the right
Vikings: 1 General, 4 Warriors, 5 Huscarls, 1 Camp, 1 Beserkers, 2 Archers (Light)
Normans: 1 General, 4 Knights, 4 Spearmen, 1 Camp, 2 Crossbowmen, 1 Archers (Medium), 1 Archers (Light)

The Norman Knights started a wide flanking manoeuvre. Quite early on Ian realised that the undrilled Knights were not going to be that easy to control, especially as the distance to the General increased beyond the command distance. Because the Norman Knights were so wide and so deep, I decided to throw my plan out of the window and attack the infantry on this flank quickly to not leave the Norman Knights enough time to get into position to attack my right flank.
Norman Knights attempt a flanking manoeuvre.
Off to the right of this picture is another unit of Norman Knights heading for the edge of the board.